Bar­ber shop hor­ror

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY JESSICA ELGOT

HE WAS born in Cable Street, but this week’s ri­ots and the de­struc­tion of his tiny bar­ber’s shop has dev­as­tated 89-year-old Aaron Biber.

The in­side of Mr Biber’s shop on Tot­ten­ham High Road in Lon­don was wrecked by youths dur­ing Satur­day night’s ri­ots.

Mr Biber, who has had the bar­ber’s for 40 years, ar­rived on Sun­day morn­ing. “I couldn’t stand up, I was in shock,” he said, still vis­i­bly shaken. “They’re meshugge­nahs, they stole my ket­tle and my hairdryer. It’s mind­less. I’ve had my win­dow smashed be­fore but noth­ing like this.

“I was born in Cable Street, in the East End, one of 16 chil­dren. That was a real mix of peo­ple, but we never had trou­ble like this.”

Mr Biber has no in­surance. Now liv­ing in Ching­ford, he said he had al­ways felt safe in Tot­ten­ham be­fore the ri­ot­ing, but had no in­ten­tion of stop­ping cut­ting hair now: “I don’t do much busi­ness now, I just keep com­ing here for the con­ver­sa­tion, re­ally.”

Sitting in his bar­ber’s chair, he cuts open his mail, find­ing a hand­writ­ten letter. “Fancy that! Some­one’s sent me a letter and a cheque. They don’t even know me. I won’t lose my faith in peo­ple. Well, in some peo­ple.”

JEWISH BUSI­NESS own­ers and res­i­dents in Lon­don, Manch­ester and Birm­ing­ham have de­scribed the “dev­as­ta­tion” of the lo­cal ar­eas, fol­low­ing this week’s vi­o­lent ri­ots.

Groups of youths smashed shops and homes and looted high streets in cities across the coun­try, be­gin­ning in Tot­ten­ham on Satur­day night.

Fol­low­ing pic­tures of Charedi youths watch­ing the loot­ing in Tot­ten­ham on their way home from synagogue, the BNP’s leader Nick Grif­fin com­mented on Twit­ter: “Riot footage shows it’s a joint black/Jewish af­fair. Now that is strange. Won­ders of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism!” His re­marks drew wide con­dem­na­tion.

The man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of a Jewishowned DIY shop in Tot­ten­ham, Derek Lewis, was wo­ken just be­fore 4am on Sun­day morn­ing be­cause the alarm in H Glick­man Ltd was go­ing off.

He re­turned to find the place ran­sacked. Loot­ers had stolen tools from the store, in­clud­ing sledge­ham­mers — “things they could use in other places”, said Mr Lewis.

Theshop­wa­sopened­byGer­aldGlick­man’s par­ents in 1932. “It’s dis­gust­ing. I just can’t get my head around it and what I think about it isn’t print­able. They are tear­ing up their own com­mu­nity,” Mr Lewis said.

A YouTube video showed some young, strictly Ortho­dox men watch- ing the ri­ot­ing and hand­ing out chal­lah to pass­ing res­i­dents from a card­board box.

Ari Levy, who works at a car deal­er­ship op­po­site Tot­ten­ham Hale, said: “Thank God, they didn’t at­tack the shop, but we were sitting here watch­ing the loot­ing, peo­ple were just fill­ing up their cars. They know us round here, and they didn’t want to cause us any trou­ble.”

Rabbi Yossi Jacobs of Birm­ing­ham He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion, said that he and his fam­ily had con­sid­ered flee­ing their city cen­tre flat as the ri­ots spread on Mon­day night.

“We had around 20 peo­ple in our house for Tishah b’Av ser­vices, and the el­derly peo­ple were ter­ri­fied to go out­side.”

He de­scribed see­ing young men run past car­ry­ing bags and bags of clothes, with shoes round their necks. Some were car­ry­ing com­put­ers and TVs and some parked their cars close to the house and bun­dled goods into the boots.

“ T h e y h a d clothes from Harvey Ni­chols, Hugo Boss and Ar­mani; our street i s l i ttered with hang­ers. We heard that peo­ple had time to try on shoes and jeans be­fore run­ning away. It’s so poignant be­cause of Tishah b’Av, read­ing about the de­struc­tion of cities. It’s un­real.”

Strictly Ortho­dox se­cu­rity ser­vice Shom­rim tailed three small groups of loot­ers bound for Dal­ston and Hack­ney via Stam­ford Hill on Mon­day night.

Shom­rim’s chair Nochum Pearl­berger said: “From around four o’clock on Mon­day our lines were jammed with calls.

“Dur­ing the night, we were tail­ing three small groups mov­ing through the area. Around 30 mem­bers of the pub­lic, in­clud­ing the Jewish com­mu­nity, were pro­tect­ing shops in Stam­ford Hill from a gang of around 10 thugs. We held down the main cul­prit of a small g a n g t r y i n g to break shop win­dows un­til po­lice came.”

A war n i n g t o stay away from the ri­ots was sent out to the Stam­ford Hill com­mu­nity from Rabbi EphraimPadwa. CST also sent out se­cu­rity no­tice s , wa r n i n g peo­ple to take care walk­ing to synagogue on Tishah B’Av. Po­lice were called to ar­rest a gang of around 20 armed with metal poles, who were throw­ing bricks and bot­tles out­side Brent Cross Shop­ping Cen­tre in the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing. Car win­dows were smashed but a spokesman for the shop­ping cen­tre said no dam­age was done.

A Bar­net po­lice spokesman re­ported some dis­or­der in Hendon and High Bar­net. Eleven peo­ple in­volved have so far been charged by Bar­net po­lice.

PHOTO: REUTERS

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‘First time I’ve heard chal­lah called a deadly weapon’

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