Simon Rocker

Largest ever survey reveals decline of Jewish mainstream

By Simon Rocker, January 30, 2014

Younger Jews are more religious than their parents’ generation, intermarriage has slowed down and the mainstream Orthodoxy that once typified British Jewry is in retreat.

These are some of the major findings of the most comprehensive survey ever carried out on the Jewish population of the UK which were released yesterday.

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Mirvis is praised on his century

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2014

United Synagogue president Steven Pack has complimented Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on an “amazing job” in his first 100 days of office.

In an article posted in the US’s online magazine, You and US, Mr Pack gave Rabbi Mirvis “10 out of 10”, saying he had “certainly delivered his objectives” in the opening months of his chief rabbinate.

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Ofsted checks on 'missing' schools

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2014

Hackney Council believes there could be as many as 20 local yeshivot where children are being taught without the necessary state registration.

Under the law, children must be taught in a recognised institution until they are 16, even if it is independent.
But more than 1,000 strictly Orthodox boys from the age of 13 are still thought to be “missing” from the registered system in London.

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Successor to Mirvis at Kinloss

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2014

Finchley Synagogue congregants have overwhelmingly endorsed the appointment of Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence — currently with the Sydney Great Synagogue — as the successor to Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as its senior minister.

Rabbi Lawrence, his wife Mandy and two of their four children had spent Shabbat with the Finchley community prior to the vote.

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New London's 50th

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2014

The New London Synagogue in St John’s Wood launched its jubilee celebrations on Sunday with a civic service incorporating the induction of chazan, Cantor Jason Green.

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New London's 50th

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2014

The New London Synagogue in St John’s Wood launched its jubilee celebrations on Sunday with a civic service incorporating the induction of chazan, Cantor Jason Green.

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Synagogue cancels talk by 'Down's Syndrome is a punishment' rabbi

By Simon Rocker, January 24, 2014

A Sephardi congregation has cancelled a talk by a rabbi who believes that Down’s Syndrome and autism are punishments for sins committed in a previous life.

Israeli-born Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, who runs an outreach organisation in the United States, was due to speak at Od Yosef Hai in Hendon, north London next month.

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Glenda Jackson: 'ban Jobbik leader'

By Simon Rocker, January 23, 2014

Labour MP Glenda Jackson has joined calls to ban the leader of the far-right Hungarian party Gabor Vona from entering the UK.

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Ban this man: Jobbik visit to UK is 'deplorable'

By Simon Rocker, January 23, 2014

Community leaders have demanded that Home Secretary Theresa May ban a scheduled address by the leader of the neo-Nazi Hungarian party, Jobbik, in London on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.

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Board urges UK government to ban Jobbik leader

By Simon Rocker, January 21, 2014

Jewish leaders have called on Home Secretary Theresa May to ban representatives of the far-right Hungarian Jobbik party from addressing a meeting in London on Sunday.

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Cyprus: Reclining and dining

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

On our last visit to Cyprus, we could not escape the attention of the ubiquitous cats (brought to the island, so legend has it, by St Helen in the fourth century to combat the snakes). Whenever we ate al fresco, our fish would attract a bunch of scrawny mendicants, slaloming between our feet in search of an under-the-table offering.

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Not just an olive branch:a tree

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2014

The Board of Deputies has been battling against the latest boycott threat to emerge from the churches.

Last month, the Methodists launched an online consultation to gauge public opinion on sanctions against Israel, ahead of a policy debate next summer.

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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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