Charlotte Oliver

Are there enough places available for every Jewish child?

By Charlotte Oliver, April 23, 2015

We are fast approaching the end of April, several months since the first wave of secondary-school acceptance letters were sent out to year six pupils.

But, while families should be focusing on summer plans and preparing for the next milestone in their children's lives, many are instead finding themselves panicked and confused.

The cause? The mayhem that is the admissions process.


Nazi 'book-keeper' admits to moral guilt

By Charlotte Oliver, April 22, 2015

A former SS guard known as the “book-keeper of Auschwitz” has asked for forgiveness as he stands trial for contributing to the murder of at least 30,000 Jews.

Oskar Groening, now aged 93, said he was “morally guilty”, as he appeared before almost 70 Holocaust survivors and victims’ relatives in court in the north German city of Lueneburg on Tuesday.


'Book-keeper of Auschwitz' goes on trial in Germany

By Charlotte Oliver, April 21, 2015

A former SS guard, known as the “book-keeper of Auschwitz”, faces trial today, charged with contributing to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews at the Nazi concentration camp.

More than 50 Holocaust survivors and relatives of victims have travelled to the north German city of Lueneburg to witness the case against Oskar Groening, now aged 93.


Planting seeds in schools for family learning

By Charlotte Oliver, April 15, 2015

It is a fear that will strike through the heart of every parent: the day their child comes home with a question they cannot answer.

The risk of this increases around the holidays, when tradition is met with curiosity and the inevitable “why?”


A Passover Poem

By Charlotte Oliver, April 2, 2015

I’ll tell you a tale - you may already know,
Of a biblical feat from a long time ago.

The characters are strong, the story snappy,
It may start sad – but hey, ends happy.

First we have Moses, of manly brawn,
Who at first turned up amid bulrush and thorn.

He thought he was Egyptian – but try as he might,
Just couldn’t help but feel he may be Semite.


Exam boards threaten to drop Hebrew

By Charlotte Oliver, April 2, 2015

Members of the community are being urged to take exams in Hebrew to save GCSEs and A-levels in the language from being scrapped.

The appeal, from the Board of Deputies, comes after the OCR and AQA exam boards, which offer biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew respectively, announced that both subjects face being axed in 2017 alongside other "non-traditional" languages.


Writer wins award after rejections

By Charlotte Oliver, March 26, 2015

A mother who set up her own publishing company after failing to find a publisher for her children's books has won a top literary award.

Jenny Album, 43, from Golders Green, said she was "shocked" to discover her title Tell Me About Heaven, Grandpa Rabbit! had won the gold medal in the Children's Book section of the prize at the Prima Baby Awards.


Return of a gentleman

By Charlotte Oliver, March 26, 2015

An El Greco painting looted by the Nazis has been returned to its original owner's family after more than 70 years.

Portrait of a Gentleman belonged to Julius Priester, a Jewish-Austrian industrialist who escaped from Vienna to Mexico in 1938 after his extensive art collection was seized by the Gestapo.


Poor Ofsted result due to academic decline, not 'tumultuous past'

By Charlotte Oliver, March 26, 2015

Rosh Pinah's "inadequate" Ofsted result came as "no surprise" given the decline in pupils' achievement data since its previous inspection in 2009, but it is not reflective of the school's current circumstance, according to its chairman of governors.


Get paid to train, offers LSJS

By Charlotte Oliver, March 26, 2015

A new programme offering would-be teachers the chance to be paid to train has been announced by the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS).

Run by LSJS in partnership with PaJeS and the Jewish Secondary School Consortium (Hasmonean, Immanuel, JFS, King Solomon and Yavneh), the programme will enable those who cannot afford training to become fully qualified Ivrit or Jewish Studies teachers.


Yehuda Avner dies aged 86

By Charlotte Oliver, March 24, 2015

Yehuda Avner, a former ambassador to the UK and senior adviser to a succession of Israeli prime ministers, has died at the age of 86.

Born in Manchester in 1928, Mr Avner moved to Jerusalem in 1956, before joining the Israeli Foreign Service.


Driver saves 14 JCoSS pupils as school bus bursts into flames

By Charlotte Oliver, March 23, 2015

A school bus transporting 14 pupils to JCoSS burst into flames early this morning.

The vehicle, which was taking the pupils to the Barnet school from St Albans, was evacuated before the fire took hold. All the passengers escaped unharmed.

The bus caught fire in Radlett at around 7.20am. Witnesses report hearing a loud explosion at the time.


Memorial to 9/11 unveiled

By Charlotte Oliver, March 19, 2015

A monument commemorating the 9/11 tragedy was unveiled this week, after a five-year search to find it a permanent home.

Mayor Boris Johnson, historian Simon Schama and US ambassador Matthew Barzun were present as the 28-ft high sculpture, made from steel taken from the ruins of the World Trade Centre, was displayed at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

Mr Johnson said: "We nee


Michael Douglas reveals his son was the target of antisemitism

By Charlotte Oliver, March 16, 2015

Michael Douglas has described his outrage following an incident last year when his teenage son was the victim of antisemitism.

The Hollywood actor, 70, wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday how his 14-year-old son Dylan had been upset by a man yelling at him in their hotel swimming pool in Southern Europe.


Funding education runs in their family

By Charlotte Oliver, March 12, 2015

Businessman David Dangoor can pinpoint the first time he discovered the power of philanthropy.

Aged 18, and having just passed his driving test, he found himself stranded at midnight in the middle of nowhere when his car broke down.

Soon enough, a stranger stopped behind him with a can of petrol and poured half its contents into his car.


Lunchtime learning with a side of lox? Join the club

By Charlotte Oliver, March 5, 2015

It is 1pm on a rainy Thursday and Watford Grammar School for Boys is loud with lunchtime chatter. Pupils hurry to the canteen or head outside the Hertfordshire school to unwind during their busy day.


Rylance censors Bard

By Charlotte Oliver, February 26, 2015

Actor Mark Rylance has revealed he cuts out parts of Shakespeare's plays because they are antisemitic.

The star of the BBC's Wolf Hall series said he had to decide whether to edit lines when characters said "unfortunate things".

Speaking on Monday at London's Globe theatre, where he was unveiling a recently discovered copy of the playwright's First Folio, he said: "The pressures I feel are m


'If you lead a school, you have an impact on every single pupil'

By Charlotte Oliver, February 26, 2015

Rabbi David Meyer cannot remember his first day at Hasmonean, but then, can you blame him? He was only two-and-a-half years old.

These days, the educator's memory bank is filled with Hasmonean moments; unsurprising since, over the past 40 years, he has held every post at the Barnet school - from student to teacher, and finally, executive head.


Parents enraged by 'commercial' decision to evict nursery from shul

By Charlotte Oliver, February 26, 2015

Parents of children at a synagogue-based West End nursery have expressed outrage that it is being evicted to make room for the expansion of a non-Jewish school on the shul's site.

For the past 11 years, the Beginnings Jewish nursery has operated from premises in West London Synagogue in Marylebone, having first been registered by the Charities Commission as the West London Synagogue Early Child


Polish Holocaust movie wins the Oscar for best foreign language film

By Charlotte Oliver, February 23, 2015

A Polish film about a nun who discovers she is Jewish and that her parents were killed in the Holocaust has won the Oscar for best foreign language film.

Ida, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, tells the story of Anna, a young nun who finds out she is Jewish just before taking her vows in the 1960s.