A Plague On Two Houses

Two weeks ago, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick intervened to overrule Westminster Council and approve the construction of a Holocaust Memorial next to the Houses of Parliament, a project first launched by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014. Backers of the project include some of the most influential members of the UK Jewish community, including…

No Good Deed

Two topics I have periodically explored on this blog are, first, the need for a greater professionalism and a new leadership class within the Charedi community and, secondly, the imperative to challenge defamatory depictions of Charedi life and culture in wider society and media. My instinct was to see these issues as connected: a Charedi…

Each To Their Own

Earlier this month, a shocking piece of research was published by OFSTED on the prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment in British schools and colleges. To quote the report “nearly 90% of girls, and nearly 50% of boys, said being sent explicit pictures or videos of things they did not want to see happens a…

On the Meron Tragedy

This Lag B’Omer the Jewish world woke up to news of the worst civilian tragedy in the history of the State of Israel, and one of the worst disasters of any kind in recent years anywhere in the developed world. What normally is a place of joy became a place where children were made orphans,…

The New Variant

For as long as there have been bekeshes in Stamford Hill, a feature of our communal life has been the freelance extremist who, over many decades, has refined and perfected a mode of religious activism known colloquially as ‘shouting incoherently at people like a nutter’. This advocacy comes in slightly different flavours: some are happy…

The Mask Slips

I have learned the hard way that any comment on COVID-19 that doesn’t start, continue and end with a passionate denunciation of people who don’t social distance will be met with a torrent of ‘offensive nonsense’, ‘defending the indefensible’ and ‘ignorant bluster’. I was ready for more of the same when I responded to the…

גבורים ביד חלשים

If you’ve hung around Stamford Hill you’ll know that grievances about schools are probably the most frequent and most deeply felt type of complaints you’ll hear. Of these complaints, the most bitter are not even about the slapdash and shambolic way some of the local mosdos are run, though heaven knows there’s enough to complain…

The Politics of Exile

Headlines in recent days were dominated by the extraordinary news of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party by his former Brexit secretary and successor as leader, Keir Starmer. Of course, this has been of particular interest to the Jewish community, and both the Jewish and national press has been filled with Jewish voices expressing…