UK news

Brit milah inquest opens

By Robyn Rosen, September 3, 2009

An inquest will open next week into the death of a baby who stopped breathing after his circumcision.

Hornsey Coroners’ Court will hear testimony from an extensive list of witnesses who will give evidence about the death of Amitai Moshe.

The baby died on February 9 2007, eight days after his brit milah took place at Golders Green Synagogue.

He was taken by the strictly-Orthodox volunteer ambulance service, Hatzola, to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead but then transferred to University College Hospital, where he died.

More..

Police caution man over street hate rant

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

A Filipino man has been cautioned by police after shouting antisemitic abuse at a Jewish passerby in a random attack.

The incident happened as the victim was walking to his car in Bell Lane, Hendon, north west London, at around 10pm on Saturday night.

He was approached by a 42-year-old drunk man who shouted antisemitic insults at him before entering a house.

The 29-year-old victim called the police, who searched the property and found the man hiding on the roof.

Officers talked him down, arrested him, and seized three cannabis plants.

More..

Bevis Marks Rabbi row deepens

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

The dispute over the suspended rabbi of Bevis Marks Synagogue in London deepened this week after fresh attacks by his supporters on the handling of his suspension by Sephardi leaders.

Rabbi Natan Asmoucha was suspended six weeks ago by the mahamad (executive) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation over his involvement in an interfaith rally against high bank interest rates in July.

But now supporters are furious at the proposed postponement of a special meeting of the congregation, called to put a vote of no confidence in the executive.

More..

Fire-fighters call for TUC Israel boycott

By Leon Symons, September 3, 2009

The Trades Union Congress has come under international pressure over a motion to its annual conference calling on it to review its links with Histadrut, its Israeli counterpart.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has tabled a resolution for the conference, to be held in two weeks’ time, which also calls for a ban on the importation of all goods from “illegal settlements”, the ending of all arms trading with Israel, a boycott of Israeli goods and divestment from companies “associated with the occupation”.

More..

Irish NGO forced to cut back

By Robyn Rosen, September 3, 2009

An influential Dublin-based NGO which opposes settlements in Israel is cutting back its West Bank activity due to a lack of donations.

Trócaire will be forced to pull out of nine countries over the next 18 months and cut back its work in 27 other countries.

The Catholic aid agency has been operating in Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories since 2002 and spent approximately €500,000 (£441,500) there in the last financial year.

More..

Bobovs win fight to turn pub into a shul

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Plans to convert a pub into a synagogue for a strictly Orthodox community have been approved by councillors after a year-long battle to resolve the building’s future.

The Swan pub in Stamford Hill, north London, closed in January after members of the Bobov community bought it for around £1 million.

Councillors granted change-of-use planning permission at a meeting on Wednesday night, despite a campaign by residents to stop the conversion going ahead.

More..

Property tycoon under attack over pensioners' rent

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Billionaire property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has defended his company’s management of private retirement homes amid claims that pensioners are being overcharged for rent and services.

The Iranian-born entrepreneur is chairman of the Consensus Business Group, whose companies dominate the sector, housing around 70,000 elderly people.

Pensioners living at properties in 50 developments claim they are paying unreasonable amounts for property managers and transfer fees if they sell or let their home.

More..

Recession hits World Jewish Relief

By Leon Symons, September 3, 2009

World Jewish Relief, Anglo-Jewry’s main international relief charity, has been forced to cut some of its budgets in eastern Europe by 15 per cent because of the recession.

While none of its current or future projects have been dramatically affected, the charity has trimmed the amount it contributes to organisations such as the American Joint Distribution Committee, which undertakes day-to-day work in WJR’s three community centres in Poland and the Ukraine.

More..

Chief plans broadcast on crunch

By Robyn Rosen, September 3, 2009

The credit crunch will be the focus of the Chief Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah broadcast this year.

In his annual New Year message, to be aired on Monday, September 14, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks speaks to financial experts on whether faith can help us out of the recession.

Entitled A More Gracious Life, the programme will feature an interview with the BBC’s economics editor, Robert Peston, to discuss why the markets failed and what we have learned since the downturn.

More..

New points system for JFS entry

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

New rules published this week by JFS in Kenton, North London — and likely to be followed by other Jewish secondaries — will offer places on the basis of points scored for synagogue attendance and other observance.

Parents will also need a certificate signed by their rabbi or another community official to testify to religious practice — mirroring the procedure in some Catholic schools.

More..