UK news

Literary critic John Gross dies at 75

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

The distinguished Jewish literary critic John Gross has died at the age of 75.

Mr Gross, a prolific author and commentator who was described by The Spectator as “the best-read man in Britain”, spent seven years as editor of The Times Literary Supplement.

He was also a books editor for the New York Times and the Sunday Telegraph’s theatre critic. In 1971 he chaired the judging panel of the Booker prize.

His father was a Polish-born ex-rabbinical student who later moved to Mile End and trained as a doctor.


Spiderman star Andrew Garfield up for Bafta rising star nod

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

Jewish actor Andrew Garfield has been nominated for this year's Bafta rising star award.

The half-British star, chosen as the next star of the Spiderman franchise, will soon be on screen alongside Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in the film version of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel Never Let Me Go.

Last month Mr Garfield was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook.

The film, written by Aaron Sorkin, has also been placed on the long-list of potential nominees for the 2011 Baftas.


Marking the efforts of those at the grass roots

By Marcus Dysch and Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Volunteers and philanthropists from the Jewish community have been recognised in the New Year's Honours List.

Marjorie Ziff is made MBE for services to the community in Leeds.

The 81-year-old has served the city's Jewish community for nearly 60 years alongside her husband, Arnold, who died in 2004.

Their charitable donations have supported dozens of local and international groups, including Leeds Jewish Blind Society, Leeds Metropolitan University and the Royal College of Music.


Quaker rescues recorded

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 6, 2011

Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and a British university are to give the first recognition to British Quakers who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. The initative comes after an eight-year campaign by a 79-year-old Jewish refugee.


Call for Jewish day school curbs

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2011

One of British Jewry's top educators has said it is too preoccupied with Jewish day schools at the expense of other types of learning.

Clive Lawton, senior consultant of Limmud and a former head of King David High School, Liverpool, called for greater investment in youth movements and adult education.


Charity burial for St John's Wood recluse

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

A Jewish funeral has been held for a German refugee whose mysterious story was uncovered by Jewish education charity, British ORT.

The charity was contacted last month by the missing persons' department at Marylebone police station, which was searching for information about Franz Joseph Nebel. His body was found by police in his St John's Wood home in October.

Police had discovered an article in his flat from a German newspaper about a group, known as the Old Boys, who had visited Berlin in 1989.


Anti-Israel 'Shoah' site 'deliberately causes offence to survivors'

January 6, 2011

A UK-based anti-Israel website with the web address has been described as "sickening" and "abhorrent".

The website, called Shoah: The Palestinian Holocaust, refers to "Israhell" and uses terms such as "Zio=Nazi racists".

The site is registered to web designers Creative Spring, which gives its address as the Custard Factory, an arts and media centre in Birmingham.

Creative Spring bought the domain name from an American web hosting company.


Promises, promises: which ones will be kept?

January 6, 2011

If 2010 was the year of promises, 2011 has to be the year of action. In the run-up to the election, the parties courted Britain's ethnic and religious communities in the chase for their votes.

Will the coalition come good on pledges made to the Jewish community by the Conservative Party? And will the new Labour leader hold them to account if they fail to do so? Let's look at the issues.

Universal jurisdiction


Pre-nup law won't affect the get

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2011

The London Beth Din believes that new moves to explore whether pre-nuptial agreements (PNAs) should be legally binding are unlikely to have any impact on Jewish religious divorces.

A consultation paper on the use of PNAs is to be launched next Monday by the Law Commission.

Voluntary PNAs were introduced for marrying couples by the Office of the Chief Rabbi 15 years ago as a measure to prevent the incidence of agunot - women unable to remarry in Orthodox synagogues should their husband deny them a get (religious divorce).


Channel 4 attacked over 'biased' Mid-East film

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Channel 4 has been criticised for featuring a series of "one-sided" and "distorted" television programmes about Jewish and Muslim relations.

Last week, seven 90-second films entitled Can Jews and Muslims ever find peace? aired as part of the 4Thought series. It is broadcast every day on Channel 4 in the evening and is also covered on the Channel 4's website.

The episodes included clips from Christian student and "friend of Israel" Sam Hailes, Muslim musician Kareem Dennis, and Roberta Moore, head of the English Defence League's Jewish division.