Marcus Dysch

US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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Maccabiah dorm 'had bugs and live wires'

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

Athletes from Britain’s medal-winning Maccabiah Games youth team have described their shock at finding cockroach infestations and live electric wires in the bedrooms of their Israeli accommodation.

The teenagers were due to stay at the Neveh Hadassah youth village, near Netanya, for the duration of the tournament but were relocated to a five-star hotel by Team GB bosses after just 24 hours due to health and safety concerns.

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New convert will turn hotel into synagogue

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

A hotel is to be turned into a synagogue to house a Golders Green Jewish community.

Plans approved by Barnet councillors will see the Central Hotel in Hoop Lane converted into a shul with two flats by members of the Sassov Synagogue, currently based in nearby Helenslea Road.

A Sassov spokesman explained: “We already own the hotel building but we don’t have a timeframe for the work to be done. Our community is growing and we need the extra space.” The purpose-built shul would replace the smaller building currently used for services.

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Survivors want their stories told

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

British Jews are asked to take a greater role in documenting the testimony of those who escaped the Shoah.

The appeal has come from Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon, which wants the wider community to help record the experiences of its 550 members, passing on the baton of remembrance for future generations.

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Is there something Rubens isn't telling us?

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2009

Watching the closing stages of last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, my mother pointed out an appendage on top of driver Rubens Barrichello’s helmet.

The 37-year-old Brazilian was, seemingly, wearing a Star of David. Right in shot of the car’s on-board camera.

I’ve been watching Formula One on and off for quite a few years. Long enough to have seen Barrichello racing around circuits all over the world. I couldn’t remember ever having seen the symbol on his helmet before. Nor had I any recollection of him having any Jewish heritage.

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India's Security Barrier

By Marcus Dysch, July 24, 2009

Last night's Channel Four News featured a lengthy report on a security barrier.

But, shock horror, it was not Israel's fence/wall in the West Bank, but rather the one at the centre of India's efforts to protect her border with Bangladesh and slow the threat from Islamist militants.

When complete, the barrier will consist of no less than 2,000 miles of barbed wire, manned by thousands of armed troops. The intention is that by next year the whole border will be sealed off.

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Richard Desmond loses libel battle

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

Newspaper boss Richard Desmond has lost his libel action over claims that he abused his position to pursue a vendetta against a rival media tycoon.

A High Court jury has decided by a majority that the Express Group owner was not defamed in Tom Bower's 2006 biography of the former Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black.

Mr Desmond faces a bill for legal costs estimated at around £1.25 million.

Outside the court, Mr Bower said the jurors had "done a great service to British journalism".

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Ronaldo bringing peace to the Middle East?

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

The Daily Telegraph has a story on its site about former Golden Boot winner Ronaldo (the original, fat one) who is to star as himself in a movie due to be made in Lebanon.

There’s plenty of potential for mirth in the simple facts of the matter: Would any child really dream of the toothy striker without waking up in a cold sweat? Does this mean his football career is finally over? Is he really still only 32?

I could go on.

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Mother whose arrest fired rage ‘is innocent’

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

The grandmother of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem until he weighed just 14 lb has said she is standing by her daughter-in-law, whose arrest has sparked rioting by some of the city’s strictly Orthodox factions.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is a member of the strictly Orthodox community in Stamford Hill, north London.

“I’m giving my daughter-in-law my full support for everything. She’s a wonderful woman. She’s never had a personal problem,” the 50-year-old said.

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Shoah email sackings

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

Four council workers have been sacked for sending antisemitic emails comparing Israel’s operations in Gaza to the Holocaust.

Five other staff members received written warnings and have since returned to work at Lancashire County Council.

The office workers were suspended in April after the messages were discovered on the authority’s email accounts. The council said the staff had both sent and received “highly inappropriate emails”.

The sacked staff are appealing against the decision.

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Heather Mills: eat kosher with me

By Marcus Dysch and Cecily Woolf, July 23, 2009

It can’t be easy bouncing back from a high-profile divorce and a personality-pounding from the national press — but Heather Mills may just have found a happy, and haimishe, distraction from it all.

Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife this week said she had applied to the London Beth Din in an attempt to secure kosher certification for her range of vegan products.

She plans to serve the food, including fake meat, chicken and fish, at a vegan café she has opened in Hove, East Sussex.

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Never mind the kugelsack, Brüno has real chutzpah

By Marcus Dysch, July 20, 2009

If you thought the naked fight scene with Azamat Bagatov in Borat was as much as you could bear, it might be best to stay away from Brüno.

Last night I went to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest offering. Arriving at the cinema I innocently wondered what could possibly be in the film to have led the classification board to give it an 18 certificate.

An hour and a half later, and after a level of obscenity that shocked even this gritty Northerner, it was pretty obvious.

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Father given police warning over church row

By Marcus Dysch, July 16, 2009

An argument over church rent has landed a Jewish father-of-three with a police harassment warning.

Martyn Saunders-Rawlings, a former member of Hastings and Bexhill Jewish Society, had protested against a council decision to lease a building to an evangelical group at a reduced rate and with an annual grant.

He wrote to Cathy and Glenn Khan, who run Hastings’ Sonrise Church, as well as sending letters and emails to other church leaders and his local newspaper during the past year.

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Amnesty slams critics of war crimes report

By Marcus Dysch, July 9, 2009

Amnesty International has defended its report of the Gaza conflict in the face of fierce criticism from the IDF and NGO Monitor.
Although the report, Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction, says both sides committed war crimes, it focuses overwhelmingly on the actions of the Israeli army.

Amnesty’s Jeremy Croft said the charity “absolutely refuted” NGO Monitor’s attempt to “rubbish” the document, and said that since February, the IDF had refused requests to discuss the findings.

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Holy Smoke

By Marcus Dysch, July 3, 2009

Non-smokers like me have benefitted from the many advantages of the smoking ban which began two years ago this week.

For one, you can have a night out at a pub or club and not come home smelling like a chimney sweeper.

Almost three years ago I suffered a lengthy bout of bronchitis. It wasn’t pleasant and during my recovery I was convinced that I felt worse on a Sunday morning, having more-often-than-not been in a smoke-filled club the night before.

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Hendon explosion is 'suspicious'

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2009

An explosion which demolished a flat above a shop owned by property tycoon Leo Noé is being treated as suspicious.

Police said the cause of the blast, in Bell Lane, Hendon, was unknown and an investigation has begun.

A 39-year-old man, thought to live in the flat, suffered serious burns and remains in a critical condition in hospital.

An elderly woman, whose house backs onto the premises, suffered shock when her windows were blown out, and was treated at the scene.

A woman, aged 26, and a man, aged 31, also received treatment for minor injuries.

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Shul door is draped with bacon

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

Bacon rashers were found wrapped round the door handles of a synagogue as congregants arrived for a Shabbat service last weekend.

Police were called to Sinai Synagogue in Leeds on Saturday morning. They also found meat stuffed through the key hole.

Sinai is the main Reform synagogue in Leeds and has around 800 members.

Rabbi Ian Morris said: “In the scheme of things it’s almost verging on the humorous. When people are setting out to target the Jewish community it’s a shame, but on the scale of things people do these days it really does not rate terribly highly.

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Radical brain surgery cures epileptic

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

A Jewish charity worker has had sections of her brain removed during a 12-hour operation to cure her of severe epilepsy.

Emma Kon, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, suffered from daily seizures that left her unable to work.

But since undergoing the radical surgery last year, she has gone months without a fit, allowing her to volunteer with Jewish Care and help Alzheimer’s and MS sufferers.

The 25-year-old, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, contracted viral encephalitis at the age of 17 and was left in a coma for three weeks.

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Israel’s UK voice: worst job in world?

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

The hostility of the British media is hampering the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s attempts to appoint a new press spokesman to its London embassy, the JC understands.

Lior Ben Dor left his role last week, but a replacement is yet to be found.

At least one non-diplomat is known to have been approached to take on the job, but turned it down.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “It is not a case of London being a job that nobody wants, but everyone knows it is a tough job. That does not mean no one wants to do it.”

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