Simon Rocker

LJCC chief stands down from JW3 role

By Simon Rocker, September 17, 2015

The deputy chairman of JW3, Louise Jacobs, has stepped down after seeing through its merger with the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Ms Jacobs, who was chief executive of LJCC, said it was "the right time to move on.

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Federation expands its meat operation

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2015

The Federation of Synagogues has increased its presence in the kosher market following the launch of its controversial meat operation this year.

Shefa Mehadrin, which has two butcher's shops in Manchester and one in Golders Green, and a processing plant, this week agreed to come under Federation supervision.

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Ousted minister starts rival group

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2015

The rabbi of Reading Hebrew Congregation who was made redundant in spring says he will offer alternative High Holy Day services after the synagogue rejected his offer to officiate for free.

Rabbi Zvi and Rebbetzin Shira Solomons lost their posts at the end of May after the congregation said it could no longer afford them.

Since then, several Shabbat services have been held at their home, ad

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Limmud is booking some star speakers

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2015

A rabbi who blessed Barack Obama; a victim of child abuse; and a former PLO representative to the UK are among presenters booked for the Limmud educational conference in December.

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Obligated to help the persecuted — by our history and our Judaism

By Simon Rocker, September 9, 2015

Never has the old adage about a picture speaking more than a thousand words rung truer than last week. It took the image of a drowned boy off the shores of Turkey to tip the political balance. Faced with a growing clamour to act, David Cameron relented and agreed to admit more Syrian refugees.

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Federation adds three butchers to controversial new meat label

By Simon Rocker, September 4, 2015

The Federation of Synagogues has increased its presence in the kosher market by signing three butcher shops to its controversial new meat label.

Shefa Mehadrin, which has two shops in Manchester and one in Golders Green, this week agreed to come under Federation supervision.

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Rabbi Mirvis promises 'special initiative' from community to help refugees

By Simon Rocker, September 4, 2015

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has called on the Jewish community to act “positively” to alleviate the plight of refugees in Europe.

“Right now there is a crisis and if we don’t act in a humanitarian way, more people are going to die,” he warned.

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Migrants to receive Succot shelters

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

A group of Masorti students is to go to Calais over Succot next month to erect shelters for refugees camped there.

They will be taking food and supplies to some of the thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa living rough in the French port in the hope of finding a home in Britain.

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Shabbat with the stars

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Let us pray that the sun shines tonight, at least in Islington, where the local Chabad branch is organising an al-fresco Friday night dinner in one of its fashionable squares. Enterprising Rabbi Mendy Korer has even secured a council grant towards its "Shabbat Under the Stars". One past Friday night diner, local MP Jeremy Corbyn, is not expected for cocktails and challah this time.

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You say bagel, I say bygel

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Stephen Fry touched on some of the quirks of Yinglish this week in his Radio 4 Fry's English Delight, which was about bilingualism. "The Londoners are the only ones who say Shobbes or chollah and motzah," Yiddishist Barry Davis (below) explained.

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West Ham Israelites

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Chelsea winger Victor Moses has moved to West Ham on a one-year loan, joining a squad that includes defender Aaron Cresswell. They just need one more name to complete a biblical family trio — but I doubt they are going to sign anyone called Miriam.

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The Embassy gets its kicks

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Israel has celebrated a first soccer victory — in the Inter-Embassy World Cup. The London men’s team, after going down 9-3 to Colombia, revived its hopes with a 3-0 win over Canada. Now only Bolivia stands in the way of progress to the next round.

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Why David Cameron is ‘bovo’d’

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

David Cameron is constantly advised “to bring out his inner semite” by his chum Lord Feldman, according to extracts in the Mail on Sunday from Antony Seldon’s new biography of the Prime Minister.

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Nothing fishy in Clinton email

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Among the thousands of emails written by American presidential contender Hillary Clinton, which were officially released this week, one attracted particular attention.

It was the one marked "Gefilte fish" with a message from the then Secretary of State asking "Where are we on this?"

Could she have been having some of her Jewish son-in-law's relatives round for Friday night dinner?

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The killer who is always welcome

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2015

Stuart Finesilver is a trained assassin. But most likely you will greet his appearance with relief for he will have come to rid you of unwanted guests.

For the past seven years, the 32-year-old pest control officer has been rooting out vermin in the north London borough of Barnet, in pursuit of "rats, mice, cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, carpet beetle, and exotic ants".

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Dweck embraces the changing times

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2015

Change can be difficult for any organisation with a long history and a deep sense of tradition.

But Rabbi Joseph Dweck, who arrived from the United States a year ago to be the senior rabbi of the 350-year-old Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, is gratified that it has agreed to henceforth be known as the S and P Sephardi Community.

He had floated the idea of a name change in a strate

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Government approves Yavneh College free school plan

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2015

A Jewish primary school in Hertfordshire is one of 18 new free schools announced by the government today.

Yavneh College, in Borehamwood, has finally succeeded in winning approval to open a primary section.

The Orthodox Yavneh Primary School, which is due to open next September, will come as a relief to parents in the area where there has been a shortage of Jewish primary places.

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Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to have a private audience with Pope Francis

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2015

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is to have a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday – his first meeting with the head of the Catholic Church.

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New partnership minyan is a sign of “frustration” over lack of progress for women in United Synagogue

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2015

A partnership minyan has been relaunched in Finchley, indicating the spread of the new-style services across London despite the opposition of the Orthodox establishment.

At partnership minyans, women may read from the Torah and lead some of the prayers as well as men.

The Finchley group is the fifth to hold one since the first to meet openly took place two years ago.

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Goal NidreI fears for fans

By Simon Rocker, August 27, 2015

Arsenal and Spurs have been drawn to meet in the next round of the Capital One Cup. But Jewish supporters may have to give the game a miss.

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