UK news

Separated at birth: Jewish twins seek mum

By Jessica Elgot, July 30, 2010

A pair of identical 64-year-old twins, born in Leeds, separated at birth and raised by Catholic families, are now seeking their birth mother - Leah Cohen.

With the help of genealogist Martin Cahn, whom they met on JewishGen, Mary Holmes, from Kirkby in Ashfield, and Elaine Allin from Chesterfield, are seeking their Jewish relations.


Scottish Jews oppose double-decker burials

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities has said it "strongly objects" to proposals to allow the re-use of graves.

The Scottish Government is expected to back the deepening of burial sites, effectively giving the go-ahead to "double-deck" graves.

It is due to announce its plans next month following a lengthy consultation into solving the increasing difficulty of securing burial space.


Trampoline saves teens trapped by fire

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2010

Three teenagers who leapt from a third-floor window to escape a house fire suffered only minor injuries after breaking their 7m fall with a trampoline.

Fifteen firemen raced to a house in Broughton Park, Salford, in the early hours of last Friday morning, after a neighbour reported that three people were trapped inside. A fire was thought to be raging on the ground level of a terraced town house on the Broughton Green development on Northumberland Street.


Man sentenced for £6,000 fraud

By Robyn Rosen, July 30, 2010

A Jewish employee at a building material export company in Manchester has been sentenced to six months in prison for fraud.

Dov Hanson's sentence was suspended for 12 months and he was also prohibited from buying or trading in any building materials in the UK for six months after pleading guilty in Manchester Crown Court on Monday.

Hanson, 27, of Prestwich, pleaded guilty to abusing his position as an employee at Sundream Enterprises.


Blogger forced out of anti-Israel parliament meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 29, 2010

A prominent pro-Israel blogger was forcibly removed from a Westminster meeting at which Israeli Arab Knesset members said the Jewish state “is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Rich Millett described what happened at the event, chaired by Labour's Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, as “shameful”. He expressed concern that future anti-Israel meetings “will be by guest list only”, meaning such statements will “go unreported”.


Amnesty calls for further Gaza probe

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

Amnesty International has called for further action to ensure that the perpetrators of alleged war crimes in last year's Gaza conflict are brought to book.

In February, the United Nations set a five-month deadline for Israel and the Palestinians to mount "credible" investigations into the conflict which expired on Monday.

In an official statement, Amnesty said this week: "A year and a half after the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel ended, the victims have yet to obtain justice, truth or full reparations; the perpetrators on both sides have yet to be held to account."


Ancient coins conference in London

July 29, 2010

Coin and history specialists in the field of Roman and Jewish coins will gather in London next month for an international conference.

Judea and Rome in Coins, from 65 BCE to 135 CE, will bring together American, British and Israeli numismatic experts, for a two-day conference.

It will take place at the London premises of the coin and medal specialists, Spink and Son, and is co-sponsored by the University College London's Institute of Jewish Studies.


Glee for Jewish Don't Stop Believing finalists

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A north London family have formed a band and beaten 8,000 competitors to reach the final stages of a new television talent show.

Parents Laurence, 57, and Bebe Jacobs, 55, and their three children Alex, 27, Avi, 24, and Shira, 21, will perform in front of a live audience on Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing on Sunday (August 1).

Presented by former Spice Girl Emma Bunton and judged by singers Anastacia and Duncan James from Blue, former EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite, and High School Musical choreographer Charles "Chucky" Klapow, the show is based on the popular US series Glee.


Methodist set up Friends of Israel group

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A Methodist preacher has set up a Methodist Friends of Israel group as a response to her church's call to boycott Israel.

Earlier this month the Methodist conference passed a report calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and for political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

The decision was widely criticised and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said the church should "hang its head in shame".

Pam Smith, a preacher in Monmouth, South Wales, created a website and Facebook group to gain support for Israel.


JFS ruling creates barmitzvah confusion

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

A number of Orthodox Jewish schools are stopping organising bar or batmitzvah ceremonies for pupils because they cannot tell if they are halachically Jewish, according to the head of the United Synagogue's Rabbinic Council.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet explained that the change was being made as a result of last year's court ruling on Jewish school admissions.

Speaking last weekend at an event in north London, he said that a meeting had recently taken place for young people who act as wardens in midweek services that take place at various schools.