Universities

Cambridge mulls rival mikveh plans

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

A public showdown is looming over plans to open Cambridge’s first mikveh.

An open meeting has been called by the Cambridge Community Mikveh Charity (CCMC) for Sunday week, in the presence of a dayan from the London Beth Din, which held a hearing into the mikveh controversy six months ago.

David Gilinsky, a trustee of the CCMC, took his fellow-trustees to the Beth Din, complaining of “procrastination” over the project. He and his wife Ofra have offered land they own in Milton Road as a location for the ritual bath.

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UCU ‘in internal court war’

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

Reports of a legal clash between the trustees of the University and College Union and its executive were circulating on Wednesday afternoon.

The JC was told that the trustees had gone to the High Court ahead of publication, due on Thursday, of the list of motions to be debated at UCU’s annual congress in Bournemouth at the end of the month. It is understood that the trustees were seeking an injunction to prevent publication of the list in case it contained an anti-Israel boycott motion.

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Oxford blocks Neturei talk

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2009

A lecture by the leader of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect was relocated after Oxford University’s largest graduate college refused to let him speak on campus.

Ahron Cohen was the guest speaker at the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford’s (MECO) monthly forum on Thursday last week.

The event had been due to take place at Wolfson College but was relocated to a private venue after the college cancelled the booking.

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New boycott threat from UCU

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2009

Anti-boycott campaigners fear that a fresh attempt could be made to implement sanctions against Israeli universities when higher education lecturers meet at their annual union congress at the end of the month.

The University and College Union refused to comment on whether any debate on Israel would take place, saying that the agenda for the meeting in Bournemouth in three weeks will be published next week.

But the JC has learned that the union’s national executive has approved the submission of three motions on “Palestine”, raising the alarm among anti-boycott activists.

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Collaboration on Jewish studies

By Simon Rocker, April 30, 2009

Trainee Progressive rabbis will be taking degrees at a leading academic institution where Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks is a visiting professor.

King’s College, London has for several years offered an MA in Jewish studies in conjunction with the Orthodox London School of Jewish Studies.

Now King’s has entered into a similar partnership with the Leo Baeck College, London’s Progressive rabbinic academy.

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Equality Bill will help us

By Leon Symons, April 30, 2009

The government’s new Equality Bill, which received its first reading this week, will finally put an end to the problem of students being forced to sit examinations on Shabbat or festival days.

It will also mean that observant Jews will be able to leave early for Shabbat and take festivals off without taking them out of their holiday allowance — and without fear of discrimination by their employer.

The new legislation also bars discrimination in private members’ clubs, so Jews and their guests cannot be refused entry or access to a bar.

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Dear Gordon, here’s £4m to spend on students

By Simon Rocker, April 29, 2009

Naim Dangoor, the nonagenarian Iraqi-born philanthropist, has offered a donation of £4 million to British universities — in the hope that the government matches the gift.

Dr Dangoor, who gave £1million four years ago to fund a thousand £1,000 scholarships at UK universities, put his idea in a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week.

He explained that he had heard on radio and television that young people were being told that “because of the credit crunch, they can’t obtain new jobs and they can’t go to university. I want to make life easier for them”.

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European students are ejected

April 23, 2009

The European Union of Jewish Students was thrown out of the conference after taking part in demonstrations against the Iranian president.

Its accreditation and that of its 100 participants was withdrawn for the vociferous way they showed their anger at Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech.

Among the group were Jewish students from Britain who were part of a political task force co-ordinated by Union of Jewish Students campaigns director Yair Zivan.

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Academic boycotter to study in Tel Aviv

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

One of the founding leaders of the movement to boycott Israeli academia has begun taking doctoral courses at Tel Aviv University.

Thousands of students at the university have already signed a petition calling on the board of governors to bar Omar Barghouti from the lecture halls, but the university is upholding the cause of academic freedom.

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Big role in Durham

April 23, 2009

Sunderland University lecturer Simon Henig is the leader of the new Durham unitary authority, providing services previously offered by eight councils.

“It’s a new era for County Durham and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” he said.

The 40-year-old Labour councillor is following in a family tradition as his father Stanley was MP for Lancaster and his mother Ruth sits in the Lords. His late grandfather Sir Mark Henig was Lord Mayor of Leicester and the first chairman of the English Tourist Board.

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