Simon Rocker

Former Hasmonean pupil is director of British Mossack Fonseca offshoot

By Simon Rocker, April 11, 2016

The Panamanian law firm under international scrutiny for helping wealthy people avoid tax has a British offshoot with a former Hasmonean High School pupil as a director.

Emmanuel Cohen was revealed by the Times to be one of the directors of Mossack Fonseca & Co (UK) based in Hitchin, North Hertfordshire.

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We're all going to Stamford Hill-on-Sea

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

Within a few months, Joel Friedman hopes to be an Essex man.

As Stamford Hill's Charedi population continues to rise and house prices soar beyond the reach of ordinary families, the young Orthodox father of six is looking to move to pastures new. He plans to be among the pioneers of a Charedi community about to be set up an hour or so further east - in Canvey Island.

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Chasidic school takes on government

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

A Chasidic independent school has mounted a legal challenge against an order from the Department for Education restricting it from taking new pupils until standards improve.

Beis Aharon Trust, which runs a school for 347 boys aged from three to 13 in Stamford Hill, north London, is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal.

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The wider implications of a Hasmonean move

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

We reported a few weeks ago that the governors of Hasmonean High School in London were considering resurrecting a 50-year plan to move its boys' division in Hendon alongside the girls in Mill Hill. That has now moved forward with an invitation to parents to view an exhibition this month showing what the proposed relocation would look like.

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Super-size us: Key Reform shuls are talking merger

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

The leadership of Hendon Reform Synagogue has recommended a merger with Edgware and District Reform Synagogue to form a super-sized congregation.

Although Hendon still serves around 700 families, it has an ageing profile and little more than 10 per cent of members live in the area.

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Planning victory for Federation on headstones

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

The Federation of Synagogues has won the right to erect upright headstones in its new Edgware cemetery despite council officers' objections that they would detract from the location's green belt character.

Overriding their officials' recommendations, Barnet Council's planning committee last week voted in favour of the synagogue body.

"We are delighed at the outcome," said Federation presiden

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Mersey congregation beats a path to the US

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

Another regional community is exploring the possibility of joining the United Synagogue.

Talks have been ongoing between Childwall Hebrew Congregation in Liverpool and US officials over the past few months.

Sheffield was the first northern congregation to become a member of the US two years ago and Nottingham has been toying with a similar move.

Childwall president Denis Salamon said the

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Synagogue tsores driving stressed rabbis to join trade union

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2016

It's a long way from the bimah to the picket line, but more and more rabbis are joining the trade union Unite.

The organisation now has 25 Jewish "faith workers" among its members - including at least 14 rabbis, according to Reverend Dr Mike Bossingham, secretary of Unite's clerical branch.

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Sadiq Khan enjoys 'positive walkabout' in Golders Green

By Simon Rocker, April 3, 2016

Labour’s London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan enjoyed an amicable walkabout around Golders Green today as supporters sought to put recent tensions between the party and the Jewish community in the background.

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Missing boys in Charedi schools

By Simon Rocker, April 1, 2016

Last night Newsnight ran a lengthy report on the “missing boys” – the hundreds of Charedi youngsters in Stamford Hill being taught in unregistered schools.

I am not quite sure how “exclusive” it was since we have been reporting on this for years, and other media have picked up the issue too.

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Hasmonean confirms plan to move boys’ school to share site with girls

By Simon Rocker, April 1, 2016

Hasmonean High School has confirmed that it hopes to move its boys’ school in Hendon next to the site of its girls’ division in Mill Hill.

Parents have been invited to attend an exhibition displaying the plan – which was first reported in the JC two months ago – later this month.

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Federation wins battle over headstones at new cemetery

By Simon Rocker, April 1, 2016

The Federation of Synagogues has won the right to erect upright headstones in its new cemetery in Edgware despite council officers’ objections that they would spoil the green-belt character of the location.

Barnet Council’s planning committee overrode the recommendations of their officials and last night voted in favour of the synagogue body.

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'Reform scumbags'

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2016

The plan to establish a new egalitarian section at the Kotel in Jerusalem was meant to solve a long-running dispute. But the compromise has now precipitated an ugly round of religious polemics as the Charedi political establishment tries to defend the state against the encroachment of the non-Orthodox.

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Charities face a donor challenge

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2016

Sir Mick Davis, Jewish Leadership Council chairman, dug ever deeper into his pockets last year. The foundation he set up with his wife Barbara dished out £2.2 million, compared with £1.4m the previous year, supporting a variety of causes from Jewish youth to horticulutural studies.

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New free school plans underway

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2016

Supporters of a new Jewish secondary school in north-west London have launched a series of meetings for prospective parents in a bid to win wider backing for the plan.

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Shul and rabbi settle claim of unfair dismissal

By Simon Rocker, March 31, 2016

Reading Hebrew Congregation has reached a settlement with its former rabbi and his wife midway through an employment tribunal.

Rabbi Zvi and Dr Shira Solomons had sued for unfair dismissal following their redundancy last May after seven years with the small Orthodox community.

But on the second day of a scheduled three-day hearing in Reading on Wednesday, the parties came to a confidential a

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Review: The Wed-Locked Agunot

By Simon Rocker, March 23, 2016

Susan Aranoff and Rivka Haut
McFarland, £45.50

This is a book best avoided on Shabbat because its contents would disturb anyone's rest. It is the most shocking book I can recall on Judaism in many years.

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Arkush criticised for comments about trust

By Simon Rocker, March 23, 2016

The president of the Board of Deputies Jonathan Arkush has been criticised by Jewish Labour activists for saying that most Jews cannot trust the party.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard Mr Arkush said that the relationship between the Jewish community and the party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership had been under "deep strain".

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Why the Purim story is one for the ages

By Simon Rocker, March 23, 2016

Purim is the joker in the pack of Jewish festivals. It is the closest we get to carnival, with the fancy dress, the mayhem of the megillah reading, the alcohol – it’s a mitzvah to get tipsy if not paralytic – and the Purim spiels.

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188 Jewish charities raise more than £1 million each every year, research shows

By Simon Rocker, March 22, 2016

Close to 200 British Jewish charities raise more than £1 million a year, according to a forthcoming report by the consultancy New Philanthropy Capital.

It puts the overall annual income for the 2,264 registered Jewish charities at £997,733, 722 (although this includesf transfers between charities). Their average income is £440,695 a year.

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