Charedi Judaism

Religious and secular start to view Holocaust through same lens

By Nathan Jeffay, January 27, 2011

Israel's Charedi community is embarking on a massive project to document the Holocaust-era experiences of its members.

Ginzach Kidush Hashem, Israel's largest Orthodox Holocaust commemoration organisation, is urging the Charedi public to provide it with contact details for survivors so that its staff and volunteers can get in touch and document their stories.

This campaign, which mimics
survivor testimony projects run
by Yad Vashem since its inception,
underscores how much the Charedi community's attitudes towards Holocaust commemoration have changed in the past 15 years.

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The rabbi who wants to be a freedom fighter

By Mordechai Beck, January 6, 2011

It is highly unusual, to say the least, for a rabbi in today's Israel to be a hero, not just among the religious crowd, but also among a secular population increasingly alienated from, if not indeed antagonistic towards, the rabbinical establishment and all it represents. Rabbi Haim Amsellem is such a man. For many Israelis, he is a whistle- (or maybe shofar-) blower, warning of the extremism that is fast becoming the norm of Israel's religious life.

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Charedim applaud visa rule change

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has welcomed a court ruling which may force the government to ease restrictions on marriage visas.

Two years ago, new rules were introduced to refuse entry for spouses from outside the European Union if they or their British spouse were under 21.

But the change hit the Charedi community, where people marry young and often choose partners from Israel or the USA.

The Court of Appeal has now called into question the whole policy - which was designed to combat forced marriages - after upholding appeals on behalf of two non-Jewish couples.

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Warning over Charedi poverty

By Robyn Rosen, December 9, 2010

The umbrella organisation for strictly Orthodox charities has warned that the Charedi community is on the brink of "massive, frightening changes" and that poverty will grow to levels "beyond living memory".

Interlink reported a £41,000 surplus for the financial year at its annual meeting, following two years of deficit. It raised £2.39 million for the community and helped 19 organisations to secure public sector contracts last year, 11 more than envisioned.

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Knock it down? You must be joking

By Marcus Dysch, November 26, 2010

A Charedi father must pay more than £12,000 after refusing to demolish an illegal extension at his family home.

Ben Feiner, of Kings Close, Hendon, admitted a charge of breaching an enforcement notice at Brent Magistrates' Court earlier this month.

The notice, issued by Barnet Council during a six-year dispute, required Mr Feiner to remove the first floor structure which was built without planning permission.

But Mr Feiner said he felt he had "done the right thing" by refusing to pull the extension down and then rebuild it to the same dimensions once permission had been granted.

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Hackney families 'forced out' by extension restrictions

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2010

The Mayor of Hackney has been accused of "social cleansing" by preventing large Charedi families from extending their houses.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors are speaking out against Jules Pipe following new restrictions on extensions published earlier this year which, they claim, does not accommodate large families.

They say families are being forced to move to neighbouring borough Haringey, where in April the council approved guidelines for home extensions in an effort to address the problem of over-crowding in strictly Orthodox households in south Tottenham.

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Charedi charity bags award

By Robyn Rosen, November 11, 2010

A Charedi disabilities charity in Stamford Hill has won an award for its volunteering work.

Bikur Cholim D'Satmar has been awarded the Investing in Volunteers Quality Mark after a report found it "has a very dedicated group of volunteers who feel a sense of commitment to its activities".

The charity was founded in 1979 and provides support, facilities and services that range from hospital visits and respite breaks to transportation and delivering meals. There are 70 female volunteers.

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Revolution in the Israeli army

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 28, 2010

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi is widely credited with putting Israel's military back on an operational footing after the Second Lebanon War. But when he ends his military career in five months' time, he may be remembered for an altogether more profound change in Israeli society.

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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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