Jewish life

I've got the festive booze blues

By Abigail Radnor, December 13, 2013

It’s that time of year when I find it easier to lie. Small talk revolves around the question: “so are you all ready for Christmas?” And, each time, I assess whether or not the “I don’t celebrate Christmas” conversational route is worth pursuing (this needs to be delivered carefully so as not to come across all Scrooge-like).

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Parliament hosts Chanucah celebration for gay group

By Marcus Dysch, December 5, 2013

Parliament has hosted its first Chanucah reception for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.

Keshet UK, which promotes the inclusion of LGBT Jews in all aspects of communal life, welcomed around 100 people to the Commons’ Jubilee Room on Monday evening.

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Historic haggadah found in Manchester sells for £210,000

By Rosa Doherty, November 22, 2013

An 18th-century haggadah, discovered in a cardboard box, has sold at auction for £210,000.

The Hebrew manuscript, dating from 1726, fetched £60,000 more than had been expected.

The buyer is an Austrian Jewish collector who wanted to remain anonymous.

Bill Forrest of Adam Partridge Auctioneers confirmed: “The buyer wanted his identity to be kept secret.

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Do British Jews have a duty to welcome new immigrants?

November 22, 2013

JC readers have their say

David Finlay, member of Alyth Reform Synagogue

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Split over using synagogue resources to help new immigrants

By Sandy Rashty, November 22, 2013

Divisions in the community over its attitudes to immigrants have been revealed in the wake of Baroness Neuberger’s comments about the Bulgarians and Romanians expected to arrive in the UK next year.

Baroness Neuberger, rabbi of the West London Synagogue, said last week that British Jewry should speak out more on behalf of new arrivals, given its own history as an immigrant community.

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Being the last Jew of Kabul? It pays the rent

By Lalage Snow , November 21, 2013

Zablon Simintov is infamous. A bitter feud with Ishaq Levin, with whom he shared the only synagogue in Kabul, was widely publicised.

Their mutual hatred was so fierce that they frequently denounced each other to the authorities for espionage: being the Last Jew of Kabul was a title worth fighting for.

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It’s Thanksgivukkah, so have some menurkey

By Charlotte Oliver, November 21, 2013

It last occurred 125 years ago, and it will not happen again for 70,000 years, so it is no wonder that American Jews are making a big deal of “Thanksgivukkah”.

That is what they are calling the coinciding next Thursday of the first day of Chanucah and the festival of Thanksgiving — when Americans remember how the Pilgrim Fathers celebrated their first harvest with a three-day feast.

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Glasgow gets historical

By Adam Henderson, November 18, 2013

An illustrated book about the history of Glasgow Jewry was launched on Sunday by the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.

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‘Rabbi’ who believes in Jesus is teaching Jewish studies

By Rosa Doherty, November 15, 2013

Community leaders in Norwich have expressed concern over a messianic “rabbi” who is teaching Jewish studies in local schools.

Binyamin Sheldrake, a member of the Adat Yeshua group, has been teaching the subject to children in primary and secondary schools across the city, after being approved for the role by the national Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (Sacre).

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US leaders talk Jewish identity politics

By Shira Rubin, November 14, 2013

Thousands of North American community leaders met Israeli politicians, entrepreneurs and social activists to debate contemporary Jewish identity at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly conference in Jerusalem this week.

Assimilation, women’s rights at the Western Wall and the surprising amount of poverty in Israel were among the topics discussed.

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