UK news

Nazis killed my family, but they say I'm no Jew

By Jessica Elgot, July 1, 2010

An 80-year-old man has had his Jewish status challenged by the Beth Din, after he attempted to join a matchmaking service.

Two years ago, Joseph Marks's wife Marilyn, who was not Jewish, died of ovarian cancer. Mr Marks, a former film producer from Shepperton, Middlesex, applied to join Connect, an independent Jewish marriage service which is part of the Jewish Marriage Council.


Liverpool chair denies his troubles led to centre closure

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

The ex-chair of Liverpool's Harold House community centre, Sam Beilin, has denied that his personal finance issues contributed to its closure.

Mr Beilin, one of the city's best-known property developers, was declared bankrupt in April, with reported debts of £1m. Mr Beilin resigned as chairman of the charity which runs Harold House shortly afterwards.

Mr Beilin reaffirmed that the decision to close Harold House in May was due to "massive, massive losses" and high running costs, while fewer young people had meant a drop in income.


Inverness girl's tale of Middle East peace

July 1, 2010

An Inverness schoolgirl has taken inspiration from a Michael Morpurgo book to write her own version of the Middle East conflict - from the Israeli perspective.

Now, Mr Morpurgo has promised to read 12-year-old Emily Reid's book, A Dream for Peace, to children in Israel and the Palestinian areas.

His own book, The Kites are Flying, is about a journalist who meets a Palestinian boy in the West Bank on one side of the Israeli-built security wall.


King David Liverpool faces legal battle on admission

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

An explosive legal battle is looming over Liverpool's King David High School after the mother of a Jewish girl denied a place saod she is in a position to fight for all children in her position.

Dawn Chapple, an accountant who left a high-paying job two years ago to focus on her daughter's dyslexia, confirmed this week that legal action would "definitely go ahead".

She said: "I've had a number of meetings with my solicitor and a barrister. It's all been very positive and in my favour.


Synagogues at risk, say English heritage

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

They're damp, crumbling and increasingly abandoned - that's the sad picture of our shuls that has emerged from the first Synagogues At Risk Survey, carried out by Jewish Heritage on behalf of English Heritage.

The survey, part of the first accurate inquiry into the state of Britain's 14,500 listed places of worship, looked at 37 synagogues in England and found that only three were in "good" condition.

English Heritage has awarded Jewish Heritage a grant worth £91,000 over three years to monitor synagogues and raise awareness.


Manchester jewel theft

July 1, 2010

Thieves this week stole jewellery from a gold Volvo in King's Road, Prestwich, after they smashed its windows to get in.

Witnesses say they saw two men grab a rucksack from the car. They then drove off in a Ford Focus, driven by a third man.

A police spokeswoman said: "One of the men is said to be of stocky build, above 6ft tall with a dark-coloured hooded top. The second offender was smaller with brown hair."


Manchester synagogue urged to sell to pay burial debt

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

A Manchester synagogue which owes £10,000 to a burial board has been urged to sell its building.

Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Hebrew Congregation in north Manchester has been unable to maintain payments to the Rainsough Joint Hebrew Burial Board and has not kept burial fees paid by members in a separate account.

The synagogue, built in 1928, is supposed to pay one third of the £30,000 annual running costs of the board, which deals with the maintenance of Rainsough Cemetery in Prestwich, and now owes it more than £10,000.


Government pledge to tackle campus extremists

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The government has pledged to reassess its Prevent counter-terrorism strategy to investigate whether it has done enough to challenge extremists.

Universities Minister David Willetts admitted there might still be cases where extreme speakers have fostered hatred or violence.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on the project in an attempt to prevent Muslim radicalisation.


Abu Hamza's son jailed for riot

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The son of hate preacher Abu Hamza has been jailed for his role in rioting outside the Israeli Embassy in London.

Yasser Kamel, 20, wielded a stolen police riot shield and threw sticks at officers while demonstrating against Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza last year.

He was sentenced to 12 months in youth detention after admitting one count of violent disorder at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.

Kamel, of Shepherd’s Bush, west London, had arrived at the protest at around 4.45pm on January 10, 2009, and was caught on camera confronting officers with the riot shield.


Fury as Methodists vote to boycott Israel

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council said the Methodists’ annual conference should “hang its head in shame” for passing a policy which calls for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements and blames Israeli occupation as the “key hindrance” to Middle East peace.

Lord Sacks said the implications of the decision would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK”.