Raphael Nissel and his wife were walking to their Beverly Hills synagogue on Saturday morning when a man struck Nissel's head from behind with a belt buckle.
Nissel, who wore a yarmulke, was left dazed and bloodied by the attack.
"My wife told me, 'Watch out!'" Nissel, 75, told The Times on Sunday. "All of a sudden, something hard hit my forehead."
The assailant turned to Nissel's wife, Rivka and allegedly said, "Jew, give me your jewelry" but fled after Nissel gave chase.
Officers responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon that morning at North Rexford Drive and North Santa Monica Boulevard, near the Beverly Hills Police Department. They took over the pursuit of the suspect.
Nissel suffered a deep cut to his head, which he said required four "staples," and was treated at the scene.
Scheduled to give a reading that day from the Torah at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, an orthodox synagogue, Nissel didn't allow the attack to deter him.
"My wife had to run to the house to bring me a new shirt," he said. "I walked to the synagogue and was able to perform."
Based on a description of the suspect, police later found and arrested Jarris Jay Silagi.
In a Sunday afternoon news release, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said his officers acted swiftly in taking Silagi into custody.
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