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Open arms

The moment Aseem Rafiq saw where racism leads P12


28 Kislev 5782

Issue No.1239

JN Junior’s writing tips! Ideas for young authors and win £100 Amazon vouchers P36-37


Eli Bin, MDA Director General and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett


PM JOHNSON CELEBRATES “WONDERFUL & TRUSTED” ISRAELI HEALTHCARE In a speech this week to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of the collaboration between medical professionals in the UK and Israel and proudly stated that, “we both have wonderful, trusted and hard working healthcare systems.”

science and technology” as stated by PM Johnson, has allowed the borders to remain open for so long. With world-leading vaccination and testing programmes, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, MDA has played a crucial role in dealing with the virus for all Israel’s citizens. We hope that the new border closure will be a temporary measure.

Magen David Adom has been leading the fight against Covid-19 from the start of the outbreak in Israel. MDA’s “respect and understanding for

Magen David Adom’s work has been praised by many within Israel, and other countries who


have looked to Israel for guidance throughout the pandemic. Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel, has stated “I have no doubt that MDA has played an important role in reducing the morbidity caused by the coronavirus and assisting those diagnosed with corona. This has and continues to play a critical role in our success against the pandemic.”


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Jewish News 2 December 2021

TIME PASSES WHEN YOU’RE SAVING LIVES In January we were confronted with another lockdown and the hope ignited by the newly rolledout vaccine. Back then, even the most proficient of crystal ball gazers would have struggled to predict what the year had in store.

WELCOME ON BOARD Magen David Adom UK is delighted to announce two new additions to its leadership. The Most Hon the Marquess of Reading will join Sir Ian Gainsford as Co-Presidents of MDA UK, and Judy Saphra has been appointed a Vice President of MDA UK. Judy, a member of the Orthodox Hendon Adath community, reflects the increasing diversity of MDA UK donors. MDA UK welcomes and appreciates all of its supporters and the decision to bring Simon and Judy into prominence within the MDA UK family emphasises this. On accepting the honorary position, The Most Hon the Marquess of Reading said: “MDA UK’s desire to extend the Israeli humane influence in the Middle East is important to me.” We look forward to a new era together.

We know that our colleagues in Israel, in fact all the people of Israel, depend on us to raise the funds that are needed to save lives. At the same time we were mindful about not doing anything that would put our donors and supporters at risk. When we were told that we could get together again for in-person events, we came back with all guns ‘safely’ blazing. Our fundraising year got the start it deserved with a Stakeholders’ dinner at The Grove where we were privileged to be joined by Her Excellency Ambassador Hotovely. Since then we have welcomed HE Dr Al-Hadid, President of the Jordanian National Red Crescent Society, for a series of events to mark the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords. We had our first ‘Lifesavers’ reception for over two years - providing an opportunity for younger supporters to hear more about our work in Israel and across the Middle East. We have run our first ever trek to Jordan, where we saw first-hand the impact MDA makes collaborating cross-border. Things are uncertain at the moment but we hope to be back in Israel in 2022. In the meantime, Israel continues to come to us. We recently hosted a Christian Friends Succot event at Eastnor Castle and later this month, we will host our ‘Stars of Israel’ tour. Uriel Goldberg, one of our lifesavers from Israel, will be visiting communities across the country this Chanukah. The year will end with a Patrons’ Dinner at which we are delighted to have Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss as our keynote speaker. All in all, it’s been a busy year considering the restrictions placed upon us. I hope that, as and when we get back to ‘normal’ you’ll be able to join us in person in 2022.

The Most Hon the Marquess of Reading, Co-President MDA UK

Judy Saphra, Vice President MDA UK

ROYAL AMBULANCE RETURNS TO ISRAEL The Royal Ambulance, generously donated by stalwart MDA UK supporter Alan Rind CVO in honour of the historic visit to Israel in June 2018 by HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, has been returned to Israel to commence its service. The ambulance is stationed in Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel. In three and a half months of service, it has been involved in over 400 emergency calls. MDA UK is ever grateful to Alan Rind for his ongoing support and dedication. It is very special to see an ambulance bearing the name of HRH on the streets of Israel saving lives.

Daniel Burger Chief Executive



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Open arms

The moment Azeem Rafiq saw where racism leads P12


28 Kislev 5782

Issue No.1239

JN Junior’s writing tips! Ideas for young authors and win £100 Amazon vouchers P36-37




Mandatory masks in shul again Crackdown as Omicron spreads

by Jenni Frazer @Jennifrazer

The United Synagogue this week called for “additional precautions” in light of the latest news about the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. Current US guidance requires “a minimum of social distancing or face masks” but now the US says it “strongly recommends” mandatory face masks for everyone, apart from the service leader or speaker, in Shabbat services. In a guidance update to rabbis, rebbetzins and shul chairs, the US says its current focus “is on shul services given the religious obligation to attend and the desire to ensure everybody who would like to attend feels able to”. The Movement for Reform Judaism is not issuing new guidance at the moment, sticking to a detailed set of seven principles devised by Rabbi Josh Levy, outlining the expectations by both synagogues and individuals. But as Reform’s Joanna Phillips pointed

out, many of the community’s services are hybrid, meaning people can choose to watch on Zoom rather than attend in person — not an option open to US members. Its current guidance states: “Mask wearing is still advisable indoors, especially in crowded and badly ventilated spaces, but face coverings are not a panacea (especially for singing)”. It continues: “The four Ds remain important. We should consider how we mitigate risk with reference to distance, direction, density, duration.” • Israeli ‘wonder cure’ halts long Covid, p9

The US updated its guidance this week

JEWISH NEWS FILM WINS CANNES AWARD A powerful new film exploring the people-topeople contacts between young Israelis and Arabs following the signing of the Abraham Accords has scooped awards at major film festivals around the globe. Finding Abraham, directed by acclaimed British film-

maker Malcolm Green and produced by Jewish News, has been named best documentary short at the prestigious Cannes world film festival last week to cap a triumphant month. Despite the year-long covid-delayed project only completing in October, it has

also scooped prizes in the Paris Cinema Awards, New York Independent Cinema Awards, Hollywood Gold Awards, Tokyo International Film Festival and Athens International Art Film Festival. The 30-minute film – featuring a cast of Emiratis, Bahrainis, Moroccans and

Egyptians on their first visit to Israel, a visit organised by the NGO Israel-is – is not an exercise in “high fives and handshakes”, according to Green. Delving beneath the headlines, it seeks to explore the potential and durability of the historic agreements and hears from sceptical

voices in the region alongside advocates. During their journey, the group and their Israel counterparts – drawn from across Israeli society – visited a yeshiva, the Peres Centre for Peace and even spent time on an ambulance shift with Magen David Adom. Continued on p4

TO WIN a pair of tickets to the communal premiere of Finding Abraham at JW3, simply tell us where we've hidden Abraham in this week’s issue of Jewish News! Just email the page number to editorial@jewishnews. co.uk by 8 December.



Jewish News 2 December 2021

News / Bilateral agreement / Labour ‘weevils’

UK and Israel agree to ‘historic’ 10-year plan by Lee Harpin and Michael Daventry

Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid has insisted that a deal must be secured to allow Jews of all denominations to pray at the Western Wall. During a visit to London this week, he told Jewish News that the scenes over the summer in which strictly-Orthodox men attacked Progressive Jewish women were “a disgrace to our country and a disgrace to such a holy site”. Authorities have not yet charged anyone in connection with an incident in June in which a mob tore up Progressive prayer books while shouting “books of heretics”. Lapid said he wanted to revive dormant plans to create a mixed-sex prayer space at the Western Wall, but added that consensus was not simple because Israel’s governing coalition contains parties that oppose the plans. “But we’ve taken on difficult issues before through reasoned discussion and problem-solving, and in doing so come up with good solutions to a number


of seemingly intractable problems in Israeli society,” he said. “So I’m confident we’ll be able to do the same when it comes to implementing the Kotel framework and ensuring every Jew can enjoy a safe, meaningful prayer experience at the Kotel.” During his visit to London, Lapid signed a pledge with foreign secretary Liz Truss to work “night and day” to stop Iran’s nuclear weapon programme. The two ministers’ agreement, which came ahead of the start of talks in Vienna to resuscitate Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, also includes plans for closer cooperation between Britain and Israel on cybersecurity, technology, defence, trade and science. “We are now in a very difficult position with regard to the situation with Tehran,” Truss said on Monday. “We have seen the Iranians extending their capability towards acquisition of a nuclear weapon, so.… these talks are the last opportunity for the Iranians to come to the table and agree the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] agreement.”

Lapid, meanwhile, urged the international community not to be persuaded to release sanctions on Iran, arguing that any economic boost would be used to “fund terror”. The US has offered to lift some sanctions in exchange for Iran returning to full compliance with its nuclear commitments. Yet Iran has ramped up its uranium enrichment since Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran in 2018. Lapid also told Jewish News that he believed there were a number of other countries with which Israel could build closer ties following the success of the Abraham Accords. “I believe there to be many countries in our region and beyond who are facing the same challenges and threats as we are, and understand that in the future those who co-operate will lead, and those who isolate will fall behind.”
















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Yair Lapid and Liz Truss in London this week

STARMER: WE’LL TAKE NO LESSONS FROM JOHNSON Labour’s Dame MarSir Keir Starmer has said he garet Hodge also pointed will “take no lessons” from to a speech by the ConBoris Johnson on tackling servative MP Crispin antisemitism in his party, Blunt in the Commons writes Lee Harpin. during the debate on The Labour leader was Hamas proscription. responding to a speech by Labour had supthe prime minister this ported home secretary week in which he said StarPriti Patel’s move to ban mer had failed to erase the Hamas in full. But Blunt “infestation” of antisemclaimed last Wednesday itism under Jeremy Corbyn. that Hamas had a right Starmer accused the to attack Israel. prime minister of “looking Hodge told Jewish to stoke division rather News: “Rather than conthan fighting racism” with tinuing to try to weaphis speech at a Conserva- Starmer and Rayner at the JLM event onise antisemitism, tive Friends of Israel lunch. Johnson also claimed Labour still had Hamas Boris Johnson needs to take a closer look at MPs on his own side. It is beyond comprehension that and Hezbollah supporters within its ranks. After alleging that “the weevil infestation of we had a Tory MP engaging in what appeared to antisemitism” is still in evidence in Starmer’s be Hamas apologist rhetoric in the House.” Earlier in the week, Starmer said he was Labour, Johnson said: “Some of the prejudices are still sadly the same and the people who have “overcome with emotion” this summer when taken power are still part of the same movement, his party passed rules changes to tackle antisemin many cases sadly still the same people who itism – and said sweeping changes since he came to office would not have been possible without count Hamas and Hezbollah as their friends.” Jewish News asked the Opposition leader’s the backing of the Jewish Labour Movement office for comment on Johnson’s claims, made (JLM). At JLM’s Chanukah party alongside his at Monday’s lunch. A party spokesperson said: “Keir promised as his first act as leader to rip deputy Angela Rayner, Starmer said the warmth out antisemitism by its roots, and we are pleased he had received from the Jewish community with the progress made in rebuilding our rela- “means a huge amount to me”. Starmer was joined on stage by former councillor Adam Lantionships with Jewish communities. “The prime minister, true to form, is looking gleben, who left the party over antisemitism – to stoke divisions rather than helping to fight and whose recent return was cheered by about 100 guests. racism. We will take no lessons from him.”

2 December 2021 Jewish News



Foreign policy / Education speech / News briefs / News

Praise from kibbutznik Boris Boris Johnson this week said Israel had the right to defend itself against Iran “for the sake of peace” as Yair Lapid issued a plea for the world to stand against all attempts by terrorists to “kill my children”, writes Justin Cohen. The pair were guest speakers at Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual lunch, which was attended by more than 200 parliamentarians and at least eight cabinet ministers. “It’s for the sake of peace that the UK defends Israel’s right to defend itself without equivocation against any hostile states like Iran,” the prime minister said at the event. Expressing his hopes that diplomacy would work when international powers resume talks with Tehran this week, he insisted that the country’s wider “behaviour” in the region must also change. The address came during the first two of a trip by Lapid to London

prime minister revealed that discussions on an upgraded post-Brexit trade deal would kick off early next year and announced plans for a bilateral innovation summit in London in March. In a quip-laden speech that had the audience in stitches at times, he recalled his time as a teenager on kibbutz, admitting to “my fellow kibbutzniks” that he had initially been sceptical about such a brand of “socialism”. He added: “All my life I’ve been a defender and supporter of Israel. I’m very proud the government I lead is also a strong defender and supporter of Israel. It’s a relationship getting stronger all the time. We can and must do more.” Boris Johnson with Yair Lapid, left, and Lord Polak at the CFI annual lunch

and Paris to push the two countries to take a hard line at the nuclear talks. Declaring that the UK-Israel rela-

tionship is growing “stronger and stronger” following the announcement of a 10-year tech and security pact, the

Watch Boris break his new menorah jewishnews.co.uk

Education ‘should be vaccine against antisemitism’ “Education should be the vaccine against antisemitism,” Nadhim Zahawi told the Tel Aviv University Trust in what is thought to be the first time an education secretary has spoken at an Israeli university event.

He was speaking together with professor Ariel Porat, president of the university, as the two shared thoughts and experiences about the pre- and post-Covid educational world. The event, held at Google’s headquarters in

London, was moderated by broadcaster and journalist Samantha Simmonds. Zahawi, previously vaccines minister, paid tribute to teachers, nurses and doctors who had kept society going during the pandemic.

The Iraqi-born Kurd spoke of his recent visit to Auschwitz, saying he thought everyone must visit. “It was life-changing for me. The Holocaust Educational Trust set up part of my visit… No film reel will ever do it justice”.

Parting shot by Corbyn loyalist

A member of Labour’s front bench has raised the issue of her party’s failure to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn after confirming she was stepping down from her role. Cat Smith, who also served on Corbyn’s front bench, had been Keir Starmer’s shadow secretary for young people and democracy. In a letter to Starmer, she said she thought the former Labour leader not being readmitted to the parliamentary party was “utterly unsustainable”.

‘Political’ warning to civil servant groups A group of more than 300 Jewish civil servants is among those to receive a Cabinet Office memo telling them not to invite speakers who have attacked the government. The message to the Civil Service Jewish Network (JNet) referred to individuals or groups “that have provided commentary… that could be deemed political”. The LGBT+ Network and Race Forum also received the memo.

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

News / Khan’s warning / Poignant lighting

Mayor warns of Zemmour’s dark arts as he marks festival of lights by Lee Harpin lee@jewishnews.co.uk @lmharpin

Sadiq Khan has vowed to continue “calling out” those who “seek to divide our communities or incite hatred” following the visit to London by far-right French presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. The mayor of London also rejected claims by critics that he was denying a platform to Zemmour after he had publicly stated that the TV talk show host turned politician was “not welcome” in the capital ahead of a two-day visit last month. Khan told Jewish News: “This is not about shutting down debate but calling out and exposing those who try to divide our communities against one another for political gain. We must never remain silent to the threat of the far-right.” Last Sunday evening, Khan was joined by Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein, Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl, Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky and Adrian Cohen of the London Jewish Forum for the now traditional Trafalgar Square chanukiah lighting. Asked by Jewish News about his decision to condemn Zemmour ahead of his visit to the capital, the mayor said: “We must always call out those who seek to divide our communities or incite hatred. Here in London, we embrace and celebrate our diversity and, as a city, we must stand up to the far-right and all those intent on causing division.” On Tuesday, Zemmour confirmed his candidacy, posting on social media that he wanted to “save” traditional France. The mayor’s critics had seized on his comments, ahead of

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Charley Baginsky and her daughters Eliana and Cassia with Sadiq Khan

Zemmour’s visit to London, as evidence of Khan’s wish to stifle debate and block political opponents from appearing in the capital. The Spectator magazine was among those to suggest Khan was being selective as to whom he welcomed to London. The mayor said previously: “I want to be clear: the strength of our city is its diversity. So, those who wish to divide our communities and incite hatred against people because of their skin colour or their religion are not welcome in our city.”

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• Driver with Israeli hroat gesture’ to Jewish patient attacked in Golders Gree • Crucifixion banner flaghuge n pro-Palestini • BBC journalist’s #Hitatlerw an demo • Nearly 300 antisemitic asright tweet revealed incidents in unde

r 3 weeks H RACISM – THE MADN ESS SPREADS: Pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 20, 22 & 23

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Zemmour has twice been convicted of racial hatred to Muslims and has aimed to capture the support of Jewish right-wingers in France with his anti-Islam rhetoric. Dubbed the “French Trump”, his parents were Berber Jews from Algeria. In his book The French Suicide, he warns of the death of France’s Judeo-Christian identity under assault from feminism, liberalism and immigration. He has Éric Zemmour also praised Philippe Pétain’s pro-Nazi wartime Vichy government for protecting French Jews at the expense of foreigners. Zemmour, 63, had been due to speak at the Royal Institution in London, addressing some of the city’s tens of thousands of French ex-pats, but it and other venues cancelled the event. On his arrival in London, he openly taunted Khan tweeting “J’arrive!” But Zemmour’s prospects of success in the French presidential elections have been dented over more recent days. Last week, a magazine made allegations that his 28-year-old campaign director is pregnant with his child. Zemmour, who is married, has stressed his belief in family values. The claims were one of a series of interruptions to his campaign. On a more positive note, the mayor told Jewish News he was “delighted to send a special Chanukah message to all Jewish Londoners and be part of this really important celebration”. He said the festival was “a timeless story that has given hope for more than 2,000 years to Jewish people and to many others”, adding: “The message of Chanukah is that, despite the odds, when we work together we can ensure light triumphs over darkness.”

ling events

• Synagogues to

create ‘welcoming committees ’ ’ to be understood as a racial slur • Sephardi, Mizra songs in Ashk hi and Yemenite enazi synag ogues • Schools to incre ase focus colonialism and black histoon ry • ...and Facebook Britain is name group Jewish Jewish Newsd and sham ed

• Word ‘Shvartzer





Commission chair Stephen authored the Bush Board of Deputies September report

6, 7 & 26




Continued from page 1 all the music, has been a real Green said the project is not blessing.” Finding Abraham – for which just “a quest to find the substance behind the spectacle a sequel is already being planned of the Abraham Accords, but – is also a semi-finalist in the to also explore issues of idenforthcoming Phoenix, Rome tity and belonging in a digiand London independent film tal, post-Covid world. We’ve festivals. It is also an official tried to present as honest selection at the Miami Art Festival, LA Independent Shorts a picture as possible from a Awards, LA Independent Film six-day road trip. Festival and the Berlin Interna“On a personal note, to tional Film Awards. make an award-winning film  We’ve teamed up with JW3 with a shooting crew of just for the communal premiere on five is an achievement I’m 15 December. To win a pair of proud of and a testimony to Awards: Finding Abraham tickets, simply ‘find Abraham’ their talents. “To have the benefit of a brilliant and hidden somewhere in this week’s Jewish News passionate post-production team, particularly and email editorial@jewishnews.co.uk by the genius of Kevin Pollard, who composed 8 December to let us know what page he’s on.

Menorah lit at Clifford’s Tower DRESSING

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The site of the bloodiest massacre of Jews on British soil was the location for a “first of its kind” menorah lighting. Community members from Harrogate, Leeds, York and Manchester attended the poignant event at Clifford’s Tower in York. Almost one thousand years ago some 150 Jews were killed at the site after trying to escape a baying mob. Once trapped in the tower, many committed suicide rather than be murdered or forcibly baptised. Superintendent Mark Khan, York Com-

mander, said: “This celebration was the first of its kind for us in North Yorkshire Police and we look forward to making it an annual event. “We wanted to mark Chanukah as part of our commitment to being a more inclusive organisation and having a deeper understanding of all the communities we serve. “The location was very poignant, because although it’s easy to say the atrocities that happened there are in the past, we know hate crime is very real in today’s society, and people are still being targeted for their race, religion or beliefs.”


2 December 2021 Jewish News


BoD reception / Terrorist talks / News

Patel ‘proud’ of Hamas ban by Lee Harpin lee@jewishnews.co.uk @lmharpin

Priti Patel addresses the Board reception

Home Secretary Priti Patel has spoken of her pride at the proscription of Hamas, telling guests at a Board of Deputies Chanukah reception in Westminster it was “a policy that I am responsible for”. In a speech to guests in the Attlee Room in the House of Lords, she spoke of the UK’s full ban on the Hamas organisation, passed last week by MPs across all parties. Watched as she spoke by Board president Marie van der Zyl, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and other senior figures, Patel said the past decade had “sadly” been dominated by antisemitism

emerging in “our discourse and politics”. She said that growing up among the community in Radlett, Hertfordshire, she was unaware of the existence of anti-Jewish racism. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also spoke at the Board’s event, praising the communal organisation and on its president for their guidance and support in the fight against antisemitism in his party. He said: “We needed to make a lot of change and a lot of progress in our party. I have always said that we will only know that we have made progress when those who had lost faith in the Labour Party regain their faith in the Labour Party. “I want to thank the Board of Deputies for working with me, for

being frank and giving the advice I have needed along the way. We have needed a critical friend to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.” Also speaking at the event were the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson Munira Wilson and Lib Dems’ Friends of Israel president Lord Palmer of Childs Hill. Van der Zyl thanked those from across the political spectrum for their recent support “on many issues of interest to the Jewish community in recent times”. “These include ensuring the Coronavirus Bill was amended to avoid the prospect of cremations for Jews and Muslims, as well as support for the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, which

will hopefully… sit just a couple of hundred yards from here.” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis lit the Chanukah candles and led guests in the singing of Maoz Tsur. He said: “Chanukah is about community, it’s about Jewish life, it’s a celebration of family life. And when it come to all of these areas, the Board of Deputies leads and guides us and does so much incredible work on behalf of our community. Despite all our challenges it’s great to be Jewish in Britain today.” Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in the Commons, emphasised his solidarity with the community in the fight against antisemitism. Also speaking was Christian Wakeford, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.

‘TERRORIST’ LABEL IS ISRAEL’S DECISION, SAYS MINISTER The UK is continuing to engage on “human rights issues” with “a number” of the six Palestinian organisations last month designated by Israel to be linked to terrorism, the minister for Asia has confirmed. Asked what talks had taken place with her Israeli counterpart over

the designation of the organisations as affiliates of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, thus designating them ‘terrorist’ groups, Amanda Milling told the Commons this decision was “a matter for the government of Israel”. The former Tory party chair said

the UK had “its own criteria” for designations, adding: “We continue engagement with a number of these organisations on human rights issues and respect the role NGOs and civil society organisations play in upholding human rights and democracy.” In October Israel confirmed it had

deemed as ‘terrorist’ six NGOs: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

On Tuesday, Labour’s Marsha De Cordova asked Milling whether she shared her “concerns” over the Israeli move, which the MP said was an “attempt to silence the peaceful defence of Palestinian rights”. Milling repeated that this was a matter for Israel.

Please help us bring light, joy and support to more people this Chanukah and beyond. This Chanukah, we look forward to celebrating with residents, tenants and members across our care homes, retirement living and our newly reopened day and community centres. Our Meals on Wheels drivers will be visiting housebound members of the community with doughnuts and latkes. Our telephone befrienders will wish members of the community a very happy Chanukah and our Helpline and Social Work and Community Support Teams will continue to be there for everyone who needs us. All of this and more is only made possible thanks to our generous supporters. We hope you can continue to help us bring light, joy and support to more people this Chanukah and beyond. So, on behalf of everyone who relies on Jewish Care, thank you and a very happy Chanukah to you and your families.

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

News / Labour deselection / Loach praise / Uyghur concerns

Corbyn’s governance chief deselected EXCLUSIVE by Lee Harpin lee@jewishnews.co.uk @lmharpin

Jeremy Corbyn’s former director of governance and legal has been deselected by Labour ahead of next May’s council elections in London. Thomas Gardiner had resisted calls for over a year to resign as councillor in Camden after he was referenced 20 times in the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report into Labour antisemitism. But Jewish News has learned that Gardiner was left off the selection list for Labour candidates in the London borough. He appealed against this decision but a London Labour Group panel this week upheld the deselection. Gardiner had infamously been brought in as Corbyn’s disputes chief in June 2018. But when the EHRC published its report in October 2020

Thomas Gardiner (left) was brought in as disputes chief by Jeremy Corbyn

it said the Kilburn councillor “took a decisionmaking rather than purely advisory role in some

antisemitism complaints”. The report made no ruling on the “motivations” behind his role but

said it “understood” why people viewed him to have been “installed” for “political reasons”. After the EHRC report was published Gardiner resisted calls to resign, saying it did not find him personally responsible. Outlining the decision to deselect Gardiner Mike Katz, chair of Camden Labour’s Local Campaign Forum, said: “If appeals haven’t been upheld it’s on the basis of strong evidence. “This could be failure to abide by collective responsibility, letting down their constituents or struggling to carry out the role. No one should automatically expect to be a councillor if they don’t meet our requirements.” Jewish News contacted Gardiner for comment. The council elections in May will be viewed as a test of Sir Keir Starmer’s efforts to combat antisemitism. In Camden, the Labour leader Georgia Gould, who is Jewish, is widely perceived to have done a good job.

Wood Green praise for Loach POLAK URGES GAMES BOYCOTT Pro-Jeremy Corbyn members of Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party sparked renewed outrage among Jewish members after passing a motion praising the director Ken Loach and calling for public screenings of his films. A second motion, also voted through at Wednesday’s CLP meeting, claimed that Labour under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership had become a “hostile environment” as a result of the “expulsions of prominent socialists”.

One member of the CLP, which has long suffered with issues relating to the antisemitism crisis, accused the 60 or so activists who backed the motions of “wanting to take the party back down into the sewers”. Another said the leftwing faction, who were opposed by about 40 members at the meeting, had “managed to turn themselves into a laughing stock”. Jewish News contacted Labour and Hornsey and Wood Green CLP for comment.

Conservative peer Stuart Polak spoke of lessons that can be taken from the Chanukah story as he called for the UK government “to stand up on the world stage and refuse to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics”. In a well-received speech in the Lords, he said the summer of 1936 remained a dark stain on British history, “when in another attempt to appease Germany, Britain participated in the Berlin Games”. He said the UK now finds itself

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with a similar question: “Should we participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China?” Lord Polak, 60, said: “As we speak, Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang are being detained in concentration camps. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

Watch the speech at jewishnews.co.uk


2 December 2021 Jewish News

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

News / Marathon man / Teacher banned / Special award / Neo-Nazi convicted

Blind Israeli stuns the field at Abu Dhabi race Blind Israeli runner, Ethiopian-born Avi Solomon, placed an incredible 62nd out of 12,000 participants at this year’s Abu Dhabi marathon. Justine Zwerling, the British-Israeli who co-ordinated Solomon’s participation on behalf of the GulfIsrael Women’s Forum, together with Jerusalem deputy mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, said: “Being in Abu Dhabi was the most intense experience of a lifetime.” Solomon’s run – with running guide Lior Berhamo – at three hours and 22 minutes, raises funds for Afikim, a charity founded to help children in need. The 15-strong team who accompanied Solomon to the UAE were “overwhelmed”, said Zwerling, at the reception from the Emiratis. “From start to finish we were supported by Emiratis and the organisers of the race. They were incredibly

Israeli Avi Solomon and Lior Berhamo run a marathon

sensitive about who they call ‘people of determination’ rather than ‘disabled people’, and they received Avi in the most beautiful way.”


Dov and Lily with Boris, left

A teenager who co-wrote his greatgrandmother’s memoir about surviving Auschwitz been honoured by the prime minister. Dov Forman, 17, was given the Points of Light Award by Boris Johnson at Downing Street this week. The great-grandson of Lily Ebert, 97, used social media during the pandemic to share her story with a million

followers on TikTok and thousands on Twitter. When Lily contracted coronavirus, Dov became determined to record her story, co-writing Lily’s Promise when she recovered. The book is now a Sunday Times bestseller with a foreword by Prince Charles. Dov said: “This is the signal for me and Lily to keep going and to spread her message.”

EX-JFS TEACHER SPARED JAIL A former JFS teacher convicted of child sex offences has been banned from the classroom but spared jail. Shovan Tamjidi was arrested in 2019 for possession of indecent images of children on his personal computer. On advice from the Metropolitan Police, he was suspended by the school shortly afterwards, and convicted of three counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children. A professional conduct panel ruled the teacher, who worked at Europe’s largest Jewish secondary for four years until his suspension, is “prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth-form college,

relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England”. Decision-maker Sarah Buxcey also ruled that “in view of the seriousness of the allegation found proved against him, I have decided Mr Tamjidi shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach”. The panel outlined that in January 2020, “Tamjidi was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months with requirements to complete 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours unpaid work. He was subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and required to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.”

Neo-Nazi group founder guilty A man has been convicted of acting as “head of propaganda” for a banned neo-Nazi terror group set up to wage a race war in Britain. Ben Raymond, 32, cofounded the “unapologetically racist” organisation National Action in 2013, which promoted ethnic cleansing, as well as attacks on LGBTQ people and liberals. It was banned under legislation in December becoming the first far-right

to be proscribed since the British Union of Fascists in 1940. After the move by the Home Office, Raymond, from Swindon, helped National Action morph in to a new group called NS131 – National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action. Raymond denied being a Ben Raymond member of a proscribed organisation contrary to Section 11 terror of the Terrorism Act but was convicted 2016, on Tuesday after a three-week trial at group Bristol Crown Court.

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Omicron alert / News

Israeli ‘wonder cure halts long Covid’ by Jenni Frazer @JenniFrazer

An extraordinary Israeli treatment for patients with severe Covid-19 that is halving hospital stays may reduce the danger of “long Covid”. Speaking to Jewish News this week, on the day the government announced plans for booster jabs to be offered to all over-18s to help halt a potential new wave driven by new variant Omicron, Dr Tomer Bronshtein, head of research at Haifa’s Bonus BioGroup, said he hoped the “wonder cure” could be available in the UK “in a couple of months”. Called Mesencure, the treatment – a form of cell therapy – has completed the second phase of clinical trials in Israel and is shortly to go through a third. The company is seeking emergency approval for Mesencure, which is not a replacement for a vaccine, but is a treatment for those who have already succumbed to a serious Covid condition. Bonus BioGroup’s founder and chief executive, Dr Shai Meretzki, declared the organisation could sometimes be mistaken for “science fiction” but the biotech advances are very real. The company began research in 2013 with an ambitious aim: “We wanted to create a real blockbuster, not just to take care of hundreds of patients, but to take care of tens of millions.” Before the pandemic, work had focused on tissue engineering and developing a new technique to treat people with a loss of bone tissue.

Lateral flow test kits are handed out in Brentwood, Essex, where one of the UK’s first cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was discovered

“It could be from trauma, or disease. We developed the ability to engineer live human bone in the lab, from the patient’s own cells”. Patients who might otherwise have faced amputation were treated by Bonus and the success rate “was very high”. Bronshtein said: “One of our most famous patients is a guy called Danny. He had a Segway accident and he lost

about 8cm of bone in his leg. He was a candidate for amputation. Three months after he was treated [with Bonus bone tissue], he was jumping on his leg, and 12 months later he did a triathlon, an Iron Man competition.” It was the cell therapy work that led the company’s scientists to work on Mesencure. “The cells which we used, from fatty adipose tissue,

to make bone tissue, are cells that also have a unique ability to control inflammation. So, instead of taking cells from the patient himself to build bone tissue, we are taking cells from a healthy donor. We ‘educate’ these cells in the lab, and put them into a cell bank.” A single donor’s cells can provide treatment for tens of thousands of patients with severe Covid. Very often, the donor is having an elective operation to reduce fat: the excised tissue would normally be thrown away, but if the donor agrees, it can be used by Bonus BioGroup. Bronshtein said that an injection of Mesencure would act as both “pharmacy and pharmacist”, adding: “A live cell has capabilities that far extend the capability of a single drug. And as a pharmacist, the cell can sense the environment. The cells reach the lungs of a Covid-19 patient and they reduce the inflammation.” In clinical trials so far, Mesencure – which has been given to both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients – has reduced the prospective mortality rate by around 70 percent. It does not treat the virus itself, but the manifestations of it. The Israelis have discovered that Mesencure has cut the hospitalisation period almost by half, freeing up vital beds in wards and intensive care units. They also think patients who have “long Covid” symptoms even after discharge from hospital will benefit from this treatment. “The faster you heal,” Meretzki said, “the less likely you are to develop long Covid.”

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

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2 December 2021 Jewish News

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Claire opened the envelope, and it sat staring up at her: a big fat zero. That was the assessment of the disability needs of her daughter, Emma by the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) assessor. Emma, who has Asperger’s and an IQ of 66. Emma, who can’t take care of herself, or travel independently, or dress herself. She had been receiving the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) but this was now being phased out and replaced by PIP. To receive PIP, you had to fill in a 44-page assessment form and go along for an interview with an assessor. So Claire completed the form, and she and Emma went to the interview.

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The assessor asked questions like “can she cook?” Claire would answer that Emma couldn’t and the assessor would write down: yes, she can cook. Claire explained that Emma had hearing difficulties but, because she had an ear infection that day, she wasn’t wearing her hearing aids. The assessor wrote down that Emma’s hearing was fine. And so it went on. That’s how you get to a score of zero, which meant no allowance at all.

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

Special Report / Azeem Rafiq meets Lily Ebert

Azeem Rafiq admits he hadn’t heard of Auschwitz – but he’s intent on learning by Jack Mendel jack@jewishnews.co.uk @mendelpol

‘We were not people, we were numbers.’ Lily shows Azeem her Auschwitz tattoo

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Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert slowly rolled up her sleeve, exposing a faded Auschwitz tattoo. It was a powerful, strangely moving act the 97-year-old has repeated countless times while teaching about the horrors of her youth. This time, however, it felt different. This time Lily found herself in front of a national sporting figure who has himself been a victim of racism, then subsequently exposed for being antisemitic. Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who gave testimony in parliament last month about anti-Muslim prejudice at his club, Yorkshire, was later revealed to have used hateful language towards Jews on social media in 2011. After issuing an apology and saying he was “ashamed”, Azeem committed himself to learning about Judaism and gaining an understanding of antisemitism. So, last Thursday, in an initiative instigated by Jewish News, Rafiq arrived at Kinloss Synagogue in Finchley to hear Lily tell her compelling life story and share its lessons. Pointing to the faded ink on her left arm, she softly told Azeem: “We were not people anymore. We were numbers.” Remarkably, the former cricketer admitted that he had not heard of Auschwitz before and told Lily at the end of her testimony that it was important to tell her story “to remember, in order that events are not repeated”. After giving her testimony, Lily said: “When somebody is different, it doesn’t mean they are better or worse. We should be tolerant with each other.” Azeem asked her questions about her family and was given a copy of her recently published memoir, which he said he would read. The meeting was organised with Dov Forman, Lily’s 17-year-old great-grandson – who co-wrote her memoir, Lily’s Promise. Rafiq was given a tour by Kinloss Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, who explained the significance of the ark and rituals in the shul. He was also shown a sefer torah, and heard Forman read from the scroll on the bimah. Earlier on Thursday he met with a representative of the Community Security Trust and visited the Jewish museum where he met Kindertransport refugee Ruth Barnett and someone from Campaign Against Antisemitism. He learned about antisemitic tropes he had used in 2011, when he referred to a teammate as a “Jew” when they reportedly didn’t want to spend money. Asked how he didn’t realise the comments were offensive, he said “clearly, at the time

I wasn’t really thinking straight and didn’t really know what I was saying. I messed up.” He said he’d return to his local community and wants to “talk about the day and what I’ve learned. And the more people that hear it from me, then hopefully they’ll go on and speak about it as well.” Asked whether antisemitic tropes he used were widespread, he said: “It’s not something I would say I heard a lot of, I honestly don’t know where it came from. And obviously, there’s clearly a deeper meaning, a historical meaning, which I’ve been told about today, which I wasn’t aware of.” Speaking to Jewish News, he said the day

THE COMMUNITY HAS BEEN WELCOMING – OPEN ARMS – FROM LEADING FIGURES AND PEOPLE I HOPE TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH had been “incredible – just sitting down with Jewish people, and listening to them, and their experiences”. When asked what he’d learned about the community and antisemitism, he said: “We’re just the same people with different beliefs and different experiences.” Rafiq said he’d been “lucky that the Jewish community has been brilliant from the minute it became evident about the mistakes I’ve made. “They’ve been welcoming, open arms, from some leading figures, and some people I hope I’m going to stay in touch with… I’d like to go to the Leeds Jewish community and meet people there.” Reflecting on the past year, in which he has raised the alarm about racism at his former county, he said: “Over the last 14 months, I’ve given the Jewish community as an example to my own community, saying that if this was a Jewish kid going through this, he wouldn’t be left so alone.” He reiterated that he doesn’t “expect forgiveness. Hopefully my actions will prove how sorry I am.” Dave Rich, of CST, said: “Azeem contacted CST because he wanted to apologise for his past comments, and wanted to learn more about antisemitism and the Jewish community. We spoke openly and at length about how [antisemitism] affects Jewish people today and the role that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays in modern antisemitism. I hope and expect his engagement with the Jewish community will continue.”

Watch Lily and Azeem at jewishnews.co.uk

2 December 2021 Jewish News


Bus attack / Bevis Marks / Veteran Games / News

Disgusting attack on Chanukah bus IMMANUEL COLLEGE PARTNER WITH THE PETER JONES Police are investigating after a group attempted to smash the windows of an open-top bus carrying Jewish teenagerss celebrating Chanukah. Video footage shows the men hurling abuse and threats, banging on the bus windows to try to smash them, spitting on the vehicle and swearing at them. A number of men removed shoes, which is seen as a sign of disrespect in Arabic culture, and appeared to raise their arm in the air, which some on social media compared to a Nazi salute. The incident occurred in Oxford Street on Monday evening and was reported to the Community Security Trust by two people on the bus. According to reports, the group from Chabad were celebrating the first night of Chanukah on the bus with music, dancing and handing out food. Police were reportedly called, and passengers who had got off to hand out food and dance, got back on to the bus. CST told Jewish News: “This disgusting inci-


A still from video filmed on Monday evening

dent goes against everything this city stands for and should be condemned by all. “We will be working closely with the police to support the victims of this attack and ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to justice.”

See the video at jewishnews.co.uk

Chief thanks the City The Chief Rabbi has thanked the City of London for its help defending Britain’s oldest synagogue after it was “threatened by skyscrapers”, writes Jack Mendel. Marking the United Synagogue’s 150th anniversary, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis reflected on the “rich history” for the community in the square mile dating back hundreds of years. Plans for a 48-storey tower next to Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest operational shul in Europe, were rejected after more than a thousand objections. Campaigners feared it could spell the end

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis speaks at Guildhall

of its services by blocking natural light. At a Chanukah reception at Guildhall in Moorgate, Chief Rabbi Mirvis said that “one of the great shamashim [servants] has been the City of London, hosting here within this square mile, so much of our Jewish life in the city”. He continued: “And just one small example of this have been the recent occasions in which you have given support to Bevis Marks Synagogue… the longest continuous synagogue operating in Europe... threatened by skyscrapers that were to have been built alongside it. We very much appreciate the support you have given.” Mirvis thanked it for hosting the event and “giving recognition” for the United Synagogue’s 150th anniversary, saying the movement began with “five original synagogues, starting out in a humble fashion”, including three in the City. He lit the menorah for the second night of the festival, using a chanukiah from the Hambro synagogue dating back to the 18th century, before songs were sung by Wolfson Hillel children’s choir.

Video report at jewishnews.co.uk

UK ADMIRES VETERAN CARE Injured UK servicemen and women have spoken of how taking part in a sporting event with their Israeli counterparts had transformed their lives. During the launch of the second Veteran Games and Conference organised by Beit Halochem’s UK arm, Britain’s veterans minister Leo Docherty hailed the way Israel honours its military veterans. In 2019, Beit Halochem took 60 injured Brits to Israel to take part in a four days of sporting competition with Israelis who had also lost limbs

or suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of conflict. Joined by their spouses and children, they spent time together at the Dead Sea, built lasting friendships and toured sites including the Kotel and Yad Vashem. At the unveiling of the Covid-delayed second Games at the residence of Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, Caroline Beazley said her life had been changed after being invited to take part by the Not Forgotten charity. Beazley, who was shot

four times while serving with the Royal Military Police in Northern Ireland, felt she had “lost my whole self” before the initiative “gave me back my pride”, she said. “I was part of a team that needed me as much as I needed them.” Docherty expressed his “admiration” of Beit Halochem and said the event shows “the amazing warm relationship between our countries”. He added: “We have huge admiration for your armed forces and the way you seek to honour your veterans.”

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

Special Report / Refugee response

The Jewish charity helping Afghan refugees rebuild their lives in Britain by Jenni Frazer @JenniFrazer

Three of the many Afghan refugees helped by World Jewish Relief and its partner, the Horton Housing Association, (HHA) have spoken emotionally of their experiences, both in Afghanistan in the face of the renewed Taliban takeover, and now, in Britain, dealing with the challenges of settling their families into a new society. “Saffiyeh”, a former interpreter in Afghanistan, has been in Britain the longest, since 2015, and has now become a vital lifeline for the newcomers as he gives them practical help, as a volunteer for the HHA. He says: “I started working in the bridging hotel [in Bradford] as a case worker. I help families around the hotel, booking GP appoint- “Saffiyeh”, a former interpreter in Afghanistan, has become a vital lifeline for newcomers ments, getting things from the shops, taking their clothes to the launderette. I help them set agers and women — “crucial assistance”, says country, a new culture, new food, new schools, a new life. Our children don’t like the food up bank accounts, apply for benefits and enrol Saffiyeh, in helping them integrate into Britain. One refugee in his early 30s, who asked to because it’s different from what they are used their children in schools. These tasks are hard enough if you do speak English; if you don’t, they remain anonymous, has a law degree and a big to. Everything is new, but we are doing our best.” Another Afghan refugee who had previously family to support — his wife and four children are near impossible without this support”. World Jewish Relief has set up a busy pro- whose ages range from three months to six lived in Britain for 12 years before returning to gramme of activities for the children in the years. He admitted the transition from Afghani- his native country, spoke about the shock when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. hotel, so they don’t get bored — and it has also stan to Britain had had bumps in the road. HALF PAGE ADVERT JAN 2020:Layout 1 09/01/2020 16:04 Page 1 are getting used to a new Also asking for anonymity, he said: “We left He said: “We organised English language lessons for teen-

the country on 20 August. Those five days were very dangerous because I have a British passport, which made me a particular target. My mother hid it under the floorboards. She said: “If they find you with it, you never know what they will do.” He previously worked with small charities and non-governmental organisations in the north of the country, linking international donors to the local community. After two days outside “scary” Kabul airport with his pregnant wife, surrounded by armed Taliban, attacking people indiscriminately, the couple finally arrived in Britain on 23 August. Their daughter Ella was born in Bradford just after their arrival and this man, whose wife was “a passionate chemistry teacher”, devoted to improving girls’ education, are hopeful that Ella will be able to take advantage of all the opportunities open to her in Britain. But he was despondent about the fate of his family in the Panjshir Valley, where his family is from. He said: “The Taliban fought their last killed anyone they came across, includingby brother and two cousins. For Afghans, this is one of the most depressing times of our lives.”

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

News / JN competition / Holocaust ‘mistake’

Eco-friendly and all ready to be lit! Wishing the community

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Primary school children who created eco-friendly chanukiahs out of conkers and wine bottles have won £100 Amazon vouchers. Entrants for a competition run by Jewish News and Tribe, the United Synagogue’s youth organisation, were urged to make chanukiahs that were not just kosher – but kind to the earth. Winners were announced as Noah Saltman, who made a chanukiah from conkers threaded on to a wire hanger into wood, and Sophie, Eva and Emmy Angel, who created a chanukiah from wine bottles. Tamara Jacobson, Tribe’s director of operations, said: “We were blown away by the creativity of our young people. “Thank you to everyone who entered – we loved seeing your entries and hope you are enjoying lighting them this Chanukah. Mazeltov to Noah

Sophie, Eva and Emmy Angel used wine bottles

Saltman and Sophie, Eva and Emmy Angel. “The judges were particularly impressed with your use of repurposed materials, beautiful design, and, of course, that your chanukiot were kosher. “Tribe and the United Synagogue wish the whole community a Chanukah sameach.”

Noah Saltman with his chanukiah made from conkers threaded on to a wire hanger into wood

Second pundit uses ‘Holocaust’ to describe bad football match Enabling independent living



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Twitter user Jitandara Joshi wrote: BBC football pundit Carlton Cole apolo“At the start of Chanukah of all days. gised on air after suggesting that West Carlton Cole has likened a football Ham faced “a Holocaust” if they did defeat to a ‘Holocaust’.” Another not play well in their Premier League Twitter user said: “Shocking use of match against Manchester City. the word, where is the apology?” Assessing his former club’s BBC 5 Live presenter Nicky chances of success in a tough away Campbell later tweeted: “You are game, Cole, who was picked for Engtotally right. Let it slip. Have apololand in his playing days, said: “You’ve Carlton Cole gised on air.” got to give Man City some respect Cole, having apologised on air, tweeted Jewish … otherwise you are going to get picked off and News saying: “It was totally unacceptable. And I then it’s going to be a Holocaust.” The comment, on BBC5 Live just after 1pm understand the gravity of my mistake.” on Sunday, sparked an angry response from listeners, and came only weeks after Bristol Video report at Rovers manager Joey Barton compared his jewishnews.co.uk team’s performances to a “Holocaust”.

KINDER GET A CLEAN-UP The Arrival, a bronze sculpture by Frank Meisler honouring the Kindertransport arrivals at Liverpool Street station, has received a much-needed facelift. The sculpture is in the railway station forecourt • See op-ed, page 24


2 December 2021 Jewish News


Excommunication order / News briefs / World

Spinoza writ is ‘still valid’ By Jenni Frazer @Jennifrazer

In July 1656, the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam issued a cherem, or excommunication, against the 23-year-old philosopher Baruch Spinoza. It said: “By the decree of the angels, and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with the consent of God.” Now, 365 years later, the rabbi of the city’s Portuguese Jewish community, Rabbi Joseph Serfaty, has said the excommunication remains valid. In an angry letter to the Spinoza scholar Professor Yitzhak Melamed, Serfaty has refused permission for the academic to make a film about Spinoza in the grounds of the congregation’s historic synagogue. Moreover, says Serfaty, prof Melamed is now “persona non grata” in the Portuguese synagogue complex. He accuses the professor of promoting Spinoza’s theories and says the cherem remains in force “for all time, and cannot be rescinded”. Serfaty calls Spinoza an apikoros, or heretic, and says the professor’s

People at a symposium in Amsterdam to consider whether to lift the order of excommunication against the philosopher Baruch Spinoza examine a copy of the original writ. Picture: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA

request to film is “incompatible with our centuries-old halachic, historic and ethical tradition and an unacceptable assault on our identity and heritage”. He concludes his letter by wishing Melamed “a meaningful Chanukah”. Spinoza, who died aged 44 in 1677, never made a protest against the cherem and is, in fact, buried in a Christian cemetery in The Hague,

although he did not convert from Judaism. He is widely described as one of the early architects of the Enlightenment, the movement that swept Europe in the 18th century, and was admired by many of the leading Christian thinkers of the era. His masterwork, the Ethics, was fully published only after his death. Over the centuries, fruitless

attempts have been made to rescind the cherem. The last such one was in 2015, when, it is understood, the community was in favour of lifting the ban on Spinoza but the rabbis maintained a hard line against doing so. Melamed, an Israeli-American who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has been contacted for comment.

Israel bans entry for non-citizens

Israel has barred all non-citizens from entering the country for at least two weeks owing to concern about the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The travel ban began last Sunday, a day after the country banned visitors from several African countries because of fear of the variant, which was first detected in South Africa. The new rule comes less than a month after the country finally reopened to foreign tourists.

‘Blaspheming Jew’ workout apology

Peloton has apologised after one of its instructors referred to “liver of blaspheming Jew” during a live workout. The American company, which streams fitness classes online, said sorry over the incident involving trainer Christine D’Ercole, confirming that the class had been removed from its library. The phrase is from a spell by the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


Volunteer Coordinator

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We are looking for an experienced Volunteer Coordinator to engage and inspire volunteers to support Kisharon’s service delivery, ethos and fundraising activities. The successful candidate will build on Kisharon’s valued relationships with the wider community and support with events. Experience of volunteer management and contacts within the community are essential.

You will work with people we support, deliver training to staff and volunteers in the supported living services, and build strong relationships with the community.

Applicants should have experience in most of these areas: strategic planning, role analysis, recruiting and retaining, support and training, performance evaluation and creating new opportunities.

Closing date for applications: 16th December 2021 For details about this role, including full benefits, job description and an application form, please visit www.kisharon.org.uk/about-us/current-vacancies For an informal discussion contact Hadassa Kessler on 07815 479 814 or for general enquiries contact Donna Deena Jacobs, HR Administrator, 020 3209 1182.

Kisharon is an award-winning learning disability organisation. Through our education, employment and social opportunities, and innovative social enterprises, we are passionate about supporting each person to progress, enjoy life and have a valued role in the community. Kisharon expects all staff to share our commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. An Enhanced DBS criminal check is required for most roles.



Jewish News 2 December 2021


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Jewish News 2 December 2021

World News / Sondheim praised / Russian conference

Spielberg and Streisand pay tribute to Sondheim Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg have paid heartfelt tributes to Stephen Sondheim after the creator of Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd died, aged 91. Streisand, whose Broadway Album featured lyrics written by Sondheim, tweeted: “Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace.” Spielberg, who is directing the new film adaptation of West Side Story, said Sondheim was “one of our country’s greatest songwriters, a lyricist and composer of real genius, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written”. He said the pair had become friends recently and he “knew more about movies than almost anyone I’d ever met”. Born into a New York Jewish family, he influenced generations of theatre songwriters. His ballad Send in the Clowns has been recorded hundreds of times, including by Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins. Six of Sondheim’s musicals won Tony Awards for best score and he received a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park. The composer also won an Academy

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story. Inset: Stephen Sondheim

Award for the song Sooner or Later from the film Dick Tracy, five Olivier Awards and received the Presidential Medal of Honour. Lord Lloyd-Webber said he was “always in awe” of the Sondheim, who also wrote the lyrics to West Side Story, revealing that they had once discussed working together. He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “A Little Night Music is a masterpiece. It’s

one of the pieces I go back to play again and again. It’s so brilliant, all in 3/4 waltz time but after a while you don’t notice that conceit, because music is so brilliant. “Many will focus on his lyrics because they are peerless, but for me as a composer, his work was really extraordinary.” Lloyd-Webber added: “Sondheim was an absolute genius.”

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3rd summit on antisemitism Senior figures from almost every continent converged on the Russian capital to discuss the global trends and challenges relating to antisemitism, writes Adam Decker. Hosted by the Russian Jewish Congress, the threeday event was the third Moscow International Conference. Entitled ‘Protecting the Future’, it focused on combating xenophobia, antisemitism and other racisms. On the agenda was the latest research and monitoring data, plus educational tools, cultural projects to increase cross-communal tolerance, online hate speech, legislating against Holocaust denial, interfaith initiatives, and Israel. Delegates also examined anti-Jewish racism in specific arenas such as sport, as well as online and multiplayer computer games, which was referred to as “an uncontrolled platform for xeno-

phobic sentiments among young people”. Among the speakers were Israel’s Diaspora affairs minister Nachman Shai, who recently visited Vienna to pay his respects to the victims of the Kristallnacht pogrom. British speakers included the government’s antisemitism tsar Lord (John) Mann, head of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research Dr Jonathan Boyd, and Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of Tell MAMA, a charity that monitors Islamophobia. The first Moscow International Conference was held in 2016, where participants worked on the basis that “antisemitism is indissolubly tied to xenophobia”. They said anti-Jewish racism was “closely intertwined with the escalation of hate in the world and the creation of the enemy, when certain population groups become the objects of hate on a national, religious, or racial basis”.

2 December 2021 Jewish News



Shock survey / Cemetery plaque / Envoy award / Refusniks recalled / Diaspora News

Half of all Germans have not met a Jew A survey of more than 10,000 Germans has shown almost half have never had any contact with Jews, a result Jewish groups called “sobering”. The poll, commissioned to mark 1,700 years of the Jewish presence in Germany, revealed that 46 percent of respondents – all adults – had never met a Jew or had any exposure to the Jewish way of life, despite the country’s 100,000-strong Jewish population. Organised by the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany (ORD), the survey showed that 16.6 percent of respondents had a Jewish friend or acquaintance, 18.7 percent learnt something about Judaism at school, and 17.9 percent had visited a synagogue. While there was a greater awareness in the cities, the perception of Jewish life for 55 percent of respondents was “predominantly shaped by political and historical events”, with one in five citing the Holocaust as their frame of reference. Another 20 percent said Israel-Palestine was their reference for Jews. In Berlin, 33 percent of respondents said they personally knew at least one Jewish person, likewise 35 percent in Frankfurt and 29 percent in Munich, according to the poll conducted for the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Philipp Hildmann, a researcher at


Politicians in Bucharest have passed a law that makes Holocaust education in secondary schools mandatory. The legislation, which also requires teachers to cover Jewish history, uses learning materials developed by the late Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, who was born in Romania.

A Scroll of Esther written in the 18th century by the 14-year-old daughter of a wealthy Roman Jewish philanthropist has gone up for auction in Jerusalem. Historians say it sheds light on the role of religious women in Italian Jewish communal life around 250 years ago, and ‘how Jewish history is intertwined with Jewish law’.

People attend a public Chanukah lighting in Karlsruhe, Germany

the foundation, said the statistics “show Jewish life in Germany remains abstract for many”, adding that “by concentrating more on the Middle East conflict than on the Jews in Germany, one does not do justice to the Jews living here in any way”. An ORD spokesman said the results

A senior Netherlands rabbi has overseen the placement of a plaque telling visitors to a war cemetery that it is a burial place of war criminals, including the Nazi officer who ordered Anne Frank and her family to the death camps. Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs described his “heavy feeling” after visiting the cemetery at Ysselsteyn on Sunday. For years, he has protested against German diplomats’ attendance at the annual commemorations of German war dead at Ysselsteyn, where members of the elite Waffen SS unit are buried. Among the more noteworthy names is the

were “sobering”, adding that educating schoolchildren about Jewish life in Germany was an “elementary building block” to reducing antisemitism. In the past decade, thousands of mostly young and highly educated Israelis have made Germany their home.

grave of Julius Dettmann, the Gestapo officer who in August 1944 had sent a plainclothes contingent to raid 263 Prinsengracht, where Anne Frank and her relatives had been hiding, before ordering their deportation to Westerbork, then on to other camps. He also ordered the execution of Dutch resistence fighter Johannes Post. Jacobs praised Ysselsteyn authorities, saying: “They did everything that needed to be done. That’s important, because not doing so risked making Ysselsteyn a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.”

Rufuseniks remembered in LA A Californian museum has opened a new centre and exhibition dedicated to the story of Soviet Jews who fought for decades for the right to emigrate to Israel. Based at the Wende Museum in Los Angeles, it was part funded by Ed Robin, an American philanthropist who helped organise a 250,000-man march on Washington to raise awareness of the Soviet refuseniks, after his 1982 visit. Another to meet Soviet Jews was photographer Bill Aron, whose shots from his travels to Leningrad, Moscow and Minsk from 1981 are now on display. “The Soviet Jewish movement was one of the great causes of modern Jewish his-

Your weekly digest of stories from the international press


German war cemetery plaque

The Ysselsteyn cemetery


The opening at the Wende Museum

tory and one of the greatest successes,” said Robin. “It has radically changed Jewish life everywhere.” Curator Joes Segal said: “By presenting these more personal perspectives, we can

see that history is not as straightforward or simple as people tend to think.” During the 1950s and 1960s, up to two million Jews lived in the USSR, compared to 240,000 in Russia today. Most emigrated to Israel but many went to the US, including to LA. The centre and exhibit are part of a wider effort to shine a spotlight on the history of Russian-speaking Jews, said Marina Yudborovsky, CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group, which supported the initiative. “It’s been a good 30-50 years – and it is exactly that timeline when things stop being recent news and become history,” she warned.


Jews in Montana are trying to buy back a synagogue sold for a dollar 86 years ago. Temple Emanu-El in the city of Helena is owned by a Catholic Diocese and valued at around $1 million (£748,000). Jewish families in the area hope to turn it into a community centre. It was originally built to hold 500 worshippers.


Israel’s squash team said they will sue the sport’s world federation if they are not able to compete in the world championships being held in Malaysia. The two countries have no diplomatic relations and Israelis cannot visit. Malay authorities said it would ‘not be safe’ for Israeli competitors to come.

RABBIS HONOUR EUROPEAN ENVOY The European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Katherina von Schnurbein, has been awarded the 2021 Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize by the Conference of European Rabbis (CER). The rabbis praised her as an “outstanding example of civic involvement for a tolerant Europe and unceasing solidarity with the Jewish community”. Von Schnurbein was appointed to the role in

December 2015 and has helped the EU come up with a comprehensive strategy to combatting anti-Jewish racism in its efforts to promote a unique European way of life. She has been particularly strong in tackling hate speech on social media with strong legislation, a network of trusted flaggers to remove illegal hate speech, and fact-checkers to address conspiracy and disinformation.

Belgrade Jewish cemetery attacked Jewish leaders across Europe have condemned the vandalism of a building belonging to the Jewish cemetery in the Serbian capital of Belgrade last week. An axe was found on the floor beside shattered glass in an incident raised with Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandar Vulin. European Jewish The vandalised window of the Association chair Rabbi cemetery building in Belgrade Menachem Margolin said there needed to be “a full investigation and condemnation, lest it give antisemites the impression that it is open season on Jewish buildings in the country”. He added that “whoever is responsible has no respect for the dead, never mind the living… We extend our support to our Jewish brothers and sisters in Belgrade and Serbia as a whole, who must be reeling at this attack and feeling vulnerable”.



Jewish News 2 December 2021

Editorial comment and letters ISSUE NO.




Candles kindled across the land This week’s Chanukah celebrations delivered another heart-warming reminder of how vibrant and valued Britain’s Jewish community has become. The prime minister clumsily waving a menorah above his head at the Conservative Friends of Israel lunch (12,000 people and counting have enjoyed the hilarious video on our website); his Labour opposite number lighting the second candle at the Jewish Labour Movement’s festive reception; Home Secretary Priti Patel sharing her pride at attending the Board of Deputies’ Chanukah party; London Mayor Sadiq Khan lighting the giant menorah at Trafalgar Square and many other events where Jews welcomed in the wider community to bask in the glow of this glorious chag. This year’s festival has shone a light on a community held in high esteem. That our contribution to wider British society is admired and respected is beyond doubt. It has been fabulous seeing Chanukah candles kindled in the corridors of power and so many other public and private spaces across the land. The Jewish News wishes readers a hearty chag sameach for the remainder of this most joyous festival. Just one word of caution – let’s go easy on the oily doughnuts, greasy latkes and chocolate gelt.

Send us your comments PO Box 815, Edgware, HA8 4SX | letters@jewishnews.co.uk

Why am I being vilified? For more than 20 years I was involved with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in various capacities, including being a chair in Florida. Before an comment was made accusing an individual or organisation of racism, ADL had to do extensive research and produce evidence to support any claim. Press releases and speeches I produced had to be approved by in-house or external solicitors. The reason for this was that if ADL made a false accusation of racism, it would seriously undermine its credibility when it came to dealing with real racism. I was recently dismissed by the Manchester Jewish Representative Council as their deputy for asking Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl to justify a decision

Sketches & kvetches

CONTACT DETAILS Publisher and Editor Richard Ferrer 020 8148 9703

Executive Editor – Features 020 8148 9697 Brigit Grant diane@jewishnews.co.uk brigit@jewishnews.co.uk


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to call George Floyd’s murder racist. I asked this question in full knowledge of earlier comments made by Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota (the state where the Chauvin trial was held). Ellison, a solicitor, was the first Muslim to be an elected member of the US House of Representatives. He said he “would not call George Floyd’s death a hate crime as there was no evidence Derek Chauvin factored in race as he knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck”. That is why I asked the Board’s president to provide her evidence to back up her claim. It was done purely to protect the credibility of the Board. I had no other motive. Yet I am vilified as a racist. Raymond Solomon, By email

WHY WOULD ANY JEW SUPPORT ANNEXATION? Letter writer SM Halpern produced a simple and clear statement that any proposed forced annexation of any part of the West Bank by Israel was wrong and therefore could not be supported by the worldwide Jewish community (Jewish News, 11 November 2021). The response from three contributors the following week was hostile but hardly surprising. All failed to deal with the nature of the current occupation of the West Bank and its effect on the Palestinian inhabitants. They all apparently refuse to accept that the occupation has been a fundamental assault on human and civil rights. Put simply, the Palestinians are governed by military law; they do not have the legal rights to prevent the settlers displacing them and expropriating their land and homes. And this has been the pattern for the past 50 years, although this process has accelerated in the past 20 years. The occupation of the West Bank is bad enough, but any annexation will be a continuation that will be at least as bad if not worse. I see no reason why anyone – Jew or gentile – should support it. Fraser Michaelson, By email

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2 December 2021 Jewish News


Editorial comment and letters

SELECTIVE INDIGNATION WON’T GIVE PALESTINIANS A NATION It’s to be hoped that in the course of the ‘robust’ exchanges (former) shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy had with Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, some ‘uncomfortable’ truths were relayed. Nandy now needs to mull over them and suspend her thus-far held views on the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If she does this, many in the Jewish community and beyond will admire her courage, for she will be putting morality and justice above political expediency. It is also to be hoped Mrs Hotovely will not cower when faced with the enormous challenge of educating the British establishment. Eda Spinka, Hendon

Your Lisa Nandy interview revealed she has “significant disagreements” with the Israeli ambassador to the UK about most things, while making it “absolutely clear” that Labour has no time for Hamas, but is ready to recognise a Palestinian state as a means of “sparking dialogue”. She appears to hold Israel largely culpable for the lack of a Palestinian state, hence the “disagreements”. In your next interview, you could ask whether she has such “significant disagreements” with Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmood Abbas, who openly calls for Israel’s destruction in the media. James Windsor, Leytonstone

BBC done

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I’ve cancelled my TV licence. The final straw was last week’s news coverage of the Jerusalem attack that killed one Jewish person and injured four others. The BBC described the terrorist as a “militant” and nowhere was there any reference to Hamas being a terrorist organisation. Harry Sassoon, St Albans

I was surprised to see the Board of Deputies promote its Portuguese Sephardic roots as part of Mizrachi Heritage Month. Portuguese Sephardi Jews are not Mizrachi, nor do Mizrachi Jews tend to speak Portuguese. Didn’t the Board just publish a report on racial inclusivity? Walter S Grossman, Gants Hill

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Jewish News 2 December 2021


Can’t hold a candle to this accidental email JENNI FRAZER


e’ve all done it, haven’t we? Pressed “send” before we should have, and either sent an email full of typos and mis-spellings or, worse, to the wrong person. This week it’s a wrong person case and in a way, a bit of a Chanukah non-miracle. Come back in time with me to several weeks ago when an alert Jewish News reader – as you all are, we know – noticed that when he was shopping for Chanukah candles, almost everything seemed to be made in China. It wasn’t just the candles: those cotton wicks that you can dip in oil for the fancy, upmarket menorot, are also made in China. And the junky toys that you get at this time of year, such as mass-produced plastic dreidels — yup, turns out they are made in China, too. And so Intrepid Reader contacted Jewish News and asked if we could look into this. Because he wasn’t so much worried about the goods being made in China per se. He was extremely concerned that the Chanukah

candles, and the wicks, and the toys, might have been made under slave labour conditions, by the Uyghur people. As readers will be well aware, many of the Uyghur people are living in hellish situations, oppressed by the Chinese authorities, their freedom strictly curtailed and their ability to work controlled in specific areas. There are too many echoes of what happened to Jews during the Holocaust for our community to ignore what is happening to the Uyghurs. So it is fitting that so many in our community – from the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, to the Board of Deputies – have come out with public statements in their support. Indeed, so concerned was Conservative peer Lord Polak about the human rights abuses in China that last week he implored the government not to take part in the Beijing Winter Olympics next year. He said that Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang were “being detained in concentration camps, with testimonies of torture and rape taking place daily”. Let’s go back to the candles, because the

THE COMPANY REPLIED WITH TWO WORDS: ‘IGNORE IT’... THE DANGERS OF PRESSING SEND problem is proving the supply chain. Uyghur people are routinely moved all over China and though people from the World Uyghur Congress have said that there is a likelihood that Chanukah candles might be made by Uyghurs, it’s not definitive. Intrepid Reader, however, was undeterred, and discovered that there are three main importers and distributors of Chanukah candles in Britain — Cazenove, Global, and Ner Mitzvah. JN inquiries found a certain reluctance on the part of the companies to disclose exactly where their candles are made, citing commercial sensitivity. One company, Global, maintained that very few of its products were made in China these days, saying instead that they came from Turkey, India, Germany and the US. But it was not the case that none of its goods

came from China. Cazenove did not respond to inquiries. So our reader wrote a polite email to Ner Mitzvah, even offering to sign an NDA – a non-disclosure agreement – to make it clear that he had no commercial interest in the information. He simply wanted to know, he said, “to be able to use Chanukah products knowing that the risk they have been made by Uyghur slave labour is negligible or very low, and to publicise to others in the community which those products are”. Ner Mitzvah replied with two words: “Ignore it”. And in those two words is encapsulated the danger of pressing “send” without paying attention to the addressee – and an apparent fearful arrogance on the part of the company. It’s told us pretty much all we need to know.




oday, 2 December, marks the 83rd anniversary of the arrival of the first Kindertransport, an unprecedented act of rescue that saved the lives of some 10,000 mostly Jewish children who fled Nazi oppression. Their experiences and contributions have become part of the fabric of society and are cited as the example in contemporary calls to move the youngest victims of terror and war out of harm’s way. In 2006, World Jewish Relief and The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) were honoured and delighted to inaugurate the Kindertransport statue that adorns the entrance to Liverpool Street station, the principle arrival point for many of the kinder. Designed by Frank Meisler, a kind who came from Danzig, the monu-

ment depicts five disorientated children, including a four-year old Sir Erich Reich. World Jewish Relief played an instrumental role alongside other agencies, faith groups and altruistic individuals in instigating and implementing the Kindertransports, and the AJR has for eight decades been the national organisation representing the Jewish refugees, their dependents and descendants. Both agencies to this day play critical roles in their support of refugees with World Jewish Relief at the forefront of the Jewish community’s response to current crises, while the AJR disburses social welfare and financial support to enable our members to live in dignity, comfort and security. To coincide with this year’s anniversary of that first arrival, we are equally


delighted to have arranged for a deep clean of the statue, which had become tarnished, in order to restore the monument to its original vibrancy. In so doing we also want to acknowledge and thank all those who clear away litter from the statue, including staff from the restaurants that overlook the statue, all of which helps preserve the sanctity of the monument. The statue is a national symbol honouring the children who came but also their parents who sent them to safety and all those involved in their rescue and re-settlement. From the clothes worn by the children to flourishes like the violin on the boy’s suitcase, the statue reflects the culture and heritage of the child refugees but also serves as a warning and a permanent reminder of where unchecked antisemitism can lead as well as the dangers of inaction in the face of persecution. In an era when the number of people feeling conflict worldwide is a staggering 82 million and when the complexities of migration appear insurmountable, the statue reminds us of our Jewish responsibility to welcome the stranger and save a life. The monument is an educational resource fascinating passers-by, tourists and school children alike.

Plaque below the Liverpool St monument

Together with the unique archive of World Jewish Relief and the audio-visual and written archives of the AJR, the statue is used to deliver Holocaust education while at the same time is a precious resource that helps to combat Holocaust denial and distortion and antisemitism. Many of the kinder, like other waves of refugees and those who have come to this country as migrants fleeing persecution, went on to make disproportionate contributions to their adopted homeland. We would be all the poorer were it not for Dame Stephanie Shirley’s innovation and Lord Alf Dubs’ advocacy while Sir Erich Reich’s fundraising has enabled charities to benefit from extensive support.


2 December 2021 Jewish News


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Jewish News 2 December 2021


Turning point for victims of Charedi sexual abuse? YEHUDIS GOLDSOBEL CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MIGDAL EMUNAH


he strictly-Orthodox community has responded to allegations of sexual abuse by one of its greatest authors, Chaim Walder. Walder, a therapist, known for his activism on behalf of children in the Charedi community as well as his popular children’s books Kids Speak, is being accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse some 20 years ago when they were teenagers. Haaretz first published its investigation in Hebrew but within the week there was an increase in allegations, all of which Walder strongly denies, then a groundbreaking decision by Eichler’s to remove Walder’s books from sale. Within days other bookstores had done the same. Many – myself included – are marking this as a moment in history for Charedi sex abuse victims, the action taken by book shops just would not have happened a decade ago.

It is a commendable move to safeguard our children. Yet Eichler’s was the only entity to issue a considerate statement. Feldheim, the publishers of Kids speak consulted with Daas Torah (rabbinic authority) before issuing a brief statement that included: “We do not judge and sincerely hope he will be able to clear his name”. This suggests that if there was no public pressure or scrutiny, they would not have paused Walder’s book sales. As word spread across the strictly-Orthodox community the comments started flooding in. “Innocent until proven guilty” was the assertion and, just like that, goal posts were moved. Innocent until proven guilty is a legal principle applicable in a court of law. It is a contradictory argument for a community with strict rules on not reporting sexual abuse to the police. I am not asking for everyone to become judge and jury. I am asking that the goal posts are not further moved in order to appease valid discomfort when hearing of such allegations. We need to sit with those feelings of discomfort and be proactive to prevent future harm from happening, whether that is

I IMPLORE THE CHAREDI COMMUNITY TO CREATE A SUPPORTIVE CULTURE FOR VICTIMS speaking with your own children, educating ourselves on the impact of sexual abuse, supporting someone that has disclosed allegations or requesting our schools and shuls do better. Instead, we have an abundance of investigators discrediting allegations and projecting their discomfort. One of the biggest obstacles to change is mentality. Over the past two weeks days I have witnessed friends and acquaintances suggest ideas they perceive to be helpful, such as, a prominent rabbi should issue a statement that they have personally interviewed the women or that a Beis Din should be established to examine the evidence. While they may be perceived to be wellintentioned, these ideas question the validity of the women. If the Charedi community wants

to wait until it is proved in a court of law, then we should start supporting the women in whatever way they need to ensure they are actually able to even make it to court. Yet the Charedi community have a habit of intervening before such cases get to court, whether it be via keyboard warriors, shul gossip, or actively penalising women who make allegations. I implore those in the Charedi community to stop dissecting the allegations and instead focus on creating a supportive culture for sex abuse victims. Going through the criminal justice system is another form of trauma. Let’s not add to the trauma to suit a narrative. Creating a supportive culture starts at home. Let go of those myths and stereotypes we hold and instead be open to the idea that anyone can be a victim or perpetrator.

Silence on settler violence is no longer a moral option DANIELLE BETT



ast week we were presented with two different images of Jews in the West Bank. The first, of Rabbi Arik Ascherman, with blood pouring down his face as a result of a violent settler attack. The second, an unnamed settler throwing rocks at Palestinians and activists as they harvested olives. The man in the second picture (see inset) is dressed in tallitot, in a way that makes him visibly Jewish. Needless to say, regardless of what they were wearing, a violent settler does not represent Jews or Israelis. But the juxtaposition of the two images from the weekend is difficult to ignore. Who is it that we, as Jews, would rather be represented by? I’m certain that the vast majority of us would see a stone-throwing settler and cringe at the idea that people would associate him with our community, or with Israel. But as we cringe, many are still quick to defend before they condemn. Some even dismissed this picture as fake, getting into an analysis of whether or not the settler

really was Jewish – or really was a settler. The pictures are symbolic, though they shouldn’t distract us – they are but two moments in time. The issue at hand is settler violence. Ultimately, settler violence is a symptom of a broken system. We can continue to share and condemn every incident of settler violence but ultimately, we need to recognise the system that upholds the cycle. Israelis aren’t inherently violent, needless to say. Most settlers aren’t violent, either. But that’s irrelevant. Palestinians are living under occupation. They are not equal to Israelis. They do not have the same rights and privileges that Israelis do and are subject to an entirely different legal system. Although the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) does have a duty to protect an occupied population, it’s clear that Palestinians are often left unprotected from settlers while soldiers become nothing but bystanders. The system of occupation gives solidiers no mandate to control the Israeli

Wounded Rabbi Arik Ascherman and a stone-throwing settler in the West Bank

civilian population (settlers) in the West Bank. Settler violence has become worse this past year. The problem itself is not new, of course. It’s just particularly disappointing to see a government that promised to deliver change, a government with diverse representation, fail to deliver any protection for Palestinians from this plague of attacks. Time and time again, we have seen Jewish


settlers attack Palestinian civilians – often families in their homes. They also destroy property, land and trees and have hurt animals. The images and videos of these attacks over recent months feel like a reel that has been playing on repeat. Settlers attack, Palestinians and Israeli activists are injured, IDF soldiers stand by and do nothing. Again and again. We shouldn’t defend racist thugs who throw rocks at Palestinians. We ought to reject everything they stand for. But we can decide to speak out against those who act in our name. Violent settlers don’t deserve to be defended and their actions don’t deserve to be explained away.


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2 December 2021 Jewish News

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

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Community / Scene & Be Seen


Michal Oshman, head of company culture, diversity and inclusion at TikTok Europe, was guest speaker at a charity brunch to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in support of the children of ADI in Israel. ADI (formerly ALEH Jerusalem and ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran) is Israel’s most comprehensive provider of residential care for individuals with severe disabilities and an international advocate for disability inclusion, equity and access.


And be seen!


Brondesbury Park Synagogue members Izzy and Heidi Cohen celebrated their batmitzvah by taking part in ‘Bake For BLISS’. They raised £166 by making brownies and cupcakes and selling them to family, friends and neighbours. BLISS is a charity helping families of babies born premature or sick. Izzy and Heidi were born nine weeks premature.


The latest news, pictures and social events from across the community Email us at community@jewishnews.co.uk

Your family announcements


Michal Herzog hailed the work of Magen David Adom during the pandemic at a lunch held in her honour. Israel’s First Lady joined around 20 supporters of MDA UK at the event at the central London home of kosher caterer Tony Page and his wife Sonja. CEO Daniel Burger presented Herzog with a book of photographs to mark its anniversary.

Natan Livingtone was barmitzvah at Barnet United Synagogue Photo by Paul Lang Photography


Residents at Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff home marked last week’s AJEX parade and ceremony with a special tea. Pictured is Rita Tack whose husband, David, was the organisation’s national chair in the 1970s.


Rebecca Flax was batmitzvah at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue Photo by Gary Perlmutter Photography




ampus compass

The newly-elected Leeds JSoc committee, pictured with Leeds’ sabbatical officer.

Queen Mary and UCL JSoc hosted a ‘Tel Aviv Takes London’ party for 200 people.


The Mitzvah Day stall run by the JSoc at the University of Exeter.

Mitzvah Day food collection and packing at Cardiff University by the Jewish Society.

Sophie Corper & David Shogger were married at Sopwell House Photo by Paul Lang Photography


Jewish News 2 December 2021

LI FE mater, Redroofs Performing Arts school in Maidenhead, before a move to London sent Gina to mainstream education and Mazz to Sylvia Young theatre school. “From the age of nine, I always wanted to perform and sing for whoever would listen,” recalls Mazz, who is currently playing musical matriarch Donna in Mamma Mia at the Novello Theatre. “I’m like both our parents and I think I have all their best bits; they do have so many extraordinary qualities.” The same hyperbole has been heaped on Mazz over the years – “The Mazz Singer was the headline for my best review” - notably for her stage roles as Patsy Cline and Dusty Springfield. But these are likely to be surpassed on Friday, when she appears as Norma Desmond with Ramin Karimloo in Sunset Boulevard at the Royal Albert Hall. “I cried when I saw her as Norma at Alexandra Palace back in June,” says Gina, who remains Mazz’s biggest cheerleader; the admiration is mutual. Mazz confirmed this when she exclaimed: “I adore her,” about Gina during a rehearsal break.

Stage siblings Mazz and Gina Murray tell Brigit Grant why they joined the family firm


f your mother was a regular on The Morecambe & Wise Show and your father composed songs for the likes of Gerry and The Pacemakers (How Do You Do It?) and Tony Christie (Avenues and Alleyways), it’s unlikely you’d grow up to be a plumber. Raised to the sound of pop music and entertainers’ chatter, Mazz and Gina Murray could sing before they could speak and tap before they could talk, so when both opted for stage careers, their parents, Mitch Murray and Grazina Frame, only had themselves to blame. The spotlight was in their DNA. “It was the family business,” explains Gina, “like Grodzinski’s daughters becoming bakers. I didn’t really know anything else and I suppose as a kid I thought, everybody’s life was like this. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realised it was all bonkers.” Although their early introduction to entertainment had its benefits, hearing their mother’s voice come out of the mouth of actress Lauri Peters as she sang to Cliff Richard in the film Summer Holiday might well seem ‘bonkers’ on reflection, but then

so was playing with your dad’s Ivor Novello awards and constantly moving house for work. It was also a sort of dress rehearsal ahead of the sisters attending Kate Winslet’s alma

Mazz and Gina could tap before they could talk

Gina elaborates. “There’s a year between us in age, we entered the business at the same time and we look fairly similar, but we’re very different. There’s a friendly hint of: ‘Oh, wait, you’re working. I’m not,’ whenever that happens, but it’s swiftly followed by a ‘well done’. So even though on paper, we’ve played the same roles, we do them in a very different way.” In the absence of any What Ever Happened to Baby Jane–style rivalry, the Murray sisters do still find themselves playing the same roles, albeit in different productions. They have both been Mama Morton in Chicago and Donna in Mamma Mia. Mazz still wears the overalls, belting out The Winner Takes it All nightly, while Gina has acquired a wand and fairy status to play Mother Nature in a Milton Keynes panto. Dressed in a swathe of netting and sparkles for the Jack and The Beanstalk, Gina has yet to start rehearsals for the show, which also features dance group Diversity – “No, they won’t be throwing me in the air!” – but she is fully occupied with voiceover work, which she does regularly for cartoon animations, computer games and English language museum guides. That she set up her own home

Inside A look

Who, what & where UK city breaks Nazi documentary

Mitch Murray receives his CBE with Gina, left, Mazz and their mother Grazina

recording studio during Covid to keep earning is a sign of her tenacity, but when the single mother of two boys (Mazz also has two boys) adds songwriting to her achievements, it’s hard not to feel like a slacker. “I had plans to go to Nashville and record a solo country album,” says Gina, who has always pictured herself in a Stetson. “The pandemic stopped that, but on the positive side, we still managed to perform as Woman during lockdown.” Formed ‘accidentally’ in 2009, Mazz, who

SISTER ACT Mazz doing Donna in Mamma Mia


Gina soon to be seen as Mother Nature in Jack and the Beanstalk

2 December 2021 Jewish News



JN LIFE was then playing Killer Queen in We Will Rock You, agreed to do a charity gig to support her friend, the late actress Rebekah Gibbs, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The performance of the 1962 track I’m A Woman with other West End stars – Kerry Ellis, AnnaJane Casey and Gina – was well-received, but when a journalist from Woman magazine called to ask the name of the band that wasn’t yet a band, Mazz took their moniker. “If it had been a journalist from Nuts magazine, our band would be called Nuts,” laughs Gina, who was suddenly part of a rock musical theatre band being offered recording contracts and supporting Earth, Wind and Fire. “We perform when we can, but in lockdown September 2020, my sister, the ideas machine, realised we were all available because theatres were closed and so she asked Queen guitarist Brian May to join us to perform the same song in support of Target Ovarian Cancer and The Caron Keating Foundation.” The video, which documents the powerhouse collaboration between female vocals and expert strumming, took the song to number one on the iTunes rock charts, followed by a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Gina is so casual about Woman’s success she could be describing a school concert, but when you grow up in a showbusiness hub it’s just another night. The Murray updates continue with Gina announcing Mazz’s new album, Midnight Mazz (www.midnightmazz.com) – “Plug, plug!” – and the burgeoning TV and stage careers of her teenage sons, JCoSS students Joe and Max, who will doubtless flag wave for

each other like their mother and aunt. All the family will be there on Friday to see Sunset Boulevard at the Royal Albert Hall, which is fast becoming the Murrays’ home away from home and, although it’s not a traditional setting, Jewish entertainers still hold the Sabbath in their hearts on stage. As Mazz says: “Performers have to eat on Friday nights too. Being Jewish helps in this business. Community, support, food, love and humour can help anyone’s life! That’s entertainment.”

Clockwise from top: Woman with Brian May; Gina with the Jack and the Beanstalk team and Diversity; Mazz with Martin Kemp; Mazz and Gina as Mama Morton; Mazz in Sunset Boulevard and Woman

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Jewish News 2 December 2021





All About Him

The cheek of the man. At the tender age of 95, Mel Brooks has written his autobiography - All About Me. Apparently his son, Max, encouraged him to do it to fill the empty days during lockdown, during which his only appearance was in a public information short about social distancing. So the colossus of comedy has penned a 500-page tome, which moves from his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn to creating jokes for Sid Caesar and then a marriage to Anne Bancroft, before hitting such marvellous movies as The Producers Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, To Be or Not To Be and… well, you know the roster. Mel is about to make II, as a series for Hulu so, while we wait, History of the World, Part II this book, which offers clarity to the notion that his wit ‘is often characterised as being Jewish comedy. Occasionally, that’s true. But for the most part, to characterise my humour as being purely Jewish humour is not accurate. It’s really New York humour,’ is most welcome. Here’s hoping he lives as long as his other creation, the 2,000 Year Old Man.


Bobblehead Collection

A National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has opened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thanks to the initiative of founder Phil Sklar, a Jewish sports fan who has turned his hobby into a one-of-a-kind collection of 7,000 unique bobbleheads. Using the figures to support good causes, Phil also realised there was a shortage of Chanukahthemed bobbleheads, so came up with a bobbling menorah and dreidel. Plans to create a bobble hamantaschen for Purim are underway, but he’s keen to see the Jewish collection grow, as you should be. Here’s how to get started https://store.bobbleheadhall.com


Wolf Meat

Leonardo di Caprio’s last Israeli relationship was when he dated model Bar Refaeli, but he now has another with Aleph Farms, a cruelty-free meat start-up co-founded by professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Biomedical Engineering Faculty at Technion Israel Institute of Technology. DiCaprio – who has long championed environmentalism – is joining the start-up as an adviser, saying: “One of the most impactful ways to combat the climate crisis is to transform our food system.” Aleph Farms rolled out the first cultivated steak in 2018, which (here comes the science) involves isolating animal cells in a lab and reproducing optimal conditions for them to grow into tissue. Good for humans, animals and our planet. If Leo can lead the way on reducing the negative impacts of industrial beef production, it’s the role we will enjoy.



Rub A Dub Dub

You probably haven’t thought about it, but a lot of Brits have, and 50 percent of them would like to have a bath with Scarlett Johansson. The Jewish actress, who has just finished filming Wes Anderson’s new production Asteroid City with Jewish costars Adrien Brody and Liev Schreiber, seems to be the celebrity most on this isle would like to meet in a tub. This fascinating fact, uncovered in a Fenjal bath oil survey, made no mention of Scarlett amid bubbles in The Nanny Diaries (2007) or stepping into the shower as Janet Leigh in a recreation of the Psycho scene in the Hitchcock film. That’s something for the 6/10 Brits who read in the bath to consider.


A Century Of Singer

Books by Isaac Bashevis Singer are part of the furniture in a Jewish home, so the centenary of the author’s birth is a good time to take them off the shelf, ahead of watching the BBC Arena film Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and Mrs Pupko’s Beard, which is being shown on 7 December as part of a Jewish Book Week series. Filmed in Brooklyn, Bruce Davidson’s hilarious and touching portrait of the great Yiddish writer features friends, relatives, other ‘oddballs’ and the author himself acting. The film is followed by an online discussion with Rebecca Abrams, literary critic for the Financial Times, David Stromberg, editor of the Isaac Bashevis Singer Literary Trust, writer Shalom Auslander, who refers to Singer as ‘a darker, funnier Chagall’ and Evelyn Torton Beck, who worked with Singer as Yiddish translator of his short stories. The enduring relevance of the Polish émigré who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the surreal documentary will be a revelation to anyone who only know him as Yentl’s creator.

Available to watch for seven days, find tickets at jewishbookweek.com/event/ isaac-bashevis-singer-a-long-long-way

Y-Brush Toothbrush – Brush your teeth in 10 seconds! Available from: y-brush.com, RRP: £110.99 What is it? The Y-Brush is a mouthguard-style toothbrush with nylon bristles that allows you to get a full brush in increments of either 15, 10 or five seconds. It vibrates as you bite down on it, allowing you to get a clean mouth with minimal effort or time. I swapped my regular electric toothbrush for a week for the Y-Brush.

PLUS POINTS: • The design is simple and easy to use • Y-Brush uses nylon bristles like a regular toothbrush (other mouthguard brushes use silicone bristles) • The one-size brush head fit my mouth perfectly • Even on its longest mode (15 seconds), you’re still saving a lot of time • Pocketable size makes it convenient for travel • Battery life is very good

• Y-Brush can be used with your existing tube of toothpaste • I was surprised how well the Y-Brush cleaned the surface of my teeth in a short space of time NIL POINTS: • Some people may find the design not to be very premium for the price • Although it cleaned the surface of my teeth, the Y-Brush can’t get into hard-to-reach areas like an electric toothbrush can • There is no gum or tongue cleaning option • It’s a steep price when compared to other electric toothbrushes VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ The Y-Brush is ahead of its time and I was surprised how well it did at cleaning the surface of my teeth in 10 seconds. But I feel that the lack of gum and tongue cleaning are a deal-breaker and, for that price, I may as well buy a top-end electric toothbrush. Saying that, I can’t wait to see future versions of this product. Reviewed by: Daniel Elias, Instagram @Daniel_Elias

2 December 2021 Jewish News




‘YOU ARE ONE OF THEM’ Ten years in the making, a startling new documentary questions Germans about their role under the Third Reich. Andrew Gold has seen it


’m ashamed!” shouts a shaking former Nazi who has come to talk to German students. “[I] was convinced that what Adolf did was right.” You might expect the students to be shocked by this confession. Instead, they are hostile and nationalistic; tired of hearing about what their country did. One pupil next to the man reads something in his hands, his disinterest palpable. Another prickles at the suggestion that the Germans did anything wrong. He tells this ex-SS officer to be proud of his history, not ashamed. An explosive argument ensues, before the former Nazi yells with a pointed finger: “You are one of them!” He should know. It is the most powerful scene from director Luke Holland’s documentary Final Account, which portrays the last generation of the everyday Germans who participated in the Third Reich. This being the late film-maker’s final piece, the title takes on a poignant second meaning, and makes for an inspiring closing chapter to Holland’s career. It was a decade in the making, and provides exceptional access to figures across Germany who bore witness to atrocities in and around concentration camps. At the core of the film lies the theme of culpability. When a system made up of 86 million people, as Germany was at the

time, commits genocide, how exactly do you has kindly revised his memory. Countering portion out blame? The Führer is long dead. the contention that being “girly” was a Most of the leading Nazis either escaped or hindrance to entry to the Nazi Party, the were put to death. Generations have come next scenes feature frolicking young women and gone in the ghostly villages that break in Nazi accoutrements. Sieg Heils aside, the up the interviews. All that remain are these daisy chains and dancing are straight out final accounts. of The Sound of Music. We meet these girls’ The film’s title might also allude to the older iterations, who explain how they used accountability and closure it seeks from to sit around and discuss Mein Kampf. Of these former members of the Third Reich. course, you can only write a book called But this is no My Struggle simple task. if you believe Early on, an you’re on the elderly interright side of viewee speaks of history, and flying low over these women a concentration were apparently camp during the engrossed. war, and spotStill, to ting the horrors camera all within. “Is this these decades Germany?” he later, they’re claims he asked A scene from Final Account by director Luke Holland hesitant to himself, ostenadmit as much, sibly appalled. But given the democracy turning their focus elsewhere: “It was lovely! with which Hitler was voted into power, There were hiking songs. The ones you still and where the tides of righteousness flowed sing today.” This reminds me of Primo Levi’s (hint: not with the Jews), he was likely all too words that preface the documentary: “Monaware of what Germany was at the time. sters exist, but they are too few in number Another ex-Nazi, Otto Duscheleit, speaks to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are of his time in the Hitler Youth. His cohorts, the common men, the functionaries ready to he maintains, considered him too “girly” and believe and to act without asking questions.” “soft” to be a Nazi. Again, you wonder if time As for the men, they speak of linking arms as kids to prevent customers from entering Jewish-owned shops. They were told Jews were smelly, greasy and hooked-nosed – all things that might appeal to a child’s naïve sense of good and evil. Still, most interviewees insist, wide-eyed, After 10 years working on Final Account, director that they didn’t know of the terrors of the Luke Holland tragically died before its release. The camps. They seem sincere; we believe them; film was subsequently shown at the Venice International they believe themselves. Then, one looks Film Festival to critical success, bringing a poignant end sharply at the camera: “If someone says they to Holland’s brilliant career. The film-maker and phodidn’t know about concentration camps, tographer made documentaries that shone a light on the that’s just not true.” It triggers a turn in tone. injustices faced by minorities. As a teenager, he found out that In a later scene, the women discuss what a his mother had been a Jewish refugee from Vienna, whose family shock it was to learn about the camps, when had been killed in the Holocaust. He was diagnosed with cancer in one interrupts: “Everyone knew, but no one said anything.” 2015, and went about completing his documentary on everyday Now a little less trusting, we viewers meet Nazis in his final years. He died aged 71 and a man who tells of Jews escaping Bergenis survived by his wife Yvonne Hennessy Belsen concentration camp to beg for food and their sons Zefi and Hugh. at his family’s farm. “What happened to them?” asks the interviewer. “They were returned to the camp.” “How?”

Film-maker on a mission

“The guards got them.” The interviewer refuses to let it go. “How did the guards know they were here?” “Well, we discovered them and reported it. At least, that is what I remember.” “Did you make a phone call?” “Yes, yes, yes…” Ruffled, the man looks off into the distance. “Do you know what happened to them?” “Nobody knows,” replies the man. In this, we have the essence of the film. Because “nobody knows” really means “everybody knows”. We know what happened to those who were caught after he and his family called the Nazis. And so does he. In fact, there is so much deflection and puppy-eyed innocence in the responses of these elderly witnesses that it almost comes as a relief when an out-and-out antisemite arrives. Beside the polished Nazi memorabilia that still graces his home, he talks of the pride of having been part of the SS: “an elite group”. Asked whether it was a criminal organisation, he retorts: “I would dirty myself, if I were to admit to that.” Another Third Reich man claims that the Holocaust was exaggerated or didn’t happen: “I will not believe it. It can’t be.” Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, but rarely enforced. But it’s unclear whether the man denies its existence out of antisemitism or because to admit it – to believe he was complicit in something so terrible – would be too much to bear. To deflect is human. Our minds go to extraordinary places to assuage ourselves of guilt; to prevent us from having to “dirty” ourselves. There is a defensiveness – reinforced by a new narrative on Nazis after the war – that prevents many of these Third Reichers from holding themselves accountable. It is telling, then, that the only time a former Nazi passionately confesses to his shame is not when he senses he is being judged or attacked, but rather absolved by a nationalistic student in the name of German pride. “Do not let yourself be blinded!” yells the former Nazi to the fascist-in-waiting. This is his albatross. Yet, for most of the interviewees, the guilt lies everywhere but with themselves. It’s not easy to live with the weight of six million on your conscience.

• Final Account is at selected cinemas from Friday and on Netflix



Jewish News 2 December 2021


A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens may have been able to journey with ease between London and Paris, but with travel restrictions still hindering us, staying on this isle is a safer bet. By Louisa Walters

London London in winter – a rainbow of russet-coloured leaves crunching underfoot, semi-precious-stonecoloured lights twinkling up above. Theatres alive with song, dance and prose, shops bursting with festive fare, restaurants resplendent with the season’s finest flavours – what’s not to love? The Hyatt Regency London –The Churchill on Portman Square, opened in 1970 in homage to the esteemed former prime minister, is beautifully sumptuous following a recent renovation and the ideal location (five minutes walk from Selfridges) for an overnight stay to make the most of what the city has to offer. Our room was generously proportioned, with a supremely comfortable bed and a luxurious marble bathroom with a ‘smart’ bidet-toilet with heated seat. We walked from there to the Royal Annabel’s Academy of Arts, cutting across Berkeley Square to check out the festive façade of a gingerbread house at Annabel’s. At the gallery, we had lunch at the newly-opened Jose Pizarro restaurant, an authentic tapas bar in the magnificent Senate Room overlooking Burlington Gardens. Adorned with glasses of a crisp Albarino, we gorged on pan con tomate, slow-cooked aubergine with peppers and poached egg, cod in Catalan sauce with sautéed baby spinach and a chocolate

The lobby, above, at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill and, below, a large bedroom

staff hailing from Sweden, Italy and Portugal, the menu is decidedly British, with much-loved staples popping up with a highly inventive twist. Bubble & Squeak Bites are posh croquet potatoes, Crispy Croquette has all the flavours of fish and chips encased in a crispy batter, Homestead Farm Leek comes with a rarebit sauce. Steak tartare served in a mortar with a pestle to mix it all up was a bit of fun and there is a touch of theatre at the table as a couple of dishes are served. The standout dish was a griddled onion with chicken parfait – truly a taste and texture sensation. The sticky toffee pudding triumphed any that I’ve had before. Breakfast in the Montagu is a hive of activity, with hot and cold buffets and extremely good porridge. We made use of the proximity to Oxford Street and Regent Street to walk off all that food with more festive shopping and light gazing.

Cambridge mousse that has been much talked about ever since. This set us up nicely for the Late Constable exhibition (on until 13 February). The great painter lived in Hampstead towards the end of his life and many of his paintings depict the heath. We exited the gallery onto Piccadilly, giving us a great aspect of Fortnum and Mason’s ‘advent calendar’ frontage. Inside the store, hordes of people were stocking up on Christmas foodie gifts; we bought tea and shortbread for friends in the USA. We were back at the hotel in time to shower, don a fluffy robe and watch Strictly, before heading downstairs to The Montagu Kitchen for dinner and a glass of champagne, in tribute to Churchill, who famously drank a whole bottle at lunch every day. This is a comfortable, spacious, convivial venue and, despite the chefs and

Meals at Montagu Kitchen are tasty and fun

Cambridge proved to be a perfect destination for a weekend trip with our adult children. Near enough to London to make a one-night stay viable, yet far enough away that you feel as though you have actually gone

The distinctive Corpus Clock

somewhere, it is full of everything you need on a mini city break – good food, beautiful architecture, fabulous shops, plenty of culture and, of course, volumes of history. We checked into The University Arms hotel, which overlooks Parker’s Piece open space where Association Football was famously founded. The hotel interiors reflect the literary and academic spirit of Cambridge with wood panelling, marble-patterned wallpaper that represents antique book covers,

The University Arms Hotel, above, and one a restaurant in the style of a of its bedrooms, below college dining room and a library awash with books and giant leather sofas. We had brunch at The Old Bicycle shop, a Cambridge institution that was a bicycle shop for 173 years. It is now a quirky café, with saddles and handlebars decorating the walls and bicycle parts made into table lamps. We ordered mimosas to toast the start of our trip by the servicemen who hung out and egg-based brunch-style dishes to there during the Second World War set us up for an afternoon in town. We scoured the shops and meandered and where Frances Crick and James Watson famously announced the in the market square before heading discovery of DNA in 1953. We saw the back to the hotel for tea and scones gold-plated Corpus Clock with a giant in the library and a rest before dinner grasshopper-like creature that ‘eats’ in the on-site restaurant Parker’s time, and learned about the antics of Tavern, under the auspices of chef students who parked a car on the roof Tristan Welch. of Senate House in 1958 and others This is simple but superb British who climbed 80ft to stick Santa hats cooking with confit duck, rib of on the gargoyles of Kings College at beef and lemon sole with burnt Christmas in 2009. butter among the menu highlights, All that history made us hungry. We plus a legendary Cambridge burnt headed off for a late Sunday roast in cream – these days better known as front of the log fire at the powder-blue crème brûlée. painted Tickell Arms in the village of On Sunday, we met up with Tony, Whittleford (20 mins drive). an official Cambridge tour guide, who filled our heads with tales of Rooms at Hyatt Regency London – the town and a few titbits about ‘the The Churchill from £218, room only other place’ (Oxford is a swear word in these parts). He took us to The Eagle Rooms at University Arms Cambridge pub, with its ceiling covered in graffiti from £159, room only

The blue exterior of Tickell Arms in the village of Whittleford

2 December 2021 Jewish News





Using extra virgin olive oil rather than butter means that these biscuits are wonderfully light and also dairy-free.

Lemon Twist Biscuits (makes: 25 biscuits) Ingredients 2 cups of plain flour 1 cup of sugar ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda A pinch of salt

¾ cup of Esporão Galega extra virgin olive oil (or a suitable alternative) 2 small lemons (zest and juice) 1 teaspoon vanilla essence Sugar to roll the biscuits in.

Directions Preheat the oven to 180ºC (slightly lower for fan oven) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt) in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil with the zest and juice of the lemons and the vanilla essence. Pour this liquid mixture gradually into the flour mixture while stirring to create a dough. Form the dough into small balls (as if you’re making cinnamon balls), roll them lightly in the sugar and place them on the baking tray, spaced well apart from each other. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every so often until they are a golden colour. Allow to cool completely. Esporão Galega extra virgin olive oil from Portugal is a fruity olive oil with hints of apple and hazelnut. Available at Fortnum & Mason in-store and online. esporao.com/en

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

JN Junior / In association with

JN Junior a writing special

Ask Ivor

Joshua Lewis, age 10

“Which author inspired you to write and at what age did you write your first book?” “It wasn’t really an author, it was a comedian, or rather comedians – the likes of Nick Hancock, Bob Mills, Arthur Smith and my brother. I saw them and thought, ‘I’m not a performer, but I think I could write jokes,’ and so that’s what I did and it went from there. I wrote my first book when I was 35.”

This month’s JN Junior is a little bit different. Actually, it’s a little bit special. It’s all about writing, whether that’s books, comics, magazines, for TV, or anything! And who better to talk (sorry, write!) about it than fantastic author and script writer Ivor Baddiel? Ivor has written for TV shows including X Factor, The Voice, I’m a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice. He has created scripts for many celebrities and even for a royal wedding show. Ivor – like his younger brother David – is also the author of children’s books, including the brilliant Britain’s Biggest Star... is Dad? and Britain’s Smartest Kid... On Ice (out next year).

Sadie and Charlotte Sprei, age eight “Where did you get the idea for your first book and how long did it take you to write?” “My first book was non-fiction and it was a football encyclopaedia for children called Ultimate Football. It came from my love of football and took about three months to write. My first fiction book was called Cocka-Doodle-Quack-Quack. It’s a picture book for three- to four-year-olds and it came about after my wife said to me, ‘What about a story where a young cockerel on a farm knows he has to wake everyone up, but doesn’t know what to say?’ It probably only took a week or so to write a first draft, but there were many other drafts after that, so it took considerably longer. When books have very few words, every word is even more precious, so they need to be given a lot of thought.”

And here are a couple of fun facts about Ivor: Before he became a writer, Ivor was a primary school teacher. And… he didn’t read his first book until he was 18! But I’ll let him tell you about that.

How I got Into Writing (by Ivor) “Comics were the only things I read when I was young – The Beano, Dandy and – my favourite – Asterix. I didn’t really start reading books until I was 18. By then, I was studying and wanted to be a psychologist, but when my brother started doing comedy, I started writing jokes. Then I sent an article to a magazine, which got published, so I wrote for magazines for a while. I was working part-time as a teacher at this point, but eventually I was hired to work on a TV show (Light Lunch) and became a full-time writer. Incredibly, that was nearly 25 years ago and I’m still writing now. In that time, as well as working on a lot of TV shows, I’ve also written 19 books.”

Peter Showman, age six

Ivor's Top Three Writing Tips:

“How do you think of the pictures for your stories?”

Tell yourself that no one is watching. I still do this today. If I’m stuck, I remind myself that no one is watching and that it doesn’t matter what I write. It helps to unstick my mind and start writing again, and if what I write is rubbish, I can just delete it and no one will ever see it. It’s obvious, but it really does help when I tell myself that. Everyone is creative. I really believe this, but sometimes people have difficulty finding that creativity in their brains and getting it out. One way to maybe do that is by using lateral thinking problems. These are problems where the answer is not logical and involves thinking a little differently. This could possibly help you find your creativity. Here is an example. Three worms – Mummy, Daddy and Baby worm – are crawling along the ground separately. They come to a big mound of earth and all crawl in separately. They go through it separately and come out separately. They crawl on and then baby worm turns round, looks at the mound of earth and says, “oh look, two holes.” How come?* *Baby worm can’t count Write how you want to write. A lot of people write the way they think they should write or try to write in the style of someone else. Eventually you have to find your own style and write things in your own ‘voice’. The best way to do that is just to practice by writing.


“I don’t. Together with the editor, we choose some scenes from the book and then they get sent to an illustrator. They then do some rough drawings, on which I give feedback and addiel B r o Iv h it W then they are finished off for the book.”

Just for laughs!

arn to Why should yroruecle spell co tly?

's Because it o get importantwrtit e! things

Ivor’s three best kids’ reads for December

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman This trilogy is for slightly older children, but it is incredible. Amazing storytelling, brilliantly written and a fantastic idea.


The Boy Who Got Accidentally Famous by David Baddiel Okay, I’m biased here, but my brother is a great writer and his books are really funny and have really exciting and captivating plots.

Compiled by Candice Krieger candice@jewishnews.co.uk


Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child

These picture books were favourites of my children, Ruby, 21, and Art, 17, when they were little. They’re funny, quirky, have really strong and likeable characters and are wonderfully illustrated.

2 December 2021 Jewish News


JN Junior / In association with .

PJ Library's Picks for books about grandparents and their grandchildren L’Dor V’Dor With PJ Library Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. They pass down tradition and heritage through the values they’ve taught their children and the family history they share with future generations. PJ Library is proud to send out stories celebrating Jewish grandparents, as well as supporting resources to help families with their grandchildren’s Jewish journeys. Bagels from Benny While working in his grandfather’s bakery, Benny learns the joys of giving and receiving, caring and gratitude in this beautiful award-winning story. My Grandfather’s Coat Grandfather made himself a coat when he left Russia and came to a new land, and now it’s wearing out. What do you think he’ll do? (Hint: he doesn’t throw it out!) Warning: this book has made many adults blink away some tears…

First Rain When Abby moves with her family to Israel, she misses her grandmother and remembers the fun they had with each other. Writing to each other helps keep their bond strong, but it doesn’t beat them getting to splash about and celebrate Israel’s first autumn rain dressed as ‘yellow ducks’! Eighth Menorah Sam loves celebrating Chanukah with his family and especially his grandma. But when his class makes menorahs, he’s worried as his family already have so many. He comes up with a plan so this new menorah has the best home ever. Tea with Zayde Teatime with Grandpa is always fun! Lucky for this little one, he’s never far away, either – thanks to the miracle of the digital age.


Make Dreidel Cook ies

If the old lady in this sto ry ate this kind of dreide l, it’s definitely not fatal — but it is delicious! If you don ’t have a dreidel-shaped cookie cutter, here’s how to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create your dreidels.

Mix up a batter of you r favorite sugar cookie dough. Roll it out, and cut out hearts with the heart-shaped cookie cutter. Use a butter knife to cut the tops off the hearts, the n slice off the sides. Your coo kies will have straight sides and come to a point at the bottom. Make indentations on the top so that you are left with a stem. Roll out the excess dou gh that you’ve cut off — you mig ht have enough to create anothe r cookie or two. Decor ate your cookies with frostin g to form the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hey , and shin, which stand for the Hebrew phrase nes gadol haya sham — “a great miracle happened there.” Bake according to your recipe directions (with parental supervisio n, of course), and then enj oy!

To sign up children aged eight and under for a free monthly Jewish book, visit www.pjlibrary.org.uk ww w.pjlibrar y.org

Young Writers Competition: WIN £100 of Amazon Vouchers Jewish News, in partnership with Ivor Baddiel, Pajes and PJ Library, is inviting young writers to write about their grandparents and what they have learned from them. To enter the competition, you will need to submit up to 300 words in the form of a poem, a wordle, a short story (fiction or nonfiction), fun facts, a song, an interview, a letter, a tribute, straight prose or a comic strip – whatever you feel like, as long as it uses words! You can include photos and pictures, too, if you want. Once you have completed your entry, please email it to candicekrieger@googlemail.com with your name and age clearly displayed. The closing date is Thursday 6 January. The competition is open to all primary school and secondary school children, and will be split into two categories: Seven to 10 years old and 11 to 16 years old. One winner from each category will be selected by a judging panel made up of Ivor Baddiel and representatives from Jewish News, Pajes and PJ Library. Each winner will receive a £100 Amazon voucher.

Ivor Baddiel (pictured with his family) said: “My grandmother of made the best cauliflower soup in the world – I’ve never tasted anything else like it. This is a fantastic chance to celebrate our grandparents as well as giving them the chance to kvell at how brilliant their wonderful grandchildren are at writing.” Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of Pajes, says: “This is a wonderful initiative, connecting our youth with their heritage and encouraging budding authors to turn stories from our past into lessons for our future. I am sure we will be receiving some submissions of the highest quality and I can’t wait to read them.”



Jewish News 2 December 2021

Business / Gifting rebrand


With Candice Krieger

GIFT BRAND ‘BUILDS BACK BETTER’ AFTER FIRE The founders of My 1st Years have rebranded the company and turned it into a stronger concern after a devastating fire meant they had to cease trading, finds Candice Krieger


toughest time we’ve gone hen a fire ravaged through. The first two through the premmonths, we felt like ises of personalthere was a limb ised children’s missing. There gift brand was no trading. My 1st Years, The past six it destroyed everything, or eight weeks including £15 million have been worth of stock. But comore exciting. founders Daniel Price and The business has Jonny Sitton, who have supbeen coming back. plied baby products to Prince Patience has been the George, Elton John and the Beckkey over the past few hams, were determined to “build back better”. They reopened in Sep- Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton months, but there was never a time when we tember with a new HQ, warehouse and website less than six months since the thought ‘we are not coming back’. “The main thing has been to get back before blaze, now known to be arson. Christmas. It is a stronger business and we have The fire, which took hold in the early hours learnt a lot.” of 1 May, decimated the warehouse in a My 1st Years, which is backed by Lord Northampton industrial estate so badly that (David) Alliance among others, was on course the firm had to cease trading. for record sales for 2021 and international Price, 34, says: “It has definitely been the






Sales exploded after Prince George was pictured wearing a My 1st Years dressing gown

expansion, when the fire struck. Price recalls: “On the night of the fire, I woke at 6am and had 60 missed calls. I listened to a message and it was our head of operations. He was in tears. He said: ‘It’s gone, it’s gone.’” He adds: “It was surreal and heartbreaking for us and for our teams. Not once did we get down or bitter or thought: ‘Who would do this?’ No one was worried about their jobs. We feel very proud about that. And I think that positivity went through the company. “The fire has allowed us time to relook at how we want to progress as a business, and made us realise the importance of the right insurance for every single company.” The company’s insurance meant the founders could keep their 120-strong workforce and secure a new factory in only a few months. “If we hadn’t had that, we would be in a very different position now. We’re excited to take consumers on a new journey on My 1st Years with new products, better materials and a faster personalisation process for every shopper.” Price and Sitton, both 34 and childhood friends from primary school, founded the business in 2011, after struggling to find an affordable personalised gift for a family member’s new baby. They started with a pair of personalised high-top trainers. Today, products range from personalised toys, towels and storage solutions. Gifts were sent to several celebrities, including Elton John, Danny Minogue and Beyoncé, but the real turning point came when Prince George was pictured wearing a My 1st Years dressing gown as he met US president Barack Obama.

The robe sold out within seven minutes and, when available again for pre-order, sold at a rate of up to one per second. It remains one of the company’s most popular items. “The business changed overnight. We had worldwide success and notoriety, which allowed us to get more investment and grow the business much faster and larger than we originally planned. It was at a time before social media was huge in terms of influence and reach and we knew we had to get this global and fast. “From this moment, we knew we had to automate our personalisation technology to be able to grow and cope with whatever demand we can achieve. This was the boost the brand was looking for and literally from that moment, we never looked back.” Two years later, the company was awarded the Queen’s Innovation Award for its personalisation technology. The entrepreneurs even managed to weather the Covid-19 downturn. “When the pandemic first hit, business was really slow and order numbers dropped. However, we then saw a massive uptick and success throughout the rest of the pandemic, owing to our online business structure and the quality of our products and especially gift boxes. Babies were still born in lockdown and needed gifts!” The company has since had a complete rebrand with new products, website and the option of sustainable eco-packaging, with future plans to secure new audiences and expand internationally. “We want to own the personalisation space,” says Price. “We will continue to do what we do best – innovate and adapt, build our fantastic team and keep growing automation in everything we do.” Price and Sitton live in Mill Hill, north London, and have two children each. Sitton is a member of Mill Hill Synagogue. They divide their time between London and Northampton, where the company’s HQ is situated.  my1styears.com

2 December 2021 Jewish News



Orthodox Judaism

SEDRA Mikeitz

Torah For Today What the Torah says about: MPs having multiple jobs

BY PNINA SAVERY Yosef has been taken from his beloved father, wrongly accused and falsely imprisoned. He has languished in an ancient Egyptian jail for more than 10 years. Suddenly, there is a rush of activity. Pharoah has had a strange dream and is told that Yosef will be able to interpret it for him. Yosef is hurriedly rushed out of jail, washed, shaved, clothed and brought before Pharoah, the king of Egypt. Pharoah tells Yosef that he needs him to interpret his dream. Imagine the moment. This is Yosef’s one big chance, his get-out-of jail-free card. Surely Yosef will respond with: “Yes sir, anything you want.” Especially when we consider that as great as this moment’s ability to help him is, so is its potential to break him – one wrong word before Pharaoh could instantly end his life. However, Yosef’s response is powerfully shocking. He states: “It is not I, but God who will answer to Pharoah’s welfare.” (Genesis 41:15)

Even with his life hanging in the balance, Yosef has the courage to stand before Pharoah, a man who is considered a god in his own right among the ancient Egyptians, and mention the overarching power of the Jewish God. Incredibly, Pharoah does not bat an eyelid at this surprising response and launches into an account of his dreams. As Yosef interprets the dreams, he repeatedly mentions God, reminding Pharoah who is really in charge. Pharoah responds, asking for a ‘man of God’ to implement Yosef’s plan. It seems that the Egyptian king has taken Yosef’s monotheistic message on board. Yosef’s courageous statement is not only a message to ancient Egypt, but a reminder for us, in every generation, that we must never be afraid to remember that it is God who is in charge.

◆ Pnina Savery is a United Synagogue educator

BY RABBI ARIEL ABEL serving in Parliament. To save In ancient Israel, there were public money, income could be two senior public offices in means-tested, topping up MPs’ civilised society invested with salaries beyond what they powers to assist the functionmay already earn – from aries who occupied those posts: private pensions and the Levitical priesthood and also adjusted to reflect the Royal House. the cost of living in their constitThe principle governing uency. these differentiated roles is Regarding expenses, instead that no person from the House of having to fear making claims, of Priesthood ought to occupy it would be preferable that MPs the throne of Israel. be granted a generous ‘use it or This was clearly designed lose it’ budget for reasonably to set a limit on the extent of foreseeable expenses related to power held by both the clergy their role, such as entertaining and the secular authority. The separation of Church and state The Bible includes Solomon’s palace costs dignitaries and representatives. Public accounting of the is one modern effect of such Hence, the Torah plainly states entertaining budget for palace costs an approach. Another effect is the separation that a king of Israel must not have was made even of King Solomon, of power and influence and a third too much money. Money-earning, and published in the Bible, for us to is to limit each public office to its especially when in a public role, read nearly three millennia later! ◆ Rabbi Ariel Abel CF works at specific job. Any distraction from is best discouraged. MPs should be paid well enough Liverpool Legal, a legal practice the all-consuming task of public service can be fatal to its efficiency that they can carry out their role in Liverpool associated with with no money worries at all while E Rex Makin & Co Solicitors and can even invite corruption.

Hasmonean Primary School was founded by Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld z”tl on Chanukah 1946 as part of the Jewish Secondary Schools Movement (JSSM) in the aftermath of a time when attempts were made to extinguish the Jewish light in Nazi Europe. This Chanukah will be the 75th anniversary of the school and we need your help to secure its financial future so that we can continue to keep its light burning for many more decades to come.

Hasmonean Primary School is committed to providing the very highest standards of education of which we are so proud. The money raised with your help will enable us to: n Modernise classroom equipment and technology n Expand our Kodesh resources n Offer more targeted one-to-one support where needed n Expand the school’s mental health and well-being facilities n Upgrade the school building



A PROUD PAST A BRIGHT FUTURE Hasmonean Primary School

5-6 December 2021 Matched Funding Campaign www.charityextra.com/HPS75

40 Jewish News


2 December 2021

Progressive Judaism

Progressively Speaking

The Bible Says What? ‘Jacob’s relationships were abusive’

Why we must think before we judge

BY RABBI LEA MÜHLSTEIN “The Eternal One saw that Leah was hated and he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31) We read about Jacob’s marriage to sisters Leah and Rachel. Leah, given to Jacob against his will, longed for some of the love he lavished on her sister. She had good reason to envy the beautiful, beloved Rachel. Hated as she was, Leah bore many children, so her position in Jacob’s home was firm. Rachel, long denied the gift of childbirth, disappointed him. While later tradition viewed Jacob with mercy, the book of Genesis depicts him as a harsh man who took out his anger on the woman who bore him seven healthy children. We learn more about Jacob’s relationships when Leah names her son Reuven, explaining he was called that because the Eternal has discerned her humiliation. ‘Reuven’ in Hebrew has several usages in the Bible, including ‘physical abuse’ and ‘rape’. The women in our story are living

in a situation that we would now describe as abusive. And that’s before we have drawn any attention to the two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. Even if we read these stories in their historical context – Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah lived in a world in which multiple women shared one husband – the Biblical author indicates to the reader that the situation of the wives was not just another example of polygamy. We must not close our eyes to the fact that Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah are portrayed as experiencing domestic abuse from their husband and from each other. As modern Israeli Bible scholar Dr Liora Ravid stresses: “We cannot deny that in naming her firstborn son, Leah used a term that in biblical language means rape, physical abuse, disgrace and humiliation.”

◆ Rabbi Lea Mühlstein serves Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue

BY RABBI MIRIAM BERGER When God is planning the demise of Sodom due to the evil in the city, Abraham puts up a great fight for its residents. He asks the most powerful question: “Will you sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?” Abraham bargains with God to ensure that the evil of the majority doesn’t prejudice the innocence of the few. In today’s society I feel like I’m fighting the opposite battle to that which Abraham fought. The sole perpetrator of a barbaric attack often seems to implicate an entire swathe of otherwise innocent people, who are written off to be ‘just as bad’. After the terror attack outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital (pictured), where we saw the replay of CCTV footage of an explosion clearly intended to have far greater impact and wound so many more, I wondered who would be tarnished by the inhumane acts of a single evil individual. I was struck by the pain of the charity volunteer who advised asylum


seeker Emad al-Swealmeen with his application for a right to remain in the UK. As he spoke of the work he had done to support al-Swealmeen, among many others who are looking to make a better life for themselves in the UK, he was desperate to stress that others seeking residency in the UK would not behave in this way; they would never put lives at risk and just want to live peacefully in this country. Images hit screens and newspaper pages of his conversion to Christianity. What did this show? What happens when the perpetrator’s identity is one of a known majority and not of a less-known minority?

Whether we identify people by race, religion or their residency status, there is something scary about a national narrative being led by the actions of an individual who is later purported to represent an entire community in a way that is so very unfair. I know it’s why I become embarrassed or worried when crimes are perpetrated by a Jew, as we know this inevitably effects the national discourse over how we are all viewed ‘out there’. If Abraham has to try to prevent God from sweeping up the innocent along with the guilty, how can we ensure that we are successful in doing so when such actions are clearly part of the psyche? Let us check ourselves when we enable an individual perpetrator to symbolise an entire people. May we never sweep away the innocent with the guilty. ◆ Miriam Berger is principal rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue

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2 December 2021 Jewish News




Brave Thinkers. True Colours: Teaching girls to take risks How can we encourage our daughters and granddaughters to follow their ambitions and learn from mistakes along the way? Alice Lucas, Headmistress of St Helen’s School, an independent girls’ day school in north-west London, shares her approach to building resilience in girls.


t St Helen’s School, our vision for every student, whether they join at three, 11 or 16 years of age, is to be brave and true, intellectually curious and believe they can do anything. We achieve this through a combination of individual coaching, embedding future-ready learning attitudes and dispositions, and giving each child the space – both physical and mental – to develop their interests, aspirations and friendships. We are keenly aware of our responsibility to ensure girls meet their potential – our founder, May Roland Brown, was one of those amazing 19th century women who believed passionately in women’s potential to be professionals in any sphere – and this ambition is the lifeblood of the school today. However, our approach to reaching this end goal is thoroughly modern. We are preparing girls for a future that we can’t imagine so we need to equip them with strategies to fulfil their potential. At St Helen’s School, our coaching model enables trained staff to work with each individual girl to help them work out what they want to do in life and how to get there. Alongside coaching, we place a large emphasis on students developing and cherishing our key learner habits: the pursuit of knowledge, problem-solving, creativity and metacognition, which means understanding your own thought processes. The latter is a key reason behind us teaching philosophy from Year 1 as a timetabled lesson to expand pupils’ thinking, debate and to learn about learning. We also reinforce the positive character attributes of courage, integrity, ambition and kindness and find ways for girls to put these into practice either within school life through our

St Helen's girls also flourish outside of the classroom

partnership with the charity Phab UK, where our students run a youth club experience for teenagers with disabilities and learning needs giving them a profound sense of responsibility and service to others; or through participating in our Outreach Programme, working with state schools in the Northwood community. We know that exams are important but they are just part of the St Helen’s story. Happy children tend to get good results and, as such, we are committed to ensuring our girls make the best of our 21 acres of green space for fun as they develop their love of learning both in and outside of the classroom. Our co-curricular programme provides opportunities for each girl to take a risk by trying something new as well as to support

her cultural or religious heritage – and we have a thriving Jewish Society, run by Jewish students together with Jewish members of staff. Fostering positive healthy relationships is also a key way to help girls flourish beyond their school lives. Our pupils in the Prep and Senior school and Sixth Form are wonderfully supportive of each other and we are very proud of the compassionate approach that is at the heart of our school life. We celebrate each other’s values and make allowances for pupils to attend religious festivals, observe the Sabbath each week and enjoy healthy, vegetarian options in the school canteen. At St Helen’s, we strive to nurture the leaders of tomorrow, equipping each pupil with strategic decision-making skills, as well as resilience and self-confidence, to achieve their potential and, yes, learn from mistakes along the way. � Keen to see the school in action? Attend an open morning or arrange a visit to discover what makes St Helen’s School such a warm, fun and vibrant place to grow and learn. Visit www.sthelens.london to register your interest or contact our Admissions team on 01923 843230 or via admissions@sthelens.london. Coaches are available and service areas including Stanmore, Barnet and Finchley.

Brave Thinkers. True Colours.

School in Action Open Morning - 23rd March 2022

Book online at www.sthelens.london Email admissions@sthelens.london or call 01923 843230 for details SH_advertorial_v4.indd 1

22/11/2021 14:45:43



Jewish News 2 December 2021

Ask Our Experts / Professional advice from our panel

Our Experts Got a question for a member of our team? Email: editorial@jewishnews.co.uk PRIVATE HEALTHCARE SPECIALIST



TREVOR GEE Qualifications: • Managing Director, consultant specialists in affordable family health insurance. • Advising on maximising cover, lower premiums, pre-existing conditions. • Excellent knowledge of health insurers, cover levels and hospital lists. • LLB solicitors finals. • Member of Chartered Insurance Institute.

SIMON MARSH Qualifications: • Consultant General Surgeon with specialist interest in dealing with both breast cancer and non-cancer breast conditions. • Surgical Director of the Gilmore Groin and Hernia Clinic experienced in hernia surgery, including “non-mesh” hernia repair and Sportsman’s Hernia. • Local anaesthetic surgery including lipomas, cysts and skin cancers.

EMMA GROSS Qualifications: • Specialist in claims of unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. • Negotiate out-of-court settlements and handle complex tribunal cases. • HR services including drafting contracts and policies, advising on disciplinaries, grievances and providing staff training. • Contributor to The Times, HR Magazine and other titles.

PATIENT HEALTH 020 3146 3444/5/6 www.patienthealth.co.uk trevor.gee@patienthealth.co.uk

108 HARLEY STREET 0207 563 1234 www.108harleystreet.co.uk info@108harleystreet.co.uk

SPENCER WEST LLP 020 7925 8080 www.spencer-west.com emma.gross@spencer-west.com



CAROLYN ADDLEMAN Qualifications: Lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in will drafting and trust and estate administration. Last 14 years at KKL Executor and Trustee Company. In close contact with clients to ensure all legal and pastoral needs are cared for. Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

• •

JONATHAN WILLIAMS Qualifications: • Jewellery manufacturer since 1980s. • Expert in the manufacture and supply of diamond jewellery, wedding rings and general jewellery. • Specialist in supply of diamonds to the public at trade prices.

KKL EXECUTOR AND TRUSTEE COMPANY 020 8732 6101 www.kkl.org.uk enquiries@kkl.org.uk

JEWELLERY CAVE LTD 020 8446 8538 www.jewellerycave.co.uk jonathan@jewellerycave.co.uk

Got a question for a member of our team? Email: editorial@jewishnews.co.uk


COMMERCIAL LAWYER ADAM LOVATT Qualifications: • Lawyer with more than 11 years of experience working in the legal sector. Specialist in corporate, commercial, media, sport and start-ups. • Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law from the University of London. • Non-Executive Director of various companies advising on all governance matters.

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DR LAURENCE LEVER Qualifications: •M •M •M •M

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STEPHEN MORRIS Qualifications: • Managing Director of Stephen Morris Shipping Ltd. • 45 years’ experience in shipping household and personal effects. • Chosen mover for four royal families and three UK prime ministers. • Offering proven quality specialist advice for moving anyone across the world or round the corner.

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 19 years ago.

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DANCING WITH LOUISE 075 0621 7833 www.dancingwithlouise.co.uk Info@dancingwithlouise.com

2 December 2021 Jewish News



Professional advice from our panel / Ask Our Experts




JACOB BERNSTEIN Qualifications: • A member of the APCC, specialising in financial services compliance for: • Mortgage, protection and general insurance intermediaries; • Lenders, credit brokers, debt counsellors and debt managers; • Alternative Investment Fund managers; • E-Money, payment services, PISP, AISP and grant-making charities.

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.

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SOBELL RHODES LLP 020 8429 8800 www.sobellrhodes.co.uk a.shelley@sobellrhodes.co.uk

THE KITCHEN CONSULTANCY 07738 067 671 www.thekitchenconsultancy.com shanti@thekitchenconsultancy.com




LEE SHMUEL GOLDFARB Qualifications: • Hands-on service, with full and personalised support for international transfers. • Get the most out of your currency exchange with regards to pension income, when purchasing your first house in Israel or benefitting from an inheritance from aboard. • UK leader in financial exchange and partner to brands such as St James Place and Hargreaves Lansdown with industry-beating Trustpilot score.

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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MAN ON A BIKE 020 8731 6171 www.manonabike.co.uk mail@manonabike.co.uk

JEWISH BLIND & DISABLED 020 8371 6611 www.jbd.org Lisa@jbd.org



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!

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.

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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.

ERIC SALAMON Qualifications: • Provides free professional one-to-one advice at Resource to help unemployed into work. • Offers mock interviews and workshops to maximise job prospects. • Expert in corporate management holding director level marketing, commercial and general management roles.

NEFESH B’NEFESH 0800 075 7200 www.nbn.org.il dov@nbn.org.il

RESOURCE 020 8346 4000 www.resource-centre.org office@resource-centre.org



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, pet disputes, family disputes. • Frequent broadcaster on national and International radio and television.

BENJAMIN ALBERT Qualifications: • Co-Founder and Technical Director of ADWConnect – a specialist in business telecommunications, serving customers worldwide. • Independent consultant and supplier of Telephone & Internet services. • Client satisfaction is at the heart of everything my team and I do, always striving to find the most cost-effective solutions.

LLOYD PLATT & COMPANY SOLICITORS 020 8343 2998 www.divorcesolicitors.com lloydplatt@divorcesolicitors.com

ADWCONNECT 0208 089 1111 www.adwconnect.com hello@adwconnect.com

If you would like to advertise your services here email: sales@ jewishnews.co.uk


Jewish News 2 December 2021


Struggling to hear the TV? Missing out on family phone chats? Hearing just not what it used to be?

Get the very best out of life

Jewish Deaf Association


2 December 2021 Jewish News


Fun, games and prizes






8 9 10 13 17 18 19 20


7 8





15 16




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

Division, part (7) Cash-dispensing equipment (inits)(3) Theory, assumption (10) Increase in wealth (10) Bird of prey (3) Coarsely (7) Untidy piece of handwriting (6) Ancient Greek stringed instrument (4)

2 6 4


ACROSS 1 Become worn at the edges (4) 3 Element (6)

































Last issue’s solutions Crossword ACROSS: 1 Asset 4 Boast 7 Men 8 Ravioli 9 Tree 10 Lets 13 Nib 15 Onyx 16 Oats 19 Twelfth 21 Rat 22 Lemur 23 Ruler DOWN: 1 Arms 2 Synergy 3 Tureen 4 Bevy 5 Ado 6 Thirst 11 Enthral 12 Portal 14 Bother 17 Afar 18 Star 20 Elm






Each cell in an outlined block must contain a digit: a two-cell block contains the digits 1 and 2, a three-cell block contains the digits 1, 2 and 3; and so on. The same digit must not appear in neighbouring cells, not even diagonally.

3 2 1 7 5 4 9 8 6

4 1 5 2 9 7 3 6 8






















22 18










5 4








7 6 3 1 4 8 5 9 2

9 4 6 8 1 3 2 5 7

2 3

2 5 4



2 3 1 5 4

4 8

4 7 24

4 3

6 25












10 22














8 4


See next issue for puzzle solutions.



















Suguru 2 9 8 6 3 5 1 7 4

6 22












26 22


18 6










6 7 9 3 8 1 4 2 5







Sudoku 8 5 4 9 6 2 7 3 1


9 14







2 6


19 6











6 3 7 8 9



9 3 5 9 1

7 2

In this finished crossword, every letter of the alphabet appears as a code number. All you have to do is crack the code and fill in the grid. Replacing the decoded numbers with their letters in the grid will help you to guess the identity of other letters. 2

2 7


The words that can precede bean can all be found in the grid. Words may run either forwards or backwards, in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction, but always in a straight, unbroken line.


5 2 1 7 9 8 5 6 9



9 6


DOWN 1 Clenched hand (4) 2 Furious (5) 4 Nautically astern (3) 5 Lacerates (5) 6 Negligent, forgetful (6) 7 Courageous (6) 11 Nonsense, or a striped sweet (6) 12 Malignant spirits (6) 14 Aid to drawing a straight line (5) 15 Poor (5) 16 Rubber wheel-covering (4) 18 Mooing animal (3)

12 13


1 3 2 5 7 6 8 4 9

5 8 7 4 2 9 6 1 3

1 2 1 2 3 4

4 5 4 5 1 2

1 3 1 2 4 3

All puzzles © Puzzler Media Ltd - www.puzzler.com

Wordsearch 2 4 5 3 1 5

3 1 2 4 2 3

2 4 3 1 5 1

4 3 1 2 1 2

5 2 5 4 3 4

3 1 3 1 5 2

2 4 5 2 3 1

1 3 1 4 5 2

4 5 2 3 1 3








Codeword Z F T L W S P M E N W H L










GU N Y L H T Q J F BW P 02/12 V K S D Z OX RC AM I E


Jewish News 2 December 2021


Business Services Directory ANTIQUES 44

The Jewish News 22 September 2016

Stirling BUSINESS SERVICES DIRECTORY Antique – Reproduction – Retro Furniture Top prices paid (any condition)

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Labels are for jars. Refer yourself or a loved one by YOU BEREAVED? ARE Not people. calling 020 8458 2223 or visit Counselling for adults & children who are www.jamiuk.org

experiencing loss. Support groups offered. REGISTERED CHARITY NO. 1003345 Call The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service in confidence

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Jewish News 2 December 2021

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TREK TO SAVE LIVES No amount of tests or forms would stop 16 trekkers getting on a plane to Jordan for MDA UK’s inaugural, groundbreaking Jordan360 trek in October - the first group trip abroad since the start of the pandemic. The 7-day trek gave participants a chance to appreciate Jordan’s beautiful sites, including Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba and the Dead Sea, together with the opportunity of saving lives along the way. The journey encompassed a range of geopolitical issues, including Israel’s newfound role in the region. In exploring the key partnership between MDA and the Jordan National Red Crescent Society (JRC), trekkers were able to see and hear first-hand how Israel, Jordan and their Gulf neighbours are working together to help save lives.

Image credit: Michael Mattison

Image credit: Michael Mattison

In Amman, trekkers were addressed by HE Dr Mohammed Al-Hadid, President of the JRC, and shown around the hospital where MDA has funded a new operating theatre. Dr Al-Hadid has helped bring the JRC and MDA closer together, to share knowledge, expertise and innovative medical technology. Trekkers visited the Dead Sea area before heading south to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Petra. They enjoyed outdoor camping in Wadi Rum, meeting the local Bedouin community and all the stunning sights along the way.

will be offering a series of treks - in Israel, in Jordan, and both together. To register your interest in any of our treks, please visit mdauk.org/trek or contact joshuadiamond@mdauk.org

It was a delight to see the co-operation between the two countries. - Elaine Bermitz, Trekker

We were delighted to have been able to share this experience with the brilliant Robert Rinder, whose insights you can read more about in the article overleaf. So far, trekkers have raised over £80,000 which will be donated towards rebuilding the MDA ambulance station in Rahat, the largest Bedouin town in the world. Following this success and in view of the high demand for our Jordan360 trek, next year we

6234 MDA Red Shield Winter 2021 JN Wrap v2.indd 3

Image credit: Courtenay Marsh 01/12/2021 13:02



Jewish News 2 December 2021


by Robert Rinder

Of all of the privileges that you get for being in the public eye, the best one in every sense is bringing light to charities and organisations that people would otherwise not know about. I remember my first conversation with Daniel Burger some years ago. “MDA… it’s the ambulance service, isn’t it?” “Yes” he replied, “but did you know that it isn’t funded by the Israeli government, but by the International diaspora?” I had no idea – in many senses it’s unthinkable. A nation with the most obvious demand for frontline medical services. It made no sense. But on reflection it made all the sense in the world. That we, Jewish communities around the world and within Israel itself, understand so fundamentally the threats to ourselves and each other. Making it natural that we would fund MDA’s frontline services. And so I began my quest to discover the work of Magen David Adom. With each new example, each new piece of evidence of their work, something even more critical emerged. A realisation not just how obviously essential the services they provide are; be it the provision of blood or responding to emergencies. But that they are an example of something more powerful, more rich and important, now more than ever. Their work alongside otherwise hostile partners,

to cross lines and deliver blood and critical first aid. The advances in technology, which make MDA the most advanced and innovative ambulance service in the world; and how each service is funded through a community’s shared understanding and fundamental belief in the importance of life. For me, MDA has become the most articulate expression of how I respond to anybody whose views on Israel have tipped into antisemitism, which has become tragically and frighteningly pervasive in the past decade. It’s with this in mind that I had the gift of going to Jordan to walk alongside those raising funds for this essential charity. It was the very essence of a simcha, a collective group of people walking proudly in joy with one another. Culminating for me in a meeting with the President of the Jordan National Red Crescent Society, HE Dr Mohammed Al-Hadid, who spoke so powerfully about the possibilities of peace when enemies begin to work as partners and come to rely on one another. It’s hard to think of a better expression of light and hope than that. All of which is embodied in MDA. What a gift it is, was and shall continue to be, to champion MDA’s incredible, magical work.

MAGEN DAVID ADOM UK MARKS ABRAHAM ACCORDS ANNIVERSARY Magen David Adom UK marked the 1st Anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords with a series of events featuring HE Dr Mohammed Al-Hadid, President of the Jordan National Red Crescent Society and former Chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

It is hard to imagine how quickly the geopolitics of the region have evolved and how Israel and her Gulf neighbours have become partners and allies – at government level as well as people-to-people. As we and the world continue to adapt to constant change, we are so proud of the fact that Magen David Adom is always choosing humanity over politics in its mission to save more lives.

Dr Al-Hadid addressed and impressed MDA UK donors and friends about the humanitarian work he and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been involved in together with Magen David Adom in Israel.

- Daniel Burger

Dr Al-Hadid’s insights into the Red Cross movement demonstrated a different side of Israel, which surprised some key politicians and church leaders who were previously not sympathetic to Israel.


@Magen David Adom UK @mda_uk @MDAUK_

Magen David Adom UK, Winston House, 2 Dollis Park, London N3 1HF | T 020 8201 5900 | E info@mdauk.org | www.mdauk.org

6234 MDA Red Shield Winter 2021 JN Wrap v2.indd 4

01/12/2021 13:02