Leon Symons

Zemel remembers Kristallnacht in song

By Leon Symons, November 6, 2008

The Zemel Choir will be taking part in a special concert to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht at Belsize Square synagogue in north west London on Sunday evening.

The Zemel will be joined by the Polyphonies Hébraïques de Strasbourg, a 40-strong mixed choir that is based in the Jewish studies and Hebrew department of the Marc Bloch University of Strasbourg.

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Charedim fight new marriage visa rules

By Leon Symons, November 6, 2008

The government may face a challenge to a law that will raise the marriage visa age from 18 to 21.

Campaigners, led by Michoel Posen of Agudas Israel Community Services in Stamford Hill, have warned that the law will have a severe effect on many marriages in the Charedi community, involving young people from Israel, America and Canada.

European Union countries are not affected by the law, due to come into force on November 27.

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Antisemitic graffiti in Wales

By Leon Symons, October 30, 2008

Vandals daubed antisemitic symbols and references to the British National Party and Muslims around the promenade and a children's attraction in Rhyl in North Wales last week.

North Wales police have started an investigation and have been examining CCTV footage of the area.

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Fears over sex lessons for pupils aged five

By Leon Symons, October 30, 2008

Anglo-Jewish educationalists have given a cautious greeting to a government announcement that it wants to introduce compulsory lessons for children aged five to 16 on subjects such as sex and drugs.

The lessons would be brought in under the umbrella of personal, social and health education (PSHE) and will be compulsory from September 2010.

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Ban on foreign hate preachers welcomed

By Leon Symons, October 30, 2008

Tough new laws announced this week to stop foreign extremist preachers who spread racist and religious hatred from entering Britain have been welcomed by the Community Security Trust.

Among the measures announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will be a quarterly "name and shame" list given to Parliament of those excluded. The list will also be shared with other countries.

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Holocaust-denier avoids extradition

By Leon Symons, October 30, 2008

A convicted Holocaust denier has won a fight to avoid extradition to Germany where he would have faced more allegations of denial.

German-born Frederick Toben, 64, was arrested at Heathrow airport at the beginning of October after arriving from America en route to Dubai. He was held under a European Union warrant issued by German authorities.

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'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012

By Leon Symons, October 30, 2008

Allegations that a police trainer has labelled a proposed commemoration of the Munich Olympics massacre at the 2012 London Olympics "a security threat" have been vehemently denied.

An Islamic scholar, hired by Scotland Yard to train police on interfaith issues, had warned that a commemoration ceremony "could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be ‘hijacking' the Games", The Times reported this week.

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"Virtual" tour of 2010 school

By Leon Symons, October 29, 2008

Parents who are thinking of sending their children to the Jewish Community Secondary School in East Barnet can visit the school on Sunday - even though it has not been built yet.

A public exhibition to be held on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening at East Barnet Upper School in Westbrook Crescent will offer visitors a "virtual" tour of what the school will look like when it opens in September, 2010.

The school's governors and trustees will be on hand to answer questions and talk to prospective parents.

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BNP seeks to reactivate far-right alliance in European Parliament

By Leon Symons, October 24, 2008

The seeds of a reactivated extreme right-wing alliance in Europe were being sown this week by British National Party leader Nick Griffin, who made visits to Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Mr Griffin was invited to the two East European countries by representatives of extremist parties who had made trips to Britain earlier in the year.

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Battle on to restart Auschwitz trips

By Leon Symons, October 24, 2008

Talks have begun to try to restart educational visits to Auschwitz for Scottish schools, under the auspices of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

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Union faces legal threat over boycott

By Leon Symons, October 24, 2008

Academics have come out in support of a new move to take the University and College Union to court unless it retracts a national conference resolution that has threatened a "back-door" boycott of Israel.

The anonymous litigants have called on the union, via solicitors Mishcon de Reya, to repay any union funds it may have spent on enacting the motion.

In May the UCU conference passed a resolution asking academics to consider the moral and political  implications of any links with Israeli institutions.

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Admissions-policy report to exonerate schools

By Leon Symons, October 17, 2008

Jewish schools are expected to be given a clean bill of health over admissions policies when a new national report is published next month.

The report, by Sir Philip Hunter, chief schools adjudicator, was compiled after a controversy over admissions to faith schools was sparked in April by schools secretary Ed Balls. Mr Balls claimed that Jewish state-maintained schools in Barnet and Greater Manchester were wrongly seeking contributions from prospective parents and asking questions about marital status that broke admissions codes.

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Man held over ‘sex attack on daughter'

By Leon Symons, October 17, 2008

A member of New York's Orthodox community has been charged with serious sexual offences against his daughter, a girl who spent several years at school in Manchester.

Federal prosecutors have also moved to keep the man in custody until his trial because they feared he would attempt to interfere with witnesses and flee the country.

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Police attack ‘vigilante’ security plan

By Leon Symons, October 17, 2008

Police have condemned a move to set up a New York-style private security force in the borough that hosts Britain's biggest Orthodox community.

The force, based on the Shomrim (guards) in New York, has already been given credit on a number of strictly Orthodox websites for having taken part last month in the successful search in Stamford Hill for two missing boys aged six and nine.

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‘Fraud’ case man’s £2.6m barmitzvah

By Leon Symons, October 10, 2008

A businessman wanted on fraud charges in America has been allowed to attend his son's barmitzvah in Israel after rabbis pledged £2m in sureties.

Zev Saltsman, who lives in Hendon, North-West London, was arrested in London a year ago after he was named as one of six men accused by US federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

He was alleged to have made $55m (£31.5m) in fraudulent profits through private share sales. He has not admitted the allegations in the USA.

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‘Fraud’ case man’s £2.6m barmitzvah

By Leon Symons, October 10, 2008

A businessman wanted on fraud charges in America has been allowed to attend his son's barmitzvah in Israel after rabbis pledged £2m in sureties.

Zev Saltsman, who lives in Hendon, North-West London, was arrested in London a year ago after he was named as one of six men accused by US federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

He was alleged to have made $55m (£31.5m) in fraudulent profits through private share sales. He has not admitted the allegations in the USA.

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Warning: fraudster on loose

By Leon Symons, October 10, 2008

A warning has been issued to every minister in the United Synagogue to be on their guard in case a convicted conman turns up on their doorstep.

The warning was sent out a day after the man, 40-year-old Bradley Silver, was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted three charges relating to forged cheques.

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Murder in Golders Green

By Leon Symons, October 8, 2008

The death of a man on Monday brought the heartland of Jewish north-west London to a sudden halt.

Dozens of police - many of them armed with automatic weapons - sealed off Highfield Road in Golders Green after receiving an emergency call saying shots had been fired.

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Board move on disused cemeteries

By Leon Symons, October 3, 2008

The Board of Deputies has begun an audit of all the cemeteries it looks after in Britain to find out who owns them and who is responsible for their upkeep. It has also launched an appeal to raise the funds needed to maintain the cemeteries, hoping to generate around £50,000.

Solicitor David Marcus, the deputy for Muswell Hill, has begun researching Land Registry and other records to try to find out who owns the cemeteries, some of which are centuries old.

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Caterer seeks court aid to keep trading

By Leon Symons, October 3, 2008

A kosher caterer has taken an unusual legal step to ensure that he survives the economic downturn.

Stephen Wolfisz went to the High Court on Friday to complete a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The caterer, whose offices are in Colindale, will continue to work, but under the supervision of an insolvency practitioner who is approved by the court.

"The whole idea is that I stay in business so that I can pay off the money I owe. This is definitely not liquidation or going bust. I owe some money but it is not a huge amount," he said.

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