Simon Rocker

Defiant response in shuls and shops

By Simon Rocker and Josh Jackman, January 15, 2015

When the Centre for Jewish Life holds its next Friday night dinner for young adults at a smart London hotel at the end of the month, there will be a pause in the flow of wine and chatter. Special tributes will be paid that night to the victims of the kosher supermarket attack in Paris.

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Few have felt safe here for years

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2015

Three times in as many years French jihadis have struck against Jewish targets in Western Europe and each have claimed four lives.

In 2012, Mohammed Merah, who had earlier killed three French soldiers, shot dead a teacher and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

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Shul extension blocked

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2015

An attempt by one of the United Synagogue's newest communities, Hadley Wood, to extend its premises is being blocked by Enfield Council.

The congregation started as a satellite of Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in 1990, becoming a fully-fledged US member 10 years ago. Since 2002, congregants have gathered in the ground floor of a house purchased as a meeting place.

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Reform shuls join forces on day care nursery

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2015

Two of the biggest Reform communities are co-operating on the launch of a year-round day care centre for babies and young children.

Finchley and North Western Reform (Alyth) Synagogues are due to open the Shofar nursery at Finchley's Sternberg Centre in September.

While both synagogues already have morning kindergartens which run during school term times, Shofar - the first of its type in th

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UK Muslims ‘united with Jews' against terror

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2015

The Muslim Council of Britain has sent a message of support to the Jewish community following last week’s terror attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.

In a statement on Saturday, the organisation said that it stood “united in its solidarity with the Jewish community”.

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Board praised over MCB statement

By Simon Rocker, January 9, 2015

The Church of England's outgoing interfaith adviser has praised the Board of Deputies for its controversial statement with the Muslim Council of Britain during last year's Gaza conflict.

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GCSE move will 'confuse' pupils over their beliefs

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2015

Jewish pupils could become confused about their beliefs if they are forced to study faiths other than their own at GCSE, according to the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools (Najos).

Many Jewish schools have suggested they would drop GSCE religious studies if the government introduces the compulsory teaching of at least two faiths, Najos told the Department for Education.

Jewish

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JFS passes inspection

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2015

JFS, the country's largest Jewish school, has been praised for the quality of its Jewish education by Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run inspection service.

A report published this week rates the school's Jewish studies as good overall, with a number of outstanding features. Inspectors found "a very positive and healthy climate for learning.

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Top rabbi to make UK tour

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2015

One of Israel's most high-profile modern Orthodox rabbis will undertake a speaking tour next month organised by the new UK branch of an Israeli education organisation.

Rabbi David Stav - a candidate last year for Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi - will be brought here by Lavi Olami, founded three years ago to broaden the appeal of religious Zionism and to offer a fresh perspective on Israel.

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What is a mensch?

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2015

There are few higher Jewish compliments to pay someone than to call them a mensch, though, of course, a true mensch would be too modest to want to be complimented.

A mensch is a person who can be relied on to act with honour and integrity. But the Yiddish term means more than that: it also suggests someone who is kind and considerate.

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JFS praised by inspectors for Jewish studies

By Simon Rocker, January 6, 2015

JFS, the country’s largest Jewish school, has been praised for the quality of its Jewish education by Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run inspection service.

A report published today said that the school’s Jewish studies was good overall, with a number of outstanding features.

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Board’s fears over new religious studies GCSE

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2014

A-level Jewish studies is too much influenced by non-Orthodox or Christian perspectives, the Board of Deputies has told the government.

Some Orthodox schools also remain strongly opposed to changes that would make it compulsory to teach at least two faiths for religious studies at GCSE.

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Alex Brummer to bid for Board presidency

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2014

Alex Brummer, the award-winnning city editor of the Daily Mail, has become the first contender in the race to succeed Vivian Wineman as president of the Board of Deputies in May.

The Brighton-born journalist, 65, who represents the United Synagogue at the organisation, has served as one of its three vice-presidents since 2012.

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Tel Aviv inspired to launch its own event

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2014

One guest from abroad will be taking a particular interest in events at Warwick this year.

Israeli Tal Grunspan is chairman of the inaugural Limmud Tel Aviv, which is scheduled to take place over two days at a college in Jaffa next May.

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More entry rules trouble for schools

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2014

Yet another Jewish school has been forced to tear up its entry policy after the government’s regulator ruled it unacceptable.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) has now ordered the Hasmonean High School in London to make changes, just days after its decision against the King David High School in Manchester.

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School ‘could do better’

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2014

An independent Sephardi school in London has received a critical inspection report despite pupils recording “significantly above average results” in English and maths.

Ofsted said that the Nancy Reuben Primary School in Hendon requires improvement because children made inconsistent progress and the quality of teaching needed to be better monitored.

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Delegates to Limmud denied entry to Britain

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2014

Britain’s attempt to control immigration has yet again hit the Limmud conference after a number of prospective participants from abroad had their visa applications rejected.

For the second year running, Serge Etele, the head of a nascent Jewish community in Cameroon, has been denied entry.

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Synagogue membership will no longer get your child a school place

By Simon Rocker, December 11, 2014

A Jewish secondary school has been told by a government quango that it can no longer use synagogue membership as one of its requirements for entry.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA), which regulates admissions, upheld a complaint against the cross-communal Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) in Barnet, north London.

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Downton comes to Limmud

By Simon Rocker, December 11, 2014

There will be a little piece of Downton Abbey at Limmud.

The producer of the ITV period drama, David Evans, who was nominated for an Emmy this year, will be giving a talk on his life at the educational conference later this month.

Mr Evans's attendance was revealed this week as details of the conference programme were released.

Former Labour Culture Minister and Mayor of London hopeful Da

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Shul bans fail to derail Israeli academic's tour

By Simon Rocker, December 11, 2014

The Zionist Federation claims a tour by Israeli academic Mordechai Kedar was a success, despite a further cancellation by one synagogue this week.

Dr Kedar was due to speak at three schools but they were pulled by the ZF after the Board of Deputies voiced concerns over his links to Pamela Geller, the anti-Islamist American activist banned from the UK last year.

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