UK news

Kristallnacht menorah is restored - after 70 years

January 22, 2009

Seventy years ago Emmy Kaufmann, then 24, entered the UK as a domestic worker. She came from Kommern, a small village near Cologne with just 12 Jewish families, and had fled Germany after Kristallnacht, in November 1938.

Last month Emmy, now Mrs Golding, who today lives in Edgware, north London, was reunited with a menorah which had been salvaged from the Kommern synagogue destroyed by the Nazis. The rescuer was an 11-year-old girl, Maria Klee, who picked out the still smouldering brass menorah from the burnt-out synagogue the day after the Nazis set fire to it.


Coffin opened as graveyard plot thickens

By Leon Symons, January 22, 2009

It could have been a plot from Father Ted. The peace, quiet and sobriety of Dublin’s only Orthodox cemetery rang to the scrunch of large boots and the clank of steel shovels as men set to work.

For once, instead of a body being interred, Dublin Orthodox Cemetery was the scene of one apparently being taken away by the garda — the Dublin police. But they would not say why.

The garda descended, on Wednesday of last week, on the cemetery in Aughavannagh Road in the Dolphin’s Barn area, erected screens around a grave and proceeded to remove the coffin that had been buried there.


NUS sit-in disrupts congress

By Simon Friend, January 22, 2009

A meeting held this week to ratify the latest National Union of Students’ governance and reform structures was disrupted by a sit-in from 20 members of the student National Executive Council as a protest against Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

The interruption followed a week of “Stop the War” rallying on many university campuses around the country. The meeting, held at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, was attended by 500 students. Up to 100 walked out following the protest and many of those remaining turned their backs on the demonstrators.


Students fear for safety as rallies grow

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Friend, January 22, 2009

The fallout from the Gaza conflict has been felt at universities around the country as Jewish students returned to their campuses.

At the London School of Economics, a students’ union anti-racism officer was responsible for an anti-Israel motion and involved in a similar rally.

Joseph Brown was pictured wearing a keffiyeh [traditional Arab head-dress] and “Free Palestine” T-shirt during a protest at the central London campus last week.


Schools top the tables for value

By Simon Rocker, January 22, 2009

Three Jewish secondary schools have been placed among England’s top five per cent of mainstream state schools, ranked according to academic progress made by pupils 11-16.

Hasmonean High School, JFS and Yesodey Hatorah in London produced outstanding “value-added” scores in the government school league tables for 2008.

These scores measure how far children perform above expectations, given their academic ability on arrival. According to The Times, the Hasmonean was among the top 50 value-added schools in the country this year.


Death of Glasgow Zionist

By Rachel Silver, January 22, 2009

The doyen of Glasgow’s Zionist movement, Denis “Bonchy” Cohen, has died at the age of 93. His son David, president of the UJIA and a member of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “For him, charity was what you did. If you have it and others do not, it is your responsibility to share it with care and common sense.”

Mr Cohen, the youngest of seven, was known as “Bonchy” from the age of two for his curly hair, and the affectionate nickname stuck.


Community loses its Liberal voice

By Rachel Silver, January 22, 2009

Tributes have been paid to the leading Liberal rabbi, Dr Sidney Brichto, who died on Friday at London’s Northwick Park Hospital, aged 72, following a stroke.

American-born Rabbi Brichto, the first chief executive of Liberal Judaism, held the post for 25 years and is credited with putting Liberal Judaism in the UK on the map.


Pro-Israel demo outside Iranian embassy

By Leon Symons, January 16, 2009

Up to 500 people demonstrated outside the Iranian embassy in Kensington, west London, last night (Thursday).

Led by a group of Zionist Federation activists and with ZF support, the group said it wanted to bring to wider attention Iran’s role in Middle East affairs as the main backer of both Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon.


Muslims condemn attacks on Jews

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A group of Muslim activists has issued an open letter condemning antisemitic attacks in response to the Gaza crisis.

Addressed to “fellow Muslims”, the group of 18, including imams, businessmen and scholars, wrote that they were “deeply saddened” to hear of assaults on British Jews.

“We unreservedly condemn attacks on innocent British citizens and the desecration of all places of worship.”


Worst wave of hate for quarter of a century

By Leon Symons Simon Rocker and Jonny Paul, January 15, 2009

Anglo-Jewry is in the middle of the worst outbreak of antisemitism in Britain since the Community Security Trust started keeping records a quarter of a century ago.

Since the start of the Israeli offensive into Gaza on December 27, more than 150 incidents across the country have been recorded.