Simon Rocker

Adath auditions Canadian candidate

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2015

Hendon Adath Yisroel Synagogue's long search for a new rabbi could be nearing completion after members were told that a Canadian candidate would be coming to "audition" for the post later this month.

Montreal-born Rabbi Shloime Yitzchok Bixenspanner, the founder of central Toronto congregation Kahal Yereim, will meet Hendon Adath members and give classes during his visit.

The shul, affiliate

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Revealed: The secrets behind the UK’s super synagogues

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2015

When American sociologist Professor Steven Cohen came here to carry out a study of British synagogues, he had to learn a new word: “rota”. Was it some kind of food, he wondered, “like roti”.

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America's Orthodox authority bans female rabbis - and that's official

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2015

The battle over Orthodox women rabbis has intensified in the United States over the past week after the traditionalist rabbinate stepped up its opposition.

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Teaching of Israel-Palestine conflict must be balanced, says Nicky Morgan

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2015

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has reiterated the need to teach the Israeli-Palestine conflict in a balanced way following a meeting with the Board of Deputies.

Board president Jonathan Arkush and chief executive Gillian Merron raised the subject yesterday, as well as discussing the contribution of faith schools and tackling antisemitic, Islamophobic and homophobic bullying in schools.

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Schism and Jews

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2015

It is difficult to know how far the conflict over Orthodox women rabbis in America will go but the battle lines were drawn more sharply over the past week.

The mainstream Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America condemned the ordination of women, whether they go by the title of rabbi or not, while Agudath Israel branded “Open Orthodoxy”, in effect, a heretical movement.

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Jews have lowest rate of unemployment in Britain, says report

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2015

British Jews suffered a bigger drop in their employment rate than any religious group between 2008 from 2013 but still have the lowest rate of unemployment, according to a new report.

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Review: Abraham and his Son

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

By James Goodman
Sandstone Press, £16.99

The Binding of Isaac, Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son, is one of the Bible's most iconic episodes. It is read from the Torah over the High Holy Days and even in the daily morning liturgy in some prayer books.

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Education is taken seriously, but experts warn of 'troubling' gaps

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

The government's pledge earlier this year of £50 million towards a new Holocaust memorial and learning centre shows how seriously remembrance of the Shoah is now taken in Britain.

Over the past 30 years the subject has moved from the margins of national life, largely thanks to an annual memorial day and space on the national curriculum.

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Could this woman lead a revolution in British Jewry?

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

Hampstead Synagogue welcomed a much larger crowd than usual on Friday night. It was not only because of Shabbat UK: the community's new scholar-in-residence Dina Brawer was making her debut.

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Najos urges Government to curb anti-faith school group campaigns

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

The government is considering limiting the ability of secular groups to challenge the entry policies of faith schools, according to a participant at a recent Department for Education meeting.

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Survey reveals pupils’ deep misunderstanding about antisemitism and the Holocaust

By Simon Rocker, October 26, 2015

More than two-thirds of secondary school pupils in England are unaware of the meaning of the term "antisemitism", according to a major new report on Holocaust education.

While the vast majority of pupils thought it important to learn about the Shoah, and most wanted to know more about it, the majority appeared to "lack core knowledge and understanding" of its key features.

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Kosher caterer gets Irish TV airing

By Simon Rocker, October 23, 2015

Irish kosher caterer Hinda Bloom will be making her TV debut on Sunday when she rustles up some dishes for a lunchtime religious affairs programme.

She is appearing on Spirit Level, presented by Joe Duffy, which goes out on Irish channel RTE1 at 1.10pm.

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Dramatic tip

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

Steve Rich, the founder of Theatremonkey website, was giving tips to Time Out readers about how to find tickets for popular London theatre shows. "The queues are always shorter on rainy days or at certain times of the year," he noted - "early September, early January and major Jewish holidays."

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Pricey politics

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

The other day, I found an edition of one of Lord Sacks's many books, The Politics of Hope, on Amazon, which originally appeared in 1997. "Brand new, unread copy in perfect condition", the website said - and yours for just £999.11 (plus £2.80 for delivery). You've definitely got to believe in the politics of hope if you're asking that.

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X Factor in the jungle

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

We might well have a Jewish jungler in the new series of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

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Trying times for Chief Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

After this weekend's Shabbat UK, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis deserves a good rest - and where better to take a break from his communal duties than at the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

The Chief, whose support of Spurs is well-known, is also an avid rugby follower and impressed the audience at a Jewish leadership event last week with a detailed explanation of the game's scoring sys

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Former US head calls for modern Orthodoxy to be more of a ‘rainbow’

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

The United Synagogue remains "very, very behind" over the role of women, a former president of the organisation said this week.

Dr Simon Hochhauser, who led the US from 2005 to 2011, called for it to be more of a "rainbow" organisation, which would allow greater diversity of observance than continuing to adopt a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

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Trevor Bolton - the 'kindly father figure' who preyed on boys at Carmel College

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2015

For some of the boarders at the exclusive Carmel College, a Saturday night treat was in store. A select group of half a dozen or so young boys would be invited up to watch Match of the Day in the flat of one of their teachers Trevor Bolton, who would give them fizzy drinks and crisps.

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The United Synagogue and free speech

By Simon Rocker, October 20, 2015

On the Richter Scale of communal controversies, it may have registered low. But you might still catch the tremor if you put your ear closer to the ground.

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Half of Jewish children born by 2031 will be Charedi, says report

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2015

Around half of Jewish babies born in Britain will be strictly Orthodox within a generation, according to a report issued by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research this week.

Charedim currently represent just under one in six of British Jewry, but owing to the community's high birth rate, their children comprise 30 per cent of all Jewish children in Britain.

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