General Poetry posted January 3, 2020

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After a vicious, unprovoked attack on a peaceful gathering

A Plea for Unity

by Mary Kay Bonfante

In a rabbi's home, a bloody attack,
I thank the Lord that some fought back.
In Monsey, New York, the man was deranged,
We may never know if it was prearranged.

Antisemitism fuels the fires of hate,
We need better laws in our nation, our state.
Evil spirits drive hate for no reason,
All year long, and in holiday season.

So many people are troubled so deeply,
But people's lives are regarded too cheaply.
When a man is angry, he looks left and right,
And the Jews of Monsey were in that man's sight.

It's not fair to target a peaceful home,
Where people come, celebrate and roam.
Wielding a machete, he terrified all,
Inflicting deep injuries; we are appalled.

Five innocent people, suspecting no harm,
Now they are wounded, and all are alarmed.
One lies gravely injured, close to death's door.
For unity, his family, pleading, implores.

For what, does hatred and bigotry stand?
Brush it away, like a flea on your hand!
Send hatred to Hell from which it came,
And pray to the Lord, call on His Name!

Rhyming Poetry Contest contest entry



Just after 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 28, 2019, a hostile, deranged man wielding a machete burst into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, of Congregation Netzach Yisroel, during a Hanukkah party, declaring, "No one is leaving." Ramapo police said he attacked the partygoers, sending five to the hospital; two of them remained in critical condition as of Monday, December 30.

Grafton Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake was arrested Sunday morning, captured in blood-soaked clothing by NYPD officers. He was held on $5 million bail in the Rockland County Jail by Ramapo Town Justice Rhoda Schoenberger after being arraigned on five counts of attempted murder, and one count of burglary. He entered a plea of not guilty.

Five men were seriously injured, including 72-year-old Josef Neumann, who suffered a fractured skull from a machete blow during the attack. Neumann has been in a coma since the Saturday night attack and underwent surgery Thursday (1/2/20) at the Westchester Medical Center in critical condition.The other men's injuries included a severed finger, slash wounds and deep cuts. 

During the attack, Josef Gluck fought off Thomas with a table and forced him to leave the house.� Others had grabbed benches, tables and a coat rack to drive off the attacker. (It is good to remember that sometimes we have the option of self-defense, whereas in other situations, running or hiding are our best alternatives. The men who fought back may have saved the lives of others, and thus, were heroes.)

Based on a court warrant approved Sunday, the FBI searched Thomas' home and his cellphone, finding references to Jews, Hitler, and Nazi culture. They also found other potentially incriminating evidence concerning both his guilt and indications of antisemitism.

This information was derived from two news articles that appeared in USA Today. The media has widely reported the emotional instability of Thomas, and that he was not known by those close to him to be antisemitic, however it is certainly possible that multiple factors contributed to this heinous act, not all of which were known to his family.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by VMarguarite at

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