Israeli singer cancels O2 concert amid Covid and rabbis’ boycott

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Israeli singer cancels O2 concert amid Covid and rabbis’ boycott

Ishay Ribo pulls the plug on an appearance at iconic London venue for event organised to raise money for kosher meals in hospitals

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Ishay Ribo
Ishay Ribo

Popular Jewish singer Ishay Ribo has cancelled his planned concert at the 02 in London next month amid concerns about rising Covid cases and calls from some rabbis and schools for community members not to attend.

Ribo, who has played to sellout audiences in Israel and the US, had been set to become to first Israeli performer to headline at the iconic venue. The event was being organised by construction entrepreneur and philanthropist Ari Feferkorn, and would have raise money for kosher meals in hospitals as part of his Bedside Kosher initiative.

Despite this, the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations last week told followers such concerts were “forbidden” as they featured mixed male ans female seating. Two small sections had been reserved by the organisers to enable segregated seating for those who wanted.

Pardes House Grammar and Beis Yaakov Grammar had subsequently warned that their pupils should not attend.

Jewish News understands that more than 2500 tickets had already been sold – already making it the biggest in person communal event for more than two years – but numbers of new sales slowed significantly after the UOHC intervention. Confirming the cancellation, Ribo took to social media to say that rising cases of Covid had contributed to the delay. It’s understood revellers had expected to come from France too.

Feferkorn said: “This concert was designed to bring the community together in celebration of Chanukah while raising much-needed funds for kosher meals for those in hospital. Plans are already underway to bring Ishay to play to his British fans next year.”

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