UK news

Bobovs win fight to turn pub into a shul

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Plans to convert a pub into a synagogue for a strictly Orthodox community have been approved by councillors after a year-long battle to resolve the building’s future.

The Swan pub in Stamford Hill, north London, closed in January after members of the Bobov community bought it for around £1 million.

Councillors granted change-of-use planning permission at a meeting on Wednesday night, despite a campaign by residents to stop the conversion going ahead.

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Property tycoon under attack over pensioners' rent

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Billionaire property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has defended his company’s management of private retirement homes amid claims that pensioners are being overcharged for rent and services.

The Iranian-born entrepreneur is chairman of the Consensus Business Group, whose companies dominate the sector, housing around 70,000 elderly people.

Pensioners living at properties in 50 developments claim they are paying unreasonable amounts for property managers and transfer fees if they sell or let their home.

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Recession hits World Jewish Relief

By Leon Symons, September 3, 2009

World Jewish Relief, Anglo-Jewry’s main international relief charity, has been forced to cut some of its budgets in eastern Europe by 15 per cent because of the recession.

While none of its current or future projects have been dramatically affected, the charity has trimmed the amount it contributes to organisations such as the American Joint Distribution Committee, which undertakes day-to-day work in WJR’s three community centres in Poland and the Ukraine.

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Chief plans broadcast on crunch

By Robyn Rosen, September 3, 2009

The credit crunch will be the focus of the Chief Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah broadcast this year.

In his annual New Year message, to be aired on Monday, September 14, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks speaks to financial experts on whether faith can help us out of the recession.

Entitled A More Gracious Life, the programme will feature an interview with the BBC’s economics editor, Robert Peston, to discuss why the markets failed and what we have learned since the downturn.

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New points system for JFS entry

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

New rules published this week by JFS in Kenton, North London — and likely to be followed by other Jewish secondaries — will offer places on the basis of points scored for synagogue attendance and other observance.

Parents will also need a certificate signed by their rabbi or another community official to testify to religious practice — mirroring the procedure in some Catholic schools.

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UK Beth Din settles Sydney rabbi’s row

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

A long-running legal battle between a prominent Sydney rabbi and his cash-strapped congregation has been settled by the London Beth Din.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, of the Orthodox Bondi Mizrachi Synagogue, will receive AUS$952,000 (£484,700) when he leaves the congregation, which he has led for more than 21 years.

The LBD ordered the shul to pay the rabbi a £121,224 lump sum when he departs, either by resignation or dismissal. He will then receive the rest of the money in monthly payments, starting in March 2012.

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Kosher cards

August 27, 2009

Children's charity Barnardo’s is launching a range of Jewish greeting cards for the first time. The cards, which will feature Rosh Hashanah and Chanucah greetings, are part of a multi-faith collection and will be sold online and in 25 stores across the UK.

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Book week partner

August 27, 2009

The Jewish Book Council has announced that retailer Blackwell is to be the official bookseller for Jewish Book Week 2010. The literary festival is based in central London, draws over 12,000 each year and has hosted guests such as Harold Pinter and Martin Amis.

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BNP in court

August 27, 2009

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued county court proceedings against the British National Party and its leader Nick Griffin. The commission is challenging the BNP’s constitution and membership criteria as “discriminatory and racist”.

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5ft 2 woman in court for attacking 'stocky' neighbour

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

A mother of four has spoken of her relief at being cleared of assaulting a neighbour during a row over a lost football.

Petite Susannah Marmot, 42, endured a ten-month ordeal following a scuffle with stocky George Louka outside her home in Edgware, north west London.

She was accused of actual bodily harm after Mr Louka fell and cut his head, requiring ten stitches, as she tried to retrieve her son’s ball.

Dustman Mr Louka was described in court as an “Alf Garnett” figure who regularly shouted abuse at neighbours and called police to make complaints.

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