Robyn Rosen

Exclusive interview: X Factor's Stacey Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

Exclusive: She’s been compared to Susan Boyle, Jade Goody and Barbra Streisand, but Stacey Solomon, the 20-year-old former King Solomon High School pupil tipped to win this year’s X Factor has spoken of her “humble” nature —and plans just to be herself.

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Zionists stop medical talk after campaign

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

Two lectures by Israeli-based charity Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) were cancelled after a Zionist organisation told hospitals holding the talks that they were “anti-Israel”.

Miri Weingarten from PHR-I was due to give a lecture, entitled The Right to Health in a Conflict Zone, to three hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and Bury last week.

But just hours before the lecture, the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool cancelled the event.

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Graduate joins Rwandan mercy mission for WJR

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

An Oxford graduate has taken part in a charity trip to Rwanda to help current or former street children reintegrate into family life and wider society.

Hannah Goldie, 22, spent a week in Kayonza, an eastern Rwandan province as part of a 10-person World Jewish Relief mission. She was chosen from close on 20 young applicants for a place largely financed by “a generous subsidy” from the Ansel Harris Memorial Fund.

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MDA cooks up a £1.4m menu

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

On the day he became Baron Sacks of Aldgate, the Chief Rabbi helped Magen David Adom UK with its own celebration — a 60th anniversary dinner which raised £1.4 million for the medical emergency charity.

Addressing over 300 guests at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, the Chief Rabbi said: “For 60 years, during war and peace, the Anglo-Jewish community has supported MDA and it is magnificent. When we’re in Israel and we see an ambulance and look at the British names along it, it makes us feel so proud.

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Shoah survivors watch given to HET

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

The poignant history of a watch hidden by Holocaust survivors at Bergen Belsen and later given to a liberating soldier has been revealed during a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.

Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock received the watch (pictured) in the presence of Commons Speaker John Bercow and Tory MP Dr Julian Lewis. It had been donated by Elizabeth Barnes, 79, of Hythe, Hampshire, whose late father Ronald Cowles had bought it from the soldier over 60 years ago.

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Griffin branded 'bigot' by rabbi's son

By Robyn Rosen, October 23, 2009

The Jewish teenager who grilled Nick Griffin on last night’s Question Time has said the BNP leader came across as a “racist bigot”.

JFS pupil Joel Weiner, 17, confronted Mr Griffin during the programme and demanded answers about his history of Holocaust denial.

Joel’s grandfather escaped from Germany to Palestine the day before war broke out but many of his family were lost — some, he believes, in Auschwitz.

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'Grossly offensive' website attacked by Jewish leaders

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

A US-based website which lists thousands of Jewish names and aims to “progress” antisemitism has caused outrage among Jewish leaders.

The website, called Uncle Semite, states that its aims are to move the “rhetorical, knee-jerk antisemitism of the past towards a progressive, green ‘uncle-Semitism’, relevant in our time”.

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Love graffitti on the JCC wall

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Messages of love, heartache and abuse have been daubed over a wall in an unusual event held by the Jewish Community Centre for London.

Messages on the Break Up Wall, in West Hampstead, included: “Alan, you remind me of my dad. I couldn’t quite get over it” and “Harri, you ticked every box but you need to get rid of your halitosis.”

Last week, lonely souls gathered at the wall to mark its closing with an evening of singers and storytellers.

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Stacey gives X-friends kosher noshing class

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

After two heavy nights competing in one of Britain’s most watched television shows, what better way to wind down than enjoying some of Golders Green’s finest products — falafel and shwarma.

X Factor finalists took advice from Jewish contestant Stacey Solomon, 20, and ate at the White House Express in Golders Green Road two nights in a row last weekend.

Ronnie Canzee, whose family owns the White House chain, said: “Stacey was giving them advice on what the best things were to try.

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Kingdom restored

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

A major north London kosher supermarket has held its official reopening more than a year after a fire destroyed 50 per cent of the building.

Kosher Kingdom in Golders Green celebrated its return to business with live music, clowns, wine-tasting and free refreshments.

Manager David Rokach said the store now stocked hundreds of extra products, including more health and American items. An electrical fault caused the blaze, which was tackled by over 50 firefighters.

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Lofty ideals for Orthodox

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Haringey housing bosses are appealing to residents to help refine a rulebook on loft extensions, a key issue in strictly Orthodox households.

The council is to undertake a six-week consultation on the guide, which sets out design principles for home extensions in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.

There are, on average, six children per household in South Tottenham and many families live in cramped conditions. Some loft extensions do not meet council guidelines.

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School's fury on funding

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Edgware Jewish Primary chiefs are enraged with the government over the withdrawal of critical funding to progress its transition from a private to state school.

Headteacher Sara Keen confronted Schools Secretary Ed Balls at a conference for faith schools last week to demand answers.

Last December, the school applied to the Department of Children, Schools and Families for capital funding towards a new building. This was through the £327 million Standards and Diversity Fund, of which £138 million was earmarked for independent schools seeking aided status.

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New girls' primary planned for north London

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Strictly Orthodox parents who have been unable to find acceptable school places for their children have joined forces to create a new religious primary school for girls in north London.

Over 40 people attended a meeting last week to discuss plans for the Bnos Beis Yaakov School. Educational phil-anthropist Benjamin Perl will be the patron and honorary president and St John’s Wood Synagogue leader Richard Harounoff will chair the project.

The committee is searching for premises, preferably in Golders Green, Hendon or Finchley, and hope to open next September.

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Stephen Fry apologises to Poland

By Robyn Rosen, October 19, 2009

Comic actor Stephen Fry has apologised for comments he made which implied Poles were to blame for the atrocities at Auschwitz.

Earlier this month, Mr Fry appeared on Channel 4 News to speak about his objection to the Conservative party’s ties with Poland’s Law and Justice party.

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Weizmann letter to Lady Lloyd George fails at auction

By Robyn Rosen, October 16, 2009

A letter written and signed by the first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, has failed to find a buyer at an auction.

The letter, which was estimated to fetch up to £1,500, was written to Lady Lloyd George, the first female MP and daughter of the First World War prime minister, Lloyd George, on October 26 1945.

Mr Weizmann, who was also president of the World Zionist Organization, wrote that he was “deeply moved” by a letter Lady Lloyd George had written in the Daily Telegraph.

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I feel guilty' says Polish Holocaust artist

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A non-Jewish Polish artist who has built the latest installation in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, has spoken of the “guilt” he feels for Poland’s past.

How It Is, by Miroslaw Balka, is a huge steel sculpture, standing 13m high, 10m wide and 30m long.

Reminiscent of a giant shipping container and mounted on supports so that visitors can walk underneath, some have suggested it is similar to a gas chamber.

Mr Balka was born in Warsaw in 1958. Much of his work explores his personal history and the history of Poland, including a focus on the Holocaust.

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Shechita is 'painful' way to kill

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A professor has won an award for a study which claims that animals do feel pain when slaughtered under the laws of shechita.

Dr Craig Johnson was honoured by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) last week.

During the awards in London, Dr Johnson, of New Zealand’s Massey University, discussed his study, published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, which claimed that cattle, slaughtered without stunning, experienced pain.

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Reform 'deeply worried' on funds

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Reform leaders have warned supporters about the impact of the recession on activities.

Addressing over 200 guests at the Movement for Reform Judaism’s annual dinner in central London, movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield said he was “deeply worried about the remainder of this year and next year. We get no government grants, no public funding. We are entirely dependent upon private individuals.

“Never more than now do we need you to commit wholeheartedly to the future that you see.”

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Austrian youth meets Shoah survivors

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

An Austrian student who has spent a year working with Holocaust survivors in Britain says the experience has made “a huge impact” on him.

Philipp Engel, 19, has finished his stint with the London Jewish Cultural Centre's Holocaust and anti-racism education department as part of the Gedenkdienst (servants to memory) scheme.

Run in conjunction with the Austrian Commemorative Service, the scheme sends 20 young Austrians to work for a year at sites related to Holocaust education, as an alternative to compulsory national service.

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Minister praises Jewish schools' high standards

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Schools secretary Ed Balls has praised the work of faith schools and emphasised the “high standards” he has seen at Jewish schools.

Mr Balls addressed more than 150 faith school teachers during the Keeping Faith in the System conference this week in central London. Representatives from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, Beis Yaakov High School, Salford and Clore Tikva School in Ilford were among those who attended.

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