Charedi Judaism

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


'Smuggler' not guilty

By Jonny Paul, January 22, 2009

A Charedi man was found not guilty of cocaine smuggling by a jury at Wood Green Crown Court last week.

Nachum Twersky had pleaded not guilty after two packages containing almost 2kg of cocaine, with a street value of £60,000, were tracked by police to his home in March last year.


Charedi housing scheme launched

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

The dire housing problems of Britain’s Charedi community could be solved by an innovative scheme that is being studied closely by both national and local government.

A small steering committee in Stamford Hill, north London, which includes members of the Agudas Israel Housing Association, has been working on the creation of a community land trust (CLT).


Swan pub in limbo as doors close

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

A pub which is due to be converted into a synagogue by a strictly Orthodox community will close next month, although its long-term future remains uncertain.

Representatives of Stamford Hill’s Bobov community have been in discussions to buy The Swan for around £1 million since the summer.

But they have faced obstacles from pub regulars who set up a Save the Swan campaign and arguments with a rival Bobov faction.

The discovery of a restrictive covenant, which prohibits the future use of the building as a pub, has also threatened the deal.


Minister’s marriage visa pledge

By Leon Symons, December 18, 2008

A potential solution has emerged to the marriage visa crisis which has caused widespread consternation among Charedis.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas told a delegation from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations that he would explore the possibility of pre-certification.

This would mean that under-21s from outside the European Union who wish to marry in the UK would be examined by an embassy or consulate in their country of origin in order to certify that there was no suggestion of coercion.