Thousands of people, some covered in Israeli flags and others singing Hebrew songs, poured into Lower Manhattan on Sunday in a show of solidarity for New York’s Jewish community in the wake of a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in the region in the last month.
The most recent attack occurred inside a Hasidic rabbi’s home in a New York City suburb, when a man wielding a machete stabbed at least five people who had gathered for Hanukkah celebrations.
The violence has shaken the Jewish community in the New York area and underscored the startling rise of these types of hate crimes across the country: Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the nation’s three largest cities — are poised to hit an 18-year peak, according to an upcoming report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
“We’re not afraid to stand together, to be able to stand against violence and promote nonviolence,” said Leslie Meyers, 44, who attended Sunday’s rally, which was organized by the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York along with dozens of other advocacy and Jewish community groups.
Speaking to the crowd on Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York will increase funding for security at religious institutions and will also increase the presence of the state police force and hate crimes task force in vulnerable communities. Mr. Cuomo said he also plans to propose a new state law labeling hate crimes as domestic terrorism.
“While we’re here today in the spirit of solidarity and love, government must do more than just offer thoughts and prayers. Government must act,” Mr. Cuomo said.
At the rally, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York announced a proposal to increase federal funding to protect houses of worship and increase the capacity for local police groups to fight hate crimes.
At 11 a.m., while waiting for the march to begin, Helene Wallenstein was holding an official “No Hate. No Fear.” rally sign along with another reading “We Are All Neighbors,” depicting various religious symbols. Ms. Wallenstein, who came from Oceanside, Long Island, said that while the rally was focused on anti-Semitism, she said people of all faiths should stand together.
“We’re feeling it now but it can turn on anybody,” Ms. Wallenstein said. “It’s not O.K.”
Stephanie Knepper Basman, 37, marched down Lafayette Street while wearing an Israeli flag wrapped around her neck.
Ms. Knepper Basman, who works in affordable housing development, said that she came to the march because the spike in anti-Semitism “is outrageous” and added that “anti-Zionism is masked as anti-Semitism.”
Even as thousands gathered to offer their support to the Jewish community, anti-Semitic sentiments could be seen in other parts of the city: On Saturday, a banner promoting a white nationalist website was seen hanging over an overpass in the Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn.
After the stabbing in Monsey, N.Y., an enclave 30 miles northwest of New York City that is home to a large ultra-Orthodox community, the city announced that more police patrols would be assigned to some Jewish neighborhoods in the city.
The suspect in the attack, Grafton E. Thomas, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., has been charged by state prosecutors with six counts of attempted murder. Federal prosecutors have also filed hate crime charges against him.
Mr. Thomas’s family has said that he suffers from a mental illness and is not anti-Semitic. But federal prosecutors have said that Mr. Thomas kept journals expressing anti-Semitic views and repeatedly searched online for topics like “why did Hitler hate the Jews.”
The most seriously injured person in the attack, who was slashed three times on his head and stabbed in the neck, remains in a coma in the hospital and is unlikely to awaken, his relatives said on Tuesday night.