Orthodox body distances itself from letter to mayor about Board dinner
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Orthodox body distances itself from letter to mayor about Board dinner

Head of strictly-Orthodox body says the letter protesting Sadiq Khan's involvement was sent from a 'private individual acting alone'

A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left), newly-elected earlier this year.
A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left), newly-elected earlier this year.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has written to Sadiq Khan distancing itself from a recent letter sent to him from a Charedi activist urging the London mayor to boycott the Board of Deputies’ upcoming annual dinner.

The rabbis’ letter, sent on Thursday, amounts to a public slap-down for Shraga Stern, whose own letter to Khan last week was signed as being “on behalf of the Charedi community”.

Stern told Khan that the Board was “disenfranchising our community” on issues such as education and that the mayor’s attendance would be “a slap in the face” for London’s Charedim.

It follows a controversial letter Stern helped organise last month, in which 29 influential Charedi rabbis – including OUHC Principal Rabbinic Authority Rabbi Ephrayim Padwa – slammed mainstream Jewish community leaders for their attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, which they described as “irresponsible”.

In its short statement to Khan’s office, the OUHC’s registrar this week said Stern’s letter had been written “by a private individual without the approval of the OUHC”.

Since Stern’s letter, Khan’s office has said the mayor is still “looking forward to attending,” but the OUHC confirmation adds to the sense of disappointment among Orthodox groups that Stern portrayed himself as a community representative.

Stern has said he plans to protest out the Board’s annual dinner next month, at which Khan is due to be the keynote speaker.

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