Charity ruling spells relief for strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

A small Christian congregation has won a two-year battle to gain charitable status in a case which could have had a knock-on effect on strictly Orthodox Jewish groups.

The Charity Commission has finally agreed to register the Preston Down Trust in Devon, which belongs to the Plymouth Brethren sect, after rejecting its application in 2012.


Orthodox outreach groups join in 'positive' message

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2014

Leading Orthodox outreach groups this week pledged to work more closely in order to promote “positive authentic Judaism” across the community.

Around 150 rabbis and rebbetzins gathered in Watford on Sunday and Monday for the inaugural Aleinu conference organised jointly by Aish, the Jewish Learning Exchange and Project Seed.


Appeal against Jewish ambluance service Hatzolah

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 10, 2014

V The Court of Appeal is to decide whether Hatzolah, the Jewish ambulance service, will be banned from using blue lights and sirens in a test case affecting ambulances nationwide.

The Crown Prosecution Service is appealing against the decision by a Greater Manchester district judge in October to throw out prosecutions against two Hatzolah drivers.


Outreach groups press for Orthodox unity

By Simon Rocker, January 2, 2014

Around 100 Orthodox rabbis from across the country are expected to gather at a conference at the weekend convened at short notice by leading outreach organisations.


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis deals blow to women over partnership services

By Marcus Dysch, December 19, 2013


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has warned rabbis that partnership minyan services - where women can lead prayers - should not be permitted in Orthodox synagogues.

In a message sent to leading rabbis and rebbetzins on Wednesday evening, Rabbi Mirvis said the services were "not something that can take place within our synagogues".


The holy hippy who got Arabs and Jews dancing

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, December 11, 2013

One of the most intriguing rabbinic characters of modern times was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach; the charismatic outreach pioneer, storyteller, musician and hippy. His colourful career is the subject of a new biography by Natan Ophir.


Daddy, can mummy light the candles too?

By Rabbi Natan Levy, November 24, 2013

Chanucah can celebrate insomnia. Last year, I returned home late from Trafalgar Square, to awaken a somniferous wife, who asked sleepily: “Why can’t I light for both of us?” Why can’t she? Gentle reader, let me tell you that story.


Department for Education Inspectors target yeshivot

By Simon Rocker, November 21, 2013

Inspectors have been sent by the Department for Education into Hackney, north-east London as part of a drive to register strictly Orthodox yeshivot.

According to the law, children aged 16 and under must be taught in institutions officially recognised by the state.


Halpern escapes charges on sex assault allegations

By Simon Rocker, November 21, 2013

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has yet to say whether it is to reconvene a special rabbinic court to investigate the conduct of Rabbi Chaim Halpern following a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to charge him over allegations of sexual assualt.


It’s the birth of a boom for the strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2013

The latest set of vital statistics for British Jewry is again “a tale of two communities” — the strictly Orthodox gaining in strength while the rest of the population declines.

For a couple of decades or more, there were far more recorded deaths than births. But over the past two years, there have been 1,000 more annual births than deaths, largely due to the rise of the Charedim.