Stamford Hill simchas during lockdown must halt immediately or face government intervention, the faith minister warned strictly-Orthodox leaders today.
At an emergency meeting with the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, Charedi charity Interlink and the Jewish Leadership Council, Faith Minister, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh warned “shameful events” such as the Yesodey Hatorah school wedding last Thursday “could and would not continue,” or there would be consequence.
In attendance was also the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and the head of the police in the local area. An senior Jewish figure who attended the meeting told the Jewish News that the police ensured those present that they would take a firm stand if simchas were to continue to be held and Lord Greenhalgh “made it very clear that the government is unhappy at reports that they’ve read.”
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In a letter, seen by the Jewish News, to the Stamfrod Hill Jewish Community, Lord Greenhalgh stressed that the meeting’s objective was “simple… to ensure that there is no prospect of this sort of event happening again during the national Covid-19 emergency.”
Jewish News understands that those representing the Stamford Hill community reiterated their message of understanding that these situations would not reoccur and said that they would work together with relevant authorities to do so. Yesoday Hatorah Girls School is currently under police investigation.
The mayor of Hackney has now written an open letter to the members of the Charedi Orthodox Jewish community in Stamford Hill, in response to the illegal wedding at Yesodey Hatorah School and also citing a Jewish News investigation into “many large-scale weddings taking place behind closed doors in various venues.”
The letter, which is co-signed by the Borough Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, and Hackney’s Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Husbands, says that “The family who hosted this wedding have been fined £10,000, and the police are investigating the company who organised the event and those who may have assisted them.”
It warns that “the police will not hesitate to impose further such fines should similar events occur again and please do report any concerns you may have.”
Jewish News has been told that “all of the halls (in Stamford Hill) that have been used for weddings have now definitively closed for the time being.”
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