Charedim in the mix

Up and coming lay leaders in Manchester say that bridging the divide between mainstream and Charedi Jews in the city will dominate major future communal decisions.

Participants in UJIA’s lay leadership programme addressed the local Jewish representative council on Sunday. Among them was Charedi Dovid Bitan, a 33-year-old father-of-four who runs an architecture practice.

As part of the project, Mr Bitan has been working with Manchester’s largest welfare charity, The Fed, to help tailor services to the strictly Orthodox.

“We have to open our doors to every member of the community regardless of their religious observance,” he said. “Organisations need to be culturally sensitive to each Jew and provide a framework for services to be used by all.”

Fellow participant Rebecca Lewis — a mother-of-three who sits on Hale Synagogue’s executive and works with North Cheshire Jewish Primary — questioned if Jewish schools were providing enough Jewish identity. “We are creating lot of Jewish kids with Jewish friends but not necessarily much more beyond that,” she observed.

Last updated: 9:45am, September 16 2013