Showing posts with label Hatzola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hatzola. Show all posts

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Tale of Two Hatzoles (and two venues)…

… but one singer

What I'm going to write about is so secret and so highly classified that not even all who regularly pop up for photo ops with the old bill and other epauletted worthies are in on this one. But in my mission to keep my readers informed I will nevertheless share it all with you despite the fact that I may be breaching the Official Secrets Act. But please lmaan hashem don't say you heard it from me because I'm in enough hot water as it is and this is one I can do well to avoid.

You must have all heard of last night's kumzitz, between you and me little more than a fancy word for a concert especially when held on leil shishi, which took place at the Walthamstow Town Hall in aid of Hatzole North West. Its star performer was none other than Abraham Fried.

Since the Walthamstow Town Hall is kind of on our turf the rabbis banned it. I mean, what use would rabbis be if they allowed concerts? All you have to do is allow one concert and next they'll be twerking in Yesodey Hatorah at £500 a booty shake. I said our turf with 'our' meaning Stamford Hill, because if you were to measure the distance between the Walthamstow Town Hall and Golders Green Road and the Walthamstow and Stamford Hill we work out closer. In addition, the Walthamstow was once the hall of choice before Yesodey Hatorah came onto the map at £2,500+ a pop and since our crowd hired it more than theirs it further enforces our rabbis’ jurisdiction over events taking place there. This being the case it puts the Walthamstow firmly into our orbit which translated locally means, our rabbis’ sphere of bans.

We haven't invented any of this and Russia nowadays also operates a similar policy in its 'near abroad' and given the commitment of Russia to freedom of expression, democracy and rule of law we have quite a bit in common with Reb Vlad. But let's leave that for another day.

Anyhow, two local rabbis competed with each other over the quality of their handwriting and each wrote a note denouncing the event. To one it was mere frivolity while to the other the concert organisers were no less than emissaries of Satan. This last one then went on to hint darkly at what might befall those daring to attend.

The event went ahead anyway especially as its purpose was not even a local cause and none other than Dayan Abraham gave a talk. So much for the power of bans. To be fair though, those same rabbonim might have preferred a ban to frequent certain establishments in St James or more recently in Stratford. However, as I explained earlier this is a turf war and their writ does not run to those distances. It's tishn they manage not tables.

And so we come to the classified stuff. This coming motzei shabbos Hatzole Stamford Hill will be holding its own fundraising event at £360 a head and with the very same Avraham Fried as its star performer. Yet not a word, handwritten or otherwise, from those who've made it their business to ban all in their sight and a lot more beyond.

It may well be that word of this event has simply not reached the rabbis since the organisers have made a concerted (excuse the pun) effort to keep the local riffraff in the dark. There were no adverts or announcements on ticket sales and only the local refined lot were solicited via a discreet text message. The riffraff is of course good enough for the annual Reich's fress up and lots of photo ops for VIPs so long as they fill up the hall and turn out their wallets, but when it comes to a seated dinner with fine wines please take a haircut before we’ll consider you lot. Of course Hatzole belongs to all of us as we're constantly told and no one would dream of doubting that, but still there are times when the little people and big beards are best kept at a safe distance. Fressing is for the masses, entertainment for the few, appears to be the message.

And not just the people but the rabbis too. Apparently the line up of speakers does not include any Stamford Hill rabbonim despite that it is for the supreme local charity and that truckloads of rabbonim are commandeered annually for the local event when we’re all invited, nay, marched at the end of a barrel but with no wine in sight.

To explain this apparent inconsistency let us return to the turf war we mentioned earlier. You see, Hatzole has thought it wise to hold this melave malke in Kinloss and there lies the answer for it works roughly like this: when Hatzole NW comes onto our territory then they're spat in their face, figuratively of course, because they tend to bring their dirty habits and promiscuous crowds with them and try to corrupt our pure youths by offering some entertainment for all. But when Hatzole Stamford Hill want to let their hair down they climb Archway in the other direction where they're as far as can be from the hoi polloi who know not how to hold a knife and fork and never mind dine in the company of £360-a-headers and for whom fun is a filthy word. And that they are also safe from the interdicting killjoy rabbonim cannot do any harm either.

The two events do however share another feature besides the common singer. Both the NW and SH events was and is for men only. This is undoubtedly to do with the time of year when men face the challenging task of deciding which matzo and wine vintage to opt for and it was felt they deserved a respite from their arduous toils and be afforded the opportunity to wind down with some music and dance. Women on the other hand are already in throes of ecstasy while scrubbing the grouting between the tiles behind the cooker and coaxing out that recalcitrant crumb from under the freezer and with life-affirming mitzvos like that it would be a total waste to indulge them any further.

And so if you're one of the recipients of the cherished text do enjoy your meal and ban-free song especially as it's for a good cause. But do please have in zin to be moitze all us lot who've been left behind.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Tribune’s dodgy dossier

CCI26022012_0000 2 - Copy

In the run-up to and aftermath of the Iraq war we got to hear a lot about the dodgy dossier in which it was claimed that Iraq could deploy biological weapons within 45 minutes. A journalist said it was sexed up and got himself into deep trouble, a scientist doubted its veracity and ended up taking his own life while those who commissioned and tailored the report to suit their needs were whitewashed courtesy of Lord Hutton.

Well, the 45 minutes that forms the subject of this piece fortunately did not lead to war nor cost any lives though it is hardly less of a bombshell for that. In its report of the recent Hatzola fundraising evening, last week's Jewish Tribune causally dropped a supposed fact that 'the average waiting time for a London ambulance is 45 minutes.' No one in their right mind would accuse the Tribune of sexing anything whether up, down, diagonally or whichever position one can think of. Yet this 'statistic' appears in a box telling the story of a man whose life was apparently saved by the quick appearance of Hatzola on the scene. The implication is clearly that if not for Hatzola's swift action the man might well have been dead long before the average time of 45 minutes had elapsed.

45mins - CopyI don't know much about ambulance response times but a simple search on Google led me to this page according to which last year's (April 2010 - March 2011) response times were for Category A (immediately life-threatening) calls, 75.14% within 8 minutes and 99 per cent within 19 minutes. For category B (serious) calls, response times were 87.2% within 19 minutes. The latest response times available also show that on average about 77% of category A calls are responded to within 8 minutes.

So will the Tribune now tell us where they got their 45 minutes from? They can't blame MI6 or the CIA like Blair did so who on earth gave them this bit of information? I would have thought that Hatzola's stellar work in life saving and its team of dedicated volunteers on constant duty at all times of day and night is praiseworthy enough without needing to denigrate other first aid services. But then I am not the Tribune for whom our good deeds are never quite enough of a kiddush hashem. Others must also be crap for otherwise how are they to prove the supremacy of a ‘Torah-true lifestyle’?

Then again it could just be that newspapers that work by the maxim, Comment is sacred; facts are free, don't bother employing fact checkers. Perhaps too they're not wired up to the web and google is one of those words excised by kosher lexicographers.

But there is something else at play too. To people of the Tribune's mindset, the yellow jackets and klaxons of our own cops, medics, chaveirim and shomrim are far more than the sum total of their parts. They create a myth of our self sufficiency, dispel the notion that our insularity might in any way be an obstacle and enforce the belief that despite the superior training and abundant resources available to others we can measure up and beat the best. To those tempted to stray it acts further as a warning that the police won't be there to protect you once the ghetto walls are behind you and you may well drop dead by doing something as stupid as relying on 999.

And for that a 45 minute response time perfectly fits the bill.