A teenager who punched a rabbi to the ground before he was struck over the head with a brick has been jailed.

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was driving his car, with his three children aged two, four and five in the back, when two men walked from behind a parked van into the path of his car, causing him to brake.

The judge, Recorder Richard Conley, said the two men, 19-year-old Souraka Djabouri and a second man who has not been identified, then embarked on an “ugly and shameful course of conduct”, damaging Mr Goodwin’s car, attacking him and stealing his phone.

Mr Goodwin was attacked outside Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue in Limes Avenue, where he had worked for more than five years.

He was verbally abused with his Jewish faith referenced. He was also spat on.

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Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Essex Police carrying out extra patrols in the area after the attack. Photo: Essex PoliceEssex Police carrying out extra patrols in the area after the attack. Photo: Essex Police

DNA testing established it was Djabouri who spat on the windscreen, the judge said.


The judge said that one of Mr Goodwin’s children asked Mr Goodwin “why are they kicking the car”.

“Mr Goodwin told them he didn’t know, but of course he did know, it was because they were Jews,” he said.

As he then tried to drive away from the area, he came to a stop at Fencepiece Road, where he waited at the junction.

While there, his wing mirror on the passenger’s side was kicked off and the door was damaged.

When he got out to chase those responsible – taking photos to provide officers –

Djabouri began a “merciless assault", the judge said, punching Mr Goodwin five times in the face until he fell to the floor.

The two men then struck Mr Goodwin on the head with a brick and stole his phone, which had the photos on.

The phone has not been recovered.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Souraka Djabouri, 19, has been jailed. Photo: Essex PoliceSouraka Djabouri, 19, has been jailed. Photo: Essex Police

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Mr Goodwin needed medical attention and had seven stitches while also suffering swelling to his face around his right eye.

Loughton CID investigated the attack and Souraka Djabouri, then 18, of Tudor Crescent, Ilford – was arrested in connection with the incident on the following day.

He was subsequently interviewed and charged. 

His appeared for a trial on Wednesday, July 6 at Chelmsford Crown Court but before it began, Djabouri, now 19, admitted GBH, theft and religiously aggravated criminal damage. 

Today he has been sentenced to three years and seven months in a young offender institution, a type of prison.

Detective Superintendent Jon Burgess said: “Djabouri’s despicable behaviour in May last year was entirely unprovoked. He thought nothing of assaulting Rabbi Goodwin and abusing him because of his faith. 

“His actions were not only illegal, but they are abusive and insulting; this was a hate crime and it was treated as such from a very early stage. 

“I’m glad that the case the team at Loughton CID was able to build against Djabouri meant that he had very little option but to admit the offences and accept the sentence handed to him today.

“That has meant that Rabbi Goodwin has not had to sit through a trial and recount his experiences. I hope, because of that, he has been able to move forward with his life and his work, knowing that the man responsible for his assault is being suitably punished.”