Simon Rocker

Book choice for radio faithful

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

You'd need to rise before the crack of winter dawn for Radio 4's Prayer for the Day, broadcast at 5.43 am .

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Father did not feed children treif, judge finds

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

A judge has upheld the right of a former Satmar Chasid to have his young children to stay over Shabbat and festivals despite complaints from the mother he did not keep to religious requirements.

She alleged he had let the children, who cannot be identified, ride bikes and watch TV on Shabbat and let them eat non-kosher food.

But Judge Judith Rowe found that while the father may have occasion

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Anti-abuse training stepped up for youth workers

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

Training is being stepped up to better equip youth workers to support victims of child abuse.

Reshet, the network for informal Jewish educators, will be holding a two-day seminar next week in partnership with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Shelley Marsh, Reshet's executive director, explained it had not been prompted by any reports of increased incidence of

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Demands on new faith schools opposed

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

The Jewish Leadership Council's education division has objected to conditions the government plans to attach to the opening of new free faith schools.

Partnerships for Jewish Schools (Pajes) is "disturbed" by proposals which it says single out faith schools.

Pajes has welcomed plans to lift the cap which currently restricts religious free schools to selecting only half their applicants on th

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Orthodox governors to discuss academy plans

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

The chairmen of governors of schools under the Chief Rabbi's umbrella are to explore the possibility of grouping more closely at a meeting at JFS this month.

As more schools become academies and opt out of local authority control, the government is encouraging the creation of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) for schools to share administration and other resources.

JFS itself is understood to be

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Immanuel College headteacher to leave next year

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2016

Charles Dormer, the headmaster of Immanuel College in Bushey, is to leave next year after five years in the job.

Edward Misrahi and Anthony Warrens, co-chairmen of the fee-paying Orthodox college, told parents this morning governors were sad to announce the departure after “five years of inspirational leadership”.

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The Chief Rabbi is walking a tightrope

By Simon Rocker, November 24, 2016

The Chief Rabbi must hope his statement on partnership minyanim will defuse the latest controversy with a prudent balance between reaffirming his halachic opposition to them at the same time as declaring his "respect" for those who take part in them.

What he has signally avoided is recommending any sanction against participants of partnership minyanim in synagogues under his jurisdiction.

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United Synagogue rabbi defends restrictions on partnership minyan leaders

By Simon Rocker, November 18, 2016

The rabbi of one of the largest United Synagogue congregations has today explained why leading members of partnership minyans – traditional services where women take some prayers - should be excluded from some activities in his synagogue.

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Why every Israeli hospital may one day have its own pig farm

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

When the BBC reported earlier this year that American scientists had injected human stem cells into pigs in the hope of growing organs for transplant, some Jews inevitably baulked at the word "pig".

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'Excluded' for running partnership minyanim

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

Leading members of partnership minyanim - traditional services where women take some prayers - say they are being excluded by central Orthodox institutions from participating in key activities - despite their commitment to United Synagogue shuls.

The JC is publishing details of three examples, although it is believed there are more.

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Record for Jewish schools

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

Two-Thirds of Jewish schoolchildren in Britain now attend Jewish day schools, a record high.

Whereas around a quarter of children in the UK go to a faith school, the figure rises to 63 per cent for Jewish children, according to a report published this week by the Board of Deputies and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

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This is a challenge for Rabbi Mirvis

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

The biggest test for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was always going to be the role of women in synagogue life. It was only a matter of time before egalitarian trends within American modern Orthodoxy reached the UK.

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The unstoppable rise of Jewish schools

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

There are six times more children at Jewish schools in Britain today than there were in their grandparents' generation, despite the decline in the British Jewish population over the same period.

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Drawn to celebrate benefactor

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2016

Dr Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, has gained three new pictures for his collection: portraits of him drawn by pupils from Kantor King Solomon High School in Ilford.

They were presented to him last week at a celebration to mark his investment in the United Synagogue school and its renaming after him.

The school had chosen some of its best young artists to draw hi

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Leonard Cohen laid to rest in simple ceremony in Montreal

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2016

The son of Leonard Cohen, who died aged 82 last week, has revealed that the singer was buried next to his parents in a quiet ceremony in Montreal.

In a Facebook post, Adam Cohen said "with only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked.”

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Sacks: beware the politics of anger

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2016

Lord Sacks, the Emeritus Chief Rabbi, has warned of the dangers of the “politics of anger” following the election of Donald Trump as United States President and the Brexit vote.

In an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph, he instead urged a new politics of hope built on “capitalism with a human face”.

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French National Front 'never' racist, leader says

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2016

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, said the party has "never been guilty of racism”.

In an interview today on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, she defended its opposition to immigration, saying that France was “not going to welcome any more people… we’re full up.”

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Dinner off through low demand

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2016

One of the United Synagogue's largest congregations has cancelled tonight's Friday night dinner for Shabbat UK because of lack of demand.

"Unfortunately we did not have enough bookings for the dinner to go ahead," reported Anne Gordon, chair of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue.

One shul member, who did not wish to be named, said she was "hugely disappointed and embarrassed.

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Skype's the limit for Limmud Merseysiders

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2016

"Technology is wonderful when it works, isn't it?" remarked a participant in Sunday's Liverpool Limmud.

Its organisers might have been tempting fate when they chose to have keynote speaker Professor Alan Dershowitz deliver his address from America by Skype.

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Peerage cost inquiry credibility

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2016

David Feldman, the joint vice-chairman of Labour's inquiry into antisemitism, has acknowledged the credibility of the report was damaged by its author's acceptance of a peerage.

Professor Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism in London, fielded questions on Baroness Chakrabarti's controversial probe at a session at Liverpool Limmud.

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