UK news

JFS: Board seeks equality bill redraft

By Leon Symons, July 20, 2009

The Board of Deputies has launched a two-pronged strategy in the wake of the Court of Appeal’s decision that the admissions policy operated by JFS broke the Race Relations Act.

Deputies at Sunday’s plenary meeting in central London were told that if JFS decides to seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords or the Supreme Court, which may be dealing with such matters, the Board will intervene as a friend of the Court to give it guidance on “who is a Jew”.

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Amy Winehouse divorces Blake

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

Amy Winehouse and her estranged husband Blake Fielder-Civil have called time on their turbulent marriage.

The Rehab singer and her husband were granted a “quickie” divorce on grounds of adultery, which Ms Winehouse admitted.

Mr Fielder-Civil’s divorce papers declared that he found it “intolerable” to live with Winehouse.

The couple have been married since May 2007, but having been living separate lives since Mr Fielder-Civil was imprisoned in June 2008 for perverting the course of justice and GBH with intent.

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Sir Martin Gilbert on Iraq panel

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Two of British Jewry’s most eminent academics, Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman, have been appointed to the government’s committee of inquiry into the Iraq War.

Sir Lawrence, vice-principal and professor of war studies at King’s College, London, and Sir Martin, whose books include histories of the world wars, are being made privy counsellors.

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Heirs fight on as UK refuses to return art

By Leon Symons, July 16, 2009

The heirs of a wartime German art historian, Curt Glaser, have challenged a UK government panel’s decision not to return eight drawings once in his collection.

The drawings, said to be worth around £35,000, now hang in the Courtauld Institute in London.

Lawyers acting for the descendants of Professor Glaser have asked the Spoliation Advisory Panel (SAP) to rethink its decision and may take legal action to try to retrieve the works of art.

David Rowland, a New York lawyer representing the heirs, said the panel’s decision was contradictory.

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Charity pushes for global Israel boycott

By Bernard Josephs, July 16, 2009

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has complained to the Charity Commission about a potential breach of its guidelines by the charity War on Want.

Mr Lauder wrote in the wake of last week’s London launch of a book accusing Israel of human rights abuses, an event at which War on Want called for a worldwide boycott of Israel.

The stormy meeting at Toynbee Hall, hosted by the charity, and featuring journalist Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, saw sharp exchanges between members of the audience and a small group of pro-Israel participants.

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Father given police warning over church row

By Marcus Dysch, July 16, 2009

An argument over church rent has landed a Jewish father-of-three with a police harassment warning.

Martyn Saunders-Rawlings, a former member of Hastings and Bexhill Jewish Society, had protested against a council decision to lease a building to an evangelical group at a reduced rate and with an annual grant.

He wrote to Cathy and Glenn Khan, who run Hastings’ Sonrise Church, as well as sending letters and emails to other church leaders and his local newspaper during the past year.

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US pledges to challenge court decision on JFS

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

There are “good prospects” of reversing the Court of Appeal ruling on Jewish schools, Simon Hochhauser, the president of the United Synagogue, declared this week.

He told an unusually well-attended meeting of the US Council on Monday: “It is the view of our legal advisers… if this case does get to the House of Lords, it has good prospects of being overturned.”

The Court of Appeal has now ordered JFS to reconsider whether to give a place to a 13-year old boy who was originally rejected two years ago.

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The Lord Mayor is my shepherd

July 16, 2009

The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Ian Luder, exercises his ancient right to drive sheep across London Bridge. The event was held to mark the 800th anniversary of the bridge.

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The Chief Rabbi on his new book and his new title

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

By the time his long-awaited peerage was announced, the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, had already gone into seclusion. Around this period of year, he closes his public diary and turns his mind to writing a new book.

The latest of his 18 books, Future Tense, appeared only last month and he has called it the “most important” he has written, an attempt to produce a “satellite navigation system” for Jews and Judaism in the years ahead.

While the book warns of the rise of “the new antisemitism”, its message is that the Jewish agenda should not be defined by external threat.

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Northern Ireland Parades chief is Jewish woman

By Leon Symons, July 16, 2009

he new chair of Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission has been greeted with a baptism of fire — almost literally.

Rena Shepherd has claimed a double first — she is the first Jew and the first woman to head the body, which maps out the routes for Ulster’s marching season. The season reached its climax this week with the annual Twelfth of July Orange Order and Apprentice Boys’ marches.

The Parades Commission was created as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

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