UK news

Pioneering gay rabbi dies

By Rosa Doherty, October 27, 2014

Rabbi Sheila Shulman of London's gay and lesbian synagogue, Beit Klal, has died.

Rabbi Shulman was one of the first openly gay rabbis to be ordained in the UK.

She applied to Leo Baeck College as a lesbian feminist in 1984 and in 1989 she was ordained.

Rabbi Shulman died on Saturday October 25 aged 77.


Charity in appeal for blood donors

By Naomi Firsht, October 24, 2014

The Joely Bear Appeal will hold its 60th blood donor sesssion at Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue this weekend.

The appeal was launched in January 1995 in memory of Joel Renak, a Jewish child who died aged four from a rare form of liver cancer.

His family have been campaigning ever since for more blood and stem cell donors.


Student politics isn’t working

By Maggie Suissa, October 24, 2014

Last week, while we were sitting in our succahs, student politics took a worrying turn.

Goldsmiths students union rejected a motion which called to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, as well as other days marking genocides in Europe.


Luciana Berger targeted by antisemites after jailing of abusive internet troll

By Marcus Dysch, October 24, 2014

The jailing of an internet troll who sent antisemitic messages to MP Luciana Berger has sparked a wave of copycat abuse targeting the Labour shadow cabinet member.

Merseysider Garron Helm was handed a four-week prison term on Monday after admitting sending an “obscene” Hitler-related tweet to Ms Berger.


Thousands join in challah bake as Shabbat UK gets off to a triumphant start

By Simon Rocker, October 24, 2014

More than 3,000 women – and a few men – gave an extraordinary start to the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK by joining in a mass challah bake in London last night.

The response was so great that there were nearly 800 on the waiting list for the date with the dough at Allianz Park in London, home of Saracens Rugby Club.


Anti-Israel activist chosen as Tory candidate in Rochester

By Marcus Dysch, October 24, 2014


The candidate selected to stand for the Conservative Party in an upcoming by-election in Kent is an anti-Israel activist at odds with the party’s stance on boycotts.

Kelly Tolhurst won an open primary to fight in Rochester and Strood next month.

A local businesswoman and councillor, Ms Tolhurst is known as a vocal anti-Israel campaigner in the area.


PM and political leaders voice support for Shabbat UK

By Simon Rocker, October 23, 2014

More than 7,000 people are expected to take part in mass challah-making sessions in 26 locations around the UK as a prelude to Shabbat UK, the national Sabbath celebration launched by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this weekend.


Ukip defends link to extremist Polish party

By Marcus Dysch, October 23, 2014

Ukip has defended its European Parliament alliance with a member of a party whose leader questions the Holocaust and makes racist slurs.

The British party admitted Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz was an "odd bedfellow" following his recruitment this week, but said it was necessary to work with him.


MP attacks supporters as 'virtually invisible'

By Marcus Dysch, October 23, 2014

A fundamental revolution in pro-Israel campaigning is required following the parliamentary vote to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

That is the view of Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who challenged the Jewish community to take a radical look at how it co-ordinates support for Israel.


Israel fears European backlash

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 23, 2014

Israel fears other European countries could follow Sweden's government in recognising a Palestinian state, a concern reinforced by the Commons vote.

The foreign ministry in Jerusalem did not attach major importance to last week's Commons motion, which does not compel the British government to change its policy.