‘Antisemitic’ thieves dump tefillin and talit in Stamford Hill pond
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‘Antisemitic’ thieves dump tefillin and talit in Stamford Hill pond

Local officials criticise 'terrible' incident where Jewish prayer items were stolen from a car and desecrated

Image posted by Shomrim of the teffilin and talit by the pond
Image posted by Shomrim of the teffilin and talit by the pond

Senior local and national politicians have blasted as “antisemitic” thieves in Stamford Hill who stole Jewish religious garments from a car and dumped them in the pond on Clapton Common.

The incident on Wednesday night was reported by Orthodox neighbourhood watch volunteer force Shomrim, leading Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and the mayor of Hackney to decry the perpetrators.

Shomrim’s volunteers were dispatched and found the victim’s tallit (prayer shawl) dumped by the bins beside the pond. They then found the victim’s tefillin (small black boxes worn during prayer containing Torah verse) in the water.

“Volunteers lovingly recovered the tefillin from the water and quickly identified the victim to alert him,” said Chaim Hochhauser, a spokesman for Shomrim’s Stamford Hill branch, on Thursday.

“He didn’t even know his car had been broken into. He was in shock, devastated. I spoke to him this morning and he said he didn’t sleep at all last night. Any Jew with any connection to their heritage will see this and feel deeply violated.”

Abbott, who represents Hackney, said: “The desecration of these religious items is terrible and disrespectful. It is unclear at this stage whether this is criminal or a hate crime, but the community are entitled to know what happened. Hopefully police investigations will get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”

Image posted by Shomrim of the teffilin case in the pond

Meanwhile Hackney’s Mayor Philip Glanville said it was “awful to hear,” adding: “I hope the culprits are swiftly caught.”

The local Met Police force described the dumping of a prayer shawl and tefillin as “an absolutely disgusting and cowardly act by horrible individuals,” praising Shomrim volunteers for their work on-scene.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST) said the organisation was working with police, adding: “It is obvious why this desecration of religious items would be so upsetting for any Jewish person to see. We appeal to anybody who knows who was responsible to come forward.”

Victims’ Commissioner for London Claire Waxman retweeted details, adding that London “must stand united against all forms of hate”.

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