BOSTON – An Egyptian man who was arrested after allegedly stabbing a rabbi nine times outside of a Hasidic day school and Jewish camp is being held without bail after he was charged with multiple assault and battery counts.
Shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday, law enforcement reported that Khaled Awad, 24, of Brighton allegedly approached Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside of Shaloh House, the Jewish day school and summer camp, in Brighton. At Friday’s arraignment, prosecutors stated that Awad pointed a gun at Noginski and demanded that he bring him to the school’s van. When Noginski refused to enter the vehicle, the rabbi ran across the street to a small park where Awad allegedly stabbed him nine times. Noginski fought off his attacker and ran back across the street and into the Shaloh House. Meanwhile, Awad ran toward Chestnut Hill Ave where he was met by a Boston Police officer. According to police, Award pointed “what appeared to be a black firearm” toward the officer. He soon dropped the weapon and was arrested. According to police records, Awad kicked an officer in the stomach with a shod foot while he was being taken into custody.
Awad was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (knife); assault and battery on a police officer by means of a dangerous weapon (shod foot); assault by means of a dangerous weapon (firearm).
Police have yet to state a motive in the stabbing and have not described the case as a hate crime. During the stabbing, police say Noginski took a photo of his attacker. In addition, witnesses also filmed part of the stabbing.
Noginski, a father of 12, was released after being treated in two Boston hospitals. He grew up in the former Soviet Union and learned martial arts as a child in order to defend himself from antisemitic attacks. A resident of Israel, he is a former city councilor in Kfar Chabad. He moved to Brighton two years ago with his family to work as a rabbi and teacher at Shaloh House, which serves the area’s Russian Jewish community.
Noginski, who holds a black belt in judo, described how he survived during a message on a private WhatsApp message: “The man tried desperately to kill me, but Baruch Hashem (Thank God), I’m strong and I fought him off.”
“We are all very shaken by what happened and ask for you to please keep Rabbi Noginski in your prayers,” Shaloh House Director Rabbi Dan Rodkin, said in a statement. “We are heartened by the outpouring of concern and compassion we have received in just the last hours since the incident.”
According to Rodkin, the facility was placed on lockdown shortly after the attack began. At no point during the incident were any of the children in danger, said Rodkin.
“The safety of our children and staff is of the utmost importance to us and we will be increasing security at the Shaloh House throughout the remainder of the summer. We are all very shaken by what happened and ask for you to please keep Rabbi Noginski in your prayers for a refuah sheleima, speedy and complete recovery (Shlomo ben Zlata Miriam). We are heartened by the outpouring of concern and compassion we have received in just the last hours since the incident.”
On Friday morning, more than 500 people gathered for a vigil in the same small park where Noginksi fought off his attacker just a day before. It was attended by dozens of elected officials and Jewish leaders, including Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, Representative Jake Auchincloss, Combined Jewish Philanthropies President Rabbi Marc Baker, Anti-Defamation League New England Regional Director Robert Trestan, Jewish Communities Relations Council Director Jeremy Burton and Consul General of Israel to New England Ambassador Meron Reuben.
Earlier in the day, Reuben met with Noginski. During the meeting, Noginski spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “I connected the two and they spoke,” said Reuben. “The foreign minister of Israel was very, very interested in hearing about the terrible attack and what had happened.”
While no hate crime charges have been filed, speaker after speaker urged law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation.
“It is important that we understand what the motives of this hate, of this violence are. An investigation is under way to determine whether this is a hate crime or not and we will get the answers that we seek,” said Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins said the Boston Police Department Civil Rights Unit and her office’s civil rights unit were investigating the crime and promised to keep the community informed as the case moved forward. “I want the Jewish community to hear me say I stand with you, I will get answers and accountability for you, and we will work together to get through this,” she said.
Baker, the CJP president, said the attack needed to be investigated as a hate crime. “With thousands of years of history behind us, and the recent surge of Jew hatred in acts and in speech across this country, our community is feeling vulnerable and we are feeling angry, wondering whether we can be safe in our country and in our own cities,” said Baker.
Trestan, of the ADL, called for law enforcement to be transparent as it worked on the case. “The facts that are emerging from yesterday’s violent attack include many indicators that point toward antisemitism,” said Trestan. “So it is critical that the Boston Civil Rights Unit do as Mayor Janey just alluded to, and that is conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine motives and whether this was a hate crime. Because the Jewish community is angry, living in fear and needs answers, accountability and security.”
The attack occurred less than a week after a man targeted and murdered two African-Americans in Winthrop. The man, who was killed in a shootout, was driving in the neighborhood of two synagogues. After the attacks, law enforcement discovered antisemitic writings in the man’s home.
Rabbi Shmuel Posner of Chabad of Kenmore Square called Noginski a role model for all Jews. “If there’s one person in the world that this perpetrator should not have started up with is Rabbi Shlomo. Because he personifies the strength of the Jewish people – he survived the Soviet Union, thrived in Israel and then came here to Boston to help strengthen Jewish observance,” said Posner. “And he’ll be back teaching young children, senior citizens and everybody in between to be proud of who they are as Jewish people.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated. Email Steven A. Rosenberg at email@example.com.