Jewish law

On this day: Mordecai Kaplan dies

By Jennifer Lipman, November 8, 2010

Born in Lithuania in 1881, Mordecai Kaplan's family moved to the United States when he was eight. He studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and later Columbia University, and was ordained as a rabbi at the age of 21. In 1908 he married Lena Rubin.

But his experience as a rabbi in New York, at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, was not a positive one, and in 1909 he almost left the role to work in insurance. He did not leave, but he did remain disillusioned with the Jewish practice around him.

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How politics hurt Israel's Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 21, 2010

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received a personal letter last week wishing him good health and thanking him for his involvement in the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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Elstree eruv one step closer

By Jay Grenby, September 7, 2010

The end looks finally in sight for the long-awaited Elstree eruv following the unanimous approval by Hertsmere Borough Council planners of a revised application.

An eruv trust representative said the decision would "bring closure to all planning related matters within 30 days".

The hope is that the religious boundary, covering most of the Elstree and Borehamwood residential areas, could be operational by the end of autumn. Only a small number of the eruv poles require modification or re-siting.

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Shtetl show for Leeds children

By Jessica Elgot, August 5, 2010

Leeds is opening a Jewish educational centre where children can take a walk through time into a 19th century eastern European shtetl.

The Jewish Heritage Centre for Children, due to open in October, is the brainchild of Leeds Lubavitch education director Shoshana Angyalfi and her project co-ordinator Ruth Bell, who gave the JC a sneak preview of the museum.

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Top lawyer questioned by police

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

A top Jewish lawyer has been interviewed by police investigating the alleged theft of £158,000 of his former chambers' funds.

David Friesner, who has represented Premier League footballers and was one of Manchester's most highly regarded barristers, was questioned under caution over the missing money. He has not been arrested or charged.

Mr Friesner, of Salford, denies any wrongdoing. His solicitor, Ian Lewis, said he would continue to aid police.

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Man who refused wife a get loses action against JC

By Leon Symons, February 11, 2010

A man who complained about the JC’s coverage of his refusal to give his wife a get has lost his action against the paper.

Edward Saleh’s wife Miriam divorced him three years ago. But he left her an agunah — a chained woman — unless she agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of a Beth Din that would seek to re-open the issues settled in her civil action.

Ms Saleh refused and, even now, is still unable to remarry according to Jewish law.

This week the newspaper watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission, rejected Mr Saleh’s claim that the JC’s report was inaccurate.

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Kosher phones ring the changes

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Kosher phones — adapted to prevent access to the Internet — have finally arrived in London with the blessing of the strictly Orthodox rabbinate.

Rose Communications, a company in Stamford Hill, north London, is inviting customers to trade in their old mobiles free for the new handsets, which can also be modified to exclude the text messaging service.

Although kosher phones have been available in Israel for several years, it took the efforts of a local non-profit organisation, Hakol Kol — meaning “voice only” — to introduce them to London.

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New 'roadmap' provides hope for divorce solution

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

A major initiative was launched this week to resolve one of the most problematic issues in Jewish law — the plight of the agunah, the “chained woman”, unable to remarry because her husband has denied her a get, a religious bill of divorce.

An academic team from Manchester University is today publishing a “roadmap” towards possible solutions after a five-year investigation.

Professor Bernard Jackson, a specialist in Jewish law and director of the university’s Agunah Research Unit, warned: “There is no single magic bullet to solve the problem.”

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How a TV documentary helped one woman get a divorce

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2009

A couple who came before the Manchester Beth Din speak anonymously in the documentary about the problems that led to the husband refusing to give his wife a get.

The 49-year-old wife, who has three children from her first marriage, claimed that her husband had become abusive when she told him she wanted a divorce and that he would give her a get only if she paid his court fees.

“The final dissolution took just a year. We gained our civil divorce in 1998. But it’s taken 11 years for the get, which was received in April at the Manchester Beth Din.

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Get took five desperate years, now I'll be shunned

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

A strictly Orthodox woman featured in a new television programme dealing with gittin (religious divorces) has revealed that in desperation she obtained a get from a non-Orthodox religious authority.

Miriam Saleh speaks for the first time about her five-year ordeal of trying to obtain a get from her husband in the Channel 4 documentary Revelations: Divorce – Jewish Styleo be screened on Sunday.

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