UK news

Memo to town hall: yes, we do find a swastika offensive

By Marcus Dysch, August 8, 2008

A swastika carved into wet cement has been swiftly removed by a council after a Jewish passer-by reported it.

But the man was shocked to be asked by a call centre operator: "What is a swastika?" and "is it offensive?"
The motif had been carved into cement sealing a drain cover outside a newly-renovated house in Frognal, Hampstead, and close to several Jewish homes.

The man, who was not prepared to be identified, rang Camden Council and says he was first asked to explain what a swastika was before being asked how he felt about it.

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Rabbi’s sister survives crash

August 8, 2008

A wedding planner was recovering at home this week after a car accident in Watford.

Debbie Diggle, who is the sister of Rabbi Pete Tobias of the Liberal Synagogue in Elstree, suffered whiplash and severe bruising from the accident, which happened at 10pm on July 25 in Courtlands Drive, on the town's Cassiobury Estate.

Mrs Diggle, 49, who runs a company called Wedding Wonders, was on her way back to Watford after seeing clients in London in her a Toyota Rav4, when the accident happened.

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Tory caught in the act

By James White, August 8, 2008

A Conservative councillor on Harrow Council has been fined for taking part in a sexual act in a public toilet.

On Wednesday Robert Benson admitted the offence, which took place in a Harrow Council public convenience, and was fined £205 and ordered to pay costs.

Mr Benson, 41, who is due to marry in Stanmore Synagogue next month, was arrested after police community support officers discovered two men in a cubicle.

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Sacks, the TV star and the 'Kabbalah' meeting

By Leon Symons, August 8, 2008

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has unwittingly become part of an embarrassing wrangle involving the controversial Kabbalah Centre, its offshoot Spirituality For Kids (SFK) and Esther Rantzen.  Sir Jonathan met the Childline founder while filming his Rosh Hashanah broadcast for the BBC. The theme was families and family values.

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Scots fight attempt to ban shechitah

By Leon Symons, August 8, 2008

A petition to ban shechitah - religious slaughter - in Scotland has been vigorously opposed by Scottish communal organisations.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has sent an extensive rebuttal to the Scottish Parliament setting out in detail how effective shechitah is compared with the pre-stunning of animals.

It also deals with the potential effects of a ban on the Jewish community, even though shechitah is not currently carried out in Scotland, as well as scientific evidence on other methods of slaughter and the issue of suffering.

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Charities join up to fight crunch

By Dana Gloger, August 8, 2008

Charities are being forced to share their resources to save money as the credit crunch bites at the heart of their services - at a time when more people are in need of their help.

More than 70 organisations in London and Manchester have managed to find an extra £500,000 as a result of working together as donations tumble

They are sharing everything from office equipment to IT services. One managed to save £135,000 on mobile phone contracts and a youth organisation cut its spending by 61 per cent.

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Peace debate in London

August 8, 2008

The prospect of a lasting peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to be debated in London this September before an audience of 2,000 people, the day before Israel chooses a successor to Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister.

Speakers include Palestinian negotiator and legislator Dr Hanan Ashwari, Dr Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Yael Dayan, daughter of Moshe Dayan and Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv.

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As Wrapit folds, newlyweds tie their hopes to the bank

By Leon Symons, August 8, 2008

The fears of many newlywed couples hardened into reality this week when online wedding gift company Wrapit went into administration and closed on Monday.

Many of its 2,000 clients were Jewish, some of whom were highlighted in last week's JC.

One, Manchester solicitor Marc Yaffe, has been one of the worst affected. He and his wife Natalie were married on June 29 and have not received any presents.

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Armed robbery at kosher deli

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 8, 2008

Three masked robbers armed with knives and a hammer threatened staff at Shefa Mehadrin Kosher Deli in Manchester, before ripping out its till.

The robbery, which lasted just two minutes, began when the three men entered the shop at 8pm last Thursday shouting.

“One held a hammer high in the air and shouted, ‘open up the tills’, said Gavriel Jacobson, who was shopping inside at the time. “Everyone froze, then they pulled out the whole till and ran away.”

Around 20 people were inside the shop at the time.

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Galloway spoof that closed down a radio station

By Marcus Dysch, August 8, 2008

A Jewish community radio station has closed down after it lost a libel case brought by the controversial MP George Galloway.

During a Jcom broadcast last November, a presenter made remarks construing Mr Galloway as antisemitic, while pretending to be the Respect MP and referring to him as the station's "Middle East correspondent".

The spoof character, "Georgie" Galloway, used the catchphrase "kill the Jews, kill the Jews".

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