James Martin

Home win for interfaith at West Ham’s Upton Park

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking scored a hit with Jewish primary pupils at a community football tournament at the Premier League team’s Upton Park.

Ten lucky students from Clore Tikva in Redbridge, and 22 from Simon Marks in Hackney, competed in a five-a-side tournament which placed pupils in teams with children from different faiths and cultures. The pupils, aged nine and 10, met Sir Trevor after last week’s three-hour tournament and were given medals by the former England player and FA development director.

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Home win for interfaith at West Ham’s Upton Park

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking scored a hit with Jewish primary pupils at a community football tournament at the Premier League team’s Upton Park.

Ten lucky students from Clore Tikva in Redbridge, and 22 from Simon Marks in Hackney, competed in a five-a-side tournament which placed pupils in teams with children from different faiths and cultures. The pupils, aged nine and 10, met Sir Trevor after last week’s three-hour tournament and were given medals by the former England player and FA development director.

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Darlings, you are all so wonderful

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

Joanna Lumley was the star attraction at the annual UJIA women’s appeal, praising the “family spirit” of the Jewish community.

The actress, best-loved for her role as Patsy Stone in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, enthralled guests with anecdotes about her career before earning rapturous applause when she spoke about her recent successful campaign to allow Gurkha veterans to settle in Britain.

She described them as “wonderful, warm people, who I first met because my father served with them while stationed with the British army”.

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MP challenges insurers

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

Diane Abbott has written to the chief executives of two major medical insurers to demand an end to a postcode boycott of Jews.

The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington noted that “thousands of members of the Stamford Hill Jewish community were being discriminated against” by HSA and the Western Provident Association.

Ms Abbott — who also contacted the Financial Services Authority — wrote after being informed by a constituent, Rabbi Avraham Pinter, that WPA was not offering quotes on cash plans to people in the E5, N15, N16 and NW11 postcodes.

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ITV defends anti-Jewish comment

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

ITV has defended the broadcasting of an anti-Jewish remark on a reality show, claiming it was “justified by the context of the programme”.

On ITV1’s Dating The Enemy on Monday night, the female contestant, Bella, was talking with her mother about the male participant, Alan.
When her mother asked Bella about Alan’s religion, she replied that he was an atheist, adding: “At least he’s not Jewish.”

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Muslims snub drive against BNP

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain has been criticised for not supporting a multi-faith initiative designed to formulate a co-ordinated response to the BNP.

Muslim interfaith activist Fiyaz Mughal is upset at the non-attendance of MCB representatives at a meeting held under the aegis of Faith Matters at Westminster last Friday.

Mr Mughal — the Faith Matters director who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours — had invited 25 “key figures” from ethnic and religious groups to discuss the way forward after the BNP had taken two seats in the European elections.

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Israel’s press chief blasts media critics

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

Israel’s press spokesman in the UK has fired a parting shot at the British media, declaring that “illegitimate criticism of Israel borders on antisemitism”.

Having arrived in Britain on the heels of the Lebanon war of August 2006, the London embassy’s press attache Lior Ben Dor is now leaving to become number two at Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires — his wife is from Argentina.

In a trenchant interview on the eve of his departure, Mr Ben Dor expressed particular unhappiness about the Guardian and the Independent, as well as elements of the BBC.

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Wembley date for good sports nets UJIA £216,000

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

The sporting stars came out for a dinner quiz at Wembley Stadium which raised £216,000 for UJIA.

Olympic rowing double gold medallist James Cracknell, ITV football pundit Robbie Earle, former England cricketer Chris Cowdrey and steeplechaser Jo Ankier were among the 400 guests.

Host for the evening was ITV Sport presenter Matt Smith, who introduced himself as “the credit crunch’s Jeff Stelling,” a reference to the Sky Sports host and previous compere of the event, now in its 11th year.

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Best hummus is Iraqi-inspired

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

A 26-year-old trainee chef tasted victory in the second annual HummusFest staged by the Jewish Community Centre at Hampstead Town Hall on Sunday.

Tal Kedmy was one of 20 individuals and teams given 45 minutes to showcase their hummus-making skills using identical ingredients including chickpeas, tahina, parsley and olive oil.

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Outrage at removal of housing wardens

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

Jewish residents in sheltered housing schemes in Barnet are outraged at the rubber-stamping of plans to drastically cut the number of on-site wardens.

On Monday, Barnet Council cabinet members voted unanimously for annual “efficiency savings” of £400,000. The money for wardens is no longer ring-fenced through the government-funded Supporting People programme.

As well as a demonstration outside, councillors faced angry questions from the public at the start of the meeting.

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Students 'quarantined' before exam

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

Jewish pupils in Dublin spent last Shabbat in “quarantine” in order to take an English exam, scheduled for Saturday, the next day.

The eight Sabbath-observant teenagers, who stayed with Orthodox families in Rathgar, south Dublin, had to remain indoors from 9am on Saturday morning, when the exam started for the rest of the country, until 24 hours later when they were able to take the exam.
The decision to quarantine them followed discussions between Stratford College, Ireland’s only Jewish secondary school, and the Irish State Examination Commission.

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Museum shooter is ‘antisemite’

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

The gunman who opened fire at the entrance of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Wednesday was thought to be an 89-year-old white supremacist.

Media reports identified him as James W Von Brunn, a Second World War veteran who ran an extreme antisemitic website, Holy Western Empire.

The man was reported to have entered the museum, just a mile from the White House, shortly before lunchtime and to have fired indiscriminately, injuring a security guard, before other guards shot back. The guard later died in hospital.

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Stamford Hill blasts postcode ‘boycott’

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

People in Stamford Hill are being refused quotes from a leading medical insurer, which says it is investigating “claims abnormalities” in the area.

The Western Provident Association (WPA) has refused to send brochures for its cash plan schemes to a number of JC readers.
They were told no policies were being sold to people from postcodes “under investigation”. These include N15, N16 and E5 — where many strictly Orthodox people live.

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Museum shooting guard dies

By James Martin, June 10, 2009

An 89-year-old man with ties to white supremacist groups killed a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington yesterday.

James von Brunn opened fire with a rifle as he walked into the museum at 12.50pm, shooting his victim at close range, before being hit in an exchange of fire.

He was taken to the George Washington University hospital and was said to be in critical condition. Police sources said that Mr von Brunn had written a book and had a website that raged against Jews and Christianity.

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Bus stop dismays Charedim

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A move to establish a direct bus link between Golders Green and Stamford Hill has stalled on cost grounds, to the disappointment of the Charedi community.

Response to a four-month study conducted by Transport for London watchdog London TravelWatch demonstrated “a very clear requirement for a bus service between the two places”.

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Bone marrow group wants more screen tests

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A year-long global fundraising campaign supporting Jews needing bone marrow matches has reached London.

Volunteers from the British Friends of Ezer Mizion, which organises bone marrow testing in Israel, were outside north-west London synagogues and shops seeking donations towards a £2.5 million UK target.

Simon Maurer of the British Friends says the campaign will enable “many more Israelis to go for a bone marrow test, which will improve the chances of Jews worldwide finding a match”.

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Fifteen-year-old mourned

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

Over 1,000 people attended the funeral of a 15-year-old boy from Stamford Hill who died after being in a coma for four days.

Chaim Roth was one of 10 children from a Satmar family in Stamford Hill living in assisted housing provided by Agudas Israel.

According to Yesodey Hatorah School principal Rabbi Avraham Pinter, he had got up after taking a nap in his room but then “collapsed into a coma on the floor”. He died in Homerton Hospital.

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Charity cyclist tragedy

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A north London solicitor died on Sunday after collapsing when cycling with friends near Potters Bar.

Hadley Wood father-of-three Steven Kenton, 58, was a keen cyclist who had completed many charity bike rides and a sponsored Mount Everest Base Camp trek. He was a “committed fundraiser” for children and families charity Norwood.

Mr Kenton’s eldest daughter, Elana, 28, said he “always gave to others. He was very active in the North London Hospice and would always volunteer to draft wills for free for the residents there.”

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‘Brilliant’ civil servant hit by train

By James Martin, June 3, 2009

The Newcastle Jewish community is mourning the loss of a “brilliant, kind and unassuming young man”, after the death of 32-year-old Adam Rothapel last Tuesday.

Mr Rothapel, private secretary to Minister of Justice Bridget Prentice, died after being hit by a train at Finchley Road station in London.

Mr Rothapel, who lived in West Hampstead, was due to marry Sam Baden, his Australian-born fiancée, in August. He leaves behind his mother, Hilary.

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Former Israeli president dies at home

By James Martin, June 1, 2009

Professor Ephraim Katzir, eminent scientist and the fourth president of the State of Israel, has died at his home at the Weizmann Institute of Science at the age of 93.

He was president between 1973 and 1978. During his term he paid special attention to the importance of education in solving the country’s social problems.

He had previously served as Chief Scientist of the Israeli Defence Ministry. As well as training a generation of younger scientists, he translated important material into Hebrew and helped to establish a popular science magazine.

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