Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Kislev 5765 - December 8, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Growing Kehilla Activities Reported at UOHC Council Meeting

by UOHC Staff

Delegates representing the constituent shuls of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) gathered at a new venue last Sunday for the twice-yearly Council meeting.

The meeting at the Jewish Day Centre in Stamford Hill was chaired by UOHC President Rabbi Dovid Frand, who presented a report on kehilla activities over the last half-year. He reported on negotiations between the Social Affairs Committee and Jewish Care regarding arrangements for increased use of the Centre for UOHC activities, beginning with the Kollel Ba'alei Battim due to open in the near future, as well as Kedassia supervision of the kitchen facilities.

The meeting heard reports on two important UOHC-sponsored community projects. The first was a report on the regulation and accreditation of sofrim and dealers in sifrei Torah, tefillin and mezuzas. Rabbi Aryeh Weisz, rov of Vishnitz Beis Hamedrash who has been granted special responsibilities in this area by the UOHC Vaad Horabonim, reported on the well-attended fortnightly shiurim for sofrim on hilchos stam and the positive effect this has already had. However, he expressed concern at the situation in the UK with regard to unqualified or inexperienced sofrim, and of importers selling inferior and questionable sifrei Torah, tefillin and mezuzas, a problem that has been greatly reduced in the Orthodox centers in Eretz Yisroel and the USA in recent years. HaRav Weisz called on kehilla askonim to assist the rabbonim in setting up similar systems of accreditation to those in Eretz Yisroel. This call was supported by Rabbi D. Frand, who promised kehilla support in this matter.

The second presentation was made by Rabbi Boruch Leib Rabinowitz, rov of Biala Beis Hamedrash and an active member of the Chinuchline panel. Rabbi Rabinowitz described the important issues that Chinuchline addresses and reported on some of the issues regularly dealt with in calls from parents, teachers, young people and even children. Fortunately, Rabbi Rabinowitz reported, in many cases great improvements result from these anonymous telephone discussions, which in fact often lead on to meetings with those involved in a dedicated effort to resolve problems. He appealed for community help in sponsorship of private tuition for children experiencing difficulties in their education, as well as for provision of work opportunities for members of the community within a safe environment.

Rabbi Frand reported on the UOHC's active involvement in the establishment of the Calculu Business Advice Service providing basic training for members of the community in basic business skills.

Increased kehilla activities have resulted in a number of new appointments. Mr. Ahron Mordechai Grunwald has been appointed UOHC secretary, with Mr. Avrohom Klein now devoting his efforts to fundraising to cover the growing budget of Beis Brucha Mother & Baby Home which has a substantial annual deficit, despite an increase in UOHC subsidies. Mr. Yisroel Yaakov Frankel has been appointed deputy administrator of Kedassia.

The UOHC continues to be active in lobbying against unsuitable advertising displays in frum neighborhoods. One leading advertising company has submitted its material to the UOHC for approval before display.

A renovation program at Beis Brucha together with the expansion of a number of facilities has been successfully completed and Mr. M. Surkis was appointed Treasurer of the enlarged Home. A new Kehilla Services subcommittee is being formed to steer the development of new kehilla projects currently in the pipeline.

Rabbi Frand also reported on important recent meetings with Northwest London UOHC delegates, in an effort to strengthen kehilla unity and involvement in the NW London community. Further meetings are planned for the near future and activities at the kehilla office in Golders Green continue to increase. Rabbi Frand referred to ongoing involvement in plans for community housing in North and Northwest London, as well as interest in plans for a new Orthodox community in Milton Keynes.

Mr. M. Hochauser, Chairman of Kedassia, presented the annual financial statement and commented on its implications, particularly the support granted to community projects. Mr. Hochauser also commented on difficulties experienced in shechita, often due to the practices of over-zealous animal health inspectors etc. and resulting in considerable financial loss. He reported the appointment of Dr. Jeremy Meyer as Kedassia Food Technologist, working with the UOHC rabbonim and mashgichim to provide technical support and research in connection with food processing so as to facilitate the highest standards of kashrus.

UOHC Vice President Mr. J. H. Lobenstein reported on the activities of the External Affairs Committee, particularly referring to negotiations with the Home Office on immigration issues affecting yeshiva and seminary students studying in England. The UOHC Education Committee is holding a meeting with representatives of the local institutions involved to discuss new government legislation and its implications. Mr. Lobenstein also reported on the activities of Shechita UK, the representative body of British Jewry on issues related to shechita and also discussed the effect a recent anti- shechita film by American animal rights campaigners may have on the forthcoming government report on shechita. The Committee is also involved in combating a growing anti-shechita campaign in Ireland.

The vice-president also referred to a recent UOHC meeting with the Minister of Education to discuss issues of concern regarding government interference in orthodox Jewish schools and particularly the legal requirement that religious state- aided schools unable to fill school places with members of their own faith should accept members of other faiths. The Minister was sympathetic and suggested setting-up a liaison committee to resolve issues of concern to the orthodox Jewish community.

Mr. Refoel Bergman, Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee, reported the considerable success of the membership campaign, which is strongly supported by mara de'asra HaRav Efrayim Padwa. He also referred to strong UOHC representation on a Working Party regarding regulations related to coroners and to burials, demonstrating government recognition of the significance of the Orthodox community.

The meeting concluded with praise for the dedicated efforts of NW London askonim in the ongoing search for a suitable hall for communal simchas and functions, in which some progress has already been made.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.