Simon Rocker

Charity ruling spells relief for strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

A small Christian congregation has won a two-year battle to gain charitable status in a case which could have had a knock-on effect on strictly Orthodox Jewish groups.

The Charity Commission has finally agreed to register the Preston Down Trust in Devon, which belongs to the Plymouth Brethren sect, after rejecting its application in 2012.

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Warning over flagging Israel interest

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

The fall in the number of young British Jews going on gap years to Israel is a “crisis” in need of attention, a new report on Israel education has warned.

Gap years with Zionist youth movments have traditionally been seen as training programmes for future Jewish community activists and leaders.

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Honour for Bach expert

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

A London philanthropist, who fled Germany as a child, is to be presented with the country’s highest award.

Sir Ralph Kohn, 86, is to receive the Order of Merit at a ceremony at the German Embassy on Tuesday.

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Orthodox outreach groups join in 'positive' message

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2014

Leading Orthodox outreach groups this week pledged to work more closely in order to promote “positive authentic Judaism” across the community.

Around 150 rabbis and rebbetzins gathered in Watford on Sunday and Monday for the inaugural Aleinu conference organised jointly by Aish, the Jewish Learning Exchange and Project Seed.

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Malala to get Anne Frank courage award

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2014

The Anne Frank Trust is to honour Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani campaigner for women’s education who survived a Taliban assassination attempt.

Malala, who now lives with her family in Birmingham, is to receive the Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage. Her father, Ziauddin, will accept it on her behalf at the trust’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day lunch later this month.

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Putting trust in historic Bevis Marks

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2014

Britain’s oldest synagogue, Bevis Marks, is set to enjoy a more prominent spot on the tourist map after being recognised by the National Trust.

The 300-year-old Sephardi synagogue has been accepted as a partner of the trust, which will now promote it as a place of interest.

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Fancy a latte? Go to Northwood and Pinner Liberal shul

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2014

Come the spring, members of Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue will be able to enjoy a cappuccino and latte within its walls.

Building has begun on a multi-purpose room whose primary use, explained Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, “will be a café open to members and their friends”.

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Board of Deputies mourns Ariel Sharon

By Simon Rocker, January 11, 2014

The president of the Board of Deputies, Vivian Wineman, paid tribute to former Israeli president Ariel Sharon, who died earlier today.

"He was a towering and at times challenging figure who played a dominant role in many of the critical moments in the history of Israel, showing outstanding gallantry and flair," Mr Wineman said.

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UK professor condemns academics over boycott

By Simon Rocker, January 10, 2014

A British professor has denounced the American academics who voted for a boycott of Israeli universities as living in a “fantasy world”.

Derby University professor of education Dennis Hayes attacked last month’s move by the American Studies Association, in an article in Spiked, the online libertarian current affairs magazine.

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Where were Lubavitch?

By Simon Rocker, January 10, 2014

Leading Orthodox outreach organisations gathered at conference in Watford last weekend, pledging to work more closely together in a spirit of unity.

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Cuts will be catastrophe for young Charedim

By Simon Rocker, January 10, 2014

A further cut in housing benefit for people aged under-25 would have a disastrous effect on strictly Orthodox Jews, a senior community figure warned this week.

Chancellor George Osborne, interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme this week, suggested that the measure could be taken as part of further welfare reforms.

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Rabbis to investigate Halpern

By Simon Rocker, January 9, 2014

A special Beth Din set up to examine complaints against Golders Green rabbi Chaim Halpern is expected to resume its inquiries shortly.

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Limmud - what the international Jewish media said

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2014

Here's the views of some guests from abroad at the Limmud conference published over the past few days:

"The weather was awful, and the food not much better- but everything else about this annual British-Jewish mega-event was fabulous” “Judy Maltz of Ha’aretz

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JLC and Board leaders hold unity talks

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2014

Representatives of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council met today to pursue talks about possible unification.

Discussions were briefly suspended in autumn following JLC complaints that it had not been consulted by the Board over the formation of a new parliamentary group on British Jews.

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The Gateshead Rav on Limmud

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2014

The Gateshead Rav, Rabbi Shraga Faivel Zimmerman, has returned to the question of Limmud, in an article in last week’s edition of the Orthodox weekly, the Jewish Tribune.

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Can friends argue without falling out?

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2014

God chose the Jews because He likes a good argument, the Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks joked. Jews are a quite an argumentative lot, said Simon Schama in his recent TV series.

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We’ll be there again next year, say US rabbis

By Simon Rocker, January 2, 2014

The United Synagogue rabbis who attended this year’s Lmmud have praised the conference and agreed that Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was correct in his controversial decision to attend it.

Nine US rabbis joined the chief rabbi in participating in the five-day cross-communal event, at Warwick University, defying criticism from right-wing sections of the Orthodox community.

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Outreach groups press for Orthodox unity

By Simon Rocker, January 2, 2014

Around 100 Orthodox rabbis from across the country are expected to gather at a conference at the weekend convened at short notice by leading outreach organisations.

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The next chief?

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2013

As we forecast last month, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of the Great Synagogue, Sydney, is set to come home to take the pulpit at Finchley United vacated in spring by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

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Should I put my mother-in-law in a home?

By Simon Rocker, December 27, 2013

Question: My husband wants his frail mother to come and live with us. But she is a cantakerous old woman who I believe will be a disruptive presence in our house. I know we’re supposed to respect our elders but for the good of our family, I believe that she should go into a home. What should I do?

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