A think tank addressing “extremism” in the Jewish community has raised hundreds of pounds after being attacked by an Orthodox newspaper.
Nahamu says it has seen a surge in donations since it was featured last week in the weekly Jewish Tribune.
The article, appeared in print on 28 August, describing Nahamu as a “very small group of activists, one or two of whom are unfortunately known to be disaffected former children of strictly Orthodox families.”
It continued: “These sad people are still purporting to be Orthodox, but their personal social issues and festering grudges have turned them into hostile campaigners against the Charedi kehillah [community].”
The article, which may have been intended as an opinion piece, was written by Brian Gordon about claims apparently made by Levi Schapiro, from the Jewish Community Council, about Nahamu.
The director of the JCC is alleged to have accused Nahamu of lobbying government officials against Jewish schools, schechita, bris milah and marriage.
But Yehudis Fletcher, spokesperson for Nahamu, said the report contained inaccuracies. “We have never and would never attack shechita and milah,” she told Jewish News.
“Like all Orthodox Jews, we believe that Torah study and the observance of mitzvot are utterly central to the future of our community.
“We do not believe Jewish people should be coerced or bullied into our lifestyle choices. We believe that everyone is entitled to protection from harassment and abuse of any sort.
“Strictly Orthodox communities face the same challenges of safeguarding and cover-ups as every other conservative, insulated community. The levels of high economic dependency, particularly on government benefits, should also be of significant concern to each and every one of us. People would do better to engage directly with our concerns rather than engaging in ill-judged propaganda and denial.”
Jewish Tribune Editor Dan Levy, who refused to clarify whether the piece was a news story or opinion piece, said: “We have a letter from Nahamu in response to the said article which I hope will be published next week.”
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