Simon Rocker

Antisemitism a 'big problem' in Europe, EU survey finds

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

Two thirds of European Jews believe antisemitism is a major problem in their countries and three-quarters think it has become worse over the past five years, according to a European Union survey released today.

More..

Saudis can acquire Pakistani nukes, BBC says

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

Saudi Arabia has done a deal with Pakistan which will enable it to acquire nuclear weapons, according to a BBC Newsnight report.

It quotes former head of Israeli intelligence Amos Yadlin as saying “The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."

More..

Don’t boycott, back co-existence, Methodists told

By Simon Rocker, November 7, 2013

The Board of Deputies has published a 36-page paper in its efforts to stop the boycott campaign spreading among the churches.

The document has come specifically in response to an online consultation
launched by the Methodist church last month, ahead of a debate on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) due to take place at its conference next year.

More..

Sharansky to speak at Limmud

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, is to make his first visit to the Limmud conference at Warwick in December.

The former Israeli government minister and Soviet dissident will join Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi David Wolpe – who was the most influential rabbi in the United States, according to Newsweek – on the list of speakers.

More..

United Synagogue chief executive is quitting

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

United Synagogue chief executive Jeremy Jacobs is stepping down after five years in the post.

Mr Jacobs said that although it had always been his intention to move on after five years, it was “a decision I have not taken lightly”.

A chartered accountant, he had previously served as an honorary treasurer of the organisation for six years and chaired its youth division, Tribe.

More..

Schochet leaving Rosh Pinah

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Mill Hill Synagogue’s Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet has resigned as principal of the Rosh Pinah Primary School in Edgware.

Rabbi Schochet, who is also principal of the new Etz Chaim free school in Mill Hill, felt it was “inappropriate” to stay on at Rosh Pinah “when I can’t give the job the amount of time it deserves. And it will increasingly require more time than ever before.”

More..

The only way is Essex as Mirvis backs learning

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Chigwell Synagogue hosted the launch of a Sunday morning education venture by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this week.

More..

Sacks lands teaching roles in New York

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2013

Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has been made a professor at two American universities and will spend three months a year teaching in New York.

He has been appointed as the Kressel and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University and the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University.

More..

Reclining and dining

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

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.

More..

Film alleges Jewish exile was a myth

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

For most Jews, it is an article of faith: after being “forcibly exiled” from their land, says Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Jews never stopped praying for their return.

More..

New Haringey planning rules welcomed by strictly Orthodox

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2013

New planning guidelines introduced by a north London borough to help large families have been welcomed by its growing strictly Orthodox population.

Haringey Council said that the measures would give families greater freedom to create additional space while protecting the privacy of neighbours.

More..

World ignores Gypsy plight, says refugee from Nazis

By Simon Rocker, October 31, 2013

A refugee from Nazi Germany who is a regular speaker in schools has published a book for children to counter prejudice against Gypsies.

Ruth Barnett, who came here on the Kindertransport from Berlin at the age of four in 1939, draws parallels between the Jewish and Gypsy experience in Jews and Gypsies, Myths and Realities.

More..

‘Significant progress’ in Israeli-Palestinian talks

By Simon Rocker, October 31, 2013

EXCLUSIVE

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have made “significant progress” towards “a comprehensive agreement on all the issues” that will “bring us to the end of the conflict”, according to an Israeli expert with an inside track on the negotiations.

More..

Lord Sacks becomes American professor

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2013

Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has been made a professor at two American universities and will spend three months a year teaching in New York.

He has been appointed as the Kressel and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University and Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University.

More..

Top cast at Cambridge Limmud

By Simon Rocker, October 28, 2013

One of Israel’s most famous literary figures, playwright Joshua Sobol, will be among the cast of top-class speakers at Cambridge Limmud on Sunday week.

More..

Religious studies 'must be part of national curriculum'

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2013

A leading Reform rabbi has called for religious education to be made part of the national curriculum.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, of Maidenhead Synagogue, said that the launch of new government guidelines on teaching the subject did not go far enough.

More..

Time to end the merger broiges

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2013

There is a course running at the new JW3 centre on “Great British Broigeses” about the quarrels that have blazed through Anglo-Jewish history.

More..

UN is sweet on honey-makers

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2013

An international aid charity founded by a British rabbi has won a £445,000 grant from a United Nations agency to improve honey production in the developing world.

More..

Madoff adviser unaware of billion dollar fraud

By Simon Rocker, October 24, 2013

The liquidators of a London business owned by American conman Bernie Madoff have lost a High Court claim to recover money paid to a leading Jewish businesswoman.

Mr Justice Popplewell found that Sonja Kohn, from Austria, had acted “in good faith” and had had no reason to suspect Madoff’s crooked dealings.

More..

Diplomat who faced down the Gestapo

By Simon Rocker, October 24, 2013

Were it not for him, Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger might not have been born, nor Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, nor thousands of other British Jews.

The name of Robert Smallbones will be unfamiliar to many. For only now has the British diplomat finally begun to receive recognition for his efforts to pluck Jews out of Nazi Germany.

More..