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Jewish cultural centre targeted by ultra-Orthodox zealots

Jewish cultural centre targeted by ultra-Orthodox zealots

Fanatical London rabbi, Aaron Bassous, above, is one of 25 ultra-Orthodox leaders who have signed a letter calling on their congregations to boycott a Jewish cultural centre because it held a gay-themed week of events and provides a meeting space for gay Jewish parents.

Bassous, head of a Sephardi congregation in Golders Green, was in the news earlier this year when he called for the sacking of “dangerous” rabbi Joseph Dweck who is anything but homophobic.

The letter, according to the Guardian, has been circulated to synagogues in north-west London saying certain activities at JW3:

Promote a way of life which is in total contradiction to Orthodox Judaism and halacha [Jewish law]. Members of our community should distance themselves fully from JW3, its activities and services, and refrain from visiting JW3 even for recreational purposes only.

JW3, which opened four years ago, aims to:

Transform the Jewish landscape in London by helping to create a vibrant, diverse and proud community, inspired by and engaged in Jewish arts, culture and community.

By the end of the year, JW3 – which has kosher restaurant, Zest, serving contemporary Middle Eastern food – will have hosted about 7,000 events and activities, including film screenings, Hebrew classes, book festivals, an ice rink, antenatal classes, exercise sessions and youth groups.

The vindictive rabbis are also reportedly trying to get the restaurant’s kosher licence revoked by putting pressure on the Sephardi Kashrut Authority.

In March, JW3 hosted a week of events, under the umbrella of GayW3, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act , which decriminalised gay sex. At the time, a banner advertising the GayW3 events, was defaced with the word “shame”.

In July, a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis called for a boycott of the centre in protest at:

A programme of activities that in our view promotes a way of life which is in total contradiction to Orthodox Judaism.

Their letter cited a passage of the Torah:

A man who lies with a male as one would with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon themselves.

Last week, the rabbis repeated their call for a boycott in a second letter, believed to be prompted by an event to be held on Sunday by Imahot v’Avot, an organisation for LGBT Jewish families. The event is a celebration of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which begins on 12 December, with music and crafts for young children.

Said Raymond Simonson, above, JW3’s Chief Executive.

JW3 is cross communal – it reaches every aspect of the Jewish community and outside the Jewish community. We work hard to build relationships with diverse groups and individuals. We’re trying to hold up a Jewish lens to the 21st century, and in particular a British-Jewish lens. And also we’re holding a 21st-century lens to Jewish life.

Simonson said JW3 had resisted pressure to cancel the event, saying the rabbis who signed the letter “represent just a very small, specific bit of the Jewish community”. The centre had received “overflowing support” from across the Jewish community, including from some Orthodox rabbis, he added.

The vast majority of British-Jewish communal leadership want to create tolerant spaces for people of all different backgrounds. It’s a changing world and we want to be open and inclusive – and we believe we’re reflecting mainstream Jewish opinion.

Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, was unavailable for comment, but after the GayW3 poster was defaced in March, he said homophobia was unacceptable and:

We must have zero tolerance for it.

Laura Janner-Klausner, the senior rabbi to Reform Judaism, said:

The Jewish community should be proud that we are a welcoming and inclusive place for LGBT individuals. The signatories of this latest letter do not appear to represent the majority of mainstream British Jewry.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

15 responses to “Jewish cultural centre targeted by ultra-Orthodox zealots”

  1. L.Long says:

    I agree persecute those gay liberals as often as you can! The sooner they realize what aholes you are, and their dimwitted religion is BS, the sooner they will leave it!!! And hopefully realize ALL religions are BS!

  2. Frank says:

    This is not going to end well. Take the totally inflexible mind set of fanatics like Aaron Bassous and put it in view of muslim counterparts and see what happens. If you cannot guess I will tell you. All out bloody war in the Middle East with indiscriminate use of the most destructive weapons every devised by mankind. The Holy Land (what a fucking misnomer that is) and the rest of the Middle East will be reduced to cinders. And they all ache for this to happen so that they can reside in eternal paradise looking down on their enemies burning in hell. Well at this rate they are all going to burn in hell because the hell will come to them before they can draw their last breaths on earth as the neuclear holocaust is unleashed. Maybe then those remaining will treat religion as the eveil destructive power it really is.

  3. Club Secretary says:

    @Frank says:
    Mon 4 Dec 2017 at 1:48 pm

    “The Holy Land (what a fucking misnomer that is)”

    Just misspelled, Holey Land, a land having holes, aka craters

  4. Angela_K says:

    For a race based religion that has suffered from intolerance and fascism, they do a good job of doing the same to others.

  5. Lon says:

    halacha cha cha cha cha inka dinka doo!

  6. Broga says:

    Holding extreme religious views and attacking those with different opinions is a great way for the low lives of society to achieve status and cash. In what work, requiring knowledge, skill and objective judgement, except religion, could these embarrassing creeps achieve any success?

    PS: perhaps. looking at the current bunch running the country, politics.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Isn’t it strange how terrified of culture the religious tend to be. The Brethren used to rail against the television (“Devil’s Vision”); and theatres, cinemas, ballet and opera were strictly out of bounds. After school, they never read a novel. Their excuse was that studying God’s Word was so important that these other things were a distraction, but the reason was that ideas are dangerous!

  8. RussellW says:

    Ah, the eternal problem of religiots, whether or not to obey the letter of “God’s Law” even if that law is a barbarous Bronze Age relic.

    More proof that our civilisation is definitely not Judeo-Christian.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    @ barriejohn
    They really don’t like ideas, do they?

    And how ironic that they deplore the power of human imagination so much. I mean, just how much imagination must it have taken to come up with the concepts of a virgin birth; turning water into wine; healing incurables such as lepers, the blind, and the deaf and dumb; restoring the odd severed ear; knowing precisely where to cast nets to catch fish without even looking; walking on water; driving demons into innocent pigs; feeding 5,000 people with a few scraps of food; raising dead people from, well, the dead; and, of course, coming back to life yourself after being nailed to a cross for a while. And then to cap it all, ascend into a Disneyland in the sky where you can live for eternity in absolute bliss with dad. (Unless, of course, you’re being burned in perpetuity in a pit of fire for transgressing one for dad’s little rules.)

    On top of which, there are angels, devils, burning bushes and the entire plethora of OT ‘miracles’ that I haven’t even begun to tap into.

    I’d say they must have been smoking some pretty good iron-age weed to have come up with that list. Or maybe, just maybe, they made the whole effing thing up. What do you reckon?

  10. barriejohn says:

    AC: You’re not the first one to attribute some of these fantasies to the use of “substances”, though mythology can be very fanciful in any case. If they stopped to think for just one minute then they’d see that none of it is literally true, but that’s not allowed. Speaking from my own experience, the life of an evangelical Christian is just meetings, meetings, meetings, every night and all weekend where possible,and even during their holidays they have conventions to attend. You can see what’s going on all right.

  11. RussellW says:

    barriejohn

    Agreed, I don’t think that “substances” are necessary for the development of religious fantasies, although some religious traditions are enthusiastic users of some sort of juice.
    The technique is simple, brainwashing, brainwashing and more brainwashing.The clergy and other scam artists, were the world’s first applied psychologists.

    I’d recommend the book “Why we believe in God/gods”.

  12. StephenJP says:

    And in addition to brainwashing, total immersion in church-based activities, to make sure that nobody has the time to think or read about, or look at, anything else. I used to know a bloke who was a reader at a local evangelical CofE church: intelligent, well-spoken, with a senior job at a London accountancy firm. Commuting to and from Charing Cross, I never saw him read anything but the Bible. I gave up trying to make small talk with him when it became clear that his idea of small talk was discussing the drearier passages of Jeremiah!

    Still, I understand that none of his four children go anywhere near church now they’re grown up. The spell is weakening!

  13. RussellW says:

    Yes, total immersion is another tactic. That’s why atheists or even people who follow other religions are an existential threat to organised religion.

  14. Cali Ron says:

    Angela K : Historically persecuted groups are usually the most intolerant when they assimilate towards whatever new group becomes the new target of intolerance. Striving for acceptance so they can have their turn at hatred. Rarely do immigrant groups embrace the next wave of new immigrants. I’d call that human nature, but it sure makes us humans look inhumane.

  15. L.Long says:

    What surprises me is that people listen to these dimwitted idiots that believe in a gawd that is SSSssOOOoo stOOpid that it thinks a piece of string is the same as a home!!!

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