Orthodox prayer for dating

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More than 20,000 live in Stamford Hill, in north-east London.

But it is a community, it seems, in which everybody knows everybody, and where a stranger is noticed.

He was dressed in a white shirt, the tzitzit, or ritual tassels - a reminder of God’s commandments - dangling over his black trousers.

'People in this community have lots of children, and they’re always busy. They’re going to the synagogue, going to study, to work, to see their family, back to the synagogue, social events in the evening.

Appalled at what they regarded as the laxity of the local synagogue, they established their own on the other side of the river.

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In the face of this drift from tradition, the Haredi regarded themselves as the last redoubt of orthodoxy, taking sustenance from their rigid observance of the halacha - the body of ethical and ritual injunctions governing Jewish life.

There are now estimated to be around 1.3m Haredi worldwide, and according to a 2007 study by Dr Yaakov Wise at the University of Manchester, strictly-orthodox Jewry in Europe is expanding more rapidly than at any time since before the Second World War.

In Britain - home to the largest Haredi community in Europe - almost three out of every four Jewish births are in the Haredi community.

'They conduct themselves like madmen,’ railed a denunciation by the rabbinical authorities of the day, 'and explain their behaviour by saying that in their thoughts they soar in the most far-off worlds.

When they pray..raise such a din that the walls quake.’ But on the streets of Stamford Hill they looked as solemn as undertakers, hurrying purposefully along, their gazes fixed firmly ahead, a world apart from from the idlers outside the betting shop, the hoodies loitering on the green.

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