Simon Rocker



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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Don’t boycott, back co-existence, Methodists told

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

The Board of Deputies has published a 36-page paper in its efforts to stop the boycott campaign spreading among the churches.

The document has come specifically in response to an online consultation
launched by the Methodist church last month, ahead of a debate on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) due to take place at its conference next year.

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Sharansky to speak at Limmud

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, is to make his first visit to the Limmud conference at Warwick in December.

The former Israeli government minister and Soviet dissident will join Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi David Wolpe – who was the most influential rabbi in the United States, according to Newsweek – on the list of speakers.

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United Synagogue chief executive is quitting

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

United Synagogue chief executive Jeremy Jacobs is stepping down after five years in the post.

Mr Jacobs said that although it had always been his intention to move on after five years, it was “a decision I have not taken lightly”.

A chartered accountant, he had previously served as an honorary treasurer of the organisation for six years and chaired its youth division, Tribe.

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Schochet leaving Rosh Pinah

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Mill Hill Synagogue’s Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet has resigned as principal of the Rosh Pinah Primary School in Edgware.

Rabbi Schochet, who is also principal of the new Etz Chaim free school in Mill Hill, felt it was “inappropriate” to stay on at Rosh Pinah “when I can’t give the job the amount of time it deserves. And it will increasingly require more time than ever before.”

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The only way is Essex as Mirvis backs learning

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Chigwell Synagogue hosted the launch of a Sunday morning education venture by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this week.

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Sacks lands teaching roles in New York

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has been made a professor at two American universities and will spend three months a year teaching in New York.

He has been appointed as the Kressel and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University and the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University.

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Reclining and dining

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

On our last visit to Cyprus, we could not escape the attention of the ubiquitous cats (brought to the island, so legend has it, by St Helen in the fourth century to combat the snakes). Whenever we ate al fresco, our fish would attract a bunch of scrawny mendicants, slaloming between our feet in search of an under-the-table offering.

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Film alleges Jewish exile was a myth

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

For most Jews, it is an article of faith: after being “forcibly exiled” from their land, says Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Jews never stopped praying for their return.

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New Haringey planning rules welcomed by strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

New planning guidelines introduced by a north London borough to help large families have been welcomed by its growing strictly Orthodox population.

Haringey Council said that the measures would give families greater freedom to create additional space while protecting the privacy of neighbours.

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World ignores Gypsy plight, says refugee from Nazis

By Simon Rocker, October 31, 2013

A refugee from Nazi Germany who is a regular speaker in schools has published a book for children to counter prejudice against Gypsies.

Ruth Barnett, who came here on the Kindertransport from Berlin at the age of four in 1939, draws parallels between the Jewish and Gypsy experience in Jews and Gypsies, Myths and Realities.

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‘Significant progress’ in Israeli-Palestinian talks

By Simon Rocker, October 31, 2013

EXCLUSIVE

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have made “significant progress” towards “a comprehensive agreement on all the issues” that will “bring us to the end of the conflict”, according to an Israeli expert with an inside track on the negotiations.

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