UK news

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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How a TV documentary helped one woman get a divorce

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2009

A couple who came before the Manchester Beth Din speak anonymously in the documentary about the problems that led to the husband refusing to give his wife a get.

The 49-year-old wife, who has three children from her first marriage, claimed that her husband had become abusive when she told him she wanted a divorce and that he would give her a get only if she paid his court fees.

“The final dissolution took just a year. We gained our civil divorce in 1998. But it’s taken 11 years for the get, which was received in April at the Manchester Beth Din.

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Get took five desperate years, now I'll be shunned

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

A strictly Orthodox woman featured in a new television programme dealing with gittin (religious divorces) has revealed that in desperation she obtained a get from a non-Orthodox religious authority.

Miriam Saleh speaks for the first time about her five-year ordeal of trying to obtain a get from her husband in the Channel 4 documentary Revelations: Divorce – Jewish Styleo be screened on Sunday.

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The Voice's racist Israeli jail claim is 'blood libel'

By Keren David, July 30, 2009

Israel’s ambassador to the UK has accused Britain’s leading black newspaper of printing a story “in the spirit of a blood libel”, while the paper’s own source for the article has slammed its coverage as “sensationalised and inaccurate”.

The Voice newspaper’s front page headline in its July 20 edition read: “Hundreds of black people being held in Israeli jails”, a claim based on the “astonishing” story of film-maker Ishmahil Blagrove, detained by the Israeli navy while on board a ship taking aid to the people of Gaza.

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