Charedi Judaism

Orthodox Hackney volunteers honoured

By Jessica Elgot, September 21, 2010

Three strictly Orthodox Hackney charities have received awards from Hackney Council for Voluntary Service.

Children's disability charity Step-by-Step won a Adiaha Antigha Community Achievement Award for contributions to well-being. Step-by-Step runs activities for more than 100 disabled youngsters with problems ranging from cerebral palsy to Down's syndrome in Hackney, Barnet and Haringey. Its programme includes swimming, ice-skating, horse riding and Sunday clubs and summer play schemes.

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Orthodox propose cut-price wedding plan

By Robyn Rosen, September 21, 2010

The strictly Orthodox community has been advised to "reduce expenses" on simchahs to help families in financial hardship.

A letter from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations suggests "no more than drinks and pastries" and limiting guests to family, close friends and immediate neighbours.

By doing so, "the burden of expenses will surely be eased. The rabbinate considers it their most particular duty to care for the well-being of the kehilla."

The union offers a "low-budget" wedding scheme where members can invite 150 couples for around £7,000.

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Salford candidate seeks hospital benefits

September 17, 2010

A member of Manchester's strictly Orthodox community is standing for election as a governor of Salford Royal NHS Trust to help with Jewish patient issues.

Michael Bamberger, owner of Barons kosher bakery in Salford, says elderly Jewish patients often find it difficult to communicate with the hospital and there are awareness issues over religious observance.

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US support for Israel 'still strong'

By Paul Berger, September 16, 2010

A few months ago, the American Jewish community was thrown into a period of prolonged navel-gazing by journalist Peter Beinart.

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Mr Beinart claimed that right-wing American Jews had hijacked Zionism. He said their hawkish, Israel-can-do-no-wrong attitude was distancing liberal Jews, particularly the young, from Israel.

Now, Brandeis University has issued a rebuttal. Titled, Still Connected: American Jewish Attitudes about Israel, the Brandeis report takes direct aim at Mr Beinart's thesis.

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Spicing up the suburbs

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

Lots of excitement at one Orthodox synagogue in London at Rosh Hashanah where a man arrived for evening prayers to deliver a rather unseasonal greeting. Mounting the bimah, he begun to accuse a fellow worshipper of having an affair with his wife.

He was quickly ushered out by the rabbi, leaving others to dine out on the tale over the following days.

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Orthodox Jews spotlight sex abuse

By Paul Berger, September 7, 2010

Two of America's leading Orthodox organisations will co-sponsor an event to highlight child sexual abuse in the US Jewish community.

National Jewish Child Abuse Prevention Week, which launches in Chicago on October 17, is backed by the highly influential Orthodox Union and by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group.

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The Chasidic fashion label

By Paul Berger, September 2, 2010

Christina Højris Ottosen is sitting in an artist's studio in a former industrial area on Copenhagen's waterfront.

Spread across a table in front of the 27-year-old fashion designer are images of a male model in tight black trousers, billowing, knee-length frock coats and a variety of wide-brimmed hats.

The inspiration is quite obviously Chasidic. The clothes are anything but modest.

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Charedi extremism divides Israeli city

By Nathan Jeffay, September 2, 2010

"Someone is going to be killed," predicted Orthodox rabbi Natan Slifkin on his blog this spring. He went on to outline what exactly he thought would happen. "A religious Jewish teenager is going to be beaten to death by a gang of religious Jewish men for the 'crime' of being in their neighbourhood and not conforming to their idea of Orthodoxy."

The scene of the crime, he wrote, would be a few hundred yards from his home in Beit Shemesh, a heavily "Anglo" city of 80,000 people, 10 miles west of Jerusalem. Specifically, the new part of town, Ramat Beit Shemesh (Beit Shemesh Heights).

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Bnei Akiva too religious for some Israeli parents

By Nathan Jeffay, September 2, 2010

Mother-of-four Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg is apprehensive. In a few weeks it will be time for her daughter Avigail to start Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist youth movement that she, and her parents before her, attended.

Ms Shapira-Rosenberg, of Mazkeret Batya near Tel Aviv, does not want Avigail to miss out on the experience of getting involved, but is worried that since her day, religious standards have changed to a point that she considers extreme.

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Orthodox oppose education training courses

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

Training courses for strictly Orthodox nursery school teachers have come under renewed attack because of material relating to child abuse.

Opponents have circulated a letter from the Rabbinical Council of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations warning of the danger of NVQ courses.

But Hindy Lew, manager of Vista Education and Training, one of the institutions which runs NVQ courses for the Charedi community, said: "The way we teach it, there is no reason for people to be agitating against it."

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