Red-faced council admits date blunder over Passover festival
PUBLISHED: 16:59 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 September 2010
BARNET Council, which represents more Jewish people than anywhere else in the country, has admitted not knowing the date of Passover. Traders were furious this week when they were told Golders Green Road would be dug up 11 days before the festival - one
BARNET Council, which represents more Jewish people than anywhere else in the country, has admitted not knowing the date of Passover.
Traders were furious this week when they were told Golders Green Road would be dug up 11 days before the festival - one of their busiest times of year. But when the Ham&High quizzed the council it got the dates of the festival wrong, saying it falls on one day on April 24 when it runs over a week-long period from April 2-10.
The blunder emerged through a series of emails between the Ham&High and the council.
Originally a spokesman said: "We are confident that these works will not clash with either Purim on March 25 or Passover on April 24."
And when the Ham&High pointed out that both dates were wrong, the spokesman replied: "Sorry, you are correct. However, as our statement says, the work is due to finish on March 22 so it should still be completed well in advance of the start of Passover."
The council also failed to realise that it is the build-up, rather than the festival itself, which is the busiest time for shops.
Lib Dem councillor Monroe Palmer said: "This is absolutely disgraceful. This is from a council that prides itself on equality and diversity but they can't even get their religious festivals right.
"This is a problem that goes very deep in the administration in Barnet. The cabinet has orthodox Jewish members but Barnet has sacked employees who were there to listen to residents and the Tory councillors are too busy with big business to care.
"They dug up the other end of the high street weeks before Christmas ruining Christmas trade up there. At least they are even handed in ruining religious festivals."
Maurice Colp, who runs a dry cleaners on the road, said: "Last Passover they did something similar and came to dig up all outside my shop. I had to run out and stop them then. It's ridiculous.