Orthodox Jews blow lights out on Aberystwyth

Orthodox Jews blow lights out on Aberystwyth

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

The popularity of Aberystwyth as a holiday destination for Orthodox Jews has been thrown into doubt after the new rules banning the lighting of candles in the university accommodation where many families stay, writes Stephen Oryszczuk.

The Orthodox community, which  typically rents about 120 houses at the Pentre Jane Morgan student village, have said they will vote with their feet, after the new ruling was made on health and safety grounds.

“The use of candles/naked flames in all university residences is prohibited,” the university said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, last year there was more than one incident involving lit candles with this visiting group.”

The university also confirmed that during negotiations for a proposed visit this year, representatives of the Orthodox community suggested that covered flames might be more acceptable, but the terms and conditions remain unaltered.

An unnamed organiser told the BBC: “Being asked not to light candles is like being asked not to breathe.”

Last August Rabbi Dov Berish Englander, 47, of Stamford Hill, drowned in the sea off the coast of Aberystwyth while on holiday in the town. He was performing a cleansing ritual, or mikveh, when he got into trouble. A subsequent inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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