Rabbi needs hospital treatment after attack outside synagogue

·3-min read

Police have launched an investigation after a rabbi was attacked outside his synagogue.

Essex Police said officers attended Limes Avenue in Chigwell shortly after 1.15pm on Sunday following reports of a racially aggravated assault.

Other members of the Jewish community and local authorities have offered their support to Rabbi Rafi Goodwin following the attack.

Police said they believed that two teenagers stepped out in front of the victim’s vehicle while he was driving.

The pair then shouted at him and spoke in a derogatory way about his religion before going on to damage his car.

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When the man, aged in his 30s, got out of the car to confront them he was attacked with an unknown object, causing him to require hospital treatment.

During the attack the man’s phone was also stolen.

The two boys, believed to be aged between 15 and 18, are believed to have left the scene on foot.

Both have been described as being of Asian ethnicity.

One was approximately 5ft 9in, wore his hair in an Afro-style and was wearing a black jacket.

The other was described as being 5ft 7in and was wearing a black jacket and grey tracksuit bottoms.

Essex Police confirmed that the incident was not linked to wider pro-Palestine protests that have occurred over the weekend.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We know that this incident may be concerning for those in the local area, and we are working quickly to identify those responsible and to liaise with community leaders for any further support for those impacted.”

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Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Loughton CID on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/92174/21.

Leader of Redbridge Council Jas Athwal said: “Essex Police have confirmed that they are treating today’s attack on Rabbi Rafi as an a anti-Semitic hate crime, however police are not linking the motives of this crime to heightened tensions in the Middle East and the current hostilities in Israel and Palestine.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in our society and if you have any information about this unprovoked and cowardly attack, please contact the police.

“We are proud of our community and all parts of the community in Redbridge, we unequivocally condemn this attack and will continue to work together to support each other.”

Moshe Freedman, Rabbi of New West End Synagogue, asked people to pray for his “dear friend and colleague” following the attack.

Responding to the incident, Rabbi Herschel Gluck told the PA news agency: “Whenever a person is attacked like this, it touches me deeply.

“The person themselves, their families, their congregation and their friends are all affected by this.

“Even though it is an individual, it has much broader and wider ramifications.”