Aberystwyth candle ban blow to strictly Orthodox holidaymakers

The seafront at Aberystwyth (Photo: Eos12)

The seafront at Aberystwyth (Photo: Eos12)

A university's ban on the use of candles in its student village is to continue - angering Jewish holidaymakers who had regularly stayed on the campus.

Bosses at Aberystwyth University in Wales had rented student accommodation to strictly Orthodox families every August for 20 years.

But last summer they banned the use of naked flames following a series of fires. That left Jewish visitors - who wanted to light Shabbat candles - with little choice but to find alternative holiday resorts.

The university has now revealed that despite talks to resolve the ban on naked flames no agreement has been reached.

A spokesman told the BBC that health and safety issues remained, and that the student village would be undergoing essential building works this summer, closing 75 per cent of the site.

That brought an angry reaction from Jewish community members, including Myer Rothfeld, who told the BBC: "We are outraged because lighting candles every Friday night for about two hours is part of our religion.

"The university has picked up on a very minor incident when a counter was singed by a candle two years ago.

"We have tried to reach a compromise with the university by suggesting we use candle boxes but they have rejected that idea.

"Fire officers have told us that nobody in their right minds would make an issue of lighting a naked flame under supervision."

Jewish holidaymakers had previously flocked to the resort from Manchester, London and New York.

Last updated: 1:27pm, May 16 2014