Simon Rocker

Change of heart as Levy stays in the Shenley pulpit

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Rabbi Natan Levy, who had planned to make aliyah this summer, is to remain as minister of Shenley Synagogue.

The California-born rabbi, a former Jewish chaplain at Bristol University, joined the United Synagogue congregation three years ago.

Shenley vice-chairman Natalie Sussman said that "on reflection, Rabbi Levy felt that there was more work to do at Shenley and for that reason has decide

More..

Rising rolls

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

More than half of Jewish primary age children in London outside the Charedi sector are attending a Jewish primary school, according to a new report.

Enrolment at the capital's Jewish primaries has increased from 50 per cent of (non-Charedi) primary-age children to 60 per cent in just four years.

As previously reported in the JC, 140 additional places became available in primaries serving the

More..

WikiLeaks outs ex-NIF director

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

The New Israel Fund has dismissed criticism after WikiLeaks published controversial remarks made by a senior official.

Hedva Radanovitz, the then NIF grants director, told a US embassy official in Israel in February 2010 that she believed in a hundred years Israel would be "majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear".

Professor Gera

More..

A yeshivah launching - in Kent?

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Princess Diana went to boarding school there and it boasts one of the oldest cricket grounds in the land.

But could Sevenoaks in Kent be about to have a new claim to fame: as the south-east's answer to Gateshead?

A new yeshivah for boys of 16 and 17 has opened about three miles from the centre of town.

More..

Palestinian UN bid will 'work against peace'

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

The Palestinians' push for recognition of independence at the United Nations later this month was criticised as counterproductive to the chances of peace at a packed Westminster meeting on Monday night.

Former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, who is founding chairman of the Friends of Israel, said that if the UN General Assembly backed the Palestinians' declaration of statehood, "it wo

More..

Gingertops of the pops

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Following in the footsteps of Stacey Solomon and Katie Waissel on the X Factor were married couple Brian and Annette Altman, who performed as The Gingertops on this season's show.

More..

Corrie's special delivery

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Fans of ITV's Coronation Street will have been surprised to hear the exchange between Rita Sullivan, doughty manageress of newspaper shop The Kabin, and her new newspaper "delivery boy" Dennis Tanner on Sunday night.

Down on his luck Dennis was homeless until his old friend took pity on him, giving him paid employment.

On his first round, Dennis got a little muddled with the deliveries.

More..

PM's holiday reading

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

David Cameron may prefer Tuscany or Cornwall to Tel Aviv, but for his hols at least, he took a little bit of Israel with him.

His vacation reading included Simon Sebag Montefiore's history of Jerusalem.

Western leaders must have Israel on their minds, because President Obama's summer choices included leading Israeli novelist David Grossman's Until the End of the Land.

More..

A fishy-looking mezuzah

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Given the popularity of sushi at the fanciest simchas, it was only a matter of time before someone attempted to formalise the special relationship Jews have with the Japanese rice and fish snack.

There's been smoked salmon and cream cheese sushi and herring sushi, but the latest creation is a sushi-shaped mezuzah - a picture of which was circulated by Rabbi Rashi Simon from educational group K

More..

Liza Minnelli the headliner for Holocaust Centre event

By Simon Rocker, September 5, 2011

Liza Minnelli is to give a one-off performance in London on September 25 to help raise money for Britain's first Holocaust Museum.

The star of the film Cabaret will appear at the White Rose Ball in aid of the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire.

Ms Minelli said she was "thrilled and so happy to lend my support to such a worthy and splendid cause".

More..



Struggling to pay the bills

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2011

A poignant letter in this week’s Jewish Tribune reveals one family's battle to keep their head above water in these hard economic times.

The anonymous writer used to raise money for Jewish schools, then he lost his job, home and became bankrupt. Life is now a constant struggle.

More..

New year machzor from Sacks

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

The Chief Rabbi's new Rosh Hashanah machzor hit the shops this week.

Edited by Dayan Ivan Binstock of the London Beth Din and published by Jerusalem-based Koren, the machzor features a new translation, commentary and introductory essay by Lord Sacks.

It is the first in a planned series of prayer books by the Chief Rabbi covering the major festivals, superseding the now out-of-print Routledg

More..

Dunner is off to LA for high school job

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Saatchi Synagogue founding rabbi Pini Dunner is leaving the UK for a new educational career in the United States.

He has been appointed as the mashgiach ruchani - spiritual supervisor - for the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Los Angeles.

His brief will be to communicate "the warmth and spirituality of Judaism", which, he said, could be done in many ways.

More..

Mason joins the Forum

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

The London Jewish Forum, liaising between the Jewish community and the capital's authorities, has appointed a former Union of Jewish Students campaigns officer as its new director.

Peter Mason will join the forum this month after running the office of shadow health minister Liz Kendall.

Mr Mason said the coming year would be important, "with the mayoral and London Assembly elections in May,

More..

Euro Jewish parliament plan

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Plans are under way to set up a European Jewish parliament, with an online poll to elect its 120 members due to open later this month.

The initiative has been launched by the European Jewish Union, a Swiss non-profit organisation with a head office in London.

More..

Richmond rabbi uses Israeli knowhow to aid the world

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

There are probably not many rabbis helping to provide cleaner water in Myanmar (Burma) or first-aid training to wildlife rangers in Kenya.

But Rabbi Yossi Ives, the minister of Richmond Synagogue, is doing just that through the organisation he has founded to put Jewish humanitarian values into practice.

His enterprise, Tag International Development, supports social action and community-build

More..

Jews welcome ban on EDL marches

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

The London Jewish Forum has backed Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to ban a planned march by the English Defence League on Saturday through the East London borough of Tower Hamlets, home to a large Muslim population.

More..

A Canterbury tale - with a difference

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Police were called to a strictly Orthodox holiday camp in Kent last month after the appearance of a stranger aroused suspicion.

A bareheaded man, not wearing Orthodox dress, entered the marquee which served as the camp's temporary synagogue at Kent University, Canterbury, one evening.

According to Levi Yitzchok Schapiro, a Jewish community activist from Stamford Hill, north London, when the

More..

Hare raises Israeli hackles

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Another case of Israel being the whipping-boy on TV?

After the outrage over Channel 4's The Promise earlier this year, now the Israeli embassy plans a letter of protest to the BBC over Page Eight, David Hare's secret services thriller, which was screened on Sunday.

The film's sub-plot features Rachel Weisz (above, with fellow-star Bill Nighy) playing a Damascus-born publisher in London who s

More..

A man to the bimah born

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

There are probably many rabbis whose father was a rabbi. But Roni Tabick must be unique in this country in that both his parents are rabbis.

The son of Rabbis Jackie and Larry Tabick is about to enter his second year of rabbinic studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the USA.

More..