Marcus Dysch

Bands battle? Go, go, go

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Amy Winehouse's father Mitch will be on the judging panel at a battle of the bands night organised by Hillel's Past and Pending committee.

Acoustica II will take place at the Paradise club in Notting Hill, west London, on June 17.

Mr Winehouse will be joined by record company executives as they choose the top performers on the night.

Tickets are £15/£12. Visit


Jewish flotilla plans to break Gaza blockade

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Community representatives have reacted with outrage to the news that an all-Jewish flotilla of anti-Israel campaigners is planning to sail to Gaza next month, pledging to break the blockade.

The flotilla, to be captained by the British sailor, Glyn Secker of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, will sail under the auspices of European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), an umbrella organisation of groups from 10 countries,

Mr Secker said it would show that "not all Jews support Israel" and would "say emphatically: not in our name".


Thousands march against Israel

By Marcus Dysch, June 7, 2010

Thousands of anti-Israel demonstrators marched from Downing Street to the Israeli Embassy in west London on Saturday.

They were protesting against Israel’s action against the Gaza flotilla last week, when IDF commandos boarded the lead ship.

The “emergency national demonstration” was organised by groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, CND, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Viva Palestina and Palestinian Forum of Britain.


EDL step up their Jewish recruitment

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

The English Defence League, the extreme right-wing anti-Islamic-fundamentalism group, has launched a "Jewish division", encouraging members of the community to "lead the counter-Jihad fight in England".

It has signed up hundreds of followers on Facebook since the launch last week. Supporters include an ex-Community Security Trust volunteer who claims "a lot of Jewish guys want to get stuck in".


Jewish students' Gucci fashion event

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

Chanel, Valentino, Dior, Gucci – they are some of the biggest names in fashion, more often associated with London, New York and Paris, but later this month they will feature at a charity event run by three Jewish students in Oxford.

The Red Dress Couture Ball, organised by Leo Seigal, Bryan Baum and Samantha Friedmann, is supported by leading industry figures including Harold Tillman, head of the British Fashion Council.


Records on menu

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

Students in Nottingham have helped their regional chaplains Rabbi Yochanan Pereira and his wife Jodie set a new personal best for serving meals.

The couple provided almost 250 meals in the week of Shavuot.

Sushi, lasagne, pizza and chocolate brownie cheesecake proved the most popular choices with diners.

The Pereiras erected a marquee in their garden for the
following Shabbat


New York tour inspires European group

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

The European Centre for Jewish Students ran its first trans-Atlantic trip with a five-day educational tour to New York.

More than 150 students from 22 European countries took part, learning about Jewish life in the Big Apple.

They met Sarri Singer, daughter of New Jersey Senator Robert Singer. She spoke of her experience of surviving a terrorist attack in Israel and how living under constant threat affects a society.

Rabbi Ari Hier from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre presented the film Against the Tide, documenting American reactions to the Holocaust.


Flotilla girl tells of flying bullets

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

One of the first Gaza flotilla activists to return to Britain has said she “can’t remember what happened first” when Israeli commandos boarded her boat, but described “hearing bullets flying”.

Sarah Colborne, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s director of campaigns, described the scenes as Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara ship which was leading the flotilla.


Israel advocates get media training amid international criticism

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

Hopeful Israel advocates took part in a media training course with a renowned communications expert — as the Gaza flotilla deaths brought an avalanche of criticism against the Jewish state.

Linda Lovitch, who counts leading Israel spokesman Mark Regev among her former students, led the two-day exercise in London on behalf of the Zionist Federation.

After learning on Sunday the importance of being polite, knowing your audience and having facts at your fingertips, the 14 participants, including students and businessmen, were faced just 24 hours later with a real-time case study.


British Army expert: "Blame flotilla for deaths"

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2010

The former commander of British forces in Afghanistan has said Israeli troops should not be blamed for the deaths of activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

Speaking on behalf of the Israel Project, an international non-profit education organisation, Colonel Richard Kemp said: “We should not forget that none of these deaths would have occurred if the people on the ships had not attacked the Israelis.

“It’s wrong to blame the Israeli soldiers for the deaths. The flotilla must shoulder the blame for this.”


Tel Aviv, where's that?

By Marcus Dysch, May 31, 2010

I went for a few drinks last night with a group of old school friends I hadn’t seen for the best part of ten years.

At one point the conversation turned to comparing suntans. One friend had gained hers thanks to a week at Hurghada in Egypt. Mine was courtesy of a week in Tel Aviv.

“Oh, Tel Aviv,” she said. “Where is that?”

“Israel,” I replied.

“Oh, ok.”

The idea that this was somewhere she could have travelled on Easyjet for the same price as a week in Magaluf or her trip to Egypt would no doubt have brought an equally bemused look to her face.


UJS top team is ready for action

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2010

Alex Dwek, chairman-elect of the Union of Jewish Students, has put the final touches to his new team.

Since winning last year's election, Alex has been working to form a new administration to work alongside him when he takes over the top job in Jewish student politics in mid-July.

Together with outgoing chair Adam Pike, the 22-year-old has been interviewing candidates for a number of roles.

Marking its position as one of the most progressive community organisations, all of the society's senior management positions, other than chair, will be held by women.


Exclusive: Christian Aid made to apologise for sex abuse claim

By Marcus Dysch, May 27, 2010

Christian Aid has apologised “unreservedly” after it claimed Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

The false allegations came after Miranda Pinch, a social worker from Winchester, had travelled to the West Bank town in January to “monitor human rights abuses” as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the charity.

The 59-year-old, who converted from Judaism to Christianity, returned from the trip and told Christian Aid that a Palestinian headmistress had made allegations of verbal abuse.


Celebration for Birmingham chaplain couple

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2010

A celebration dinner has been held to mark Birmingham chaplain Rabbi Fishel Cohen and his wife Esther's 25 years of service.

The couple moved to the city in August 1984, initially taking responsibility for the entire Midlands region, and have since attended to the religious, pastoral and welfare needs of thousands of students.

Over the years they have covered universities in Warwick, Wolverhampton, Derby, Coventry, Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham.

On Sunday, more than 200 people attended the Midlands Region Chaplaincy Board dinner to celebrate the couple's work.


Lawyers face £34m fraud investigation

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2010

Three prominent Jewish lawyer brothers are embroiled in an alleged multi-million pound fraud case in Gibraltar.

London-based Isaac Marrache and his brothers, Benjamin and Solomon, who own and run the Marrache & Co firm, have all been declared bankrupt and face a range of charges.

Benjamin and Solomon, who run the firm's Gibraltar office, were declared bankrupt in early May by Gibraltar's Supreme Court, which claims that the pair have stashed money in Israel and Panama.

The company is now in administration and specialists are investigating claims against it totalling £34 million.


Who is Lord Triesman?

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2010

Lord Triesman, the Labour peer, has resigned from his roles as chairman of the Football Association and its World Cup 2018 bid.

His departure followed revelations in a Sunday newspaper that he had accused Spain and Russia of planning to bribe referees at this summer's World Cup in an attempt to aid their own 2018 bids.

The comments were made during a private meeting with Melissa Jacobs, a 37-year-old former aide who secretly recorded their conversation.

She also claims to have had an affair with the 66-year-old, which he denies.


Manchester students urged to stay in city

By Marcus Dysch, May 13, 2010

Manchester JSoc's final Friday Night Fever of the year saw speakers tackle the issue of the "brain-drain" of graduates leaving the city after completing their degrees.

Four members of UJIA's leadership programme discussed the perceived problem of students not interacting with the local Jewish community and then returning to their home cities after graduating, rather than starting their careers in the North West.


Tournament in memory of Oxford student

By Marcus Dysch, May 13, 2010

More than 125 people took part in a football tournament in memory of Oxford University student Antonia Bruch.

Antonia, who was 18, had been studying theology at Regent's Park College for a month when she contracted meningitis and died last October.

The Lag b'Omer event, sponsored by University Jewish Chaplaincy, saw 25 teams compete in the five-a-side competition.

Other attractions included a kosher barbecue and an auction of football memorabilia.


High demand for Jewish uni chaplains

By Marcus Dysch, May 13, 2010

An unprecedented level of demand from students has led University Jewish Chaplaincy to recruit extra staff for a range of new roles.

Requests for assistance with a variety of social, educational and welfare-related problems has stretched the country's team of 10 chaplains.

In response, UJC has created two new roles to cover JSocs in London and the north east.

From September, a project officer will work with London chaplain Rabbi Gavin Broder to provide extra help.


Jewish psychic sues management for £1m

By Marcus Dysch, May 13, 2010

A psychic has started High Court proceedings against his former management company, claiming he is owed £1 million.

Colin Fry, who hosted the TV show 6ixth Sense, in which he explores the world of the paranormal, has applied for an injunction to freeze the assets of International Programme Marketing (IPM).

Mr Fry, who is Jewish, claims IPM failed to pay him a fair share of profits from his touring show, in which he demonstrates "mediumship".

IPM had managed his business affairs since 2000.