Hundreds of people from the Jewish community and beyond met on Wednesday evening (June 23) in a powerful show of solidarity following two arson attacks on Jewish targets last week.

The hastily-gathered ceremony outside the headquarters of the national educational movement Aish UK in Hendon saw Jews of all denominations make a stand together against anti-Semitism, after a fire caused £250,000 worth of damage at Aish.

Rabbi Naftali Schiff, chief executive director of Aish UK, said: "It was very powerful. The feeling of unity and solidarity with Jews of all types coming together to stand just where this crime was committed was strong. It was reflective but determined."

Aish UK, based off Hendon Way, was gutted by fire on Friday, June 17, and its books of the Jewish Law (the Torah) and holy scriptures were also vandalised, the day after a synagogue in South Tottenham was set alight.

In his address at the ceremony, Rabbi Schiff said: "I got up from the floor, the Torah scrolls still in my hands. A feeling of strength, of determination, of pride, or resolution surged through me. Perhaps what these evil people did not know about us is that the Jewish response to adversity is to grow from it; to emerge stronger as a result; to stand taller and prouder than ever."

Attended by the Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks and Lord Janner of Braunstone, who both spoke, the ceremony was organised within less than a day but still saw a large turnout.

Dr Sacks said: "The two attacks, on the South Tottenham synagogue, and then on the Aish Hatorah headquarters in Hendon, represent terrible assaults on what we hold and what others know we hold most holy. The first caused the destruction of irreplaceable holy books, including some saved from the Holocaust. The second involved deliberate desecration of Torah scrolls.

In both cases, the intention was to cause massive damage to places of worship. The historical resonances of these acts are too terrible to contemplate. Our hearts and prayers go out to both groups affected."

Mayor of Barnet Councillor Wendy Prentice also attended the ceremeony and Rabbi Schiff said the event did not just attract support from within the Jewish community.

"Because we only had less than 12 hours to organise it, mainly Jewish people turned up," he said. "But we had the support of our neighbours and shopkeepers and the proprietor of a pub The Hendon, in Hendon Way offered for us to go inside when it rained."

The police are treating the arson attacks as suspicious and overtly anti-Semitic. Any witnesses should contact the police on 020 8200 1212.