Charedi leader ‘deceived’ into signing pro-Jeremy Corbyn letter
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Charedi leader ‘deceived’ into signing pro-Jeremy Corbyn letter

Questions raised over authenticity of document supposedly endorsed by Rabbi Ephraim Padwa of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations

The head of the strictly Orthodox Jewish community was “deceived” into signing a letter distancing Charedi Jews from the Chief Rabbi’s criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to those involved.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, the rabbinic head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (OUHC), who is currently in poor health, signed – then withdrew – a letter which appeared to call the Chief Rabbi’s recent comments “irresponsible”.

Jewish News had earlier been sent correspondence from both the general-secretary and president of the UOHC calling the letter “a forgery,” after having been sent a copy of Padwa’s letter by Corbyn-supporting Charedi activist Shraga Stern.

On Monday afternoon, after hours of claim and counter-claim, the UOHC said: “It is truly shocking that a few irresponsible hotheads would seek to take advantage of the Rov’s current poor health by deceiving him into signing a letter that has now been twisted into an endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn and circulated widely.

“The Rov’s position is clear in that he does not involve himself in such partisan political matters. This has always been the mesorah of the Rov and indeed of the Rov’s late father.”

Hours earlier, Chaim Schneck, the general-secretary of the UOHC, emailed the various heads of the Charedi community in the UK with a message from UOHC president Rabbi Dovid Frand, informing the executive that the letter was a “forgery”.

Padwa’s son, Rabbi Leibish Padwa, told Frand that it was fake but Stern said Leibish had been there when it was signed on Monday, during a meeting with Rabbi Shmuel Tambur, who told Padwa that the Chief Rabbi’s intervention had led to a rise in antisemitism.

The disputed letter, typed in Yiddish, reads: “We were shocked to learn about those who are disseminating rumours and blaming the leader of the Labour party Mr Jeremy Corbyn that he is an antisemite and so forth. We therefore proclaim our view that we have no connection whatsoever with these irresponsible actions.”

It is stamped with Padwa’s personal stamp and marks the latest example of a letter from the UOHC to be denounced as fake. Last year, 34 Charedi rabbis signed a letter supporting Corbyn. It was called a fake, but later revealed to be genuine.

Tambor said Padwa’s son Leibish “gave me the letter bearing the original stamp and signature of Rabbi Ephraim Padwa”.

Stern said: “It is beyond belief how a person can stoop to such a low level… by portraying as having been deceived due to his poor health. The Rov is, and was at the time of dictating and writing the letter, fully aware of what he was doing.”

He added: “Rabbi Shmuel Tambur has testified that the Rov was of sound mind and clearly signed the letter of his free will. He even urged Rabbi Tambur to do it as quickly as possible.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments