Charedi Judaism

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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Zaka rescues Charedi Londoner's body in Jordan

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

The body of a north London Charedi man who died suddenly while on business in Jordan was buried in Israel after the Jordanian authorities were persuaded not to carry out an autopsy.

The man, whose family asked for him not to be identified, was in his early 70s from Stamford Hill and believed to be of Sephardi background.

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Orthodox life turns around teen terrors

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

It began with foul language, lip piercings and under-age drinking, but it led to studying an “ology” and spending more time with the family.

Two Hampshire teenagers who lived for a week with a strictly Orthodox family in Israel for a BBC reality show believe the experience changed their lives.

Jack Travers, 18, and Gemma Lyons, 17, filmed the episode of World’s Strictest Parents with the Sha-ked family in the gated, religious community of Nof Ayalon, near Modi’in, in May.

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Charedis raise funds for rapist

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

A strictly Orthodox community is running a fundraising campaign for a convicted child molester who avoided jail by hiding in London for two years.

Nachman Stal lived secretly among the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, north London, having fled Israel in 2006 after being found guilty of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor.

The father-of-nine lost an extradition hearing in June and is now serving his sentence in an Israeli prison.

Members of the Stamford Hill community are appealing for money to support his wife and children, who have also returned to Israel.

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Segregated public buses ruled illegal

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

A special committee has ruled that gender-segregated public buses are illegal, but at the same time will allow the strictly Orthodox community to organise segregated private transport.

The largest transport co-operative, Egged, has about 55 bus lines on which men and women are made to sit separately as a result of strictly Orthodox pressure. Petitions against this to the Supreme Court resulted in a committee appointed by the Transport Ministry.

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Lofty ideals for Orthodox

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Haringey housing bosses are appealing to residents to help refine a rulebook on loft extensions, a key issue in strictly Orthodox households.

The council is to undertake a six-week consultation on the guide, which sets out design principles for home extensions in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.

There are, on average, six children per household in South Tottenham and many families live in cramped conditions. Some loft extensions do not meet council guidelines.

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