Marcus Dysch

Charedis raise funds for rapist

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

A strictly Orthodox community is running a fundraising campaign for a convicted child molester who avoided jail by hiding in London for two years.

Nachman Stal lived secretly among the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, north London, having fled Israel in 2006 after being found guilty of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor.

The father-of-nine lost an extradition hearing in June and is now serving his sentence in an Israeli prison.

Members of the Stamford Hill community are appealing for money to support his wife and children, who have also returned to Israel.


FZY target Gordon Brown with Gilad Shalit petition

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

Two Federation of Zionist Youth leaders have launched an online petition calling on Gordon Brown to make the release of Gilad Shalit a priority.

Aaron Collins and Samuel Franklin used the Downing Street website to set up the petition after a video of Shalit was released last month. An FZY spokesman said: “French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out and declared that Gilad’s release is top of his agenda, and we hope that Mr Brown will do the same.


Simon Mann's family is 'overjoyed' at release

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

The family of freed British mercenary Simon Mann have thanked the president of Equatorial Guinea for pardoning the 57-year-old.

The former SAS soldier had been sentenced to 34 years in jail for his role in a coup plot in the oil-rich African nation. He was freed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on Tuesday.

In a statement, Mr Mann’s Jewish wife, Amanda, said: “Everyone is profoundly grateful to the president and the government of Equatorial Guinea.

“The whole family is overjoyed at the prospect of finally welcoming Simon home after five-and-a-half long years away.”


Cherie Blair launches £200k Galilee school project

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

Cherie Blair visited Israel this week and opened a study course for women in Galilee.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has donated £200,000 to support an economics and management programme for Jewish and Arab students at the Western Galilee College, in Acre.

The course is being taken by 22 students from Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Christian backgrounds.It offers computer workshops and internships in Israeli and international companies.

The former Prime Minister’s wife visited the college, which is also supported by the UJIA, on Wednesday.


Queen's Music Master manager jailed

By Marcus Dysch, November 2, 2009

The former manager of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, has been jailed for defrauding the 75-year-old composer of more than £500,000.

Michael Arnold, 76, was Sir Peter’s manager for more than 30 years and was entrusted with his finances.

He was jailed for 18 months at Kingston Crown Court on Monday.

The self-confessed gambler had earlier admitted one charge of false accounting involving £522,333.

Arnold, who walks with a stick, was spared a longer sentence because of his age and ill-health.


Election plans get under way

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

Dozens of Jewish candidates are standing for election to regional and national student organisations this month.
They hope to win faith, welfare and education positions on their own student unions, as well as achieving general National Union of Students delegate posts.

More than 1,500 students will attend the NUS annual conference in Gateshead in April next year.

Jewish students have traditionally worked hard to ensure substantial representation at the conference in an attempt to secure favourable motions and an equal footing with other minority groups.


Analysis: Fear for Jewish students on campus

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

Jewish students are renowned for their positive activism, standing up not only for their own rights and to support Israel, but for other minority groups as well.

They should be applauded for their conscientious efforts.

But reporting their election hopes this week has, unintentionally, revealed a problem.

Senior figures at UJS, and individual students from campuses, contacted me with fraught pleas that the JC should not run the story. Many candidates initially asked to be included in the coverage before dropping out.


Israeli-Arab event in UK cancelled

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

A London networking evening for Arab and Jewish business leaders has been cancelled after its Palestinian hostess was pressured into pulling out by her friends and relatives.

Plans for the private home reception, due to be held on November 5, had been at an advanced stage.

The Arab-Jewish Ensemble, also known as Sheshbesh, is part of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s educational department. It had been booked to perform at the event.


Anger as M&S serves Syria but not Israel

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

Marks & Spencer has been criticised for excluding Israel from its online international delivery scheme, despite the service being on offer to shoppers in Libya, Syria and Lebanon.

The company has received complaints from disappointed Israelis, but this week declined to explain its reasons for not delivering to the Jewish state.

Earlier this month, M&S expanded its online delivery service to cover 80 countries, offering millions of British expatriates and overseas customers the chance to order from abroad.


French comic Dieudonné's London show axed for antisemitic joke

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

A theatre has cancelled a planned performance by an anti-Zionist French stand-up comedian after he was fined by a court for making antisemitic jokes.

Dieudonné M’bala M’bala had been due to appear in a one-man show about domestic violence at the Leicester Square Theatre, central London, in March next year.

But theatre director Martin Witts called off the show on Wednesday after learning of the increasing controversy surrounding Dieudonné, which has seen him described as “the French Jim Davidson”.


Ofsted report analyses faith teaching

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

Independent faith schools must work harder to ensure textbooks used to teach about other faiths are accurate and unbiased, according to an Ofsted report.

Inspectors visited 51 private faith schools and found that some teaching materials had incorrect information about other religions.

The Board of Deputies welcomed the report, saying it gave a “strong endorsement” of the general work of faith schools and the “real and positive efforts to address issues of citizenship and cohesion”.


Birmingham’s big JSoc weekend

By Marcus Dysch, October 28, 2009

Birmingham’s student community has enjoyed its busiest weekend of the year with three major events in as many days.

First up was a J-Soc-prepared Friday night dinner. In the past five weeks, the society has provided 750 Shabbat dinners for students in the city.

On Sunday, more than 200 Jewish footballers from campuses across the UK took part in the annual five-a-side competition, the Juefa Cup.


Outdoor activities for Scottish Jewish students

By Marcus Dysch, October 28, 2009

An outdoor scouting centre hosted students from across Scotland and north east England for the annual Northern Region weekend.

After traditional Shabbat services and meals, more than a dozen students, including a number from the United States and Canada who are studying in Britain, took part in a communal campfire and singsong at Lapwing Lodge near Glasgow.

Representatives from the Union of Jewish Students and Mitzvah Day UK spoke about the opportunity for assisting with social action programmes.


Solicitor jailed for stealing from dead clients

By Marcus Dysch, October 27, 2009

A solicitor has been jailed for stealing £43,450 left by dead clients in their wills.

Alan Benstock, a former deputy coroner, used the money to fund his daughter’s private education, cover family medical bills and pay the mortgage on his home in Chapel Allerton, Leeds.

The 51-year-old admitted nine charges of theft over a four-month period in 2006.

He had set up a charitable trust into which he paid the money from three dead clients’ wills. He did not register the trust with the Charity Commission and kept it secret from colleagues.


Wes Streeting: Our friend at the NUS

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

Few non-Jewish presidents of the National Union of Students can have found themselves the victim of an antisemitic attack.

But Wes Streeting’s experience of being verbally abused while reading Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel on the London Underground provided him with an insight into the impact of antisemitism and anti-Israel action.

Since being elected in April 2008, Mr Streeting has worked hard to support the Union of Jewish Students, promoting a zero tolerance stance to antisemitism and academic boycotts.


Bnei Akiva in blood donation drive

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

Bnei Akiva’s national blood donation campaign arrived on campuses this week.

It is the second year that “Bleed BA Dry” has taken donations from students in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge and London.

Zak Jeffay, BA national director, said: “Many young people know about giving blood but see it as something that their parents do.

“You can give blood from the age of 17 and we are encouraging all of our eligible members to donate and save lives. We are celebrating 70 years of BA ‘leading the way’, and now we are delighted to also be ‘bleeding the way’.”


Sex-pest hairdresser spared prison

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

An Israeli hairdresser who kissed and stroked a 13-year-old girl during a styling appointment has avoided jail.

Shay Kaldron was told he must undergo a three-year community programme during which he will be supervised by the probation service. He must also attend a sexual offenders’ group programme.

The 33-year-old, of Bromley, Kent, and formerly of Golders Green, was convicted last month of pouncing on the teenager while her mother left the house for seven minutes to collect the girl’s brother.


BBC uses Charedi picture to illustrate Jews

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

This is the image which the BBC has been using to illustrate how British Jews cope with grief.

The mocked-up picture ran alongside a feature on the corporation’s website giving practical tips on dealing with bereavement and explaining how different religions conduct funerals.

It was used on the page for months, but has now been replaced with a picture of a candle after the JC asked the corporation to explain why the image had been selected.

A BBC spokesman admitted the scale of its website meant mistakes occur but could offer no further explanation of why the image had been used.


Moving times in Edgware

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

An Edgware Masorti congregation has found a new home, having been forced to relocate by the projected closure of Brady Maccabi youth club.

Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue had held Shabbat services at the youth centre for nine years, but has now met for the first time at Jewish Care’s Leonard Sainer Centre in nearby Rectory Lane.


New York inspires Reps

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

Eight campus representatives from Jeneration, the Reform-backed project to engage young people, have travelled to the United States looking for tips on running vibrant university projects.

The reps, from universities in London, Cambridge, Sussex, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds, visited institutions including the Hebrew Union College — the development centre of Reform Judaism — and the Jewish Theological Seminary during the week-long stay in New York.