UK: Rabbis demand boycott of JW3 Jewish cultural centre over LGBT events

A group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis have called on their congregations to boycott a Jewish cultural centre in London because it held a gay-themed week of events and provides a meeting space for gay Jewish parents.

A notice signed by 25 rabbis 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]”.

It adds: “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”.

Sarah Sigal’s play Agent of Influence and comedian David Baddiel dissecting Jewish humour have been on stage this week. A kosher restaurant, Zest, serves contemporary Middle Eastern food. By the end of the year, JW3 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.

In March, it 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”. Read more via the Guardian