Photo Credit: kafka4prez via Flickr
Hasidic Jews in Hackney

London resident Ivana Bartoletti on Sunday tweeted that she was “appalled by letter from Warwick Estates threatening to vandalize my Jewish neighbors’ religious scrolls (Mezuzahs), and then charge them for it! No tolerance of intolerance and discrimination in Hackney.”

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A mezuzah comprises a piece of parchment in a case and inscribed with Hebrew Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). Rabbinic law prescribes affixing a mezuzah to the doorpost of Jewish homes to fulfill the Biblical commandment to “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9). Some interpret Jewish law to require a mezuzah in every doorway in the home, except bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets, but without a doubt, the primary place for a mezuzah is next to the front door, facing outside.

Which is why the letter the managing agent Warwick Estates sent to residents of Cedarwood Court and Clapton Common, near Stamford Hill, was so troubling:

“During my recent site inspection, I noticed a large number of residents have Mezuzahs and other types of religious items on the external parts of their demise, unfortunately, this is against the terms of the lease and will need to be removed. I have attacked a copy of the House Rules which all residents are required to adhere to while residing at Cedarwood Court.

“If you are in breach of any of these rules or any of the other parts of the tenant’s covenants, then please address immediately. Otherwise, we will have to do so on behalf of the freeholder and any charges incurred in performing these services will be applied to the offending leaseholder’s account.”

Bartoletti forwarded her tweet to the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, who tweeted in response: “Thanks for raising this, and as discussed I will be raising it with the managing agents tomorrow. Clearly unacceptable, very insensitive and also distressing for the residents involved.”

So, all’s well that ends well.

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