Tottenham Jews: life goes on after riots

By Jessica Elgot, August 8, 2011
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Tottenham's Chasidic residents turned out to watch the weekend's riots on their way home from synagogue, but retreated after warnings from rabbis.

A warning was sent out to the Stamford Hill community via strictly Orthodox security service Shomrim, from Rabbi Efraim Padwa.

He said: "We have been advised by the local police to warn all members of the community not to be present in any shape or form in the areas surrounding the current riots, as being seen in the vicinity can have a negative effect. May a blessing reach to all those honouring this request."

Witnesses said that no -one from the Jewish community was involved in rioting but around 25 mostly young men turned out at the south end of the High Road to watch the chaos after midnight. Groups were also seen watch ing looting on Tottenham's Broad Lane.

A YouTube video showed some young, strictly Orthodox men handing out challah to passing residents from a cardboard box.

Rabbi Chanoch Kesselman of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said as far as he knew, no Jewish businesses or synagogues had been reported damaged.

He said: "People were staying away, by and large. A few youngsters went to see what was going on, some live not far away and some have businesses in the area. There's been no injuries and most of the youngsters watching were told by the rabbonim to stay away, and then they did.

"There's been reports in Israel and the US that we're cowering in our homes, afraid to go out. But life is carrying on as normal, everyone is still going out, going to shul in Stamford Hill and Tottenham."

Last updated: 9:33am, August 9 2011