Blears praises shuls for interfaith work

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

More than three-quarters of mainstream synagogues do some kind of interfaith work, according to a survey to be published next week by the Board of Deputies.

The results “show what some may think of as a surprising degree of engagement in interfaith activity by the broad swathe of our community,” said Board chief executive Jon Benjamin. “But this confirms what many of us already know — that the Jewish community is keen to play its part in wider society and to share its experience of successfully integrating into British society.”


Students join Blair interfaith project

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.


Ethnic communities vow to ease interfaith tensions

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A new interfaith group has been launched to try to prevent foreign conflicts causing tensions between religious communities in London.

Called United London Stands, it has emerged out of contacts between the London Jewish Forum and the City Circle, an independent group of young British Muslims.


Tony Blair urges faiths to make difference

April 2, 2009

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken passionately about the importance of all faiths uniting to make a difference to global poverty and conflict.

He made his comments at a central London fundraising breakfast in which the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) joined with World Jewish Relief for the first time to raise awareness of and funds for both organisations’ vital work in Africa.


Play performed by Jews and Muslims is celebrated in Lords

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

On Sunday night, London’s Tricycle Theatre staged a play with a difference about the recent Gaza war — it was performed by a group of young local Muslims and Jews.

Homecoming was the latest project of Muju, the Muslim-Jewish arts group founded four years ago.

“People had warned us against doing it because it’s such an emotive issue,” said Georgina Bednar, who co-chairs Muju with Salman Siddiqui. “But we wanted to face the elephant in the room — which we did to a sell-out audience.”


Muslims offer to help shul

By Stephanie Brickman, March 19, 2009

The Scottish-Islamic Foundation has offered to protect a synagogue which was damaged in an attack.

Its chairman Ken Imrie wrote to Rabbi David Rose of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation to say the Foundation “would wish to physically guard the synagogue ourselves” if the Jewish community was unable to arrange suitable security.

The synagogue suffered £1,000 of damage, including smashed windows, last Thursday.


What the Koran says about the land of Israel

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

According to the Hamas charter, Palestine is an Islamic endowment “for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection” which no one may renounce. The Arab-Israeli conflict is seen as not just a political dispute but an implacably religious one.


Dayan attacks plan to twin shuls with mosques

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

A Board of Deputies plan for synagogues to twin with mosques in order to improve Muslim-Jewish relations has been attacked by a senior Orthodox rabbi as contrary to Jewish law.

Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation of Beth Din, wrote to communities under its aegis last Friday to say they should not take part “on religious grounds”.

The initiative was among a number discussed by Jewish interfaith organisations at a special meeting at the Board last week to discuss Jewish-Muslim relations.


Board reaches out to repair faith relations

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

An Islamic community centre will host a major Jewish exhibition as interfaith groups attempt to repair relations in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict.

The Board of Deputies’ Jewish Way of Life exhibition will be held at the centre in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the spring.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of the London Jewish Forum, synagogue bodies and the Board reaffirmed their dedication to developing stronger ties with the Muslim community.


CCJ adds 3 new rabbis

February 26, 2009

Three new rabbis have been appointed as presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews.

The interfaith group has added Rabbi Abraham Levy, of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation; Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism; and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior Rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues.