Orthodox Jews’ annual getaway to Aberystwyth falls foul of health and safety

University authorities have said the holidaymakers are no longer allowed to light candles on a Friday night to usher in Shabbat

For almost 20 years hundreds of Orthodox Jews have shunned the busy seaside resorts of Brighton and Blackpool for quieter breaks on the Welsh coast. But now, after weathering anti-Semitic attacks and the death of a prominent rabbi last year, their holiday is under threat again.

Members of London and Manchester’s Jewish communities said they were “very disappointed and upset” at a decision from the University of Aberystwyth that has forced them to look elsewhere for accommodation this August.

Jewish families descend on the seaside town for two weeks each summer and rent small houses in the empty student accommodation on the hill, with a yellow and white striped tent acting as a makeshift synagogue.

But this summer university authorities have said the holidaymakers are no longer allowed to light candles in the Pentre Jane Morgan campus of more than 100 properties as they have done every Friday night to usher in Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest.

One holidaymaker, Mrs Brander, said: “It is a summer home to us and we all love it – good air, sea and wonderful views. We are very disappointed and upset by the university’s decision.

“As we left last year, we were told about this condition but, at the time, did not think it a serious threat to our visit. But, ultimately, there was no real decision for us – our religion requires the lighting of candles,” she said.

“We have found a holder to make each candle safer. We offered to  discuss it with the fire brigade, but  the university was not interested.”

Last summer tragedy struck the visitors when Berish Englander, a 47-year-old rabbi and father of 11, drowned off Aberystwyth’s north promenade. And in 2009, swastikas were found painted on grass and on sheets of paper scattered near the halls of residence.

A spokesman for Aberystwyth University said it had taken legal advice and consulted its own health and safety advisors and fire brigade. “The university... would be delighted to welcome this group back, as long as they are able to sign our terms and conditions,” he said.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links