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Why? – On Our Conduct in the Pandemic

This is a translation of the final chapter of an extensive feature in the latest issue of the Yiddish journal Der Veker focusing on the Charedi, and specifically Chasidic, response to Covid-19. ( The feature was also covered by The Atlantic .) After compiling and analysing figures which show covid deaths amongst New York Chasidim about four times higher than the national average (which is consistent with figures compiled elsewhere), Der Veker dedicated the final chapter to the burning and painful question of “Why?” Now read on… Our reckless conduct during the pandemic has produced grim and heart-breaking results and the conclusion is shattering: we have with our own hands brought upon ourselves a death rate four times worse than that of our neighbouring communities. And the question cries out to heaven, why? As Jews we are raised to be compassionate, our communities have an immense number of social welfare and medical organisations with much of it evident during the pandemic. E
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“A tragedy of titanic proportions”

A letter sent to the New York State Board of Regents (who run the New York State Education Department) in support of the proposed regulations for education standards in New York non-public schools, which includes all chadorim and yeshivos, to ensure “all New York’s children leave school with the knowledge they need to succeed in life”. Not surprisingly, the usual suspects ranging from the Williamsburg antediluvians to the well-educated Agudah lay leaders and others have whipped up a storm to try and ensure that Chasidic kids remain pig-ignorant until the coming of the Messiah and long thereafter. Amen. For the truth in the ‘equivalence’ of Torah study and the other spin and outright lies commonly propounded over there and over here, keep on reading. Dear Regent, I'm a 36 years old Chasidic man, who grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When I attended yeshiva, secular education was a little better than it is today. We had 1 hour and 45 minutes of English studies 4 days

The One and Only ‘One Individual’

You may be surprised to read what follows and you may be sure that I'm even more surprised to be writing it. Those who follow my tweets (do, they're pretty good) will know that, to put it mildly, I'm neither a fan of Pinter nor of the UOHC Rabbinate. But since the two are almost always on the same page I do not often have to make the invidious choice of who is the better looking or has the tidier beard. This time, however, after their very public falling out it is precisely this choice which falls to me and if needs must we might as well get on with it. The facts are pretty basic. Pinter expressed himself 'shocked' after the local MP Diane Abbott failed to oppose or even speak out during a debate on the local Labour party motion that the Labour party is not institutionally antisemitic. A pen pusher from her office then turned up at the UOHC Beth Din to complain about Pinter following which the UOHC Rabbinate approved the above letter. I have highlig

Au Revoir Skulener Rebbe

Shabbos Parshath Tetzave… Went to the Skulener's tish simply to see the crowd. I also hoped I'd get to hear some nice singing. I left the house at 9.45pm and I turned up at Yesodey Hatorah School on Stamford Hill and the marquee was rather empty with few people at the top table. By the time I left after 11 the place was full to capacity. They had set up a marquee across the entire girls' primary school garden stretching from Hurstdene Gardens all the way to Northdene Gardens. There is the trunk of a dead tree in the centre of the garden which looked rather atristic in the middle of the marquee, its bare branches looking like a supplicant holding his hands up to heaven. Trust Chasidim not to see something like that and their concern must have been whether the tree may be touched on Shabbos or speculation if it's a fruit tree and so can't be cut down. As if it's a capital crime for a tree not to bear fruit. The Rebbe, who is a tiny little man with a cute smile

A 10-Point Plan for Chasidic Vaccinations

What follows is Reb Tickle's 10-point plan for increasing vaccination in Chasidic communities: Have as senior a member of government as is available pay homage to Chasidic Rebbes, or Grand Rabbis, to request them to urge their followers to vaccinate their children. Ideally this should be the Secretary of State for Health in the respective countries provided it is not a woman. Not only would that make it impossible to show the meeting in frum papers, it would also be immensely disrespectful to report of a meeting between a Grand Rabbi and a woman. The meeting must be handled with great sensitivity so that each Chosid gets the impression that his Rebbe is the only one who truly matters in the corridors of power and that it is he who holds the keys to the health of the nation. Once one visit has taken place a suitable interval must pass before another visit is scheduled with the next Rebbe so that by the time of the second visit the first visit has faded from memory. A visit is n

“A Time to Act – For the Sake of the Schoolchildren

A TIME TO ACT- FOR THE SAKE OF THE SCHOOLCHILDREN As is well known to our esteemed public may they live, members of Chareidi communities throughout England, the future of the education of Jewish boys and girls to enable them to be educated on the path of the Patriarch Israel and in accordance with our ancient traditions passed down through the generations is in a dire situation . As that Elder, Jacob, peace be unto him, prepared [in time of crisis] with three strategies [appeasement with gifts, prayer and battle] so have we also followed in the footsteps of the sheep . We have held days of prayer and supplication in all our communities when young and old assembled to tear at the Gates of Heaven to revoke the evil decrees. Our efforts have certainly had an effect upon High and behold the Almighty God does not despise the prayers of the many. And we hereby beseech each individual to plead and increase their prayers before the Creator Blessed be His Name to revoke t

Hatzola in Intensive Care?

It would be disrespectful to the good work of the Stamford Hill Hatzola organisation to cover their latest troubles in a mere few tweets, plus since this is a work-free week time is more in abundance. A full bodied blog must therefore be the order of the day. There is a dense fog surrounding Hatzola's latest saga with the main participants reluctant to 'get involved' (a favourite localism) whether out of a sense of loyalty, an unwillingness to further fan the flames or for fear of repercussions, which, given the allegations, may well be real. Our press is of course useless on anything that really matters and even then they'll spin the line they're told to or they know they are supposed to, so there's not much information to be gleaned from them either. However, this is not an excuse to desist from wading in and so if you're still here let's go. Established in the late 1970s or early 1980s, Hatzola is a voluntary organisation of medical first respond