Boris on song at housing launch
The Mayor with the Yesodey Hatorah choir
London Mayor Boris Johnson praised the "energy and dynamism" of the Stamford Hill community at the opening of a £12 million housing project for strictly Orthodox residents on Monday.
Mr Johnson attended the launch of the Stoke Newington Avigdor Mews project by Agudas Israel Housing Association in 2008, and returned to officially open the 29 flats on completion.
"We have to make sure homes are big enough and suitable for our families - none of us are getting any smaller," he joked.
The block has kosher kitchens, staggered balconies to accommodate succahs, communal gardens and a playground.
AIHA chief executive Ita Symons said: "One of the ways we can learn from the dark history of the Holocaust is to uphold the standards and ethics we believe in and make sure our children become upright citizens. That is why we need beautiful, affordable homes for our families. We believe in families. Our families are our lives."
One resident, Rabbi Abraham Citron, remarked: "I love that my children can play with children here from Switzerland, France, Israel and the US, and we are Chasidic, Ashkenazi and Sephardic families. Before, the conditions we were living in were terrible. We were living on the fourth floor, with no elevator, while my wife was pregnant with twins."
Rabbi Citron has one of the seven shared ownership flats. "We could never have afforded to get on the housing ladder staying in this Jewish area. It is a great kindness."
The opening ceremony also included a performance by boys from the Yesodey Hatorah school choir.