UK news

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.


Hundreds rally to show support for Gilad Shalit

By Candice Krieger, September 26, 2008

Attempts to raise awareness of the plight of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit intensified this week as hundreds in London rallied for his release.

Rally participants marched from Green Park to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, on Sunday where Gilad's father Noam Shalit, Israel's ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor, and human-rights barrister Philippe Sands addressed the audience. There was also a performance from Israeli artist Ehud Banai.


Three teens face assault charges

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2008

Three teenagers were due to appear in court this week in connection with an attack on a Jewish man in a park.

The 22-year-old was attacked as he walked through St Mary's Park in Prestwich, Manchester, at around 8.30pm on June 25.

He suffered head injuries and required stitches to treat a 9cm cut.

The boys, who are all 15 and cannot be named because of their age, were due to appear at Bury Youth Court on Thursday 25th September.


Manchester's biggest social-welfare organisations to merge

By Leon Symons, September 26, 2008

The two biggest social-welfare organisations in Manchester are to merge to create a new multi-million-pound body.

As exclusively reported at on Tuesday, Manchester Jewish Federation ("the Fed") and Heathlands Village have decided to combine their resources and facilities. Employees of both organisations have been informed of the merger.


Three London volunteers honoured as chiefs and queens in Ghana

By Dana Gloger, September 26, 2008

Three Anglo-Jewish volunteers got more than they bargained for on a trip to Ghana last month, when they were each made a chief or queen of different Muslim villages.

As a result, the three Londoners - Aron Lewis from Hampstead Garden Suburb, Samuel Borin from Clapham and Sasha Maisel from Totteridge - now have responsibility for key issues pertaining to their villages.


The great pew survey: how comfy is your seat for the High Holy Days?

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2008

Recognising the potential toches-strain of spending hours sitting davening, the JC this week launches a quest to find Britain's most comfortable synagogue seats.

Backing the project is ergonomist Beatrice Fraenkel, who warns that excessive periods in an uncomfortable seat can risk causing deep-vein thrombosis and sciatica.


Leicester’s antisemite should stay, says MP

By Dana Gloger, September 26, 2008

One of the country's longest-serving Jewish parliamentarians and a leading academic have dismissed criticism of a council for displaying a statue of a 13th-century earl considered an antisemite.

The issue was reignited this week after a member of staff at Leicestershire County Council wrote to councillors asking them to justify the statue of Simon de Montfort in its foyer. The employee, who did not wish to be named, said a more appropriate figure could be found, and suggested the statue may make Jewish visitors and staff feel unwelcome.