Police meet with Jewish communities after attack on rabbi in Chigwell

Essex Police meeting with the Jewish community after a rabbi was assaulted outside the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue

Police officers have been meeting with Jewish community leaders following the attack on a rabbi outside the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue. - Credit: Essex Police

Police are engaging with Jewish communities to provide reassurance after a rabbi was attacked outside a synagogue in Chigwell. 

Essex Police is investigating the attack as a hate crime, which took place in broad daylight at around 1.15pm on Sunday (May 16).

Officers have met with community and religious leaders, who are currently celebrating Shavuot, to give reassurances and updates on the investigation.

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin, assistant rabbi at the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue, is believed to have been assaulted by two teenagers in Limes Avenue.

Police said they then shouted derogatory things at him about his religion. 

The two boys, described as being of Asian ethnicity, are believed to be aged between 15 and 18.

Ch Supt Stuart Hooper said: "We know this is a very important time - a time for communities to come together, to be around each other and celebrate. We do not want anyone to feel that they cannot do that safely.

"We're continuing to review CCTV and we're receiving crucial pieces of information from people in Chigwell and beyond which will help us move this investigation forward."

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One of the attackers was described as 5ft 9ins tall and wore his hair in an Afro-style and the other was described as being 5ft 7ins tall.

Both wore black jackets and the latter wore grey tracksuit bottoms.

It is believed the two teenagers stepped out in front of the victim's vehicle whilst he was driving, and they shouted at him before going on to damage his car.

When he got out of his car to confront them, he was attacked with an unknown object causing him to be hospitalised.

During the attack, the victim's phone was also stolen.

Ch Supt Hooper added: “I know that some people are hesitant to report hate crime to us, but it’s important that we know about these incidents so that we can carry out a thorough investigation.

“You can call us on 999 or 101, report it through our website or seek out independent support. Whether that’s Hate Incident Reporting Centres, through specialist charities like Stop Hate UK or, if you’re from the Jewish community, the Community Security Trust can help.”

Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal said: "As a precautionary measure, police patrols are being increased around synagogues across the borough.

"I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Rabbi Rafi during this difficult time."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Loughton CID quoting the crime reference number 42/92174/21.