Plea to save Charedi sites

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - BY ROBYNROSEN

CHAREDI COM­MU­NITY leaders have warned that some long­stand­ing in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing mikvehs, char­i­ties and schools are “suf­fer­ing dire fi­nan­cial deficits” as the re­ces­sion takes its toll.

The Union of Or­tho­dox He­brew Con­gre­ga­tions has sent out an ur­gent ap­peal to the strictly Or­tho­dox com­mu­nity as a “wake-up call” to help or­gan­i­sa­tions “on the verge of bank­ruptcy”.

Chanoch Kes­sel­man, ex­ec­u­tive co­or­di­na­tor at the union, said: “Most of the hard­ship ex­pe­ri­enced by th­ese in­sti­tu­tions is be­cause of the re­ces­sion, cou­pled with the in­crease in ex­penses.”

Mr Kes­sel­man said that three mikvehs in north and north west Lon­don are on the brink of clos­ing, and mother and baby ser­vice, Beis Bro­cho and spe­cial needs school, Side-by-Side, both in Stam­ford Hill, are strug­gling.

Beis Bro­cho Mother and Baby Home pro­vides help to 850 new moth­ers ev­ery year. It costs the cen­tre £135 a day for each mother and clients have the choice to pay in full or at a re­duced rate, de­pend­ing on their means.

Last year 50 per cent were pay­ing a re­duced rate of £57 a day but this fig­ure has now leapt to 70 per cent.

Moses Hirschler, man­ager at Beis Bro­cho, said that pay­ment was down be­cause of the re­ces­sion and that the cen­tre was now heav­ily in debt.

He said: “We do a lot of fundrais­ing to get the rest but regulars have cut do­na­tions by half or quar­ter and some are not do­nat­ing at all. We’re strug­gling to pay our bills and wages. It is very se­ri­ous and it’s get­ting harder and harder. The com­mu­nity needs us.”

Joseph Stein­hart, a trus­tee at the North West Lon­don Com­mu­nal Mikveh in Gold­ers Green, said that it was £1.5 mil­lion in debt.

Last year, it pur­chased the build­ing next to the Hen­don Mikveh with plans to ex­pand but the works were never started.

“Do­na­tions have re­ally gone down,” he said. ““There is a real threat of clo­sure but I just hope the com­mu­nity won’t let it hap­pen.”

Sylvia Hartman, ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber at Kings­bury Mik­vah, said: “The do­na­tions we re­ceive don’t go any where near cov­er­ing the out­go­ings of main­tain­ing the premises.”

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