Rabbi speaks of 'horror' after swastika daubed on synagogue

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake outside the synagogue on Essex Street in Norwich

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake outside the synagogue on Essex Street in Norwich - Credit: David Hannant

"We will pray for you and hope that you see the error of your ways and apologise."

This is the message from the rabbi of a city synagogue after antisemitic messages were daubed across the door of its Essex Street site.

At some point between 4pm on Thursday, May 13, and 7.30am on Friday, May 14, the door of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue was graffitied with hateful messages including a swastika, the symbol of Nazi Germany.

Graffiti daubed on the side of the Essex Street synagogue. Some content has been censored. 

Graffiti daubed on the side of the Essex Street synagogue. Some content has been censored. - Credit: Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake said the graffiti was discovered when members of the community arrived for morning prayer and has spoken of his horror at the discovery.

He said: "Six million Jewish people died under the swastika so it is not something we should be seeing in 2021. When we come in we come with the attitude to worship and for prayer, so you can imagine the shock and the horror we all felt.

"But we do not react with anger, there is enough hate in the world as it is and if we react with anger that only adds to it."

Rabbi Sheldrake said that it was the first time since the synagogue opened three years ago that it has been targeted, but that its community continually endured discrimination - including himself having the window of his home smashed.

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He added: "Since it happened we have received an outpouring of love and support - when we were stood outside this morning people we had never seen before were stopping and saying how sorry they were."

The incident was reported to the police and Norwich City Council, and the graffiti has already been removed.

In a joint statement from Emma Corlett, Karen Davis, Ian Stutely and Cate Oliver, the four councillors for the Town Close ward, said: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms the cowardly antisemitic attack on Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue.

"There is no place for hate of any kind in our community. It is hate that causes all the problems in the world, including in the Middle East. We stand together in our desire for peace and will not be divided."

New police and crime commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie added: "We should be well beyond this sort of nonsense and it is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age."

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