Charedi Judaism

Orthodox synagogue membership stable

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

The decline in synagogue membership in the UK has slowed down significantly over the past five years, according to a new survey.

The number of Jewish households which belong to a synagogue fell by just 0.3 per cent since 2005 - compared to an overall drop of 16.8 per cent over the two decades from 1990 to 2010.

But the slowdown is mainly due to the growth of the strictly Orthodox communities, say the authors of the report, jointly published by the Board of Deputies and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR).

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Analysis: Left's new tactic: attack Charedim

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 6, 2010

New data on the low share of the Charedi community in the Israeli workforce has re-ignited the rift in secular-ultra-Orthodox relations. And while elections are not expected to take place for at least three years, it is already clear that a number of parties will be eager to campaign on this issue.

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Teenage girl suspected of synagogue arson

By Jessica Elgot, May 4, 2010

A teenage girl has been arrested for a suspected arson attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, which she claims was revenge for harassment by her Charedi neighbours.

The girl, who has not been named, is suspected of setting fire near the Ark at the Heichal Shlomo synagogue on Pnim Meirot Street, during Lag B’Omer.

She will be held in custody for police questioning until this evening.

Police said that the girl is believed to have carried a lighter into the synagogue and set fire to the cantor’s platform and the screen in front of the Ark.

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Tottenham: Election 2010

April 29, 2010

It will be something of a political earthquake if Labour's David Lammy is unseated in Tottenham.

He holds a majority of 13,034 and his nearest rivals are the Liberal Democrats, who at the last election pushed the Tories into third.

Despite the slim chance of an upset, both Labour and the Tories are going out of their way to court the Charedi community in south Tottenham.

Mr Lammy has been pictured in the Orthodox paper Hamodia enjoying Chanukah and the local paper has carried pictures of him on a walkabout with Charedi leaders.

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Charedi councillor to stand as independent after Tory deselection

By Bernard Josephs, April 29, 2010

A Charedi councillor in Hackney is standing as an independent in the local elections after being deselected by the Conservatives.

Shimon Tesler, a Tory representative on the Labour-controlled council since 2002, hopes for re-election in the solidly Conservative Lordship ward.

In a letter to voters, he lashed out at local Tory leaders, claiming he was dropped for spending "a disproportionate" amount of time representing Charedi interests.

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Council to help 'overcrowded' Orthodox families

By Robyn Rosen, April 1, 2010

Haringey Council has approved guidelines for home extensions in an effort to address the problem of overcrowding in strictly Orthodox households in south Tottenham.

On average, there are six children per household in south Tottenham and many families live in cramped conditions. Last year, a businessman was ordered to pay £2,500 costs and given an 18-month conditional discharge after a six-year battle with the council over alterations to his home.

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Hacking off Hackney voters

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 1, 2010

Three weeks ago on this page, I addressed a serious communal problem, namely the tendency of our Charedi brethren to put their own interests above everything else. Citing several recent new stories, I referred to the seeming inability or unwillingness of Charedim "to consider their needs in the context of the needs of the wider society of which they are part."

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Charedi plan to buy Skinners' School

By Leon Symons, March 18, 2010

Hackney's Charedi community is to renew its efforts to buy the old Skinners' School after councillors rejected a home-building plan for the site.

The planning sub-committee voted 5-4 against Berkeley Homes' proposal to knock down the school and build luxury homes. The decision was greeted with delight by local Charedim who packed the public gallery.

Members of the Belz, Satmar and Lubavitch communities maintain that the site should remain in educational use.

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Charedim attempt to block conversion law

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 11, 2010

A new law on conversion to Judaism could lead to a full-blown coalition crisis in Israel.

The law, presented by Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu, would allow each city's chief rabbi to perform conversions. The Charedi parties are threatening to leave Binyamin Netanyahu's government if the law is passed.

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Getting Charedim to work

By Nathan Jeffay, March 11, 2010

The large buildings and symmetrical streets in Modiin Illit are a world away from the crowded flats found in other Charedi neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. And according to new figures, the environment is directly contributing to a growing enthusiasm for work.

Israel's fast-growing Charedi community is traditionally characterised by low employment, high poverty and dependence on charity and benefits. How to change this has become a perennial question of Israeli politics.

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