Redbridge Council sorry after event clashes with Jewish festival

Council bosses have had to apologise after UK Older People’s Day coincided with Jewish festival Rosh Hashanah, leaving Jewish people unable to take part.

In a letter to Redbridge Council, Rabbis Larry Becker and David Hulbert informed the council of the oversight which left the community’s older members unable to take part in events such as a series of talks and information days.

Mr Becker told the Recorder: “There are plenty of religious calendars, it would have taken moments to check the dates.

“But humans make mistakes, everyone does, what’s important is that they learn from them,” he added.

Mr Becker, who is connected with the Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue in Victory Road, Wanstead, said it was important to be inclusive when arranging council events as many cultures form the UK.

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“Jewish people have been settling in the UK since the early 1700s and form an important part of the county,” he added.

Redbridge Council confirmed it has received one written complaint from the rabbis.

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A spokesman said: “The date for UK Older People’s Day had been set by the government as October 1 to coincide with the UN International Day of Older Persons and although the multi-agency UK Older People’s Day working group has some flexibility about when it arranges events, the council has no control over the actual date of the day.”

He added in 2012 there are a number of dates of religious significance surrounding UK Older People’s Day, such as Yom Kippur on September 25 and 26, and the first day of Sukkot which falls on October 1.

He added: “The group that organises events for UK Older People’s Day has taken this complaint into account and will try and avoid such clashes in the future.”

The chairman of the group has invited a rabbi to nominate a member of the Jewish community to join them and help plan next year’s events.

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