Canvey - The Promised Island


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Canvey - The Promised Island

Documentary following Naftali and Miriam Noe and their four children from Stamford Hill as they join the 25 Hasidic families who have already made the move to Canvey Island.


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Europe's largest ultra-Orthodox Jewish community

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is based in Stamford Hill, north London.

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They have lived here since the 1800s,

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but with soaring rents as hipsters move in, they need to move out.

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We've got very, very difficult housing conditions

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for many, many people.

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We've got overcrowded families,

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eight or nine children living in two bedrooms.

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I think in London Zoo the animals get more space than the humans here.

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They've chosen the most unexpected place,

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Canvey Island on the Thames Estuary in Essex,

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one of the five most pro-Brexit wards in Britain.

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Canvey Island has been voted the most English place in the UK.

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One island and two very different communities.

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And there's a lot they don't about each other.

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-I thought they was Chinese.

-Chinese!

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No, we go to a different shop for that one, babe.

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In human nature, there is something that is not sure

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about the person who we don't know,

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the outsider coming in and taking our space.

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Chris, a lifelong Canvey Islander and manager of a rock and roll band,

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has a plan to get the two communities to mix.

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So what I would like to do is to get 15 people from the Hasidic community

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and 15 people from the local Canvey community, and we will eat,

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we will drink, we will make music and we will make conversation.

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So will the exodus to Canvey work out?

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Could there really be a promised land at the end of the A13?

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In Stamford Hill, north London, the Friday afternoon rush has started.

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Everything has to be done before sundown, the start of the Sabbath -

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24 hours of rest and religious observance.

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Everyone is on a mission, everybody is on the mission to serve God.

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Cars finally get put away,

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people get ready for prayer and for the evening meal.

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Steve and Naftali are among 30,000 Orthodox Jews

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crammed into this district.

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Nearly all of them are like Naftali, Hasidic,

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also known as Haredi, a form of ultra-Orthodox Judaism

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founded in 19th century Eastern Europe.

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Dressed in traditional clothing,

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they're one of the most insular and close-knit communities in Britain.

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Steve and Naftali are friends and neighbours.

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You're both Orthodox Jews but what's the difference

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between you and Naftali?

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I don't wear a hat,

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I don't daven, or pray, as often as a Haredi man would,

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I don't go to the synagogue as often.

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I do keep a kosher home, I do separate milk and meat,

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and I do go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, on a Saturday,

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which is kind of more mainstream.

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He's part of a whole community which is observing the letter of the law.

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Stamford Hill has one of the highest birth rates in the UK,

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twice the national average.

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The common denominator of the Haredi community is that families are big,

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so you can have five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,

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12, 15 children.

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Naftali and his wife Miriam are young

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and have four children under five.

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They rent a two-bed flat from a local Hasidic landlord.

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We've got two main problems here.

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First of all, it's the overcrowding.

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The second problem is, even if you do have a house,

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if you do find a house where you can live, you can't afford to buy.

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Even if you work full time, it's unaffordable.

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We don't have a playroom so this is their playroom,

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or the dining room downstairs.

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Or in worst conditions, on the street.

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It hasn't been painted, it hasn't been looked after,

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it hasn't been given to us in a very good condition at all.

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The demands for houses are so, so, so great

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that people are taking things in really, really bad condition

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which is very, very unfair.

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If I'm out, same night, someone will be here.

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Naftali studies religion and law and Miriam helps out in a local private

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Orthodox school.

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The need for the men to pray and study the 613 commandments

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of the Torah, the word of God, takes up most of their daily lives.

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In Stamford Hill, only 15% of the men are in full-time employment,

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with 70% dependent on child and housing benefits.

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But now the unaffordable rents in Stamford Hill are driving them out.

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We received quite a glossy little pamphlet the other day that said,

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"We're going to Canvey Island!

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"We're buying houses, we're making schools, join us out there."

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It's a sort of wonderland brochure.

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"Canvey Island, this is not a dream, it's a fact."

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I got a brochure through my letterbox the other day

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-about Canvey Island, did you get that?

-Mm-hm.

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So, what's the thinking?

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I don't know. I don't think they like it in the first place.

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And it's also below sea level.

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Dangerous waters, no?

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I'd go, my wife doesn't want to. Yeah.

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Naftali is tempted to join the Hasidic exodus to Canvey.

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How serious are you about making a move with your family

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to Canvey Island?

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If I had an opportunity, I would do it tomorrow.

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The actual idea of a front garden space, detached,

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we don't see it in this area. That's the dream.

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Yeah, I like the idea of living in Canvey myself, actually,

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I think it's great. But my wife, my family.

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Gabby, she'd put her foot down, I think.

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You know, Hackney's become quite trendy for the kind of Jews we are.

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Steve understands why his friend Naftali wants to go to Canvey,

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but he's worried.

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I worry for Naftali.

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It's not like he's naive, but...

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What... Whether you're Haredi community or whatever,

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the fact that you're going into an area where there's a very strong

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English identity, Brexit is going on at the moment,

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and they're up to their necks in it in Canvey, and they're really on it.

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You know, and they're up for it.

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-Nice to see you.

-Going to Canvey.

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I'm on my way to Canvey with Naftali.

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Erm, we just wanted to know the address where we should come

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to see the house. Yep.

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Woodberry Close, Canvey Island, there we go.

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What are you expecting to find in Canvey Island this afternoon?

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A better education for my kids,

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a change and a place that will make them get used

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to a different kind of people.

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A new start, a fresh start, loads of opportunities,

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and, eventually, to fulfil my dreams.

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Canvey Island is in the Thames Estuary in Essex.

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It's famous for its oil and gas industry

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and has got a two mile wall to protect it from the sea.

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With a population of 40,000, 73% voted to leave the EU.

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Barry Campagna and his gang are the Canvey Bay Watch group.

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When they did the last census, most people who live on Canvey,

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instead of putting British, they put English,

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but that was nothing to do with National Front

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or anything like that.

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It's just that they felt that they were English

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more than anything else.

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-The majority of islanders wanted Brexit.

-Yeah.

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We've heard about them moving to Canvey.

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Obviously, they've got their own traditions

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and their own religion and that lot,

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so that will probably stop them mixing as much as what

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someone else would.

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We've seen their Jewish Times and they call it

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Stamford Hill-on-Sea, don't they?

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The Hasidic landlords are busy buying houses.

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They've just completed on these new builds,

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and Naftali is hoping to rent one.

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-What about the garden?

-The garden's a good size again.

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It's huge. Wow! Man!

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This is exactly six...

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12 times the size of my entire house.

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The garden, I'm not talking about the house.

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-One...

-Bedroom three, bedroom four.

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I can see the builders here are doing a perfect job.

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Wow.

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When do you estimate I can come with my luggage?

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I think we're looking at the end of July for completion,

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so in about six weeks.

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Six weeks. So for summer holidays, I can spend my holidays here?

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You can bring your bucket and spade,

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-and you can be on the beach in six weeks' time.

-Wow.

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My wife should better pick up now.

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Looks like we've got a house.

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I'm going mad over it.

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Looking forward... Anyway, talk to you. Bye.

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-Are we out of here?

-Now she's angry why she's not here.

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A benefactor has bought Castle View School on the island

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for the Hasidic pioneers.

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At the moment, it's used as a synagogue

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and community centre as well.

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Steve meets Joel Friedman.

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He's one of the first of seven families to move to Canvey.

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What are the challenges?

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I think the biggest challenge for people is to take the plunge

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and move out of the area and that's why there's only seven families.

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That was the first phase.

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I'm happy to say there are 25 families who are moving out

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in the very near future, and that probably means

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the third phase will be bigger, you know?

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We're aiming for 50, 60 families within a year or so.

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The Hasidic community needs its own schools,

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kosher shops and synagogues.

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Everything has to be in walking distance,

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-because they can't drive on the Sabbath.

-What a view!

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When you move a community over, you have to have the infrastructure,

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the synagogues, the schools, the shops

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and everything a community needs.

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We've got a little tuck shop here for the school,

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but it's very, very basic.

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As the community grows, we're hoping to open a shop.

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We've got fresh meat and fish on a weekly order basis,

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so that's not a problem, it gets delivered here.

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It gets delivered here from Stamford Hill?

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It gets delivered here. So everyone makes an order together

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and they then bring it round.

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I think there's a certain level of optimism there.

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What's inside the school at the moment is very little,

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and they've got a long way to go to build this community.

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But, you know, it feels like going back to the shtetl.

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It feels almost like 18th, 19th century Poland,

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and these little core villages with a little synagogue

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and a little shop, and the tinker, the tailor, the candlestick maker,

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that kind of old Jewish model.

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And in some ways, it sort of feels like that,

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it resonates in that way.

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-Where's my keys?

-Around your neck.

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Oh, I'll get rid of those!

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Mrs Ita Symons is chief executive of a big Jewish housing association,

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and runs this old people's home in Stamford Hill.

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She knows the problems of trying to relocate the Hasidic community.

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There were different groups in the community trying different projects,

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Milton Keynes and other places, where we tried to move,

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and the communities there were...

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Oh, they went absolutely ballistic!

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They didn't hide their animosity and fear and hatred.

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And, God, it was terrible.

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Then I was invited to go and see Canvey Island I thought,

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"Oh, no, not that one!"

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I mean, I lived most of my life in London, in north London,

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and I've always heard of Canvey Island.

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We saw it as a mountaintop full of sewers

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and rubbish, and I don't know what.

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Anyway, I saw the site and I saw this,

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and I went back quite impressed.

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And we're in the midst of exchanging and completing

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on some beautiful houses.

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The Hasidic Jews have a history of having to move.

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They trace their ancestry to 19th-century Eastern Europe,

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and first moved to Stamford Hill in the late 1800s.

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The biggest wave came over during the Second World War

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as refugees and survivors of the Holocaust.

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This beautiful lady came from Auschwitz.

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And look, she's still smiling.

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-Over 90.

-Over 90 and smiling.

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She's got three beautiful daughters...

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-How many daughters, three?

-Three.

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I've got so many pictures.

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Miriam and Naftali's families came from central Europe,

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fleeing the Holocaust.

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From my father's side, Hungary.

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Although I don't like goulash, the most famous Hungarian food!

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My father's side, my father's father, he's from Vienna.

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And he was on the Kindertransport at aged 11 years and he came...

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They brought him to London and that's where he remained.

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And he was a young boy, and he found papers, he read them,

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and he even knew the dates when his parents were killed.

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That's how, you know, he still keeps today to that date how...

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What they did. He knows almost everything.

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At the end of the day, they are the heroes.

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We wouldn't be able to survive, not 50% of what they survived.

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They are real, real heroes.

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# Hallelu

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# Hallelujah

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# Hallelujah

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# Hallelujah... #

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Every Sunday, the Canvey church is full.

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The island is over 70% white and Christian.

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Reverend Tudor is their leader

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and wants his congregation to welcome the new arrivals.

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And they are searching for a better understanding of God,

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and they do it by separating themselves from the world.

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By focusing on their Scriptures,

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the stories of their ancestors,

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the rules and regulations that were passed down through the ages.

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They focus on what to wear,

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what days to work, and the children are allowed mobile phones...

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..but, you teenagers, you're going to be shocked by this.

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Ready?

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They have the internet taken out.

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"What's the point of that, then?" I hear you cry!

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"What, they make calls with it?" Yes!

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I came to England from Barbados 42 years ago now,

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and I've been in Canvey Island for the last nearly 20.

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And the similarities are amazing,

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the attitude to life.

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If you want to be superior, you can be superior by yourself.

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If you want to meet me halfway, I will meet you the other half,

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and I grew up with that.

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And we also have palm trees, two, in Canvey Island.

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We commend those who died at this time in former years.

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Rose Norman.

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Jack Fenwick.

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And Private William Stokes.

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May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

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After losing his son Jack,

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Chris Fenwick knows the importance of community and family.

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The work that David does in the church,

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irrespective of whether you're a believer or nonbeliever,

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I still want to be part of it, right, of David's church.

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I am part of the community,

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because it represents the island that I come from.

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And may the body of Christ keep you.

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We have become friends.

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He's a very, very special guy.

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And, yeah, I go and see him and he was very, very good to me

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when I lost my son and...

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..he was there, that's the main thing.

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What helps you if you go anywhere in this world, is for people to say,

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"Welcome. Is there anything I can do for you?"

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It makes you feel better, right? It just does.

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# She does it right

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# She does it right. #

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Canvey Island's most famous export

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is the 1970s British pub rock band Dr Feelgood.

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Chris has been their manager for over 40 years

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and has travelled the world.

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He wants to bring the two unlikely communities together.

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Standing on the steps of where my album sleeve

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was shot 44 years ago was two Orthodox Jewish gentleman.

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This I felt was a little bit strange.

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So I went, said to the lads,

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"Good afternoon. What brings you to Canvey Island?"

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They introduced themselves, Abraham and Abraham, and I'm Chris.

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"And we're thinking of moving here from Stamford Hill, London."

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Abraham, good afternoon, Chris Fenwick from The Oysterfleet.

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How are you doing? Are you well?

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Tonight, there's a Dr Feelgood concert.

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As a friendly gesture,

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Chris invites the two Abrahams and their Hasidic friends.

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# Leave a late show

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# Still feel alive

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# I need a place to go round about five

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# Down to the doctor's

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# I head down to the doctor's. #

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For the Hasidics, the lyrics to the Feelgood songs

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about booze and girls are religiously inappropriate.

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The Feelgood fans have come in from all over Europe,

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and the Hasids families that have moved here,

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I have invited them tonight.

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Whether they're going to be able to stomach

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a night of rock and roll or not, is a little unclear.

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Eventually, I think they will, right, but maybe not tonight.

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But it all takes time.

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From little acorns, great oak trees do grow.

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Chris is not giving up.

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He invites Barry, soon to become Mayor of Canvey,

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to talk about what they can do.

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Yeah, I know... I know that obviously both communities

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have got to get used to each other and all that lot,

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but how much will their religion allow them

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to be part of the community?

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Because there's obviously certain things they can't do

0:19:130:19:16

on certain days and things like that.

0:19:160:19:18

-In a way, I think that they choose to distance themselves.

-Yeah.

0:19:180:19:21

-They are used to being looked at, right...

-Oh, yeah, yeah.

0:19:210:19:25

..all of their lives, because as they go out

0:19:250:19:29

not away from their community, they stand out.

0:19:290:19:33

They decide on a plan of action to help the two communities mix.

0:19:350:19:39

First off, a guided tour of the island,

0:19:400:19:42

and then in a couple of weeks, a welcome meal.

0:19:420:19:46

By talking to them and conversing,

0:19:460:19:48

they're going to see where they're going and where they're going...

0:19:480:19:51

They're going to see where they're going.

0:19:510:19:53

-They're meeting us, we're meeting them.

-Yeah.

0:19:530:19:55

-It can only help them and the rest of us.

-Yeah, I think so.

0:19:550:19:58

Because the more they feel at home,

0:19:580:20:00

the more comfortable they're going to be, right?

0:20:000:20:03

And, no, I'm looking forward to it.

0:20:030:20:06

I think it's going to be an historic occasion.

0:20:060:20:09

This historic occasion is a tall order.

0:20:090:20:12

The rabbis have to give their permission,

0:20:120:20:14

women aren't allowed to mix with men,

0:20:140:20:17

and there are lots of strict dietary rules that must be abided by.

0:20:170:20:20

It's the beginning of summer, and with 25 new families arriving,

0:20:220:20:26

the Hasids are being spotted around the town.

0:20:260:20:29

Retired gas fitter Biff is a hardened Brexiteer.

0:20:330:20:37

As you can see, we've got the English flag flying over there,

0:20:370:20:40

so they'll know where they're living.

0:20:400:20:42

Funnily enough, it's right outside the back of the school, look.

0:20:420:20:45

He helps run Canvey Island Rugby Club,

0:20:450:20:48

and is curious about his new neighbours.

0:20:480:20:50

No, I know they're tribal, you can tell that by...

0:20:530:20:56

They keep themselves to themselves and they wear funny clothes,

0:20:560:21:00

I've got to be honest.

0:21:000:21:02

You'd think you was at a fancy dress,

0:21:020:21:04

if you went to one of their parties.

0:21:040:21:05

Yeah, I've got no problem with them.

0:21:050:21:07

At the moment, let's be honest about it, at the moment.

0:21:070:21:10

I don't know what... I know they bought the school.

0:21:100:21:14

And I know that, apparently, they've been knocking on doors,

0:21:140:21:17

offering over the price.

0:21:170:21:20

I should imagine they're like any other race,

0:21:200:21:22

as long as they don't do me any damage, or my people,

0:21:220:21:27

then I've got no problem.

0:21:270:21:29

Chris starts putting his plan into action.

0:21:290:21:33

The rabbis have given him permission

0:21:330:21:35

to take some of the growing school community on a sightseeing walk.

0:21:350:21:38

Hopefully, they'll turn up this time.

0:21:400:21:42

Message from Joel, right, "Slightly behind schedule."

0:21:420:21:46

OK. Could be the start of an interesting day.

0:21:480:21:52

I think we're in business.

0:22:060:22:08

People carriers.

0:22:080:22:11

At least something's happening.

0:22:110:22:13

Hasidic boys and girls are educated separately, and today,

0:22:140:22:18

only the boys turn up.

0:22:180:22:20

-Good afternoon, my friend.

-Just a quick word.

0:22:200:22:23

Joel is worried that Chris doesn't really understand

0:22:230:22:25

the religious rules, and will lead the boys astray.

0:22:250:22:28

-So subject matters...

-Yes.

0:22:280:22:30

Stay away from anything, um, not very traditional.

0:22:300:22:32

So stay away...

0:22:320:22:34

-Just not much about the pub or...

-No.

0:22:340:22:36

My speech is going to go there, right,

0:22:360:22:38

so I'm getting them away from the pub.

0:22:380:22:40

Just think Victorian and then you're...

0:22:400:22:42

Right, OK, we're going to give you, right, a good treat today.

0:22:420:22:46

-You can see the sea, yes?

-ALL:

-Yes!

0:22:460:22:49

-You can see the road, yes?

-ALL:

-Yes!

0:22:490:22:52

Tell me which is higher.

0:22:520:22:56

-The water?

-The water.

0:22:560:22:57

Right. You're dead right, top of the class.

0:22:570:23:01

But there's always the risk on Canvey,

0:23:010:23:03

-everyone says, about flooding, the water.

-Yes.

0:23:030:23:07

It's impossible for the water to come over the sea wall,

0:23:070:23:10

so tell all your mums and dads, they're safe.

0:23:100:23:14

Right, follow me, and we're going to walk over the sea wall.

0:23:140:23:18

This is where there's petrol,

0:23:210:23:24

diesel, and aviation fuel for the aeroplanes, right?

0:23:240:23:28

They look a bit funny with their big hats.

0:23:280:23:32

-I thought they was Chinese.

-Chinese!

0:23:320:23:33

No, we go to a different shop for that one, babe.

0:23:330:23:36

Orthodox Jews, are they? Orthodox Jews.

0:23:380:23:40

-Yeah, ultra...

-Yeah, ultra-Orthodox Jews.

0:23:400:23:43

Do you not learn about different religions at school, at your school?

0:23:430:23:46

-No.

-Do you not learn about more religions than just your religion?

0:23:460:23:49

-No.

-Sometimes we're learning about Africans.

-Not a lot.

0:23:490:23:53

Did you not learn about the Germans?

0:23:530:23:57

-They wasn't very friendly.

-No.

0:23:570:23:59

Years and years ago they didn't like each other.

0:23:590:24:01

The Germans were horrible to the Jews.

0:24:010:24:02

Well, not that they didn't like them,

0:24:020:24:04

the Germans were horrible to the Jews, that's right. Not nice.

0:24:040:24:07

It's a shame that religion only ever hurts people.

0:24:070:24:10

That's right, it does.

0:24:100:24:11

Chris knows he has to think Victorian.

0:24:120:24:15

But he's not sure he can mention the war.

0:24:150:24:18

-That plaque...

-Yeah?

-..is about a Second World War bomber.

0:24:180:24:22

-Right.

-Is it OK to mention?

0:24:220:24:25

-Yes, sure.

-That's all right? OK, I just wanted to...

0:24:250:24:28

Mention the Germans.

0:24:280:24:29

Well, yeah, I wanted to clear that

0:24:290:24:31

because I wanted to understand what's what. OK.

0:24:310:24:35

You can see in the Second World War, the German planes

0:24:360:24:39

used to come up the river.

0:24:390:24:41

This is how they worked out where London was.

0:24:410:24:43

So in this area, there's lots of parts of different

0:24:430:24:48

aircraft and a lot of guys who were German pilots...

0:24:480:24:54

..they died here.

0:24:550:24:56

Or they were picked up and they were taken ashore as prisoners of war.

0:24:560:25:00

-Yes.

-Right?

0:25:000:25:01

So this whole area is full of different parts

0:25:010:25:05

of aeroplanes that have...

0:25:050:25:08

-Now, too?

-Yeah, yeah. It's found all the time.

0:25:080:25:12

So we're going to have a five-minute drink here, right,

0:25:120:25:16

and then we're going to be 20 minutes to where the bus is.

0:25:160:25:19

They're lovely kids, they really are.

0:25:190:25:22

I own the hotel on Canvey, have you seen it, The Oysterfleet?

0:25:220:25:26

Now it's time for Chris's next plan, the big meal.

0:25:350:25:38

He needs to know the strict religious rules for the occasion,

0:25:380:25:42

or the Hasidics won't turn up.

0:25:420:25:44

The rabbis have suggested Steve act as a go-between.

0:25:450:25:48

Have you had any contact with any of the ladies?

0:25:500:25:52

No, but I'm terrified to meet them, actually.

0:25:520:25:54

I am looking forward to the day but I'm terrified.

0:25:540:25:58

-And I don't know whether to go and shake hands with them...

-Oh.

0:25:580:26:01

..or how to greet them, and I've got to take advice on all of this.

0:26:010:26:04

I'd say it's a no handshake situation.

0:26:040:26:05

I'm understanding it's a no handshake situation.

0:26:050:26:08

Are we going to mix this, are we?

0:26:080:26:11

Yeah, but men and women separate.

0:26:110:26:13

Yeah, no, I understand that.

0:26:130:26:15

-It can be a girls' end and a boys' end.

-Absolutely.

0:26:150:26:17

So the bottom line is, it's got to be glatt kosher,

0:26:170:26:22

it's not just kosher, it's got to be super kosher for these guys.

0:26:220:26:25

Right.

0:26:250:26:27

Chris is inviting local residents to the meal.

0:26:290:26:32

Gary and Sharon are neighbours of the Hasidics on Canvey.

0:26:330:26:35

I'd like to know why they've moved on to the island,

0:26:370:26:40

what's brought them to the island.

0:26:400:26:42

I want to know what their daily routine is.

0:26:420:26:44

Yeah, I would like to know that

0:26:440:26:45

because I'd be able to tell them mine,

0:26:450:26:47

so I'd see if they were on par with mine!

0:26:470:26:49

Do they go to work? I don't know. Do they go to work or...?

0:26:490:26:52

Do they pray all day?

0:26:520:26:55

I don't know. You know, it would just be nice

0:26:550:26:58

just to find out exactly what they do.

0:26:580:27:00

So they need to be trusting the Canvey people

0:27:030:27:05

and I think coming out a little bit more and understanding us

0:27:050:27:09

so we can understand them.

0:27:090:27:10

To encourage more people to move to Canvey,

0:27:150:27:18

the community have bought a house for the families

0:27:180:27:20

to try out the island for the weekend.

0:27:200:27:22

The Shavuot, a Jewish holiday to celebrate

0:27:240:27:26

the giving of the commandments.

0:27:260:27:28

Rachel and her sister Miriam are getting ready

0:27:290:27:32

for a picnic on the beach with their extended family.

0:27:320:27:36

They're very positive about it, the residents here.

0:27:360:27:39

They really dream of it building up a little bit, you know?

0:27:390:27:42

We had a garden party yesterday, they were really nice,

0:27:420:27:44

and they looked more like Kew Gardens to me.

0:27:440:27:46

It was something special.

0:27:460:27:48

-BOTH:

-I love Canvey Island!

0:27:520:27:56

THEY LAUGH

0:27:580:28:01

-Wow!

-Are you joining us for Shavuot?

0:28:010:28:04

This is a sister of ours and her family coming down from London.

0:28:050:28:10

They love surprising us.

0:28:100:28:12

Do you think it's strange that everyone's stripped off

0:28:180:28:21

on the beach?

0:28:210:28:23

Sort of, yeah.

0:28:230:28:25

We just keep modest.

0:28:260:28:28

You're doing it together.

0:28:300:28:32

You all look very different.

0:28:320:28:34

Are you worried about any prejudice from the Canvey community?

0:28:340:28:38

That is... Because of the Jewish history,

0:28:380:28:41

that's always in the back of the mind of people,

0:28:410:28:43

that's always something that we are ready for,

0:28:430:28:46

going out, holidays or this and that.

0:28:460:28:48

And there's things that we do face.

0:28:480:28:50

We come to a new area, people see us for the first time, Jewish people,

0:28:500:28:54

we expect they will ask questions and some will ask questions

0:28:540:28:56

in a nice way and some will rather shout something derogatory.

0:28:560:29:00

Barry and John from the Canvey Bay Watch group

0:29:030:29:06

help monitor the seafront.

0:29:060:29:08

Good to see them congregating with all of us.

0:29:100:29:14

They seem to have walked right up the other end of the beach

0:29:150:29:19

to be on their own.

0:29:190:29:21

Whether that's just because they wanted to sit up this

0:29:210:29:23

end or not, we don't know.

0:29:230:29:25

But, I mean, all the others are down there. So...

0:29:250:29:29

If I was going to a beach, I'd want to be out of the way,

0:29:290:29:31

I wouldn't want to be around everybody,

0:29:310:29:33

so I don't see that as a problem for Jewish people.

0:29:330:29:36

I'm not saying that, I'm just saying that they couldn't

0:29:360:29:38

have got much further down the beach,

0:29:380:29:41

if they wanted to be on the beach, could they?

0:29:410:29:44

They couldn't have got much further down there.

0:29:440:29:47

I mean, there's nothing stopping them...

0:29:470:29:50

Between the last person and there is probably half of the beach.

0:29:500:29:54

I don't know, Barry, to me, does it matter?

0:29:540:29:56

I mean...

0:29:560:29:58

I'm not saying I want them to totally integrate with each other,

0:29:580:30:03

I'm just saying that I think they won't be able to integrate as much,

0:30:030:30:08

because of the rules of their religion, you know?

0:30:080:30:12

The community now own 30 houses on the island.

0:30:170:30:21

Naftali and Miriam's dream house is ready.

0:30:210:30:23

It's probably going to take time to settle down.

0:30:230:30:27

It takes time to sink in that the kids can actually run round carefree

0:30:270:30:32

and to actually to have the sun and come out together with it,

0:30:320:30:36

and play and refresh ourselves, and it's absolutely lovely.

0:30:360:30:40

What are your dreams in life?

0:30:440:30:47

To be the very best mother that I am capable of.

0:30:470:30:51

Mummy!

0:30:520:30:53

I love flying.

0:30:560:30:59

I love to play the cello.

0:30:590:31:01

I love martial arts.

0:31:010:31:03

Expensive, but love, yes.

0:31:030:31:05

Doing taekwondo in Stamford Hill, I hope to continue here.

0:31:050:31:09

I'm quite an adventurous person.

0:31:100:31:12

I'll take anything that brings in life

0:31:120:31:16

and anything that brings colour into our life.

0:31:160:31:19

Careful.

0:31:230:31:25

Preparations for the meal are under way.

0:31:310:31:34

The rabbis have told Chris the meal has to be strictly kosher.

0:31:340:31:38

Israel, a Hasidic chef, cooks the food according to Jewish law.

0:31:390:31:43

Cooking for tonight I make haddock, breaded,

0:31:440:31:48

and after it'll be chips.

0:31:480:31:50

Everything must be kosher.

0:31:520:31:55

The kitchen has special areas for meat and dairy.

0:31:550:31:58

Fish have to have fins and scales,

0:31:580:32:01

and even the gas used to cook can only be switched on

0:32:010:32:03

by a kosher chef.

0:32:030:32:05

It's the evening of the big meal.

0:32:140:32:17

Chris, we've got a few sort of nibbles,

0:32:170:32:19

-we'll put those out on the table.

-Yeah, put everything on the table.

0:32:190:32:22

Reverend David Tudor, Danielle, Barry and Biff are all here.

0:32:220:32:26

And even Rebecca Harris, Conservative MP for Canvey turns up.

0:32:260:32:30

But the Hasidics have still not arrived.

0:32:320:32:34

I know what I'm going to get this lot for Christmas, watches.

0:32:380:32:42

It is touch-and-go right now.

0:32:450:32:46

I mean, we've been waiting here an hour.

0:32:460:32:48

Everyone's getting a bit uncomfortable.

0:32:480:32:50

You know, the band's warmed up, everybody's ready to go,

0:32:500:32:53

and the star turn's not rocked up yet.

0:32:530:32:55

So, for all the talk of integration and hands across the water,

0:32:550:32:58

actually, when it comes to the crunch, and we're going to try

0:32:580:33:01

and get people together, you know what,

0:33:010:33:03

they may not do it, because this could be where they think,

0:33:030:33:06

"Well, do we really need to sit down with...

0:33:060:33:08

"..Canvey?"

0:33:100:33:11

An hour and a quarter late, they finally turn up.

0:33:140:33:17

Listening to non-Jewish music, watching TV,

0:33:170:33:21

there's this whole idea of contamination, corruption,

0:33:210:33:26

being infected with something which is alien to their clear-headed path,

0:33:260:33:32

which is a holy and respectful path.

0:33:320:33:35

In the absence of a wall between the men and the women,

0:33:350:33:38

the food table is creating a makeshift barrier.

0:33:380:33:41

Gents on this side, ladies on this side.

0:33:410:33:43

-You're on that side.

-I know.

0:33:430:33:46

My husband's the local councillor, Barry Campagna.

0:33:460:33:49

You'll see his face in the paper.

0:33:490:33:50

I have to look at it every day!

0:33:500:33:52

With introductions over,

0:33:520:33:54

it's time to find out if Chris's choice of entertainment

0:33:540:33:57

will go down well.

0:33:570:33:59

My band started out from here in 1974.

0:33:590:34:03

And we're very lucky tonight,

0:34:030:34:05

we've have the guitarist of Dr Feelgood.

0:34:050:34:07

Steve is going to play three songs for us.

0:34:070:34:10

-APPLAUSE

-Thank you.

0:34:100:34:12

# White boy in town

0:34:190:34:21

# Big black, blue sound

0:34:210:34:24

# Nightclub, I paid in

0:34:240:34:26

# I got a stamp on my skin

0:34:260:34:29

# Black man rhythm with a white boy beat

0:34:290:34:32

# Black man rhythm with a white boy beat

0:34:320:34:35

# They got him on milk and alcohol

0:34:350:34:37

# They got him on milk and alcohol. #

0:34:390:34:43

It's the first time many of the Canveyites

0:34:430:34:45

are trying kosher food and wine.

0:34:450:34:48

-What are these?

-Which ones?

-These.

0:34:480:34:51

-Those are spring rolls.

-Yes.

0:34:510:34:54

-These are fish.

-What do they have in the spring rolls?

0:34:540:34:56

They've got some cabbage in them

0:34:560:34:58

and they've been fried in a kind of pastry, as you can see.

0:34:580:35:00

Oh, I just need a little piece, I can't be doing with fish.

0:35:000:35:04

That's Israeli... Israeli wine, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc.

0:35:040:35:08

-It's very nice.

-I don't think it tastes much different

0:35:080:35:10

-to our white wine.

-It's lovely.

0:35:100:35:13

It's got a lovely body.

0:35:130:35:16

So far, so good. It's very nice.

0:35:160:35:18

Oh...

0:35:200:35:21

The Reverend David Tudor would like to say something.

0:35:210:35:25

Whatever our religion, whatever our tradition,

0:35:250:35:28

what we have in common is our humanity.

0:35:280:35:32

And although the books that we call holy have many differences,

0:35:320:35:37

the one thing in common that our books have

0:35:370:35:40

is the welcome of the stranger.

0:35:400:35:44

And so, in a sense, we're all strangers,

0:35:440:35:46

we're all travelling through this earth,

0:35:460:35:50

and in a sense, we all belong, and we're the same family.

0:35:500:35:53

So may the God of Abraham bless us this night.

0:35:540:35:58

Thank you.

0:35:590:36:01

Gary has an important question for the chef Israel.

0:36:090:36:13

All of my family and all of my friends

0:36:130:36:15

and the people downstairs who I was drinking with before I come up here,

0:36:150:36:19

can't wait till you open a shop selling bagels.

0:36:190:36:25

-So when are you going to do it?

-We'll see, OK.

0:36:250:36:28

-Top man. We all love it.

-OK.

0:36:280:36:30

He's going to open a bagel shop and he's going to be the cook.

0:36:300:36:34

And I'll be the first one in there, brother.

0:36:340:36:38

On the island we've got a place called The Paddocks,

0:36:380:36:40

so is that somewhere where you'd take your children?

0:36:400:36:42

There's, like, a sandpit.

0:36:420:36:43

-We'd only consider it if it's going to be girls only or boys only.

-OK.

0:36:430:36:47

Even our weddings are separated.

0:36:470:36:49

Women can't be seen usually by the men, so we'd usually have a wall.

0:36:490:36:53

Yeah, even this wouldn't really be allowed.

0:36:530:36:55

Actually, though, when we have, like, a party,

0:36:550:36:58

all the women go one place and all the men go the other.

0:36:580:37:01

Yeah, but they actually separate them off, I like it.

0:37:010:37:03

I know...

0:37:030:37:05

I'm going to have a party this year, men and women -

0:37:070:37:10

a wall down the middle of the garden.

0:37:100:37:12

-Well, we can come to that if you do that.

-OK.

0:37:120:37:15

Hi, everybody.

0:37:150:37:17

I'd like to give my thanks to all of you here.

0:37:170:37:21

I have never experienced a non-Jewish community so welcoming,

0:37:210:37:27

so open-hearted and so friendly to us Jewish people.

0:37:270:37:33

APPLAUSE

0:37:330:37:34

I hope... Stop, I haven't finished.

0:37:340:37:37

I hope that we will not let you down.

0:37:370:37:41

We will live side by side,

0:37:410:37:44

and although we've got our own very strict rules and regulations,

0:37:440:37:48

which you will think we're mad, and we are,

0:37:480:37:51

but don't worry about that. We are. But your tolerance...

0:37:510:37:55

And, you know, we let you do what you want

0:37:550:37:57

and we do our own lifestyle.

0:37:570:37:59

But I just want to tell you, together we will make Canvey Island

0:37:590:38:03

a great, great place in the world.

0:38:030:38:06

APPLAUSE

0:38:060:38:08

The meal is a success.

0:38:100:38:12

The women are exchanging numbers...

0:38:120:38:14

0797...

0:38:140:38:16

..and the men are getting to know each other.

0:38:160:38:18

-We welcome you on the island.

-I'm very touched.

0:38:180:38:21

So I want a man hug.

0:38:210:38:23

-I am not used to this so you have to teach me.

-I'll teach you.

0:38:230:38:26

-Like that, that's it.

-Group hug!

-A squeeze.

0:38:260:38:29

And he keeps on looking after us all the time.

0:38:290:38:33

-That's my job, I'm the fixer.

-Thank you very much.

0:38:330:38:36

But Steve thinks there's still a way to go.

0:38:360:38:39

I mean, I think their religion is always going to be an obstacle

0:38:390:38:43

to fully integrating.

0:38:430:38:46

I hear the priest and I say,

0:38:460:38:47

"Yeah, sure, we should meet you halfway."

0:38:470:38:50

But I think for these guys, even meeting halfway

0:38:500:38:53

is going to be tough.

0:38:530:38:54

The Hasidic community is here to stay,

0:38:540:38:56

but the strict Orthodox laws of the Torah

0:38:560:38:59

always make it difficult for them to fully assimilate

0:38:590:39:02

with other communities.

0:39:020:39:03

The one thing with Canvey people is they won't take no for an answer.

0:39:060:39:09

And, no, I was very pleased with tonight.

0:39:090:39:11

Well done you. I appreciate it.

0:39:110:39:12

-No, well done you, and well done everyone that was involved.

-Yeah.

0:39:120:39:15

It's not an easy thing to pull together.

0:39:150:39:18

-So well done to you, Steve.

-Aw, well done, mate!

0:39:180:39:21

-Anyway.

-Well done, sir.

-Mazeltov.

0:39:230:39:26

We don't do mazeltov.

0:39:260:39:27

Mazeltov means when you have a baby - you say mazel tov.

0:39:270:39:30

There isn't a word. There's l'chaim.

0:39:300:39:32

-What is l'chaim?

-"To life".

0:39:320:39:34

-To life. Actually, I'll take that. L'chaim.

-L'chaim.

-L'chaim.

0:39:340:39:38

Europe's largest ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has lived in Stamford Hill, London, since the late 1800s. But with rents soaring, they are on the move. This film follows the Hasidic community as some of them embark on their biggest exodus since World War II. They have chosen the most unexpected place, Canvey Island, on the River Thames estuary, one of the five most pro-Brexit wards in Britain.

In 2013 the island was voted the most English place in Britain. The ultra-Orthodox Hasid spend most of their time in prayer or studying the 613 commandments of their holy book, the Torah. Renowned as a tight-knit and insular community, for the first time in decades they are looking to put down roots in the new 'promised Island'. Both the Hasid and the Canvey Islanders are aware of the challenges of integration, let alone finding reliable deliveries of ultra kosher food.

With unique access to this tightly closed community, we follow Naftali and Miriam Noe and their four children from Stamford Hill as they join the 25 Hasidic families who have already made the move to Canvey.

Chris Fenwick, a lifelong Canvey Islander, pub landlord and manager of the rock and roll band Dr Feelgood, has devised a plan to integrate everyone. He is inviting his new neighbours to a gig in his pub, taking the Hasidic children on a guided tour of the Island, and with the help of Reverend David Tudor and the next mayor of Canvey, Barry Campagna, hoping to bring both sides together during a meal at his pub. The film follows the guests, the arrangements and the challenges of organising a dinner party for the two very different communities. Mutual understanding is top of the menu but will the Hasidic guests turn up? And will the predominantly Christian islanders learn to love their new neighbours?