Elected officials meet with Bridgeport rabbi in wake of Hanukkah stabbings

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A Rockland County town became the focus of international attention Sunday when police say an intruder with a large knife stabbed five people at the home of a local rabbi. They were celebrating the final night of Hanukkah.

Rabbi James Prosnit of Congregation B'Nai Israel in Bridgeport met with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Mayor Joe Ganim Sunday morning to talk about the impact of the attack on worshipers in the city. Prosnit says he was horrified, but not entirely surprised, by the news.

"This is the winter solstice time of year, it's a dark time of year," Rabbi Prosnit said. "There are dark forces that have always been present, but some of them are even more present now."

Ganim says he is stepping up security across the city and putting police officers on high alert. He did the same in April following a deadly Synagogue attack in California.

The latest attack took place around 10 p.m. Saturday as several people were celebrating Hanukkah at the Hasidic rabbi's home.

Police say 38-year-old Grafton Thomas was arrested in Harlem and turned over to authorities in Rockland County.

"My hope is that this absolutely repugnant incident will in no way deter people of faith and good will," Sen. Blumenthal said. "What's needed now is not only respectful prayer, but also relentless prosecution and punishment."

Rabbi Prosnit called the incident a "sad irony" as it happened "at a time when people are kindling lights of hope."

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