Jewish life

Rabbinical college ends spouse rule for students

By Simon Rocker, August 2, 2013

Leo Baeck College can no longer require married rabbinic students to have a Jewish spouse or partner because of equality laws, the JC has learned.

The Progressive academy in London quietly introduced the change two years ago after taking legal advice.

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Editor quits as JQ hits 60

By Josh Jackman, August 2, 2013

The search is on for a new editor of the venerable cultural journal, the Jewish Quarterly, after the resignation of Rachel Lasserson, the present holder of the post, who ran the JQ for seven years.

Ms Lasserson stepped down to “seek new challenges”, according to the JQ’s joint chair Mark Goldberg.

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Mother loses custody battle but will fight on

By Anna Sheinman, August 1, 2013

Beth Alexander, a British mother of four-year-old twins, is to appeal against the Viennese court decision which has given final custody to their father.

She said the decision had left her feeling as if she had been “convicted of a crime, although I know I am innocent”. She vowed to fight on in her long-running battle to gain care of the boys, Samuel and Benji.

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Songs of praise for chazanut

July 27, 2013

Chief Rabbi-elect Ephraim Mirvis has pledged his support for a campaign to preserve chazanut in Orthodox communities. “We have to guarantee that traditional melodies and ways of leading a service will be preserved for the generations to come,” he said at a reception before a Central Synagogue concert last week, which was one of the highlights of the European Cantors’ Assocation convention.

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Father gets custody

July 25, 2013

Custody of the four-year-old twins of British-born Beth Alexander has been given to their father, Dr Michael Schlesinger, by a Vienna court.

This means that the current custody arrangements, by which Ms Alexander sees the twins every Tuesday and every other Sunday, will continue.

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British Jews are getting younger, Census reveals

By Simon Rocker, July 25, 2013

British Jewry is getting younger, according to a new report based on the 2011 Census.

In contrast to the long-established picture of an ageing community, the average age of British Jews actually fell between 2001 and 2011. The rejuvenation of the Jewish population is largely down to the growth of the Charedi community with its high birth-rates.

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Mum’s hell as father runs off with two sons

By Sandy Rashty, July 25, 2013

A Jewish mother has spoken of her ongoing “hell” in her legal battle to bring two of her sons back to the UK after they were taken to Russia by her ex-husband last year.

Rachael Neustadt, 35, from Hendon, thought that her two elder sons, Daniel and Jonathan, had taken a two-week holiday to visit their Russian-born father’s family.

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Reform faces the music once again

July 22, 2013

The role of music in Jewish life was celebrated at a Movement for Reform Judaism conference attended by almost 100 delegates from 25 communities.

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Tiny Newport has a big giveaway

By Zoe Winograd, July 22, 2013

The five remaining active members of Newport Hebrew Congregation held a kiddush on Monday to mark the handover of two sifrei Torah to a new Israeli community.

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Jobcentres ignore law

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 19, 2013

The Department for Work and Pensions is launching an investigation into claims that Shabbat-observant Jews continue to be refused job seekers allowance.

Under a policy followed by some job centres in the north-west of England, claimants who are not willing to work on Saturdays are automatically denied JSA.

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