UK news

Israeli chain's London launch met with happy anticipation - and foreboding

By Sandy Rashty, October 30, 2014

A new Israeli cosmetics store in central London could attract negative attention from boycott activists, communal figures have warned.

Sabon, a luxury brand specialising in skincare and fragrances which contain minerals from the Dead Sea, was due to open its first UK store on Neal Street in Covent Garden on Thursday.


Government presses on with two-faith RE plan

October 30, 2014

The Department for Education has discounted objections from the Chief Rabbi and Board of Deputies and is pressing ahead with plans to require schools to teach about more than one faith for GCSE religious studies.

The move is seen as a way to promote interfaith tolerance amid anxiety, in particular, about the potential spread of Islamic conservatism in schools.

Both Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis


Ofsted raps 'narrow' Orthodox school

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2014

A state-aided strictly Orthodox girls school in Salford has been put into special measures after inspectors criticised its narrow curriculum and other failings.

The Beis Yaakov High School, an academy which teaches 258 girls from 11 to 16, was judged "inadequate" - the lowest of the four inspection grades - following an unannounced visit from Ofsted last month.

Rabbi Yochonon Goldlbatt, the


Classes for the family

October 30, 2014

The UK's largest Jewish state-aided primary school has appointed a family educator.

Rabbi Daniel Sturgess, from adult education organisation Project Seed, will hope to attract parents to courses at the Michael Sobell Sinai, in Kingsbury, London.

Seed's associate national director Rabbi Malcolm Herman described the new post as a "pioneering moment in community education".

Parents will be o


Cash boost for trainee Jewish studies teachers

October 30, 2014

Trainee Jewish studies teachers for secondary schools will be able to get bursaries next year after the government agreed to provide funding for religious education.

No money was available from the Department for Education for secondary RE training this year.

But now the department has decided to fund 40 places nationally next year - including a quarter reserved for Jewish studies training a


Humanists probe Charedi education

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2014

A former Charedi school pupil has told a group of MPs and peers investigating fundamentalism that he received just half an hour of secular tuition a day.

The ex-student, who went to an independent strictly Orthodox school in Stamford Hill, London, briefed a closed session of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) last week.

He spoke of "the difficulty in leaving the community, as


Chief Rabbi Mirvis: Shabbat UK has made history

By Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, October 29, 2014

We set our expectations high — and British Jewry exceeded them.

We are still under the spell of a mesmerising and historic weekend.


Jews for Jesus relocates to heart of London Jewish community

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2014

The missionary group Jews for Jesus is moving its London office to Hendon, into the heart of one of the most populated Jewish areas.

It has taken a shop opposite the tube station, which lies close to the local branch of Aish, the Jewish young adults’ organisation.

Jews for Jesus UK director Julia Pascoe said that while an opening date had not yet been set, it would be “by Chanucah”.


Lib Dems will not take action over David Ward's 'Israel control' tweet

By Marcus Dysch, October 28, 2014

Controversial Liberal Democrat MP David Ward will not face disciplinary action after using Twitter to post an Israel-related message which included an antisemitic trope.

Mr Ward took to Twitter on Saturday night, telling followers: “After Commons Palestine vote what next? Need to expose Pro-Israel control of MPs against recognition.”


Writer of Dreyfus novel wins thriller prize

By Naomi Firsht, October 27, 2014

Robert Harris won the prize for best thriller of the year with his novel An Officer and a Spy depicting the Dreyfus Affair.

Mr Harris was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller last weekend at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.