UK news

Miliband issues a New Year message

September 29, 2008

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has issued a special message for the High Holy Days. The wording is unusual: he speaks of "us" in his greeting, giving the clearest indication yet that he identifies with the Jewish community.

"These days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most sacred in the Jewish calendar. The entire Jewish people takes an honest look at the previous year, tries to make amends for any harm done, and reinforces the bonds of family and community that sit at the heart of its identity.


Foreign office memorial 'omits key names'

By Simon Rocker, September 26, 2008

The Association of Jewish Refugees has decided not to sponsor a Foreign Office memorial to diplomats who saved people from the Nazis - because there is no mention of Jews.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, is due to unveil the plaque at the Foreign Office in a ceremony in November. It will read: "To commemorate those British diplomats who by their personal endeavours helped to rescue victims of Nazi oppression."


Call for minorities to unite

September 26, 2008

An Egyptian political scientist has called for a new coalition of national and religious minorities from the Middle East during a lecture he delivered in London.

Masri Feki, who lives in France, wants to see a new regional framework in the Middle East which recognises national diversity and religious rights.

At a talk at the London Middle Eastern Institute of the School of Oriental and African Studies last week, he rejected "exclusivist" ideologies such as pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism.


Dead mother’s family traced via Pentagon

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2008

The children of a pensioner who died with no known next-of-kin have spoken of their surprise after they were traced in the United States - with the help of the Pentagon.

Sylvia Kamen was found dead at her flat in Stamford Hill earlier this month, but with the whereabouts of her family unknown, it was left to the Adath Yisroel Burial Society to give her an Orthodox funeral.


Hostility to Jews and Muslims ‘on rise’ in EU

By Leon Symons, September 26, 2008

Negative views and opinions of Jews and Muslims in several European countries have risen significantly, according to a new report published last week by an independent American think-tank.

The survey, carried out in 24 countries, found that unfavourable views of Jews in Spain had more than doubled in percentage terms in two years, had increased by a third in Russia and Poland, and by a quarter in Germany and France.

The only countries where antisemitic views remained virtually unchanged were Britain and America.


So who won the ‘Jewish Oscars’?

By Jenni Frazer, September 26, 2008

Acclaimed American pianist and entertainer Michael Feinstein was honoured in London as a Jewish "Cultural Ambassador" on Sunday in the 2008 Jewish Cultural Awards.

The awards, sponsored by the JC, celebrate contributions to Jewish culture by stars of stage, screen, music and television, and, for the first time, literature.


Chief Rabbi’s New Year message about family

By Simon Rocker, September 26, 2008

The priceless value of family life is the theme of the Chief Rabbi's annual New Year BBC broadcast this year.

Sir Jonathan Sacks's film, Faith in the Family, which is to be shown on BBC1 at 11.20 pm on Sunday, looks at pressures on contemporary families.

"Family is the foundation of so much else," he observes, "of faith and community and the future. It's about the place of loyalty and love in society. And how much we value the things that don't have a price."


Boris: Jewish youths can help us beat knives

By Dana Gloger, September 26, 2008

Boris Johnson, the London mayor, is looking to Jewish youth movements as a model to help fight the capital's knife crime.

While researching his strategy to reduce the number of stabbings in London, Mr Johnson looked at various youth services and youth movements. He told the JC this week that he was particularly impressed by Jewish groups, which he believes could offer effective lessons in reducing such crimes due to their "peer-led" approach.


Brown and Miliband both appear at LFI fringe event

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 26, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has reiterated Britain's commitment to the diplomatic campaign against Iran's nuclear programme.

Speaking at the annual reception of Labour Friends of Israel on Monday at Labour's conference in Manchester, Mr Brown said that Iran had only two alternatives - to comply with the demands of the international community or steadily to isolate itself.


Regulars fight plan to turn pub into a shul

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2008

Plans to turn a North-East London pub into a synagogue and community centre may be scrapped despite members of a strictly Orthodox community having exchanged contracts to buy the popular local this week.

Last month, the JC revealed that representatives of Stamford Hill's Bobov community planned to buy the Swan pub for around £1 million and turn it into a shul and communal centre.