NEW YORK (JTA) – The 80-year-old rabbi who serves as the New York Police Department’s chief chaplain was assaulted and suffered minor injuries while exercising on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Rabbi Alvin Kass was power walking on Riverside Drive at approximately 6:45 am Sunday when someone came from behind and shoved him to the ground, the New York Post reported Monday.
Kass told the Post he makes the walk every day from his home on Riverside Boulevard up to Grant’s Tomb and back – approximately six miles in total. According to ABC7NY.com, he was not wearing a kippah at the time of the attack.
“They didn’t say a word, didn’t take anything,” the rabbi told the Post. “They just started running.”
It is not clear whether the attacker knew who Kass was, and the assault has not been characterized as a hate crime, according to ABC.
Kass said he suffered “minor injuries” and that “nothing’s broken.” He was treated at New York Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell Medical Center for a cut to the right side of the head.
Kass has served as the NYPD’s chief chaplain since 2002 and its Jewish chaplain since 1966.
According to a 2012 article in The Wall Street Journal, Kass is the longest-serving chaplain in the department’s history and the first to achieve the rank of assistant chief. He played a prominent role ministering to police and rescue workers at Ground Zero in the days after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
In addition to his role in the NYPD, Kass is rabbi emeritus of the East Midwood Jewish Center, a Conservative congregation in Brooklyn.