Hefker in Hackney

Meral and I went over to Clapton yesterday to help Brian Stone and team campaign for the Springfield by-election, which is taking place on 20 December. Unlike Islington, this is an area with a strong Orthodox Jewish community. One of the estates we visited is run by an Orthodox housing association. It’s a real contrast to other estates in the area, spotlessly clean, with children’s paintings and Hebrew texts displayed on the doors. Even the lift has a mezuzah.

All estates have similar issues with managing bulky waste; here the familiar signs had a different twist, being in a mix of English and Yiddish. Anything left on the landings after a certain date would be considered ‘hefker’ and removed. I was intrigued by this word ‘hefker’ and looked it up; it means ‘abandoned’ ‘ownerless’ and also ‘a mess’. A very useful concept… but will Contact Islington understand if I report flytips, dumped furniture etc as ‘hefker’ in future?



  1. […] objects – photo frames, bath towels, travel gadgets, candle holders – which are definitely hefker. Not this year! Richard doesn’t agonise. I have been known to spend so long dithering between […]

  2. […] a plus point, on the way home I’d spotted a pile of hefker – bits of wood, old bedding, spilling out of bags – on a street corner. On a Friday night […]

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