Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Times (Don’t) Change in Gateshead

Binyamin Rose, Gateshead

It’s a bit of a riddle, a phenomenon that’s gone against the trend. How is it that the challenge of assimilation that wreaked havoc on Jewish communities around the world didn’t touch Gateshead, the only provincial Jewish community of prewar England that is still almost exclusively Orthodox and is only improving with age? And what role did its flagship yeshivah play, and continues to play, to guarantee Gateshead remains a makom Torah?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Have you ever been to Gateshead before?” “Yes,” I answer, “about 20 years ago.” “So, has anything changed around here in the last 20 years?” These two questions were repeatedly posed on my recent visit to Gateshead by curious, friendly, and courteous Jewish community members who will never enter a shul or yeshivah building without looking over their shoulder to keep the door open for anyone trailing behind them. But other than acknowledging that special courtesy, and mentioning that it rained constantly on each visit — no winter novelty in northeast England — it’s not a question I felt qualified to answer. But soon it dawned on me. There was a reason people kept asking an outsider if he noticed any changes. It wasn’t a question meant to be answered. It was a more of a statement, even a badge of honor for a kehillah whose founding fathers in 1887 aimed for the lofty goal of establishing a totally shomer Shabbos community, which was unheard of at that time in England. In that regard, nothing has changed in Gateshead. Not in 20 years, and not in 129 years. What the Enlightenment, two world wars, and Nazi, Communist, and Fascist persecutions ripped away from the bulk of European Jewry was carefully preserved in Gateshead. It is the only remaining provincial Jewish community of that era in England that is almost exclusively and strictly Orthodox, and that today, is expanding and improving with age.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"