Over 700 women attended an Orthodox concert in Hackney this weekend, despite the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations urging women not to go.
A full-time nurse and mother of five had her performance forbidden from attending for fear of bringing “spiritual harm” to its audience.
Bracha Jaffe is an Orthodox Jewish female musician who covers her hair, sings only to women, and has an all-female band.
In a statement posted on synagogue noticeboards and sent via email, the UOHC said it “endorses and supports the decision” of Charedi girls’ schools, like Beis Yaakov Grammar School, to disallow girls from going to the concert. They said it “may cause spiritual harm in ruchniyus (spirituality) and hashkafa (religious outlook, ethos)and one should therefore not participate in such an event”.
Upon hearing news of the ban, Jaffe, who has a Chazzan brother, urged those to come to sing, dance and have an “emotional and spiritual connection”.
“Our girls need healthy kosher music, healthy kosher entertainment that will bring them closer to God. I want to be a good example to our girls. I care about the way I present myself. I only want to be a positive role model.”
Jaffe was joined on stage by Chava Kogan and “child sensation” Esther Khron.
According to the Jewish News, some women only attended the event after hearing about the prohibition with some telling the paper: “We hadn’t heard about it before, so actually the rabbis were giving it free publicity.”
My daughter's face when her favourite Jewish singer Bracha Jaffe first came on stage tonight. She can't believe she got to go to her concert, I can't believe Im finally well enough to be able to take her & make such incredible memories with her. I spent many painful days… pic.twitter.com/TcEoPdft02— Michaela (@MichaelaAbens0n) January 15, 2023
Very few attendees commented on social media about the concert, – for fear they would miss out on secondary school spots if spotted – but one posted her delighted daughter, saying: “My daughter’s face when her favourite Jewish singer Bracha Jaffe first came on stage tonight. She can’t believe she got to go to her concert, I can’t believe I’m finally well enough to be able to take her and make such incredible memories with her.”