Fed­er­a­tion’s pa­per showed women, un­like to­day’s Charedi press

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

Back in 1989-1992 I was the first woman Edi­tor of HaMaor, the in-house jour­nal of the Fed­er­a­tion of Syn­a­gogues. I edited seven is­sues. While a fea­ture was oc­ca­sion­ally “pulled” by the then pow­ers-that-be who were pub­lic­ity-shy when it came to money (this was in the days of the in­fa­mous Jer­sey bank ac­counts), pic­tures of women con­trib­u­tors, in­clud­ing my­self, were never deleted. Dayan Y. Y. Licht­en­stein joined the Fed­er­a­tion Beth Din dur­ing my ten­ure.

A clue to the ev­i­dent change of pol­icy since then is to be found on p24 of the same is­sue of the JC that quotes the Fed­er­a­tion’s Pres­i­dent, writ­ing in the cur­rent edi­tion of HaMaor, call­ing for the set­ting up of a new Or­tho­dox “um­brella body” to be “one pow­er­ful pres­sure group” on be­half of the fastest grow­ing sec­tion of Bri­tish Jewry in Gateshead, Man­ches­ter, north-west Lon­don and Stam­ford Hill’.

In other words, the Fed­er­a­tion, an or­gan­i­sa­tion whose rai­son d’etre was orig­i­nally to rep­re­sent the Jewish East End, is seek­ing to align it­self with the forces of the re­li­gious right in or­der to re­verse its long-term de­cline. The bur­geon­ing Charedi press has a pol­icy of not pub­lish­ing pic­tures of 51 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, and HaMaor is sim­ply fol­low­ing suit. De­fer­ring to the cha­sidim who tra­di­tion­ally do not re­fer by name to their wives and daugh­ters on wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions, to­day’s so-called “Strictly” Or­tho­dox world can­not even tol­er­ate pic­tures of Her Majesty the Queen or Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May on the pages of their il­lus­tri­ous pub­li­ca­tions. Do­ing the rounds last year on the in­ter­net (no won­der this is an­other “no-no” in Charedi cir­cles), was a par­ody Charedi pa­per whose take on the change of Govern­ment was the head­line: “Philip May en­ters Down­ing Street”! while ar­gu­ing in Kaszt­ner’s favour. The “res­cue” of a few, ad­mit­ted Co­hen, “was organised on Eich­mann’s or­ders to fa­cil­i­tate the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of the whole peo­ple.”

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