Police have urged Jewish parents in the North-West London area not to let their children participate in the traditional Purim street collection for charity due to the severe weather.
The Metropolitian Police issued the warning on Wednesday, due to the wintry conditions which have left large parts of the UK covered in snow.
In a letter, Inspector Jason Moseley, police liaison to the Jewish community in Barnet, wrote: “There is a time-honoured tradition within the Jewish community of collecting for charity on Purim and over the years this has led to large numbers of children and teenagers collecting in the middle of the roads in areas such as Hendon and Golders Green.
“This year we experiencing severe weather conditions, with more snow and ice forecast for Purim day. As such it may result in adverse driving conditions, which could unfortunately lead to the possibility of a tragic accident, particularly if the youngsters are in the road stopping traffic, which in these conditions may not be able to stop.
“I would therefore respectfully request that if we are still experiencing these conditions tomorrow you do not allow your children to go out collecting on the streets. If there are children collecting and stopping the traffic and my officers feel it could result in a tragic accident, then they may be left with no option other than to close the particular roads to all traffic.”
As part of the celebration around the holiday of Purim, many children from the Jewish community collect money for charity, raising tens of thousands of pounds each year.
Inspector Moseley told the JC that there would be an increased police presence on the streets of North-West London on Thursday, as in the case on most Jewish festivals. The Met had been working closely with Jewish organisations, including the Community Security Trust, to ensure the community’s safety.