UK news

Board man urges ‘one conversion standard’

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies has called for a common standard of conversion to prevent a repeat of the JFS situation.

Jonathan Arkush, a modern Orthodox Jew who is a member of Borehamwood Synagogue, put forward the suggestion during a debate at Sunday’s Board plenary meeting in central London — and he won immediate support from president Vivian Wineman.

Mr Arkush, a barrister, was elected to the post in the May poll, the first time he has been one of the honorary officers.

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TV addicts reveal the joy of sets

By Fay Strang, July 23, 2009

Two Jewish technophiles have emerged as the owners and sellers of some of the oldest working TV sets in Britain.

Michael Bennett-Levy, 62, who lives just outside Edinburgh, is selling 24 pre-war television sets at a Bonhams auction in Knightsbridge in September.

His devotion to “Early Technology”, the name of his company, has led to the amassing of a glut of objects which are also going in the sale: “mechanical music, early typewriters, microscopes, telescopes, magic lanterns, irons, diesel engines... it is almost limitless”.

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Rabbi blasts Tories over Euro allies

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

A British rabbi has stepped into the controversy over the Conservatives’ allies in the European Parliament’s new centre-right group.

Rabbi Barry Marcus of London’s Central Synagogue has called into question the appointment of Polish MEP Michal Kaminski as chair of the European Conservative and Reformist Group (ECR), which now includes 25 MEPs from Britain’s Conservatives.

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You’re furred: Alan Sugar becomes a Lord

By Candice Krieger, July 23, 2009

Sir Alan Sugar took his seat in the House of Lords this week, as Lord Sugar of Clapton in the Borough of Hackney.

He was named as a member of the Upper House by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month, and will now operate as an “enterprise czar” for the government.

Why Clapton? Lord Sugar, 62, said: “I struck my first business deals on the streets of Clapton as a 12-year-old boy by collecting lemonade bottles for the one penny deposits, and sitting on the main road asking for a penny for the guy.

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Heather Mills: eat kosher with me

By Marcus Dysch and Cecily Woolf, July 23, 2009

It can’t be easy bouncing back from a high-profile divorce and a personality-pounding from the national press — but Heather Mills may just have found a happy, and haimishe, distraction from it all.

Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife this week said she had applied to the London Beth Din in an attempt to secure kosher certification for her range of vegan products.

She plans to serve the food, including fake meat, chicken and fish, at a vegan café she has opened in Hove, East Sussex.

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Why war-driven hate is different this time

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The Community Security Trust report for the first six months of 2009 will send a shiver through the Anglo-Jewish community.

The report confirmed — if confirmation were needed — what the CST has maintained for some time: that antisemitic incidents rise whenever there is major violence in the Middle East.

What distinguishes these figures from previous years is that they did not return to what the CST says is “normal” until April, three months after the fighting between Israel and Hamas ended.

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Gaza war sparks worst hate wave ever recorded

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The Community Security Trust recorded more antisemitic incidents in the first six months of 2009 than it has done in any previous entire year.

Between January and June there were 609 incidents. In the whole of 2008 there were 544. The CST has never recorded more than 600 incidents in one year, let alone six months.

The main reason for the rise was the response to Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

The 609 incidents included 77 violent assaults, compared with 45 last year. Two of these, in May, were deemed to be extremely violent attacks, which might have involved a threat to life.

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Gerald Ronson receives university honour

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2009

Gerald Ronson, one of the UK’s most successful Jewish businessmen has received an Honorary Doctorate.

Mr Ronson, 70, a property developer, has received his Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Northumbria University.

Mr Ronson founded the Heron Group at the age of 17 and by the early 1980s, his company was worth more than £1.5 billion.

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GB through to Maccabiah football final

By Danny Caro in Haifa, July 20, 2009

Maccabiah Games – Day 8

Open football Semi-final : Israel 0 GB 1

A first-half header from captain Sam Sloma put Team Great Britain into the final of the Open Football competition after they claimed a deserved victory over holders Israel in Nawe Sha’anan on Monday afternoon.

Playing in temperatures touching 35 degrees, Sloma met Paul Hakim’s pinpoint cross with a stooping diving header that nestled into the bottom corner.

Sloma said: “I haven’t scored a header since 2000 so it was nice to show people I can use my head as some have doubted my heading ability.

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Baron Sugar of Clapton

By Candice Krieger, July 20, 2009

Sir Alan Sugar took his seat in the House of Lords this afternoon, becoming Lord Sugar of Clapton in the borough of Hackney.

Lord Sugar told the JC: “I struck my first business deals on the streets of Clapton as a 12 year-old boy by collecting lemonade bottles for the 1 pence deposits and sitting on the main road asking for a penny for the guy, so it meant a lot to me to walk into the House of Lords today and collect the title Lord Sugar of Clapton. It was a wonderful day being surrounded by my family and I am only sorry that my mum and dad aren’t around to have witnessed it.

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