Charedi Judaism

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.


Charedi rape claim is denied

By Dana Gloger, October 10, 2008

A Charedi man has pleaded not guilty to raping a 12-year-old boy in a synagogue lavatory.

Moshe Reichman, 24, from Golders Green, North-West London, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday and will face trial in January 2009, accused of four offences.


Cheap Charedi store helps stretched families

By Charlotte Fisher and Sheli Levenson, September 19, 2008

More than 200 families in Stamford Hill have benefited from a new money-saving venture perfectly timed for the economic downturn: a mini-market providing basic amenities at wholesale prices.

The store, Low Cost Living, is directed only at customers in kollel (full-time Torah study) and those with large families. In order to keep overheads low, it has no phone, does not deliver and is run entirely by volunteers. And as they are from the kollel, opening hours are restricted to evenings and Sundays.


Orthodox cemetery bans Reform rabbis

By Simon Rocker, August 22, 2008

Glasgow's Orthodox-run burial society has ended a long-standing arrangement which permitted local Reform rabbis to conduct funerals at its cemetery for members of their synagogue.

Barry Cooper, chair of the Hebrew Burial Society, remained tight-lipped over the reason for the change of

He would say only: "We are an Orthodox burial society which is bound by the halachic regulations as relating to all aspects of Jewish burial and Jewish services.


Ofsted critical of Charedi teachers’ secular lessons

By Simon Rocker, August 22, 2008

More than a third of the strictly Orthodox independent schools which have been inspected this year have been criticised for the quality of their secular education.

In five out of 14 independent Charedi schools so far examined in 2008, Ofsted inspectors have said the secular curriculum lacks breadth or is inadequate.

Although independent schools - unlike state schools - do not have to teach the national curriculum, a change in the law five years ago has brought them under closer government scrutiny.


Orthodox community steps up its anti-drugs campaign

By Simon Rocker, August 15, 2008

A strictly Orthodox charity is planning to step up its campaign over the next few weeks to educate its constituency about the risk of drugs.

Talking Matters, a Stamford Hill-based welfare agency specialising in mental-health issues, last autumn published a ground-breaking 128-page guide in Yiddish, Hebrew and English on understanding addictions, ranging from gambling, sugar and "shopaholism" to alcohol and drugs.