Charedi Judaism

Orthodox marriages are 'happier', US survey shows

By Paul Berger, January 21, 2010

Orthodox marriages are happier than the average American marriage, according to a new survey.

The Aleinu Marriage Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the Orthodox Union, found that 72 per cent of Orthodox Jewish men and 74 per cent of Orthodox Jewish women rated their marriage as excellent or very good.

A 2008 General Social Survey found that only 63 per cent of American men and 60 per cent of women are very happy with their marriage.

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Hackney council threat to demolish four-storey Charedi home

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

A Charedi family is waiting to discover whether their home will be demolished following a long-running dispute with a council.

Jacob Dreyfuss, president of Stamford Hill’s Stolin-Karlin synagogue, has appealed to overturn an enforcement notice imposed after he rebuilt his home without planning permission.

If he loses, Hackney Council will be legally allowed to have the house knocked down and rebuilt to its original dimensions.

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Orthodox confront Neturei Karta sect

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 21, 2010

Police were called to a two-hour stand-off between Neturei Karta followers and a counter-demonstration of Orthodox Jews outside a Manchester hotel on Tuesday night.

Around 30 men from the anti-Zionist fringe Chasidic sect held placards decrying Israel and aliyah outside the Fairways Lodge hotel in Prestwich.

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Orthodox blasphemous YouTube outburst shocks community

By Dan Goldberg, January 14, 2010

Melbourne’s tightly-knit Orthodox community is reeling following the public ostracism of a group of dissident Lubavitchers accused of “a massive and reckless” act of blasphemy.

A video posted last week on YouTube shows the group celebrating a seudah, or religious feast, on the Fast of Tevet on December 27, when Orthodox Jews are supposed to mourn the day the First Temple was besieged.

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Rabbi’s Skype exorcism

December 30, 2009

A renowned Israeli master of kabbalah, Rabbi Dovid Batzri, has attempted to remove a dybbuk, or disembodied spirit, from a Brazilian man via the internet.

A video posted on Charedi website ladaat.net, shows Rabbi Batzri, surrounded by dozens of supporters, reciting kabbalistic verses and praying for the exorcism of the dybbuk. He connected with the possessed man via Skype.

According to another Charedi site, kikar.net, the story began when a Brazilian yeshivah student started shouting in shul that he could “smell many sins” and that “the end is very near”.

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Charedi poverty, New York-style

By Paul Berger in New York, December 30, 2009

The shop windows that line Lee Avenue in the Charedi neighbourhood of Williamsburg advertise every aspect of Orthodox life — long black coats, ornate silver menorahs, challahs, prayer books, Jewish-themed toys.

So the gleaming white storefront at number 65 is striking for the fact that it advertises nothing; just a neat row of white blinds.

Behind the blinds is Williamsburg’s first kosher soup kitchen, the Orenstein-Met Council Masbia Kitchen, which opened last month.

“It’s quoted in halachah that the best way to do charity is to go all out,” said Alexander Rapaport.

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Sex tapes rock the Orthodox

By Paul Berger, December 23, 2009

Recordings of sexually explicit conversations, apparently between a strictly Orthodox rabbi and a woman he was helping convert to Judaism, are rocking the entire Orthodox world.

New York Rabbi Leib Tropper resigned earlier this month from the organisation he founded, Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), after posters appeared in Orthodox neighbourhoods of Jerusalem insinuating that he had committed sexual indiscretions.

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Charedi sites close following ban

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

Two Charedi news websites closed down this week and a wave of resignations has hit other sites following the strictest rabbinical ruling against the internet to date.

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Israeli firms 'refusing to hire Charedim or Arabs'

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Ethiopian Jews, Charedim and Israeli Arabs are being systematically discriminated against in the workplace, even if they hold degrees, according to an influential new report.

In the first study of its kind, academics from Kiryat Ono Academic College near Tel Aviv surveyed employers about how graduates from these communities, widely considered Israel’s most disadvantaged, can expect to be received when they try to enter the job market.

The respondents included advertising executives, lawyers, bankers and other professionals who employ graduates.

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Lubavitch reopens debate on messianic beliefs

By Paul Berger, December 3, 2009

A Lubavitch website has reopened a debate over the exclusion of some Chabad rabbis from an Orthodox rabbinical organisation.

The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), which is the main association of Orthodox rabbis in the US, inserted a clause in its membership application some years ago that barred rabbis “with messianic beliefs” from joining the group.

The clause refers to the belief among some in the Chabad movement that the last Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994, may one day return as the messiah.

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