Charedi Judaism

Recession splits the Clubhouse

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A pioneering Orthodox organisation that helps young people and families in trouble is to be broken up into separate charities as a consequence of the economic climate.

Harris Rosenberg, until recently head of grants and commissioning at the Northwest Clubhouse in London, said that rather continuing as an umbrella body, “a better way to protect our services to those in need of support in our community was to split it”.

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Child abuse crackdown

By Keren David, April 2, 2009

The Brooklyn District Attorney is joining with Jewish charities to crack down on child abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community.

DA Charles Hynes has set up Project Kol Tzedek — “Voice of Justice” — to encourage young victims of abuse to come forward.

“Because of the insular nature of Orthodox Jewish communities, many victims are reluctant to report crimes to secular authorities. This programme will go a long way to address those impediments,” said Mr Hynes.

A victims hotline will be set up, manned by social workers.

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Rabbi convicted of molesting daughter

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

A strictly Orthodox rabbi is due to be sentenced on Friday after being convicted of molesting his daughter. Some of the attacks took place in the UK.

Brooklyn Federal Court heard that Rabbi Israel Weingarten, a member of the Satmar sect, had started abusing his daughter when she was nine years old and had moved his family from America to Israel, Belgium and Britain in order to avoid detection.

Weingarten was convicted of five counts of travelling outside the country to have sex with a minor and could face at least 20 years in prison.

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Rabbis to block Bodyworlds show

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 26, 2009

The controversial Bodyworlds exhibition featuring plastinated corpses has been denounced as “an insult to human dignity” by Orthodox groups trying to ban it from being shown at a museum in Haifa.

The exhibition is due to open at Haifa’s National Science Museum over Pesach. This will be its first showing in Israel since it started touring the world in 1995.

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger and leading local rabbonim have issued rulings banning followers from visiting it.

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Dayan attacks plan to twin shuls with mosques

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

A Board of Deputies plan for synagogues to twin with mosques in order to improve Muslim-Jewish relations has been attacked by a senior Orthodox rabbi as contrary to Jewish law.

Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation of Beth Din, wrote to communities under its aegis last Friday to say they should not take part “on religious grounds”.

The initiative was among a number discussed by Jewish interfaith organisations at a special meeting at the Board last week to discuss Jewish-Muslim relations.

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Rabbis warn against 'unsuitable' teacher training on child abuse

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

Strictly Orthodox rabbis have warned schools to beware of unsuitable teacher training material on child abuse.

A letter from the rabbinical council of the London-based Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, alerted Charedi school and kindergarten heads to new government regulations said to be “a difficult and bitter decree against Torah education”.

It also warned of a “danger” posed to teachers by NVQ training material and said teachers should avoid visiting “institutions which are not Charedi” without rabbinical permission.

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Airline left me with just shirt on my back

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 26, 2009

A young Orthodox man was left without his clothes for four days and only a T-shirt and jeans to wear for Shabbat after the airline Thomsonfly told him last Friday that their flight from Tel Aviv had run out of luggage space.

Yisroel Rothstein, 17, of north Manchester, tried to explain that the rest of his clothes were in storage while his family moved home.

“I wasn’t asking for a brand new suit but at least, if they don’t give me my luggage, they should offer a limited amount to spend on some clothes,” he said after his suitcase was delivered, ripped, on Monday afternoon.

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Key Charedi charity introduces charges

By Leon Symons, February 5, 2009

The umbrella organisation for the Charedi voluntary sector has introduced charges for its services.

Previously, organisations using the Interlink Foundation have paid an annual membership fee, depending on their income, ranging from £25 to £95. All Interlink services were then free.

Now the foundation, with offices in Stamford Hill and Manchester, has introduced charges of between £40 and £60 an hour in a move intended to secure its future.

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Edgware Orthodox school stays open despite financial crisis

By Leon Symons, January 29, 2009

A North London Orthodox boys’ grammar school is staying open despite the company that runs it having gone into voluntary liquidation.

Menorah Grammar School Limited has debts of £322,000 and only £1,200 in the bank, according to a report of a creditors’ meeting on January 16. A new set of governors has to be appointed and their first job will be to raise finance to pay staff salaries and reduce the debt, according to a former senior figure at the school.

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Fraud-charge Chasid faces extradition

By Marcus Dysch, January 22, 2009

A court has recommended the extradition of a member of the US-based strictly Orthodox Skverer community who fled to Britain to avoid multi-million dollar fraud charges.

On Tuesday, City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court cleared the way for Avrum David Friesel, 56, to stand trial in the US.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith (who is due to be guest speaker at the Community Security Trust’s annual dinner in March) must now decide whether to rubber-stamp his extradition.

But Mr Friesel’s barrister, Jonathan Goldberg QC, said it could take up to a year to arrive at a final decision.

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