UK news

Shul that’s a model to them all

By Robyn Rosen, August 12, 2010

Cheshire Reform Congregation, also known as Menorah Synagogue, was previously housed in a 1960s flat-roofed, prefabricated building which was designed to have a 30-year life.

In 2004 work began on fund raising and designing a new building. Construction began in the summer of 2007 and the new building had its first service on Kol Nidre at the beginning of October 2008.

The new building, also single storey, was constructed to meet all the relevant requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Document M of the building regulations.


Struggle over disability access at synagogue

By Robyn Rosen, August 12, 2010

Batya Wiles wants to go to shul. But unlike her Stamford Hill friends and family, hers is not a routine decision but an intense dilemma.

Ms Wiles has been in a wheelchair since 1986 and accessing synagogues which lack facilities for the disabled can be an intimidating and undignified affair.

During a recent visit to St John's Wood Synagogue, she says, "I wheeled through to the centre of the men's section where there was what looked like a wooden pen with no curtain. I was so embarrassed I wanted to leave, but I couldn't get out."


BNP want Jewish 'comrades' to fight Muslims

August 12, 2010

Members of far-right organisations are urging colleagues to support an unlikely ally - Israel.

Small groups of BNP and English Defence League supporters are championing the Jewish state as part of a perceived struggle with the Muslim world.

They call for Israel and the BNP to be "comrades in arms".

One person commenting on a pro-BNP blog suggested that the party should open an office in Israel to "show solidarity with the Israeli people".

But Jon Benjamin, Board of Deputies chief executive, warned: "No one in their right mind should have any truck with the BNP or their ilk."


El Al's 16 hour 'accessible' flight to Eilat

By Jan Shure, August 12, 2010

The announcement by El Al of new flights designed to make Eilat more accessible to Britons has been given a cool reception by the travel industry.

The airline has inaugurated three flights a day, from Sunday to Thursday, between Ben-Gurion and Eilat, and one flight a day on Friday and Saturday. For passengers booking an El Al flight from London, the onward Eilat fare is just £7.


Hooded gang beat man for 'looking Jewish'

By Jessica Elgot, August 12, 2010

A non-Jewish former special constable was beaten up by a hooded gang after he grew a beard, dressed in black and wore a wide-brimmed hat.

Linden Barrington, 25, is a sales representative who lives in an area of Walsall, West Midlands, with a high Muslim population.

Six months ago he began wearing a kippah and has even been keeping Shabbat as part of his intention to convert to Judaism.

He says he has been abused repeatedly since he changed his appearance. Youths have gathered outside his home shouting: “Murdering Jewish bastard”and “f***ing Zionist. You deserve to die.”


Sacks 'dismayed' by Cameron's Gaza comments

August 12, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has attacked David Cameron's description of Gaza as a "prison camp".

Lord Sacks said many in the Jewish community felt "dismay" about the Prime Minister's remarks and urged him to show more "balance" when discussing the conflict in the Middle East.

He made the comments when he addressed the congregation in St John's Wood Synagogue last Shabbat.


UCL to host radical Islamic preachers

By Robyn Rosen, August 12, 2010

A series of radical Islamic preachers will speak at University College London at a conference which will give "every Muslim in the UK a special chance to realise the satanic traps around them".

The University College London Union (UCLU) Islamic Society is holding its 2010 National Ramadan Conference, entitled the Dunya Deception, later this month.

Speakers include Jalal Ibn Sa'eed, Zahir Mahmoud and Uthman Lateef, who have all made controversial comments about Israel and martyrdom.


Tel Aviv suicide bomb victim's brother leaves UK

August 12, 2010

The brother of Glasgow-born teenager Yoni Jesner, who was killed in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing, has made aliyah.

Jared Jesner, 30, said his brother's death eight years ago had influenced their decision to move. He said: "Yoni's death taught me life is short, and if you have an opportunity, you should just go for it, because you might not get another chance. You have to be bold, and not hang around. I think he would be proud of us coming here."


Massive Attack target Israel at Big Chill festival

August 12, 2010

A music fan has described how a festival performance was used to attack Israel and promote the cause of Palestinian refugees.

Massive Attack performed at last weekend's Big Chill concert before a crowd of thousands in Malvern, Worcestershire.


Jewish man becomes Royal Navy admiral

August 12, 2010

Lord Sterling of Plaistow has been appointed a two-star admiral in the Royal Navy.

The highly-decorated 75-year-old is a former executive chairman of P&O and founder of the Motability charity which provides cars for disabled people.

It is thought Lord Sterling is the highest-ranking Jewish officer in the armed forces' history.