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Shuls: Don’t kiss Torahs or mezuzot

Health fears over religious artefacts as community braces itself for virus An unprecedented ban on kissing Torahs and mezuzot is among sweeping measures undertaken by Jewish organisations this week to contain the growing coronavirus threat, writes Jack Mendel. The precautions were announced as two Yeshiva University students in New York placed themselves in quarantine and the global death toll topped 3,000. The United Synagogue (US) advised its 40,000 members at 62 shuls to avoid synagogue if they have “recently visited one of the areas or been in contact with someone who has recently visited one of the areas listed in government guidance where there are currently Coronavirus clusters”. It urged members to stay home if they “have been in contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed Coronavirus or have “flu symptoms”. The US also asked members to refrain from “shaking hands and/or kissing when greeting” as well as “kissing mezuzot, religious books and the Sefer Torah until the threat is over”. Should restrictions prevent someone from reciting Kaddish for a loved one, they are advised to consult their rabbi to find

someone to say it on their behalf. The number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK has risen to 85. The elderly and those with weaker immune systems are among the most vulnerable. Helen Simmons, chief executive of Nightingale Hammerson Jewish care home in Clapham, said: “We are taking the risk to residents seriously and stepping up precautions.” She added: “We have increased our infection control information for all visitors, staff and volunteers.” Elsewhere, Jewish Care is taking “a number of precautionary measures” and issued guildelines to “all staff, volunteers, residents and members across our services”. Chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “Attention has been given to the nature of our work with older people who may be at higher risk of being affected. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of those in our care.” Just weeks before Passover, Kosher Kingdom reassured customers over fears of a shortage linked to the virus. Rivki Rokach, a manager at the store in Golders Green, said it was “taking all reasonable precautions and Continued on page 5

CONFETTI AND CONFUSION Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud won Israel’s third election in the past 12 months this week, but not by enough to escape the likelihood of a fourth vote this summer. Netanyahu, pictured with wife Sara, secured 36 of 120 seats. He is in court in two weeks after being indicted on corruption charges. Reports and analysis, p2, 3, 4 & 20



Jewish News 5 March 2020

News / Israeli election

Bibi’s heart still set on survival

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu address supporters on Monday evening By Stephen Oryszczuk in Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party won Israel’s third election in the past 12 months on Monday, but not by enough to escape the likelihood of a fourth vote this summer. The anticipated apathy did not transpire, with the highest turnout in years, and despite the

majority of Israelis voting for parties opposed to him, Bibi still produced a proverbial rabbit from the ballot box, winning 36 out of 120 seats. Blue and White, the main opposition party jointly led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, won 33, while a last-minute surge towards the voting stations from Israeli Arabs meant that the Joint List registered 15 seats, their best results ever. The two strictly-Orthodox parties registered


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16 seats between them, with Shas picking up nine and UTJ seven, as right-wing secularist party Yisrael Beitenu, led by former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, also won seven seats. Lieberman has vowed never to enter into coalition with the strictly-Orthodox, which Netanyahu needs to form a government. Right-wing national-religious bloc Yamina, which featured former settler leader and cur-

rent defence minister Naftali Bennett, won six seats. Right-wing Jewish Power failed to win any as it was below the 3.25 percent threshold. Any coalition led by Netanyahu would include his allies Shas, UTJ and Yamina, but they won only 58 seats between them. A majority of 61 is needed to govern. Likud’s leaders will now need to sit down with Blue and White’s leaders to try to form a unity government. Similar efforts failed late last year over Netanyahu’s insistence on leading it. Israel’s combined left-wing and centre-left grouping managed only seven seats. It marks another fall from grace; less than five years ago, left-wing and centre-left parties won 29 seats. Although Netanyahu is due in court in two weeks’ time, the prime minister still reversed gains made by Blue and White last September, in part by suggesting that ex-army chief Gantz had mental health issues, was “not a leader” and would be “beholden to the Arabs”. At an election rally after exit polls suggested his unlikely win, Netanyahu said: “We stood in front of strong forces. They told us we are going to lose, that it was the end of the Netanyahu era. We turned lemons into lemonade.” Despite a difficult campaign, Gantz may end up leading the country if justice officials rule in the coming days that it would be “improper” for a prime minister to continue to serve while under indictment. Netanyahu’s refusal to resign means the situation is untested in law. Both the Supreme Court and the Attorney General were reluctant to rule on it before the election but will now have to; Israel’s longest-serving PM may soon have to bow out on the back of a victory.

President Rivlin despairs at ‘filthy tricks’ campaign Netanyahu’s victory came in a campaign of dirty tricks that the Israeli president said had “deteriorated into filth”. Reuven Rivlin said he had only ever felt celebratory about his taking part in Israeli elections, but this week felt “shame”, writes Stephen Oryszczuk. In the run-up to the ballot, news story dominating conversation in Israel was that a rabbi had secretly recorded his conversation with one of Gantz’s aides, who was badmouthing his boss. The rabbi leaked it to the media, the aide was sacked and Gantz suffered in the polls. Channel 12 then aired

another recording of the same rabbi talking to Benjamin Netanyahu about how best to entrap the aide. Netanyahu denied ever having spoken to the rabbi. That recording was then removed by Facebook. Voting in his home town, Gantz said: “We have all been exposed to lies, recordings, and a system that tries to pit us against each other,” adding: “Do not be drawn by lies.” The recordings were not the only controversy. Shas was fined for distributing kameas (charms) at polling stations in Jerusalem, telling voters that they offered “divine protection against coronavirus”.

The Jewish Power party complained that Netanyahu’s Likud sent millions of anonymous text messages to voters claiming that Jewish Power had withdrawn, urging them to vote for Likud instead. But the Central Elections Committee (CEC) said the complaint lacked evidence. In Eilat, however, the CEC did order Likudniks to remove online adverts promising free limousine rides to anyone who voted for the party, ruling that it constituted bribery. Likud said the adverts were posted by supporters, not officials. Blue and White, meanwhile, filed a petition with the CEC for removal of a doctored video posted to Netanyahu’s Facebook page in which Gantz supposedly calls on Israelis not to vote for him (in fact he said no such thing). The CEC agreed that the video violated an Israeli election law barring the publication of misleading campaign materials and ordered Netanyahu to remove it from his social media accounts, which he duly did, but not before tens of thousands had seen it.

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Israeli election / News

Biggest battles are still ahead for Bibi BY RICHARD PATER


Brave faces: Blue and White electoral alliance leaders Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon and Benny Gantz

How Arabs stole election, fair and square In March 2015, Netanyahu posted a 28-second clip on Facebook of him saying Arab Israelis were “voting in droves”writes Stephen Oryszczuk. The comment was designed to usher any non-voting Likudsupporting Israelis to the ballot boxes. It became known as the ‘gevalt appeal’, after the Yiddish word expressing alarm. In September last year he was at it again, claiming Arabs “stole the election” a few months earlier, whereas in fact less than half of all Arab Israelis who were eligible to vote in April 2019 did so. At 49 percent, Arab Israelis weren’t even turning up. How different it was this week. The

Joint List registered 15 seats, its highest ever, after 67 percent of eligible Arabs turned up at polling stations, most voting for what Joint List chair Ayman Odeh called “a principled alternative for the entire Israeli political map”. The party also benefited from thousands of votes from left-leaning Jews, who Londonbased group Yachad said “voted in solidarity with Israeli Arabs… a vote against racism and for equality”. Odeh, who saw every other opposition party lose seats, said it was a “huge achievement... Brothers and sisters, you have created a historic day. From the first

elections in 1949 until today, we have not received this degree of support and this number of seats.” Combined, the Joint List votes helped to keep Netanyahu from dictating the terms of his continued tenure. The day before the election, UK-Israel thinktank BICOM said turnout would be “a key variable... in particular Arab-Israeli turnout, which is likely to dictate whether Gantz has a realistic option at forming a government, or at the very least denying one to Netanyahu”. It seems that Arabs did vote in droves after all, stealing the election fair and square from under Bibi’s nose.

Commentators predicted that one of the big challenges ahead of Israel’s third elections would be voter apathy. In the event, the turnout of more than 71 percent was the largest in 20 years. Here in Jerusalem, the municipality offered voters free ice cream, but that was unlikely to have clinched it. An important factor is more likely to have been Likud’s campaign that targeted areas fitting the its voter profile that had a low turnout in September’s election. Likud strategists explained that this targeted campaign in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netanya and Hadera focused on 260,000 voters. This could have made the difference. The other significant rise in turnout was in the Arab sector. Substantial numbers came out in support of the Joint List, which not only remains the third largest

party but also increased its representation in the Knesset. Arab voters are likely to have been galvanised by the refusal of Zionist parties, including Blue and White, to sit with them in a coalition. Netanyahu, who turned 70 since the last election, embraced this election with youthful exuberance. He hit the campaign trail at a pace that would put younger men to shame, full of energy and dynamism, the strategists clearly recognising that the PM was their greatest asset. Likud’s re-energised campaigning stood in contrast to Blue and White. Its leader, Benny Gantz, sought to remain aloof and statesmanlike, yet appeared wooden and pedestrian by comparison. The battle to form a government now begins. Netanyahu’s trial begins soon. He will need all his guile to form a stable government (if the Supreme Court and Attorney General allow himself to do so), while defending himself in court.



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Jewish News 5 March 2020

News / Israeli election

Now the legal battle begins Whether Benjamin Netanyahu will even get the chance of governing Israel for four more years is to be decided by the country’s judicial system in the coming days, setting the stage for a huge battle. He is the first prime minister not to resign while facing criminal charges (in his case, bribery, fraud and breach of trust), forcing Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to advise the president whether Netanyahu can remain in office while under indictment. The question is urgent, because Reuven Rivlin has to ask the political leader thought most able to form a government to do so in about ten days’ time. Can Rivlin ask a defendant, whose trial is set to begin on 17 March, to do so? Given that there is no prec-

Bibi is the first leader not to resign while facing criminal charges

edent, and given that the law is less than clear in such situations, it is likely that the Supreme Court will be asked whether Netanyahu

should be barred from office. However, the court has come under relentless attack from Netanyahu’s right-wing allies, who want

to strip it of its power to overturn unconstitutional laws passed by the Israeli parliament. Given the context, an expanded panel of judges is likely to consider the case under the leadership of Chief Justice Esther Hayut, in a similar fashion to Britain’s constitutional Brexit crisis last year, when all nine Supreme Court judges sat to consider the legality of Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament. Yet it is not just the court that must be careful. Mandelblit, who recommended the indictment, has also come under attack, with angry Netanyahu-supporting crowds calling for him to be sacked. The election battle may be over but the war over Israel’s system of checks and balances is certainly not.

Voting while quarantined Election day is a national holiday in Israel and the country usually has a high turnout compared with western democracies. But the repeat vote and fears of coronavirus, which has so far been kept largely in check, hindered turnout. Israel set up 15 polling stations to allow voting by hundreds of Israelis who have been ordered to remain in home quarantine after possible exposure to the virus.



There is no such thing as “left wing” in Israel anymore. The famous Labour Party of Ben-Gurion, Eshkol, Golda Meir and Shimon Peres,

without which there would not be a State of Israel, is all but extinct. Together with what remains of Meretz, the latest version of Labour, under the failed leadership of Amir Peretz (who only got four percent of the vote in his home town) gained just seven seats, or five percent of the vote. Even allowing for the traditional

Labour voters switching allegiance to the main opposition (Blue and White), some voted for the Joint Arab List – now the third largest party – while many stayed at home. This reflects the disconnect between the ideology of these two left-wing parties and the people they claim to represent. Whilst their arguments sound fine

in university corridors, these parties have no message for the development towns of the Negev and the Galilee, or the working class areas of most cities. Contrast their lack of message with the religious parties, who speak for tradition and religion, which they see as under attack by the secularleft and secular-right, or with Likud,

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which speaks to nationalist and patriotic feelings. There is no significant “left” in Israel any more because the Alf Garnett/Archie Bunker gut nationalism of the working class finds its home in the parties of the right and the centreright. In short, Labour and Meretz are simply out of touch.


5 March 2020 Jewish News


AIPAC talk / Virus warning / News

Rabbi Mirvis tells AIPAC: Be fearless, show courage Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called for unity against antisemitism at this week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, D.C. “You are in positions of leadership and influence. Please use it with all you’ve got at this time, for the sake of Jews and Judaism and Medinat Yisrael,” hetold some 18,000 supporters of the pro-Israel group gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre. “Please use your influence fearlessly and with courage. That is what Jews of the United Kingdom have done, together with our many friends and the results are there to be seen,” he said in an apparent reference to the December general election. While Israeli and Jewish leaders have been “warmly and graciously welcomed at 10 Downing Street,” British Jews were “filled with deep anxiety” over the past year, Mirvis said. He spoke about his The

t. Es

Times op-ed ahead of the December poll, in which he accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of “being complicit in prejudice”. The Labour Party, which experienced its worst electoral defeat since 1935, is being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, making it the second political party to be probed by the human rights watchdog. The article, he said, was written “in concert with key Jewish figures and key Jewish organisations because on the matter of antisemitism we have always acted as one”. “That is why our voice has been heard and our views have been respected,” he explained. “Today I issue a call to the Jews of America: please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice.” Former British MP Ian Austin delivered an emotional speech, saying: “I want to tell you about a 10-year-old Jewish

Above: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and, below, Ian Austin

boy from Czechoslovakia. A few days after Hitler invaded in March 1939, he was put on a train to England by his mum and teenage sisters. It was the last time he’d see them. They were rounded up, sent first to a ghetto, then to Theresienstadt before being sent to Treblinka where they were murdered in October 1942.” He concluded: “Ladies and gentlemen, that little boy was my dad, and it is because of him that I am here today.” Speakers included Jewish


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Synagogues give virus guidance Leadership Council chairman Jonathan Goldstein and retired British Army officer Col. Richard Kemp, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White Party chair Benny Gantz and Democratic Party candidates Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden.

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Jewish News

5 March 2020

News / Book Week demo / Tonge lashing

Activists disrupt Jewish Book Week Four Jewish activists disrupted a talk by the commentators Melanie Phillips and Douglas Murray this week over Islamophobia concerns, writes Mathilde Frot. Both writers spoke at Tuesday’s talk, which was part of

Jewish Book Week, now in its 68th year. The Jewish Solidarity Action protesters were removed by security. Footage released online by the group formerly known as Jews Against Boris shows activists holding up a banner

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marked “Say no to Islamophobia” from a balcony at the Kings Place event on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the campaign criticised organisers for hosting an event “with speakers who have repeatedly been accused of spreading anti-Muslim hatred”. “At a time when many migrants and people of colour in this country feel under attack from the government, and the far-right is on the rise, it is absolutely crucial that we build safety through solidarity,” the spokesperson said. “For Jewish Book Week to host this event sends a message that the Jewish community is not willing to stand in solidarity with our Muslim siblings against the bigotry they face in the media.” The Jewish Chronicle

The protesters at the entrance to Kings Place, in Kings Cross

sparked a backlash last year with its decision to publish an op-ed by Phillips describing the concept of Islamophobia as “profoundly anti-Jew”. “To equate it with the dehumanising, insane and essentially murderous outpourings of Jew-hatred is obscene,” the columnist and author wrote.

The Board of Deputies criticised the newspaper for running the piece, describing the decision as an error. “AntiMuslim prejudice is very real and it is on the rise. Our community must stand as allies to all facing racism,” it said. The newspaper’s editor Stephen Pollard apologised to

“any reader… angered or upset by the piece” in a statement acknowledging criticism. Phillips told Jewish News on Wednesday: “As the audience who called for these intruders to be thrown out made very clear, their attempt to smear and intimidate stands directly against the Jewish ethic of truth-telling, reasoned discussion and resistance to bigotry.” Meanwhile, campaigners criticised Murray, an associate editor at the Spectator, for previously describing Islamophobia as a “crock term”. The writer made the comment last year in a piece titled “The false equivalence between ‘Islamophobia’ and antisemitism.” Douglas Murray and Jewish Book Week were approached for comment.

TONGE: ‘ISRAEL A PUPPET MASTER’ Anti-Israel peer Jenny Tonge has been condemned for claiming Israel is America’s “puppet master”, writes Jack Mendel. She made her com-

ments during a during a debate in the House of Lords about Donald Trump’s peace plan. Tonge said politicians must “not allow our country to fall under the shadow of the United States of America and its puppet master, Israel. “Many have dismissed the proposals as yet another plan in the decades-old series of talks which have never produced any benefit for the indigenous people of Palestine but have served as a smokescreen for the relentless expansion of Israel into Palestinian lands.” She added that the proposals would “make sure that Israelis do not ever have to come into contact with Palestinians. Many people have described that as apartheid.”

Baroness Tonge in the Lords

After previous comments Baroness Tonge was suspended by the Liberal Democrats, investigated by the Commissioner for Standards in the Lords, and forced to stand down as patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said Tonge’s “latest foray into

antisemitism is no slip-up”, adding: “The Baroness knows exactly what she is doing, by stating that the Jewish state is a ‘puppet master’, with global powers such as the USA in its control. That... she still has a platform for her views in the Lords is shameful.” Lord Palmer, chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, criticised Tonge, saying: “Antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere existed long before the emergence of the state of Israel. The lies about Jews and their supposed control is not new. You can go back to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a tsarist forgery published before Israel was even a tear in Theodor Herzl’s eye.” • Danny Stone, page 22

Former ministers: Reject Trump plan

Survey emphasises calls for equality

Seven former Foreign Office ministers are among 50 politicians across Europe who signed an open letter saying Donald Trump’s proposed Middle East peace deal “evokes chilling associations” with apartheid era South Africa. The British contingent spans three decades of government and includes two ex-Middle East ministers, a forner foreign secretary and a former European commissioner. The seven, including Douglas Alexander, Ben Bradshaw, Sir Alan Duncan, Peter Hain and Jack Straw, wrote: “The plan envisages a formalisation of the reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly.” They added that the map featured “proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s bantustans”.

Seventy-seven percent of Jewish women say the community has not yet achieved gender equality, a new consultation has revealed. Findings, based on an online survey of 364 respondents, were released by The Alliance of Jewish Women and their Organisations’ (AJWO) this week at a launch event held at Chai Cancer Care. The ‘What Do Jewish Women Want 2020’ consultation revealed that half of Jewish women feel communal organisations don’t offer women the same opportunities as men, with 17 percent disagreeing. Featuring 100 leading Jewish women at the event including Rachel Riley, top civil servant Tamara Finkelstein and ex Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, the consultation seeks to help tackle the gender pay gap, end all-male panel discussions, and call for a louder voice for Jewish women on issues like climate change. • Laura Marks, page 24

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Vatican archives / Campus concerns / News

Vatican opens files on Shoah-era Pope Jewish representatives have thanked the Vatican for opening its archives of wartime Pope Pius XII to allay suspicions that he turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, writes Stephen Oryszczuk. Catholic leaders said they would open the vault to scrutiny on Monday, but suggested this week that the paperwork would show the controversial pontiff – dubbed ‘Hitler’s Pope’ – actually worked to save Jews behind the scenes. Pius XII headed the Catholic Church for two decades beginning in 1939, and Jewish leaders have long accused him of staying quiet as millions of Jews were killed, but this week Vatican officials said there was “no smoking gun” to be found. In 2010, Pope Francis co-authored a book with his friend, an Argentinian rabbi, in which they said it was “reasonable” that the Vatican should open its archives to let Holocaust researchers pore over thousands of closed files.

The text of a speech given by Pope Pius XII, inset, in 1944

In 2016, Francis said Pius XII was a “great defender of Jews” and the late British Holocaust historian Sir Martin Gilbert also defended the pontiff for saving 4,700 Jews in Rome and giving 477 refuge in the Vatican. Gilbert even argued Pius should be included in Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations. This week, the World Jewish Congress said that opening the archives

was the Vatican “demonstrating a commitment to learning and airing the truth, as well as to the significance of Holocaust memory”. Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Archives, said: “We will not pass judgment for now. We will leave each person to draw their own conclusions but we have no fear. The good (that Pius did) was so great it will dwarf the few shadows.” • Ed Kessler, Opinion, page 24

‘ANTISEMITIC’ MATERIAL PUBLISHER BACKS TALK Jewish students have expressed disgust at an event to be held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) promoted by the publisher of an “antisemitic” booklet. The talk on 7 March, entitled Student Workshop: Advocacy for Palestine on Campus, will be hosted by the university’s pro-Palestine society. The student society’s event has been promoted on social media by the nonprofit EuroPal Forum, which has its logo on the event poster. Pro-Israel campaigner David Collier uncovered a pamphlet published by the EuroPal Forum last year, written by the academic Dr Mohsen Mohammad Saleh, the general manager of the Lebanon-based al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, referring to the “vast majority of Jews today” as the descendants of the Khazar people. The ridiculed Khazar theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of the nomadic Khazar people in central Asia who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages is an argument deployed against Zionism. The pamphlet, from 2019, seen by Jewish News, claims that “more than 80 percent of Jews are in no way related

A pro-Palestinian demo at SOAS

to Palestine, nor are they descendants of the children of Israel”. The SOAS event will feature a session on the “new antisemitism and how it has affected Palestine advocacy at large, and what it means for pro-Palestine advocacy moving forwards”, according to its Facebook listing. When approached for comment, the SOAS Palestine Society said in a statement it is to be hosting a workshop “which we have solely organised, and which only our society will be hosting”. It added: “Numerous organisations have helped us in publicising and advertising the event, to reach as many student activists for Palestine as possible, such as Europal. “Europal is only assisting in the publicising of the event, and that is where its involvement starts and ends.”

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5 March 2020 Jewish News


Racist guilty / Extremist group / News

A man who hurled antisemitic abuse at a Jewish family has been found guilty after film of the confrontation went viral, writes William Janes. Adam Cassidy, 20, called them “dirty Jews” when they confronted him after he collided with a pushchair outside a branch of Costa in St Albans. Cassidy claimed that they called him a “dirty Arab” first, but the judge did not believe him. A video, filmed by victim Michael Mendelsohn, was played to the court and showed Cassidy using the antise-

mitic term three times before kicking a Costa hoarding in the family’s direction. The defendant, who grew up in Egypt and has an English mother and a Turkish father, had denied racially aggravated assault and to using the slur when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court. But District Judge Margaret Dodd found him guilty of both charges. She told Cassidy: “I don’t accept your evidence. “I don’t accept that anybody called you anything. Whether it was an accident when you

bumped into the buggy I don’t know. That doesn’t excuse what you did. “I’m satisfied you used the language and used it more than once... There are plenty of words you could have used. This was racially motivated.” Ali Hussain, defending, claimed that Cassidy was simply using words that were equivalent to what he had been called. He said: “He has never disputed using those words and has been entirely consistent throughout about the reason he said what he said. It’s

unfortunate that more wasn’t caught on the video.” Cassidy, of St Albans, Herts, was ordered to return to the same court for sentencing next month.

Calls to ban neo-Nazi group A neo-Nazi Satanist group that promotes extreme violence and sexual abuse should be banned as a terrorist organisation in the UK, anti-racism campaigners have said. Hope Not Hate urged the government in its annual report on Monday to pro-

scribe the Order of Nine Angles (O9A). In its report The State of Hate 2020 the charity says O9A is believed to have originated in the UK in the 1970s and has “openly promoted extreme violence for decades”. Members seek to “har-

ness supernatural forces” to overthrow what they describe as the Jewish “Nazarene/ Magian” influence on society. According to Hope Not Hate, O9A members are encouraged to perform “acts of extreme barbarism, and usher in a new imperial aeon

(age) ruled by a race of Satanic supermen who would colonise the solar system”. A teenager from Durham said to have been influenced by the O9A was convicted of planning a terrorist attack in the UK in January. Nick Lowles, chief execu-

Photo by SWNS

Judge finds man guilty of calling family ‘dirty Jews’

Cassidy outside court this week and (inset) the viral video

tive of the charity, described O9A as “the most extreme and disturbing group I have ever encountered”. He added: “The danger isn’t just confined to the followers of O9A – the movement believes in propagating these tactics across the farright, even going so far as infiltrating other far-right movements.” Hope Not Hate says that

below-the-radar websites used by far-right groups are “awash” with O9A propaganda. “Some such material focuses on pure Nazism, while others gleefully promote sexual violence,” its annual report says. The Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the home affairs select committee, described the report as “important and sobering”.


Jewish News

5 March 2020

News / Domestic abuse

Chat service launched for victims of domestic abuse A domestic abuse charity is launching a confidential web chat service, in the hope of encouraging younger victims to reach out for support, writes

Francine Wolfisz. The initiative from Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA) will provide an online support service from 20 April, running from

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Mondays to Thursdays. JWA announced the new service ahead of International Women’s Day, which is marked on Sunday. Chief executive Naomi Dickson said: “Sometimes a woman or girl doesn’t want to talk on the phone, or it isn’t convenient at that moment. We devel- The online service launches in April oped our web chat service to respond to this, and also able to contact us for support.” The new service will run in light of the success of this channel in the wider domestic alongside the well-established telephone helplines for abuse sector. “In particular, we want to domestic abuse and sexual viomake sure that younger women lence, as well as the recent addiand girls feel comfortable con- tion of a support worker spetacting us if they’re worried cifically for young women and girls, which has been funded by about their situation. “The 16 to 25 age group a grant from the Mayor’s Office is actually the most likely to for Policing and Crime. This Sunday more than 40 experience relationship abuse and it’s no different in the supporters will host a JWA Jewish community. We hope Coffee Time on International that offering live chat will Women’s Day to raise awareencourage this age group to feel ness of domestic abuse.

Digital link will be a lifeline for many BY NAOMI DICKSON JWA

This Sunday is International Women’s Day, the perfect time for Jewish Women’s Aid to announce the launch of a new web chat service. From 20 April, in the click of a button on our website, Jewish women and girls will be able to reach digital support and advice from one of our trained support workers. It’s a big move for us to expand access to our services beyond our traditional helpline and email entry points, but times are changing and we need to make sure we’re providing support in ways that best suit women and girls in our community. Evidence tells us that younger women – digital natives – are the group most likely to be affected by relationship abuse and we want to do everything we can to make it easy for them to reach vital support.

While not all the women using the service will be under 25, we suspect that a lot of them will be – so we have trained specialist support workers who understand how abusive behaviours present for our younger clients, including digital stalking and harassment. The web chat option is one which is being pioneered by other domestic abuse services and has been launched successfully by Women’s Aid nationally, among others. The uptake by women of this channel of communication shows that many women feel more comfortable initiating contact by typing on their phone or computer than by talking out loud. Crucially, JWA will bring to this new service the same knowledge, understanding and sympathy of Jewish culture, faith and religious practice which underpins all the work we do to support women and girls in our community experiencing abuse.

5 March 2020 Jewish News


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Jewish News 5 March 2020

News / Canary boycotted / Winton talk

Stoppard play boycotts ‘hyper-partisan’ website Campaigners targeting hyperpartisan websites by hitting their advertising revenue have persuaded the production of Leopoldstadt to boycott The Canary, writes Mathilde Frot. Several adverts promoting Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed play about a Jewish family living in Vienna, which premiered last month, were uncovered on the left-wing news website this week. The production’s official Twitter account confirmed on Monday that it had agreed to blacklist The Canary from its advertising preferences after an appeal from the group Stop Funding Fake News, backed by Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and stage and screen actress Tracy-Ann Oberman. The group of anonymous activists said material published on The Canary had breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of antisemitism. Promoting a

tweet by the campaign to her 650,000 followers on Monday, Riley described The Canary as a “hateful site”, and Oberman called it an “anti-Jewish propaganda machine” in a tweet. Campaigners hailed Leopoldstadt as an “important story about the legacy of the Holocaust” – but warned it was being promoted on a media outlet “famous for denying Jewish experiences of antisemitism and promoting those accused of antisemitism”. They pointed to a 2016 article drawing parallels between Israel and Nazi Germany – a comparison defined as antisemitic in the IHRA accompanying examples. The column, by editorin-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza, says it is “wholly legitimate, indeed urgent, to make this comparison and avoid repeating horrors of the past”. Stop Funding Fake News raised concerns about the website’s decision to give a

Winton to talk at Chelsea forum Barbara Winton, the daughter of the Kindertransport founder Sir Nicholas, and Lord (Eric) Pickles are on the line-up at a Holocaust remembrance conference for second generation families. The two-day event is titled Remembering and Rethinking: The international forum on the Second Generation. It is to be held next month at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium and is aimed at second generation families, Holocaust educators and academics. It has been organ-

The Canary website is ‘famous for denying antisemitism’

platform to the writer Steve Topple, who apologised in 2016 for publishing tweets he said were “disparaging to Jewish people and antisemitic”. Tweets previously discovered on his timeline included suggestions that Jews should be held responsible for the “growing Zionist cancer” and that members of the Royal Family are secretly Jewish. Stop Funding Fake News calls on organisations to boycott publishers. Google’s

advert service automatically promotes brands on various publishers. Brands can blacklist publishers by adding the web address to a dedicated section in their AdWords account. The website’s Nancy Mendoza told Jewish News: “As a Jewish co-founder of The Canary, I find the recycling of this smear campaign offensive and transparently cynical. We tackle racism, bullying and all forms of bigotry on a daily basis – rather than weaponising it for political ends.”

Barbara Winton will attend the second generation event

ised by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in partnership with the Chelsea Foundation. For details, and to buy tickets, visit the page on eventbrite: https://bit. ly/2VJjM7j

HUMAN RIGHTS WARNING Jewish human rights charity René Cassin has accused the Government of peddling “harmful stereotypes that jeopardise the safety and wellbeing of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.” The organisation made the claim in its submission to a Home Office consultation on whether to strengthen police

powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. The charity described the consultation’s proposal and language as “deeply disturbing.” Board of Deputies vice president Edwin Shuker said: “Proposals must be careful in terms of potential impact on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.”






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5 March 2020 Jewish News

Merger update / News



Song and dance!

Who was crowned champion at this year’s Jews Got Talent? P27


27 February 2020

2 Adar 5780

Issue No.1147



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It’s all about the charities we support


The newspaper to be produced following Our next generation the merger of the Jewish News and Jewish Young Jewish leaders on the rise Chronicle will be called News for Jews, manSee pages 7, 8, 9 & 18 agement teams revealed this week. News for Jews, or N4J as it has already become known, will replace both titles in the summer while “incorporating the best Advice issued to familie from each”. s following half-term hol idays The decision was made after the appointment of London agency Shushan Brands Ltd to “consider the best future option” in terms of the paper’s name and style. Although the Jewish Chronicle has been continuously published since 1841, the expert review panel recommended dropping the title, in part because “nobody alive today How the new paper might look was around then”. Esther Untrew, chief executive of Kosher The soon-to-be-merged group’s new product name was unveiled at a glitzy city Brands Ltd, said: “News for Jews will do exactly centre event yesterday, which featured what it says on the tin and will be fit for the Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard Queen of Persia. The day N4J comes out will and Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer be a day of deliverance for the entire Jewish community.” arm-wrestling.

Jewish schools on coronavirus alert

Jewish schools began issuing the school said. “If any of these apply paring guidance to students and to issue guidance to members, parents to you, whether or not there are with this week in response to more substantial plans soon the coro- any symptoms, to please inform us as be navirus outbreak, writes sent to community leaders. Adam quickly as possible Decker. so that we can The UK Government consider any further precautions has said Family travel during the to anyone returning recent protect the school from mainland community.” half-term holiday, including China, Thailand, Japan, to According to guidance from Republic of northern Italy, may place Public Korea, Hong Kong, schools at Health England, Taiwan, Singaanyone told to self- pore, risk, educators said, urging Malaysia or Macau in the school- isolate must “not last go to work, school, 14 children to quarantine days and who “is experiencin themselves, or public areas, and do not use public g in some cases even if they cough or fever or shortness show no transport or taxis”. of breath” symptoms of illness. should stay indoors and call It advises people to “stay NHS 111, Among the Jewish schools in a well- even if symptoms posting ventilated room are mild. with a window that advice to parents were JFS Meanwhile in Israel around and Akiva, can be opened, 1,600 separate from other people which said they had been using noti- people in your were under quarantine this home,” adding: “Keep fications from Public Health week, amid fear that England, the door closed the country and use a separate was while JCoSS said families ill-prepared, despite protestaneeded to bathroom from the rest of the house- tions keep the school informed. JFS, Akiva and JCoSS were among schools from major Israeli hospitals hold, if available.” issuing warnings this “In view of the recent half week and emergency services term Beyond the classroom, organisa- medics to take holiday, we ask parents major tions that they are samples from “individto check the communal well-equipped. On uals killed thousands of people. organisations such as advice and follow the instructions in solitary confinement”. Wednesday, Magen David ,” United Synagogue While its increase appears Adom said said it was pre- it had The flu-like virus originated to be so-far trained 145 Israeli in waning in China, it para- China in December has spread to top and has already holiday destinations.



Jewish News 5 March 2020


DO YOU TAKE YOUR HOLIDAY FOR GRANTED? HUNDREDS OF JEWISH CHILDREN DEPEND ON US. We are the Jewish Children’s Holidays Fund. For more than a hundred years, we have been helping Jewish children, disadvantaged for financial, social or health reasons, have the holiday that they need and deserve. You know how much you and your children enjoy a week or two away. Please give us the resources to ensure that those children who are dogged by illhealth, family or financial difficulties continue to get a fair break. Jewish Children’s Holidays Fund JCHF, PO Box 1206, Enfield EN1 9SH T: 020 7100 5097 Registered charity number 295361

News / Health guide / Pet talent / News briefs

Schools guided on coping with suicide Jewish schools will soon be sent a detailed guide on how to cope after a suicide or sudden death – as community groups come together to support students’ mental well-being. Some of the biggest Jewish charities teamed up with the mental health organisation Jami to create the 28-page document, unveiled on Tuesday. Jami, Norwood, the Community Security Trust (CST), the Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service (JBCS) and Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) formed the Emergency Response Initiative Consortium (ERIC). This group will roll out a new “first responder” service, offering immediate assistance to schools affected by a sudden student death. It will also raise awareness in the community to reduce the stigma surrounding suicidal feelings and encourage stu-

The new document has been created with Jami

dents to seek help. Suicide is the biggest killer among 10 to 24-year-olds. In 2018, it claimed the lives of 730 young people in the UK and Ireland, according to the Office for National Statistics. Rabbi David Meyer, executive director at PaJeS, said: “We are very fortunate that the schools in our community not only achieve high academic standards, but also show genuine concern and care for all the students.

“However, there are times when the expectations on school leaders are beyond their levels of expertise. “It is therefore welcomed that Jami together with CST, Norwood, JBCS, and Grief Encounter has prepared this essential guidance for schools on dealing with sudden traumatic death.” A Jewish teenager who struggled with depression and anxiety for a year took his own life in August 2017.

Pup idol: JBD is sniffing out cutest pets

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Keynote speaker: Baroness Ros Altmann CBE

Dog lover and TV personality Jonathan Ross has been tasked with crowning the community’s cutest pet, writes Jack Mendel. Jewish Blind & Disabled (JBD)’s PETron competition is looking for furry and feathery entries along a special Pesach theme. The charity is calling for animal lovers to submit pictures of a pooch munching matzah, a parrot on a seder plate, or a cat finding the afikoman, ahead of the festival in April. JBD said: “We are excited to have the lovely Jonathan Ross judging our PETron competition this year... which has special Passover theme for 2020!” The winner will be the most creative Pesach picture that makes Jonathan smile the most. Tweeting to his five million followers, Ross said: “Let’s see those cuties!”

Pawsome: Former PETron winner Lili

While there is no charge to enter the competition, all pets need to be PETrons of Jewish Blind & Disabled, which costs £5 a month, and they receive goodies, a certificate and entry to the competition. Proceeds go towards JBD’s work. Last year’s winner was Kuzzi the cat.  To enter your pet email




Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is to be given an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at its next board of governors’ meeting in June. The prolific author paid tribute to the university this week, saying its history was “intrinsically intertwined with the establishment of the state of Israel and the development of modern Zionism”. Sacks’ degree is a doctorate of Philosophiae Honoris Causa, which is conferred annually on a select number of “esteemed honourees” from around the world. Hebrew University president professor Asher Cohen said Sacks was “a most worthy recipient”.

Sam and Emma Taylor are to become Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue’s rabbinic couple. The parents-of-four will take up their roles in August, working across the area while leading its Yavneh community. Rabbi Taylor, from Stanmore, is Western March Arch Synagogue’s community rabbi. He graduated from Cass Business School and received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University, where he earned a master’s degree in Jewish education. The rebbetzin teaches history at Hasmonean High School and will spearhead women’s education projects as a part-time community educator.

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Interfaith landmark / Special Report

Saudi King hosts British rabbi In halting Hebrew, a young woman told Rabbi David Rosen her name, and that she would like to visit Israel, writes Jenni Frazer. This was no everyday occurrence but “an electrifying and exciting” encounter between Rosen and one of 60 or 70 young Saudi men and women in Riyadh last week. The British-born, Jerusalem-based rabbi was part of a delegation of faith leaders, directors of the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, or KAICIID, invited by King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The Vienna-based group was established eight years ago by Abdullah, King Salman’s predecessor. Rosen said it had long been mooted that a KAICIID meeting would take place in Riyadh, “but for a long time that was clearly wishful thinking”. However, three months ago the meeting got the green light and the delegation — Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Rosen as the sole representative of Judaism —

Rabbi Rosen, second left, with other faith leaders. Inset: King Salman bin Abdulaziz

were received by the king. It was a 20-minute meeting that turned into an hour as King Salman laid out his hopes for the kingdom to change and improve its standing with the western world. Rosen had, he said, “few expectations other than just being received in Riyadh, a historic event as a rabbi”. But he had thought the delegation would only deal with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal, so it was a surprise to find they were due to

meet the king, who “gave every sign of his commitment to continuing interfaith dialogue and working with KAICIID”. Rosen added: “His narrative was that Saudi Arabia had once been an authentically open and tolerant Islamic society, but that political considerations had changed things. “Now, he said, Saudi Arabia wanted to recapture that spirit of Islam, and interfaith dialogue was fundamental to that — because there could not be peace between

nations without peace between religions.” Rosen described the reception as “a truly revolutionary moment”, but said “the most exciting thing” from his twoand-a-half day stay in Riyadh was an evening event for almost 70 young Saudi professionals, men and women, “all speaking excellent English”, who were graduates of a programme sponsored by the authorities designed to foster interfaith understanding. “I was really impressed with

these young people”, Rosen told Jewish News. “They were doctors, lawyers, men and women, some women fully covered so you could only see their eyes, but not all. They were excited to meet us, particularly our two women directors representing the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.” The young group spoke with passion of the changes in Saudi society. “They may seem trivial to us”, Rosen said, “but things like women driving and not having to have male chaperones all the time are dramatic and radical for young Saudis.” Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s director of interreligious affairs, acknowledged there would be those who criticise his presence as a “fig leaf” for Saudi Arabia, seeking to provide damage limitation for policies many western nations find hard to swallow. But he said: “I am not holier than the Pope – and I mean that literally. The Christians on

our delegation have far more to lose by collaborating with Saudi Arabia than I do, because there are substantial Christian communities in the country. “King Abdullah says Saudi has to change, and the Christians have decided it is a worthwhile challenge. I have no right to make myself more virginal than them.” There were a few Jews in Riyadh, he said, mainly businesspeople passing through on a temporary basis, but nothing like the full-time communities in Qatar or Dubai, the latter of which now has a chief rabbi. If Jews had insisted on the Vatican being “pure and cleansed of all antisemitism” before embarking on the process of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, there would never have been Nostra Aetate, the groundbreaking document from the Catholic Church that changed its relations with the Jewish community, Rosen said. Similarly, he suggested, faith leaders and western nations had to take the Saudis at their word that serious changes would be made.


Jewish News

5 March 2020

News / Tributes paid / Virus concern / Women’s Day

MENORAH GRAMMAR FORCED TO CLOSE An Edgware school is to close for three weeks due to a breach of Ofsted standards and health and safety laws. Menorah Grammar School on Abbots Road made the announcement to parents this week, saying governors took the decision “to safeguard the wellbeing of children are in an unsafe building”. The letter says it has “become increasingly obvious that the building is in breach of Ofsted Standards as well as health and safety legislation, including Fire regulations” The school plans to reopen on 23 March.

AISH UK RAISES £1.9M IN TWO DAYS An Aish UK crowdfunding campaign raised a staggering £1.9million in under two days, prompting the charity’s executive director to hail the community’s “incredible show of unity.” A team of 100 fundraisers stationed at two call centres in Manchester and Hendon collected donations over thirty hours. Donors, including Olami and Yad Mordechai, the Ralph Levy Charitable Trust and Jonathan and Sharon Goldstein, trebled every pound donation The campaign will fund projects connecting young Jews.

Sir Gavin was ‘among our best’ Tributes were paid this week to former High Court judge Sir Gavin Lightman who has died aged 80. His daughter, Esther Solomon, called him “a fiercely principled seeker of justice, and a kind, generous, impish, resolutely non-conforming soul”. She added: “He taught me to be curious, to care, and to have courage in my convictions.” Sir Gavin was the son of Harold Lightman QC, one of the first Jews in the UK to be head of his chambers, and the brother of Professor Stafford Lightman, president of the British Neuroscience Association. Former Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush paid his respects, saying: “He was my

Tributes have been paid to former High Court Judge Gavin Lightman

pupil master, teacher and friend. He was a fine High Court judge who made a lasting contribution to English law. But above all he was a decent caring man.” Tributes were also paid by Lord

Headteacher seeks to allay fears don’s Hasmonean High School, urged parents and staff to “remain upbeat and positive” in a video message after the announcement. “Let’s keep our spirits. Let’s keep our good humour, most importantly,” she said. “Let’s connect as a community and let’s continue to do our very best for each and every child. Things will get better. Let’s work together.” The city’s education secretary Kevin Yeung said: “Extending class

The British-born head of a Jewish school in Hong Kong, which has been suspended for more than three weeks to stem the spread of coronavirus, has sought to reassure parents. The city’s authorities said last Tuesday all schools would remain suspended until at least 20 April during a containment phase. The Carmel School Association’s headteacher, Rachel Friedmann, who was previously the deputy of Lon-




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Falconer, Labour’s shadow Lord Chancellor, who said he “was a formidable advocate and brilliant judge. Real human understanding. Great innovative imaginative lawyer. And always brave – as an advocate and as a judge. He was one of the absolute best. A great loss.” After graduating from University College London in 1961, Sir Gavin was called to the bar in 1963 and was appointed to the High Court in 1994 until his retirement in 2008. Sir Gavin held numerous positions within the Jewish community, including with the Anglo-Jewish Association, Hillel House, and as patron of the Commonwealth Jewish Council and Hammerson House.

British-born Rachel Freidmann

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Twenty-eight Muslim, Jewish and Catholic schoolgirls took part in a joint coding session at Twitter’s London headquarters to mark International Women’s Day, writes Liza Cemel. Pupils aged 11 to 13 from the Barnet Hill Academy, Hasmonean High School for Girls, Ursuline High School and Al-Zahra School all took part in the interfaith workshop. Those taking part got to put questions to female engineers about their career journeys and seek advice on how to overcome challenges. One student from Barnet Hill Academy said the workshop was “fantastic because I learnt so much and got to meet girls from different religions”. She added: “It is important to encourage young girls like me who have a passion for science to be more involved in events like this.” Aya Bdaiwi from the Faiths Forum for London, which partnered with Twitter to deliver the workshop, said: “It was wonderful to see students asking important questions about each other’s communities.” Only 23 percent of those working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the UK are women, according to latest figures.

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5 March 2020 Jewish News



Jewish News 5 March 2020

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Shoah memory / Loren role / Virus prayer / Diaspora News

Holocaust memorial stones ‘give people back their names’ Almost 50 ‘stumbling stone’ Holocaust memorials were set into the pavement around a major German publisher’s new head office in Berlin last week, recognising the dozens of Jews deported from there in the 1940s. Publisher Axel Springer opened its new high-rise headquarters in Zimmerstrasse last Wednesday by laying the first of 87 Stolpersteine by artist Gunter Demnig in Berlin’s old Newspaper Quarter. At least 26 Jews were taken to their deaths from Zimmerstrasse 48a and 48b, the building that existed on the site at the time. Mathias Döpfner, the company’s chief executive, said the new building was “grounded in the ruins of German history”, and that the stumbling stones “recall the terrible fates of the Jewish victims who lived on this patch of ground, like barbed hooks of history catching us as we pass”. He added: “The resurgence

Bobby Lax with his mother Evelyn, Prof. Monika Grütters, Mathias Döpfner, Friede Springer and Gunter Demnig at the installation of the Stolpersteine at publisher Axel Sringer

of antisemitism in Germany, of all places, reminds us that in our fight against it, we must not be content to dwell in the memory of it, but must actively oppose it.” Axel Springer executives said the significance of the location “can only be understood if its past is not forgotten”.

Among those taken and killed from there was shoemaker Arthur Israel Alexander, who was sued for unpaid rent after he had been deported. Another was Mordechai Tanin, a furrier from Krakow, who was forced to shovel snow in the winter. He caught pneumonia and died, while his wife

and two children aged 10 and three were killed after being deported to Auschwitz. Also remembered was Edgar Lax, who lived at Zimmerstrasse 48b with his parents. Coming to England on the Kinderstransport, he was the only family member to survive. His son, Bobby, attended last Wednesday, alongside German Culture Minister Prof Monika Grütters, Dr Felix Klein, commissioner for Jewish life in Germany, and Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer. Demnig has been commemorating Nazi victims for almost 30 years by “giving them back their names”. Grütters said: “With the 87 memorial stones that will be placed here [in the newspaper district]... we want to remember those who were persecuted and murdered, and give them back their names and a place of remembrance.” The road works will be completed in the next few months.


Your weekly digest of stories from the international press BULGARIA

The World Jewish Congress has thanked Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for stopping an annual torch-lit demonstration attended by thousands of neoNazi marchers. They planned to celebrate Holocaust-era General Hristo Lukov, whose movement sent more than 11,000 Jews to their deaths in Treblinka. Only 60 supporters attended the event.

showcases Jewish life throughout the American South and began life on the grounds of a Reform summer camp in 1986. “This will be the only museum in the country to focus exclusively on the history and culture of Jews across the South,” said museum chairman Jay Tanenbaum. The new building will feature 9,000 sq ft of exhibition space containing artefacts from 13 US states.



President Sergio Mattarella visited the Great Synagogue of Rome to meet members of the Jewish community and express his gratitude for their ‘immense contribution to our history, culture, civilisation, social life and institutions.’ It follows several incidents of antisemitic graffiti reported across the country.


The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in New Orleans is to reopen this autumn. It

A public square in Rio de Janeiro has been named after the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson three decades after the first Chabad centre was opened in Brazil’s second-largest city. “This square eternalises the memory of a man that left precious teachings for all humankind,” said Rio’s first lady Sylvia Jane Crivella Schneerson led the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic movement from 1950 until his death in 1994, spreading its influence around the world.

SCREEN ICON TO PLAY Italian Jews on coronavirus alert HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR Leading actress Sophia Loren (pictured) is to play a Holocaust survivor in a new Italian drama directed by her son to be broadcast on Netflix. In the film, called The Life Ahead and set in an Italian seaside town, Loren’s character – a Holocaust survivor with a day-care business – takes in a 12-year old Senegalese Muslim street child who recently robbed her. Netflix has bought the rights and the film, directed by Loren’s son Edoardo

Ponti, is set to be released later this year. It is a contemporary adaptation of French author Romain Gary’s 1975 novel The Life Before Us. Now aged 85, the Italianborn Oscar winner is one of the last surviving stars of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood. She said: “In my career, I’ve worked with the biggest studios, but I can safely say that none have had the breadth of reach and the cultural diversity of Netflix, and that’s what I love about them.”

Tool launched in France to monitor web antisemitism A tool to monitor online antisemitism has been launched in France, after an initiative found almost 52,000 instances of anti-Jewish sentiment posted last year. The Online Antisemitism Observatory was launched this week and developed by French Jewish representative body CRIF, whose president Francis Kalifat last week said it would help give “a more complete picture of antisemitism in France”. Speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro, he said it was “necessary to identify, quantify and qualify the hateful content present on the internet”, adding that the idea was to observe social media

and “present a fairer picture of what antisemitism is”. Currently, French Jewish authorities only count the number of online antisemitic incidents by the number of complaints filed but, after researchers spent 600 hours trawling the internet, they found 51,816 antisemitic posts in 2019. “It is the first time we managed to build a tool that allows [us] to capture everything that circulates,” said Brice Teinturier of the research institute IPSOS, which is working with CRIF. Of the hateful posts they found, almost two in three were on Twitter while one in six was on Facebook.

The Jewish community of northern Italy has said it is not immune to public disruption, following hundreds of cases of confirmed coronavirus in the area. Among those nursing the wounds of cancelled get-togethers was Ruben Golran, whose family had planned events for 600 people for his barmitzvah, while fewer than 10 out of 100 attended another boy’s brit milah. Italian Jews are on alert as the virus spreads They are some of the 10,000 Jewish residents of Milan founder of a Jewish school. “Eveand the surrounding area hit by the ryone is a little shocked. One day city-wide bans on public gatherings, they said the schools are closed and which has led to community centres parents have to deal with it.” With the situation worsening and schools closing. “It’s such a strange, unusual this week, families and communisituation,” said Claudia Bagnarelli, ties were preparing to cancel their

Purim celebrations, as representatives described the strange ghost town atmosphere and families’ coping strategies. “A few people meet in apartments just to make the minyan, but there are no people from outside,” said Milo Hasbani, the president of Milan’s Jewish community. Rabbi Shmuel Hezkia, a mohel in the city like his late Afghanborn father, said the lack of tourists was particularly felt. “Italy and Milan live on tourism, people who go out and spend, and unfortunately that’s missing,” he said. “You can feel they’re missing. We feel that this Shabbat there won’t be a kiddush, or guests to invite on Friday night.”

... as rabbis ask for mercy in new prayer Italian rabbis have published a special prayer for people struck ill with coronavirus and for those in areas where it “will strike next” as much of northern Italy remains in lockdown. The Rabbinical Assembly of Italy published the prayer late last

week, saying it should be recited “publicly in synagogues, where possible, privately, in harmony and in agreed times, or individually”. The prayer reads: “We wish to express our empathy, and that we share the pain for the victims and pray for the healing of the

sick, wherever in the world this disease has manifested itself and will strike next.” It ends with the words: “Take pity and have mercy and heal all mortal beings for you are good and merciful to all and hear everyone’s prayers.” By Monday, the number of cases in Italy had leapt

to 1,700, doubling over the weekend, with 34 deaths recorded and another 140 in intensive care. Services in places of worship have been suspended, while 55,000 remain under quarantine in and around Lombardy, the region at the centre of the outbreak.


Jewish News 5 March 2020

Editorial comment and letters ISSUE NO.




Bibi finds his mojo in a ‘meh’ election Aged 70, Benjamin Netanyahu is in rude political health, having just won his Likud Party its best ballot-box showing since 2003. It was as if his indictment on three corruption charges in November 2019 spurred him on. Easily overcoming a Likud leadership challenge in December, he set about the country in his ever-effective campaignmode, convincing the doubters and turbo-charging the faithful. The result came on Monday: 36 seats out of a possible 120. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister may still be beaten by legalities, if not by the opposition. His trial is due to begin in less than two weeks’ time. If the judges, justices and attorney-general rule that no sitting PM can serve while under indictment, it could be game-over for the ultimate political survivor. It is the stuff of scripts, yet Jewish News was in Israel this week soaking up the election atmosphere, and despite the high turnout, most we spoke to felt decidedly “meh” about it all. We heard repeatedly that “nothing will change”. In part, this acknowledged that Israel’s main opposition would continue most Netanyahu policies. In part, it was a dread that the familiar laboured, tortured, doomed-to-fail process of unity government negotiations would now start all over again. Many were angry – every election costs money. Businesses either close or have to pay their staff double. With three in 11 months, it soon adds up. Whereas in the UK we say “third time lucky”, in Israel they say “third time ice-cream” (it stems from a saying that if two friends meet each other on the street three times by chance they have to go and get an icecream together). As many Israelis told us on Monday, they were hoping for “third time ice-cream”. Alas, it seems they were not so lucky. What next? It’s ‘as we were’ in April 2019. In the lead-up to this week’s vote, one cheeky commentator posted online that the “definition of stupidity is asking Israeli voters the same question three times and expecting a different answer”. Most expect to be asked again. If anything, the situation may now be shaped by Netanyahu’s trial. Meanwhile the Israeli news agenda will almost certainly return to fears about the coronavirus, for which – like the Israeli political stalemate – there is as yet no cure.

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Merger a sign of the times I understand the sound resoning behind the decision to merge Jewish News with the Jewish Chronicle. These are tough times for newspapers in general – and they will only get tougher. I’m in my 50s and even most of my peers, who grew up with newsprint on their fingers while sipping their morning coffee, have stopped paying for print. The options when it comes to news sources is now staggering and old media, while still respected, is simply unable to keep up with the digital revolution. My much-loved local

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A star is born

● Minister suggests Daniel Kawczynski may face punishment BY LEE HARPIN POLITICAL EDITOR

V Nineteen-year-old Eden Alene this week won the competition to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the first person of Ethiopian origin to do so. She called it an “insane honour”


V THE NUMBER of antisemitic incidents in Britain reached the highest level on record in 2019, with a dramatic escalation of abuse on social media the single largest single factor in the rise. The Community Security Trust recorded 1,805 antisemitic incidents last year — an increase on the 1,652 cases in 2018.

This is the fourth year in a row in which CST has recorded a record number of antisemitic incidents and the second year in a row in which over 100 antisemitic incidents were logged every month. Home Secretary Priti Patel said of the new figures: “It’s appalling that we have seen another increase of sickening abuse against the Jewish community.

V A SENIOR Cabinet minister has told the JC they are “hopeful of action being taken” against a Conservative MP who spoke at a conference in Rome this week alongside Euro European far-right speakers. Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, was among the 22 speakers to appear at the National Conserva Conservatism conference. Participants at the two-day Mareevent included Marion Mare chal, the niece of National Rally (formerly Front National) president Marine Le Pen, Hermann Tertsch, an MEP Under for the Spanish pressure: Vox party and Kawczynski

Mattias Karlsson, former leader of the far-right Swedish Democrats. Other more mainstream speakers included Hungary’s nationalist PM Viktor Orban, Italy’s populist leader Matteo Salvini, and a Polish MEP from the Law and Justice Party. Conservative MP Andrew Percy, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, attacked Mr Kawczynski’s decision to attend the conference as “wholly inappropriate.” It is understood that Mr Percy, who is Jewish, was one of a number

of Conservative MPs who have raised Mr Kawcyznski’s conduct with Tory party whips. Mr Percy said he had written to “Daniel last week asking him not to attend, given the presence of politicians from the far-right.” Asked for her response to Mr Kawczynski’s actions, Nicola Richards, Tory MP for West Bromwich East, said she was “concerned to learn this has happened”. Mr Kawczynski described reaction to his attendance as “hysterical” and claimed he had gained approval to attend the conference in advance from the whips. On Wednesday a Conservative spokesperson confirmed that the whips were considering what action to be taken against the Polish-born MP for

“We need to do much more to tackle antisemitism and the intolerance this creates across society. “As Home Secretary I am pushing for greater collaboration, both across government, policing, the courts and community groups, to remove this shameful stain on our society.” CST Chief Executive David Delew added: “2019 was another difficult year for British Jews and it is no sursur

prise that recorded antisemitic incidents reached yet another high. It is clear that both social media and mainstream politics are places where antisemitism and racism need to be driven out, if things are to improve in the future.” The continuing controversy over antisemitism in the Labour Party was, according to the charity, a key reason why February and December had the

highest monthly totals of reported incidents. The general election in December — when 184 incidents were recorded — was preceded by Jewish community figures, most notably the Chief Rabbi, publicly voicing unprecedented concerns regarding Labour. February, with 182 incidents, saw



DECISION ON SHAMIMA BEGUM’S CITIZENSHIP IS ENTIRELY RIGHT In reply to the esteemed academic Geoffrey Alderman, I completely agree with the special immigration appeals commission’s decision to dismiss Shamima Begum’s appeal against the government’s move to revoke her citizenship. I would be

happy to be considered a second-class citizen by virtue of holding Israeli citizenship in addition to British citizenship. Jews have suffered worse fates during 1850 years in the golah (diaspora).

Melvyn Smallman NW4


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newspaper, once the heartbeat of my community, MEET THE HIT-MAKER ASHLEY BLAKER closed down years ago and ON BROADWAY has not been replaced. Tory MP attacked over European Without journalists holding far-right meeting them to daily account, I shudder to think what my local councillors are getting up Social media abuse pushes hate incidents to record high to behind the scenes. I hope that the result of this coming together of our leading media brands will be a stronger, louder, prouder and even more effective mouthpiece for British Jewry at a time when, despite the downfall of Corbynism, it is most needed. Sidney Samuels By email GEORGE STEINER, ‘A GREAT THINKER OF OUR TIME’ P8 EDINBURGH’S £6 MILLION DILEMMA P24

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Rabbi Pete Tobias’ column last week had the audacity to criticise God’s behaviour, and went on to state that the Torah was written by some person 600 years after the exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. This comes as a surprise to me and no doubt many

other readers who know God wrote the Torah which was given to the Jewish nation in the year following the exodus. Could he please let us know – where does his information come from?

Ann Cohen Golders Green

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5 March 2020 Jewish News

Editorial comment and letters

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CARNIVAL ‘HORRENDOUS’ We live in an era of hatred and ignorance. Every day we see various cases of hate speech and how it destroys lives, homes and communities. It benefits from violence and political extremism, as well as longlasting conspiracy theories. Antisemitism, alongside slurs directed against other ethnic and religious groups, prevents the existence of a peaceful discourse and averts stability. The most recent example was from the horrendous shows displayed at the carnival event in Belgium.

Amber Amos By email The recent carnival in Belgium featuring antisemitic fancy dress has left me speechless. Isn’t a carnival supposed to be fun? How can it even

be close to fun when it offends and violates Jewish people? Even living in London I personally felt threatened – I don’t even want to think about the worry and fear Jews in Belgium might be feeling. Mrs D Singleton By email

Act tough on propaganda I write in reference to your issue dated 27 February, in which you reported on Amazon removing Nazi propaganda for sale on its online platform. Any racial hatred material against any religion, that relates to DVDs/CDs/

books/magazines being sold, the sellers, publishers and distributors should be liable to prosecution for peddling this. This is not free speech but pure hatred.

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Jewish News 5 March 2020


Shoah coverage shows the BBC’s unique role ALEX BRUMMER



or many years the BBC has been a source of concern for the Jewish community. As writer of the media column at our future partner newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, the public broadcaster’s coverage of the Middle East was the subject which aroused the most hostile interest. In 2004 it resulted in a report by the BBC journalist Malcolm Balen which was regarded as so toxic it was kept under wraps. One of the particular gripes over the years was the reporting of the brave foreign correspondent Orla Guerin who as the BBC’s person in Jerusalem was seen as unfriendly. She was certainly no Michael Elkins, the legendary BBC person, who reported so brilliantly on Israel’s conflicts of the 1967 and 1973. In January Guerin was perceived to have blotted her copybook when reporting Auschwitz commemorations at Yad Yashem in Jerusalem. Referring to the young soldiers

solemnly marking the Shoah she observed “the state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories”. Reference to the Palestinians in the context of the greatest horror of the 20th century was seen as gratuitous. The BBC could almost certainly have done without Guerin’s remarks, which brought a rebuke from a former chairman Michael Grade. The mini-dispute is particularly unhelpful at a moment when the broadcaster finds itself under enormous pressure. Downing Street is unforgiving of the broadcaster for what it saw as biased coverage, during and after the EU referendum in 2016 and during the 2019 election campaign. Boris Johnson has kept the broadcaster at arms length. There is also serious discussion about killing off the licence fee and replacing it with some kind of subscription service. There is no doubt that people are accessing their home TV coverage differently with the advent of streaming services and a multiplicity of news sources. As irritating as the licence fee may be the current £154.50p a year is something of a


bargain. Buyers of full subscription packages, including sports and movies, could pay that in a month for commercial services. As a public service broadcaster the Beeb more than pulls its weight. Members of the community latched onto the Guerin incident as if was fully representative of what the broadcaster does. But it was a fraction of broadcast time around commemorations of Auschwitz liberation. The Beeb’s ‘as live’ broadcast of Shoah commemorations organised by HMDT from Westminster was sensitive and moving.

The documentary The Windermere Children which told the little-known stories of some of the 300 orphaned Jewish refugees who began new lives in England in their own words, was as intelligent a piece of TV as will be seen this year. It is hard to imagine Sky or Amazon, with all their resources, producing something requiring such deep research and with such beauty. I was moved to tears when, in the same week, as the Auschwitz events the BBC broadcast Belsen, which used unique interviews with those who were there and revealed the true experience of life inside the infamous concentration camp. It recalled with great clarity conversations with my uncle, aunts and cousins who survived these horrors. When it comes to great historic events the public broadcasting credentials of the BBC are superlative. It is hard to think that a subscription service would be willing to devote the resources, time and energy to projects such as Windermere with little pecuniary pay back. We are free to criticise what we don’t like. But enfeebling a great national institution would be an act of sabotage.

Westminster no place for conspiratorial hate DANNY STONE


efore he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue and murdered 11 Jews in Pittsburgh, Robert Bowers posted conspiracy theories on the internet forum Gab. “Open your eyes! It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!”[sic] For Bowers, it was the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a non-governmental organisation working to save those facing persecution, that was the bogeyman, upsetting his white supremacist worldview. Conspiracies about Jewish power are not new. The allegation that Jews had hoodwinked Roman governor Pontius Pilate into doing their dirty work and killing Christ fed Jewish persecution through the ages, and despite Benedict XVI proclaiming there is no basis in the scripture for blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus, conspiracies are powerful narratives so persist. So antisemitism ‘punches up’. It isn’t just religious configurations, though. Hitler’s racist allegation in Mein Kampf was: “All they want is a central organisation for their international world swindler, endowed with

its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states.” Hitler was himself building on the older antisemitic hoax, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Russian in origin, it purported to reveal a meeting of Jews seeking to manipulate governments, foment war and subvert the morals of society. It is little surprise that when we researched intersectional antisemitism, that is misogyny and anti-Jewish racism, we found that of 9,000 threads related to feminism on the Stormfront far-right website, more than 60 percent mentioned Jews. Stormfront members think Jews are leading the feminist movement. And so we come full circle, back to antisemitic murders. In Halle, Germany last year, a gunman sought to enter a synagogue. Frustrated by the security, he killed two other nearby innocents. While carrying out the attack, he was uttering conspiratorial antisemitic and misogynist bile. The conspiracy theories that circulate


CONSPIRACY THEORIES PLAY INTO PREJUDICES. THEY EMPOWER AND EMBOLDEN PEOPLE online matter. Their prevalence, or otherwise, in public life matters. Last week, Baroness Jenny Tonge stood up in the House of Lords and, in the context of discussing Britain’s ‘freedom’ asked a minister a question finishing with a description of Israel as America’s “puppet master”. The puppet master trope has a long history; there are examples of it in Nazi propaganda and in internet memes about George Soros. The allegory of Israel as the power behind America is, in my opinion, antisemitic. Our national definition of antisemitism is clear that “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” can be antisemitic as can “using symbols and images associated with classic

antisemitism to characterise Israel or Israelis”. This is not the first time Baroness Tonge has been condemned for antisemitic rhetoric. In 2018, there were calls for her resignation from the Lords after she suggested the Israeli government was inspiring antisemitism and this had led to the racist murders in Pittsburgh. We know conspiracy theories matter. I believe it is deeply disappointing she was not taken to task in the debate in which she was speaking and now something should be done. Members of the Lords should be seeking to hold Tonge to their usual high standard. If the Lords’ Code of Conduct doesn’t forbid conspiratorial racism, then it needs to change. As I’ve said before, people cannot necessarily be held responsible for falling for conspiracy theories. Trust in governments and politics is at an all-time low. People are seeking alternative heroes and whoever is deemed most reliable on social media timelines will sometimes do. However, conspiracy theories play into prejudices. They empower and embolden people, they provide a scapegoat and are seemingly inarguable. They lead to real life harm. If we don’t stop them being used in public life now, the harm won’t just be to Jewish people, but to our democracy.

5 March 2020 Jewish News




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Jewish News 5 March 2020


Just what did wartime Pope do during the war? DR ED KESSLER WOOLF INSTITUTE


he opening of the Vatican archives this week covers the period of the Holocaust and is an important moment in Jewish-Christian relations. It also demonstrates the willingness of Pope Francis to encourage openness because, in his words, “the Church is not afraid of history”. It is too soon to answer whether the archives support those who argue that Pope Pius XII acted in a saintly manner and that his actions resulted in the saving of Jewish lives, or whether it will encourage those who decry the Pope’s silence during the Second World War and argue that he was a flawed individual who failed Jews, especially the Jews of Rome, when they faced Nazi persecution. The answer more than likely lies somewhere in between and it’s this ‘in between’ that will be the focus of scholarly examination. This will take some time because there are 53 miles of stacked shelves, containing files with more

than one million papers. The Vatican traditionally waits 70 years after the end of a pontificate (for Pope Pius XII, this would be 2028), but Pope Francis has decided to open the archives earlier. He has also put on hold the movement towards sainthood, which was supported by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who proclaimed Pius XII “venerable” in 2009. Pope Francis has indicated that a miracle, necessary for sainthood, hasn’t been identified. Lisa Billig, who represents the American Jewish Committee at the Holy See, explains what scholars are keen to uncover: “Two equally passionate but opposing camps have been wrestling with each other for decades. “One is composed of those who claim Pope Pacelli did his utmost to save Jewish lives while necessarily taking precautions to safeguard the Catholic populations of Europe. “They want him to be declared a saint, contrary to the opposing group who claim he failed as a moral leader and could well have raised his voice to be heard publicly and stopped the persecutions without


endangering the Catholic church.” Pope Pius XII’s response to the Holocaust is of profound significance for Jewish–Christian relations. He was in Bavaria when it was declared a Soviet Republic in 1919, an experience that contributed to his antipathy towards communism. He was also Vatican Secretary of State and responsible for the Reich Concordat of 1933 that effectively neutered Catholic opposition to the Nazis. Jews were not a priority. While the Pope condemned the effects of

war on its innocent victims, Pius XII failed to specify the persecution of Jews nor did he publicly protest the transportation of Rome’s Jews to the concentration camps in 1943, refusing pleas for help on the grounds of neutrality. The legacy of Rolf Hochhuth’s play, The Representative, which portrayed Pius as more concerned with safeguarding Vatican interests than with the fate of Jews, should not be underestimated; nor should hundreds of years of Christian anti-Jewish teaching. It is easily forgotten that Pope Pius XII lived in pre-Second Vatican Council times, when traditional anti-Jewish Catholic teaching was the norm, until this was reversed by the publication of Nostra Aetate in 1965, which transformed Catholic-Jewish relations for the better. In my view, the Pope’s behaviour was complex and inconsistent. I expect the issue will come to some kind of resolution in the years ahead – as long as discussion is conducted by respected academics who, I hope, will tackle the central question: did Pope Pius XII do all he could, and did he do it soon enough?

Community cries out for gender equality LAURA MARKS



ho ever heard of a Jewish communal meeting starting at 9.30pm, and ending 45 minutes later with a full list of agreed action points by each group member? Working with the new executive of the Alliance of Jewish Women and their Organisations (AJWO)has been extraordinary – sleeves rolled up, dinner washed up and computer switched on ready for an online power brainstorm. As we launched the findings this week from our consultation, we saw British Jewish women demanding, and ready to implement change. The figures spoke for themselves, with 77 percent of more than 360 women consulted believing the Jewish community has still not reached gender equality. More than 50 percent believe women don’t have the same opportunities for advancement and recruitment in Jewish organisations as men (17 percent do), and 75 percent feel we are too often represented in the media by men (despite having a woman president of the Board of Deputies). Ten years after the Commission on Women

ONE WOMAN WANTED ‘REAL CHANGE, SUPPORT THAT GIVES US SKILLS AND CONNECTIONS’ in Jewish Leadership, this consultation, What Jewish Women Want 2020, has asked women how they feel, but also what they want to do next. Some 96 percent of the women thought AJWO should support women and girls developing leadership skills. Eighty-six percent demanded we campaign against all-male panels. An enormous 95 percent of the women agreed (72 percent strongly) that the Alliance needs to educate boys and men about gender equality in our community, while 69 percent agreed the past 10 years has shown progress but it’s not enough. Equally, and following on from120 years of Jewish women’s activism, Jewish women have mandated AJWO to speak up loudly, as Jewish women, on issues shaping the national agenda; engaging on issues of social justice, climate change, and being part of the national women’s equality movement. Eighty-eight percent of the women, for example, felt that the Alliance should help women to build relationships with other

faith groups and while this, like other issues relating to the wider world, was felt less strongly amongst self-defined Orthodox women, 69 percent of this group concurred. Deliberately independent, entirely voluntary and self-funding, and answerable only to our members, and with my co-chair Judy Silkoff, we will now consider how to take action. One woman in the consultation, from the north, commented that she wanted “real change and not just talking about change, support that gives us skills and connections – such as training and networking”. We aim, through the endeavours of our members, to deliver. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we can direct our members to support existing member organisations that already lead the way, such as Jewish Women’s Aid on domestic violence, Jewish Vegetarian Society on green living, René Cassin on human rights, or Lead on leadership programmes. In addition, with volunteer

AJWO members at the helm, we will engage on the issues that matter to Jewish women, with campaigns and networks, and with huge amounts of mutual, caring, gentle, sisterly (and hopefully brotherly) support. Probably the question evoking the strongest response was whether, for women to progress, they need to support one another. Sixty percent strongly agreed (93 percent in total agreed) and only two percent disagreed. As the esteemed Jewish woman Madeleine Albright said: “It is important for women to help one another. I have a saying: There is a special place in hell for women who don’t.” With our priorities defined, it is time to set to work, in inclusive cooperation. With 100 members, and with the next step always a challenge, Judy and I can take some comfort. A total of 24 organisations are affiliated and more than 120 individuals have put their time and membership money into the work, the nine-strong exec is now far from alone. Next week, as we meet on our computers or over a coffee, we know we are the next step on the journey Jewish women have been following for more than a century, dating right back to Lady Louisa de Rothschild in 1902, both to make the world better for Jewish women, but possibly more importantly, for us all.

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Community / Scene & Be Seen


Students in 25 schools across London, Manchester and Jerusalem made more than 1,000 mishloach manot, hamantashen and cards for families supported by the charity GIFT ahead of Purim, and three batmitzvah girls devoted their celebration to preparing luxury mishloach manot for families. GIFT educator Shoshanna Dresner said: “It is so inspiring to see young girls go to so much effort to help others in this way.” Pictured are Motty and Shiale Maierovits, whose family bought and wrapped 300 mishloach manot for recipients.

And be seen! The latest news, pictures and social events from across the community


Children aged four to 11 enjoyed a week of colourthemed arts and craft activities, such as baking cakes and creating designs using scratch art, at Redbridge Jewish Community Centre’s half term camp, which was open to local schools. The centre’s youth and family coordinator Emma Senitt said: “We had so much fun. Our holiday schemes and after-school clubs create opportunities for primary school age children to have fun and form new friendships, and our leaders get to know each child so they have as much fun as possible, in a space where everyone feels welcome.”

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Three runners pounded the pavements for the Vitality Big Half marathon in central London, raising more than £1,000 for Jewish learning disability charity Kisharon. They joined more than 16,000 runners near London Bridge and finished in Greenwich. Pictured is Simon Lazarus, who finished in one hour and 50 minutes. “It was a great event with perfect weather conditions and there was a fantastic atmosphere,” he said. “Knowing any money I raise is going to such a good cause makes it all worthwhile.”


The British Friends of ALEH marked Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) with a series of breakfasts, teas and dinners. Gemma Ginsberg, from the charity’s young committee, said the month is a “call to action for all of us in the Jewish community to take responsibility and to act by our Jewish values, celebrating the rights of all Jews to be included and to participate in all aspects of Jewish life, regardless of their disability.” She added: “Promoting JDAIM is part of ALEH’s important Tikun Olam educational programme and campaign in Israel and around the world.”






Jewish News 5 March 2020

Scene & Be Seen / Community 6

Photo by John Rifkin






LBC host Nick Ferrari entertained some 240 guests – including Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev – at a dinner organised by the UK Friends of Yad Sarah. The reception, held at the Montcalm Hotel in London, raised more than £200,000 to fund three ambulances for some of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens. The charity Yad Sarah provides support to Israel’s sick, elderly and disabled with the provision of disability equipment and transportation services.



Hardy 14- and 15-yearolds from Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue’s Kabbalat Torah group braved the cold at a sleep-out to raise awareness of homelessness. Senior Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, who volunteers twice a month at a Watford night shelter, said: “I am proud our teenagers are both Jewish and socially engaged, wanting to learn and to act to contribute to society.” He added: “There was a pause from the kids; they got the issue.” Pictured are Freddie Fiber, Taliah Spencer-Jacobs, Josh Aarons, Rafi Chinnick and Shaya Goldstein.


More than 25 property professionals came to a talk led by the partner and head of a leading asset management firm. Bill Benjamin, from the Ares Real Estate Group, launched the 2020 Round Table event organised by employment charity Work Avenue.” Debbie Sheldon, Work Avenue CEO, said: “It was extremely insightful and thought-provoking to hear Bill share his experience and expertise about the current property climate. We were fortunate to launch our 2020 Round Table event with Bill as our guest speaker, and look forward to future events.” Benjamin is pictured with Sheldon and Work Avenue chairman Mark Morris.

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city’s 2,000-year-old Jewish community. The Indian Jewish Association event was attended by the Conservative peer Lord James Sassoon and Atul Kochhar, who was the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star. The Indian High Commission minister Manmeet Singh Narang told guests: “Indian Jews have been small in number, but they have contributed immensely to the cultural and administrative landscape of India.” He added: “In Britain, both communities have been extremely successful and contribute significantly.”

One hundred people gathered at a Leicester Square hotel for a talk by Alex Hayim, the director of the 1998 documentary Shalom Bombay, on the Indian

Members of the ‘Popular Front of Judea’ were crowned winners of the New West End Synagogue (NWES)’s latest supper quiz. The winning table – belonging to the intergenerational Miller family – were among 80 congregants, who gathered at the synagogue for soup, shepherd’s pie and dessert. Quizmaster Benjamin Till led the general knowledge quiz with the help of the scoremaster Nathan. “It was a great evening, full of fun and food, and I can only promise to do better when we have the next NWES Supper Quiz,” said congregant David Fisher.


Twenty-five people sampled snacks at a zerowaste market pop-up event run by WeFil, which aims to provide virtually plastic free, sustainable and ethical products to schools, community groups and people at their workplace. At the event, held at the Jewish Vegetarian Society in Golders Green, customers were able to buy organic staples such as chickpeas, lentils and rice, a range of staples and snacks grown in the UK and organic vegan dark chocolate in the form of buttons, minty thins and sea salt. Also on sale were handmade natural deodorants, lip balm and plastic free dental floss packaged in glass refillable containers along with cleaning products. WeFil will be at St Albans Masorti Synagogue for its Aviv event to help launch its eco initiative on Sunday, 8 March from 1pm to 4pm. It will be return to JVS on 19 March at 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

5 March 2020 Jewish News

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Jewish News 5 March 2020

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Theatre / Weekend

A musical of


known DreamWorks animation and is tion – alongside original screen“meant for the stage”. He explains: writer Philip LaZebnik. “We’re really trying to use the “We’ve worked together fact we’re doing this on stage to a couple of times, but it’s a rare expand the story, make it richer, occurrence,” the 45-year-old [make] the characters and experisays of his father, who has also ences more human. won four Grammys and is “The thing about an animated best known for composing the feature, even a great one like The music for stage and screen hits Prince of Egypt, is that you’re limited including Godspell, Wicked to about 90 to 95 minutes, while the and Enchanted. stage version is a full-length show so “I have my own career as it gives the writers the opportunity to a director, including shows on and Luke Brady as Moses go deeper.” off Broadway and my father has obviThe animation can, of course, bring such ously had a very successful career. trip away the events as the burning bush or Moses’ miraculous “But we’re very close and now, as an adult, rivers that parting of the Red Sea to life with the help of we have become friends and real colleagues. In this turn to blood, special effects and artistic skill. I ask Scott how he process, we treat it completely professionally. When swarms of hopes to reproduce such epic things on stage. we’re in the rehearsal room, he’s the composer and locusts, fiery hail“I don’t want to give too much away, because lyricist and I’m the director.” stones, a burning bush we have some pretty exciting moments I want Scott, who is the artistic director of New York’s and the parting of the people to be surprised by,” he smiles. “But what renowned Bay Street Theater, credits his father, Red Sea and at its core, we have done is develop an amazing language of as well as his mother Carole, a former actress, for new musical The Prince movement and dance, created by Sean, to relate exposing him to the arts “from a very early age”. of Egypt is really how there are forces in this world that are greater “It was in many ways unavoidable,” he laughs. about family. Scott and father Stephen than any of us individually, that there are mira“My dad was always writing tunes, and I thought Inspired by the cles. We think we can sort of shape events, but in everybody lived in houses where their father played story of Exodus, it’s about two brothers born into reality, we’re just a grain of sand. the piano all the time, sang and wrote music. very different backgrounds, who by dint of fate are “The burning bush, for example, is created by “I was never pressured by my parents to go brought together only to become sworn enemies in our entire cast. There is actual fire in the show and into the theatre. I kind of found my way into it. adult life – and it’s about a son separated from his some pretty grand theatrical effects that happen They were certainly encouraging, but I know, had real family, only to be reunited with them later. when the Red Sea parts, but it’s all coupled with I chosen a different path, they would have also So it’s something of a happy coincidence for things the actors themselves are doing.” supported that, so it was a choice I came to because director Scott Schwartz that his latest show, which Speaking of miracles, one of the most wellopened at the Dominion Theatre last week, sees him of my own love for that world.” But he acknowledges that Stephen did much to known songs from The Prince of Egypt is, of reunited with his own father, multi-Oscar-winning course, Stephen’s Oscar-winning song, When You introduce him to the world of the West End stage, lyricist and composer, Stephen Schwartz. Believe, which went on to become a global hit for after his father’s career brought him to London New York native Scott describes it as “a really Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. I ask Scott to work on several musicals, so Scott now feels joyous experience” to work with his father on the if he is a believer of miracles. “honoured and blessed” to be returning to the musical – based on the 1998 DreamWorks anima“I believe there are things in this world we don’t capital for his latest show. fully understand and there are coincidences in the Having only officially opened last week, The world that go beyond mere coincidence,” he replies. Prince of Egypt has already announced an extra “Whether you call that a miracle, or you call that seven weeks to its limited run, which will end God or fate or the supernatural, I do think there is on 31 October. a world out there beyond our senses that we very The 43-strong cast features Luke Brady as rarely, but maybe occasionally, get to experience. Moses, Liam Tamne as Ramses and Gary Wilmot “But I also believe we create our own destinies as Jethro against visually striking sets and and we have a responsibility to put good into the costumes, breathtaking choreography from Sean world. That is part of our journey on this earth.” Cheesman and 10 new songs written by Stephen,  The Prince of Egypt runs until 31 together with five from the original animation. October at Dominion Theatre. Tickets: Scott notes that while the production “honours the film”, his musical does not replicate the well-

Francine Wolfisz speaks to

director Scott Schwartz about

his musical version of The Prince Of Egypt and working alongside his father, award-winning

composer Stephen Schwartz


Luke as Moses with Christine Allado as Tzipporah

In association with

A look

Inside Meet our finalists: Read the winning entries from our storywriting contest

Travel: Discover the community of Jews living in Thessaloniki

Competition: Win tickets to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery!


Jewish News 5 March 2020

Jewish News-WIZO UK / Young writers’ competition

All the write moves! Photos by Gary Perlmutter

Judges at this year’s Jewish News-Wizo UK Young Writers’ competition were wowed by the story-telling of primary and secondary school pupils on the theme of perseverence


space adventure, a thrilling race, the tale of one migrant’s journey and a story that needed to be told were named as the winning entries in our storytelling competition. Following the success of last year’s inaugural competition, Jewish News teamed up with WIZO – the Women’s International Zionist Organisation – and PJ Library, which distributes stories celebrating Jewish values and traditions to more than 7,500 children across the UK and asked young writers to pen their thoughts on the theme of never giving up. A panel of judges, including WIZO UK honorary president Loraine Warren, Jewish News features editor Francine Wolfisz (pictured), director of PJ Library in the UK Lauren Hamburger, and Lydia Drukarz of Wavelength PR, selected a shortlist from more than 130 entries from 23 schools. Guest judge, author and poet Miriam Halahmy, then selected the final winners, who were revealed last week. Cain Panas, 10, from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School (HJPS), Radlett, won first place in the primary school category for his imaginative short story, My Huge Adventure, with Zara Teacher, 10, from Akiva Primary School, named as runner-up for poignant poem, Three Times A Migrant, inspired by real-life events experienced by her grandfather. For the secondary school category, Ariella Goldstein, 14, from Hasmonean High School for Girls, Mill Hill, took first place for The Deciding Race.Freyde Sayers, 17, from Forest School, Snaresbrook, was named as the runner-up for her short story, I Can Be An Author. At a special event held last Wednesday evening, the winners were presented with an iPad for themselves and their schools, thanks to sponsor Orit Lev of Mamilla Architecture & Design, while the runners-up received book vouchers. All the finalists also received goodie bags from P J Library. WIZO UK chair Ronit Ribak-Madari said: “WIZO is committed to encouraging young people to ‘persevere’ with their goals, enabling them to enjoy success and be the best they can be, so perseverance was the perfect theme.” Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer said: “When we launched this initiative last year we were impressed by the creativity of our younger readers, but this year’s entrants have surpassed our expectations. An initiative such as this, alongside WIZO UK and P J Library, provides children with a wonderful opportunity to unleash their imagination and inspire others.” Orit said: “Mamilla was thrilled to be a part of this wonderful competition. We congratulate all participants for their excellent and moving efforts.” Youngsters shortlisted for each category also received a certificate of commendation. They were: Joshua Trager-Lewis, 12, from JCoSS; Tamara Segel, 13, from Hasmonean High School for Girls; Samzi Tishler, 16, from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School; Joel Brahams, 11, from JCoSS, and Eddie Curtis, 13, from Immanuel College in the secondary school category; and Dena Stock, 10, from Sacks Morasha; Ethan Abrahams, 10, from HJPS; Jake Sosner, 7, from HJPS; Jonathan Gersch, 11, from Beit Shvidler, and Joseph Gelb, 8, from Akiva in the primary school category. WIZO is the largest independent social welfare organisation in Israel, supporting more than 800 projects across the country at every stage of life.These include children’s day care centres, emergency centres for babies and children at risk, youth villages for vulnerable teenagers and more than 100 after school programmes. Its current fundraising focus is to achieve the remaining £200,000 of a £1.8 million drive for the vital renovation and refurbishment of the WIZO Vocational High School in Jerusalem, WIZO’s ‘School of Dreams’.

WINNER, PRIMARY SCHOOL CATEGORY: CAIN PANAS 10, Year 6 at Hertsmere Jewish Primary School My Huge Adventure I started in my bedroom using my calculator to work out if it could be done. I spent hours outside in the freezing cold with a tape measure. I wrote pages and pages of equations. I waited for months until the time was right to do my mission. It was a freezing Sunday afternoon when I opened my wardrobe and took out my warmest, luckiest and biggest jumper I had because I knew it would be as cold as the Arctic when I arrived there. When I was outside, I extremely rushed onto the trampoline. I jumped and leapt as high as a tiger but each time I failed. I kept trying until I was so out of breath and exhausted, but I wasn’t ever going to give up on my dream. I had to rethink all of the calculations carefully because I was desperate to complete my whole idea. In the garden I had to make a launch pad to put on the trampoline to make it even bouncier. Everyday as soon as I woke up, I went straight to work improving on my technique and my equipment. An entire month had passed, as I waited again until it was the right time to launch but I still didn’t make it as high as I really wanted to. Finally, on a bright but chilly Thursday morning I managed to jump so high I eventually landed on the moon. I picked up a huge moonrock to bring back to Earth as a souvenir to prove that I had actually been to the moon. Now I just have to figure out how to make my way back home… I know if I persevere, I will always arrive at my destination wherever it is. Miriam says: “Cain has written a tightly-structured piece with a strong opening. The story engaged me right the way through; it is an orignal idea and a good example of persevering and overcoming the odds. Good ending.”

RUNNER-UP, PRIMARY SCHOOL CATEGORY: ZARA TEACHER 10, Year 6, Akiva Primary School Three times a migrant: A poem inspired by my grandfather’s early life

It was hard, hard to leave,

Will this be my home for life?

But we had no choice,

I am not afraid

To leave my father buried there As Jews we were not welcome to stay, Yet that is where my ancestors lay.

Leaving home, the land of the Pharaohs, To Italy, France, hopeful for a better life. How I struggled to fit in.

And even though I spoke their tongue, Of my accent, all they made was fun. Three times a migrant. Onwards to England,

Yet another language I strived to master,

Might I even find a wife? To say that I’m different.

I’m proud to be a Jew, a British Jew.

I am proud to be a successful migrant, In this new home, where finally, I am free.

Miriam says: “Zara’s poem is a good example of walking in another’s shoes – in this case, those of her grandfather. The poem has a clear rhythm throughout and illustrates the theme of perseverance very well. This is a poignant poem with a striking opening stanza and a consistent rhyming scheme.”

5 March 2020 Jewish News


Young writers’ competition / Jewish News-WIZO UK

Above: Primary and secondary school winners and runners-up along with Lauren Hamburger, Francine Wolfisz, Miriam Halahmy, Loraine Warren, Orit Lev and WIZO philanthropy manager Osnat Maas and, right, with Hasmonean teacher Janine Ellerman, HJPS headteacher Rita Alak-Levi and HJPS teacher Adam Bright



ARIELLA GOLDSTEIN 14, Year 10, Hasmonean High School for Girls

FREYDE SAYERS 17, Year 13, Forest School

The deciding race My foot brushed the starting block. I blocked out the sounds of people cheering and chatting, whispering and waiting. All I could hear was my heart forcing adrenaline throughout my muscles and my lungs gasping all available air. My whole body shook with fear. I thought back to the hours I had spent training, all day every day. No days off. No excuses. I had been on diets and strict routines. I had missed parties and holidays. Every single day was physically and emotionally draining. There were days where I wished I could be “normal” and sit in a warm office with a hot cup of tea. Swimming was a commitment I had made and had devoted my life to. Was it the right path to take? In under a minute I would find out. The race was about to begin. Icy water consumed me. My second home yet my second enemy. In this race I had one aim. I had to win. I was a fish escaping a shark and a polar bear its catching prey. Every stroke counted. Every breath counted. Every millisecond counted. Passing the fifty meter mark I was still going strong. Two lengths done; two lengths to go. I was in the lead by half a second yet couldn’t get complacent. I had to keep up the pace and my breath was beginning to become shallow and every muscle ached. The fateful finishing line was so close; yet so far. As determined as a lion, I came to the last length. The last push to victory. Adrenaline took over and I swam like never before. Technique didn’t matter. Speed mattered. Gasping for breath, I strained to hear the results. My name was called. Extreme elation removed all exhaustion. My whole body shook with pride. Miriam says: “This is a tightly-written piece with a strong opening paragraph. Ariella’s style shows variety in sentence length, which strengthens the effect of her writing. The story has some strong images and a good ending, focusing on our competition theme very well.”

I Can Be An Author I started with nothing, an eight-year-old girl sitting at a tiny white desk in a tiny bedroom, the walls painted a candy floss pink. I’d read classic stories of mischievous girls at boarding school, worked my way through the Faraway Tree series and cried when I finished the last Mogg book. It was time now, I decided, to create something of my own, illustrations and all, a series of stories that were just as entertaining as any adult could make up. Biro and draft paper at the ready, I brought to life two girls my own age, one who was privileged and the other greatly disadvantaged, forced to live together, and who created a blossoming friendship from initial hatred. I named them Isabelle and Juliet, two cheerful girls with tight ringlets who went on eventful holidays, to exciting parties, and later started new lives at boarding school. They weren’t just imagined but drawn in scribbles and strokes with pastel crayons that started long and fresh and wore down to small bumps of blue, brown and purple that coloured my desk and rainbowed my fingers. The girls in my story grew and transformed into admirable women who were strong and focused. The ten short stories, bound in two volumes, now live at the top of my bookshelf in my new, more spacious bedroom, painted a sky blue. I look at their coloured spines with pride and remember my dream. Miriam says: “This is a bright, engaging piece with a lovely opening sentence. Freyde is a very visual writer and her story is filled with colour and variety. The story is well structured and our theme is well illustrated.”


Jewish News 5 March 2020

Weekend / Travel

Journey to the Greece of my grandparents Edie Friedman hears stories from some of the 1,000 Jews who still live in Thessaloniki


reminder of the tragedy of Greek tatistics can sometimes Jewry is a small photographic be overwhelming, with exhibition in the Jewish small personal details Museum of Thessaloniki. making a bigger The photos depict a series of impact. I was reminded of newlyweds who married in the this during my recent visit Monastir Synagogue in 1945to Thessaloniki in Greece, 46. This synagogue survived for centuries a predomiEdie the Nazi onslaught because it nantly Jewish city, whose Friedman was used as a Red Cross centre. Jewish population was Etched on to their faces are both war devastated by the Holocaust. weariness and unbearable loss but also, I The number of Greek Jews killed is like to think, a little hope that somehow there difficult to comprehend: of the 50,000 living could be a future for them. in Thessaloniki before the war, only 2,000 Sitting in the Monastir synagogue on Yom survived. Right across Greece the story is the Kippur, which was teeming with congregants, same, Jewish communities either completely I wondered how many of these people were destroyed or reduced to shadows of their descendants of some of the newlyweds who former selves. Ioannina, which we also made up the exhibition. visited, was once home to a 2,000-year-old Today, just over 1,000 Jews still live in community of Romaniote (Greek) Jews, but Thessaloniki. I talked to the congregants to 90 percent were exterminated in death camps hear their stories. One woman told me that and fewer than 50 Jews live there today. her Hungarian mother met her Greek Jewish An unusual but very tangible personal

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husband in a concentration camp. They fell in love, survived the ordeal and moved to Greece after the war. Another woman told me that her parents survived because they joined the partisans and hid with them in the mountains. It was to this city so affected by the Holocaust that my husband and I had come to try to find any information about my grandparents, who lived here until they left for America in the autumn of 1919, a century ago. I only have a copy of my grandmother’s Greek passport and sadly a visit to the main archivist for the Jewish community elicited no new information. Greece is one of the most undocumented countries in the world, in part because a huge fire devastated the city in 1917, particularly affecting the Jewish community. So, mystery still surrounds my grandparents’ lives here. Why and when did these Russian Jews come to Thessaloniki? Was it to escape pogroms or conscription? Was my grandfather actually born there, as reported in the pre-war US census return? My mother once told me that my grandfather had played the violin in a theatre orchestra but my enquiries to theatres proved fruitless. Were they happy here? If so, why leave for the unknown in the United States? It is chilling to

The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki displays stones once found in the city’s necropolis

think that if they had not left when they did, my existence would certainly be in doubt. Before the visit, I felt in my heart of hearts that this trip would be mainly symbolic, knowing that any documents relating to them were unlikely to have survived the combined effect of the Holocaust, the fire and urban regeneration. Even the streets of Thessaloniki don’t look as they did for my grandparents. I left with that nagging thought – so familiar to many of us – that I could have asked questions years ago but never did. Still, I was pleased that, however imperfect, I was able to enter a little bit of the world they inhabited. On our way home, the boat taking us from Patras to the Italian coast was delayed because the captain was asked by the Italian coastguard to help a group of migrants in a small dinghy trying to find a new home in the West. Even though 2019 is very different from 1919, people are still impelled to seek a better, safer and more secure life abroad. The horrific death of 39 people in the back of a refrigerated lorry in the UK recently reminded me that we should help them do so safely and legally.


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5 March 2020 Jewish News


Orthodox Judaism

SEDRA Tetzaveh BY RABBI NAFTALI SCHIFF There is one person noticeably absent from this week’s parsha. Moses, whose name appears more than anyone else in the Torah, is no longer in the script. Where has he gone? The great commentator and halachic authority, Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher (d.1343), also known as the Baal Haturim, says his absence is due to his request to God: “Erase me from your book that you have written.” When the Jewish people served the golden calf, it was deemed to be such a catastrophic error that it could have been the end of them and their role as being God’s representatives on earth. God suggested to Moses that he would now become the forefather of a new nation, which would carry on that mission. Moses stood his ground and, like a loving father and the loyal shepherd he was, refused to accept God’s offer and pleaded instead on behalf of his people. He even beseeched God to remove his own name out of the Torah, because the prospect of being there without his beloved nation was too

much to bear. The Jewish people were spared, however parshat Tetzaveh (which always falls at the time of Moses’ yahrzeit) remains without his name as a reminder of the extent to which he was willing to go on behalf of the Jews. Later on in the Torah, Moses is referred to as the “humblest of all men”. He is the shining example of true leadership. Moses consistently places the people and the fulfilment of their historic role in world history above his own. He was not in it for personal glory. Moses was willing to sacrifice everything for the Jewish people and realised that their mission, as a nation who can lead by example, was far more important than his own success or aspirations. Moses’ absent name teaches us that humility, coupled with care and compassion, are the hallmarks of authentic leadership.

 Rabbi Naftali Schiff is the founder and chief executive of Jewish Futures

Torah For Today What does the Torah say about: Harvey Weinstein’s crimes BY RABBI ZVI SOLOMONS Often is it said that being a Jew is hard. This is not only because we have 606 more mitzvot to perform than the rest of the world, but also because we are a small people who suffer persecution. We have only to look to the Labour antisemitism debacle to understand the fetid soup of conspiracy that unfortunately can surround us. It is therefore a very great outrage when a prominent and identifiable Jew is convicted. We remember the opprobrium poured onto Ernest Saunders and Sir Gerald Ronson at the time of the Guinness scandal. Much of this had to do with their Jewish ethnicity. The Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal and his conviction, so soon after the Epstein scandal, has certainly done us no favours. It doesn’t matter to our detrac-


feel at these heinous acts is borne into the wider world through our Jewish values, which even our haters and abusers unwittingly share. This is thus a lesson in the Third Commandment: “You shall not bear the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Anything we do as an identifiable Jew can, and usually will, be used against us. We should therefore strive to adhere to the highest moral standards. We cannot be responsible for Weinstein’s criminal acts, but we might be able to redress the antisemitic claims that his behaviour is particularly Jewish, by proving to the world that in fact the extreme opposite is the case.

tors that all of this abuse of others and sexual crime is several layers deep in prohibition. The very disgust that we all

 Rabbi Zvi Solomons serves JCoB, the independent Orthodox community in Reading, Berkshire

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Jewish News 5 March 2020

Progressive Judaism

The Bible Says What? ‘You are all gods’ BY RABBI SYLVIA ROTHSCHILD What can our tradition mean when it tells us in psalm 82: “You are all Elohim, all the children of the Most High”? And why is the next verse: “Nevertheless, you shall die like mortal beings.” Is it suggesting we are gods? In that same psalm, Elohim is used as a word both for God and for judges – connecting human judges to a divine justice. And of course “Elohim” is also used to describe false “gods” in the bible. So what is the Bible telling us here? The psalm is often read as if those responsible for dispensing justice are on a par with God, representing the divine being; and so any corruption or injustice by them is a particularly heinous crime. God is challenging them to hold onto their values and principles against the pressures that might cause them to bend justice in favour of powerful interests. The Midrash has a more interesting view. When Israel accepted the Torah

at Sinai, the angel of death lost power over them and they became god-like. (Shemot Rabbah 32:7). But no sooner had they accepted Torah than they made the golden calf – and this sin lost them eternal life. They became mortal once more. Just as in the story of the garden of Eden, the Bible is alluding to us having once been immortal and godlike beings who lost this status through an act of defying – or not trusting – God. While we are all the children of “the Most High”, with the ability to emulate and promote God’s justice in the world, we are reminded that our own ambition or fearfulness stops us from fulfilling that potential. The psalm reminds us it is through championing justice that we come most closely to God, and reminds us too how we avoid understanding – and acting – on this knowledge.

◆ Sylvia Rothschild has been a community rabbi in south London for 30 years

Progressively Speaking Carnivals with gas chamber floats and grinning Jews are antisemitic, pure and simple BY RABBI CHARLEY BAGINSKY During events marking the lead-up to the Christian period of Lent last week, there were a series of shocking antisemitic episodes. Belgium’s Aalst Carnival – a giant and exuberant three-day parade – included people dressed as caricatures of Jews wearing huge fur hats, long fake noses and ant costumes, making the striking link between Jews and vermin. In Spain, another carnival featured gun-toting Nazis and their dancing Jewish victims, as well as a float designed like a gas chamber and children wearing yellow stars. Meanwhile in Croatia, state television broadcast a show featuring locals in Nazi SS uniforms singing about “the good old times”. While some apologies have been forthcoming – especially from organisers of the Spanish carnival – many have defended the events as “tradition”, “an internal affair” or, in the words of the Aalst mayor’s spokesperson, “our humour... just fun”.

The argument of tradition is the most insidious. Lent, the 40-day period ahead of Easter, and especially the festival itself, was traditionally a time when Jews faced attack. Congregants in European churches in the Middle Ages would be told how “the Jews” conspired to kill Jesus and asked to pray for them to convert to Christianity. In a recent article, priest and church historian The Rev Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski explained how: “medieval Christians received the message that the Jews who lived in their midst killed their saviour and needed to either convert to Christianity or face divine punishment”, he

said. “This language was often carried over into physical violence towards local Jewish communities.” When carnivals such as the one in Aalst, which also has its origins in the Middle Ages, talk of tradition, this is the history our community sees. As for it being an “internal affair”, as Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said, the fact these events took place in public makes them the very opposite of that, especially in today’s ultra-connected world. Finally comes the phrase we hear too often in regards to racist comments and actions – that it is all just a laugh. These events were neither funny nor satire. They are antisemitism, pure and simple. These continual negative portrayal of Jews normalise antisemitism and anti-Jewish tropes, so they form part of the way our community is viewed and spoken about. ◆ Rabbi Charley Baginsky is Liberal Judaism’s director of strategy and partnerships

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5 March 2020 Jewish News


Justine Zwerling / Business

With Candice Krieger



Business between the UK and Israel is the best it’s ever been, says Justine Zwerling, who as deputy director of trade at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv worked with the London Stock Exchange to support companies wanting to list before joining the LSE itself, writes Candice Krieger

hen it comes to business between the UK and Israel, things have seldom looked better. Bilateral trade is booming, up 72 percent in the six years to 2018. And exports from Israel to the UK rose by 21 percent in the same period. Also strengthening this burgeoning relationship is the increasing number of Israeli companies heading to London. The city has become an increasingly popular destination for them; 26 are listed in London with market capitalisation of about $18 billion, and the numbers are set to rise. So what is it about the UK, and London in particular, that is making it more attractive than ever to Israeli firms? Few are more qualified to answer than Justine Zwerling, head of primary markets Israel at the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The British-born, Israel-based mum of two has spent most of her career helping Israeli companies to succeed in the UK. Is UK–Israel trade the best it’s been? “I think it is,” says Zwerling, whose previous roles include deputy director of trade and investment at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv. “When I fly over all I can see is this incredible business environment on the plane. Everyone is standing up doing business and exchanging business cards. I have meetings on the plane, and at the airport beforehand.” Zwerling is in the UK every month for her role – to help companies grow and raise capital on London Stock Exchange – through AIM (the Alternative Investment Market), the main market, ELITE and Fixed Income. “I see very positive things. Israelis are realising that it’s a very short jump over the sea,” she says. “Israel and the UK were two of the first countries to sign the trade deal that will be implemented post-Brexit, and there are currently $10.8 billion of Israeli government bonds listed in London, so that’s extremely positive.” AIM, LSE’s growth market, designed to help

smaller companies access capital from the public market, has become popular with Israeli firms. “Most of the Israeli companies are scaling small-to-medium cap and you have the unicorns, but we have quite a good split between AIM and the main market. “Sometimes people think of AIM as a stepping stone, but with AIM you have the ability to grow, raise additional capital through follow on issuances, and there is of course the potential to transfer to the main market. That’s very attractive for Israelis.” Twelve Israeli firms are listed on the main market, including 888 Holdings, PLUS500, PPHE Hotel Group and Playtech. And 14 on AIM: Kape Technologies, Amiad Water Systems and MTI Wireless Edge are a few. So why London? “I see huge advantages in the speed of business that can be done in the UK, the excellent regulatory environment and legal systems, and the ability to list quite quickly. Israelis understand the London markets and that we have something very special to offer. The potential is enormous.” Born in the UK, Zwerling made aliyah in 1996 in her 20s, “with £2,000 in my rucksack. I’d wanted to be in Israel for a long time”, she recalls. Zwerling, who has a degree in English literature and history from Bath Spa University and a masters in Middle Eastern history from the Hebrew University, spent a long time working with charities, exporting UK welfare to work policy internationally. She became involved with trade and governments and joined the British Embassy in Tel Aviv in the trade and investment role. “I was able to be part of kickstarting a commercially focused operation that helped companies looking to expand abroad. We were able to tap into a new pipeline of companies that have now set up in the UK, employing British people across the country.” Zwerling saw the potential for Israeli companies to access public markets and started working with the LSE to support them. After three and a half years, she jumped ship and took up her post at the LSE in 2016.

LITTNER TO HOST WIZOnet’S POWER HOUR Apprentice star and business maven Claude Littner will host a panel of “inspirational” speakers at a special networking event. Power Hour, which takes place on Tuesday, 10 March at 7pm at Westminster Synagogue, will feature Littner, a visiting professor at the University of West London and founder of the Claude Littner Business School, in conversation with four entrepreneurs. The event marks the start of a partnership between Jewish News and WIZOnet and is in association with Westminster Young Professionals. On the night, the audience will hear from Natasha Langleben, a social work

team manager who has co-founded two social enterprises, Linkey and Two Generations; Dr Danny Sinitsky, co-founder of UK Therapy Rooms; Rebecca Glenapp, founder of Lux Fix, the largest online marketplace for premium boutique fashion; and Charlie Rubin, founder of Clasiq, an online car community and co-founder of Tech Friends for Israel. WIZOnet is a business network for all ages and is part of WIZO UK. It offers opportunities to meet experts across a range of industries, while raising awareness and funds to improve the lives of others. To book tickets for Power Hour, visit

Justine Zwerling (left) says there is a good split of Israeli companies between the main market and AIM


Jewish News 5 March 2020

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Our trusty team of advisers answers your questions about everything from law and finance to dating and dentistry. This week: School support for dyslexia, the benefits of selling airspace and a Florida-Miami holiday



Dear Sarah Our son, 10, has poor spelling for his age. Although extremely creative, he's also unable to transfer his ideas into written work and is becoming disheartened. We want to help him before he progresses to secondary school. What do you suggest? Alex Dear Alex The problems you mention are often indicators of dyslexia and you are right to act. Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects reading and spelling. It may also be evident in difficulties with word retrieval, organisation, memory


LONDON PENTHOUSE Dear Joe Is my property suitable for development? Can I capitalise by selling airspace? Barry Dear Barry Airspace development takes an element of a building that had no real value at all and converts it into a real asset of significant value. We can carry out developments to buildings while the residents remain in occupation

with minimal disruption as a result of adding additional apartments to the existing roof. Many factors determine whether a site is suitable for airspace development, but a few general rules of thumb are: * The property must have a flat or unconverted pitched roof * The existing common staircase(s) must extend up to the top floor of the building. * The property can be a residential apartment block, entirely commercial, or mixed-use commercial and residential units. The key advantages of selling your airspace are: • Upfront cash payment for development rights. • Overhaul and upgrade

and speed of processing. As a first step, I would discuss your concerns with the class teacher and the school special educational needs coordinator and see what support the school can offer. I would recommend specialist literacy tuition to help your son with targeted training in phonological awareness and phonics, which are the foundations of good reading and spelling. I'd also consider having your son assessed by a professional dyslexia assessor in order to gain a deeper understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. The results would help you both understand the reasons for his struggles as well as highlighting his potential and the report can be used towards diagnostic documentation that may help him benefit from access arrangements in secondary school exams. The earlier dyslexia is identified, the sooner extra support from schools and professionals can be accessed.

of communal areas internally and externally – even installing lifts if the host building doesn't have them already. • Modular (off-site) construction techniques mean minimal disruption to residents and reduces the carbon footprint of the development. • All costs associated with the development, including planning, surveys and both parties legal fees, will be covered by London Penthouse. • There may be a reduction of service charges owing to them being divided between more apartments. If you think your property may be suitable for development, or you want to find out more, call us on 020 7665 9604 or visit our wesbite,

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if booked in advance. I suggest you make Miami Beach your base. This vibrant famous holiday resort, just 15 minutes from Miami airport, offers visitors DAVID SEGEL world class hotels ranging TRAVEL AGENT from deluxe ocean front Fontainebleau and Eden Roc WEST END TRAVEL hotels to more moderately priced hotels along impresDear David My friends and I are hoping sive Collins Avenue. Car hire in Miami is easy to take a self-drive holiday in Florida, combined with a to arrange: Hertz, Avis and one week Caribbean cruise Alamo all offer attractive rates. from Miami. We would Driving around Florida is appreciate your recommengreat. with interesting and dations and experience of varied sightseeing along flights and quality hotels. the way. Susan Visiting Bal Harbour and Aventura shopping malls Dear Susan is a must, and then drive Virgin, British Airways and onwards, passing Fort American Airlines all offer competitive airfares to Miami Lauderdale and onto the

fabulous resorts of Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. You will certainly have had a real taste of the beautiful sunshine state of Florida. All the major cruise lines, including Celebrity, Crystal, Royal Caribbean and NCL operate one-week Caribbean cruises from ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. You will definitely be spoilt for choice; the itineraries are exciting, visiting Jamaica, Barbados, Cayman Islands and Bahamas. Life on board ship is enjoyable and great fun, there's never a dull moment with activities and superb entertainment provided on a daily basis – it's a wonderful way to end your dream holiday.


Jewish News 5 March 2020

Ask Our Experts / Professional advice from our panel

Our Experts Got a question for a member of our team? Email: PRIVATE HEALTHCARE SPECIALIST TREVOR GEE Qualifications: • Managing director, consultants in affordable family and corporate health insurance. • Specialise in maximising cover, lowering premiums and pre-existing conditions. • Excellent knowledge of health insurers, cover levels and hospital lists. • Board member UK International Health Management Ass • LLB, solicitor finals, FCA Regulated 773729.

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DYSLEXIA PRACTITIONER SARAH BENARROCH Qualifications: • Director of Literacy Specialist Ltd, educational services for children with literacy difficulties and dyslexia. • MA in Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia), APC, British Dyslexia Association, PATOSS, 20 years’ experience in child education and development. • Full diagnostic assessments and reports for dyslexia. • Primary-age tuition in reading, writing and spelling.



ISRAELI LAWYER ELI ROSENBERG Qualifications: • All aspects of Israeli law. Specialising in property law, property tax, inheritance law and dispute management. • Third generation lawyer from Israeli firm established in Israel in 1975. • Authorised and regulated by the Israeli Bar Association and Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel, with teams in Tel Aviv and London.



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LOUISE LEACH Qualifications: • Professional choreographer qualified in dance, drama and Zumba (ZIN, ISTD & LAMDA), gaining an honours degree at Birmingham University. • Former contestant on ITV’s Popstars, reaching bootcamp with Myleene Klass, Suzanne Shaw and Kym Marsh. • Set up Dancing with Louise 10 years ago.



5 March 2020 Jewish News


Professional advice from our panel / Ask Our Experts




ADAM SHELLEY Qualifications: • FCCA chartered certified accountant. • Accounting, taxation and business advisory services. • Entrepreneurial business specialist including start-up businesses. • Specialises in charities; Personal tax returns. • Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation Volunteer of the Year JVN award.

JOE GRIFFIN Qualifications: • More than 13 years’ experience in the construction and property industry, with a specialism in high-end residential and commercial property • Negotiation of site acquisitions and property deals; design and planning strategies • Focus on niche market purchasing airspace above commercial and residential blocks to create additional stories of accommodation and penthouse apartments.

DR ADAM NEWMAN Qualifications: • Dentist at the Gingerbread House, a Bupa Platinum practice in Shenley, Radlett. • Regional Clinical Services Advisor for Bupa Dental Care UK. • Providing NHS and private dentistry, whitening, implants and cosmetic treatment. • Bachelor of Dental Surgery and Member of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners RCS England. GDC registered 212542.

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ASHLEY PRAGER Qualifications: • Professional insurance and reinsurance broker. Offering PI/D&O cover, marine and aviation, property owners, ATE insurance, home and contents, fine art, HNW. • Specialist in insurance and reinsurance disputes, utilising Insurance backed products. (Including non insurance business disputes). • Ensuring clients do not pay more than required.

IAN GREEN Qualifications: • Launched Man on a Bike IT consultancy 15 years ago to provide computer support for the home and small businesses. • Clients range from legal firms in the City to families, small business owners and synagogues. • More than 18 years’ experience.

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ISRAELI ACCOUNTANT LEON HARRIS Qualifications: • Leon is an Israeli and UK accountant based in Ramat Gan, Israel. • He is a Partner at Harris Horoviz Consulting & Tax Ltd. • The firm specializes in Israeli and international tax advice, accounting and tax reporting for investors, Olim and businesses. • Leon’s motto is: Our numbers speak your language!

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PHOTOGRAPHER HARRISON GALGUT Qualifications: • Experienced wedding and event photographer. • Specialism in portraits and light management. • BSc(Hons), BTEC music tech, specialising in film, and member of Royal Photographic Society.

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DOV NEWMARK Qualifications: • Director of UK Aliyah for Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organisation that helps facilitate aliyah from the UK. • Conducts monthly seminars and personal aliyah meetings in London. • An expert in working together with clients to help plan a successful aliyah.

CLAIRE STRAUS Qualifications: • Free professional one-to-one advice at Resource to help unemployed into work. • Practical support, workshops and networking opportunities to maximise prospects. • Career coach with MSc in career management and coaching with a background in human resources and general management and experience of private, public and voluntary sectors.

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VANESSA LLOYD PLATT Qualifications: • Qualification: 40 years experience as a matrimonial and divorce solicitor and mediator, specialising in all aspects of family matrimonial law, including: • Divorce, Pre/post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, domestic violence, children’s cases, grandparents’ rights to see grandchildren, adoption, family disputes. • Frequent broadcaster on national and International radio and television.

POLLY LANDSBERG Qualifications: • Polly has worked in health and social care for over 35 years. • Has a degree in nursing and a diploma in health visiting. • Polly is responsible for the day-to-day management of the palliative and end of life care service.



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40 Jewish News

5 March 2020



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Win theatre tickets / Fun, games and prizes

WIN TICKETS TO SEE THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY! Jewish News and The Criterion Theatre have teamed up to offer one lucky reader a pair of Band A tickets to see Mischief’s smash-and-grab hit, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery! Summer 1958. Minneapolis City Bank has been entrusted with a priceless diamond. An escaped convict is dead set on pocketing the gem with the help of his screwball sidekick, trickster girlfriend… and the maintenance man. With mistaken identities, love triangles and hidden agendas, even the most reputable can’t be trusted. In a town where everyone’s a crook, who will end up bagging the jewel? Book now for this dynamite

comedy. Final heist 3 May 2020 – it would be criminal to miss it!


 ‘This is the funniest show in the West End’ The Telegraph  ‘This fast and fabulous comedy caper is a joyful night out’ The Times  The Comedy About A Bank Robbery plays at The Criterion Theatre until 3 May 2020. For details, and to book tickets (from £10), call 03333 202 895 or visit www.thecomedyabout

Minneapolis City Bank has been entrusted with a priceless… A. Sapphire B. Ruby C. Diamond

ENTER ONLINE: Closing date 19 March 2020








17 Deep cart track (3)

Fill the grid with the numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and 3x3 block contains the numbers 1 to 9.

18 Trouble, distress (7)

7 8

19 Strikes, raps (6)


6 2 5

20 Augury (4) DOWN


1 Metal corrosion (4)


2 Implied, unspoken (5)

12 13


4 Start legal proceedings (3)

15 16


5 Actor’s impromptu speech (2‑3) 6 Gradation (6)


9 4 5 6 2 1 6 4 9 8 7

11 Tell (6)

12 Waterproof jacket (6) 14 Organisation’s phrase (5)

ACROSS 1 Table of duties (4)

3 Sea‑bound area (6) 8 Hide away (7)

9 Journey stage (3)

10 Procurable (10)

13 Appointment (10)

All puzzles © Puzzler Media Ltd ‑

Last issue’s solutions Crossword


ACROSS: 1 Relay 4 Quest 7 Boo 8 Gladden 9 Deer 10 Tsar 13 Tee 15 Loss 16 X‑ray 19 Abashed 21 Inn 22 Spent 23 Sight

15 Narcotic (5)

16 Astonish (4)

18 Biblical boat (3)

DOWN: 1 Ruby 2 Lioness 3 Yogurt 4 Quay 5 End 6 Tenure 11 Searing 12 Always 14 Exodus 17 Shot 18 Gnat 20 Ale

See next issue for puzzle solutions.

5 8 2 1 9 7 3 4 6

7 3 1 6 2 4 8 9 5

4 6 9 3 8 5 2 7 1

2 1 5 9 4 6 7 3 8

3 4 7 2 1 8 5 6 9

8 9 6 7 5 3 1 2 4

9 2 3 5 6 1 4 8 7

6 5 8 4 7 2 9 1 3

1 7 4 8 3 9 6 5 2



By Paul Solomons


9 6 3

7 Take back (6)


8 5 3 7 4 5 1 7 3 6 9

One winner will receive a pair of band A tickets to see The Comedy About A Bank Robbery at the Criterion Theatre, valid for Tues-Thurs performances until 23 April 2020. Subject to availability. Travel and accommodation not included. Prize is as stated, not transferable, not refundable and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or exchanged in whole or in part for cash. By supplying your email address, you agree to receive marketing information from the JN Media Group or any of its affiliates and carefully-selected third parties. The promotion excludes employees of Jewish News and the promoter, their immediate families, their agents or anyone professionally connected to the relevant promotion. Proof of eligibility must be provided on request. For full Ts and Cs, see Closing date: 19 March 2020


Jewish News 5 March 2020

Business Services Directory ANTIQUES 44

The Jewish News 22 September 2016


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5 March 2020 Jewish News


Business Services Directory COMPUTER



Man on a Bike will get you working fast! Rapid Response IT support for your PC & Mac Networks, virus problems, broadband, wireless systems, new computers and everything else you may need. For small businesses & home users.

Call Ian Green, Man on a Bike on

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AERIALS & SATELLITE • Repairs & Installs • Any work under taken • Sky & Freesat

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DOMICILIARY CARE FREE CARE if you book before 31st October 2019, for every 4 hours of care booked the 5th hour will be 50% Free.


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Leave the legacy of independence to people like Joel.



PLease remember us in your wiLL.


Tel: 020 8202 2323 Web: Email:

visit or caLL 020 8371 6611

Registered Charity No: 1082148

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Jewish News 5 March 2020

Follow our Journey: Bike4Kef



24-25 MAY 2020



KEF is a London-based charity supporting the lives of children and young adults with physical and learning disabilities and their families. With the help of devoted and energetic volunteers KEF has helped the Jewish community for 15 years. KEF provides out of school activities, recreational events and residential trips including summer and winter residential camps.

For more information and to sign up visit: or call Mordche 07584 327 303 Help KEF reach our 2020 target: £750,000

Minimum sponsorship £1,250 per rider Bike4Kef is a men’s only ride KEF JN Full page 260x330mm Sign up now.indd 1

27/02/2020 17:43

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