'You’ve just got to keep on living': Rabbi talks attack as trial approaches

Victim of antisemitic attack in Chigwell, Redbridge, speaks out about anti-Jewish hate crime

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin, the victim of an attack outside his synagogue in Chigwell, has spoken out for the first time about the experience - Credit: Essex Police

A rabbi who was attacked in Chigwell last year has spoken out about his experience.

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was subjected to an "unprovoked and cowardly" attack outside the Chigwell & Hainault Synagogue in Limes Avenue on May 16 last year.

Less than a year after the assault - which sparked outcry within the Redbridge community - rabbi Goodwin has openly discussed the attack.

“It was bad timing – wrong time, wrong place. Thank God, people stopped and helped me. The police were here straight away," said the 32-year-old.

Initially two men - Abderrahman Brahimi and Souraka Djabouri, both of Tudor Crescent in Fairlop - were charged in connection with the assault.

Essex Police say 25-year-old Brahimi has since been told he faces no further action.

Djabouri, 18, will stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court charged with GBH with intent, robbery and religiously aggravated criminal damage.

Those proceedings have been listed for anytime between March 28 and April 4.

Rabbi Goodwin was determined not to hide away after being attacked, explaining that he "made a point of coming back to synagogue two days later".

"We’re not going to let it change how we do things," he promised.

Alongside thanking the "excellent" police and ambulance crew, the 32-year-old paid tribute to the people of Chigwell.

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“The whole Limes Estate community was excellent, sending flowers and cards to the synagogue.

"People were stopping me for months afterwards asking, ‘Are you the rabbi who was attacked, or do you know the rabbi who was attacked?’ - I couldn’t have asked for more."

Despite his experience, the rabbi - who has worked at the Limes Avenue synagogue for five-and-a-half years - continues to have faith in humanity.

“You’ve just got to keep on living. There are a lot more good people out there than bad people," he said.

Supt Richard Melton, the hate crime lead for Essex Police, says tackling such prejudice is the force's "priority".

"We work shoulder to shoulder with our other Essex partners to take a hard line against hatred committed anywhere across the county," said the officer.