UK news

Genealogy site boosts searches

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

A Jewish genealogy organisation has teamed up with a popular family heritage website to help people researching distant Jewish relatives.

Jewish research charity JewishGen holds more than 14 million records which researchers can consult about their Jewish ancestry.

The organisation has agreed a deal with Tel Aviv-based My Heritage, a website which has 50 million members. Users create profiles to share information on their family trees and search for missing or unknown relatives, and the site's software matches up families when it finds connections.


Be afraid: the Elfins are boycotting Israel

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

Children as young as nine voted to boycott Israeli goods as part of the annual meeting of education group Woodcraft Folk last week.

The organisation, which runs weekly sessions for children including singing, dancing, craft and eco-projects, voted for the boycott at its conference in Ashdown Forest, west Sussex. The 150 delegates included members aged from nine - known as "Elfins"- to 20 years old.


I'll unite London, says Oona King

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

Oona King has urged Jewish Londoners to back her attempt to become Labour's mayoral candidate in the capital and deny Ken Livingstone a return to power.

Five years after she was acrimoniously ousted from her Bethnal Green and Bow parliamentary seat by George Galloway, Ms King said she was eager to move beyond sectarian divides.

Daughter of a Jewish mother and a black father, 42-year-old Ms King
said racism and antisemitism had "no place in our religious and ethnically diverse city".


Porn star passionate about Jews

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

A porn star and naked butler, who lost his job teaching sex education when pupils discovered his website, has spoken of his real passion - for "Hebrew, Israel and all things Jewish".

Benedict Garrett, 30, who goes by the stage name Johnny Anglais, has made films such as European Honeyz 4 and is in demand for hen parties nationwide for his services as a naked butler, clad in just a bow tie and a smile.

Mr Garrett, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, lists "Hebrew" as a language skill on his website.


Man racially abused judge

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

A man who made antisemitic remarks about a Jewish judge who had ruled against him has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and fined nearly £2,000.

Gregory Hughes, who owned a tattoo business in Sheffield, admitted to making a number of derogatory comments about District Judge Charles Khan's Jewishness and position as
a judge.

He made the remarks during Judge Khan's ruling after losing civil proceedings against Nicholas Keddey on March 10 this year at Sheffield County Court.


Shul 'lifeline' for women marrying out

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

Affiliates of the Manchester Council of Synagogues are to review the membership policies of synagogues which bar those who have married out.

The policies are designed to discourage intermarriage but, in light of the Supreme Court's JFS ruling, the bar could now stop some Jewish children getting into Manchester Jewish schools. This is because families have to have synagogue membership, rather than show attendance to satisfy the religious practice-based admissions criteria.


Beth Din stalls organ donation drive

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

The founder of a campaign to encourage Orthodox Jews to carry organ donor cards has voiced frustration at the time taken by the Chief Rabbi to issue new guidelines on the subject.

Lord Sacks's office said its views on organ donation would be available before Rosh Hashanah.

But Robert Berman, who runs the Halachic Organ Donor Society (Hods), said he had been led to believe that the policy was due out last August.


Anger over Gaza flotilla forum

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

An interfaith forum which will debate the Gaza flotilla incident and assess its impact on religious groups has sparked an angry response from a Jewish community.

The Building the Bridge (BtB ) initiative in Bristol will assess the flotilla's impact and use discussion groups for people to "share their views and experiences".

The initiative works with the government's Prevent counter-terrorism strategy and is funded by Bristol City Council.


UK accused of hypocrisy over spy case

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

The British government has been accused of "double standards" following its reaction to allegations that Russian spies used forged British and Irish passports.

During the trial of 10 Russians who admitted to being spies last month, US Department of Justice papers claimed that one of them, Tracey Foley, "travelled on a fraudulent British passport prepared for her by the SVR [Russia's foreign intelligence agency]".

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We are looking into the links with Britain and are in contact with the US authorities".


I was 17 and surviving in the wild, but I'd fled humanity at its worst

By Naftali Schiff, July 15, 2010

It was not just any trip to Poland's concentration camps. One of the most powerful visits ever made to Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz took place last week, in the run-up to Tisha b'Av.

The visit brought together three survivors: 86-year-old Eddie Weinstein, the only able-bodied survivor to have escaped the Treblinka death camp still alive today; Thomas (Toivi) Blatt, 83, the only survivor of Sobibor able to give first-hand testimony today; and Eva Neuman, 82, from Manchester.