UK news

Zionist Federation: Simcha event had ‘double political standards’

By Bernard Josephs, September 19, 2008

An investigation into political leafleting at Sunday's Simcha on the Square is underway following complaints that radical and left-wing groups were allowed to advertise their work at the event.

Geraldine Auerbach, director of the event organisers, said material handed out by the British Shalom-Salaam Trust would be examined, and if it were found to be political in nature the organisation would not be invited in future.

"Our criterion is that no political organisation should be given a stand at the event, " she said.


Orthodox delight as government relaxes planning law on house extensions

By Leon Symons, September 19, 2008

The Charedi community has welcomed a government move to relax rules on loft conversions and the construction of rear extensions to houses.

From October 1, many householders will be able to build an extension or a loft conversion without having to seek planning permission. The £1,000 fee to be granted specific planning permission will also be dropped.


Legal red tape keeps missing children in UK

By Michal Levertov and Marcus Dysch, September 19, 2008

Two Israeli children sent unaccompanied to live in Britain by their mother may not return home before the end of the year due to legal red tape.

In July, the JC reported that a 12-year-old girl was sent to the UK alone by her Russian-born Israeli mother. The girl's nine-year-old brother arrived a year earlier, accompanied by the mother, who returned to Tel Aviv, leaving him to live with a family friend in Leeds. The girl has now claimed asylum here.


Ofcom set to rule on ‘Weekend Nazis’ doc

By Marcus Dysch, September 19, 2008

Media watchdog Ofcom is expected to rule within the next two months on a complaint about a documentary which uncovered Nazi-uniform-wearing war-games enthusiasts.

Weekend Nazis was broadcast on BBC1 in August 2007 and focused on the War and Peace Show in Kent.

It showed presenter John Sweeney meeting participants from the Second Battle Group (SBG) re-enactment organisation, many of whom were dressed in Nazi uniforms.


Cambridge falls out over mikveh plans

By Simon Rocker, September 19, 2008

Plans to build the first mikveh (ritual bath) in Cambridge have led to a rift among the trustees of the charity set up to support it.

One trustee, David Gilinsky, is trying to take his fellow trustees from the Cambridge Community Mikvah Charitable Trust to the London Beth Din, claiming that they are obstructing the project. Three years ago, Mr Gilinsky and his wife, Ofra, obtained planning permission to convert an outhouse into a mikveh at a Cambridge property which they have set up as Hama'ayan, "the Cambridge and Suffolk Jewish Community".


High votes against Israeli-Palestinian peace possibility

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 19, 2008

An audience this week voted overwhelmingly against the possibility of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the next five years.

The debate in Westminster on "Paths to Peace: Proposals to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" was sponsored by the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue and The Spectator magazine.


Rabbinical council gives green light to lay eulogies

By Simon Rocker, September 19, 2008

New guidelines allowing lay people to speak at funerals are to be introduced by the United Synagogue "in the next few weeks", its president Simon Hochhauser said on Monday.

The relaxation of previous rules restricting eulogies to ministers was announced last month by the leaders of the US's Rabbinical Council (RCUS). But the rabbis were subsequently told by US head office to hold fire on the new policy, pending further consultations.


Synagogue hit by graffiti

September 19, 2008

A firework was aimed at members of a strictly Orthodox North Manchester synagogue last weekend, and antisemitic graffiti scrawled on its window.

A rocket was lobbed from a passing car as members of Beis Mordechai Synagogue in Prestwich gathered outside after evening prayers on Sunday, and the words "scruffy Jewish Basterd [sic]" were scrawled across a window.

Police are treating the graffiti as racially aggravated criminal damage, but the firework attack was not thought specifically to target Jewish people.


New checks pledged by Kosher food firm after schnitzel poisoning

By Dana Gloger, September 19, 2008

Europe's largest kosher-food manufacturer this week admitted that a chicken schnitzel which made a meals-on-wheels customer ill had been undercooked.

Hermolis said it had now put in place new procedures after Simone Simmons, 52, from Hendon, North-West London, was supplied the schnitzel which she said had made her sick.

Michael Lisser, managing director of the Wembley-based firm, said: "We used to probe [temperature check] one in every three to five schnitzels after cooking a batch to make sure they were hot enough and thoroughly cooked.


Barmitzvah soured as minister hit by flying sweet

By Candice Krieger, September 19, 2008

A barmitzvah celebration caused an unexpected casualty last weekend when sweets thrown by the congregation in honour of the barmitzvah boy hit the rabbi in the face and caused a nosebleed.

Wembley Synagogue's Rabbi Simon Harris got caught in the cross-fire when, at the end of the service, the congregation aimed their sweets towards the bimah. That is when blood was spilled.