Synagogue in Manchester, England Hit by Antisemitic ‘Zoombombing,’ Disrupting Virtual Prayer Service With Swastikas
A synagogue in Manchester, England suffered a cyber incident Friday evening in which antisemites interrupted a virtual prayer service with swastikas and other hateful imagery.
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen of the Manchester Reform Synagogue told the BBC, “Halfway through the service, during some prayers, they unmuted, started to shout, and put on the screen a swastika and some other awful racist images.”
“They were kicked out straightaway, but it was clear through the service that they were trying to get in,” she said.
“We were all really shaken and upset about it,” Ashworth-Steen added.
She said, however, that the synagogue has received an outpouring of support since the incident, calling it “overwhelming.”
“We’ve had gorgeous messages in,” she said.
The Greater Manchester Police are investigating the incident.
The infiltration and disruption of online Jewish services has become frequent during the last two years, as the coronavirus pandemic forced many services online.
An Anti-Defamation League guide published last year on preventing this so-called phenomenon of “Zoombombing” included several pieces of practical advice for foiling offenders. Among the suggestions: don’t enable a “waiting room,” do mute all participants, and do disable remote control.