James Martin

Chief Rabbi joins G20 faith message

By James Martin, March 30, 2009

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has expressed hope that the G20 leaders meeting in London this week would be “blessed with wisdom”.

Writing as part of a religious leaders'communiqué addressed to leaders of the world’s largest economies, Chief Rabbi Sacks said: "Our prayers are with the world's leaders that they be blessed with the wisdom and courage to begin the journey from recession to recovery, and from the old world of national pride to a new age of global responsibility."

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Three fined for Bury race attack

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

Three boys have been fined for a racially motivated attack which left a Jewish man injured and his non-Jewish friend requiring 18 stitches.

The boys, all aged 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been sentenced by a judge at Bury Youth Court.

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Bus link’s next stop

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

Moves towards a direct bus link between Golders Green and Stamford Hill are gathering momentum with a survey of residents by London TravelWatch, the transport users’ consumer group.

LTW has distributed several thousand leaflets asking residents about their travel needs between the two areas.

Flyers have also gone out to synagogues and the research will continue for another month before the findings are presented to Transport for London.

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Greater appetite for simchah leftovers

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A charity which distributes left-overs from simchahs to needy families in the Stamford Hill Charedi community is reporting unprecedented demand because of the credit crunch.

Hamasbia founder Hindy Biberfeld explained that while hosts remained happy to donate unused food, the charity was receiving many more requests as a result of increased unemployment. Many parents were struggling to feed their families.

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New research will reveal cancer risk

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A research project has been launched which could lead to every Ashkenazi adult in the UK being offered a genetic test to determine the risk of developing cancer.

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Lost German artworks go to auction in UK

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A collection of artworks by the daughter of a prominent Nazi-era German Jewish political activist, which was found in a trunk in a London attic, is to be auctioned next month.

They are 22 drawings and paintings by Dodo Burgner, most of which may have been published by Ulk magazine, a satirical publication edited by her father, Theodor Wolff. He was an eminent Jewish art critic and editor who founded the German Liberal Democrat Party in 1918.

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Wrapit: 'gets relaunch'

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

The Jewish owner of an online wedding gift firm that went bust in August last year has offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the hundreds of couples who never received presents. This week the company, Wrapit, relaunched under a new name.

Pepita Diamand, who founded Wrapit eight years ago, said: “I’m sorry for customers who were affected and I well understand that the re-emergence of the company leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths.” She said: “I was invited to participate in the new business and flatly refused.”

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Cancer columnist fronts Chai appeal

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

A 27-year-old who chronicled his successful fight against Hodgkin’s lymphoma in a JC column is to be the face of Chai Cancer Care’s Pesach appeal.

Gideon Schneider (right) has signed a letter being sent to 10,000 donors highlighting the support he received from Chai.

Now in remission, Mr Schneider raised £12,000 for the charity while undergoing treatment. “The work Chai does both in terms of counselling services and in organising activities is crucial in helping cancer patients regain morale,” he pointed out.

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Pesach kashrut course for Tesco bosses

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Tesco prepared branch managers for the Pesach rush when it launched its largest-ever festival range at its Borehamwood supermarket last Thursday.

Thirty store bosses were on hand to hear senior buyer Steve Ewels and Florette Hyman from the London Beth Din’s kashrut division give explanations of the festival days and the requirements of observant Jewish shoppers.

Borehamwood has been selected as the flagship store for the festival, stocking over 300 Pesach products, from matzot and wines to cold meats and chickens.

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Targeting Tube hate

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Antisemitic incidents on the Northern Line have been a focus of a co-ordinated campaign against criminal behaviour involving Barnet and British Transport Police and Transport for London.

Sergeant Phil Briggs of the British Transport Police explained that the latest Operation Clean Sweep exercise covered stations between Golders Green and Edgware.

“The Transport Police has dealt with four [antisemitic] incidents in Barnet over the last few months including graffiti attacks and threatening behaviour,” he reported.

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Jacobson enjoys novel approach of Limmud

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Howard Jacobson was the star attraction at Sunday’s second Cambridge Limmud, which drew a crowd of close-on 400.

Event chair Tim Goldrein said the aim had been “to capitalise on our location by delivering the best high-brow speakers”. To this end there were 34 talks, as well as a special programme for children. “I think the work of our 100 volunteers paid off,” he reflected.

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Family celebrates triple simchah

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

The Baker family from Elstree will have a triple celebration on Shabbat when their daughter and twin sons will be bat- and barmitzvah at the New North London Synagogue in Finchley.

Philip Baker said boys Alexander and Oliver had delayed their big day so as to share it with sister Yolande.

“We wanted them to mark the occasion together,” Mr Baker explained. “We’re part of the Hakol Olin service which is egalitarian and allows both men and women to read from the Torah. As such, all five members of our family will be sharing the reading.”

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Fighting poverty

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

International Development Minister Ivan Lewis has praised Jewish groups for their role in fighting world poverty.

The Bury South MP was at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday for a consultation meeting on eliminating poverty involving his department and faith organisations.

“New Labour has been trying to work against the Thatcherite slogan of ‘There’s no such thing as society,’” he said. “But with the help of faith groups, we can help to disprove this by promoting the need to reach out to others.”

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LSE dialogue breaks down in chaos

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Dialogue between the Israel Society and the Palestine Society at the London School of Economics (LSE) has stopped after a PalestineSoc member suggested that Holocaust denial was wrong but not necessarily antisemitic.

Talks between the two groups were held last Friday over how far to include Holocaust denial in a motion on antisemitism, which the Palestine Society filibustered last Thursday.

But talks broke down after the PalestineSoc claimed their confidentiality had been breached by Israel Society secretary Patrick Jones leaking the details of the meeting.

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Snow defends Channel Four’s Israel coverage

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Broadcaster Jon Snow this week defended Channel 4’s coverage of the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, arguing that “both sides of the conflict have been let down by the political classes and it’s left to the media to pick up the can”.

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BBC rejects plan to broadcast radio version of Seven Jewish Children

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

The BBC has denied that it declined to broadcast a radio version of the controversial play Seven Jewish Children because of concerns about impartiality.

A story in the Guardian reported BBC Radio 4 drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe as saying that despite regarding the play as “brilliant”, it had been shelved on the grounds that it could compromise editorial impartiality.

The report went on to say that the BBC had refused to broadcast the play by Caryl Churchill because it needed to remain impartial.

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Mystery of the missing Sherlock Holmes star

By James Martin, March 18, 2009

A homeless man who turned around his life after becoming a film star has been reported missing.

Raymond Emanuel, 56, was spotted on the street and invited to appear in Guy Ritchie's new Sherlock Holmes film, where he appeared alongside Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law.

But friends reported him missing to the police after he had not been seen at his home in Didsbury, South Manchester, since last Thursday.

One friend is worried he may be back on the streets: “He said was going to meet his agent on Thursday and never returned. I've not seen him since."

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Hard men up to Israel challenge

By James Martin, March 12, 2009

Twelve action men have returned to Britain after a gruelling physical ordeal in the Judean desert to raise over £50,000 for a children’s care village and a phone counselling service for families in Sderot.

Emunah’s Triple-E Challenge involved participants in five days of intense activity and teamwork in un-usually bad weather. They were galvanised by a visit to one of the beneficiaries — the Neve Landy Children’s Village in the rural district of Even Shmuel — reported Hendon fitness trainer Neil Isaacson.

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Barnet skips its Pesach tradition

By James Martin, March 12, 2009

Barnet Council is scrapping its Pesach skips for Jewish residents and will instead provide special refuse collection services.

The special collections will be in designated streets in Golders Green, Hendon and Edgware over the period of April 6-8.

Residents in other streets can arrange for additional collections between March 30 and April 7. The service is free.

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Golders Green school faces closure threat

By James Martin, March 12, 2009

A strictly Orthodox school which has operated from a house in Golders Green Road for five years without planning permission is under threat of closure.

Beis Medrash Elyon has had a retrospective planning application deferred until April by Barnet Council to allow more time for consideration of its claim of special grounds for being granted school status.

Speaking after last week’s planning sub-committee meeting, a council spokesman explained that should consent be refused, the school could appeal to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

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