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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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LIGHT UNTO NATIONS?

‘Danger of Fire’ from Shabbat Candles Shuts Out Jewish Tourists

The Welsh U. of Aberystwyth declares that lighting Shabbat candles is a fire hazard, nearly 20 years after Jewish tourists have done so every summer.
An aerial view of Aberystwyth, Wales, where the university prohibits lighting Friday night candles as a  fire hazard.

An aerial view of Aberystwyth, Wales, where the university prohibits lighting Friday night candles as a fire hazard.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Orthodox Jews from Manchester and London have decided to end their annual summer visit to a campus on the Welsh coast after the host University of  decided that lighting candles on Shabbat is a fire hazard.

Jews have not always been welcome guests at the University of Aberystwyth, which is empty of students during the summer vacation. In 2009, the Jews were welcomed with swastikas on the grass and on piece of paper found in residence halls.

University authorities insisted there was nothing anti-Semitic in their new condition for the Jewish tourists to visit, according to the London Independent.

It 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.”

Jewish families rent the university’s facilities on the coast for a vacation away from the Britain’s urban centers. In the past years, they have lit candles on Friday nights at the University of Aberystwyth without any question, until last year, when they were told of the new condition. During the same summer, a visiting rabbi drowned.

The tourists ignored the request until recently, when they decided they could not give up the lighting of candles.

“Ultimately, there was no real decision for us – our religion requires the lighting of candles,” Brander told the British newspaper.

The University of Aberystwyth five years ago defended itself against charges of anti-Semitism by London Spectator columnist Melanie Phillips, who published charges by a student that he had to write anti-Israeli and anti-American opinions or face receiving lower marks.

The student complained that in one course, a comparison was made between the treatment of Jews in Germany before the Second World War and the treatment of Muslims today. The lecturer reportedly told the student, “My assertion that Israel has been engaged in state terrorism lies first in a clear understanding of what the aims and consequences of terrorism are.”

The university replied that the course was given with the aim of being “objective, with no bias and no prejudice against any race or country.”

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About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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5 Responses to “‘Danger of Fire’ from Shabbat Candles Shuts Out Jewish Tourists”

  1. Why in the world would any Jew darken the doorstep of such a horrid place????????

  2. Why in the world would any Jew darken the doorstep of such a horrid place????????

  3. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Of course this new 'requirement' is a means of keeping Jews away.

  4. Chaiya Eitan says:

    This university has a FB page. Go and tell them what you think of them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I went to university and I know the deal. It's so disgusting. I hope the university receives its just punishment and I believe they will.

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