The Jewish Chronicle

No kind of Purim joke

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VOn reading Jennifer Lipman (We cannot turn a blind eye to these forced marriages, 19 February) I thought it might be a Purim joke. It was reminiscen­t of the blood libels where, without an iota of proof, Jews were blamed for murdering Christians to use their blood for Matzos.

Getting rid of “these forced marriages” gives the impression that “these forced marriages” are actually happening and happening often! This is a complete distortion of the truth.

I belong to the thriving orthodox community in Stamford Hill, of approximat­ely 3,000 families, totaling at least 15,000 men, women and children. I have lived here for over 60 years and have been and continue to be closely involved in community work and I have never come across one case of a forced marriage.

The informatio­n you were given, Ms Lipman, comes from people who have left the community who, by disparagin­g it, are using it as an excuse for leaving. Have you investigat­ed further or just relied on the opinions of Nahamu? You also mention “Unorthodox” which gives an entirely distorted view of the orthodox way of life.

Yes, matchmaker­s do make suggestion­s to parents, and parents make detailed enquiries before their children meet, but after this initial stage, it is the young couple who decide whether they want to marry.

Do you really believe that our youngsters would allow themselves to be ‘forced’ into anything, much less marriage? Do you believe they are so naïve, so ignorant, so feeble and so stupid as to allow themselves to be manipulate­d into an unwanted marriage? And do you believe that parents in this community are so unenlighte­ned, so inconsider­ate and so irresponsi­ble and cruel, to try to force their beloved children into a marriage against their will? Zelda Landau

London N16

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