UK news

Reform leader Bayfield to retire early

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2010

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Movement for Reform Judaism, is to step down six months earlier than expected at the beginning of January.

The leader of the movement since 1995, he had been due to retire at the end of June shortly before his 65th birthday, with executive director Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand becoming chief executive - and the first female rabbi to be professional head of a British synagogue body.

But Rabbi Bayfield told members of the Reform council yesterday that the handover had gone so smoothly that he felt able to leave earlier.

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'Scary' Katie Waissel clings on to X Factor place

By Katie Taylor, November 1, 2010

It was another tense week of X Factor for Jewish hopeful Katie Waissel, as she had to sing for survival for a second time this series.

She failed to win over fans after her rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s Bewitched on Saturday night’s Halloween themed show.

Her witch outfit, with large back-combed hair and white false eyelashes, was unpopular. Dannii Minogue told her: “The makeup was a little bit scary tonight.

“It was distracting from your singing.”

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Swastikas sprayed near Holocaust museum

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

Vandals have sprayed Nazi graffiti on the doorstep of the UK Holocaust Centre.

Police are investigating after two residents of Newark, near Nottingham, reported that swastikas had been daubed on their property just minutes from the site of a museum dedicated to stamping out prejudice.

Fashion photographer Michel Haddi, who has a Jewish girlfriend, told police that he had found the symbol painted on his front door.

Another woman reported that a swastika had been scrawled onto her car bonnet.

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Rahman 'grateful' for Ken Livingstone's support

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

The controversial newly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets has thanked former London mayor Ken Livingstone for his support and denied allegations that he has links with Islamic extremists.

Lutfur Rahman fought the election as an independent candidate after he was deselected by Labour amid claims of irregularities in the nomination process and suggestions that he has connections to the Islamic Forum of Europe, which operates out of the East London Mosque.

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Gabriel Latner's Israel a 'rogue state' speech in full

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

"This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I’m not. I’m a realist. I’m here to win.

I have a single goal this evening – to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the ‘Aye’ door. I face a singular challenge – most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds.

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Shechita UK meat labelling 'breakthrough'

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 28, 2010

Shechita UK has welcomed a major breakthrough in its campaign to fight European food labelling proposals which it says could stop kosher meat production in the UK through discriminatory laws.

During a lobbying effort in Brussels this week, the group received assurances that the European Commission intends to reject amendment 205 to proposed food legislation as "unacceptable".

The amendment would force food companies which use kosher meat by-products to be singled out for special labels which imply their products are less kind to animals.

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JNF settles £700,000 Sherling dispute

By Simon Rocker, October 28, 2010

JNF UK has reached a last-minute deal with a former board member it had sued in the High Court for nearly £700,000.

The charity claimed that Irish businessman Maurice - usually known as Charlie - Sherling owed the money, to cover legal fees the JNF had incurred in its previous conflict with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL).

But lawyers for the JNF and Mr Sherling managed to thrash out an agreement shortly before Mr Justice Mann took the bench at the start of a scheduled five-day hearing on Tuesday.

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William Hague to visit Israel, but will anyone care?

By Jenni Frazer, October 28, 2010

William Hague is due to make his first visit as Foreign Secretary to Israel next week, expected to include a meeting with leaders of the Palestinian territories.

He will not go to Gaza, although he is due to head to Cairo to meet the Egyptian government.

Mr Hague is no stranger to Israel: he has paid several visits, beginning in 1992, often under the aegis of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

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Wanted: Jewish family for reality TV show

By Jessica Elgot and Jonathan Kalmus, October 28, 2010

Wanted: an exhibitionist Jewish family to let a Channel Four camera crew into their lives - from grandma's kalooki nights to the teenage hormone-fuelled drama of the FZY ball.

Producers are seeking a Jewish family who have room for a few more round the Friday night dinner table.

There could be up to 28 cameras recording every kvetch and kvell for 24 hours a day for the fourth season of the BAFTA-nominated series, The Family.

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Fear over Islamist Tower Hamlets mayor

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, October 28, 2010

Senior Jewish figures have raised concerns over the election of a controversial Muslim politician as mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Lutfur Rahman was dropped as the Labour Party's official candidate after evidence was produced of irregularities in the nomination process and links to the radical Muslim group Islamic Forum Europe.

He then stood as an independent and last week trounced Labour rival Helal Abbas, although only a quarter of the electorate turned out to vote. He will now preside over the Olympic borough's £1 billion budget.

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