Rabbi's finger bitten off at Chanucah celebration

By Beth Alexander in Vienna, December 15, 2009
The Chanucah celebration in Vienna

The Chanucah celebration in Vienna

A man is alleged to have bitten off a rabbi’s finger at a public Chanucah celebration in Vienna.

Rabbi Dov Grussman was responding to apparent antisemitic jibes from the Muslim man, who is said to have hurled himself at the Chabad Rabbi and punched him.

During the struggle, the man is alleged to have bitten the rabbi, severing part of his finger. He was later arrested by Austrian police.

Rabbi Grussman was taken to hospital where doctors attempted to reattach the severed finger. He is currently being monitored for infection from the injury.

Chabad resolved to hold a second, bigger Chanucah celebration the following evening.

Rabbi Grussman, who was unable to attend the later celebration, said: “We increased the number of doughnuts from 50 to 700 and this is our answer to the attack and to antisemitism.”

Austrian Chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg said: “We are very upset that such a thing could happen at a peaceful Chanucah lighting. People should respect other religions.”

Adi Uri, 21, an Israeli student at the Lauder Business School who participated in the Saturday night event, said: “I am shocked that such an incident could take place here. I left Israel in the hope of escaping Arab hostility towards Jews but such an attack proves to me that it is everywhere."

Last updated: 2:33pm, December 15 2009