Simon Rocker

John Galliano to star at London Jewish event

By Simon Rocker, April 24, 2015

Fashion designer John Galliano is to speak at the launch of a West End of London Jewish learning programme sponsored by the Chief Rabbinate.

His appearance will mark a further step in his rehabilitation within the Jewish community after he was sacked by Christian Dior four years ago for an antisemitic rant.

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Parents ‘distressed’ by school places shortage

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

Parents of Jewish primary school pupils have expressed frustration after large numbers of children have so far failed to secure places at Jewish secondary schools.

Juliette Lipshaw, deputy head of Michael Sobell Sinai primary in north-west London — where 12 out of 90 children are still waiting for a place — said that parents were “obviously very distressed”.

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Boost for appliance of science

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

Scientific co-operation between Israel and Britain has been strengthened with the signing of an agreement between two leading research organistions.

The Royal Society and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities will collaborate on a five-year exchange programme to build relationships between Israeli and British researchers.

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US rabbi: 'Do you really need a £100k wedding?'

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

Ministers might be so relieved that their congregants are planning to marry within the faith that they might be reluctant to criticise the wedding arrangements.

But extravagant celebrations fly in the face of traditional modesty, according to the head of a major north London United synagogue, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Policies prompt a mixed outlook

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

"Inclusive" may seem a welcoming word - but not to Jewish schools. When the Liberal Democrats pledge to introduce "inclusive" admissions policies, they mean that faith schools will no longer be able to give priority to children from their own community.

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Failing Chasidic school improves

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

A North London Chasidic boys' school under threat of closure has been reprieved by the Department for Education

Talmud Torah Chaim Meirim Wiznitz, which is run by the Vishnitz Chasidim, had been criticised last year, in particular for failing to meet safety and welfare regulations.

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Three join the Chief's HQ team

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

A public relations specialist with extensive knowledge of the Jewish charity sector is to be Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis's new director of communications. The PR Office's Mark Frazer is one of the three appointments made to strengthen the Office of the Chief Rabbi team.

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Marsh returns to UJIA to support the young

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

The former director of Limmud, Shelley Marsh, has returned to UJIA to head a new national network to support Jewish youth.

Ms Marsh - who was UJIA director of informal education before joining Limmud two years ago - has started her role as director of Reshet - Hebrew for "network".

"My passion has always been working with young Jewish people in developing their identity," she said.

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Leviticus: the call of love

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2015

Leviticus: The Code of Holiness
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Maggid, £15.99

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'We have to solve our problems' says Israeli president Rivlin

By Simon Rocker, April 22, 2015

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin said he could not live in a Jewish state if it were not democratic ahead of his first Independence Day as head of state.

In an interview with English-speaking media, he said: “I cannot live in a Jewish state without it being democratic."

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Young reformer in race to be Board vice president

By Simon Rocker, April 21, 2015

The co-founder of a lobby group to reform the Board of Deputies is bidding to become the organisation’s youngest officer.

Richard Verber, 30, the campaigner and communications director of World Jewish Relief, who represents Limmud at the Board, today announced that he is to contest the vice-presidency next month.

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Exclusive: United Synagogue says Laura Marks could be a "divisive" figure if elected Board president

By Simon Rocker, April 20, 2015

The president of the United Synagogue Stephen Pack has warned that the election of Reform representative Laura Marks as the next president of the Board of Deputies could be “divisive”.

Ms Marks, who is senior vice-president of the Board, last week reversed her decision not to stand for the presidency and became the fourth candidate to enter the contest.

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PR man to join chief rabbi's office

By Simon Rocker, April 17, 2015

A public relations specialist with extensive knowledge of the Jewish charity sector is to be Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s new director of communications.

Mark Frazer, from The PR Office, is one of the three new appointments made to strengthen the team at the Office of the Chief Rabbi.

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Board of Deputies forced to find a new home, again

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

The Board of Deputies will be forced to leave its new headquarters less than a year after its move.

After the sale of the Board’s central London premises in Bloomsbury, the organisation moved into the UJIA’s premises in Camden at the end of the last year.

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Beis Yaakov improving, says Ofsted

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

A Charedi academy ranked inadequate last year has received encouragement in its efforts to improve.

The state-funded Beis Yaakov High School in Salford was put into special measures after an Ofsted visit seven months ago.

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Ofsted inspectors need to be more consistent

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

In less than a year, no fewer than seven Jewish schools have been rated as inadequate by Ofsted — the lowest of the four inspection grades. All but one of the schools is Charedi and most are independent.

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Tory refuses hustings over security concerns

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

A Conservative Jewish MP in the last Parliament will not attend any hustings held by local faith groups because of "security concerns".

Lee Scott, who is defending a majority of more than 5,000 in his Ilford North constituency in Essex, declined to go into further detail.

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Leaders plan to cohabit

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Bicom and UJIA have been discussing a plan to share premises and establish what one source called a "communal hub".

The Board moved into the UJIA's building in Camden Town, north London, at the end of last year after selling its central London base in Bloomsbury.

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Looking for love? Your rabbi can help out

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

Reform Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner wants the movement to set up a matchmaking service to help put Jewish couples together.

Rabbis and cantors are well placed, she believes, to take the role of the traditional shadchan and enable prospective soulmates to meet.

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Exclusive: Laura Marks to stand for Board of Deputies presidency

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2015

Senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies Laura Marks has sprung a fresh surprise and reversed her decision not to stand for the presidency of the Board next month.

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