Two men charged after rabbi from Yorkshire is attacked outside synagogue

Two men have been charged after a rabbi from Yorkshire was attacked outside his synagogue in Essex.

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin
Rabbi Rafi Goodwin

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin 31, was taken to hospital after he was hit over the head with an object outside Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue in Chigwell on Sunday, May 16.

Essex Police said he was assaulted and his phone was stolen after two men stepped out in front of his car and shouted at him.

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Abderrahman Brahimi, 25, and Souraka Djabouri, 18, both of Tudor Crescent in Ilford, were arrested shortly after the assault.

They are due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today,, charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery, and religiously aggravated criminal damage.

The rabbi, who grew up in Leeds and attended Leeds Grammar School, has been discharged from hospital and he is now recovering at home.

Lindsay Shure, chair of the Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue, said: "All of us at the synagogue have been so moved by the support we have received from the local community, particularly on the Limes Farm estate where the attack took place.

"We have had an enormous number of goodwill messages via Facebook, email, letter and in person and there have been flowers left outside the synagogue for the Goodwins. In addition, a hamper of food is being donated to them, together with cards wishing him well.

"We have also been contacted by many local faith leaders across all faiths, all saying how upset they were by this terrible incident and offering their support.

"The community would like to thank the police who helped us out greatly over the festival of Shavuot."

Speaking in Parliament, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he was “appalled” by a recent rise in antisemitic abuse in the UK.

He said: “We stand with our Jewish friends and neighbours, who have sadly been subjected to a deeply disturbing upsurge in antisemitism in recent years, particularly on social media. Like all forms of racism, antisemitism has no place in our society.”

He added: “British Jews are not responsible for the actions of a Government thousands of miles away, but are made to feel as if they are.”