Simon Rocker

US to vote in four women trustees

By Simon Rocker, March 24, 2014

The United Synagogue this week ushered in historic constitutional changes which will enable women to become trustees of the country's largest Orthodox body in the summer.

Under the new system,which has been approved by both Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the London Beth Din, the administration will retain a male majority led by a male president.

But the seven trustees, currently all male, wi

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Schools' anti-hate course

By Simon Rocker, March 24, 2014

An anti-racism programme has been launched for schools which draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Serb massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

It has been instigated by the Joseph Interfaith Foundation, a charity supporting Jewish-Muslim dialogue.

While the foundation has been active on campus for a number of years, the Auschwitz and Srebrenica programme, designed for 15-

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Rosh Pinah calls in outside help following period of unrest

By Simon Rocker, March 24, 2014

Edgware's Rosh Pinah Primary has entered new territory by calling in a private educational group to oversee change.

The move follows disputes between parents and governors in the previous academic year.

A trio of executive teachers from Lilac Sky Schools - which has worked with 70 schools over the past four years and has sponsored academies - will assume the Rosh Pinah reins in June.

Andr

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Survey reveals UK Jews' fears of antisemitism

By Simon Rocker, March 21, 2014

Nicolas Anelka’s now notorious quenelle gesture and the debate over Tottenham Yid chants may have made the headlines in recent months.

But UK Jews come across antisemitic comments far more in academic or educational circles than they do at sporting events.

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Leading QC to advise on Board of Deputies-JLC merger

By Simon Rocker, March 20, 2014

One of the country’s top legal brains has been asked to advise on the proposed merger of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.

Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, who was knighted three years ago, is an expert on democracy and constitutional matters.

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JLC boosts spending to £1.6m to fund growth

By Simon Rocker, March 20, 2014

New figures reveal a significant rise in spending by the Jewish Leadership Council, outstripping that of the Board of Deputies by nearly £500,000 a year.

Accounts for 2012 show that the JLC’s expenditure leapt from £650,000 to nearly £1.6 million, while the cost of the Board’s activities stayed roughly the same at just over £1.1 million.

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Leaders back Mick Davis after ‘unprovoked' JNF chief attack

By Simon Rocker, March 20, 2014

A group of communal figures has condemned the attack on Jewish Leadership Council chairman Mick Davis made by JNF UK head Samuel Hayek.

In a JC article last week, Mr Hayek lambasted “this wretched armchair Zionist leadership”, saying that Mr Davis should support the Israeli government rather than publicly criticise it over the peace process.

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Mirvis’s Shabbat mission

By Simon Rocker, March 20, 2014

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is spearheading a campaign to increase the celebration of Shabbat.
Shabbat UK was inspired by a successful programme launched last autumn by his South African counterpart, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.

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Simon Johnson confirmed as JLC chief

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2014

The Jewish Leadership Council has made Simon Johnson its chief executive four and a half months after he became its interim head.

Mr Johnson, who has previously worked at ITV and the Football Association, took the helm after the departure of previous chief executive Jeremy Newmark.

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Young people are struggling to afford the cost of Jewish activities

By Simon Rocker, March 13, 2014

Young people are struggling to afford the cost of Jewish activities.

The economic downturn since 2008 had presented an “increasing challenge” for youth organisations, according to a commission set up by the Jewish Leadership Council.

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JNF head attacks Mick Davis over Israel

By Simon Rocker, March 13, 2014

The chairman of JNF UK, Samuel Hayek, has launched a withering attack on Jewish Leadership Council chief Mick Davis for criticising the Israeli government and for his “wretched armchair Zionist leadership”.

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Masorti debate lesbian and gay marriages

By Simon Rocker, March 13, 2014

Masorti rabbis are considering whether to introduce ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples in the wake of the government’s legalisation of same-sex marriages in the UK.

The Liberal and Reform movements, which already allow synagogue celebrations for same-sex couples, have given the go-ahead for them to wed after the marriages become legal on March 29.

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Are old camel bones really a blow to Zionism?

By Simon Rocker, March 13, 2014

An investigation into ancient camel bones in Israel caused a good deal of excitement recently.

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Chief Rabbi candidate attacks 'chic but not kosher' partnership minyans

By Simon Rocker, March 6, 2014

A leading British Orthodox rabbi has dismissed partnership minyans — services where women can read from the Torah and lead some of the prayers — as “a step towards Reform Judaism”.

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Orthodox demand an out-of-hours coroner service to end burial delays

By Simon Rocker, March 6, 2014

Jews and Muslims in North London have launched a joint protest at delays in funerals caused by the lack of an available coroner at weekends.

A petition signed by 4,000 Jews and 1,500 Muslims has been handed into the Chief Coroner’s Office and Camden Council.

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Nuns celebrate return of convent’s megillah

By Simon Rocker, March 6, 2014

An antique megillah restored by a London scribe was returned this week to its owner — a convent of nuns in the West End.

The Tyburn Nuns, who belong to a Benedictine order, received the scroll of Esther as a gift from an American supporter of Jewish-Catholic dialogue.

The heroine of the Megillah, which will be read by Jews at Purim in a few days time, has resonance for the nuns.

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X Factor is a test too far for Orthodox pupils

By Simon Rocker, March 6, 2014

Teachers at Jewish schools have told examiners that they should not assume all children are familiar with social media or with popular television shows such as X Factor.

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US hopes to recruit more shuls from the regions

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2014

United Synagogue president Stephen Pack wants more regional Orthodox congregations to follow Sheffield and join the London-based organisation.

He revealed this week that discussions had been taking place between the US and a number of congregations across the country over the past year or so.

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Israeli rabbi drowns in London mikveh after suffering a heart attack

By Simon Rocker, February 27, 2014

No inquest will be held into the death of an Israeli rabbi who collapsed in a mikveh before Shabbat last Friday.

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Sex abuse arrest at Jewish school

By Simon Rocker, February 27, 2014

Police investigating allegations of sexual abuse of pupils at Carmel College, the now closed Jewish public school, have made an arrest, the JC has learned.

Thames Valley Police said that a 76-year-old man from Essex had been arrested and had been released on bail until March 24 this year.

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