Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Worshipers were left shaken after a Jewish service online was attacked with swastikas and ‘horrific racist images’.

The Manchester Reform Synagogue service held over Zoom was hijacked Friday night (October 22).

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen said the perpetrators shouted racist abuse and changed their image to a swastika so that it would appear on everyone’s screens.

This was ‘shocking’ to the worshipers and ‘felt like an invasion’, said Rabbi Steen, but they have since received a stream of support from the local community.

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Greater Manchester Police were contacted following the shocking incident, which was reported as a hate crime.

That MEN has contacted the force for a comment.

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Rabbi Steen said the meeting, as usual, was held online on the weekly Jewish holiday when people began trying to interrupt.

“It was clear that someone was trying to get in through the waiting room, people kept coming in with different names, so it was very clear that there was something strange,” she said. MEN .

“What we did not realize was that someone was already inside.

“About halfway through the service, they started shouting. They changed their image to a swastika and lots of horrible racist images appeared.”

Rabbi Steen said the incident was ‘obviously deliberate’ and has left everyone feeling shaken.

“It felt like such an invasion, and even though it was online, it felt violent,” she added.

“Our services are a safe place and it was just really shocking for people.

“We have members of our community who have family who are Holocaust survivors.”

The synagogue, which was recently used to film a scene on the BBC’s Ridley Road, where fascists break in, has received support from across the region since the incident.

Rabbi Steen said: “The support from all over Greater Manchester, from within and outside the Jewish community, has been fantastic and it has really helped.

“We do not want to add fuel to the fire, but it is very important to highlight when things like this happen.”

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