Simon Rocker

Chief Rabbi urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police

By Simon Rocker, May 26, 2015

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has stated that any allegation of child sexual abuse must be reported to the police “without delay”, following last week’s conviction of a Charedi teacher for sexual assault.

All rabbis under the authority of the chief rabbi are to be asked to attend a mandatory seminar being organised by the United Synagogue to alert them to the dangers of abuse.

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‘Declining’ Reading cannot afford to keep its minister

By Simon Rocker, May 25, 2015

Reading Hebrew Congregation is to make its rabbi and rebbetzin redundant because it can no longer afford to keep them.

Rabbi Zvi and Shira Solomons, who arrived from Liverpool seven years ago, will lose their posts at the end of the month.

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Come to the learning party this Shavuot

By Simon Rocker, May 22, 2015

Shavuot is often regarded as the Cinderella of major festivals that often slips by unnoticed. While shuls may be greened up and cholestorol levels rise with the proliferation of cheesecake, there are no home practices associated with it such as succah or Seder.

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Why bad jews are good news

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

It seems we can't get enough of Bad Jews. Josh Harmon's new comedy about an American Jewish family has proved so popular that London's Arts Theatre is extending its run for six weeks until July 11.

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This label's no fable

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

Maybe Jamie Oliver ought to be sent in to revamp kosher airline meals. You wouldn't want to add up the additives in this barbeque chicken served on a BA flight to London from New York. "By the time I had read the label, I was ready to land," said passenger Michael Fishberg.

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High fives for happy halfon

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

New Conservative Party deputy chairman Robert Halfon described his swearing-in as a Privy Counsellor at Buckingham Palace as a "very special moment". A highlight was the small copy of the Five Books of Moses he was presented with.

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Boy king from Borehamwood

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

It's a crowning achievement for Micah Gordon of Borehamwood - and he is only six. He is playing a child king in a series of advertisements for Israeli company Yes TV's new children's channel.

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Kosher meals fit for Lords

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

A kosher food stall has kept Wimbledon-goers fuelled for some years. Now cricket-watchers need not worry about food. Kosher caterers Adafina are offering to make up picnic hampers for Lords.

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Still in love with Eurovision

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

Presenter Nigella Lawson is not the only Jewish interest in this year's Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday. The British hope Still In Love With You, sung by Electro Velvet, was written by David Mindel (pictured).

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Pragmatic leader who heads a diverse team

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

It may have been a long and hard campaign by the standards of Jewish community politics, but Jonathan Arkush's win will give him considerable personal authority when he becomes the 47th president of the Board of Deputies next month.

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Parents call for school admissions reform

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2015

The growing pressure on Jewish secondary school places in London this year has led to calls for changes in the admissions system.

Gilead Limor, the founder of a support group for parents of children without a place, predicted this week: "The problem is not going to go away. It's only going to get worse."

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UK charity accused of 'Israel-bashing'

By Simon Rocker, May 20, 2015

A Jewish member of a charity which promotes the work of the United Nations here has accused it of “Israel-bashing”

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Grand Central aims to be a key West End destination

By Simon Rocker, May 18, 2015

United Synagogue congregations nowadays tend to appoint youth or assistant rabbis as their second minister, rather than a chazan. But one West End community has been prepared to go against the grain.

Previously part-time at Central Synagogue, Steven Leas was made full-time a year ago - the only full-time chazan currently serving a US shul.

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Jonathan Arkush elected new president of Board of Deputies

By Simon Rocker, May 17, 2015

Jonathan Arkush is to be the new president of the Board of Deputies after defeating rivals Alex Brummer and Laura Marks in today’s election.

The 60-year old barrister, who has been vice-president for the past six years, succeeds Vivian Wineman, who bows out after heading the community’s main representative body since 2009.

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'Lack of clarity' over level of UK antisemitism, says new report

By Simon Rocker, May 15, 2015

The extent of antisemitism in the UK is hard to gauge because there is a lack of accurate data, according to the Jewish community’s main think tank.

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A closely fought contest

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2015

When the Board of Deputies' would-be presidents make their final pitch for votes on Sunday, they will have already taken part in four hustings in a fortnight.

No Jewish community election in recent history has been so closely fought or demanded such commitment from its candidates.

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Laura Marks: 'brave leaders change their mind'

By Simon Rocker, May 13, 2015

Laura Marks has defended herself as a “brave, decisive leader” after earlier being accused of “flip-flopping” by one of her rivals to be president for Board of Deputies.

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Braced for benefit cuts

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2015

Most British Jews will be pleased or relieved at the election result, if our poll indicating that a significant majority intended to vote Conservative was accurate.

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What's at stake in the battle for kosher beef

By Simon Rocker, May 8, 2015

It was like Chicago gang warfare during the prohibition, said the JC beneath the front-page headline "Knives out as kosher meat war hots up". When rival shochetim squared up to each other in the abattoir in 1986, it showed just how fractious disputes in the shechita trade can get.

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Another Tabick takes to the pulpit

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2015

The New North London Synagogue has appointed student rabbi Roni Tabick as assistant minister.

Mr Tabick, 32, who is shortly to receive his Conservative rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, is the son of Reform rabbis Jackie and Larry Tabick.

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