Jewish university chaplains’ houses targeted in ‘frightening’ campaign

In one case a trespasser warned a Jewish chaplain: 'They’re watching you and the house’


University students study in a classroom with male lecturer

Jewish chaplains on campuses across the UK are being targeted in the wake of a huge rise in antisemitism linked to the war in Israel.

Sophie Dunoff, the chief executive of University Jewish Chaplaincy, a group that organises chaplains at campuses across the UK, told The Telegraph: “My own chaplains have been targeted – they are very obviously Jewish and their houses are very well-known by the students, and often a hub of Jewish activity.

“Unfortunately I have two chaplaincy couples whose homes have been targeted over the last couple of weeks. On one occasion the doorbell was rung and by the time they opened the door, a note had been left on their car just outside which said ‘free Palestine’, and they also caught people taking pictures of their house.

“In another region, somebody actually trespassed around the side of the house, approached the open back door, asked our female chaplain if this was a Jewish house, to which she said it was, and she was then told that ‘they’re watching you and the house’. She quickly locked the door and called the police.

University Jewish Chaplains are there to support Jewish students who are studying and provide them with a connection to Jewish life while they are away from home.

Dunoff said there were instances where Jewish students felt “too scared to leave” a library because of protesters chanting “from the river to the sea” outside.

At one university, stones were thrown at a dormitory displaying an Israeli flag in solidarity with Israel, she added.

Robert Halfon, the minister for higher education, said Jewish people in the UK were experiencing a "horrific" situation.

“It is frightening when you hear those chants, when you hear about armies going to war, when you hear cries of ‘jihad’ every week in central London," he told Times Radio.

“I get messages from the Jewish Chaplaincy Service in higher education that Jewish students are having Palestinian flags draped over their cars or doors knocked on the Jewish chaplain with people saying: ‘We know where you live.’”

Earlier this month the Union of Jewish Students and the University Jewish Chaplaincy wrote to every vice-chancellor in the UK to demand Jewish students are properly protected following the increase in campus antisemitism.

The letter, which was signed by representatives from UJS and University Jewish Chaplaincy asked for university leaders’ assistance “in ensuring the safety, wellbeing, and inclusivity of Jewish students at your institution.” 

The letter asked university officials to “stand by Jewish students by unequivocally condemning the glorification and celebration of terrorism and antisemitism which is being seen on campuses across the UK.” 

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive