UK news

Board of Deputies cuts links with Methodists

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The Board of Deputies has broken off all contact with the leadership of the Methodist Church following its endorsement of a report deeply critical of Israel.

A spokesperson for the Board said: "There cannot be any engagement with the leadership of the Methodist Church until such a time that we see signs of a change in their stance."

But both sides vowed to continue interfaith work at a local level, encouraging members of Methodist and Jewish communities to maintain regular dialogue.

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Church of England reviews stake in Israeli rail

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

The Church of England is reviewing its investment in a company building Jerusalem's light railway amid concern that the tramline "will help to cement Israel's hold on occupied east Jerusalem".

But the Church has stopped short of endorsing a campaign urged by Palestinian churches to boycott "everything produced" by Israel's West
Bank occupation.

The boycott call was made in a document known as 'Kairos Palestine', issued by Palestinian Christians last December. It denounces "Israeli occupation of Palestinian land" as "a sin against God and humanity".

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Young leader Marc Weinberg mourned

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has paid tribute to Marc Weinberg, the former executive director of Bnei Akiva and co-founder of the London School of Jewish Studies, who died last Thursday in Israel of leukaemia, aged 35.

Lord Sacks described him as "one of the outstanding leaders of his generation" whose "vision, faith, passion and compassion drew people to him, and he drew the best from them. In a short life he wrote a long chapter in the story of our people in our time. He will be deeply mourned and long remembered."

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Veterans attack comments on Jewish war record

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women reacted angrily this week to comments by an Irish newspaper columnist on the war record of British Jews.

Kevin Myers, claiming in the Irish Independent that Hitler had had no intention of invading Britain, remarked: "Jews - before the creation of Israel - were a very non-martial people. During the war, more British Cohens died as civilians than as soldiers."

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Abu Hamza extradition halted

By Robyn Rosen, July 8, 2010

The European Court of Human Rights has halted the extradition of hate preacher Abu Hamza to the US.

The radical Islamist was jailed in 2004 and the British courts approved his extradition in 2007, which he appealed.

While he was on trial, he accused Jews of being “blasphemous, traitors and dirty” and said this is why Hitler was sent into the world.

Today, the European Court of Human Rights ordered a halt to his extradition after he and three other British men complained about the length of sentence they could face in the US.

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Amazon to sell kosher groceries

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Online retailer Amazon has entered the kosher food market.

The website, which started by selling books and has since expanded into homeware and other entertainment products, has launched a new service delivering groceries directly to customers.

Among the 22,000 items on sale at the Amazon Grocery Store is a wide selection of kosher products.

Customers can also buy vegan and gluten free foods made by brands including Kraft and Walkers.

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Muslim suing Jew 'joked about religion'

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

A Muslim woman suing her former boss for race discrimination had allegedly emailed him Jewish jokes.

Secretary Jasmine Akhtar told a central London employment tribunal that partners at London firm Goodge Law racially abused her and called her a “Paki”.

She is seeking damages for derogatory remarks which she said got worse when she announced her pregnancy.

But Richard Samuel, defending the firm, said partner Michael Greenstein and Ms Akhtar had exchanged “friendly banter” about Mr Greenstein's Jewish background.

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Tributes to 7/7 bomb victims

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Relatives of the July 7 London bombing victims are marking the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks.

John Falding, whose Israeli partner Anat Rosenberg was killed on the Number 30 bus, plans to make a now-annual strip to Tavistock Square with a dozen white lilies to pay tribute to her.

Mr Falding said that his life has been on hold since the former charity worker’s death at 39.

He said: “This is my job now, to look after Anat’s memory.”

Ms Rosenberg, who is buried in Jerusalem, was one of a number of Jewish people injured or killed in the bombings.

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Jewish actor to play Spiderman

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

A Jewish actor will be stepping into Spiderman’s suit, 48 years after the superhero was invented by Jewish artist Stan Lee.

Californian actor Andrew Garfield has won the part of Peter Parker in the fourth film in the Spiderman franchise, replacing Tobey Maguire in the role.

The 26-year-old, who grew up in what he has described as a privileged middle class British Jewish home, has previously appeared in war film Lions for Lambs and the opposite Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He has also been in three episodes of Doctor Who.

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No change for Pope's Kol Nidre speech

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

The Speaker of the House of Lords has called for a key parliamentary speech by Pope Benedict XVI to be moved from Yom Kippur eve.

Former Labour MP Baroness Hélène Hayman has appealed to the Foreign Office to move the address from the possible late afternoon slot so that Jewish dignitaries can attend without compromising their religious observance.

It will not take place on Yom Kippur itself but with sunset at just before 7pm a late start will leave little time for Jewish parliamentarians to eat before the 25-hour fast day.

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