UK news

Sephardim hold crisis talks over rabbi election

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

Sephardi leaders held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to try to find a way out of the continuing dispute over the choice of its next rabbinic head.

London-born Rabbi David Bassous appeared to have won approval to succeed Rabbi Abraham Levy as spiritual leader of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation in an election held by its membership three weeks ago.

But opponents of the


Waterstone's backs down over Mein Kampf

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 22, 2011

Booksellers Waterstone's has apologised for inappropriately promoting Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf as a "perfect" Christmas present.

But the UK's largest bookshop chain has denied it is attempting to bolster sales of the infamously antisemitic work, despite the JC discovering several stores deliberately and prominently displaying the book.

Staff at Waterstone's in Huddersfield used a festi


Antisemitic blogger escapes prison term

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011

A London blogger who wrote that Jews must be "attacked wherever you see them" on the Scotsman newspaper's website has escaped jail, after pleading guilty to posting the comments.

Mohammed Sandia from Wembley said Jews were a "genetically mutated inbred tribe. Jews are not fit to breathe our air and should be attacked wherever we see them.


Giant menorah wrecked and rebuilt - just in time

By Marcus Dysch, December 22, 2011

Volunteers rebuilt a 15ft menorah in less than six hours after vandals destroyed Scotland's biggest public chanuciah in an antisemitic attack.

Edinburgh Chabad constructed and installed the new menorah in time for Tuesday night's first candle-lighting - describing the feat as a modern-day Chanucah miracle.

The original menorah - erected in the city's St Andrew's Square - was found destroyed


Judge rules on Orthodox battle over property

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

An Orthodox businessman has lost a High Court action involving a bitter family feud over the carve-up of assets from a multi-million pound property empire.

Joseph Ackerman sued his sister-in law Naomi Ackerman and her son Barry Ackerman in a case which has racked up estimated costs of £2 million.

Mr Ackerman and his brother Jack, who arrived as child refugees in the UK from Czechoslovakia i


Jews weren't all pedlars and criminals, Mr Dickens

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

In October 1845, members of the Jews and General Literary and Scientific Institution, in London's Leadenhall Street, pondered a question put to them by one John Mottram.

"Will the writings of Charles Dickens hold a pre-eminent position among the standard literature of the country?" he asked.

Next year is the bicentenary of Dickens' birth; and the answer is a resounding yes.


"Nazi" stag party MP could face French criminal charges

By Marcus Dysch, December 22, 2011

French authorities have opened an enquiry into the Nazi-themed stag party attended by Conservative MP Aidan Burley.

The 32-year old could face a jail term or fine after magistrates in the ski resort of Albertville received a complaint about conduct at the party.


Israeli billionaires' diamond battle

By Jessica Elgot, December 21, 2011

Two Israeli billionaires will battle it out in a British court in May, after a judge ruled that there had been an agreement for the religious Russian-born tycoon Lev Leviev to give Arcadi Gaydamak 50 per cent of his income from diamonds in Angola.


Stamford Hill pensioner killer jailed

By Jessica Elgot, December 20, 2011

A man who tied an 83-year-old woman to a chair while he ransacked her home and stole her jewellery, leaving her to die of hypothermia, has been jailed.

Polish-born Szymon Wyrostek, 26, will serve nine years for manslaughter, burglary and robbery of Eveline Kelmenson, at her home in Stamford Hill.


Happy Chanucah from Clegg, Miliband and Warsi

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2011

Politicians from the three main parties in British politics have offered their Chanucah wishes to the Jewish community.