Manchester Reform Synagogue service ambushed by group with swastikas and 'awful racist images'

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen told ITV Granada Reports that since news of the incident emerged, members of the Synagogue have received countless messages of solidarity.

An online service held by a Manchester synagogue was interrupted by people displaying swastikas and 'awful racist images'.

Worshippers were left shaken after Manchester Reform Synagogue's service, which was being held over Zoom, was hijacked on Friday evening (October 22).

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen said the offenders shouted racist abuse and changed their picture to a swastika, so that it would pop up on everyone's screens.

This was 'shocking' for the worshippers and 'felt like an invasion', Rabbi Steen said, but they have since received an outpouring of support from the local community.

Rabbi Steen said the meeting was being held online as usual on the weekly Jewish holy day when people started trying to interrupt.

Rabbi Steen said the incident was 'obviously premeditated' and has left everyone feeling shaken. Credit: MEN Media

She said: "About half way through the service they started to shout. They changed their picture to a swastika and lots of awful racist images were popping up."

Rabbi Steen said the incident was 'obviously premeditated' 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 space 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 for the BBC's Ridley Road in which fascists break in, has received support from across the entire region since the incident.

Rabbi Steen said: "The support from across Greater Manchester, from within and outside the Jewish community, has been amazing and that has really helped.

"We don't want to add to fuel to the fire but it's very important to highlight when things like this happen."