Simon Rocker

Halpern escapes charges on sex assault allegations

By Simon Rocker, November 21, 2013

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has yet to say whether it is to reconvene a special rabbinic court to investigate the conduct of Rabbi Chaim Halpern following a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to charge him over allegations of sexual assualt.

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Obey! Or is that oy vey? Who knew - the Doctor and the Daleks are Jewish

By Simon Rocker, November 21, 2013

For many, the long-awaited television event of the year will finally arrive tomorrow night when the BBC shows the 50th anniversary episode of what must now be its most famous programme, Doctor Who.

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'A mitzvah to go to Limmud'

By Simon Rocker, November 21, 2013

See this contribution to the debate over Limmud from former Bnei Akiva shaliach to the UK, Rabbi Benjamin Lau of Israel.

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Police drop Rabbi Chaim Halpern investigation

By Simon Rocker, November 15, 2013

A police investigation into alleged sex abuse of women by prominent Golders Green rabbi, Chaim Halpern, has been dropped.

The Metropolitan Police said today that a file passed to the Crown Prosecution Service "regarding allegations of sexual assault has resulted in no charges being brought against a 54-year-old man".

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False start in £600,000 costs battle

By Simon Rocker, November 14, 2013

A battle over the legal costs relating to a defeated claim of antisemitic harassment is set to continue after a tribunal withdrew from deciding the issue.

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EU survey shows high anxiety but threat level remains hidden

By Simon Rocker, November 14, 2013

The gloomy headlines must have had some Israelis wondering why the planes are not already on their way to airlift the Jews of Europe out of danger.

A new survey of Jews in eight countries, commissioned by the European Union and published on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht at the end of last week, has recorded a significant level of anxiety about antisemitism.

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Alan Dershowitz decries ‘tyranny’ of Israeli rabbis

By Simon Rocker, November 14, 2013

One of America’s most prominent pro-Israel advocates, Professor Alan Dershowitz, has written to President Shimon Peres to protest at the “religious tyranny” of Israel’s chief rabbinate.

He has intervened in a “who is a Jew” row that has flared up between the state’s rabbinical authorities and a leading American modern Orthodox rabbi, Avraham Weiss.

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The baby gap...and how it’s changing the face of the community

By Simon Rocker, November 14, 2013

The overall number of Jewish births in the UK is at its highest level for more than 40 years — but when the Charedi population is removed from the figures, the numbers look very different and show a continuing fall.

In 2011 there were 3,860 recorded births. That is the highest since an estimated 4,000 in the late 1960s, and the fourth successive year of increase.

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It’s the birth of a boom for the strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2013

The latest set of vital statistics for British Jewry is again “a tale of two communities” — the strictly Orthodox gaining in strength while the rest of the population declines.

For a couple of decades or more, there were far more recorded deaths than births. But over the past two years, there have been 1,000 more annual births than deaths, largely due to the rise of the Charedim.

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Limmud row deepens after ‘aberration’ slur

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2013

An outspoken attack on Limmud by one of the candidates for chief rabbi this week reignited the furore over Orthodox participation in next month’s cross-communal conference.

Rabbi Alan Kimche, in an article sent to congregants at his Ner Israel Synagogue, claimed that Limmud “celebrates a rejection of all that is precious to Orthodox Judaism”.

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Board of Deputies set to put HQ up for sale

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2013

The Board of Deputies has begun a search for a new home after announcing that is to leave the central London premises that have served as its headquarters for the past 17 years.

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An Orthodox response to the anti-Limmudniks

By Simon Rocker, November 13, 2013

Renewed attacks on Limmud this week have brought a sharp riposte from the United Synagogue rabbi who 17 years ago defied the London Beth Din ban and went to the conference.

Rabbi Michael Harris of Hampstead Synagogue has just posted a blog responding to Limmud’s critics on the right.

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Single-minded atempt to gauge service needs

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2013

The United Synagogue has launched a survey to gauge the needs of members who are on their own through separation, divorce or bereavement.

“We are looking at a constituency that sometimes gets overlooked,” explained US consultant marketing director Ian Myers.

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Cambridge: 'The Rolls-Royce of day Limmuds'

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2013

It takes something special to make a large number of Jewish Londoners give up a Sunday and head for a Jewish event out of town.

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Activists' care charter wins backing

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2013

Jewish Care is backing a campaign by activist group Citizens UK to improve social care in the country.

Citizens UK has drawn up a charter setting out ways to secure “a better deal” both for those needing care and the care providers.

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From London Forum to US funding challenge

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2013

Former London Jewish Forum chief executive Alex Goldberg is to return to the communal professional fold in a new fundraising role for the United Synagogue.

Mr Goldberg, 39, who was also previously director of the Board of Deputies community division, has been appointed head of social and capital partnerships.

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Progressives pledge to pay staff the living wage

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

Liberal Judaism plans to be the first synagogue movement to adopt the living wage across all its congregations.

The wage — a voluntary initiative launched 12 years ago by the grass-roots activist movement Citizens UK — this week rose to £7.65 an hour nationally and to £8.80 an hour in London.

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Mother of six fails in challenge to benefit cap

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

An Orthodox single mother of six children lost a legal challenge this week against the government’s clampdown on welfare benefits.

The High Court rejected a claim that the £26,000 a year maximum placed on benefit payments introduced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith this year was unduly unfair.

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Antisemitism a 'big problem' in Europe, EU survey finds

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

Two thirds of European Jews believe antisemitism is a major problem in their countries and three-quarters think it has become worse over the past five years, according to a European Union survey released today.

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Saudis can acquire Pakistani nukes, BBC says

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

Saudi Arabia has done a deal with Pakistan which will enable it to acquire nuclear weapons, according to a BBC Newsnight report.

It quotes former head of Israeli intelligence Amos Yadlin as saying “The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."

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