UK news

Kosher phones ring the changes

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Kosher phones — adapted to prevent access to the Internet — have finally arrived in London with the blessing of the strictly Orthodox rabbinate.

Rose Communications, a company in Stamford Hill, north London, is inviting customers to trade in their old mobiles free for the new handsets, which can also be modified to exclude the text messaging service.

Although kosher phones have been available in Israel for several years, it took the efforts of a local non-profit organisation, Hakol Kol — meaning “voice only” — to introduce them to London.

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Neuberger becomes England's number 2 judge

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Lord Neuberger has been appointed the second most senior judge in England and Wales, the Master of the Rolls —the fourth Jewish holder of the post.

Now 61, the youngest law lord will take office in October as president of the Court of Appeal’s division and is ranked second only to the Lord Chief Justice.

He follows in the footstep of Lord Woolf, who was Master of the Rolls in 1996-2000, Sir Archibald Levin-Smith who held the post in 1900-1, and Sir George Jessel in the 19th century.

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No kosher cops in ethnic police project

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

A pilot scheme to give ethnic victims of crime the right to ask for a police officer from their own community is unlikely to involve the Jewish community.

The scheme is currently being tested by London’s Metropolitan Police with the Sikh and Punjabi community. The police is also encouraging its staff associations — which represent minority groups, such as Muslims and Hindus — to promote the initiative within their respective communities.

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MPs urge UK-Hamas talks

By Bernard Josephs, July 30, 2009

The influential House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week called for the UK government to talk to Hamas, and in so doing end the international embargo on dealing with the organisation.

In its report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which sparked expressions of concern from Jewish leaders, the committee also criticised Israel’s reaction to rocket attacks from Gaza as disproportionate.

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Single conversion standard resisted

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

The head of the United Synagogue’s Rabbinical Council (RCUS) has responded to a call for a common conversion standard by asserting that only Orthodox conversions are valid.

Jonathan Arkush, the Board of Deputies’ senior vice-president and a US member, publicly revived the idea of a unified approach at a Board meeting last week in order to prevent disputes over who is a Jew.

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Shuls collect donations for arrested Jerusalem 'starvation' mother

By Marcus Dysch and Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Donations were due to be collected in every strictly Orthodox synagogue in Stamford Hill yesterday to raise money for the family of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem.

The toddler weighed just 14lb when he was admitted to hospital earlier this month.

The boy’s father grew up in the Stamford Hill community and his grandparents still live there.

Money was due to be collected following Tisha B’Av minchah services. Proceeds will be donated to the family to help pay for the mother’s legal costs and medical bills.

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US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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Maccabiah dorm 'had bugs and live wires'

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

Athletes from Britain’s medal-winning Maccabiah Games youth team have described their shock at finding cockroach infestations and live electric wires in the bedrooms of their Israeli accommodation.

The teenagers were due to stay at the Neveh Hadassah youth village, near Netanya, for the duration of the tournament but were relocated to a five-star hotel by Team GB bosses after just 24 hours due to health and safety concerns.

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New 'roadmap' provides hope for divorce solution

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

A major initiative was launched this week to resolve one of the most problematic issues in Jewish law — the plight of the agunah, the “chained woman”, unable to remarry because her husband has denied her a get, a religious bill of divorce.

An academic team from Manchester University is today publishing a “roadmap” towards possible solutions after a five-year investigation.

Professor Bernard Jackson, a specialist in Jewish law and director of the university’s Agunah Research Unit, warned: “There is no single magic bullet to solve the problem.”

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