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Friday, 27 February 2015

Is it the end of Golders Green Charedi giants?


Is it the end of Golders Green Charedi giants?

By Simon Rocker, February 26, 2015
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Elchonon Halpern
Elchonon Halpern
The death last week of the nonagenarian president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, Rabbi Elchonon Halpern, not only deprived Golders Green of one of its most influential post-war Jewish figures, it marked the passing of the area's Charedi old guard.
Last month, Rabbi Pinchas Roberts, the presiding rabbi of another of the original strictly Orthodox settlements in north-west London, the Hendon Adath Yisroel, retired without fanfare after close to half-a-century in charge. So far, no successor is in sight.
"It's left a leadership vacuum," said one younger member of the shtibl belt. "No one has stepped up to the plate, although people are trying. But there's not a dominant figure."
Rabbis Halpern and Roberts had zealously protected the Union's north-west borders. When the London Beth Din established the North-West London Eruv in 2003, the Union conservatives declared the innovation invalid and told their flock to avoid using it.
Rabbi Halpern has been succeeded in his own synagogue by his son, Moshe. But it was another son, Chaim, who was long seen as the heir apparent and regarded as the most charismatic Charedi leader in town. He might even have emerged with greater kudos than his father, had not scandal engulfed him in 2012 over allegations about his counselling sessions for married women. Though protesting his innocence, he resigned his position on the Union rabbinate. A police investigation resulted in no charges.
The episode wounded him and the spell of the Halpern clan was broken. Moreover, the Union's position is felt to be generally on the wane in Golders Green, while the Federation, keen to reassert its presence, would be only too happy to welcome new recruits.
So who could be the top tallit in future? The recent launch of a rabbinical helpline by Rabbi Yisroel Meir Greenberg, head of the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash has been seen as a sign of broader ambitions. Meanwhile, new shtibls pop up every so often. Individual rabbis may be happy to operate as masters of their houses without any alpha-rabbis blowing a louder shofar. It is possible we may not see the like of Reb Elchonon again.

Borough Park Orthodox Jewish Man Moses Braunstein Accused of Endangerment, Child Luring

BROOKLYN - A Borough Park man is accused of luring young men with inappropriate intentions. 

According to police sources, 28-year-old Moses Braunstein was approaching teenage boys in the community and telling them he could help enlarge their private parts. 

Sources say Braunstein was setting up appointments for the men he spoke with. 

Braunstein faces a number of charges, including attempted luring of a child, acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17 and disseminating indecent material to a minor. He has been released from custody. 

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Video Rav Chaim Kanievsky on Molester

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Our friend Charlie is being Mesader Kedushin at a Chasuna this week in GG

Yitzchok Kaufman has decided to have Chaim Halpern be mesader kiddushin at his daughter's upcoming wedding. By doing so, he is playing a critical role in rehabilitating a man who has destroyed the moral fabric of Golders Green and brought about the greatest Chillul Hashem and Bizoyon Harabonus our city has experienced in recent decades.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

15 Hasidic Jews From One Family Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges

The FBI made numerous arrests in New York City, Orange County and Monsey Thursday involving an apparent long-term mortgage and welfare fraud case.

An extended family and several business associates were indicted on federal charges Thursday in a rich man, poor man mortgage and welfare fraud scheme that authorities say netted more than $20 million.

Federal agents arrested 13 people in pre-dawn raids in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Kiryas Joel and Monroe in Orange County, and Manhattan. Those charged include a Monsey resident who allegedly provided faulty real estate appraisals as part of the fraud. Two more people indicted are expected to surrender Thursday, authorities said.

"The defendants involved alternately played the parts of prince and pauper depending on which scam was being perpetrated," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference in White Plains. "There's a lot of fraud here and shell games... The fraud was complex and they were fairly organized."
He said the investigation is continuing.

Using falsified documents and concealed identities, the group obtained $20 million in mortgages and other loans from banks and financial institutions, according to the 21-count federal indictment unsealed Thursday morning.

Bharara said some of the defendants doubled dipped, claiming to be rich while obtaining million dollar loans and mortgages and then pleading poverty – even homelessness – to get welfare payments and social services.

They used the money to pay credit card debts, mortgages, an on other real estate projects, and to enrich themselves and their families, authorities said. They also provided charity to residents of Brooklyn, Monroe and Kiryas Joel.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Rabbi Accused of Secretly Recording Women Showering at Synagogue

A rabbi at a prominent D.C. synagogue is accused of secretly recording women in showers.

A witness said Freundel installed a hidden camera inside the women’s showers at Georgetown’s Kesher Israel Orthodox synagogue, according to the police report. A camera and recorder were disguised as a clock radio.

The showers are used for ritual cleansing.

"Upon receiving information regarding potentially inappropriate activity, the board of directors quickly alerted the appropriate officials," the synagogue's board said in a statement. "Throughout the investigation, we cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so."

Police arrested 62-year-old Dr. Barry Freundel at his home Tuesday morning after raiding it and seizing computer equipment. He is charged with voyeurism.

The synagogue's board of directors suspended him without pay after his arrest.

Freundel has been the spiritual leader of the synagogue for 25 years. He is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland and an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School. He is also teaching as an associate professor in the philosophy and religious studies department at Towson University this semester.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ליצן ליצנות - Man hits back at Jewish gender-segregating posters in Stamford Hill with video campaign


Finsbury Park resident Sam Aldersly has hit back after reading about the controversy surrounding posters in Stamford Hill, telling women which side of the road to walk on during a Jewish religious parade, in a unique way.
The 26-year-old filmmaker printed his own posters with the words “Women please feel free to walk wherever you want…it’s 2014” and pinned them around the Stamford Hill area.
He then filmed a video, shared on Youtube, detailing the reactions of several orthodox Jewish men and children, looking around and then taking the posters down.
Sam said: “It was quite interesting as they were taking them down pretty quickly. They were mainly men but there was a woman who took one down that I wasn’t quick enough to capture on camera.
“I think they were taking them down definitely for other reasons rather than litter. They were reading and looked angry afterwards while walking down the street.”
Sam said he put the posters up mainly to send a message.
He said: “I’m not a massive fan of religion in the first place because it has topics that class woman as second class citizens. I think even separating genders is a bad thing.”
Sam added that it took “literally minutes” for 30 of his posters to be taken down.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

UPDATE: Man arrested over alleged Stamford Hill child rape

UPDATE  -  17/09/2014   From:

Two men have now been arrested in Stamford Hill following allegations that a child was raped on Sunday morning.
The victim, believed to be an 11-year old boy, was attacked in Old Hill Street.

Later that day, police officers from Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command arrested a 42-year old man on suspicion of rape. He was bailed to return in mid-October.

On Tuesday, a 22 year old man was also arrested, also on suspicion of rape, and by Wednesday afternoon he was still in custody.

Supt. Andy Walker of Hackney Police said: “These sorts of offences are thankfully very rare in this area, but they are particularly upsetting incidents and I understand the effect this may have on the people of Stamford Hill.”

He added: “Detectives from our specialist crime teams are investigating and you will see extra police patrols in the area over the next few days.”

A spokesman for community patrol group Shomrim reminded parents to advise their children never to accept food or gifts from a stranger, even if they are friendly and do not look suspicious.

Hackney Police are investigating an allegation of sexual assault against a child on Sunday in Oldhill Street, Stamford Hill.

A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of rape yesterday and remains in custody at an east London police station.

Detectives from the Met’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command (SOECA) are involved in the investigation.


They are still keeping it on the down low. So far they have managed to keep it out of the press, even the Jewish Chronicle. 

The only places to report the assault that occurred on Sunday morning, on a street in Stamford Hill, is a Jewish web site which is all in Hebrew and a blog by a Brooklyn (New York) based progressive Rabbi named Nuchem Rosenberg.   More.........

Monday, 15 September 2014

Stamford Hill: Eleven Year Old Satmar Boy Brutally Molested On Way To "Cheider" on Oldhill Street

 (צילום: נתי שוחט / פלאש 90)

זעזוע בקהילה החרדית: מי פגע באכזריות בילד חסידי

הקהילה החרדית בלונדון סוערת לאחר שילד בן 11 מקהילת סאטמר הגיע לחיידר כשהוא ממרר בבכי ובהלם כבד. לדברי הילד, כשהיה בדרכו לת"ת התבקש על ידי אדם זר להיכנס לביתו, שם הוא עבר במשך 20 דקות מסכת של התעללות קשה ואכזרית. אחד התושבים: "לא ייתכן שנשמות ילדינו יהיו הפקר" 

ילד כבן 11 מקהילת סאטמר עבר התעללות קשה הבוקר (ראשון) על ידי אדם זר בשכונת סטמפורד היל שבלונדון. כך לפחות טוענים הילד ואנשים בקהילה. 
הסיפור החל כאשר הילד הגיע לתלמוד תורה של החסידות בשכונת סטמפורד היל כשהוא בוכה ושרוי בהלם כבד. לאחר שהמורים ניסו לתהות מדוע אינו נרגע, גולל הילד הקטן סיפור מזעזע.
לדברי הילד, כשהיה בדרכו לחיידר התבקש על ידי אדם זר שאינו יהודי המתגורר ברחוב "הולדהיל סטריט" בשכונת סטמפורד היל להיכנס לביתו, שם לטענת הילד הוא עבר במשך 20 דקות מסכת של התעללות קשה ואכזרית.
הילד, שהגיע לחיידר באיחור, סיפר את אשר נעשה עמו ובעקבות כך הוזעקו חוקרי המשטרה למקום זאת בכדי לחקור את הילד.
המקרה החריג והנורא הפך לשיחת היום בשכונה החרדית כאשר המלמדים בתלמוד תורה, וכן ההורים, הזהירו את ילדיהם לבל יתקרבו לאנשים מבוגרים שאינם מכירים.
"מדובר במקרה קשה במיוחד כאשר אדם שאינו יהודי בוחר לפגוע בילד חסידי תמים וטהור", אומר ל"כיכר השבת" אחד התושבים המזועזעים. לדבריו, "אנשי השכונה מקווים שהמשטרה תחקור את הנושא לעומק ותביא את האשם לדין. לא ייתכן שנשמות ילדינו יהיו חלילה הפקר", אומר התושב.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Stamford Hill: Chaim Yitzchok Cohen director of the Beis Menachem arrested For Alleged Money Laundering Drug Scheme

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Two men have been arrested in London by police investigating the sale of millions of pounds worth of counterfeit medicines.
The Met says people around the world have paid around twelve million pounds for things like fake slimming and anti-smoking pills from more than 400 websites since March 2012.
Search warrants were executed from 6am this morning at seven addresses in Barnet, Hackney and Watford, one of which is a community centre. 
Detectives arrested two men in Barnet and Hackney this morning, believing they form the money-laundering arm of a criminal franchise spanning Europe. It is believed that money was laundered through the bank accounts of a local charity.
Evidence including accounts books, trading documents and computers were recovered from the addresses. Approximately £30,000 cash was also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act. 
At the same time, their counterparts in Austria were also executing warrants in relation to the supply of the fake medicines.

It is believed that victims came from as far afield as Australia, but most are from within Europe.
Since September 2012, officers from Austria, the UK, Spain and France, working together with Europol, have seized around 300,000 of the illegal pills en route to various countries.

Evidence suggests that the drugs have been made in Asia and dispatched from Austria and other European countries.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Manson, of the MPS Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime Command said: "Today’s operation with our counterparts in Austria and Europol has been about taking down a highly organised crime group who make an incredible amount of money by selling potentially harmful drugs to unsuspecting members of the public, some of whom are in the UK.

"These so-called medicines are peddled on very professional looking websites which feature convincing medical advice, but the people behind them have no medical training. When you buy a product from these websites, you have no idea what concoctions you are actually getting or the conditions in which they have been made. Drugs sold on such websites frequently contain harmful ingredients and have been made in unhygienic conditions.

"The criminals we are targeting prey on people who want medicine quickly, cheaply and discreetly. They don’t care if those people live or die as result of taking the drugs. They just care about the money."
לונדון: נעצרו חרדים בפרשת זיוף תרופות
משטרת לונדון בשיתוף האינטרפול, פשטה הבוקר על מבנה השייך לפלג המשיחי בתנועת חב"ד שבשכונת סטנפורד היל, ומנהלי המקום - רב ובנו - נעצרו. חשוד נוסף נמלט ככל הנראה לישראל. במרכז הפרשה הנחקרת כבר שנתיים, מכירת תרופות מזויפות ומסכנות חיים ברחבי אירופה. החשד: המרכז שימש זרוע ביצועית להלבנת הרווחים
טלי פרקשפורסם:  01.09.14 , 21:09
האם "בית משיח" בלונדון אחראי להלבנת רווחים מזיוף תרופות? משטרת לונדון, בשיתוף האינטרפול, פשטה הבוקר על מבנה השייך לפלג המשיחי בתנועת חב"ד שבשכונת סטנפורד היל. במהלך הפשיטה עוכבו לחקירה אחד ממנהלי המקום, הרב ח"י כהן ובנו.

תושבים המתגוררים בשכונה, מסרו ל-ynet כי במהלך הפשיטה הוחרמו מחשבים ומסמכים שהוחזקו בבית חב"ד, כמו גם בביתו הפרטי של הרב כהן. בקהילה סבורים כי החשוד המרכזי שבעתיו הוכרזה הפשיטה, נמלט ביממה האחרונה לישראל.

בהודעה שפרסמה משטרת לונדון בעקבות הפשיטה הבוקר (ב'), נמסר כי המעצר ברחוב הולדהיל שבשכונה והחרמת המסמכים, הם חלק מחקירה נרחבת שעורכות משטרת לונדון והאינטרפול, שבמרכזה ככל הנראה פרשייה רחבת זרועות של מכירת תרופות מזויפות ומסכנות חיים ברחבי אירופה.

מכירה ב-400 אתרים ברחבי הרשת
על פי הצהרת המשטרה, החסידים שנעצרו היום מהווים, כך על פי החשד, "זרוע ביצועית" אשר שימשה את חברי הכנופיה להלבנת הרווחים שהצטברו ממכירת התרופות המזוייפות. אלו כללו, בין היתר, תרופות לטיפול באין אונות, לגמילה מעישון וגלולות להרזיה.

לדברי המשטרה, הצוות חוקר את הפרשה כבר מאז שנת 2012, וכולל חוקרים במספר רב של מדינות - בין היתר באוסטריה, ספרד וצרפת. לדבריהם נתפסו עד כה 300 אלף כדורים שהוחזקו בידי חברי הכנופיה, שפעלה דרך למעלה מ-400 אתרי קניות ברחבי הרשת.

טים מנסון, חוקר המחלקה המיחודת מטעם משטרת לונדון לפשיעה מאורגנת, ציין כי מדובר בקבוצה מאורגנת מאוד "שהצליחה לשלשל לכיסה סכומים מדהימים של כסף, על ידי מכירת תרופות העלולות להזיק לנוטלים אותן". לדברי מנסון, חלק מהקורבנות הם תושבי בריטניה עצמה.

משטרת לונדון מסרה עוד כי החיפושים בוצעו בשבע כתובות ברחבי העיר, ונתפסה כמות רבה של ספרי חשבונות וכן 33 אלף ליש"ט - רווחים ממכירת התרופות המזויפות, כך על פי החשד.

הלם בקהילה המקומית
בפשיטה הבוקר השתתפו גם חרדים המשתייכים לארגון "השומרים" המקומי, העובד בשיתוף פעולה עם משטרת לונדון בשמירה ואבטחה
באזורים יהודיים בעיר.

הקהילה החרדית בלונדון הוכתה בהלם נוכח המעצרים. בחב"ד המקומית מיהרו להתנער מן העצורים ולהדגיש שוב ושוב, כי הם שייכים לפלג המשיחי בתנועה, ואינם מייצגים את חסידות חב"ד או דרכה. גורם בקהילת חב"ד המקומית מסר ל-ynet כי ההשערה הרווחת בקהילה היא שהרב ובנו התפתו דרך אדם שלישי, ששכנע אותם לעשות זאת.

"זו פשוט הדרך הכי קלה לאסוף תרומות", אומר גורם מתוך הקהילה החב"דית המקומית. "בטח יותר קלה מאשר ללכת ולקבץ תרומות, שכנראה לא היו רבות. וכשאין לך תורמים או אהדה ציבורית גדולה, זה כסף קל".

Friday, 29 August 2014

Samford Hill: Two rivals Hasidic gangs the ‘SS’ –Stamford Soldiers’ and the “KT’s” – ‘Kaiser Thieves’

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Please note that this article has now been removed by as it was considered offensive to many people. 

We apologise that this piece was ever made live on our site and will endeavour to never let articles such as this be present in our all inclusive and welcoming online community.

Women Make Waves, and the entire team thereof, in no way condone racist or hateful attitudes and seek to be an active part of the solution against these outdated and atrocious attitudes.

We welcome your feedback and thank everyone who contacted us about this piece.

Gang warfare with a twist
Sadly for the weary residents in the London borough of Hackney, youth gangs are a depressingly constant scourge of life in one of the country’s most deprived areas. Despite a robust campaign administered through a concerted effort of ministers and community leaders – and one which included another gun and knife amnesty – all efforts have dismally proved futile.   The assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir Alasdair Brinely, was compelled to confirm the worryingly sharp increase in gang activity in recent years as anecdotal tales were soon surpassed by mounting concrete evidence. The disturbing trends in the growth of youth gangs in some major cities and towns have alarmed politicians and the nation alike, with calls for even more stringent measures to extinguish the escalating violence. Unfortunately, because gang violence is such a perennial hazard for society they rarely warrant front page news. However, there is something shockingly unusual about the latest crop of youth gangs that have proliferated in the fertile ground of Hackney and are sending shockwaves throughout the nation.

Typically, gangs manifest their own unique signature dress code which invariably involve hoods and trainers and some inimitable feature, such as the thick brightly colored rubber bands worn below the knees that denote hierarchy in the  ‘BOB’S’ – the Band of Brothers – a notorious Sheffield based outfit that has terrorized the city for the past five years. Indeed, the gangs that have emerged from Hackney, particularly from Clapton, too have their own distinctive sartorial style which appears rather incongruous to the eye. Rather than blandly imitating the latest fashion trend, these gangs have opted for a more ‘traditional’ and unquestioningly conservative image: a plain black coat and trousers, a plain black fedora hat complete with the obligatory twirls. And not through preference have they chosen their distinguishing attire but rather through strict observance of their orthodox, Hasidic strand of Judaism! Incredible though it may sound, these new youth gangs that have emerged from Clapton are composed of authentic Hasidic Jewish youths.

When news of Hasidic youth gangs marauding on the mean streets of Clapton and surrounding neighborhoods first began to circulate, they were met with utter disbelief and contempt from the Jewish communities and anti-racist campaigners.  The local synagogue based in Stamford Hill, issued a vociferous denial in a statement posted on their website, denouncing the rumors as ‘malicious’,  ‘scandalous’ and ‘a vicious affront to vilify us one again”. Even when the first grainy image captured on CCTV appeared, that showed a couple of seemingly solemn looking Hasidic youths smashing the window of a local corner shop; it was dismissed as a ferocious hoax. Indeed, there was an air of stupendous surrealism in watching these images that seem ludicrously out of kilter with expectations of reality, and which gives proof to that seemingly strange scientific axiom that given enough time, anything is possible. Regrettably, a proliferation of images soon appeared that could no longer be denied by either the Jewish community or the police who too were initially dismissive. One particular image captured by a middle-aged couple on their mobile phones as they cowered behind their cars caused a sensation when first broadcast on the internet and then on local news channels.  The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, had just left the local leisure centre when they heard an almighty crash coming from nearby. With great trepidation they walked towards where the noise was coming from, the parking lot of a recently closed down pet shop, where they were met with an astonishing sight – a dozen or so Hasidic youths dressed in their traditional  attire but viciously hurling bottles and punches and wielding knives.

Stunned by the surreal sight before them and increasingly frightened by the ferocity of the violence witnessed by their very eyes; nonetheless, they were calmly determined to carry out their civic duty and started to record the scenes while they waited for the police to arrive. The local police have since confirmed that the fight was between two rivals Hasidic gangs who have dubbed themselves the ‘SS’ –Stamford Soldiers’ and the “KT’s” – ‘Kaiser Thieves’ over disputed territorial claims. Furthermore, an experienced police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has also confirmed that they had been aware of the emergence of these Hasidic gangs  ‘for some time now’ but were ‘warned to keep this out of the public domain’ for fear of stirring racial tensions.
The sight of the traditionally attired Hasidic youths engaged in mindless criminality including robbery and drug dealing, does appear initially farcical.  However, there was nothing funny for Natalie Clarkson, a 26yrold  local Clapton resident,  who was mugged by a couple members of the increasingly notorious ‘SS’ as she walked home from work one late afternoon. It started out as an ordinary day for Natalie after finishing work at the local council where she is employed as ‘cohesive community advisor’.  She was stunned when a trio of the gang suddenly appeared from nowhere and surrounded her as she reached the corner of her street; still visibly shaken by her traumatic ordeal and fighting back tears, Natalie recounts that fateful day:
“At first I wasn’t scared…I mean I had heard the rumours of these so- called Jewish gangs, but to tell you the truth I didn’t believe it.  I mean… I know there are lots of racists, you know …anti-Semitic people round here, so when I walked passed them and they just look like your normal orthodox type, I wasn’t scared at all. But then as soon as I walked past, they all stood up and surrounded me very quickly, and demanded that I give him my money… at first I was stunned and thought that perhaps it was just a prank, but then one of them pulled out a knife and immediately, I remembered the stories I’d heard… Two of them grabbed my bag; I didn’t fight back- I thought I was going to die.

Unlike many other victims of these gangs, Natalie was fortunate in that she was not physically harmed, but she is still reeling from the psychological trauma of her ordeal. After carrying out their cowardly attack, these young thugs nonchalantly sauntered away whilst still sniggering and hurling misogynist abuse at her as she stood paralyzed through fear. Weeks after the event, Natalie is still too afraid to venture outside unaccompanied:
“I’m still in shock, I mean you always got to watch your back living in a place like Hackney, but usually you can identify the kinds of people that will probably mug you or worse, but those orthodox Jews, I mean, they’re not the kind of people that normally do this type of thing..I still can’t believe it myself…it was like you were transported to a parallel universe or something like that. What is the world coming to?

Natalie’s ordeal and her expression of shock and disbelief over the seemingly fantastical notion of Hasidic Jewish youth gangs is echoed by many – Jewish and non Jewish alike-  who are astounded by the recent developments in Hackney. The incredulous news about Hasidic youth gangs first circulated in and around Hackney, specifically the area of Stamford Hill where there is a large and visible presence of the long standing Hasidic community. Those aforementioned footages accompanied by witness reports, and by victims accounts have gradually began to spread through to the national press. The coverage has even reached a perplexed global audience. The impact on the wider Jewish communities in Britain has been particularly traumatic and distressful, with many distinguished Jewish figures engaged in often heated and frustrating debates as to the causes of these appalling crimes that have ensnared their youth.

A prominent member of the Stamford synagogue, Dr Mikhail Karshan, shakes his head visibly and mirrors the sadness of the local Hasidic community and even optimistically vows to ‘work strenuously without cease with families, schools and other agencies to break down this cycle of violence before it becomes endemic’, adding:
this is unbelievable what is happening, we have always bought our children to be respectful and obedient, but now it seems that we are losing control, there is so much peer pressure that it is difficult to stand out as different from the norm, so they start behaving as other young people around here
Pointing out the devastating impact of the recent recession on youth unemployment, and the frightening loss of jobs impending, Dr Karshan laments the lack of employment opportunities for young people as well as the closures of youth clubs in recent times:
“It’s hard for the young people these days, there is simply no work for them, and there is nowhere for them to go, of course boredom is going to cause them to find some outlet for their frustrations. Of course I’m not excusing these thugs, but it is very hard for young people these days’ and urges the local community “we must work together, and not just the Jewish communities but all members of the community here in Hackney”

As the descendent of Polish Jews that fled from Nazi Germany, Dr Karshan is sadly all too familiar with experiences of anti-Semitic racism and acknowledges that ‘this is very bad for our people’.  And with depressing accuracy, racial tensions have indeed manifested. The disturbing developments in youth gangs have perhaps, unsurprisingly, ratcheted up the racial tensions which have always been skimming under the surfaces in this hugely diverse community. Already ‘retaliations’ against Jewish business have already started, with a kosher butcher store vandalized during a busy Thursday afternoon whilst people uncaringly walked by; and even more disturbingly, an innocent Hasidic schoolboy was ambushed as he walked home and beaten severely by a group of his fellow schoolmates hurling anti-Semitic abuse.

Tensions have certainly reached fever pitch in this troubled borough as hearsay, half-truths and truths spread like the proverbial wildfire. There is a visible and heavy police presence around certain hotspots and the local police have already installed a curfew to prevent gangs congregating to exact retribution. The police chief has strongly urged residents to stay ‘calm’ and warned both the gangs and those thinking of so- called ‘revenge attacks’  of severe penalties and urged community leaders on all sides to ‘open a dialogue to combat this living nightmare as soon as humanely possible’.  Natalie Clarkson understands, and emphasizes the growing hostility towards the Jewish communities, warning ominously:
It’s terrible, I mean, my job is to ensure there is understanding of different cultural needs and to help people of different ethnic and cultural groups work together, but after what happened to me…I can’t help being afraid of those Jews and I… can’t help it but… I do find them all quite sinister now, in their identical clothing and funny hair.