Gabriel Abdullah, 34, was arrested minutes after the incident that police said “has left our Jewish communities shaken”.
Officers responded to reports of a man with a knife on Hamilton Road, Golders Green, north-west London, at around 1.27pm on Monday January 29, the force said.
Members of the public intervened before officers arrived and Abdullah was arrested within 10 minutes of the incident, it added.
The following day, Abdullah, of Hamilton Road, was charged with affray and possession of a bladed article in a public place.
He will appear at Willesden Green Magistrates Court.
Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, responsible for policing in north-west London, said: “Yesterday’s incident in Golders Green has understandably caused significant concern and left our Jewish communities shaken.
“I want to be clear, this matter is being treated as a hate crime and we are dedicating significant resources to the investigation.
“Our officers responded quickly and were on the scene within six minutes and able to arrest the suspect within 10 minutes of being called.
“I want to pay tribute to the members of the public who bravely intervened before police arrived.
“This is being investigated as a hate crime by specialist detectives from our Community Safety Unit.
“I want to offer my reassurance that officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command have carried out a full assessment of the incident and remain in contact with local officers as the investigation continues.
“While this is not a terror investigation, that in no way detracts from how seriously we are taking this incident.
“Myself and my senior team spoke with community leaders and other partners over the course of yesterday afternoon to update them on the investigation and keep them informed.
“This will continue into today and the days ahead.
“We have been carrying out additional patrols in Golders Green over recent months and these will now increase in light of this incident.”