Jewish learning centre vandalised near Cambridge University
The Cambridge Lehrhaus is subject to a possible anti-Semitic incident
Members of the Jewish community in Cambridge fear an anti-Semitic attack after the windows of one of its religious centres were smashed.
The Cambridge Lehrhaus, a centre for Jewish thought run by the more orthodox strand of the Cambridge community, is now boarded up after the glass in its discreet frontage was damaged on Friday night.
The building lies on Trinity Street, right in the heart of town, where Jews of all denominations have come to take courses and hear lectures on a range of Jewish topics since the centre opened in autumn 2013.
The motivation for the incident cannot be confirmed but the suspicion of possible anti-Semitic sentiment behind the attack comes as little surprise to some Jewish students given the recent spike in hate crime, particularly on university campuses, targeting Jews and other minority groups.
Cambridge University Jewish Society Presidents, Abby Zucker and Sarah Davidson, have commented: "We were sorry to hear about damage to the Cambridge Lehrhaus. While we hope the incident was random, some residents will be taking extra precautions, but we hope that students remain confident that Cambridge continues to be a safe and welcoming place for the Jewish student community."
Within the last couple of academic years, flyers supporting a prominent Holocaust denier have been found on the Sidgwick site and swastikas have been drawn on a map on Jesus Green.
Similar but more widespread anti-Semitic activity has taken place at Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sussex and University College London.
Rabbi Reuven Leigh, founder of the Lehrhaus, has said: "With anti-semitism rife in the Labour party and the rascist xenophobia unleashed by Brexit, we as Jews feel terrified that Europe may no longer be a safe place for Jews. We must never forget what happened on this continent just 70 years ago which started with vandalism of Jewish shop fronts in Germany."
Smashing the windows of Jewish-owned buildings, especially those with symbolism attached, is one of the oldest forms of anti-Semitism.
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