New Chasidic community in Canvey Island to be subject of BBC film

Documentary will look at move by group of strictly Orthodox from Stamford Hill to the Essex coast


The BBC has commissioned a documentary called the Jews of Canvey Island, promising “unique access to the Chasidic community”.

According to the corporation, the film, which is to be broadcast next month, “follows the North London Chasidic Jewish community as they relocate from urban Hackney to the greener pastures of Canvey Island in Essex in search of more affordable housing. It will be screened later this year.

“This film follows the reactions of the island’s Anglican and agnostic residents as they get to grips with their new neighbours.

“It has the potential to be a culture clash, but leaders on both sides of the sea wall are determined that good neighbourly relations will prevail”.

The programme is one of five commissioned by the BBC to explore faith and ethical issues in all the major religions.

The broadcaster says the documentary “follows Chris Fenwick, island native and manager of rock band Dr Feelgood, as he organises a joint dinner party for [Jewish and Anglican] communities with social integration at the top of the menu.

“Will the islanders tuck into kosher food and will the Chasidic wives agree to sit next to any island men folk? And with Anglican priest David Tudor and key Chasidic elders on side, can Chris join the new Canvey Island community together in peace and integration?”

The Jewish community in Canvey Island was set up last year, when a group of families from the Satmar Chasidic sect moved to the area, where there hadn’t been a Jewish community since the 1930s.

Earlier this year the group received a further boost when the Agudas Israel Housing Association announced the purchase of five houses in Canvey. 

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