UK news

JNF: Projects bloom in desert sand

By Jenni Frazer, July 2, 2009

As far as the eye can see, there is sand. Somewhere over the horizon to the south west, there is Egypt; Gaza is close by, too. But one can see no landmarks, no signposts.

And then you turn on your heel and you see familiar net-covered structures, signifying Israeli agri-tech. And right here, in the middle of this vast Negev nothingness, a group of people are growing food in the sand.

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Hayek bid to replant JNF in our hearts

By Simon Rocker, July 2, 2009

When Samuel Hayek became chairman of JNF UK, British Jewry’s third biggest fundraising charity, nearly 18 months ago, few people knew what to make of the Israeli-born businessman.

Beyond donations of “a few thousand” to charities here and there, he had no track record in the higher echelons of communal philanthropy.

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Euthanasia challenged

July 2, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has joined forces with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the new Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to try to stop an attempt to introduce euthanasia by the back door.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, they criticised a Lords’ amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill that would protect from prosecution people who wanted to help friends or relatives go abroad to commit suicide.

The three faith leaders said the amendment would put vulnerable people at risk.

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Sugar faces bully charge

July 2, 2009

Sir Alan Sugar is being taken to an employment tribunal for alleged sex discrimination and bullying.

The woman complaining is Hanna Sebright, managing director of Amscreen Healthcare, one of the businessman’s leading companies.

She has made allegations about the conduct of the government’s so-called “enterprise tsar”; his eldest son, Simon; and Lee McQueen, last year’s winner of Sir Alan’s BBC programme The Apprentice.

She is seeking £140,000 in damages in a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

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I saw Rachel Stevens restaurant gunman

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2009

A Jewish man has spoken of his horror at seeing a gunman about to fire shots into the St John’s Wood restaurant where actress and singer Rachel Stevens was dining last Friday evening.

Two people, a 31-year-old black man — apparently the intended target of the attack — and a 15-year-old white youth, were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, which were said not to be serious. The man was shot in the leg and the youth in the arm.

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No Hitlers on the heritage railway, thanks

July 2, 2009

Organisers of a World War Two-themed weekend have banned participants from wearing swastikas, Nazi uniforms and dressing up as Hitler.

Visitors to the Severn Valley Railway event, run on 16 miles of railways through Worcestershire and Shropshire this weekend and last, were told to wear non-offensive clothing.

Promotional flyers said: “The wartime period does have difficult memories for many who were closely involved. We therefore ask you that you give some thought to the costume that you choose.

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Art treasures found in attic

By Keren David, July 2, 2009

A collection of work by an acclaimed Jewish artist has been discovered lying forgotten in a pensioner’s attic.

Dr Max Block, 83, came across the paintings, drawings and etchings when he began clearing the loft of his Liverpool home in preparation for a move. The works were inherited from his mother, who had married the artist Erich Wolfsfeld after he fled from Germany on the eve of the Second World War.

“I had put them in my loft when my mother died and forgotten all about them,” said Dr Block.

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New Shoah archive opens

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2009

The testimonies of 150 Holocaust survivors and refugees who fled to Britain from Nazi Europe have been brought together in a groundbreaking audio-visual archive.

“Refugee Voices” has been organised and produced by the Association of Jewish Refugees, which provides social and welfare services to Holocaust victims living in Britain.

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Four-year-old is abused by school racists

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2009

A four-year-old girl has been withdrawn from a West London infants’ school after being subjected to repeated antisemitic remarks by other pupils.

Her father, journalist Nick Johnstone, has accused the head teacher, Philip Eaton, of failing to deal with his complaints. He has since complained to the local education authority about Mr Eaton and has also reported the matter to police and his MP, Mark Field.

In an email to Mr Johnstone, the head admitted that both he and the school “have let your family down”.

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'Kidney donation law must change'

By Keren David, July 2, 2009

An American Jewish campaigner who recruits volunteers to donate their kidneys has called for the rules governing transplants in the UK to be relaxed, to encourage more British Jews to perform “the ultimate mitzvah”.

Chaya Lipschutz, who runs the website kidneymitzvah.com, believes more Jewish people would come forward as altruistic donors, giving their kidney to a stranger, if they could ensure the recipient was from within the community.

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