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The Sixth of Nissan

"44 years", they marvelled, just as they did last year and just as they will keep doing year after year with incremented numbers while measuring their own life by her death. But 44 years it is and still it feels like this. Still it hurts and still the ground is cold. This morning AL, now with a white beard, recalled how as a kid on his bike at the corner in Clapton Common he heard the news. BS namechecked her and wanted to know if it was only that one name. PF stroked his unfurled almost navel length beard, fresh and untangled after the mikveh, as he told of the photo he has of my mum with myself and my siblings. Forty four years. Others commented on the freshness of the croissant sandwiches while the shy boy stood quietly at the side eyeing the food but too timid to approach the adult table where death was being served up with Scotch. Less shy were the drinkers sipping Lechaim from sample-size cups. In some shuls they wish you a long life but here they're more conc
Recent posts

Yesodey Hatorah Admissions Scam: Admission Numbers

If you're applying for a school place for your child you'd naturally want to know what you're applying for. But what do you do in the case of voluntary-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School if the Hackney website says that "normal point of entry is Year 5" and yet you know it to be a blatant lie? And what do you do when the same lie is repeated on the school's website that Year 5 is the "normal point of entry to the school" when it clearly is not. A Freedom of Information reply from Hackney shows that there has NEVER existed a Year 5 and Year 6 at Yesodey Hatorah. And not only has there never been a Year 5 and 6 at the school but since 2019 there has been a total of ONE SINGLE application for those years. Which tells you that not only does Yesodey Hatorah know it to be a blatant lie but that no one in the entire community is fooled either. Before creating these fictional Years 5 and 6, YHS purported to hold a “consultation” in 201

How to Commit Abuse and Go Scot-Free

Just a short intro to the analysis that follows of UOHC Dayan Paltiel Schwarcz's responsum concerning the reporting of child abusers to the authorities . The difficulty with arguments on points of Halacha is that it is an obscure discipline which relatively few master, even in the Charedi world. Halachists will, or should, be learnéd in their field of expertise and so are able to draw on sources known only to a relatively small number of scholars and will quote from texts which are rarely indexed and often written in an oblique style that is barely comprehensible to outsiders. In the context of mesirah for child abuse, which is the subject here, or agunot and other contemporary issues, what usually happens is that "progressives" (for want of a better term in this context) and those pleading for change will fall back on broader principles rather than challenge the Halachists at all on Halachic ground. They will refer to Chillul Hashem, the laws of the land, the mora

#MyOrthodoxLife

BY ANONYMOUS In light of the recent Netflix series which inspired many 'Orthodox' women all over the internet to write how beautiful their Orthodox life is, I will join the trend and talk about my experience too. I grew up in the Chasidic community in Stamford Hill in London. I had a lovely childhood. However, I received zero secular education. When I was a bit older I learned a few years in kolel and received Semicha, but this did not help me put food on the table and so I wanted to pursue a degree. I was ambitious and wanted to do something that will make a change. I wanted to study occupational therapy to help and improve lives of those in need. I searched online for 'Open University' courses but unfortunately they don't offer this course online. I looked at other places but wherever I tried to get in, I had to contend with the entry requirements... Besides my Semicha and my knowledge of Talmud Bavli, I didn't fit any of those requirements. And so I

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

“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