UK news

Demolition reprieve for Satmar shul

By Marcus Dysch, August 1, 2008

A strictly Orthodox synagogue has won a temporary reprieve from having part of its complex demolished.

The Satmar Synagogue in Craven Walk, Stamford Hill, North London, won an appeal on a technicality against an enforcement notice issued by Hackney Council.

The council issued the notice last September in an attempt to reverse the construction of two extensions and installation of three air-conditioning units at the building, which had been started before planning permission was granted.


Newlyweds furious as gift firm falters

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

Scores of newlyweds have been left without wedding presents after an online wedding gift company suffered financial difficulties.

Some couples, who had kept their presents on hold until after their weddings while they waited to move into new homes, now face the prospect of staring at empty rooms.

Customers will know by the end of this week whether or not they will receive any wedding presents after Wrapit, started seven years ago by Jewish ex-fashion writer, Pepita Diamand, has held talks with potential new investors to try to stay in business.


Commons committees urge UK to talk to Hamas

By Bernard Josephs, August 1, 2008

The government is under pressure from two influential House of Commons select committees to drop the boycott of contacts with Hamas which it shares with members of the international Middle East Quartet.

The chairman of one of the committees, Labour MP Mike Gapes, last week held private talks on the issue with Tony Blair, Middle East envoy of the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.


‘Neglected’ Israeli child stays in UK

August 1, 2008

The fate of two Israeli children who entered Britain unaccompanied remains uncertain after one of them refused to leave the country this week.

On Monday, immigration officials attempted to repatriate a 12-year-old girl who arrived in London in June, but she refused to board a plane to Israel.

She has now returned to social services' care at a children's facility in the London area. Her nine-year-old brother, who has been living in Leeds for around a year, is also in local authority care.


Refugee’s 13-year fight opens floodgates for Kinder claims

By Simon Rocker, August 1, 2008

Dozens of former refugees from Nazi Germany are set to receive improved compensation after a 13-year campaign by a London man.

Hermann Hirschberger, 82, was one of the 10,000 children sent to Britain by their parents on the Kindertransport shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

This week his tenacity paid off when Britain said it would remove a legal obstacle which, until now, has prevented many of his fellow-Kinder from getting the full German payments.


Anti-abuse rabbi run out of town

By Marcus Dysch, August 1, 2008

A rabbi who uncovers child abuse in strictly Orthodox communities says he feared for his life as he was chased by a group of 200 Charedi men in North London.

Rabbi Nochum Rosenberg, 58, was forced to flee from a Stamford Hill synagogue where he had been listening to a lecture last Thursday.

He ran into Manor Road, in the heart of the community, and was taken to safety after stopping a passing police car.


Retrial for web hate publisher

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

A man who fled to America after being convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet will face a second trial in December.

Simon Sheppard, 51, from Selby, North Yorkshire, is being held in Santa Ana jail in California, together with his co-defendant Stephen Whittle, after the pair were detained at Los Angeles airport last month.


So who are the settlers?

August 1, 2008

"We are not settlers," was the blunt response of the press officer for the Beitar Illit local council, when asked to comment on the town's status.

"This is just the place where the government decided to build new housing for the Charedi community. We would have gone wherever they would have given us land."


BA worker gets ‘final warning’ over taking Shabbat as day off

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

An Orthodox Jewish employee of British Airways has been given a final warning about his conduct because he failed to turn up for work on a Saturday - more than 18 months ago.

An internal disciplinary hearing also found an allegation of neglect of duty proven against 47-year-old Daniel Rosenthal, who is Shabbat-observant, for the same reason. According to a letter he received seen by the JC, "if there is a repeat of such behaviour or any further unacceptable conduct", he could be fired.


Tube-scam conman gets 18 months

By Dana Gloger, August 1, 2008

The so-called Tube shekel scammer has been jailed for 18 months, in his second such prosecution this year.

Israel Aharonovitz, 58, of Hackney, East London, had already been sentenced to a year's imprisonment in April for three counts of fraud by false representation after he obtained £368 from Tube passengers he identified as Jewish.

After further offences came to light, Aharonovitz was prosecuted again, for another three counts.