Simon Rocker

Methodists' boycott report criticised

By Simon Rocker, April 24, 2014

A briefing paper on the pros and cons of boycotting Israel published by the Methodist Church today has been criticised by the Israeli Embassy and the Board of Deputies.

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US rabbis ‘infantilised’ by Charedi Beth Din rulings

By Simon Rocker, April 18, 2014

A senior United Synagogue rabbi has attacked the London Beth Din over the scrapping of a newly introduced practice to give women a greater role within Orthodox services.

Rabbi Michael Harris, of Hampstead Synagogue, who has been the most prominent champion of modern Orthodoxy within the US, called the incident “disturbing”.

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Faith schools must teach sex, say 82%

By Simon Rocker, April 17, 2014

A vast majority of the population believes religious schools should not be allowed special dispensation over the national curriculum, according to the results of a YouGov poll for the JC.

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Going strong after 50 years: fundraising’s golden girls

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2014

Among the army of Jewish charity workers, no one could deserve long-service medals more than “the girls” of Southgate Wizo.

For more than half-a-century, they have met fortnightly in each other’s north London homes to plot ways to raise money for Israel.

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It's Professor Bayfield

By Simon Rocker, April 11, 2014

Reform president Rabbi Tony Bayfield has joined the elite band of rabbinical professors after being appointed to a chair of modern Jewish theology and thought at London's Leo Baeck College.

It is only the second time the Progressive rabbinic academy has made a professorial appointment since its establishment in 1956.

Rabbi Bayfield, who retired as Reform chief executive at the end of 2010, s

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Senior Board of Deputies members oppose appointment of new chief executive

By Simon Rocker, April 11, 2014

Senior members of the Board of Deputies are opposed to the appointment of a new chief executive until the outcome of merger talks with the Jewish Leadership Council is clear.

The Board is believed to have narrowed its search down to two names, with a further round of interviews due to take place today.

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The faces of future leadership: JLC launches new 'gamechangers' programme

By Simon Rocker, April 10, 2014

Keep an eye on their faces because they are likely to be among the people shaping the future of British Jewry. Eight women and eight men, ranging from their early 30s to late 40s, have just started a new Jewish Leadership Council programme designed to groom potential ringmasters for communal life.

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Rabbis crush bid to give women a role in shul

By Simon Rocker, April 10, 2014

An innovative bid to give women greater involvement in United Synagogue services has been scrapped, after objections from the London Beth Din.

The move has prompted protests among congregants, with warnings that it will deepen alienation among women.

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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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