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A new Jewish Policy Research (JPR) report predicts growing tensions between British charedim and mainstream British Jews. The JPR report also estimates that charedim comprise around 20 percent of the British Jewish population but, within a decade, half of all British Jews will be born into charedi families.

The report states, “Newspaper [stories] about the cases of charedi non-compliance [with [Covid-19 regulations]…indicate that tensions surrounding this issue are rising rapidly.” It continues, “As this shift occurs, we can anticipate that the community will experience further conflicts…and the scope for acute tensions and polarization along the lines already seen in both Israel and the UK is clear.”

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Incoming Manchester Jewish Representative Council chair Mark Adlestone, who chairs a joint strategic group of mainstream Jewish, charedi, and local authority leaders disagreed with this conclusion. He told the Jewish Press:

“I am optimistic about the growing relationship and understanding between key ultra-Orthodox and secular organizations through our Jewish Strategic Group in Greater Manchester. We all came together during the Covid crisis and have been building on those relationships ever since, so I remain very positive this will continue to grow.”

 

Group Issues Census Advice

Jewish Policy Research (JPR) is asking all British Jews to check the voluntary Jewish religion box on Sunday’s national census.

It states: “It is very important that Jews identify themselves as such on the census. The data generated by ticking the Jewish box play an essential role in community planning on a wide range of issues, including elderly care, schooling, health, inclusion and combatting anti-Semitism.”

It adds, “Some Jews prefer to identify themselves as Jewish by ethnicity rather than religion. There is an option on the census form that allows individuals to declare their ethnicity as Jewish and they should feel free to do so, but it is by ticking the Jewish box in the religion question that their data can be more readily utilized for community planning purposes.”

On a Board of Deputies podcast on Monday, charedi educator Eli Spitzer discussed obstacles to charedi participation in the census including lack of Internet access and the fact that the paper form only has space to record five household members.

 

Rabbi to Run for Mayor

Conservative councillor Rabbi Arnie Saunders is standing for election as mayor of Salford on May 6.

Rabbi Saunders, 61, has been a member of the Conservative Party since the age of 12. At Manchester Jewish Grammar School, he won a landslide victory as a Conservative mock election candidate in the 1974 general election and was also the EU referendum candidate in 1975.

He has ministered to congregations in Blackpool, London, and Manchester and has served as chaplain to Manchester’s Heathlands care home and the British army.

 

London Beth Din Issues Lenient Ruling

As the UK is still in lockdown, the London Beth Din is permitting for Pesach the purchase of certain unsupervised products for people who are in isolation or can’t shop themselves. The beis din provided a list of 30 products that can possibly be used “in-extremis.” Among them are honey and instant coffee.

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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.