UK news

Cambridge falls out over mikveh plans

By Simon Rocker, September 19, 2008

Plans to build the first mikveh (ritual bath) in Cambridge have led to a rift among the trustees of the charity set up to support it.

One trustee, David Gilinsky, is trying to take his fellow trustees from the Cambridge Community Mikvah Charitable Trust to the London Beth Din, claiming that they are obstructing the project. Three years ago, Mr Gilinsky and his wife, Ofra, obtained planning permission to convert an outhouse into a mikveh at a Cambridge property which they have set up as Hama'ayan, "the Cambridge and Suffolk Jewish Community".

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High votes against Israeli-Palestinian peace possibility

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 19, 2008

An audience this week voted overwhelmingly against the possibility of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the next five years.

The debate in Westminster on "Paths to Peace: Proposals to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" was sponsored by the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue and The Spectator magazine.

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Rabbinical council gives green light to lay eulogies

By Simon Rocker, September 19, 2008

New guidelines allowing lay people to speak at funerals are to be introduced by the United Synagogue "in the next few weeks", its president Simon Hochhauser said on Monday.

The relaxation of previous rules restricting eulogies to ministers was announced last month by the leaders of the US's Rabbinical Council (RCUS). But the rabbis were subsequently told by US head office to hold fire on the new policy, pending further consultations.

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Synagogue hit by graffiti

September 19, 2008

A firework was aimed at members of a strictly Orthodox North Manchester synagogue last weekend, and antisemitic graffiti scrawled on its window.

A rocket was lobbed from a passing car as members of Beis Mordechai Synagogue in Prestwich gathered outside after evening prayers on Sunday, and the words "scruffy Jewish Basterd [sic]" were scrawled across a window.

Police are treating the graffiti as racially aggravated criminal damage, but the firework attack was not thought specifically to target Jewish people.

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New checks pledged by Kosher food firm after schnitzel poisoning

By Dana Gloger, September 19, 2008

Europe's largest kosher-food manufacturer this week admitted that a chicken schnitzel which made a meals-on-wheels customer ill had been undercooked.

Hermolis said it had now put in place new procedures after Simone Simmons, 52, from Hendon, North-West London, was supplied the schnitzel which she said had made her sick.

Michael Lisser, managing director of the Wembley-based firm, said: "We used to probe [temperature check] one in every three to five schnitzels after cooking a batch to make sure they were hot enough and thoroughly cooked.

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Barmitzvah soured as minister hit by flying sweet

By Candice Krieger, September 19, 2008

A barmitzvah celebration caused an unexpected casualty last weekend when sweets thrown by the congregation in honour of the barmitzvah boy hit the rabbi in the face and caused a nosebleed.

Wembley Synagogue's Rabbi Simon Harris got caught in the cross-fire when, at the end of the service, the congregation aimed their sweets towards the bimah. That is when blood was spilled.

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Rabbi offers help to ‘three-day Rosh Hashanah’ council

By Leon Symons, September 19, 2008

A rabbi has offered his services as a religious adviser to a council which invented a High Holy-day and scheduled a by-election on Yom Kippur.

Last week, the JC revealed how Haringey Council had chosen October 9 for the poll, believing it to be a less religious day than the previous Thursday, which it decided was the "third day of Rosh Hashanah".
Rabbi David Mason has now contacted the North London authority in an attempt to avoid further inconvenience for Jewish residents.

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Cheap Charedi store helps stretched families

By Charlotte Fisher and Sheli Levenson, September 19, 2008

More than 200 families in Stamford Hill have benefited from a new money-saving venture perfectly timed for the economic downturn: a mini-market providing basic amenities at wholesale prices.

The store, Low Cost Living, is directed only at customers in kollel (full-time Torah study) and those with large families. In order to keep overheads low, it has no phone, does not deliver and is run entirely by volunteers. And as they are from the kollel, opening hours are restricted to evenings and Sundays.

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McCartney: why I will play in Israel

By Dana Gloger, September 19, 2008

Sir Paul McCartney this week strongly defended his decision to perform a concert in Tel Aviv as part of Israel's 60th-anniversary celebrations later this month.

The ex-Beatle's comments came after he allegedly received death threats from hard-line Muslims as well as a furious row over the issue in his home city of Liverpool.

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Wiesel: Yes, we really did put God on trial

By Jenni Frazer, September 19, 2008

The story that rabbis in Auschwitz once decided to put God on trial - and found him guilty - has frequently been assumed to be apocryphal.

But on Monday night, the Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel startled his audience at a Holocaust Educational Trust appeal dinner in London when he declared: "I was there when God was put on trial."

This week rabbis and academics raised questions over whether such an event ever actually happened - although many agreed that it had a high degree of plausibility.

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