Members of Orthodox Jewish community ‘given bespoke advice’ claiming large weddings are ‘legitimate’

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community are using ‘bespoke legal advice’ in a bid to get round Covid restrictions on weddings, a lawyer has claimed.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said couples were being offered advice suggesting ‘any number of people’ can attend celebrations if they have a ‘prayer element’ – something he criticised.

The claims, which come amid the publication of a study into an unnamed London ultra-Orthodox community which revealed a high number of Covid cases, follow a police raid on a 150-strong Jewish wedding celebration last month.

The event took place at a school in the north London area of Stamford Hill – which is part of a large strictly Orthodox Jewish community. 

Under current lockdown rules, weddings are banned unless there is an ‘exceptional circumstance’, with such events limited to a maximum of six people.

However Government guidance on communal worship says limits on the number of people should be decided on ‘the basis of capacity’.

Mr Wagner, who is himself Jewish and has recently been reviewing Covid rules on social media, told the BBC that the ‘bespoke’ legal advice given to Orthodox Jewish couples regarding weddings ‘hit the wrong tone’. 

The claims come after a police raid on a 150-strong Jewish wedding celebration last month. Pictured: Police during the raid

The claims come after a police raid on a 150-strong Jewish wedding celebration last month. Pictured: Police during the raid

The event took place at a school in the north London area of Stamford Hill - which is part of a large strictly-Orthodox Jewish community. Pictured: Police carry out the raid

The event took place at a school in the north London area of Stamford Hill - which is part of a large strictly-Orthodox Jewish community. Pictured: Police carry out the raid

The claims come after a police raid on a 150-strong Jewish wedding celebration last month. The event took place at a school in the north London area of Stamford Hill – which is part of a large strictly Orthodox Jewish community. Pictured left and right: Police carry out the raid

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said couples were being offered advice suggesting 'any number of people' can attend celebrations if they have a 'prayer element'.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said couples were being offered advice suggesting 'any number of people' can attend celebrations if they have a 'prayer element'.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said couples were being offered advice suggesting ‘any number of people’ can attend celebrations if they have a ‘prayer element’.

He said: ‘It was inaccurate, in quite some significant ways. It hit the wrong tone, it was really about getting around the rules, rather than keeping to the rules because of the dangers of the virus.’

What are the rules on having a wedding during lockdown? 

Under lockdown rules introduced on January 4, weddings are banned in England.

However, you can hold a wedding in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The Government included the example of a seriously ill partner who is not expected to recover as one example.

Another example of an exceptional circumstance included those undergoing ‘debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery’.

However, even these weddings are limited to just six people.

The Government still advises people to stay local where possible, but says people can travel outside their area to attended permitted weddings.

People can also leave the country to attend a wedding, though they do face the normal travel restrictions for the country they are returning from. 

<!—->Advertisement

However Mr Wagner says the advice has been changing after incidents of large gathering were reported in the media.

He added: ‘The latest advice I’ve seen in the last few days is much better and I think the media attention has told on the individuals who are responsible for it.’

One case which received particular attention was a police raid on a lockdown-breaking wedding of 150 people at a Jewish girls’ school last month.

The guests were found packed inside Yesodey Hatorah Girls’ Senior School in Stamford Hill, north London.

The centre was being used as a coronavirus testing centre, while the school’s principal, Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, had died 10 months earlier of Covid-19.   

Police said the organiser faced a £10,000 penalty. Five others faced £200 fines after officers busted the address following a tip-off.

The incident sparked wide-spread condemnation from leaders in the Jewish community, including Chief Rabbi Mirvis, who tweeted last month: ‘At a time when we are all making such great sacrifices, it amounts to a brazen abrogation of the responsibility to protect life and such illegal behaviour is abhorred by the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community.’

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said the breach ‘goes against Jewish teaching that preserving life is of the highest value’.

 ‘The reckless and dangerous behaviour of those behind this event does not represent the attitude of the vast majority of British Jews, including from within the Strictly Orthodox community, who are fully aware of the terrible toll of this pandemic.

Meanwhile, the BBC also obtained video from another wedding in Stamford Hill, also believed to be last month.

The video shows a large group of people dancing at a wedding while standing in a circle.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, who is president of Shomrim in Stamford Hill, chairman of the Arab-Jewish Forum and chairman and founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, told the BBC weddings should ‘not go on under these circumstances’. 

Meanwhile, Michael Marks,  from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he had recently studied a number of Covid infection in an unnamed orthodox London community.

He said he found the Covid rate to be up to five times higher than the London average at the time. 

But he said this was likely down to the increased chance of households in the ultra-Orthodox community having inter-generational living arrangements. 

He told the BBC: ‘In the UK the immediate average household size is just over two people, whereas in this community it’s more like seven or eight people.

‘Do I think people in this community have broken the rules, yes, because lots of people all over the UK have broken the rules. ‘

When asked for a comment on the Stamford Hill wedding claims, the Met Police referred to its general advice on illegal large gatherings.

Speaking after the Government announced it would be giving police powers to hand-out £800 fines for those attending large parties, as well as the £10,000 maximum fines for organisers, Commander Alex Murray, the Met’s lead for Covid-19 enforcement, said: ‘If you are planning on attending an illegal gathering, party or raves you are not only taking a very serious health risk but also a much bigger financial risk.

‘I hope that these increased fines will discourage some of the events we’ve seen in recent weeks – events which are no doubt adding to the already huge pressure on our health services and potentially leading to avoidable deaths.’

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 94 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply