Rarely hit by such instances of anti-Semitism, members of the congregation found that a red swastika had been scrawled on the entrance sign above the word “Kikes,” a derogatory term for Jewish people.
The anti-Semitic vandals also sprayed in black writing at the foot of the main gate through which cars enter the synagogue’s premises “Kikes get out.”
One Orthodox member of the community, who spoke to Ynet on condition of anonymity, said that while the incident was regrettable, there was no need for undue panic to spread throughout the community.
“If I’m to be honest, I wasn't particularly worried when I saw it,” the man said.
“Yes, it’s infuriating to know there are certain people out there who go and do things like that, who probably should not be given as much time on this earth as they currently have, and especially if they have decided to actively go and buy a bottle of graffiti paint just to go and do something stupid like this,” he added.
“Generally though, I think we are in a very good place. Leeds has had very little of this sort of stuff happening. We are quite fortunate in that way, but it is always important to be vigilant as well."
Another member of the synagogue, Ben Levy, also agreed that while it was worrisome, the act did not typify treatment of Jews in the northern English city.
“Does it make me fearful about acts of anti-Semitism in the UK? I think acts like this are the work of ignorant individuals rather than any sort of more serious incident. But I think the issue is the demonization of Israel and anti-Semitism that is becoming more mainstream in the media in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, which is far more insidious than the odd work of ignorant acts of vandalism, even though there is no excusing that."
An email circulated by a member of the The Community Security Trust also sought to allay unnecessary fears as Jews in the community and around the world prepare to celebrate Simchat Torah, concluding the festival of Sukkot.
Urging any “unnecessary chatter” about the incident, the CST informed the community that it had been made aware, together with the police.
“Incidents like this occur with some regularity,” the email read, while also acknowledging that “we have been lucky in Leeds that we haven’t seen anything like this in a while.”