A rabbi says he no longer feels safe wearing his skull cap in public.

Roni Tabick, Rabbi of Hackney Synagogue, is one of three people in the borough's Jewish community who have spoken about their unease at wearing clothes or symbols that indicate their faith in public.

This comes in the wake of a 1,350 per cent increase in antisemitic hate crime across London since the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Gaza commencing on October 7.

Rabbi Tabick said: “the primary change in my life is that I’ve stopped wearing my kippah in public. “I decided this week, I’m just going to wear a hat outside all the time.”

He attributes this decision partly to an antisemitic hate-crime he witnessed following the events of October 7, when a man shouted “baby killer” at a Jewish family on a street in Hackney.

“I don’t feel like I want to advertise the fact of my Jewishness right now […] and I feel very sad about that”, he said.

Times Series: Last Sunday's antisemitism march in LondonLast Sunday's antisemitism march in London (Image: Rachel Coussins)

Rabbi Tabick also speaks about feelings of danger over his children attending a Jewish School in Hackney. For many parents, allowing your child to walk to school by themselves is a milestone. But the rabbi says he has now reverted to doing the journey with his children.

“The point of entry into the school feels very vulnerable. That’s the moment when you’re sort of declaring ‘we’re Jewish’,” he says, adding, “I’m trying to be a bit more relaxed about that. I don’t want my children to feel scared."

Rosa Slater, research and support officer at City Hall, says she has stopped wearing her Star of David, a symbol of Jewish identity, since the outbreak of conflict.

Times Series: Rosa Slater has stopped wearing her Star of DavidRosa Slater has stopped wearing her Star of David (Image: Rosa Slater)

“It feels kind of weird because I’ve lived in London my whole life and I’ve never not worn it”, she said.

Ms Slater says that her primary reason for the change comes from her family’s fear over her safety. She also notes her own feelings of guilt around being able to remove the Jewish identifier, acknowledging, “In Hackney [there are] a lot of Hasidic Jews, and they can’t hide the fact that they’re Jewish”.

Both Slater and Rabbi Tabick explain that hiding one’s Judaism is not a viable solution to the rise in antisemitism across London.

“It’s really disappointing that people will see that as a solution. Because having freedom to express yourself is so important. It’s a basic human right.” Slater says.

Tabick adds: “I think it’s a sad state of affairs when people feel like they have to hide their identity in order to be safe. In the same way it’s sad that a gay couple feels like they can’t hold hands walking down the street. That’s sad."

Another resident, speaking anonymously, said: “living in Hackney, I have always really loved the multiculturalism.

“I still am so glad for its existence, but it also makes me fearful that the melting pot has become a melting pot of everyone except the Jewish voice and community."

She echoed a common sentiment felt by the Jewish community of being ‘left out’ of people’s activism, often due to one of the common antisemitic tropes that Jewish people are powerful, or part of an ‘elite’, and therefore do not deserve room in minority spaces.

Speaking of her own battle with her Star of David, she said: “In the first few weeks I hid [it], those were also the weeks that I was too scared to go on the tube.”

Despite so many feeling unsafe to express their Judaism in London, the anonymous resident also spoke about her sense of the importance of being proud of one’s religion and ethnicity.

She explained that recently she has been even more inspired to be loud about her Judaism.

“I reached a point when I stopped being as fearful and sad. I decided to put on my much larger and obvious Star of David, and to try and be emboldened by it rather than fearful of it”, she says.

Rabbi Tabick added: “There’s been a trend in the last 20 to 30 years towards more pride in being Jewish and being out in public about it. I think it’d be a real shame if this moment becomes a step back."