A rabbi was attacked yesterday in what police have labelled a ‘religiously-aggravated assault’.

Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue rabbi Rafi Goodwin was attacked in Limes Avenue, Chigwell, at about 1.15pm on Sunday, May 16.

Police have said anti-Semitic language was used during the attack, however the Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle have reported the rabbi was not targeted in retaliation to recent events in the Middle East and that it was a road rage incident.

Two teenagers reportedly stepped out in front rabbi Rafi Goodwin’s car while he was driving and shouted anti-Semitic abuse before damaging his vehicle.

When the rabbi got out of his car to confront them, he was attacked with an unknown object, Police have said.

Epping Forest Guardian: Rabbi Rafi Goodwin Photo: Chigwell and Hainault SynagogueRabbi Rafi Goodwin Photo: Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue

During the attack his phone was also stolen and he had to be taken to hospital; he has since been discharged.

The two boys – believed to be aged between 15 and 18 – fled the scene on foot.

Detectives have described them as 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.

Chigwell Row district council Pranav Bhanot took to twitter to voice his outrage at the incident: “Disgusted to hear that Rabbi Rafi was today attacked by a couple of youths on the Limes Estate in Chigwell. I hope justice prevails,” he said.

Rabbi Moshe Freedman, of New West End Synagogue, tweeted: “Please pray for my dear friend and colleague Rabbi Rafi Goodwin who has been brutally attacked this morning near to his synagogue in Chigwell. His Hebrew name is Harav Yirmiyahu Pesach ben Kreina Deborah.”

The attack comes on the same day that four men were arrested after a video circulated on social media of people shouting anti-Semitic abuse from a car travelling within a convoy of vehicles in north London.

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said he was "deeply disturbed" following the attack.

He said: "We are proud of our rich diversity and active faith communities in Redbridge have a long track record of supporting each other.

"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.”

Police patrols around synagogues in Redbridge will be increased over the next few days as a precautionary measure.

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