Robyn Rosen

Amy Winehouse held after panto incident

By Robyn Rosen, December 23, 2009

Amy Winehouse has been arrested in connection with an assault following an incident at a pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Rehab singer was charged today under the name Amy Civil – her ex-husband’s name – with a Section 5 public order offence and common assault.

She attended Milton Keynes police station voluntarily with her legal advisor at 1.15pm this afternoon.

She was formally arrested by officers from Thames Valley Police on suspicion of assault and public order.

More..

Auschwitz thieves show how they stole sign

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Three men who have confessed to stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei sign from the entrance gates of Auschwitz have re-enacted the theft for police.

Police found the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces on Sunday evening in northern Poland and arrested five men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

It had been stolen before 5 o’clock on Friday morning and had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.

More..

Gaza: charities on new offensive

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Sixteen charities, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, have criticised the international community for not doing enough to end the Gaza blockade in a report published a year on from Operation Cast Lead.

The report, Failing Gaza, published this week, claims there has been a “failure” of the international community to do all it can to lift the blockade and calls for “concerted action”.

More..

Rabbi quits Norrice Lea pulpit

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Livingstone, minister of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, has announced his resignation after 11 years.

Rabbi Livingstone, who is originally from South Africa, said he had a “variety” of options to pursue after feeling he had “peaked” from his post at one of the largest synagogues in London, which has 1,800 adult members and more than 1,000 members under the age of 21.

Rabbi Livingstone said: “I came to the point where I wanted to move on. I have had a pretty good time here. It’s a big shul and I have accomplished a lot. I feel that I have peaked here.”

More..

Teenager snaps up photo prize

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

A severely disabled teenager has won an award for a self-portrait photograph taken after hours of practice with a sensitive remote switch linked to a digital camera.

Max Goulde, 18, has been awarded the east Midlands runner-up prize in the national I-Click Photographic Competition and will have his work displayed at the Oxo Gallery in the South Bank.

As a result of a serious illness at 18 months old, Max has cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, epilepsy and is blind. He is in a wheelchair and requires around the clock care.

More..

Brittany Murphy dies at 32

By Robyn Rosen, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy, the 32-year-old halachically Jewish actress and star of Clueless and 8 Mile, has died.

Ms Murphy, whose mother, Sharon, is Ashkenazi-Jewish, was reportedly transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles yesterday morning after collapsing in the shower, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

In May 2007, Ms Murphy married British Jewish screenwriter Simon Monjack in a small Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles.

More..

Stolen Auschwitz sign found

By Robyn Rosen, December 21, 2009

The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign which was stolen from the entrance gate of Auschwitz has been found, cut into three pieces.

The 16-foot wrought-iron sign was recovered last night in northern Poland by police who arrested five men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

It had been stolen before 5 o’clock on Friday morning and had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.

Andrzej Rokita, district police chief in the city of Krakow, said: “We can say that none of the five are members of a neo-Nazi group. Their intent was undoubtedly robbery-related.”

More..

Michael Howard pays to restore Swansea cemetary

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

Michael Howard has helped to pay for the restoration of a vandalised Jewish cemetery in Swansea, where his father was buried.

The United Synagogue’s burial team was asked to restore Townhill Cemetery, which is now closed, by Mr Howard and the local Jewish community.

Mr Howard, the former Conservative leader, offered to pay for some of the team’s expenses and asked for his father, who was buried there in 1966, to be moved to Bushey cemetery to join his late mother.

More..

Pro-Palestinian carol church gets hate mail

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

The rector of a church which held a carol service with alternative songs condemning Israel was reportedly sent a barrage of hate mail before the service.

Reverend Simon Grigg was allegedly told he would “go to hell” in a series of hate emails sent before more than 60 of protesters demonstrated outside his church in Covent Garden last week.

The service was held by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG) and included readings by Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi, Baroness Jenny Tonge and Lauren Booth.

More..

Boycott flyer found in Tesco superstore JCs

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

A Tesco store has sold copies of the Jewish Chronicle which were tampered with to include a flyer on boycotting Israeli goods.

Copies of the JC at the Tesco Superstore in Colney Hatch earlier this week had a flyer urging readers to take part in a protest outside the Israeli skincare store, Ahava, in Covent Garden.

The boycott has been organised by Boycott Divestment Sanctions’ Boycott Israeli Goods campaign and calls for protesters to meet outside the store on Saturday dressed for a “spa day” in robes and face masks.

More..

Interview: X Factor's Stacey Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

The humble surroundings of an east London pizza restaurant is about as far as you can get from the glitz of the X Factor studio, but that is where Stacey Solomon found herself this week, as she relaxed and reacquainted herself with her family after her 10-week stint on the nation’s favourite talent show.

More than 12 million viewers watched the former King Solomon High School pupil crash out of last weekend’s final, coming third behind eventual winner Joe McElderry and Olly Murs.

More..

The Jewish Children of the Year awards ceremony

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

A 13-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome who attends a mainstream school, a big sister who helps her leukaemia-stricken brother and a teenager with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who is studying the International Baccalaureate, were among those who were honoured at this year’s Jewish Children of the Year awards.

More..

Blue Peter meets Alyth crew

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

Blue Peter has filmed a special episode about Chanucah and focused on the life of Francesca Weiner, the eight-year-old granddaughter of Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism.

On Tuesday, the BBC children’s programme concentrated on the traditions of Chanucah and Jewish presenter Joel Defries made latkas and explained the festival’s meaning for him. The programme followed Francesca and her family during their preparations for Chanucah and Shabbat at home in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

More..

Anger over a delay to Borehamwood eruv

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

Borehamwood residents have accused the eruv committee of “dragging its feet” after no poles have been erected, six weeks after planning permission was granted.

Last month, Hertsmere council approved plans to build an eruv covering the local United and Federation synagogues, and allowing observant Jews to carry or push things on Shabbat.

Abraham Wahnon, eruv consultant, said: “All permission has been received, the money is in place and everything is ready to go but it’s not moving on.

More..

Father at centre of JFS row expresses 'relief'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling has spoken of his “relief” at today’s decision.

The father, known as E for legal reasons, appealed to the High Court after his 12-year-old son (Child M) was refused a place at JFS because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

Today, JFS lost its appeal over its admissions procedure on the grounds of direct discrimination by a majority of five to four at the Supreme Court.

More..

JFS: Jewish practice test 'lesser of two evils'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the movement for Reform Judaism, has hailed today’s Supreme Court decision which ruled that JFS had directly discriminated by refusing a place to a boy whose mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

He said: “We are delighted that the admissions policy of JFS - which actively de-legitimises our converts and our rabbis - has been confirmed as unlawful and unacceptable by the highest court in the land.

More..

JFS: Lords say discrimination law is flawed

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

A majority of the lords who ruled against JFS suggested that the law on direct discrimination may be flawed.

JFS lost its appeal over its admissions procedure today on the grounds of direct discrimination by a majority of five to four. The appeal follows an earlier judgement by the Court of Appeal which found that JFS had directly discriminated by refusing a place to a boy (Child M) whose mother had converted under a non-Orthodox synagogue and was therefore not recognised by the United Synagogue.

More..

Alex Dwek wins UJS chairman election

By Robyn Rosen, December 11, 2009

Manchester University student, Alex Dwek, tipped by the JC to win, has been elected the next chairman of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS).

Mr Dwek, 21, heard of his victory last week in Leeds after five days of elections across the UK where almost 600 students turned up to vote.

More..

Brighton and Hove’s Hillel has a new home

By Robyn Rosen, December 10, 2009

The Brighton and Hove Hillel Committee has bought a £350,000 building to be used as a drop-in centre for Jewish students.

The centre, which is at the rear of Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation’s Grade II* listed synagogue, will include a lounge, library, separate meat and milk kitchens, washing and sleeping facilities, meeting room, small synagogue and dining room for 40 people.

More..

Church 'wrong to stage Palestine concert'

By Robyn Rosen, December 9, 2009

The secretary of the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, which held a carol concert by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), has said that had he known how political the concert was, he would not have approved it.

Prof John Beynon, the retired principal of King’s College, London, spoke after Jewish and Christian demonstrators protested outside the Covent Garden church during a carol service which included readings from Caryl Churchill, whose play Seven Jewish Children caused controversy earlier this year.

More..