UK news

JLC in shift to boost Jewish legitimacy

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

The Jewish Leadership Council is to change its structure in order to give it greater legitimacy within the Jewish community.

Members appointed in a personal capacity, such as Lord Woolf and Sir Victor Blank, will no longer have a vote at the council but serve instead in an advisory capacity, as vice-presidents.

Instead, voting rights are to be restricted to leaders of the 16 Jewish organisations currently represented on the council.


Synagogues face VAT slap for listed buildings

By Leon Symons, October 14, 2010

Synagogue buildings given heritage status face increased costs that could run into thousands of pounds after the government decided to cut a grant that refunded VAT.

The cut, which will start in January, is part of the government's overall drive to tackle the economic deficit.

Currently synagogues, along with all other listed places of worship, can claim a grant equal to the VAT paid on certain specified works, including architects' professional fees. Now they cannot claim for those fees as well as work on items such as clocks, pews, bells and organs.


Man Booker winner Howard Jacobson has last laugh

By Jenni Frazer, October 14, 2010

It has taken him 27 years and 15 books, but this week the novelist Howard Jacobson finally won the most prestigious prize in publishing, the Man Booker award, for his novel, The Finkler Question.

The Manchester-born writer, previously longlisted twice for the Man Booker, joked at the Guildhall award ceremony that he had thrown away all his previous speeches of acceptance, while retaining an acute memory of all the judges who had turned him down in previous years.


Friday night not valid for school admissions

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

A Reform rabbi has challenged the entry rules used by some Orthodox schools because they take into account synagogue attendance only on Saturday mornings and not Friday nights.

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of London's North-Western Reform Synagogue, said that the entry policy used by JFS was "galling".

But the school said that its entry criteria had been devised simply for administrative ease and not for any religious reasons.


North urged to push on shechitah

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 14, 2010

Northern Jewish communities have criticised Shechita UK for disorganisation and failure in its public campaign to lobby MEPs over the threat to kosher meat posed by proposed European legislation.

Members of the community across the UK have been asked to write to their MEPs, using resources on Shechita UK's website. The lobby group says a discriminatory food labelling legal amendment, due to be voted on by the Council of the European Union on December 7, proposes that all meat from animals slaughtered via shechita should be labelled as coming from animals which have not been pre-stunned.


Ahava: anti-Israel duo will face trial

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Two people face trial after denying charges that they chained themselves inside a branch of an Israeli cosmetics store.

Gwendolen Wilkinson, 20, from Newport, and Matthew Richardson, 24, from Sheffield, were charged with aggravated trespass at Ahava in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, following a protest on October 2.

The pair appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, north London, on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.


UCL Detroit bomber report a 'whitewash'

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Critics have attacked a report into a university's approach to tackling campus extremism as "complacent" and a "whitewash".

An investigation was launched at University College London following former student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's arrest last December after he allegedly attempted to blow up
a plane flying from Europe to Detroit. Abdulmutallab studied at UCL between 2005 and 2008 and was president of its Islamic Society. He is currently detained in the United States awaiting trial.


Confusion over shop Israel boycott

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2010

A Stamford Hill greengrocer which displays an agreement with strictly Orthodox rabbis not to sell Israeli goods, has shocked many of its Jewish customers - who believe it is a boycott.

Fresh & Fruity in Stamford Hill, which is not Jewish-owned, displays a signed agreement with the Kedassia, the kashrut division of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.


Jewish centre gets £3m to curb Israel tensions

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Manchester University is to give £3 million to its Centre for Jewish Studies in an attempt to help the centre ease interfaith tension.

The centre, which has previously relied mainly on external grants, said the money would bolster research and undergraduate courses on Muslim, Jewish and Christian relations and Middle Eastern history.

Centre co-director Professor Philip Alexander said the move was a positive response to the attack on former Israeli deputy ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher by pro-Palestinian activists during her visit to the university in April.


Picking apart Miliband's shadow appointments

By Martin Bright, October 14, 2010

It's tempting to play "spot the Zionist", "spot the Islamist appeaser" or even "spot the closet antisemite", whenever a new list of political appointments is released. The list of Shadow Ministers published this week is an open invitation to do just this. There is no doubt thata Labour front bench with John Denham as Home Secretary and Sadiq Khan as Foreign Secretary would be