Over 30 Stamford Hill kosher stores sign up for new 'obey Covid rules' push

New poster campaign - backed by kosher shops across Hackney and Haringey - also instructs customers with exemption badges to display them to gain entry


More than 30 leading kosher stores in Stamford Hill, Hackney and Clapton have put their names to a new Covid-19 poster campaign warning customers they will not be allowed to enter their premises unless they are wearing a face covering.

The posters - which will be displayed on windows of the participating  stores and is also believed to be part of a local media advertising campaign – also instructs those who are exempt from wearing face masks due to existing illnesses to either wear their exemption badge or a don a face shield before going into any of the shops.

The campaign,, which also covers neighbouring Haringey, is clearly a response to widespread criticism of the failure to observe lockdown rules by some in the Stamford Hill area and further afield.

Stores participating in the new campaign include Breuer and Spitzer, which last month was featured in a JC report that included a photo showing few people inside its premises wearing protective face masks.

Other names include Grodzinski, Deli 98, Meat Plaza, Kosher Spot, Hoffman Fish,  Koshermart, Makolet, Berger and Twersky and Kosher Net.

One senior figure within the Charedi community said: “Of course the criticism of us in the media has hurt us.

“It is still a very hot issue in Stamford Hill, and people feel under attack.  But it’s not true that nobody is listening - they are.”

The Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville praised the latest initiative tweeting:"The Council is as always ready to support local businesses to be Covid safe - in the spirit of engaging, educating and enforcing working closely with the police."

Sources told the JC that over the past fortnight there had also been noticeable increase in attempts to persuade Charedim attending religious services to wear face masks.

There had previously been a small but noticeable increase in the number of people turning up for services claiming to be exempt from wearing masks.

The JC understands that senior figures within the Charedi community have also issued further pleas for better observance of lockdown rules following a meeting that took place with Faith Minister Lord Greenhalgh last week.

While the meeting itself saw tensions between mainstream and Charedi leaders resurface, Lord Greenhalgh delivered a stern warning about the repercussions of further events such as the recent  wedding in Stamford Hill that hosted 150 guests.

During the meeting, which was attended by Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein and Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, Charedi leaders refused to  accept direct responsibility for the breaches of Covid rules, but pledged to try to ensure there were no repeats.

Representatives from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations pointed out they had not given any licences for weddings to go ahead since lockdown was introduced.

There were similar claims made about the halting of kosher catering.

But this was not a denial that unauthorised events had taken place since lockdown.

Many strictly Orthodox weddings take place without official documents being signed until some months later.

And it is not hard to find members of the Charedi community with enough religious learning to officiate at events such as weddings.

The Charedi charity Interlink was cited in the meeting as an organisation that government can turn to in future to gain access to the community.

But there remian some sections of the highly fractured Charedi community who do not believe Interlink represents their interests.

Similarly, the Board and the JLC are often viewed as representing only the views of the mainstream community.

One leading Strictly Orthodox figure told the JC that following the death of Rabbi Avraham Pinter last April, the community was still missing an effective leader who can liaise with both the mainstream Jewish leadership and government in order to best represent the Charedi community’s needs.



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