Rabbi from Leeds targeted in 'religiously aggravated attack' outside synagogue
A rabbi from Leeds was the victim of a “religiously aggravated” attack outside his synagogue in Essex.
Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was taken to hospital after the assault outside Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue in Chigwell on Sunday.
Essex Police say two teenagers - between the age of 15 and 18 - stepped out in front of his car and shouted at him “in a derogatory way about his religion” at around 1.15pm.
The rabbi, who was born in Leeds and attended Leeds Grammar School, was attacked with an unknown object and his phone was stolen after he got out of the car.
“Detectives are progressing their investigation following reports of a religiously-aggravated assault in Chigwell,” said a police spokeswoman.
“The two boys – believed to be aged between 15 and 18 – are believed to have left the scene on foot.
“They have both been described as being of Asian ethnicity, one was 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.
“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.”
Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said he was "deeply disturbed and saddened" to hear about the "unprovoked and cowardly attack”.
"We are proud of our rich diversity and active faith communities in Redbridge have a long track record of supporting each other,” he added.
“If you have any details relating to this unprovoked and cowardly attack, please contact the police. Information can be provided confidentially.
“I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Rabbi Rafi during this difficult time and myself, the police and Redbridge Council staff stand ready to support and assist the Chigwell and Hainault Shul.”
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