Charedi Judaism

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.


Rabbi's rebel son is behind race lawsuit

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 24, 2010

The identity of the Charedi rabbi who gave his blessing to the controversial petition to the Supreme Court surprised no one.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef has long made a name for himself in challenging not only the norms of his community, but also the wishes of his father, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the most influential Sephardi rabbi of this generation and spiritual leader of the Shas political party.


Mothers to go to jail in school race case

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 24, 2010

The crisis surrounding the segregated Beit Yaakov school in Emanuel seems set to continue with a new Supreme Court ruling ordering that the mothers of some of the pupils be sent to prison.

Thirty five fathers of girls at the strictly Orthodox school were jailed last Thursday for two weeks for contempt of court, after they refused to allow their daughters in the mainly Ashkenazi "Chasidic stream" to study with girls in the mainly Sephardi "general stream".


Charedim hard hit by budget

By Marcus Dysch, June 24, 2010

The spending cuts announced in the budget contain "very bleak news" that could lead to misery for the Charedi community, the country's largest Jewish housing association has warned.

Chancellor George Osborne's announcement of a freeze on child benefits and cuts to housing benefit have been met with serious concern by the Agudas Israel Housing Association.

Families on housing benefit will receive a maximum of £400 a week for properties with more than three bedrooms as the government attempts to save £1.8 billion by the end of this parliament.


Orthodox girls suspended for emailing

June 17, 2010

GIRLS at a strictly Orthodox high school in Manchester have been disciplined for breaking a pledge not to use the internet.

Beis Yaakov High School is understood to have taken action against pupils and to have excluded a number of girls. The voluntary-aided school, previously known as Jewish High, says it regards the internet "with great fear and suspicion".

A small number of Beis Yaakov girls are understood to have been subject to fixed-term exclusions in recent weeks after the school learned they had been exchanging emails.


Council study to assess needs of Charedim

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 17, 2010

In its first major recognition of north Manchester's Charedi population, Bury Council has appointed an officer to compile a study of the expanding community.

Notices put up in Prestwich synagogues this week urge Charedi families to participate in the study. The initiative results from a meeting a fortnight ago between the council's chief executive office and representatives from the Charedi Interlink charity and a strictly Orthodox community group.


Interlink looks for male staff

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

Interlink, the umbrella organisation for the Charedi voluntary sector, wants to employ its first male staff member.

The organisation has advertised for a male development worker, to provide support, financial information and advice to its charities.

Interlink director Chaya Spitz said: "Although Interlink has male trustees, it has an all-women staff both in London and Manchester. This has led to our sometimes being perceived as a women's organisation and we believe that our services are more accessible to women."


Toby Cohen and his flying succah

By Jessica Elgot, May 27, 2010

The pictures of photographer Toby Cohen seem to capture impossible moments.

In one, three Chasidim leap off Masada. In another, a flying succah delicately hovers above an Israeli forest and yet another recreates Fiddler on the Roof.

The former paparazzo, used to taking split-second shots, has reinvented himself as a photographic artist, creating extraordinary scenes against grand Israeli landscapes.


Ex-Charedim challenge school system

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2010

A former education minister, an ex-general and a university president have joined a group of formerly Charedi men in challenging the political arrangement which allows strictly Orthodox schools to receive state funding despite not teaching secular subjects.

For the past five years, the Education Ministry has been trying to make all Israeli schools that are financed by the government teach a set of core subjects - including grammar, mathematics, basic sciences and English - as a condition of funding.


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).