Simon Rocker

'Poaching' row over Radlett's rabbi

By Simon Rocker, July 23, 2015

Richmond Synagogue has complained that the move of its rabbi to a larger United Synagogue after barely two years in the post undermined the "dynamics of a small community".

Rabbi Jonathan Hughes is to leave Richmond later this year to become the spiritual leader of the Radlett congregation in Hertfordshire.

More..

It's closing time for Harold Hill

By Simon Rocker, July 23, 2015

Another Essex Orthodox synagogue is to close its doors.

More..

So what is 'cultural' Judaism?

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2015

A few years ago a member of a Progressive community in north London put a new idea to it. She was happy to turn up to synagogue on Saturday, but worship didn't do it for her. High choral or happy-clappy guitar, she wasn't searching for any kind of service, but she did have a serious interest in Jewish study.

More..

Trapped in a man's body in an unforgiving community

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2015

"J" looks like a regulation Charedi. Bearded chin, black kippah, white shirt. But the traditional exterior masks an inner torment that has at times prompted thoughts of suicide. For J may look like a "he" but regards herself as a "she".

More..

Limmud will get 'refreshing' new look

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2015

The Limmud conference's switch from a university campus to a Hilton hotel will not affect its essential character, its organisers say.

Bookings will shortly open for the cross-communal event, which starts at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham on December 27 after eight years at Warwick University.

More..

Charedim plan exodus from London shtetl

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2015

Charedi activists are exploring the possibility of setting up a new community outside London because of the shortage of housing among a rapidly expanding population.

Rabbi Asher Gratt, who lives in Stamford Hill, north London, said that "many families in our community are struggling very hard to find suitable living space".

More..

Inadequate Chasidic school rapped for failing to improve

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2015

A Chasidic school that has previously been ordered to improve its secular studies has insisted that children do not need to be taught English until their fourth year of primary school, according to inspectors.

More..

Record number get taste for Gefiltefest

By Simon Rocker, July 2, 2015

JW3's largest single event since its opening 21 months ago had, of course, to be about food.

More..

School funder Benjamin Perl warns shortage of places will get worse

By Simon Rocker, July 1, 2015

Educational philanthropist Benjamin Perl has warned that the pressure on places at Jewish secondary schools in north-west London is set to grow dramatically.

More..



Sacks and Violence

By Simon Rocker, June 29, 2015

Simon Rocker is Judaism Editor for the JC

More..

Helping Charedim into work is a rewarding job

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2015

For three years, Benjamin Landau organised Friday-night dinners or trips abroad for young adults as the assistant community rabbi at Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue.

But last autumn he moved east into a very different role.

More..

Lubavitch expands its Essex influence

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2015

Lubavitch is continuing to expand in Essex, defying the trend towards contraction in the area which has led to recent synagogue mergers.

The movement is planning activities for the growing number of families in Epping.

More..

Belz school driving ban plan dropped

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2015

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it received a "satisfactory response" from the two Chasidic schools that had threatened to ban pupils whose mothers drive.

More..



Experts failed to see this school-places shortfall coming

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2015

The competition for Jewish secondary school places has clearly caught the community's educations leaders by surprise. With little over two months to go to the start of the new school year, you might have found a handful of children still waiting for places at this stage in the past few years. But there appear to be at least a classful this year.

More..

Equality Commission satisfied no action needed over Belz driving ban on women

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2015

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that it has received a “satisfactory response” from the two Chasidic schools in North London which had threatened to ban pupils whose mothers drive.

More..



JW3's pop-up learning

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2015

There are probably more people involved in the serious study of Jewish texts than ever before. But you don’t have to have gone to yeshivah or sem to enjoy it.

More..

Jonathan Sacks interview: Europe's future at stake over hate

By Simon Rocker, June 21, 2015

Lord Sacks believes that British Jewry has been a "model community" in the fight against antisemitism and "seriously blessed" in its leadership.

In response to the current level of threat, the emeritus Chief Rabbi felt that as "a community we have dealt with this very, very well".

More..

Hundreds of Orthodox boys 'missing' from education system

By Simon Rocker, June 19, 2015

Hundreds of strictly Orthodox boys in north London appear to be missing from the official education system despite attempts by the authorities to register the yeshivot where many are believed to be studying.

More..

New start at Beis Yaakov

By Simon Rocker, June 18, 2015

Governors of the Beis Yaakov Primary School in Colindale, north-west London, have sought to reassure parents following the sudden departure of its chairman Jonathan Rabson.

Mr Rabson and fellow-governors Aryeh Melinek and Chaim Halvieim announced their resignation without explanation last week.

More..

No place for a petulant Pig

By Simon Rocker, June 18, 2015

MANY a parent and grandparent has been grateful to Peppa Pig for keeping a little one quiet, but not Jewish journalist Naomi Greenaway. In her Daily Mail column, she revealed she has banned the porcine cartoon as a bad influence on her children.

More..