Robyn Rosen

Cemetery proposals rejected

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Plans to expand Edgwarebury cemetery have been rejected after environmentalists said that it infringed on the green belt.

Belsize Square Synagogue, one of the four Jewish communities that use the site, have said they have less than a year’s worth of space left at the cemetery in Edgware and are deeply concerned about the decision.

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Ken Loach: reaction to Israeli film donations row

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Film director Ken Loach, a supporter of the Israeli film boycott, has criticised the chief executive of Israel’s leading film distribution company, who, he claims, did not inform him that his latest film would be shown at the Haifa Film Festival.

Mr Loach has frequently attacked Israel’s action in Gaza and was among the high - profile figures urging organisers of the Toronto Film Festival to drop a celebration of Tel Aviv last month.

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Poland accuses Stephen Fry of 'defamation'

By Robyn Rosen, October 9, 2009

The Polish Embassy has accused comic actor, Stephen Fry, of “defamation” after he allegedly implied that the Polish nation was responsible for the atrocities at Auschwitz.

Mr Fry was interviewed on Channel 4 news earlier this week by Jon Snow where he criticised the Conservative party’s ties with Poland’s Law and Justice party.

Mr Fry is among the high profile figures who have spoken out against the Polish party’s alleged homophobic and antisemitic views, which Polish MEP, Michal Kaminksi, denies.

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Plymouth synagogue sells off its family silver

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

The director of the charity Jewish Heritage UK has spoken out against a congregation which is selling its historic collection of silver Judaica.

Rare silver religious ornaments from the Plymouth Synagogue will be sold at auction by Bonhams on November 25. Among the items are a yad (pointer) and a pair of rimmonim (decorative finials for a sefer Torah), thought to have been made in London in 1783 and considered among the most original sets known to exist; and a Torah breastplate, made in Warsaw in about 1820.

The total collection is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £60,000.

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How Golders Green got the X Factor... and Stacey Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

A music teacher at King Solomon High School has spoken of the “big impression” made on her by X Factor finalist, Stacey Solomon, who this week moved into Golders Green.

Rachel Dickson, who taught Stacey during her music GCSE three years ago, said she was delighted to see Stacey sing one of her exam performance pieces — Somewhere Over the Rainbow — in last week’s programme.

“My first impression of Stacey Solomon was of a chatty, lively girl with a powerful voice and a huge personality,” she said.

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Baddiels use film to tackle football hate

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

Comedian David Baddiel and his writer brother, Ivor, are making a short film in a bid to curb antisemitism in football.

The Y Word is a two-minute film which will feature Premiership footballers and highlight the use of the word “Yid” in football chants.

The brothers, both keen Chelsea fans, are now rounding up footballers to feature in the film, which has the backing of the FA, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Premier League and campaigners Kick Racism out of Football. The plan is to screen it before matches with a likely completion early next year.

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War veterans kept silent for 30 years over code-breaking role

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

It took Sidney Goldberg more than 30 years to tell his wife, family and friends what he did during the war.

It was only in 1974, when Frederick Winterbotham wrote The Ultra Secret, the first account of decryption operations during the war, that Mr Goldberg and the other 25,000 code-breakers began to reveal their experiences.

Mr Goldberg, now 86 and living in Kenton, north London, is one of 35 veterans to attend a special ceremony at Bletchley Park today to receive a new award for services to the Government Codes and Cipher School (GC&CS).

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BA chief's sky-high praise

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

The work of Jewish Care has been praised as a “shining example of community responsibility” by a high-flying source — British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh.

Addressing over 200 businessmen and women at a sell-out breakfast at Claridges, Mr Walsh said: “I am astounded about the work the charity does.

“It’s really impressive and I want to pay tribute. It is a truly wonderful service.”

Charity was never more important than when the economy was in trouble, he added.

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Jump start

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

A new mentoring scheme matches pupils at Jewish schools with professionals offering career advice.

More than 60 students have applied to join the Jump programme, launched by education charity World Ort.

Piloted at JFS and Hasmonean, organisers hope all Jewish secondaries will eventually offer the scheme. Jump director Julia Alberga said: “By linking them with mentors, students will gain helpful insight that will assist them in making the right career decisions.”

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Motorcyclist dies in crash

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

A Southgate businessman travelling to see his sick mother was killed in a road crash in Hendon.

Raymond Helman, 52, died from head injuries sustained after the silver Honda motorcycle he was riding collided with a black Ford Mondeo in Hendon on September 25.

Police are investigating the incident.

Mr Helman had been going to see his mother, who suffers from dementia and is a resident in a Hendon care home. The funeral took place last week at Waltham Abbey.

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Loach film profits to be donated to Israeli cinema

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

The chief executive of Israel’s main cinema group has announced that all profits from screening of the new Ken Loach film in Israel will be dedicated to promoting Israeli films throughout the world, as a response to the maverick director’s continuous actions against Israeli filmmakers.

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Party pledges on elderly 'don't add up'

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

Welfare charities fear that both Gordon Brown and David Cameron will not be able to deliver on their parties’ pledges to supply care for the elderly.

In his party conference address, Mr Brown offered support to those with the greatest needs, noting: “Today more and more people see their parents and grandparents suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. And for too many families, the challenge of coping with the heartbreak is made worse by the costs of getting support.

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Ed Miliband's radio reunion with lost aunt

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

Ed Miliband, energy minister and brother of foreign secretary, David, was reunited with a long-lost relative during a live phone-in while appearing on a Russian radio station.

Mr Miliband appeared on the Ekho Moskvy programme on Monday to answer questions on climate negotiations and global warming, when an elderly woman phoned in.

Live on air, she said: “My name is Sophia Davidovna Miliband. I am the only remaining relative. I would like to tell him about all his relatives.”

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Ed Balls: Holocaust education is best investment

By Robyn Rosen, October 1, 2009

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has said the money put into Holocaust education is the “best investment” his department has made.

Mr Balls and his wife Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, were among the 300 guests at the Holocaust Educational Trust dinner in central London.

Stressing the enduring importance of Holocaust education, he said young Britons were learning about the Shoah in a “relevant and sophisticated” way.

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Anger over Cathedral art

By Robyn Rosen, October 1, 2009

An Israel support group in Liverpool is outraged at a cathedral which, they claim, is displaying a “one-sided” exhibition of children in Gaza.

Last week, the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool city centre unveiled the exhibition, entitled Loss of Innocence, featuring pieces of art by Gaza children.

But Sue Hadden, chairwoman of the Liverpool Israel Support Group, was angered by its content and contacted the cathedral.

She said: “There needs to be more balance. If they are showing pictures of Gaza children suffering, it should show Sderot children who have suffered terribly.”

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Plea to save Charedi sites

By Robyn Rosen, October 1, 2009

Charedi community leaders have warned that some longstanding institutions, including mikvehs, charities and schools are “suffering dire financial deficits” as the recession takes its toll.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has sent out an urgent appeal to the strictly Orthodox community as a “wake-up call” to help organisations “on the verge of bankruptcy”.

Chanoch Kesselman, executive co-ordinator at the union, said: “Most of the hardship experienced by these institutions is because of the recession, coupled with the increase in expenses.”

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Leaders query extra checks on volunteers

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Rabbis have criticised new government requirements for additional background checks on people working with children and the elderly.

Synagogues and charities fear the Independent Safeguarding Authority regulations, which come into effect in October, will deter volunteers and infringe on privacy.

The requirements extend to parents who regularly bring other children to cheder or youth club activities at the request of the organisations, or volunteers giving lifts to the elderly.

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Is this London’s nosiest street?

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Jewish residents of a small north London cul-de-sac are less than pleased to see it branded London’s nosiest street.

Statistics released by property price comparison website Zoopla show that residents in Monkville Avenue, NW11, are the most likely in the capital to log on to find out how much their neighbours’ houses are worth — and they’ll discover that a three-bedroom house costs £600,000.

But residents in the road, where 40 per cent of the houses have mezuzot on the doors, were shocked.

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John Hurt: Lessons not learnt from Holocaust

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Actor John Hurt fears the world has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

Mr Hurt was one of the speakers at a Holocaust Educational Trust dinner in central London, making a link between events leading up to the Shoah and current economic problems.

“We’re in a situation now which is dangerous and parallels can be made to the time before the war, with the banking crises and loss of faith in the government. We love to put blame on the Hitlers and the Stalins but we need to look at ourselves and see that we are all at fault.”

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Coe opens centre named after young cancer victim

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

A multi-million pound laboratory researching groundbreaking cancer treatments has been named after the late wife of leading football agent, Jon Smith.

Lord Coe officially opened the Lee Smith Foundation Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hendon last week. The foundation was set up in memory of Lee Smith who died from leukaemia 28 years ago at the age of 29 and has raised money for research scientists, treatment and medical equipment throughout the world. The new laboratory will research vaccines for breast and prostate cancer.

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