Gants Hill rabbi: Educating young people key in fight against anti-Semitism

Speakers at the Anti-Semitism: Should We Be Concerned? event at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Wo

Speakers at the Anti-Semitism: Should We Be Concerned? event at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill. From left to right: Cllr Alan Weinberg, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, Rony Yedidia-Clein and Russell Langer - Credit: Archant

Anxiety and concern over anti-Semitism in the borough is rife, according to a rabbi.

Guests at the Anti-Semitism: Should We Be Concerned? event at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Wood

Guests at the Anti-Semitism: Should We Be Concerned? event at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill - Credit: Archant

The comments come following the Anti-Semitism: Should We Be Concerned? event at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill, last week.

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, who spoke alongside chairman Cllr Alan Weinberg, said the turnout for the event spoke volumes.

“About 170 people were here which itself is testament to the anxiety and concerns of the community,” he said. “There’s a lot of insecurity, especially with the older people. People are a bit jittery.”

Also speaking at the event was Arieh Miller of the Zionist Federation, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, Russell Langer of the Jewish Leadership Council and the Israeli Embassy’s director of public diplomacy Rony Yedidia-Clein.


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“All those who were speaking were concerned and quite rightly so,” said Rabbi Sufrin.

He said the event came days after two men shouted abuse at people leaving the synagogue.

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“It doesn’t happen often, it’s a peaceful town. We live in a borough – a changing borough – where we have enjoyed good compassion,” he said. “But it’s not surprising – we have been brought up to recognise that this is an ongoing issue and it raises its ugly head from time to time.

“It’s more about the disappointment and anger that it happens in this day and age when there’s so much communal compassion and tolerance and interaction.”

The rabbi said it was clear to see from the average age of those who attended the event that there was a need to engage with young people.

“Educating young people is very important in finding a dialogue,” he added.

The synagogue is now considering hosting another event following the positive response to the meeting.

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