Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
The British coastal resort’s University of Aberystwyth lost $150,000 in tourism income by banning orthodox Jews from lighting candles on Shabbat, a decision that forced them to cancel their annual summer visit to the campus on the Welsh coast, according to sources reported by the Cambrian News.
Only 15 families vacationed in Aberystwyth, but not at the university’s student village, where they would have had to give up lighting candles before Shabbat. The local British newspaper quoted one of the visitors, Myer Rothfeld, as saying he has been “overwhelmed” by the welcome from the people of the area.
Most of approximately 1,000 Hassidim from Britain boycotted the campus after 20 years for vacationing because they refused to accept the ban on lighting candles, which the university said was instituted for the first time out of concern for safety following an “incident.”
In their new condition for the Jewish tourists to visit, the London Independent quoted a university spokesman as saying, “The University… would be delighted to welcome this group back, as long as they are able to sign our terms and conditions.” However, one of the annual visitors, identified by the Independent as ”Mrs. Brander,” said, “We have found a holder to make each candle safer. We offered to discuss it with the fire brigade, but the university was not interested.”
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