Charedi Judaism

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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Free Charedi swim sessions are axed

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 22, 2010

Free swimming sessions for Salford's Charedi community are set to be scrapped as a result of government spending cuts.

Just a month ago, Charedi groups were celebrating a successful campaign for same sex sessions through Broughton's council-run Fit City centre. It was part of a nationally funded scheme offering free swimming for under-17s and over-60s.

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Curious case of demonstrators who wanted invisibility

By Lucy Morris, July 15, 2010

It was a demonstration with a curious ambition: to be invisible.

On Tuesday, nearly 500 anti-Zionist strictly Orthodox Jews staged a mass protest outside the Israeli Embassy, complete with loudspeakers and a sea of banners. The "True Torah Jews" had sent two long press releases and phoned the JC to alert us of their intention to demonstrate against plans to build on an ancient burial ground in Israel.

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Girl makes history at batmitzvah

By Jane Liddell-King, July 8, 2010

Beth Djanogly, 12, broke new ground when she chanted the haftarah for her batmitzvah in Cambridge last Shabbat - she is believed to be the first to have done so in an Orthodox synagogue under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

While her father chanted the portion from the prophets in the main prayer-hall of the Cambridge Traditional Synagogue, Beth did the same to a women-only audience in another room.

As she completed the blessings to murmurs of appreciation, one woman was heard to whisper: "That was so amazing, it just shows what can be done."

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Charedi fears over visa English lessons

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

A tightening of the marriage visa law requiring potential immigrants who want to marry here to learn English before they come to Britain has sent a shockwave through the Charedi community.

The new law, to be introduced in September, will mean that applicants will be asked to produce proof of their English studies when they apply for their visa.

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Analysis: Secular and religious Jews are not at war

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 24, 2010

The 100,000-strong demonstration last Thursday supporting the fathers about to go to jail has been billed as the ultimate showdown between the secular state and the strictly Orthodox community.

Feelings have been inflamed for a while. The media and politicians have been ramping up the debate over the role of the Charedi sector for several months, following a number of reports on the community's growing share of the younger population and its lack of contribution to the national economy.

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Comment: Media treats Charedim the way the world treats Israel

By Jonathan Rosenblum, June 24, 2010

From the beginning, the dispute over the two-track system - one Chasidic and one general - in the Beit Yaakov school in Emanuel, an impoverished West Bank settlement, has been falsely portrayed as a case of ethnic discrimination against Sephardim, or Jews of Middle Eastern descent.

It would not be surprising if there were few Sephardi girls in the Chasidic track - there were few Sephardim in the areas of Eastern Europe from where Chasidim hail. In fact, more than a quarter of the girls in the Chasidic track are of Sephardi origin.

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