Chareidim in England and Education – Campaign Against Inspectorate Stopped

Charedi Activist Drops Campaign Against Ofsted

Charedi activist Shraga Stern has agreed to stop his public campaign against Ofsted.

London’s charedi community has been split over how to handle the inspectorate’s attitudes toward Jewish schools. Chinuch UK preferred a diplomatic approach toward the Department of Education and its inspectorate whereas Stern initiated a high-profile campaign accompanied by the threat of legal action.

Last week, Dayan Ephraim Padwa of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations asked Stern to back down from his campaign. Stern told The Jewish Press, “I’ve always worked under the direction of the senior rabbis of the charedi community. I continue to do so. At the moment I am ceasing campaigning on their instructions.”

He added that he was sure his high-profile campaign has borne fruit and “now is the time for open dialogue and round-the-table discussions.”

Stern’s tough stance, however, seems to have been taken up by educational consultant Michael Cohen, who called, in the Jewish Tribune, for the dismissal of Ofsted head Amanda Spielman, whom he accused of conducting an “anti-religious programme.”

He suggested Jewish schools should not allow Ofsted to inspect their schools; alternatively, they should or arrange school outings on inspection days. He wrote, “As any kind of trust and confidence in Ofsted has been destroyed, our schools and mosdos should become more strident and assertive in dealing with Ofsted inspections.”

More Rabbinical Insanity – From the “Council of Torah Sages” – Ultrasounds, If Only Men Carried the Babies…


Haredi rabbi: Don’t do ultrasounds during pregnancy

Rabbi Shalom Cohen, President of the ‘Council of Torah Sages,’ says waiting for the doctor means there’s going to be a blow afterwards.

“Council of Torah Sages” President Rabbi Shalom Cohen on Tuesday told his followers not to do any ultrasounds during pregnancy, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was also present at the gathering, as were rabbis from the Bonei Olam organization, which helps couples pay for fertility treatments.

“G-d sends the cure before He sends the ailment,” the site quoted Rabbi Cohen as telling a gathering. “‘To send the cure before the ailment’ means that when you make the ‘cure’ ahead of time – you need to make sure that the ailment will not, G-d forbid, follow it.”

To continue reading click here.

Trying to Lure Tourists Back to Tiberias to Alter the Power Structure – a Necessity if the Town is to Survive

TIBERIAS, Israel—This ancient city on the Sea of Galilee was once a popular weekend beach getaway for Israelis and a magnet for foreign visitors drawn by its 2,000 years of history.

Now, seagulls and stray cats outnumber people on the city’s seaside promenade on the Sabbath, when booths selling cotton candy, popcorn and fake tattoos that residents say once attracted weekend crowds are closed.

Many longtime residents cite a reason that reflects changes rippling across Israel: ultra-Orthodox Jewish migration. The ultra-Orthodox have moved to Tiberias in large numbers in recent years and pressured stores to close for the Sabbath, which begins Friday at sundown and extends through dusk on Saturday, giving the once secular-leaning city an image as unfriendly to less conservative and nonreligious Jews.

The changes have sparked a political backlash in Tiberias, where the ultra-Orthodox, known as haredim, make up about 20% of the population of 44,000 people. In municipal elections last month, Tiberias elected an unconventional mayor who made limiting new ultra-Orthodox arrivals to the city a central issue in his campaign.“We just aren’t going to accept our markets being closed over the weekend,” said Ron Kobi, the new Tiberias mayor, a political novice and commodities trader whose blunt and sometimes abrasive approach has helped earn him the nickname “the Tiberian Trump.” In speeches on Facebook Live, Mr. Kobi has spoken out against the influx of ultra-Orthodox into Tiberias and promised to restore the city’s glory as a tourist destination.

The ultra-Orthodox had a long history of peacefully coexisting with their secular neighbors until Mr. Kobi’s campaign, said Pinkhas Vaknin, a veteran ultra-Orthodox city councilman.

“There was never any tension between the haredim and secular people until he stirred some up,” he said.

The situation in Tiberias has come to symbolize Israel’s national struggle over a booming ultra-Orthodox population, the country’s fastest-growing group. The ultra-Orthodox now make up 12% of Israel’s nearly nine million citizens, up from 10% in 2009, and around 5% percent in 1990. They are projected to be 16% of the population by 2030, with households that average seven children fueling the growth.

A housing shortage in cities such as Jerusalem that traditionally have large ultra-Orthodox populations has pushed the community to search across Israel for more affordable places.

In the past, Israel built housing for the ultra-Orthodox in West Bank settlements. But, in addition to inflaming tensions with Palestinians, the towns became unappealing centers of poverty because most of the community’s men don’t work, instead focusing on religious studies seen as essential to preserving traditional Judaism and relying on social welfare.

Israel has plans to build 200,000 new housing units for the ultra-Orthodox by 2035. But where the units will be built hasn’t yet been decided. In his campaign, Mr. Kobi called for limiting the amount of new housing for the ultra-Orthodox in Tiberias.

Elsewhere in Israel, the ultra-Orthodox have used their political and economic power to change the social and religious landscape of a handful of towns and cities, said Dr. Gilad Malach, an expert on the ultra-Orthodox for the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute.

“They become more powerful and influential in the municipality, so it brings tension,” he said.

The ultra-Orthodox began moving to Tiberias about a decade ago, drawn by inexpensive housing and the city’s rich religious heritage as the supposed burial place of medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides and final home of the Sanhedrin, the ancient rabbinical assembly.

Many disputes center around activities on the Sabbath. Over the years, the haredim have successfully opposed plans for an ice-skating rink and a zip line over concerns about disturbing the tranquil atmosphere of the Sabbath, on which business and any use of electric machinery is forbidden in Orthodox Judaism.

“It would be like canceling Shabbat. So if it’s public, we will fight over it,” said Mr. Vaknin.

Mr. Vaknin and others say they don’t force businesses to close on the Sabbath. But boycotts of establishments that open on the holy day have proved effective. Many businesses now have signs saying “This shop observes the Sabbath.”

Along Tiberias’s seaside promenade, markets that were once bustling with tourists are now either shut or nearly empty on the weekend, and many nearby restaurants close for the Sabbath. “This place used to be crowded on a Saturday night,” Mr. Kobi said.

One bar on the promenade remains open over the weekend in Tiberias—the Big Ben, an English-style pub.

Its owner, Yitzhak Mizrachi, said pressure to close down for the Sabbath included threatening phone calls and groups of men standing outside his bar yelling “Shabbos,” a Yiddish pronunciation of Sabbath.

“There were many business owners here who didn’t have the strength to deal with pressures from the rabbis,” he said.

Mr. Kobi’s revitalization plans include reopening businesses on the Sabbath, and adding new attractions. He wants Tiberias to have a zip line running through the downtown area, a water skiing park, free Wi-Fi and virtual maps projected on walls in tourist areas that explain the history of the city.

To read the remainder of the article click here.


A 2014 Essay – What You Don’t Know about the Ultra-Orthodox

We are republishing this without the permission of the author and make no claims that he either supports our site, or even knows of its existence. We believe that the following essay is a detailed and quite accurate account of the ultra-Orthodox of 2014 and of today. In our opinion, many of the communities have since become increasingly radicalized. We leave that to your analysis.


What You Don’t Know About the Ultra-Orthodox

The least understood and most insular American Jews have much to teach us.

The so-called ultra-Orthodox may be the most recognizable Jews by virtue of their distinctive garb, but they continue to be the least-known actors on the American Jewish scene. Clustering in densely populated enclaves, speaking Yiddish or Yinglish (a mixture of Yiddish, English, and rabbinic Hebrew) among themselves, consciously rejecting much of modish Western culture, and arranging their family lives, daily routines, finances, and politics in a manner entirely different from their highly acculturated co-religionists, they are a people apart. For want of a better term, they have come to be known collectively as Haredim,1 “those who tremble in fear of God.”2 More colloquially, in recognition of the preferred head coverings of their males, a different shorthand is used, though not as a term of endearment—“black hatters.” Yet rather than constitute a single monolithic body, these Jews demonstrate that there are at least 50 shades of black.
The largest contingent consists of Hasidim, the inheritors of an 18th-century mystical strain of Judaism. They divide themselves into at least two dozen sects, each with its own leader. Some, such as the two warring factions of the Satmar group, are riven internally; others simply refuse to cooperate with one another and at times come to blows.
Continue reading

At Least the Charedim Will Not Let you Die in the Sky as they Control an Airline


DRAMA IN THE SKY: 2 ElAl Flights Have Shabbos Issues, 1 TO LAND ON Shabbos, 1 Lands In Athens

Two El Al flights from New York to Israel have had serious “Shabbos issues” on Friday afternoon.

There is much confusion and disinformation going around, and the following are the exact details.

Both flights, 008, and 002, were delayed for hours leaving NY on Thursday due to the snow storm.

Flight 002 was supposed to depart JFK Airport at 6:30PM, and was supposed to arrive at 11:50AM on Friday morning in Israel. The flight eventually departed NY at 11:45PM. The flight is packed with Frum people, and a decision was made to land in Athens before Shabbos. The passengers were being put up by El Al in a hotel.

Flight 008 also departed late, but it was a flight that to begin with that was supposed to land at around 3:40PM on Friday (Shkiya is around 4:40PM in Tel Aviv). It does not appear to be full of Shomer Shabbos passengers. Despite that, the plane was going to land in Rome for Shabbos, but a person became seriously ill on board and a Shaila was presented to Hagaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef. He ruled that the plane should continue to Israel, and land on Shabbos – due to Pikuach Nefashos. It appears the flight will be landing at around 5:30PM – around an hour after the Shkiya.

El Al said in a statement that “extreme weather in New York is causing cancellations and delays in hundreds of flights, including El Al flights that left Israel last night. Due to the delays and delays, El Al does not fly on Saturday, the company is forced to land Flight 002 in Athens and Flight 008 in Rome.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Haredi Serial Sexual Abuser, After 11 Years of Abuse is Finally Charged – Israel


After years of abusing young boys and girls in Bnai Brak, Modi’in Elit and Jerusalem, a 32-year-old Kollel student has been charged for his crimes, according to the ‘Bchedri Charedim’ news site. The case was built on various types of evidence, including security footage, DNA tests, and the testimony of witnesses and victims, as well as confessions by the suspect to several of the accusations. He also confessed to additional crimes other than those mentioned in the indictment, but no further evidence has been found to corroborate those events.

The investigation began after an attack on an eight-year-old girl in Bnei Brak around last Purim. After the attack, the girl told her parents, and her father tracked down security footage of the suspect, who was taken in for questioning. However, as it was impossible to identify the suspect conclusively from the tape, he was released after giving a DNA sample and fingerprints. It can take months for DNA kits to be tested at the police lab, but when the sample was finally checked, it matched two other open abuse cases: the sexual abuse of a five-year-old boy in April 2007 and abuse of a six-year-old girl in May 2014. In July 2017, the suspect was brought in for further questioning, where he confessed to three more crimes. However, evidence was found for only two of the incidents; one in Modi’in Elit in September 2007 and one in Bnei Brak in May 2014.

Two weeks later, Tel Aviv District Attorney Sarit Aronov filed an indictment against the accused for three of the allegations. She also requested that the man be kept in custody until the end of the proceedings, on the grounds that he continued to pose a danger to the public because he operated systematically and, according to his own testimony, continued to abuse children even after seeking treatment.

The incident in April 2007 took place in Jerusalem. A five-year-old boy went outside to play on a Shabbat afternoon. The suspect caught the boy in the stairwell of his apartment building where he abused the boy and left behind DNA evidence. He warned the boy not to tell anyone about what had happened and disappeared from the scene. The boy’s parents filed charges and the boy gave police a detailed description of the suspect.

Five months later, the suspect abused a six-year-old girl in Modi’in Elit. The girl was playing outside of her apartment building when the suspect found her and led her to the building’s storage units, where he savagely abused her. Again, the girl’s parents filed a complaint with the police. The mother told officers that the suspect had returned to the building several days after the attack with a flimsy cover story at which point the girl identified the man to her parents. Her father then followed the suspect and was able to identify him as M from Bnei Brak. The police then followed up with a member of the local “Tznius police”, who was able to confirm the suspect’s identity and told police he had sent the man to seek treatment. The suspect confirmed that he had been ordered by one of the city’s Rabbis to seek treatment at the “Shalom Banechah” organization and to write an apology letter to the victim.

In May 2014, the suspect attacked a seven-year-old girl in Bnei Brak. The girl was walking home when the suspect saw her and began to follow her. The girl went up to her third-floor apartment to find the house empty. She walked down the stairs, where the suspect waiting for her. He asked her name, told her that she smelled nice and inquired about the shampoo that she used. He then took her behind the building and abused her, and told her not to tell anyone before fleeing. The girl’s mother told investigators that she had seen the man leaving the building. The father successfully identified the man, confronted him, and told him to seek treatment. The suspect said that he then approached a Rabbi in the city who ordered him to start drug therapy, which was confirmed by medical documents. When the case reached police years later, the Rabbi gave testimony which was crucial to the indictment.

Four days later, the man abused another six-year-old girl outside her apartment building, after which he dressed her and gave her a one shekel coin as a reparation. DNA taken from the girl’s clothes confirmed the man’s identity, and her parents told investigators that the girl had told them immediately about the attack, and had shown them the coin.

The last attack took place in 2018. A girl and her younger sister were waiting for their mother at the entrance to their building when the man approached the older sister and told her she was sweet. He then began abusing her, but she cried loudly and resisted being undressed. When the man heard the girl’s mother coming down the stairs, he told the girl he was sorry and ran away. The mother found security footage of the man, from which her daughters were able to identify him. A family member of the suspect also confirmed his identity from the footage and told investigators that he had indeed been in Bnei Brak at the time of the attack. The suspect also confessed to the last allegations.