Tycoon gets back £21m in fraud battle

By Paul Berger, August 5, 2010

A British property tycoon has won a US court battle against an Orthodox developer who swindled him out of £23 million.

Berish Berger gave Eliyahu Weinstein, of New Jersey, $36.5 million, believing the money would be invested in two lucrative real estate deals in Philadelphia.

But a court heard the deals were part of a scam targeting wealthy members of the Orthodox community. The Sunday Times Rich List recently estimated Mr Berger's net worth at £35 million.


Scientists hear how gays can be 'cured'

By Paul Berger, August 5, 2010

An Orthodox scientific group has sparked controversy by giving a platform to a Jewish organisation that believes homosexuality can be cured.

The Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists invited Arthur Goldberg to speak at its annual convention in Connecticut last month.

Mr Goldberg is a proponent of reparative therapy, which seeks to transform gays and bisexuals into heterosexuals through therapy.

In 1999, he co-founded JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality). Opponents claim such therapies are ineffective and even harmful.


Trampoline saves teens trapped by fire

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2010

Three teenagers who leapt from a third-floor window to escape a house fire suffered only minor injuries after breaking their 7m fall with a trampoline.

Fifteen firemen raced to a house in Broughton Park, Salford, in the early hours of last Friday morning, after a neighbour reported that three people were trapped inside. A fire was thought to be raging on the ground level of a terraced town house on the Broughton Green development on Northumberland Street.


JFS ruling creates barmitzvah confusion

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

A number of Orthodox Jewish schools are stopping organising bar or batmitzvah ceremonies for pupils because they cannot tell if they are halachically Jewish, according to the head of the United Synagogue's Rabbinic Council.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet explained that the change was being made as a result of last year's court ruling on Jewish school admissions.

Speaking last weekend at an event in north London, he said that a meeting had recently taken place for young people who act as wardens in midweek services that take place at various schools.


Singing rabbis 'banned'

By Nathan Jeffay, July 22, 2010

Israel's chief rabbinate is threatening to withdraw licences to perform marriages from rabbis who sing under the chuppah.

Wedding ceremonies in Israel tend to be generic, performed by a rabbi allocated by the rabbinate. But in the last decade, Israeli couples have begun turning to charismatic rabbis, who liven up ceremonies by singing parts of it.

"It's like a performance, like a theatre," said Ana Prashizky, a Bar Ilan University sociologist who has studied the trend.


Ultimately, converts will be the losers

By Seth Farber, July 22, 2010

Whatever happens in the end to the conversion law, the real losers are the potential converts. Neither the bill - which was proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu in an effort to ease the road for converts in Israel - or the virulent response of the North American Jewish community, which tried to kill the bill, was going to significantly improve the chaos that has characterised conversion in Israel for the past decade.


Parents face jail over Jewish school segregation

By Jessica Elgot, June 17, 2010

Tens of thousands of strictly Orthodox Jews marched in Jerusalem today against the proposed integration of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi girls at a religious school.

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Ashkenazi, Mizrahi and Sephardi children must be educated together, and dozens of parents of girls at a school in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel face up to two weeks in jail.

The parents of Ashkenazi children have demanded the other children are educated separately - claiming they do not believe them to be observant enough.


Judah Passow's Manchester

By Judah Passow, April 1, 2010

In this second set of photographs focusing on the British Jewish community, Judah Passow takes a look at life in north Manchester’s Broughton Park and Higher Broughton.

Its Victorian terraced streets are dotted with yeshivot and synagogues of various sizes, and with shops and restaurants which cater for the strict interpretation of kashrut adhered to in the area.



Orthodox anger at plans to change GMT

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has opposed plans to replace Greenwich Mean Time with all-year summertime, believing it will cause “tremendous hardship” for those observing religiously prescribed prayer times.

Joe Lobenstein, vice president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, has written to Gordon Brown objecting to proposals to shift Britain’s whole time system forward by an hour, known as Single Double Saving Time (SDST).

Campaigners for the change believe that it will boost the tourist trade and reduce traffic accidents.


Meet the world’s first female Orthodox rav

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

L’Chaim!” Reb Mimi Feigelson raises her glass of water for the umpteenth time and takes a sip. Fighting off a cold, she has sustained her voice for well over an hour, leading a late-night session on Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, the Chasidic master, at the Limmud conference.