UK news

The Olympic kippah for Jewish volunteers

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be offered the chance to wear an "Olympic kippah" as part of their uniform.

The specially-designed yarmulke will form part of the official attire for Jewish members of the 70,000-strong volunteering team.

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has held discussions with representatives of the Jewish community to discuss provisions, including kosher food, which will be needed for Jewish competitors and visitors to the capital.

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Bernstein to decline payout after voters shut out of polling station

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 10, 2010

Sir Howard Bernstein, the chief executive of Manchester City Council, is to refuse a £19,000 payout if a report shows significant failures over his running of voting in Manchester during the May elections.

An internal investigation has been launched by the council following anger from 300 voters who were locked out of polling stations in Withington, south Manchester, after 10pm on May 6.

It has emerged that Sir Howard is to receive a combined payment for acting as the returning officer who oversaw voting in that constituency
and four others.

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Stamford Hill brothel shutdown

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

A suspected brothel next door to a major Jewish community centre has been closed by police following complaints from neighbouring residents.

The sex den was next to Lubavitch UK's headquarters, at the heart of the community in Stamford Hill, north London.

Officers from the Met's Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command and Hackney borough police boarded up the building last Friday after obtaining a closure order, using new legislation which makes it a criminal offence for anyone to enter the property.

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Psychologist used false names to avoid £1m property debt

June 10, 2010

A Jewish psychologist who used over 40 false names to avoid paying debts of over £1m has been jailed.

Yehuda Crammer, 65, of Prestwich, Manchester, was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to two counts of concealing property after he was made bankrupt in 2004.

Manchester Crown Court heard how the psychologist, who ran a Harley Street clinic as well as one in central Manchester, had racked
up £800,000 of debt from owning a care home which fell into financial difficulty.

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Jewish juror denied Old Testament to swear on

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

A civil servant has spoken of her "shock" after finding one of the largest courts in the country did not provide a copy of the Old Testament on which she could swear an oath.

Jo Gattenberg, 41, from Archway, North London, had to make an affirmation, the non-religious option, after her request for the Old Testament was declined at Southwark Crown Court last week.

The oath is taken by members of the jury and anyone taking the stand in a British court.

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Hackney's swastika art attack

By Jessica Elgot, June 10, 2010

A former Vogue photographer and artist has caused a stir in Hackney with plans to display his latest work - swastikas made out of Catholic communion wafers.

The artwork, by photographer Colin Hampden-White, is intended as an attack on Pope Pius XII, who did not speak out against the Holocaust.

The swastikas occupy two squares of the annual 100sqft art exhibition. The idea is that any artist can buy space on a grid of 30cm squares, to show his or her work.

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Press win for the JC

June 10, 2010

For a second time the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled in favour of the Jewish Chronicle in relation to complaints made against the paper by Londoner Edward Saleh.

Mr Saleh complained about the JC's coverage of his refusal to give his wife, Miriam, a get, or religious divorce.

He complained to the PCC, which found against him.

He then complained again, this time about the JC's coverage of the PCC's ruling.

This week the PCC declared that there had been no breach of the Press Code by the Jewish Chronicle.

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JNF faces charity challenge

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

The JNF came under renewed attack this week from anti-Zionists calling for the removal of its charitable status.

Veteran activist Uri Davis - author of Israel: An Apartheid State - addressed a "Stop the JNF" meeting organised by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Ijan) at London's School of Oriental and African Studies on Tuesday.

Michael Kalmanovitz, an Ijan UK co-ordinator, said the event was "part of a campaign to expose the role of JNF and to protest at its fundraising activities".

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Jewish flotilla plans to break Gaza blockade

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Community representatives have reacted with outrage to the news that an all-Jewish flotilla of anti-Israel campaigners is planning to sail to Gaza next month, pledging to break the blockade.

The flotilla, to be captained by the British sailor, Glyn Secker of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, will sail under the auspices of European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), an umbrella organisation of groups from 10 countries,

Mr Secker said it would show that "not all Jews support Israel" and would "say emphatically: not in our name".

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Jewish donor funds Cambridge digital library

By Jennifer Lipman, June 9, 2010

Cambridge University has announced plans to digitise a collection of rare books including important ancient Jewish texts.

Thanks to a donation from British Jewish philanthropist Dr Leonard Polonsky, the university will be converting books from its faith collection into digital form.

Dr Polonsky, ranked at number 507 on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2009, has pledged £1.5 million for the project. The New York born businessman founded the Polonsky-Coexist Lectureship in Jewish Studies at Cambridge.

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