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Break a leg, Mike! Mentor and Israel pins Eurovision hopes on an act inspired by Dana International Pages 26-27

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Heartfelt tributes to Leonie Lewis P12 & 20

FREE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 5 May 2022

4 Iyar 5782

Issue No.1261

@JewishNewsUK

‘This is our reward for sheltering Jews’ Jewish News joins Chief Rabbi in Krakow as he meets a Ukrainian who reveals her family’s Holocaust heroism By Lee Harpin, in Krakow, Poland @lmharpin

It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Anna, a Ukrainian refugee and mother of two, looked directly at Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as they spoke to one another at the offices of a leading Jewish charity in the Polish city of Krakow. Anna had fled shortly after Russian missiles first struck close to her home in Kyiv, travelling for hours, often through heavy fighting, before reaching the border and seeking help. In Krakow, she took the advice of a friend living there and made contact with JCC Krakow, a Jewish organisation set up with funding from World Jewish Relief (WJR) to regenerate Jewish life in the city.

Since 24 February, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, the remit of JCC Krakow’s has changed dramatically as a result of the huge influx of refugees crossing into Poland. Anna, an English teacher, is now one of hundreds who have gratefully accepted accommodation, food, clothes and other care provided by the organisation, partly thanks to the generous donations made by UK Jews to the WJR Ukraine appeal. Today, despite her own uncertain life situation, with her husband away fighting and her parents stranded in Kyiv because of her father’s disability, Anna is determined to say thank you to Mirvis. “I am not Jewish, but I feel safe here,” she said. In response, Mirvis said: “Anna, you do not have to thank Continued on page 5

Watch the video at jewishnews. co.uk

STEALING A MARCH ON PUTIN A Ukrainian refugee holds her national flag at the gates of Auschwitz as 3,000 people, including seven British survivors, take part in the March of the Living at the site of the former Nazi German death camp. The annual march is a part of educational programme in which people from around the world silently walk 1.8 miles from Auschwitz I to Auschwitz II and to Birkenau. See p14 & 15

Anna tells Chief Rabbi Mirvis about her family’s Holocaust bravery


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

News / Tractorgate MP / Crispin Blunt / Wiesenthal auction

MP is critic of shechita

Outcry at Hitler slur

The Tory MP who resigned after admitting he had watched pornography on his phone in the Commons was a campaigner against Jewish religious slaughter. Neil Parish quit his Devon seat last week. He said the first time Resigned: Neil Parish he had watched porn was accidental, after looking at a tractor website, but the second time was deliberate. After his resignation, one leading communal figure said that during his spell as an MP since 2010, Parish had been “shechita’s biggest and noisiest opponent in Parliament”. In one Westminster Hall debate, Parish called for the labelling of non-stunned meat and criticised comments by Hendon MP Matthew Offord who, he said, had suggested all meat slaughtered under the shechita system was consumed by Jews. Parish said: “That is far from the point and is not what happens.” In the Commons in 2014, Parish cited a scientific study on blood loss as evidence to “reassure” the community that pre-stunning of animals was compatible with religious practice. Shimon Cohen, of Shechita UK, was among those to condemn the MP’s use of a survey on blood loss to attack religious slaughter.

Jewish leaders around the world reacted with fury this week to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s suggestion that Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry, writes Michael Daventry. He made the remark in an interview with the Italian network TgCom24 when asked how Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky, could be overseeing a Nazi regime, as the Kremlin has repeatedly claimed. Lavrov replied: “So when they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ in my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.” The comment triggered Israel’s harshest criticism of Russia since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, with President Isaac Herzog saying Lavrov was spreading “lies, terrible lies, which smell of antisemitism”. He told Haaretz: “I expect him to retract his words and apologise.” Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, said the comments were “absurd, delusional, dangerous and deserving of condemnation”, and Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, branded them an “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error”. There was even rare criticism from Lavrov’s own country, with Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar telling the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Lavrov’s remarks were “shocking”. He added: “It would be nice if he apologised

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Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (right) and Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid In Moscow

to the Jews and simply admitted that he was mistaken. I think it would then be possible to consider the incident settled and turn the page.” In the UK, Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl called the remarks “a hideous falsehood”. Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, from the Conference of European Rabbis, said they had “rightly been labelled as antisemitic”. The European Jewish Congress – whose Russian-born president Moshe Kantor resigned

last month after being named in UK sanctions – said they risked “very serious consequences for Jews in Russia and elsewhere”. Under Hitler’s leadership, Nazi Germany massacred six million Jews. Conspiracy theories have arisen around the Nazi leader’s Jewish heritage because it is not clear who his paternal grandfather was, but no evidence has ever been produced to support the speculation.

 Opinion, page 24

ANTI-ISRAEL MP SPOKE OF ‘HOLOCAUST’ IN PALESTINE A Conservative MP who has long been one of Israel’s most vociferous critics has announced he will stand down at the next general election. Crispin Blunt (pictured) said in a statement posted on his website on Monday, that after “seven increasingly tumultuous parliaments, this will be my last”. Blunt, 61, has been the MP for Reigate since 1997 and has chaired the foreign affairs select committee. He has repeatedly caused anger among many in the Jewish community, particularly over his anti-Israel stance. In December, during a parliamentary debate, Blunt suggested that terrorist group Hamas had a right to hit “legitimate targets” in Israel. Arguing against home secretary Priti Patel’s move to fully proscribe Hamas in this country, Blunt added: “People have a right to resist and we must understand that we are talking about an occupied people.” At the Conservative Party conference in Manchester in 2019m, Blunt accused Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of demanding a “special status” for Britain’s Jews and has backed calls for “eliminating subsidies” to the Community Security Trust to “save taxpayers’ money”. In comments made at a fringe event, Blunt also failed to distance himself from calls to campaign against “infant circumcision” and against the “stunned slaughter of animals.” A former chair of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-

British Understanding, Blunt was criticised in 1999 after telling the Commons he believed “a Holocaust of equal proportions has happened to the people of Palestine who have been evicted from their homes and suffered disruption”. Last month, Blunt drew widespread criticism for defending his friend and fellow Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, after the latter’s conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. He later withdrew the comments and apologised, saying he did not “condone any form of abuse”.

SIMON WIESENTHAL’S WATCH UP FOR AUCTION

A vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch, once owned by the Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, is expected to fetch up to £423,000 at auction on Sunday. It is believed to have been made between 1941 and 1944. Wiesenthal, who was liberated from Mauthausen, dedicated his life to bringing Nazis to justice.


5 May 2022 Jewish News

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Candidate controversy / Starmer defended / News

Expulsion call over Down’s post by Lee Harpin lee@jewishnews.co.uk @lmharpin

A Conservative local election candidate has sparked anger after openly questioning a call by a former senior minister for equality for people with Down’s syndrome. Shloime Royde, the party’s candidate in the London borough of Haringey’s South Tottenham ward, had taken issue with a social media post by David Davis, the former secretary of state for exiting the European Union, after he honoured World Down Syndrome Day. The Tory MP wrote on 23 April: “All efforts to achieve full equality and respect for people with Down Syndrome have my full support.” But Royde responded by posting:

“What exactly is ‘equality for people with Downs Syndrome [sic]? “They are undoubtably mentally impaired and cannot be considered on equal footing as the rest of society.” Lord Mann, the government’s antisemitism adviser, reacted furiously to the remarks, tweeting: “This candidate needs removing and expelling immediately.” Jewish News was alerted to the candidate’s post by a member of the Jewish community whose family have experience of a child with Down syndrome and who said they were left “appalled” by Royde’s comments. Royde initially accused Jewish News of “trawling” his social media. But after being informed the post had been shown to the paper by a family who had a child with Down’s, he deleted it on Saturday night.

ELLMAN: WE’RE SAFE TO VOTE LABOUR Dame Louise Ellman has issued a staunch defence of Sir Keir Starmer, saying he has “repeatedly and publicly shown his determination to

root out the antisemitism that had poisoned Labour and made British Jews fearful”. In an intervention clearly timed to help Labour ahead of

Shloime Royde (far right) at a Jewish community local election hustings

He wrote on 1 May: “This tweet of mine has inadvertently caused a Twitter storm. As soon as it was pointed out to me, I deleted it so as not to offend anyone. “I request anyone who was offended to accept my apologies and, if you wish, to discuss in private.”

today’s local elections, Ellman (inset) also said his support for the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn “was very important”. The former Liverpool Riverside MP told Jewish News: “The Corbyn era was a terrible

Royde had earlier appeared at a Jewish community election hustings at Muswell Hill Synagogue. At one stage, he turned to the Labour leader of Haringey Council, councillor Peray Ahmet, and said he had only one question: “Is a woman a woman?”

time. Some stayed to fight from within the party, others left. Starmer’s public support for Labour adopting IHRA in full was very important. Its adpotion was the turning point in the fight against Labour antisemitism.

Jewish News on Sunday contacted the Conservatives for comment on Royde’s Down’s syndrome post. Davis has also been asked for a response.

“Corbyn supporters are still trying to get this overturned or weakened.” After being “forced out” of the party in 2019 by “pernicious antisemitism”, Ellman said she rejoined in 2021 “because I was convinced that Keir

Starmer, Labour’s new leader, was tackling this shameful legacy.” She added: “I was right to do so.” She continued: “Jewish voters can now safely cast their vote for Labour if they agree on the issues and Jewish candidates can again stand for Labour with pride.”

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Jewish News 5 May 2022

News / Charedi population

JEWISH LIFE SET FOR A SHAKE UP BY DR JONATHAN BOYD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH POLICY RESEARCH (JPR)

We have known for a long time that the Charedi population is growing. We often read individual accounts, or watch Netflix shows about disenchanted Charedim, unable to contend with its pressures and obligations. We also see Charedim migrate. But this new JPR report demonstrates that even after accounting for changes brought about by disenchantment – or more commonly, simple ‘drift’ towards more liberal Jewish lifestyles – and after removing migratory uncertainties by focusing on the global picture, we can project that one-in-five of all Jews around the world will be Charedi by 2040, climbing from about one-in-seven today. After Israel and the US, the UK is now home to the third-largest Charedi population in the world: about 76,000 people as of 2020 − onein-four of UK Jews. It is growing quickly; we could revise that figure to over 80,000 for 2022, assuming the same growth rates continue. The face of Jewish life will be shaken up in numerous unpredictable ways: How we represent ourselves to government, how we are seen by others, what issues concern us, how we relate to one another, and fundamentally what Jewishness is and how it is practised.

One-in-five Jews in the UK will be Charedi, study says Nearly one quarter of Jews around the world will be strictly-Orthodox by 2040 according to a new study which projects that the population will double in size in less than two decades, writes Michael Daventry. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) study found that the number of global Charedim will soar from around 2.1 million today, driven both by high fertility and low mortality rates in the communities. The fast growth rate means that by 2040 two in every five British Jews will be strictly-Orthodox, it added and said its report was the first time new methods of calculation have been used to estimate the future Jewish population. Its director, Jonathan Boyd, said the rapid growth of the Charedi population was “changing the nature of the Jewish world”.

He said: “It has significant implications for how Jewishness is understood and seen going forward, both by Jews and others, and it has to be understood fully to ensure the needs of the growing Charedi community are met in terms of housing, education and other community services. “Community leaders need to pay much more attention to these demographic dynamics, and start preparing for what is likely to be a very different future.” The report – written by research fellow Daniel Staetsky – says the strictlyOrthodox community will grow by an annual rate of 3.5 percent — against just 0.2 percent for nonCharedim populations. At that rate, Charedi Jews would account

The UK leads Charedi population growth outside the US and Israel

for 23 percent of the total Jewish population of the world. It finds the vast majority – 92 percent – of strictly-Orthodox Jews currently live in Israel and the US, with just five percent based in Europe. At 35 percent, Belgium has the third-largest share of Charedim among its Jewish population, but the UK’s 75,000-strong community is larger in terms of population, accounting for a quarter of all British Jews. The report said that share is expected to grow: “The UK can

be expected to reach, and perhaps even rise above, the status of Belgium: by 2040, the Charedi segment is expected to constitute 40 percent of the British Jewish population.” JPR acknowledged there was “an inherent issue” with population projections because they assume different rates of Charedi and non-Charedi growth will remain as they are today, ignoring political, cultural and technological developments that could impact fertility or mortality.

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Jewish News in Krakow / Special Report

‘I am not Jewish but in this community I feel safe at last’ Continued from page 1 anybody. You are an inspiration. May God bless you, and all of your family.” But there is more to Anna’s story. On telephoning her parents to confirm how well she was being looked after by an operation that was Jewish but committed to helping those who were not of the faith, her mother let her in on a piece of family history. Anna told her mother that she wished her family, like many Ukrainians, had done more to protect the Jews – who are now protecting her – when the horrors of the Second World War unfolded. Her mother then revealed that her greatgrandparents had indeed stepped up, sheltering a Jewish family in the basement of their house for two years, ensuring that they avoided the Nazi invaders, and near-certain death in the Holocaust. “I am questioning now, whether maybe it is destiny that, because my family gave help to a Jewish family, now we are being helped like we are,” said Anna, “I didn’t know about this story about my family, my mother just told me. They kept the Jewish family in the basement, gave them food.” Anna says that “right now” she is convinced that “when you do something good to people, it comes back to you”. She adds: “I tell my family now that Jewish people are helping me. And I think of the story from the past. I believe in this.” We had travelled to Krakow as part of a UK delegation, alongside Mirvis, other representatives from his office, and with WJR president Henry Grunwald QC and a team from his charity to observe the work of the JCC, and to hear firsthand accounts from refugees being helped by Jewish service providers. An earlier trip was planned for last month, including a visit to the border with Ukraine. But the Chief Rabbi contracted Covid, forcing a cancellation. A rearranged trip now takes place minus the border visit as the situation has become less chaotic there now. To arrive in the Polish city, modern on its outskirts but more traditional and authentically beautiful in its centre, it is impossible, as a Jew,

A young refugee in Krakow and (right) the Chief Rabbi meets other Ukrainians at JCC Krakow, where Jewish and non-Jewish refugees are being helped around the clock

not to forget that 44 miles away is Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp where more than 1.1 million lives were ended. But, since April 2008 – when Prince Charles, following a visit to Krakow six years earlier, returned to the city to open the JCC Krakow building – the operation has been at the heart of a drive to revive Jewish life in the city. The prince’s association with WJR, which has paid for the JCC Krakow venture, had blossomed after he met with Jewish communal figures in the city on a visit in 2002. In 2015, he became a patron of the WJR, which has been working in Ukraine for 30 years. The Ukraine appeal is, of course, currently WJR’s highest-profile campaign. But the charity is still active in helping people suffering from the effect of wars and poverty across the globe:

in places such as Bangladesh, supporting the oppressed Rohingya Muslims, in Ethiopia, Syria, and among refugees escaping the Taliban in Afghanistan. Last Thursday, Prince Charles visited the WJR offices in north-west London, expressing a particular interest in hearing back on the JCC’s efforts in helping Ukrainian refugees. At one stage, he took part in a Zoom conversation with a WJR operative working deep in Ukraine itself, helping with the humanitarian relief operation. The charity’s long-established links with Ukraine mean that even in the midst of the Russian bombardment, it is able to work across 61 towns and cities there. WJR support has reached more than 100,000 people, with 3.4 tonnes of medicines arriving and more than 75,000 packages of food and hygiene products.

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 Prince Charles meets refugees at WJR, p6

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While organisations such as the Jewish Agency operate on the border to help Jews escaping the war, often taking them to Warsaw, and helping them plan new lives in Israel, the JCC way is to treat non-Jews and Jews the same. “The world needs empathy,” says the JCC’s Jonathan Ornstein. “In the past, there hasn’t been so much empathy for us.”


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

News / Ukraine aid / News briefs

The Crown Prosecution Service has reinstated the racially aggravated element of charges against a man who allegedly attacked members of Stamford Hill’s Jewish community. Abdullah Qureshi, 28, pleaded guilty last month to assaults last August. The original charges included “racially or religiously” aggravation but were later dropped and Qureshi, of West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to four counts including common assault.

JFS from ‘special measures’ to ‘good’

JFS, Europe’s largest Jewish secondary school, has been graded ‘good’ by Ofsted – less than one year after being placed in ‘special measures’ and judged ‘inadequate’ by inspectors. Last year inspectors praised the north London comprehensive for its “academic achievements and the breadth of curriculum”. However, they found student behaviour was poor and there were significant gaps in its safeguarding.

Prince Charles ‘emotional’ meeting refugees at WJR During an “emotional” meeting with families who have fled Vladimir Putin’s invasion, the Prince of Wales said he hopes Britain is welcoming to Ukrainian refugees, writes Adam Decker. Charles, who is believed to have personally suggested meeting the refugees, added that he was praying for the conflict to end quickly. He made the comments on a visit to the World Jewish Relief (WJR) charity in north London, which has sent food, money and medicine to the wartorn country. Charles, a patron of the group since 2015, has made a financial contribution to its efforts although the sum has not been made public. WJR chairman Maurice Helfgott told the prince he would be writing a letter to thank him for the donation.

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The heir to the throne met Ukrainian refugees at World Jewish Relief, of which he is patron

“Don’t bother with that,” responded the prince, to laughter from the room. After speaking to the team responsible for settling refugees in the UK, Charles met three Ukrainian women who had fled the war, all of whom

asked not to be named. Two were from Kharkiv, in the north east of the country, while the other was from Odesa in the south. Both cities have been heavily bombed by Russian forces. “Till the day I die, I will

never forget the sound of missiles,” one of the women said. A relative of the women from Kharkiv described how she had managed to convince them to leave their home, taking their cat and a handful of family photographs, and head to Britain. “They stayed in Poland, in one of the Jewish community centres,” she told Charles. “Then my husband literally had to fly to Poland to help them because they don’t speak English.” One witness said the prince appeared to be “very emotional about the whole thing”.The woman from Odesa called Charles a “righteous gentile” – a term meaning a non-Jewish person.“The Royal family tried to save people,” she added. “Thank you.”  Ex MP saves refugees, p11

Photo by Blake Ezra Photography

CPS reinstates racial element

Starmer meets with Israeli Labor officials Keir Starmer and senior members of his team hosted meetings with officials from Israel’s Labor Party in London in a move that has highlighted growing links between the “sister parties”. Starmer, his deputy Angela Rayner, and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting were among those meeting with the Israeli delegation, which included the party’s chief executive Nir Rosen and deputy mayor of Tel Aviv Chen Arieli.

Streeting’s fiveday trip to Israel

Wes Streeting is due to travel to Israel next week becoming the most senior Labour figure to visit the country since Keir Starmer took office. The shadow health secretary will take part in a biomedical conference and learn about Israeli medical tech during visits to hospitals and start-ups. He will meet medics at emergency service MDA as part of Labour Friends of Israel’s five-day trip.

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Jewish News 5 May 2022

News / Memorial campaign / Shul opening / News briefs

Monument for Winton’s heroic right-hand man by Jenni Frazer @JenniFrazer

A fundraising campaign to honour an almost forgotten Holocaust hero has been launched in Swanage, near Bournemouth. The Trevor Chadwick Memorial Trust, created two years ago, is unveiling a life-sized bronze statue of the wartime teacher, who worked with Nicholas Winton in helping child refugees from the Nazis to come to Britain. Chadwick, who died in 1979, was a Latin teacher at a private boarding school in Swanage. Josephine Jackson, the only Jewish member of the trust, said his first involvement in Holocaust rescue was in January 1939, when his school agreed to sponsor two refugee children — and Chadwick went to Prague to collect them. Jackson said: “When he arrived at the office of the British Committee for Czechoslovakian Refugees, there were several British volunteers there, including Nicholas Winton, all working to get the mainly Jewish refugees out of Prague.

“When Trevor Chadwick saw the need for more help, he promised to return when he had taken the boys to Swanage”. Though Winton is rightly celebrated for his work in saving the ‘Kinder’ and arranging the Kindertransport trains, Jackson says it was Chadwick “who organised all eight trains, and the children to travel on them, taking great risks. He sometimes had to forge permits when they did not arrive in time for the children to travel, and also helped desperate adult.” Winton said himself: “My associate Trevor Chadwick was in a much trickier situation. He did the more difficult and dangerous work after the Nazis invaded ...he deserves all the praise. He managed things at the Prague end organising the children and the trains and dealing with the SS and Gestapo. He is the real hero.” By June 1939, it had become too dangerous for Chadwick to remain in Prague and he was forced to leave. In August, the Trevor Chadwick Memorial Trust plans a ceremony to

Morganstein quits senior S&P role Professor Stuart Morganstein has stood down as Parnas Presidente of the S&P Community, citing health issues. His place has been taken by a newly-elected member of the S&P board, Alan Mendoza, a former vice-president of the community. Morganstein was at the forefront of tumultuous developments within the S&P before its most recent elections in April. At the same time it was announced that Rachel Fink had been appointed as chief executive of the community.

Leo Baeck College holds open house

Statute of Trevor Chadwick (pictured)

unveil the statue, by local artist Moira Purver, in Swanage to commemorate the bravery of this little-known hero. Some of the Kinder, now in their 90s, may attend. The campaign is still £18,000 short of the projected £100,000 cost.  More information is at trevorchadwick.uk

Leo Baeck College opened its doors to the Progressive Jewish community by holding an open house event to give supporters an insight into its history and workings. Sixty people attended the drop-in, including members of Reform, Liberal and Masorti communities from around the country. LBC’s director of Jewish education, Dr Jo-Ann Myers, gave tours of the site, including the Grade II listed Manor House, built in 1723, which houses the college.

SOFT OPENING FOR SHUL’S £4.7M HOME

WE PROTECT

The rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue, Miriam Berger, has said she is “absolutely thrilled” with its new building, which she says “reflects the community, whose aims are woven into the fabric of the synagogue”. The £4.7 million building is undergoing a ‘soft opening’ as snagging problems are ironed out, with a full celebration taking place at Shavuot, when it is hoped the London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan will join the community. Bob Humphreys, co-chair of the synagogue, said the community had begun life in a late-19th century trades union hall and then expanded to various other buildings, including a Portakabin in the 1990s. The problem, he said, was that the buildings had not grown as fast as the community — “the community has more or less doubled in size. The synagogue [buiilding] was too old, too small, and certainly energy-inefficient. It wasn’t fit for purpose.” There were discussions with Barnet Council to see if an alternative site was available, Humphreys said, and the idea of a partial rebuild was considered, but eventually it was decided that the benefits of staying on site and making a total rebuild outweighed the disadvantages. Astonishingly, he recalled, the first discussions about revamping the synagogue took place 35 years ago — but the current serious negotiations began in 2008-09. For the duration of the demolition and rebuild, the community was planning temporary occupancy of an empty Jewish Care home in Ballards Lane. “We had just signed a two-year lease when Covid hit, and we found

Finchley Reform’s new ‘future-proof’ site

ourselves with a lease on a property that we weren’t using. But gradually we did make use of it, first the kindergarten moved in and then our offices, and then we began limited inperson services.” Things were moving fast on the synagogue’s real home, however: “Demolition and construction took one year and a day. We hit a sweet spot, because all the prices were agreed before the costs of building materials went up.” Now the new, environmentally friendly synagogue will, hopes Humphreys, be “futureproof” for at least 50 years if not longer. The building committee has had help and advice from the Community Security Trust on security measures, and assistance from Barnet Council —“but broadly, we’ve done it all ourselves”. Finchley Reform is one of the biggest congregations in the UK with 1,300 adults and 700 children, with numbers growing “significantly” over Covid.


5 May 2022 Jewish News

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Refugee rescue / Host support / News

Former MP helps to save thousands By Jenni Frazer

Last Shabbat, the former Conservative MP Brooks Newmark found himself called to the Torah in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, at the behest of the city’s chief rabbi, Moshe Azman. “My Hebrew’s not so good,” protested Newmark, but the forceful Azman would not take no for an answer, and so the former minister now speaks of his “immense privilege” in receiving an aliyah at Kyiv’s Brodsky Synagogue. Although his wife is Catholic, he says that three of their five children have had a barmitzvah or batmitzvah. The fact that Newmark was in Kyiv at all is part of an extraordinary story in which, via the deployment of 16 buses and a determination to help Ukrainians, he has “taken to safety – I don’t really like the word ‘rescue’,” he says – 7,602 people, mainly women and children. Some elderly men have made up the numbers, too. He is clear his Jewish background played a part in his decision to mount this operation. “Like many of us, I had relatives killed in the Holocaust, and there were those, gentiles in particular, who stood up for us and did their bit to save Jewish people in their moment of need, and took the risk of doing so,” he explains. “They took a far bigger risk, and I don’t want to compare… but growing up, you hear about [Raoul] Wallenberg, about [Oskar] Schindler, and that definitely has always had an impact on me.” For the past 15 years Newmark has been involved in post-genocide Rwanda and traces his current Ukraine engagement to the humanitarian work he did there. This included launching an educational charity and building a school for 300 primary school children; and he cites the country’s “own version of Yad Vashem”,

a genocide memorial museum, as another factor driving his work. “My whole engagement in Ukraine isn’t a one-off, it’s part of the continuum for me of the work I’ve done in Rwanda. You will know that during the Second World War there were more Jews killed in Ukraine —as a percentage of the population — than almost anywhere. “But notwithstanding that history, I felt a huge imperative to go in – because it is not the fault of the next generation for what they are undergoing. They are facing this aggressor who, in my opinion, is Stalin mark two, creating massive atrocities there. I went to Bucha, just outside Kyiv, and there is a mass grave with 412 people.” On the second day of the war, in February, Newmark made contact with a Latvian friend who has a bus company and was moving people away from the Polish-Ukrainian border towards Germany, France, or Latvia. Newmark, who was in Rwanda doing a doctorate on education in the country, said: “I’d just finished my field research and was going to take a break. But instead I joined my friend in Poland in the first week of the war and we began busing people from the refugee camps to Paris, Luxembourg and Riga.” After a couple of weeks, the areas started to empty and so Newmark suggested going into Ukraine directly to see if they could help. “We brought three buses into Ukraine from Lithuania and were busing people from Lviv and Kyiv. Then we moved further east to rescue people who had come from Mariupol.” Newmark and his friend offered their services for free; people were initially grateful, but as the war moved to the east, Ukrainians grew “very suspicious” and feared that the free buses were transporting them to Russia. Newmark

Brooks Newmark, a former Conservative minister (left), with Rabbi Moshe Azman in Kyiv

had, up to this point, been directing operations remotely while his Russian-speaking partner was on site. But the local nervousness drove him to go to Ukraine himself as a British helper. The two men negotiated with local bus companies and Newmark made a promotional video, after talking with city mayors. They put 16 buses on the ground and the operation took shape. In the meantime, Newmark was contacted by a former student of his from five years before, when he had lectured on politics in Kyiv. Katerina, a young journalist, sent Newmark a Whats­App message from a basement where she and her mother Svetlana, a paediatric nurse, were hiding. Now, mother and daughter, who arrived in Britain “on the Passover weekend”, are safe in Newmark’s London home.

Home secretary Priti Patel is Newmark’s MP and he has contacted her to discuss how to improve the visa scheme for bringing Ukrainians into Britain. “I could give her direct feedback on the frustrations people were having, and on how they could streamline things better.” Svetlana and Katerina applied at the same time for visas, but did not receive them at the same time. “I have tried to argue that families should be allowed to apply on one visa,” he says. Newmark’s bus rescue operation has cost about £240,000, raised from family and friends. He won’t join up with a big charity because he likes the flexibility of being able to change the nature of his help when necessary. His next project, he says, may be to buy a fleet of ambulances to deploy in Ukraine.

REFUGEE HOSTS ASKED TO TAKE PART IN JOINT SURVEY Jewish respondents to the government’s Homes For Ukraine appeal are being urged to take part in a survey aimed at providing further support for those hosting refugees, writes Joy Falk. In an initiative supported by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Board of Deputies, Mitzvah Day and Jewish Volunteering Network, the survey will help to establish the number of families in the community who have taken part in the scheme. It will also allow those hosting refugees to request specialist support, either with further help, training around trauma, or general networking opportunities. The JLC and Board established the Jewish Community Refugee Task Force in March to ensure the commu-

Task Force will offer support

nity could provide a coordinated, needs-led and effective response to the refugee crisis. These organisations are already working closely with a number of local authorities with big Jewish populations. Michelle Mitchell, the JLC’s head of strategic collaboration, said: “As we always knew would be the case, our community has shown huge generosity in wanting to support those

fleeing the war in Ukraine. It is no small task to open your home to a stranger in need and we want to ensure that all those helping receive the support they need when taking on such an important responsibility.” Board president Marie van der Zyl said: “The reaction from the Jewish community to the Ukrainian refugee crisis has been genuinely heartwarming. For our part, we need to understand the needs of those who have selflessly stepped forward to volunteer so we can give them as much support as we can.” The survey can be found here: https://forms.gle/ RFxYYorg14J5Qg67A More information on the responsibilities of hosts and their local authorities can be found on the JLC’s website: www.thejlc.org/ukraine

YOUR LEGACY Protecting and securing the Jewish community in the UK against antisemitism is what we do. From the streets of London in the 1950s through to the hate-filled internet chatrooms of today, CST will leave no stone unturned in the fight against those who wish to do us harm. This is not something that we can do without your ongoing and long-term support. A legacy to CST will ensure that our community is not only protected against the continuous threat of antisemitism but is also given the security necessary to flourish in the future. Contact us on 020 8457 3700 or email legacy@cst.org.uk. Community Security Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1042391) and Scotland (SC043612).


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

News / Leonie Lewis

‘Leonie had rare ability to spread love and kindness’ The Chief Rabbi has led tributes to “inspirational” community champion Leonie Lewis following her sudden death last week, writes Lee Harpin. A statement put out on social media by the director of Faiths Forum for London (FFFL), the multifaith organisation for whom Lewis remained a trustee and council member said she was a “unique human being with an ability to spread love, and kindness”. Lewis, who founded the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN), was diagnosed with lymphoma just six weeks ago and was buried at Bushey New Cemetery before Shabbat last week. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “Leonie gave kind-hearted and selfless service to numerous organisations and was a source of inspiration for many. She loved people and Judaism and personally guided, strengthened and transformed many of our communities. “Forever full of energy and passion, she spread best practice, championed volunteering, encouraged a greater role for women in our shuls and contributed to interfaith understanding. May her memory be for a blessing.” FFFL director Mustafa Field said Lewis’ passing has “personally affected me”. In a further tribute, the organisation said: “Early this morning, our dear friend, Leonie Lewis passed away. “Leonie was an inspiration figure whose presence will be missed.

Tributes have flooded in from across the community and beyond for ‘inspirational’ Leonie

“She touched the lives of so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones.” As a director of JVN for more than 30 years, Lewis was awarded an MBE in December 2017 by the Queen for services to the Jewish community. A member of Pinner Synagogue, she went on to become a joint vice president of the United Synagogue (US). Earlier, as co-chair of US Women, she pushed through changes to enable women to become

LEONIE EPITOMISED WHAT THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE IS BY MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE

Everyone at the United Synagogue (US) was devastated to hear of the tragic passing of our dear friend, our former colleague and, most recently, a former trustee. Leonie was passionate about everything she did, supporting a wide variety of causes both within and outside of the Jewish community. She was a powerhouse, a tour de force, a connector of people and organisations who used her vast experience to improve our community. She was always eager to share her wisdom with others, exemplifying the Jewish concept of lilmod ul’lamed, to learn and to teach. Leonie was my Israel tour leader and I remember the care she showed and the passion she had for Israel and the Jewish people. I have had the privilege of knowing Leonie for more than four decades since then, working closely with her as a US trustee until she stood down in 2020. Her impact on our organisation was immense. Following a strategic review in the 1990s, she was invited to work for the US to head up a new programme designed to re-energise the organisation and our communities. Leonie, of course, excelled in the role and what she created became our Community Divi-

sion, which continues to provide support to our shuls and beyond, becoming, as she called it, “the engine room of the United Synagogue”. She epitomised what the US stands for – reaching out and welcoming all. Leonie was passionate about ensuring women’s voices were heard and listened to in our communities and across our organisation, becoming co-chair of US Women and one of our first female trustees. Leonie was a long-standing and popular member of Pinner United Synagogue, where her loss will be keenly felt. Whenever anything needed doing at the shul, Leonie was sure to say yes. She was the volunteer other volunteers looked up to. This is what allowed to her to flourish for so many years as the director of the Jewish Volunteering Network; Leonie knew how to engage and support volunteers precisely because she had a lifetime of volunteering herself. The award of an MBE in 2018 for services to the Jewish community was richly deserved. Leonie fought her illness bravely with the support of her loving family. On behalf of the United Synagogue, we wish chayim aruchim, long life, to Howard, Adam, Ben, Bassie, Ruth and Bernard and we’re thinking of her grandchildren too. As her family said so aptly, Leonie loved everyone and worked for every good cause. She was an eshet chayil, a woman, and a wife, of exceptional strength. Baruch Dayan HaEmet, may Leonie’s family be spared further sorrow.

chairs in the organisation’s synagogues. After being awarded her MBE, Lewis said: “It justifies all the hours and commitment I’ve spent at meetings and activities encouraging all who know me to engage and or volunteer with their community. I still have a few friends left! “The nicest thing is receiving such wonderful messages, letters and calls from so many people. It’s touching to know in some small way I really am making a difference.”

Lewis was also an adviser to the Children’s Aid Committee and assessor for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The JVN said: “We are devastated to hear of the passing away of Leonie Lewis. In the words of her family, ‘she loved everyone and worked for every good cause’. “There is so much to be said about Leonie and we will – right now our thoughts are with her family, Howard, Adam, Ben, Basie, Ruth, Bernard and all the grandchildren.” Rabbi Alex Goldberg, dean of religious life at the University of Surrey, knew Leonie for 30 years. He said: “Leonie was a mentor, innovator, community builder and someone within our community who pushed through one glass ceiling after another. “She has been there at key moments in my career, sharing wisdom and advice, and I know of many others who owe her the same depth of gratitude. “She achieved so much and yet was generous with her time both in a professional and voluntary capacity. She taught me so much. “A wonderful soul has departed. I’m devastated by this sad news. My thoughts are with her family.” Writing below, US president Michael Goldstein outlines some of Lewis’ contributions, including “heading up a new programme designed to re-energise the United Synagogue and its communities”.  Editorial comment, page 20

A mensch stirred by the generosity of her heart BY RAYMOND SIMONSON CEO, JW3

Leonie’s passing is a devastating loss to the community. She was a dedicated, passionate, hard-working leader, completely committed to community and yet extremely humble and unassuming. More than that, she was one of the loveliest and friendliest communal leaders you could ever hope to meet and serve alongside. I’ve known her for pretty much my whole professional career, over at least 25 years, and I had the honour to sit on various committees and panels with her over that time. I remember clearly over 15 years ago when she invited me to give a keynote at a JVN conference she was running, that I used the full text from that parasha, focusing on the idea of how Jewish community can only be built by a critical mass of people – volunteers

and professionals – working together, stirred by the generosity of their hearts. After the talk, Leonie made a beeline for me and was, as ever, extraordinarily generous in her praise and feedback. I remember saying to her that it was in fact she herself who inspired my talk as she was the living embodiment of this concept. Leonie was always one of my champions over my career, so supportive to me (and about me, behind my back as I discovered afterwards). And every single time I saw her, no matter what was going on, she would great me with open arms and that huge beaming smile of hers, and say how good it was to see me, and ask how my children were and how I was – and I always knew she did want to know and cared about the answer. Like a few other great women in our community who have died in recent years before their time due to ill-

Leonie at the JVN awards

ness, everyone who worked with Leonie, knew or had any encounters with her will, like with those other phenomenal women, mourn her deeply. And whether you met or had never even heard of Leonie Lewis, you will have almost definitely been impacted directly or indirectly by her generosity of heart, her leadership and her contribution to the building of community life. May her name, her memory and her legacy be forever a blessing. Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.


5 May 2022 Jewish News

www.jewishnews.co.uk

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Memorial appeal / Nazi gesture / News

Westminster memorial decision appeal is filed The government has lodged an appeal against the decision by the High Court to quash planning permission for the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens, writes Adam Decker. Campaigners won a High Court battle last month to scupper plans for the project, with Mrs Justice Thornton concluding there was “an enduring obligation” to retain land “as a public garden and integral part of the existing Victoria Tower Gardens”. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities filed its appeal last Friday, stating it “remains completely committed to constructing the memorial at this location, which was carefully selected to reflect its national significance – next to Parliament and close to other important memorials including the Cenotaph”.

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Protesters outside the Royal Courts Of Justice

A spokesperson added: “We owe a lasting memorial not just to Holocaust survivors, but to the British people now and for generations to come.” The London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust brought the High Court case against the government, arguing the project is the “right idea, wrong place” and that the planning permission decision-making process was flawed.

Campaigners also claim the memorial’s proposed location risks affecting the park “irrevocably” and have raised concerns over the alleged impact on trees, potential flooding and heritage monuments. Lawyers for the government argued there was “no error of law” in the decisionmaking process and that policy had not been “misinterpreted or misapplied”.

Newcastle fan faces ban over Sieg Heil A football supporter who made steward in the stadium, “his face a Nazi gesture towards Spurs dropped and he quickly ran off fans has been ordered to pay towards the exit”. more than £300 and could be An image of the incident banned from going to games. was shared by police and Newcastle United fan Asher, of Gibside View, WinShay Asher, 24, admitted laton, Gateshead, handed the racially aggravated himself in to police. In an offence of causing harinterview with officers, assment during a game at Asher denied the offence St James’ Park in October. but later wept and said he The club received a number of felt ashamed. complaints during the game after a Haque said a woman in the man was seen raising his right arm Shay Asher saluting home crowd saw a man perform towards the north London club’s a Nazi salute with his finger over fans in the away section, Newcastle Magis- his mouth to make a moustache and heard him trates’ Court was told. say he wanted to fight Tottenham fans. Rehana Haque, prosecuting, said the former The prosecution read out a victim statement Royal Engineer later told police he had been from a Spurs supporter who said the gesture waving to someone in the crowd. She told the was clearly intended to harass fans of the club, court that after Asher was challenged by a which is known to have a strong Jewish support.

ACTRESS ABUSE CONDEMNED The Community Security Trust (CST) has condemned abuse directed at Tracy-Ann Oberman after she paid damages to the founder of a minor political party over antisemitism claims. The actress, 55, best known for her role on EastEnders, acknowledged her allegations against Dr Philip Proudfoot last year were “hurtful”

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and confirmed she had paid damages. She was targeted with abuse online following last week’s announcement, including remarks that were antisemitic. CST said: “We utterly condemn the abuse Tracy-Ann Oberman has faced. She has always been a stalwart campaigner against antisemitism, and has always been the target

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Leonie Lewis z”l It is with much sadness that we mourn the untimely death of our Trustee, Leonie Lewis MBE after a short and aggressive illness. Leonie, as the power behind many communal roles became a firm advocate for and friend of Paperweight from its earliest days, but we had known her for her wide-ranging enthusiasm and boundless energy for some years before. Always possessed of a ready smile and a bag-full of ideas, Leonie complemented the Trustee group of Paperweight exactly and readily accepted our invitation to join in a formal capacity. We all loved working together with Leonie and we always prized her opinions, suggestions and thoughts. Our community, amongst others, will miss her beyond any words. We will sorely miss her friendship, energy, positivity and smile. We extend our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers to Howard, Bernard, Adam, Ben and all the family.

‫המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים‬ Tracy-Ann Oberman

of antisemitism and misogyny as a result. It is appalling that this continues.” PWT_088 Leonie Lewis_JN_QuarterPage_128x165mm_v1.indd 1

03/05/2022 16:21


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

Yom HaShoah 2022

A place that still defies articulation Nicole Lampert joins seven British Holocaust survivors on the first post-pandemic March of the Living The phrases ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ and to teach others about what they had seen. In 2010, Scott Saunders decided to start a and ‘never again’ have become so well used and commonplace when it comes to British contingent, motivated by the coincitalking about the enormity of the crimes dence of sitting in a Tokyo synagogue next to of the Holocaust that they have, sadly, a man who was saved by a ‘righteous gentile’, former Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, become practically clichéd. At the same time, people want to appropriate who gave 3,500 visas to Lithuanian Jews. Saunthe Holocaust. Everything – from vaccine pass- ders started meeting Holocaust survivors and ports and voter identification to the trans row – realised others needed to meet them too. The programme Saunders and his has become ‘just like what happened to organisation, March of the Living the Jews’. UK, devised is an intense and But when you walk around difficult but rewarding Auschwitz and its subfour-day immersion, not camp Birkenau, where only into the Holocaust evil pours out of every but also the history of crevice, you realise Jews in Poland, a land there simply are no they once regarded a words big enough, safe place. This year, dark enough, cruel there were 250 Brits enough to describe of all ages and reliwhat the Nazis gions. The tour is a did to the Jewish bonding experience. nation. No books fully There are trips to describe the vastness Warsaw and Treblinka. of the horror. Films can The fourth day is a visit to only sanitise it because no Auschwitz. First, we went to one would want to watch the grinding torment. And the Polish President Andrzej Duda Birkenau, where we learned number six million is too vast with survivor Edward Mosberg the mechanics of industrialised murder. This was a finelyto contemplate. In this place 1.1 million Jews were murdered tuned operation, from the music playing as the at a rate that went up to nearly 10,000 people a exhausted and starving Jews of Europe arrived, day. Others were killed here too; around 140,000 to the tickets people were given when they gave Poles, 23,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners up their clothes so they could ‘get them back’ of war, and 25,000 people from other ethnic before they were led to the gas chamber. In each room, as the horror builds, another groups, but it is Jews who consumed the Nazis. member of my bus sobs and needs comforting. Auschwitz is a mass grave; a place of genocide. The trauma when you walk around it comes It is shocking to see a man cry helplessly from from the almost mundane aspects of humanity. a pain he can’t articulate because there are no It’s seeing the mountains of hair, the piles of words. Our guide sits us down and reminds us to shoes, the hopeful suitcases that loudly pro- breathe as we recite the mourner’s prayer. I’m claim the names of the people who were taken on a bus mainly of Jews and for us it feels perthere because they were told they would be sonal. There’s another - ‘the holy bus’ – which is reunited with their things, which gives just a interfaith and includes cricketer Azeem Rafiq, small taste of the enormity of what was done. who pledged to educated himself after being found in an antisemitism storm – but everyone All those lives lost. There’s the video footage of life before; foot- is moved immeasurably because this is about ball games and Shabbat candle-lighting. It’s human behaviour being done to other humans. The next day is the march, an inversion of the the pots and pans they hoped to cook with, the clothes they packed, the crutches with which death marches out of Auschwitz when, in order they limped off the cattle trains; they all show to flee the Russians and not leave a Jew alive, the imprint of humans who weren’t a page out the Nazis marched 56,000 prisoners, already of history but were loved and loved back. And weak from hunger, 60km in freezing conditions. Around 15,000 of them perished on the journey. were murdered. In some ways, this is a kind of two fingers up March of the Living was set up in 1988 by Israelis when it became clear that a new form of to the Nazis. They tried to kill European Jewry antisemitism – Holocaust denial – was coming but here we are in our thousands – around to the foreground while the old forms seemed to 3,000 altogether, a smaller contingent than be re-emerging just dressed up in new clothes. normal because of the uncertainty around the Groups from around the world were invited to pandemic - singing Jewish songs; alive, healthy, the Auschwitz death camp to learn the truth happy. They stole and burned the prayer shawls

A Ukrainian refugee from Vinnytsia holds a Ukrainian flag in front of the infamous gate

but here we all are in blue, many wearing the Israeli flag which is based on the tallit, proudly. They are joined by MPs and celebrities, people who care and are keen to learn. There are also new signs of hope; for the first time there is a large contingent of Muslims including a chapter from the United Arah Emirates, led by H.E. Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, founder of the first Holocaust memorial gallery in the Arabic world. There are also Ukrainian refugees; the latest victims of misery and murder on European soil.

But at the centre of it, most precious of all, are seven British Holocaust survivors. Arek Hersh, Eve Kugler, Harry Olmer, Mala Tribich, Alfred Garwood, Agnes Kaposi and Barbara Frankess; all here to relive their stories because they know they must. There is a proudness, a defiance to the occasion, but also an untouchable sadness. It would be better if we did not need to be here, but as long as Holocaust denial and antisemitism continues, we must continue to tell this story about what hatred of Jews leads to.

‘IT WAS HARROWING BUT SUCH A PRIVILEGE’ COLONEL RICHARD KEMP commanded the British forces in Afghanistan “This is my third time coming to Auschwitz and coming with a Jewish group is a very different type of experience because you are with people who have lost sometimes huge numbers of their family. I think the March is the most appropriate reaction to it. This is the victory, the triumph of good versus evil, and it was an evil that had never really been experienced before in the human race. The last thing Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler would like to have seen was Jewish people not only surviving but thriving.”

EYAL BOOKER Jewish reality star and influencer “Last year I met the survivor Mala Tribich and it was very special to reunite with her on the March. When you see those famous Auschwitz gates saying arbeit macht frei – work makes you free - you don’t really understand what really happened until you get here. How methodical and calculated the Nazis were in the process of deceiving the Jewish people in order to murder them. The idea of having an orchestra playing as they were being led into the gas chambers. It felt incredibly eerie walking around. In some ways it felt wrong. This is where more than one million people died and yet here I was,

alive and walking through a museum. It felt quite uncomfortable. This was a celebration of the fact we are alive and free but there was a really sad, morbid undertone that so many people, millions of people, had to die in order for us to be able to walk that journey freely.” CHRISTIAN WAKEFORD Labour MP for Bury South “At a time of rising antisemitism is important we do carry that torch on, that we ensure something like this never happens again. It has been an incredibly moving and harrowing few days, and also something that it was a privilege to be part of.”


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5 May 2022 Jewish News

15

Yom HaShoah 2022

‘There was smoke, a smell... I knew my friends had gone’ Nicole Lampert hears about the experiences of Arek Hersh, 93, as he retraces his steps to Auschwitz Every year on his birthday, Arek Hersh’s wife Jean tells him: “There you go Arek, that’s another year Hitler didn’t intend you to have.” Arek is 93 now, has three daughters, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; several members of his family are with him as he returns to the place that still haunts him – Auschwitz. Brandishing his still-heavily tattooed arm – with the number B7608 – he says: “It is important people know about this.” He is standing in a barrack at Auschwitz, part of a dwindling delegation of precious Holocaust survivors, here to ‘pass on the torch’ of memory to a new generation for the March of the Living – an educational programme that starts with a deep dive into Jewish Polish history and the horror of the Holocaust. Polish-born Arek went into his first concentration camp when he was 11. He spent two years as a child slave at the Otoschno concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland – they took him as they could not find his father. One of his jobs was cleaning the house of an SS officer. Another was collecting the dead body parts of men who had preferred to jump in front of a moving train in the camp than continue to live there. He grew up fast. He was granted a brief reprieve

when the camp was closed down when he was 13 and, to his amazement, was taken home to join his family in the Lodz ghetto. He did not dare to tell the women left in the ghetto that the sons and the husbands he had been with at the camp were all dead. “I told them, ‘They’ve gone to another camp.’” His happiness at being reunited with his family lasted just two weeks when, along with his mother, sister, brother and cousins he was taken

Above: Arek Hersh recalls the hell that was life at Auschwitz. Left: Participants during this year’s March of the Living

to the Polish Catholic Church in Sieradz. A chance encounter when he was searching for water saved him. The Nazis had decided they needed a few more slave labourers back in the ghetto and chanced upon him as he was looking for a drink. As he was being driven off, his family was rounded up and taken to the Chelmno death camp, where they all died as soon as they arrived. For the next two years, he worked again as a slave labourer in a

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textile mill while living in the ghetto orphanage. In 1944, the Nazis liquidated the ghetto and he was sent to the hell of Auschwitz. He escaped death – just – once again, by changing line at the selections when he realised Dr Mengele had put him in the line with the elderly, the youngest and the infirm. When there was a fuss in front of him – a woman would not let go of her baby – he moved line, pretended he was two years older – 16, not 14 – and had a skill as a lock maker. His previous camp experience had taught him well. “There was smoke and there was

*

this smell and I knew within an hour of stepping from one line to another that most of the friends I had made in Lodz were gone,” he recalls matter of factly. “They told me when I came into the barracks.” Only a handful of the 185 children from the orphanage escaped the gas chamber. Arek was there for eight months. As the Russians drew closer, he was sent on the death march to another concentration camp – Theresienstadt – followed by a month travelling in open-topped cattle wagons where he was so hungry that he started eating his leather shoes as the Nazis became ever more des-

perate to fulfil their dreams of total genocide. His resilience is genuinely astounding. He was saved only when the Russians caught up with the Germans and peace was declared. Over the next few days, he saw his torturers rounded up and humiliated. Arek told one bunch of SS men that he only had to give a Russian soldier the word and they would be shot, “But we are not murderers like you.” There is nothing more dramatic than hearing him describing what happened in a barracks at Auschwitz, at seeing his tattooed number as he recalls the hell of living there. “We would sleep six to a bed,” he says, surveying the room. “There were no covers. We would sleep with what belongings we had on our heads.” He points at the fireplace in front of which he is sitting. “No one ever put the fire on, even when it was snowing outside.” He recalls the meagre rations of soup: “There was a lot of hunger. Every day, people around me would die.” His is a rare story of survival, as he stands in a former barrack on the grounds of the death camp where Nazis oversaw the murder of 1.1 million Jews. For the march, he is surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of young Jewish people from around the world, all ready to take the from him baton of telling his story. As the Holocaust survivors reach their mid-90s, they know they don’t have much longer to tell their stories, which is why they are all here back in Poland while they still can. “It is important people remember,” says Arek defiantly.


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

Yom HaShoah 2022

Hundreds join ‘the Boys’ to honour celebrated survivors by Jenni Frazer @JenniFrazer

Nearly 400 people – families and friends of the original members of the ’45 Aid Society – took part in a raucous celebration of the legendary survivors, the Boys, who arrived in Britain at the end of the Second World War and rebuilt their lives. It was the 77th such reunion, the two previous years having been cancelled because of Covid. And it was a bittersweet occasion, since only five of the Boys – Mala Tribich (one of the nearly 200 girls among the original Boys), Jan Goldberger, Zigi Shipper, Harry Olmer and Harry Spiro – were present. Each lit a memorial candle at the start of the evening, together with a sixth candle lit by children and grandchildren of the Boys. But as ’45 Aid Society chair Angela Cohen explained, this was a torch-carrying event, as the Second, Third, Fourth and even Fifth Generation pledged to continue telling and teaching the survivors’ stories. Mala, interviewed during the evening by Cohen’s son, TV personality and judge Rob Rinder, said she was asking people to be “inescapable witnesses”. Among those unable to be present in

Harry Olmer lights a candle at the start of the event with his grandsons and granddaughter

person, owing to ill health, was the founder and president of ’45 Aid, Sir Ben Helfgott. But he sent a typically upbeat message, encouraging people to continue the charity’s work. His son, Maurice, is now chair of World Jewish Relief (WJR), the charity with which

’45 Aid has been most closely associated. It was through WJR’s predecessor organisation, CBF, that the Boys were brought to Britain. Helfgott announced that ’45 Aid, which throughout the years has raised millions for charity as the Boys’ way of giving back, had donated a symbolic

sum to WJR – £10,732 – which will go towards supporting WJR’s work in Ukraine. Ten thousand pounds is the core donation, while the additional £732 represents each one of the 732 Jewish child refugees who first came to Britain. All the presenters stressed the importance of family, a message underlined by the fact that none of the young people who arrived in Britain had had any family – except each other. And this warmth and inclusion has extended to the succeeding generations, as Cohen pointed out – “the Second Generation has become a band of sisters and brothers”. One of the Boys, Krulik Wilder, had said that the reunions should continue “until the very last Boy – and then go on after that”, a promise the charity hoped to fulfil. One Second Generation member, Lorraine Kingsley, died last year and the society has set up an award in her name. Its first recipient was Emily Burton, granddaughter of one of the Boys, David Herman, who has led the team of interns working on the ’45 Aid’s in-depth archives. This groundbreaking project gives details of the birthplaces of the Boys, their journeys to the UK, the hostels where they stayed after their initial few months in the Lake District, and new and often previously unrecorded information about the people who cared for them.

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The Association of Jewish Refugees “dug deep” to mark Yom HaShoah this year. The charity, celebrating its 80th anniversary, planted the final dozen of 80 trees to bring to a close its nationwide campaign. The project, 80 Trees for 80 Years, has involved the planting of native oaks and sweet chestnut trees around Britain, in honour of people and places that symbolise the enormous contribution made to every walk of British life by refugees who

escaped from Nazi Europe. The final dozen were planted in Scotland, Wales and England, with five trees in the borough of Barnet, and one at each of the largest Jewish schools: JCoSS, JFS and Yavneh College. Jo Briggs, project manager of the 80 Trees campaign said: “On Yom HaShoah, when Jewish communities all round the world take time to remember the atrocities that happened in Europe during the Second World War and

vow never to let them happen again, it seemed especially fitting to be planting the last of 80 trees on this special day.” The project has been recognised by the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, marking Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee this year, and the trees will feature on the new UK Holocaust Map (www.ukholocaustmap. org.uk), an online resource that helps to tell the story of the Holocaust and British responses to Nazism.

Hatikvah song sheet for all UJIA and Norwood have joined forces to help people with special educational needs – by creating a dedicated song sheet with the words of Hatikvah so they will be able to take part in this year’s Yom Haatzmaut celebrations. The song sheet, put together by education experts, breaks down the lyrics of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, into words and picture symbols, to make it easier for people to follow.

A similar song sheet has been created for the Avinu Shebashamayim prayer, used as the prayer for the state of Israel in Israeli synagogues. Mandie Winston, chief executive of UJIA, said: “UJIA is committed to helping everyone in our community build a life-long connection to Israel. Thanks to our partnership with Norwood, more people than ever before will be able to celebrate Yom Atzmaut, ensuring that it is a day

of celebration for every British Jew, no matter what their background or their needs.” Dov Richman, Jewish cultural adviser at Norwood, said: “Celebrating Yom Atzmaut and reaffirming our connection to Israel are important parts of Jewish life at Norwood. “This card will be distributed to all our services to add meaning to Yom Atzmaut celebrations at Norwood for many years to come.”


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World News / Refugee aid / Putin prediction / Israel refuge

Russian Jew gives £80m to refugees

Philanthropist Yuri Milner

A Russian Jewish philanthropist who made billions in Silicon Valley with support from the Kremlin has pledged $100 million (£80 million) to aid Ukrainian refugees. Unlike other billionaires whose wealth is linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yuri Milner has managed to avoid Western sanctions meant to punish Russia for waging war on its neighbour, and his latest donation serves to further distance him from the Kremlin. A dual Russian and Israeli citizen who lives in California, Milner, and his wife Julia, are best known in the world of philanthropy for establishing the Breakthrough Prize to recognise and promote

scientific achievement. But they have also become significant donors to various causes in Israel. Among the beneficiaries of the Milners in Israel are the emergency response agency Magen David Adom, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the Peres Center for Peace. The new Ukrainian relief efforts, called Tech for Refugees, involve a partnership between the Milner’s Breakthrough Prize Foundation and private companies, including short-term housing from Airbnb, hospital beds and emergency medical equipment from Flexport and from music streaming service Spotify. “We have been devastated by the

A refugee with her baby

‘I’M NOW A REFUGEE AGAIN’

Putin may call ‘anti-Nazi war’ Defence secretary Ben Wallace has predicted Vladimir Putin will use Russia’s Victory Day parade on 9 May to claim he is launching a new push for “war with the world’s Nazis”. Wallace said the parade, which is held to mark the surrender of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, would present the ideal opportunity for Putin to push his false Nazi narrative, which has infuriated Jews globally. Speaking to LBC radio, the cabinet minister said: “I would not be surprised… that he [Putin] is probably going to declare on May Day that ‘we

heartbreaking suffering of the Ukrainian people,” the Milners said in a statement. “We believe this initiative, in partnership with some of the world’s most creative technology companies and organisations, can provide practical assistance for people living in turmoil outside their homeland.” Fellow Russian Jewish philanthropists like Roman Abramovich and the trio of billionaires behind the Genesis Prize were slapped with Western sanctions in recent weeks, even after announcing donations for relief efforts in Ukraine. But their ties to Putin are seen as far more immediate and recent than those of Milner, who says he broke off ties with the Kremlin years ago.

are now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people’. “Putin, having failed in nearly all objectives, may seek to consolidate what he’s got… and just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country. “We have to help Ukrainians effectively get the limpet off the rock and keep the momentum pushing them back.” Wallace admitted he was not speaking with actual intelligence that Putin was planning such an announcement, but said it was likely given Putin’s previous comments.

Planes carrying Holocaust survivors fleeing violence in Ukraine landed in Israel last Wednesday, the eve of Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust remembrance day marked by Jewish communities worldwide. An estimated 300 to 500 Holocaust survivors have now taken refuge in Israel since the start of the war in Ukraine.

“I never thought ... that at my age I would have to again flee a war and again hear the sounds of bombs going off around me,” said Ninel Zhilinska, an 88-year-old survivor on the flight, according to The Times of Israel. “I was a refugee in 1941 and now I’ve become a refugee again.” The flights, reportedly carrying 21 survivors in total,

were organised by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The last plane left from Moldova, and the passengers were greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by Israel’s immigration minister, Pnina TamanoShata, who said: “During the Holocaust, they didn’t have a place to run. Today, there is a strong Jewish home.”

The Together Plan presents

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Raising funds for FestivALT, Krakow who are currently working to support Ukrainian refugees, and The Together Plan’s cultural heritage work in Eastern Europe.


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Blood centre / Special Report

Israel opens up the world’s most secure blood centre

Israeli President Isaac Herzog (fourth from right) at the opening of the £104million Marcus National Blood Service Centre earlier this week by Sabrina Miller in Israel @SabriSun_Miller

Israel’s new $130 million (£104m) missile-proof blood centre, built with the help of UK donors, was officially opened by President Isaac Herzog on Monday. British donors raised $15 million for the Marcus National Blood Services Center, which has been lauded as Israel’s most protected civilian building, and the safest blood bank in the world. Former constituents of the murdered British MP, Sir David Amess, donated £1,800 on his behalf, dedicating a mezuzah in his honour. Linda Burns, from Southend and Westcliff friends of Magen David Adom (MDA), said of the MP: “He was the most wonderful person in Southend. He was an inspiration, a true friend to all Jewish people. He came to Israel; everybody loved him.” Thirty-five mezuzot donated by MDA UK were designed by Israeli

students at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and chosen for the centre in a cash prize competition. MDA chair Russell Jacobs said: “Blood has no racial type. The idea behind the competition was to be inclusive because that is Israel.” Donors from America and England gathered for the opening of the centre, which is expected to double Israel’s annual blood processing capacity. Herzog thanked donors in Hebrew and English for their help constructing Israel’s largest capital project. He said: “In Israel, every 17 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. In a world where we have learnt to print a heart on a 3D printer, blood itself has no alternative. “Blood is life. It is the liquid of life and is the essence of humanity. We are brothers and sisters and even if we disagree, donating blood and saving lives is above all. “To receive a blood transfusion, the replaceable gift of life, from com-

The £104m centre is missile-proof

plete strangers, is a stark reminder that we are one living, breathing tapestry of humanity, now safeguarded in this impressive centre.” Defence minister Benny Gantz said: “Leonardo da Vinci once said [that] water is the driving force of all nature. We all know water is the most precious of resources. Water is life. “Yet we are all gathered here because we have learnt to store,

protect and distribute another valuable resource – blood. And while talk of blood donations may sound trivial, today in a way is historic and the Marcus National Blood Services Center is a national treasure, which will save countless lives.” Israeli health minister Nitzan Horowitz said: “The building can continue to work during war times and provide blood supplies in the coming decades. This is our national and precious blood bank. “Until today, MDA staff would have to move the blood units to the bomb shelter. This is a complex and dangerous task. Today we fulfil the dream of opening a modern protected national blood services centre.” The centre’s namesake, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus – who donated $35m to the project – sent a video message to those in attendance. He said: “On a visit many years ago to Israel’s blood bank, amid the missile and rocket attacks, I realised how delicate and

vulnerable the blood system was. “I am happy we participated in the construction of this wonderful building, where Israel’s blood supply will be protected for all its citizens.” Other big benefactors, including Miriam and the late Sheldon Adelson, The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, were personally thanked. The blood centre, which is located in Ramla, took four years and 11,000 tonnes of steel to build. It stores blood in a 300sqm safe room protected from terror attacks, rocket fire and earthquakes. Inside, there are three security zones and the three underground floors are shielded from attacks by extra-thick concrete walls, blast doors and airlocks. The centre was built to cope with Israel’s growing population and its increasing need for blood supplies. MDA’s current blood services centre was built in the 1980s and is not large enough to cope with demand.

STUDENT GROUPS CALL FOR ‘APOLOGY’ OVER PRESIDENT A coalition of student Palestine groups have issued a call for a “public apology” from those who they claim attacked the election of Shaima Dallali (inset) as president of the National Union of Students (NUS), writes Jenni Frazer. Last month, 22 former NUS presidents, including three excabinet ministers, signed a letter to the union’s outgoing president and its board of trustees, expressing “serious concerns” about the “safety and treatment of Jewish undergraduates”.

The letter demanded an urgent independent investigation into antisemitism within NUS, and asked for “a full and unreserved apology” to Jewish students and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS). But in a stronglyworded statement, the “collective of student activists and groups”, say they “stand against attempts by political lobby groups, the government and the mainstream media to silence students” and accuse the latter

of “wilful mischaracterisation” of Dallali’s election and “seeking to undermine the democratic process of the National Union of Students”. The statement complains of “those whose motives are one of delegitimising solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation, criminalising support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and in essence creating a breeding ground for anti-Palestinian racism”. It adds: “These are actors who have shared platforms with individuals who deny the Nakba and the right of Palestinians to a homeland. They have denied apartheid, despite objective reports by legal and human rights experts saying to the contrary.”

The activists say “anti-racism means being unequivocally against settler-colonialism and apartheid”. “Based on that principle, we call on actors to refuse to engage with and platform individuals and organisations who deny apartheid and enable racism”. Some are concerned that this is a clear call for breaking ties with UJS. In a statement to Jewish News, UJS said: “Jewish students have raised important concerns about racism and inclusion and it is vital NUS takes this matter seriously to ensure it is an inclusive space for all students. It is disappointing some groups refuse to acknowledge the hurt Jewish students have felt, and instead suggest ulterior motives.”


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Fuller debate School daze I commend the attempt of Anum Qaisar, Scottish National Party MP for Airdrie and Shotts, to arrange a debate in the House of Commons to discuss the rights of the Palestinian people following recent disturbances on Temple Mount, which is “one of the very few places where Palestinians can exercise a degree of sovereignty” (Jewish News, 28 April). I assume, however, that Ms Qaisar had a lapse of memory and simply forgot to ask the Commons authorities if the debate could also discuss the rights of Palestinians living under Palestinian rule where, in the West Bank, President Mahmood Abbas is currently serving the 16th year of a four-year term, or in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas gained power by jailing and murdering members of the previous Fatah governing authority. Richard Kafton Hendon

Regarding your front-page story (‘Homework derailed by online hate’, Jewish News, 21 April), if secondary school teachers are going to ask their pupils to carry out online research into the Holocaust, those educators have an over-riding responsibility to show the young learners the right places to look. I always thought a sizeable part of history teaching was understanding the importance of choosing and evaluating sources. Some topics give rise to a host of unreliable and wholly incorrect accounts and sadly, as we know, the Holocaust is an example of one of those topics. Perhaps these teachers can also find a way of teaching pupils that denial exists – and that it is a particular evil, and a criminal offence in more than a dozen European countries including Austria, Germany, Poland and Hungary. Pauline Katz NW2

DEMISE OF THE JEWISH YOUTH CLUB IS HUGE LOSS Fewer young people today belong to a Jewish youth club. Most teenagers are occupied with mobile phones or other gadgets. That is fine, but what is surely lacking are values such as responsibility, respect and good citizenship – attributes constantly instilled in my generation by youth club principals and managers in organisations such as the Scouts, Cadets, synagogue groups, Maccabi and Association For Jewish Youth clubs including Brady, Victoria, Cambridge and Bethnal Green, Stepney, Stamford Hill and Mile End. They taught teamwork and selflessness. There was ample opportunity to play in a team or repre-

sent the club in drama, art, music or chess. Romances blossomed; some led to marriage. We live in a free society, with countless benefits. Anti-social behaviour, however, is on the rise. The demise of the youth club is not solely to blame, yet it is one reason. It has been a great sacrifice.

Eddie Summers By email

WHY DID LILY EBERT ACCEPT HUNGARIAN HONOUR? I find it hard to believe Holocaust survivor and author Lily Ebert, who is clearly such a fighter, accepted Hungary’s Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit. I was also born and bred in Hungary so feel entitled to say that all her fellow countrymen and women ever did for her is kill most of her family

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and try to kill her. Even today, few Jews are willing to announce their religion on the streets of Budapest. Hungary is one of the most unfriendly places for Jews, who have long been persecuted there.

Susan Graus NW11

27 May 2020

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If a person’s life is measured by the lives they touched, the positive impact they made and the respect they earned, then Leonie Lewis’s life was beyond measure. Few have contributed so widely and with such dedication as the seemingly tireless woman who was a trustee and council member of the Faith Forum for London, joint vice-president of the United Synagogue, former co-chair of United Synagogue Women, adviser to the Children’s Aid Committee, assessor for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and, not least, founder the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN), where she remained a director for more than 30 years. Leonie, of course, wore many more hats over the decades, reflected in the array of tributes that flooded in from across the Jewish world following her sudden death just before Shabbat last week. On many occasions Leonie would phone or email this newspaper to rally staff to volunteer for one of her inspiring JVN ideas, aimed at the one thing she dedicated her life to: enhancing our community. She also mentored other community role models, including Raymond Simonson and Rabbi Alexander Goldberg, who pay their own heartfelt tributes in this week’s newspaper. After receiving her MBE in 2017, Leonie said: “It justifies all the hours and commitment I’ve spent at meetings and activities encouraging all who know me to engage and volunteer. It’s touching to know that in some small way I am making a difference.” Leonie Lewis certainly made a difference – one that elevated the standing of our community and one that will benefit British Jews for decades to come. Long life to her family.

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Opinion

The challenge of defining genocide after the Shoah ALEX BRUMMER

CITY EDITOR, THE DAILY MAIL

P

oliticians, of all people, need to be sensitive when it comes to the language of war. Joe Biden was known for his gaffes long before he reached his current advanced years. A gaffe has been described as blurting out what someone really thinks when it is best left unsaid. Biden’s accusation that Russia is engaged in a ‘genocide’ in Ukraine and his call for regime change in Moscow are cases in point. The US president jumped ahead of Nato in making his comments and fell into the trap of using sacred words too loosely. I could not be more outraged by the abuse by those in positions of leadership of their young charges whether those responsible be people of the cloth, scout masters or sports coaches. The scars on those who have been through such experiences will linger forever. What jars is the reference to this group as ‘survivors’. For most of us in the Jewish

community, that word has come to apply the diminishing band of people who survived the Nazi death, concentration and slave camps. The unspeakable privations they suffered and witnessed earned victims of the Shoah exclusive rights to the word survivor. Comedy genius Larry David recognised this in a classic episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, when he skewered a guest at his seder table who used the word ‘survivor’ for a TV show. Genocide, the deliberate killing of a people or a nation, is a word that can also be used carelessly. Hitler’s attempt to rid the world of Jews, disabled people, homosexuals and Romanies was a real genocide. It was an attempt to eliminate humans on a mass scale using modern industrial methods. Subsequent genocides against the Tutsi minority in Rwanda and minorities in the former Yugoslavia have been recognised by the international community. But even these caused controversy among Jewish survivors when elevated to the same status as the Shoah on Holocaust Memorial Day. As a former Holocaust Memorial Day trustee I was witness to

A MILITARY ACADEMIC SAID ACCUSATIONS OF WAR CRIMES WERE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

the disquiet among real survivors who felt the exclusivity of their event was diluted. Some of the shocking scenes witnessed in Ukraine and being investigated by UN officials and war crime experts from The Hague may, in the end, qualify as genocide. I know from the reaction of a ‘survivor’ in my own family that they have brought memories flooding back. Biden’s use of the term, relatively early in a conflict, produced mixed reactions. It caused nervousness in the diplomatic and military communities and drew praise from those seeking to frame Vladimir Putin and the Russians as successors to Hitler. The realpolitik is that in a war involving a nuclear power, which

already has attacked an atomic power plant, it is in the interests of both sides to lower the rhetoric. Pushing the enemy into corners from which there is no possible escape is a risky path. A military academic, who is advising the UK government, argued that accusations of war crimes and genocide and calls for regime change were counterproductive. They are likely to prolong the war as they close off escape routes for Putin or his successors. Far better to let Ukraine’s stirring efforts and increasing volumes of Nato weapons and broader sanctions do the talking. Making accusations against a nuclear power could create an existential threat. Political correctness has become the cultural battleground of our age. Language is a key part of the debate. As much as it is possible to be enraged by the vacuity of gender neutral terms, precision in language is at the core of dialogue. In conflict, the stakes are huge as cities are laid to waste, atrocities are committed and millions of refugees flee from unprovoked attacks. But fuzzy use of the term genocide weakens its gravity and risks undesirable reactions.

Desperate attempt to discredit me and NJA JAMES MARLOW

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NATIONAL JEWISH ASSEMBLY (NJA) Last week, Jewish News revealed James Marlow, chief executive of the newly-launched National Jewish Assembly, expressed sympathy for far-right activist Tommy Robinson in social media posts, compared gay people to paedophiles, claimed sexuality is a “choice” and derided Reform conversions. This is his right of reply.

I

am responding to the allegations made against me that I support Tommy Robinson, am anti-gay and anti-Reform. The tweets referred to are all from several years ago and are taken completely out of context. At that time, Tommy Robinson was seen regularly on the BBC and Good Morning Britain and I interviewed him when he returned from Israel for a piece that, in the end, never made it into The JC. For the record, Robinson said he loved Israel, admired the Jewish nation and said he had no problem with any people, including Muslims, but was simply opposed to Islamists and those who wish to destroy Israel. The tweet in question shows a video in which Tommy Robinson was physically

attacked on the street and a bodyguard stepped in with a “right hand”. I tweeted: “Great right hander by your aid – watched it 3 times.” I was training with Community Security Trust at the time and viewed many self-defence clips, and I regret that this tweet in March 2016 was misunderstood. However, if some are saying, “It’s okay because it was only Robinson who was assaulted”, this is also wholly unacceptable. All violence should be called out. Elsewhere, LBC’s James O’Brien, known for his liberal opinions and making fun of those who have a different view, took a call about Tommy Robinson. I thought it was great radio and retweeted someone’s comment “James O’Brien refuses to listen to the caller. Lefties do not see the problem”. I added my own words: “Great call, he wasn’t intimated by the liberal presenter”. That was it. I simply believe all views should be heard in a respectful manner.

I REGRET MY ‘GREAT RIGHT HANDER’ TWEET TO TOMMY ROBINSON WAS MISUNDERSTOOD

Democracy is not about shutting down the other side in a loud, aggressive and sometimes violent way. Most importantly, none of these tweets were meant to show support for Tommy Robinson and I think most people recognise that. I have said he is toxic and creates division. I have personal experience of being physically attacked by some of his supporters, when covering the London Al Quds Day march. One year, members of the far-right turned up and as I filmed some of them when they shouted abuse, I was set upon, in front of police. In summary, to associate me with Tommy Robinson is a desperate attempt to discredit me and the NJA. On the subject about “paedophiles” and how it was suggested I compare them to gay people – a libellous comment – the article caption clearly shows I retweeted an article about an academic conference held at the University of Cambridge. I simply quoted a line from the article, which has been taken out of context. As for the Twitter debate with Israel critic and activist Max Blumenthal, who misrepresented an article written in The Jerusalem Post, Blumenthal tried to convince his followers Reform Jews were vehemently anti-Israel and suggested they needed to convert more. During our online exchange, I successfully proved he was “making it up” and wrote: “And besides a Reform conversion is not Jewish anyhow”.

Former Board vice-president Gary Mond launched the National Jewish Assembly

Never have I said Reform Jews are not Jewish, and I challenge the trolls to waste more time in looking for such a statement. I was referring to the Reform conversion process, which is not, and never will be, Halachically accepted. I understand Reform and Liberal clergy also explain this to their “converts” and that certificates will not be accepted by the United, Federation or Adass Yisrael congregations. Last week NJA launched, an excellent “grassroots” organisation which is not competing with any other body. Anyone can join to promote Jewish life, support Israel and fight antisemitism.


5 May 2022 Jewish News

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Opinion

We dispel division when we deepen understanding MIRIAM CATES MP & PETER GIBSON MP

I

ts hard to imagine how one can feel uplifted while surrounded by the infrastructure of evil at Auschwitz and Birkenau. The brutal remains of gas chambers and crematoria. Vast piles of shoes, clothes and personal items left behind. The railway lines and platform where thousands of Jews disembarked every day to meet their deaths. Yet the March of the Living truly is a celebration of life. Joining the UK delegation last week was a privilege; meeting Holocaust survivors and hearing their testimonies of the horrors made the visit all the more real and emotional. The industrial scale of the slaughter of innocents cannot fail to overwhelm those who are visiting for the first time, particularly when sharing the experience with British Jews and seeing the Holocaust through their eyes. Many of them lost members of their families in the Holocaust and the majority have connec-

tions with Poland – unsurprisingly, given the huge numbers of Jews who lived there pre-war. It was so moving to join Jews from around the world, who share a unique history and culture, to remember what took place and keep alive the memories of the survivors. Despite the fact that one-third of all Jews perished in the Holocaust, the message was that the Jewish nation not only survived, but flourished. What we have witnessed and learned leaves us with the sense that the Holocaust was unique and should be seen as such. Killing Jewish people was about ethnic cleansing as other genocides have been, but it was also an attempt to erase and desecrate Jewish culture and history. The Holocaust was organised,

THE MARCH LEFT A LASTING MARK ON BOTH OF US

sustained and industrialised mass murder, which required the cooperation and collaboration of thousands of people across a whole continent and beyond. Understanding how and why that cooperation occurred must be the key to preventing history repeating itself. The Holocaust was also unique because at the time the Jews had no state of their own and nowhere safe to escape to. Living on an island, it is difficult for us Brits to appreciate the shifting boundaries of countries, shifting communities of peoples that led to the post-war surviving Jewish diaspora demanding and deserving and rightfully returning to their homeland. One thing seems clear – a society that is brutalised, frightened and accustomed to witnessing acts of evil quickly becomes desensitised to violence, making it easier to look the other way. Every person is responsible for their actions, but we must acknowledge those actions take place within a wider moral framework. One of the phrases used in remembering the Holocaust is ‘Never Again’ and we all understand the importance of learning from history. But there have been other genocides

since 1945, and we may well be living through another now on European soil. To truly achieve ‘Never Again’, societies must build strong moral frameworks with the ability to recognise evil ideologies in their early stages and cut them off before they take root. We dispel division when we deepen understanding. We embrace difference when we are educated in an emotional way, and the Jewish message of tolerance, understanding and peace was underpinned by the participation in the March by those of other faiths and of none. The March of the Living has left a lasting mark on us both to carry forward the torch of remembrance; it is an experience like no other.

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Opinion

Sergei Lavrov’s contemptuous distortion of politics and history JEREMY HAVARDI

BUREAU DIRECTOR, B’NAI BRITH UK

R

ussia’s brutal war in Ukraine has been based from the start on a twisted reading of history. Moscow says it wants to ‘de-Nazify’ its neighbour and cleanse it of fascist elements within, while arguing perversely that Ukraine has no independent existence. This forms the backdrop to the reprehensible comments made last week by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Speaking to an Italian media channel, Lavrov was asked how Russia could speak of ‘de-Nazification’ when Ukraine’s president is a Jew. He responded that this meant nothing, adding that “Hitler also had Jewish blood” and that ‘some of the worst antisemites are Jews”. After his comments were met with justifiable outrage, the Russian foreign ministry doubled down on the remarks. A spokesman claimed that some Jewish collaborators during the Holocaust were “remembered for absolutely monstrous deeds” and that Zelensky, who was “hiding behind his origins”, was consorting with today’s Ukrainian Nazis “quite consciously and quite voluntarily”. For good measure, it added that Ukraine was home to “the most extreme antisemitism”. This is nothing short of a contemptuous distortion of history and politics. Historians are unsure about the identity of Hitler’s paternal grandfather, in part because the dictator’s paternal grandmother, the only person who might have been able to shed light on this question, never revealed the man’s identity and died decades before the dictator was born.

MANY ULTRA-NATIONALISTS SEE PUTIN AS THE NEMESIS OF LIBERALISM

In terms of the present conflict, Lavrov’s comment implied that Jews were responsible for their own suffering, whether that was in Ukraine, Nazi Germany or elsewhere. It is a vile and intellectually mendacious insinuation, reflecting decades of state-sponsored antisemitism from the Soviet era. It is also one of the most familiar tropes in the antisemitic handbook. The fact that Zelensky, a Jew, is the head of

state in his country, and that the leader enjoys mass support among its citizens, is proof that claims of a ‘Nazified Ukraine’ are nothing but a warped fantasy concocted to justify brutalising a nation. Of course, this is not to deny that there are extreme right-wing forces in Ukraine. One such group is the Azov Brigade, an ultra-nationalist battalion that fought against pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and which has now been integrated into the armed forces. There are other far-right forces in the country, but support for them remains very small, ensuring they are electorally insignificant. In the 2019 presidential election, the candidate for the radical right-wing Svoboda party won less than two percent of the vote, a performance barely improved upon in the 2020 local elections. The far-right therefore poses no threat to Ukraine’s established political order. To see where dangerous authoritarian forces have really taken root, one only need examine the politics of modern Russia. It was Moscow that unleased neo-Nazi paramilitary units in both Syria and Ukraine, such as the infamous Wagner Group and the Rusich task force. Russia has also cultivated support from farright political forces in Europe, including Le Pen in France, the AfD in Germany and Italy’s Salvini. Many of these European ultra-nationalists see Putin as the nemesis of liberalism. Moreover, while Ukraine has made a bold experiment with democracy, Russian politics is marked by a chilling form of neo-fascist authoritarianism. The country is led by a demagogue who has stifled the media and judiciary, locked up or killed his opponents and cracked down on free expression. In his cult of leadership, he promises to rejuvenate the nation and regain its former glory through territorial expansion and wars of violence. It is a state in conflict with the West and deeply hostile to liberal values. Crucially, Jews are seen as the drivers of those values with their attachment to secular humanism, democracy and gay rights. That is one added reason why today’s fascists, including the ideologues behind Putin, indulge antisemitism so freely. Jewish organisations should continue to speak out against Russian war crimes in Ukraine, denounce the lies and fantasies underlying them and stand in solidarity with a democracy that is under attack from its neighbour.  Jeremy is writing in a personal capacity

DAVID WOLCHOVER AUTHOR & BARRISTER

L

ast week, Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, managed to undermine the philosemitic repute of his puppet master when he faced an interview on Italian TV. Asked to explain how Russia needed to de-Nazify a Ukraine led by a Jew, Lavrov mused: “We have for a long time listened to the wise Jewish people who say that the most rabid antisemites tend to be Jews.” He then proceeded to provide a lurid reference: “If I remember correctly, and I may be wrong, Hitler also had Jewish blood.” To suggest by the clearest implication that Volodymyr Zelensky is a Nazi and rabid antisemite is as preposterous as it is contemptible. But quite apart from that, comparison with the Führer is invalid for one very simple reason. Hitler did not have “Jewish blood”, at least no recent traceable Jewish ancestry. Lavrov was wrong. No maybes about it. The canard should be buried once and for all. It was a hare started in the early 1930s before Hitler came to power and the domestic and international popular press entertained itself with a legion of “stories” spotlighting the irony of his supposed Jewish roots. Interest in the topic soon waned, but the story resurfaced with a bang in 1953, when the gaol-cell memoirs of former Governor-General of Poland, Hans Frank, were posthumously published. Written while facing execution at Nuremberg in 1946, Frank recounted how, in 1931 as Hitler’s private attorney, he was instructed to carry out an investigation following the threat by William Patrick Hitler, the British-born son of Hitler’s elder halfbrother Alois, to reveal a lurid family secret. Frank claimed he had discovered that Hitler’s grandmother Maria Anna Schicklgrüber had worked in Graz as a household cook for a Jew named Frankenburger whose son in 1837 had fathered her baby boy, Hitler’s father. Hitler dismissed it as his grandmother cunningly blackmailing the Jew with a false accusation. Frank’s account was quickly debunked by an archivist who discovered that Jews were banned from Graz and that the only Frankenberger in the city was a Catholic whose son was 10 in 1837. It has been suggested that Frank’s motive in inventing the account may have been a Holocaust sting in the tail. But the story was not so easily laid to rest. Maria Anna Schicklgrüber was much more likely to have worked for a family in Linz, in

the north of Austria close to her home turf, than in faraway Graz. (Recording residential domestics did not begin until years later.) In a moment of distraction, perhaps aggravated by the imminence of death by hanging, Frank could well have confused the four-letter names ending in “z”. Delving in the Linz city archives I found support for this possibility. A Peter Frankenberger had died there in 1890 at almost exactly the age the Frankenberger son would have been.

TO SUGGEST ZELENSKY IS A NAZI IS AS PREPOSTEROUS AS IT IS CONTEMPTIBLE

Lavrov: ‘Hitler had Jewish blood’

So the issue remained unresolved. But not for long. Shortly after my Linz visit, the story broke of how two investigative journalists from Belgium had tailed one of William Patrick Hitler’s American sons from his home on Long Island to a restaurant in Manhattan, where they picked up his discarded paper napkin. For complex genealogical reasons too lengthy to explain here (but which are set out in my treatise, Hitler’s Grandpa) DNA tests proved the father was a particular known gentile. We now know Hitler had no recent Jewish ancestry but, in his day, he may have feared that he did and, as some commentators have suggested, may have pushed the Holocaust to prove to himself that no Jew would want to wipe out the Jewish race.


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JN LIFE

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5 May 2022

LI FE

I.M. What I Am Israel is flaunting wokeism at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, writes Brigit Grant. Will the gay son of a religious Ukrainian bring home the prize next weekend?

F

or all the criticism levelled at Israel, no one could deny the country’s willingness to appear ‘woke’ on the international stage of entertainment. Making groundbreaking programmes while ducking and repelling political slings and arrows isn’t easy, yet the country has made series about teenage drugs, sex and crime (Euphoria) children with ASD or autistic spectrum disorder (Yellow Peppers) and adults in therapy (BeTipul ). That these themes are all familiar is because the series have all been adapted globally and

many more besides, which won’t sit well with the enlightened warriors waving ‘apartheid’ flags. But away from their own selfinvolved dramas, the woke have probably watched these shows, and the same crew who typically support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights would struggle to find fault with Israel’s very woke entry at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Openly gay and the son of a Ukrainian immigrant, Michael Ben David, 25, is the sort of performer the roused gender obsessives would choose to represent themselves. The

Left: Michael with partner Roi Ram and, right, with his mother

same could be said of Dana International, who won Eurovision for Israel in 1998 as a trans woman and if they catch Michael’s video for the song – I.M. – they will see the flamboyant performer in a fitted corset dancing alongside people of every gender, all of them Israeli citizens. The song, written by Lidor Saadia, Chen Aharoni and Assi Tal, will inevitably become an LGBTQ anthem, as its lyrics carry a message about self-affirmation. Baby Sometimes love can bring you down But, honey

Keep your head up Keep your head up Keep your head up Remember who you are The words are important for Michael, a graduate of Tel Aviv’s prestigious Beit Zvi School for the Performing Arts, as they hark back to his school days when he was bullied because of his high-pitched voice. That voice has since become his trademark sound and being the Holy Land’s front man at the song contest in Turin is certainly lifeaffirming for the occasional drag performer, who is hoping to

A look

Inside WIZO women Mental health Tehran on Netflix

Michael Ben David

survive the semi-final on 12 May and beyond. Only two weeks ago, there was doubt about Israel competing at all in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and not because of boycotts, sanctions divestment or any other political stance. The problem was internal and owing to a strike at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which meant security for the delegation could not be confirmed. Thankfully on 29 April, KAN, the country’s national broadcaster, announced that Michael Ben David would be “representing Israel with dignity on the world stage”, thanks to the efforts of Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency. Described on social news platform Reddit as a “high-camp messiah descending from on high to give a choreographed-to-perfection sermon in self-belief”, Michael worked in a supermarket after leaving Bet Zvi. Then he auditioned for Israeli X Factor – where his mentor was Netta Barzilai, who won Eurovision in 2018 – and his own


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JN LIFE

Michael Ben David on stage

Eurovision journey began. Just as the UK show famously dragged out the rounds, in Israel Michael got his chance to multiaudition, with renditions of ABBA’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! and It’s a Sin by Pet Shop Boys, until he got to the final. This was when he performed his Eurovision entry, I.M., and won the public vote. Born in 1996, the second of six siblings, to a Georgian father, it was his devoutly-religious Ukrainian mother who took it hardest when

Michael came out at the age of 16. “She did not want me to be different, so that I would not suffer,” he has said in interviews. “As much as she tried to give to me and do for me – she was afraid of it. She wanted me to be ‘normal’.” Estranged from his mother because of his sexuality, Michael, who grew up in Petah Tikva, did not speak to her throughout his years studying performing arts when he began a committed relationship with fellow student, actor Roi Ram. The singer was finally reunited with his family when they relented and allowed him to bring his partner to family gatherings. Mother and son also cemented their togetherness on X Factor when Michael sang Miri Mesika’s ballad Mother and his mother joined him on stage. “I felt she saw the way I went, that she understood I needed that approval,” said Michael at the time. “She sat with my partner in the same room. As a religious woman, it was her coming out of the closet.” The only closet at Eurovision will be the one holding Michael’s clothing, which could range from satin corsets and black lace turtlenecks to a white plastic Gaultierinspired suit. There may even be a pile of made-in-Israel I.M. t-shirts to gift to the woke who are brave enough to wear them.

ISRAEL’S MUSIC BOX Left: Netta Barzilai. Below: Milk and Honey. Bottom: Dana International

Israel has participated 43 times in Eurovision since its debut in 1973 and there have been four Israeli victories. Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta won in Paris in 1978 with A-Ba-Ni-Bi. On home ground in Jerusalem the following year, Israel won again, this time with Hallelujah by Milk and Honey. The third victory came 20 years later with trans singer Dana International’s Viva La Diva, only to be surpassed by Netta, who sang Toy in 2018, which earned Israel its highest score of 529 points.

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&

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WHO WHAT WHERE EXHIBITION

FIGHTING TALK

APPLE TV+

There is an important (free) exhibition at The Wiener Holocaust Library in Russell Square. Fighting Antisemitism from Dreyfus to Today , which runs until 9 September 2022, has been curated partly in response to the worrying trends in contemporary antisemitism, including the rise in harassment of Jews in recent years, and the spread of conspiracy theories online during the pandemic. Antisemitism continues to pose a threat to Jews in Britain, Europe and around the world. In February, the Community Security Trust released a report that recorded 2,255 anti-Jewish hate incidents reported across Britain in 2021 – a 34 percent increase from 2020. Exhibition highlights include rare historic pamphlets refuting antisemitic ideas, valuable evidence gathered by the Library about the activities of antisemites and photographic documentation relating to street fighting and infiltration of fascist groups in London, including at the Battle of Cable Street in the 1930s and by the 43 Group in the 1940s. The Wiener Library is open Mon to Fri 10am – 5pm. www.wienerholocaustlibrary.org TV

Pet presents Grandpa

Lovable 101-year-old Labrador Charlie (see April’s Life mag online) is on the back paw as his human grandpa takes a turn in the spotlight. At 92, Jules Konopinski is younger than Charlie, but lived a much harder life as he was born in Nazi Germany and left after Kristallnacht, aged nine, to live in Dalston, East London. It was there, on Ridley Road, that Jules later became a founder member of the 43 Group, who fought the post-war fascists. Knowledge of their activity brought the creators of TV drama Ridley Road to his door. Sadly, the series failed to impress Jules – “It was loaded with inaccuracies” – so he was pleased to speak for himself on Channel 5’s three-part series Jay Blades: No Place Like Home. Best known as the host of BBC’s The Repair Shop (which has had its share of Jewish visitors) Blade, 52, also grew up in Hackney, but was unaware of its dark past. “He didn’t know about the antisemitism or the racism, but he was shocked to hear about it,” said Jules. After several hours chatting and a Friday night dinner invite, Jules had hoped the family could attend the series premiere at the Dalston Rio, but his Zumba-teaching daughter Michele had class and Charlie, well, he was asleep. There will be a reappearance of Jules in part three. Charlie won’t be awake for that either. Jay Blades: No Place Like Home airs on Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 5 and on catch-up

I Spy

Just when we the lighter evenings have encouraged us to get off the sofa, we will be firmly back on it as the second season of Mossad spy series Tehran, which won the International Emmy for best drama last year, has just landed on Apple TV+. It’s as nail-biting as the first season, with twisty plot turns and new characters, one of whom is played by Glenn Close. She plays the British psychologist widow of an Iranian psychiatrist. The opening episode contains a thrilling chase scene as Mossad special agent Tamar (Niv Sultan) attempts to smuggle a captured Israeli pilot out of a Tehran prison. We also see her ‘befriend’ the son of an Iranian general and hang out with him and his friends at the gym, in chic restaurants and at clubs. This gives us a fascinating insight as to how the elites live in Iran. Created by Moshe Zonder (who also wrote for Fauda), Dana Eden and Maor Kohn, and directed by Daniel Syrkin, Tehran was the first series not in English to be picked up by Apple TV+.

Inventing Julia

NETFLIX

Impersonating Inventing Anna’s Julia Garner (right) has become the thing on TikTok and now the Jewish actress, minus her peculiar German/Russian twang is back in Ozark, the finale (bottom right). Season four, part two has landed on Netflix, with the actress repeating her performance as Missouri wild child Ruth, who might be in for a rough time, but no spoilers here.

TECH THAT

Activity week

MENTAL HEALTH

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15 May) is loneliness. We all feel lonely sometimes, but for those who struggle with their mental health, it can be something really difficult to deal with. Jewish mental health charity Jami has a week-long series of events at Head Room café in Golders Green to combat this, including an art session, a coffee gathering and a discussion group. There are also lots of online activities, such as sessions on co-working, a university student webinar and a peer support group. Visit jamiuk.org to find out more.

Google Pixel 6

Available from: Google, Amazon, Currys, Argos and John Lewis. RRP: From £599 WHAT IS IT? The Google Pixel 6 is the company’s first attempt at making a true iPhone competitor. With the hardware and software being designed to work with each other, this is also the first time Google has manufactured its own processor from scratch. PLUS POINTS: • The design of this phone is great. It’s the first major redesign Google has made since 2016 and I love it. The camera bar spans the phone’s full width, giving it a unique design. • The phone’s Tensor chip works as advertised. Its main benefits are with image processing and machinelearning tasks such as text-to-speech and securing the phone. In Israel

recently, I pointed the phone at text and it overlaid the English in real time. • The camera is exactly what you’d expect from a Pixel phone. Great photos every time with excellent portrait shots. • I was pleasantly surprised by the battery life – I’d find myself with around 20 percent left at the end of the day. • Pricing of the phone is very good for what it offers –it undercuts the base iPhone 13 by £80. NIL POINTS: • The under-screen fingerprint sensor must be the worst thing about the phone. The Pixel 6 would reject my fingerprint for no reason. There was no improvement even after software updates. • Since the fingerprint sensor is so unreliable, it’s a shame Google didn’t opt for unlocking via facial recognition.

• If music is your thing, don’t rely on the built-in speaker. It’s not very loud and sounds very tinny compared to other flagship phones. VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ ★ Even though the dodgy fingerprint sensor could be a deal breaker for some, the Pixel 6 is Google’s best smartphone yet. It has set the bar high, and I can’t wait to see what it does for the Pixel 7! Reviewed by: Daniel Elias, Instagram @Daniel_Elias, TikTok @daniel_ _Elias


5 May 2022 Jewish News

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the way

WIZO is guiding women towards a better future with its new campaign, says Louisa Walters

 JN LIFE

forward SUCCESS STORIES

W

omen empowering women is very much a theme of the 21st century. So Rebecca Sieff, Romana Goodman and Vera Weizmann were ahead of their time, as it’s more than 100 years since they established an international organisation of women working together to support disadvantaged women and their children in what was then Palestine. The year was 1918. Today, WIZO has more than 250,000 members in more than 40 countries. WIZO, which stands for Women’s International Zionist Organisation, has always campaigned for women’s rights, their safety in the home and on the streets, and their equality in the workplace. One of its early projects was the establishment of Nahalal, a village in northern Israel, to teach women agriculture. The vision was to empower them to play a part in building society. WIZO’s social welfare work has expanded to address every social welfare need, at every stage of life, regardless of race, religion or gender. “WIZO’s commitment to girls at risk and vulnerable and disadvantaged women is to keep them safe, help discover their potential and campaign for equality in the workplace; changing lives, building futures and enabling fulfilled and contributing members of the community,” says WIZO UK CEO Maureen Fisher. The pandemic has highlighted a frightening increase across the globe in the levels of violence against women, particularly domestic abuse. There are 200,000 known cases in Israel and more than 1,300,000 in the UK. The WIZO Rule recently passed in Israel makes it law for any man proven to have been violent against a woman to undergo therapy. WIZO established a men’s hotline for those struggling to control their anger and reaching out for help – it is the

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DINA’S STORY

Dina had been abused for years by her husband. When he started to beat her two children, she fled in the middle of the night with them to a WIZO shelter, which took her in and helped her with the psychological trauma. They also provided Dina with supplies and gave her the strength to rebuild her life through the WIZO Safety Net programme. “Without WIZO, I would still be that defenceless woman, cowering on the floor. Now I can stand up tall and take care of my family,” she says.

LEAH’S STORY

Noa had heard her neighbour Gilad screaming at his wife Leah and had noticed that their once-happy teenage children seemed sad and downtrodden. She persuaded Leah to convince Gilad to seek treatment at a WIZO Centre for the Treatment and Prevention of Violence. After much therapy, Gilad is a calmer version of his former self and his children are once again happy to be in the family home. “I cannot say thank you enough to WIZO for helping Gilad and keeping our family together,” says Leah.

Rebecca Sieff co-founded WIZO

only one of its kind in Israel. By treating the perpetrator rather than just removing the women and children from the home, WIZO has proven it is possible to reduce domestic violence. WIZO believes that education is vital in the prevention of abuse and in turning around the lives of victims, and to this end operates programmes in schools educating teenagers of the warning signs of harassment and abuse and

Children’s lives are turned around

how to identify and cope with negative influences and aggressive behaviour during the dating phase of a relationship. Teenage girls from violent, neglectful and dysfunctional homes often suffer with emotional damage, poor self-esteem and low function levels, leading

WIZO’s new campaign highlights women’s issues

to them dropping out of school and engaging in criminal activity. WIZO’s 18 Warm Home programmes massively improve their chances of a normative future. Girls born into families on the social or physical periphery of Israel are often faced with challenges beyond the hardships of poverty, neglect and abuse. Gender stereotyping and feelings of inferiority destroy their self-confidence. These girls are at great risk of leading a self-destructive life and continuing the cycle to the next generation. WIZO programmes in five Israeli cities work to counter this by empowering these girls to believe in themselves. WIZO’s 2022/2023 campaign, Women Leading the Way, Way has a key message – improving the lives of women and girls to enable them to become happy and fulfilled individuals and contributing citizens to society. “This month, WIZO women ‘take to the streets’ marking the 75th anniversary of WIZO’s unique door-to-door collection, Jewish Women’s Week (JWW),” explains Maureen. “How appropriate that as women across the globe face a sharp increase in the

ADI’S STORY

The charity helps vulnerable girls and disadvantaged women to improve their futures

levels of abuse in the home and on the streets, JWW ‘opens the door’ to Women Leading The Way, a campaign celebrating the value of women and shining a light on their significant contribution across every spectrum of society.”  Women Leading The Way runs until April 2023 with a programme of events and activities highlighting women’s issues and fundraising for related areas of WIZO’s work. www.wizouk.org

Fourteen-year-old Adi’s perception of ‘normal’ was that of her Mum always working, and her absent father frequently in jail. Adi fell in with others who were experiencing problems at home. They were using drugs to cope and she became a user and a small-time dealer. Adi found herself regularly in trouble with the police and eventually she contacted WIZO’s Warm Home Programme. Six months down the line with therapy and counselling, Adi cut herself off from the people who involved her in drugs and is now working through her emotions alongside other teenagers who have gone through similar experiences. “I thought I was alone with my problems and there was no way out, but WIZO has helped me see that I can change that,” she says.

DANYA’S STORY

Danya, a respiratory nurse at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, was working 15-hour shifts during the height of the pandemic. Needing to find childcare for her three-year-old son Rafi, she placed him at the WIZO Day Care Centre at the hospital. This meant that she could continue her vital work in the knowledge that he was nearby, in a stimulating and caring environment. “Thanks to WIZO, I can go to work feeling calm and secure, knowing that my son is in a great framework that gives him all he needs,” she says.


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Orthodox Judaism

MAKING SENSE OF THE SEDRA

In our thought-provoking series, rabbis, rebbetzins and educators relate the week’s parsha to the way we live today BY RABBI ARIEL ABEL

LAWYER BASED IN LIVERPOOL

Education is a mitzvah The Yizkor prayer uttered at the end of each foot festival in Ashkenazi synagogues prays that God vouchsafe unto us the joy of training our sons and daughters to follow in the ways our parents taught us in generations previous to our own. This is the fundamental premise to the opening section of Emor, this week’s reading. The rabbinic reading: “Tell the priests, sons of Aaron”, is that the scripture is holding the priesthood to a commitment to train their children from a young age to take care with the disciplines of life specific to them. This maps over somewhat to all

Israelites, paralleling the rabbinic enjoining of all Jews to place a high priority on initiating our children, through education, into the customs and practices of our predecessors and ancestors. This is known as the mitzvah of chinuch (education), which extends training in the practice of the commandments to all, beyond the specific practices of teaching and discussing with one’s children the content of the Torah. At this time of year, during the Omer, between Pesach and Shavuot, we commemorate various dates relating to the existential realities of our people. On Yom HaShoah, we commemorate how, as a nation, we survived the Holocaust. On Yom HaAtzmaut, we celebrate that we set up a Jewish state only three years after that terrible inferno; on

Yom HaZikaron preceding it, we commemorate how our soldiers fell for Israel’s freedom. On Lag B’Omer we recall the collapse of efforts to win back a Jewish state in 135CE and the temporary relief, after the war with the Romans concluded, to clear away and bury the dead of Bar Kokhba’s forces in Betar, an event eternalised in the fourth blessing of the grace after meals. A particularly sad element of Emor appears at the end, featuring the son of an Israelite woman of the tribe of Dan who blasphemed God and was put to death. The modern reader might shudder at the thought of putting someone to death for saying rude things to God. Was the son fatherless and bullied? Was he a troubled teenager? Or was he just angry at the system? It may be

Judaism places a high priority on educating children in its customs

any, all or none of these. Whatever his personal issues, to blaspheme God was just too violent a crime for society to suffer. In the socially fragile, post-slavery reconstruction of a broken nation, disrespecting the God whose valiant salvation had just plucked them from the jaws of death and misery was a high crime, and an intolerable one. This sad occurrence, and the later example made of the rebellious son,

might relate to one theme, which is how children are nurtured from the earliest years. Responsible parents would wish that their child reflect, via their good conduct through life, the best teaching and guidance that their parents were able to afford. It is therefore imperative that the social and moral development of a child is well-led and guided, so as to lessen, if to not eliminate, the risk of delinquency and criminality.

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Progressive Judaism

LEAP OF FAITH BY RABBI DR RENÉ PFERTZEL KINGSTON LIBERAL SYNAGOGUE

What would our matriarch, Rebecca, say about the troubles of the royal family? When I became a British citizen, I affirmed the following oath of allegiance: “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors according to law.” As a Frenchman, it seemed rather strange to swear allegiance to a monarch, considering our somewhat ambiguous history with the idea of monarchy, but it was the right thing to do. The Queen embodies the spirit and genius of my adoptive country and I have the utmost respect for Her Majesty and her long-standing leadership and service to the United Kingdom. The monarchic principle entails that the head of the state is also the head of a family whose destiny it is to rule, whichever way power is wielded. The behaviour of the family members is under constant scrutiny; they have no privacy, and the price they have to pay for their

many privileges is dear. Every failure becomes a matter of state, and the Queen must keep her family in line. Every family is dysfunctional in one way or another. But very few families have their shortcomings displayed in the open, on the front pages of newspapers, or commented on by experts. When Harry passed through London recently, he had tea with his grandmother. He said about the visit that he wanted to ensure she was surrounded by the right people, implying that the Queen, after 70 years on the throne, could not fend for herself any more. All the issues that have surrounded the royal family recently have fallen on the shoulders of a woman grieving the loss of her lifelong partner, Prince Philip. The love between the Queen and her husband is akin to the love between Rebecca and Isaac. When his mother Sarah died, the Torah says: “Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebecca. So, she became his wife, and he loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Genesis 24: 67). When their sons, Esau and Jacob, grew up and became rivals, Isaac and Rebecca a took different route and supported a different child. Rebecca helped her favourite, Jacob, trick his father and ‘steal’ his brother’s berachah (blessing) from Isaac. Likewise, we can only guess at how it must have been difficult for the Queen and her husband to witness and manage the collapse of three of their children’s marriages and regular

A stimulating series where our progressive rabbis consider how biblical figures might act when faced with 21st century issues

scandals and controversies, most recently the well-documented Harry and Meghan saga and serious allegations of sexual assault made against her son Andrew. So what advice would Rebecca give to the Queen? She would probably acknowledge that it is difficult, impossible even, to lead a normal dysfunctional family life when the stakes are so high, but at least she had a long and fulfilled relationship with her husband to support her.

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CHARITY EXECUTIVE

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Professional advice from our panel / Ask Our Experts

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Want to chat with someone who has hearing loss?

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2

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6

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16

20

6

7

16

2

18

12

4

6

23

4

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sudoku 3 1 5 8 7 9 2 6 4

26

6

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18

TIGER TRAIL WASP WEIGHT WORK

7 6 4 5 1 2 8 9 3

6

3

B A E O N

OVER PLATE PUSHING ROUND THIN

Last issue’s solutions

19

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16

7

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CODEWORD 10

8 9

SUGURU

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. 18

2 4

3 6 1 5 8 4 7 1 9 2

The listed words that can follow PAPER 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.

8

5

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WORDSEARCH D M T C F E T A L P V S B

3 5

DOWN 1 Immoral habit (4) 2 Piece of lean or bony meat (5) 4 Come together well (3) 5 Defence of being elsewhere (5) 6 Easy to chew (6) 7 Harsh, rough (6) 11 Canal lock’s gate for regulating the water flow (6) 12 Travel headlong (6) 14 Vertical (5) 15 Log thrown in the Highland Games (5) 16 Infused with colour (4) 18 Pigs’ enclosure (3)

12 13

SUDOKU

1 4 3 6 9 8 7 5 2

6 2 9 1 5 7 4 3 8

8 5 7 3 2 4 6 1 9

1 3 1 3 1 3

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

Wordsearch 4 2 5 2 4 1

5 3 4 1 5 2

2 1 2 3 4 1

3 1 2 1 3 1

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4 2 3 2 3 2

5 1 5 4 5 1

4 2 3 1 3 2

R E I N H A R D T E A T B

Y N N O T G N I L L E A F

H O L I D A Y B E O S I P

F M S C H T R E H I T A G

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N A O E A S O E A C N I L

Codeword V E C A U T R R U V S L E

P K D G S A T B E D I A S

C T N L L L S E A K O S P

O I T D O F M C N R R R I

M H Y C O B R K S T R A E

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N E W M J Y D Z U V C 05/05 PO I GS F HKAB L T XQR


38

Jewish News 5 May 2022

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5 May 2022

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FREE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR May

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No.1261

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12-16 MAY 2022

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MIZRACHI’S WEEKEND OF

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Jewish News 5 May 2022

MIZRACHI UK’S WEEKEND OF

S S O

L N I

K

Shacharit & Breakfast- 08:00

INSPIRATION Session 6 - 16:45

‘Conversion & Jewish Identity’ - plenary with Rav Hershel Schachter, Rabbanit Shani Taragin & Rav Shlomo Brody, Chaired by Rav Benji Levy- 09:00 Rav Doron Perez - 09:45 Julius Caesar, Israel and the celebration of Hope Rav David Milston Earth, Wind and Fire – Moshe Rabbeinu and Eliyahu Hanavi

Session 1 - 10:35

Rav Eliyahu Silverman Returning to our homelandare we still dreaming?

Session 2 - 11:20

Hillel Fuld A Modern Light unto the Nations: How Israeli Innovation is Changing the Rav David Milston World across the Board Yaakov and Eisav and the four sons

Mrs Karen Hochhauser This is Not the Life I Ordered: How to manage setbacks and increase happiness Rav Dr. Benji Levy Backward Mapping Your Life

Sivan Rahav Meir in conversation with a Special Guest - 12:05 Lunch - 12:45

Rav Moshe Taragin Snapshots of Past Redemptions and Visions of Future Geulah

Rav Johnny Solomon Rav Anthony Manning Modern Orthodox interiority: To Ask or Not to ask? Dealing Men, Women, and our with Difficult Questions in unspoken spiritual crisis Hashkafa

Rav Aviad Tabory Rav Dov Ber Cohen 20 years for The most lmportant thing Rav Shlomo Brody Operation Defensive Shield: I ever learnt. (might just be Should We Pray for The a personal story & raising yours too) Terminally Ill to Die? halachic dilemmas Perspectives on Quality of Life in Halacha Rav Reuven Taragin Rav Moshe Taragin Religious Zionism at a Where did Anti-Semitism Rabbanit Rachelle Fraenkel Crossroads- Understanding come from? Is there anything A Hebrew miracle the Hyphen we can do about it?

Rabbanit Shani Taragin - 18:15 Jerusalem of Gold: Crowns and Commitments Mincha & Dinner - 19:00

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis - 13:30

Nitsana Darshan Laitner - 20:00 Going on the offense against Israel’s enemies

Session 3 - 14:20

Session 8 - 21:00

Rav Menachem Leibtag Is our ‘Siddur’ a ‘Prayer Book’ or an ‘Organiser’?The Biblical roots of how and why we pray

Rav Reuven Taragin Modern Orthodoxy at a Crossroads (Part 1) Are We More or Less?

Rav Benji Levy Journeys, Destinations and the Omer

Rav Shlomo Brody Rav Danny Mirvis Rabbanit Rachelle Fraenkel Organ Donation in Israel and Developments in the Kashrut Od Lo Avda Tikvateinu the UK - A Call for Action of Whiskey Rabbanit Rachelle Fraenkel On sovereignty and Halacha

Rav Aviad Tabory Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim (nowadays)halachic challenges and dilemmas

Session 4 - 15:10 Rav Jesse Horn Tashlumin: Creatively Using the Brisker Approach to Solve Difficult Textual Problems Rav Shlomo Kimche Reishit Tzmichat Geulateinu

Dr. Tova Ganzel Insights into ‘Shivat Tzion’The return to Zion from ancient times to the Modern Israel Rabbanit Pesha Fischer Women in Leadership Positions

Session 5 - 16:00

Rav Jesse Horn Sivan Rahav Meir Recreation of the World The most inspiring stories Rav Moshe Taragin Different Approaches to the How did Rabbi Sacks restore covered this year in Israel and Post-Flood World Abroad our ‘lost voice’? Rav Danny Mirvis Rav Kook and Football Matches on Shabbat

Jewish News 5 May.indd 2

Rabbanit Pesha Fischer Using imagination in learning Torah: the derech of the Piaseczner Rebbe

Nitsana Darshan Laitner The Battle to Defend Jerusalem

Session 7 - 17:30

Rav Ari Zivotofsky Bechirah Chofshit (Free Will) and Modern Neuroscience Rav Hershel Schachter Shmitta in our Generation

Rav Hershel Schachter Sefirat Ha’Omer

Rav Reuven Taragin Modern Orthodoxy at a Crossroads (Part 2) How We Learn From the World Around Us

Rav Jeremy Gimpel Do you believe in Jewish Destiny?

Rabbanit Tehila Gimpel Who are you? Megillat Ruth and the Biblical path to self discovery

Rabbanit Shani Taragin Rachel and Devorah: Mothers of the Land of Milk and Honey

Rav Menachem Leibtag Remembering the Exodus:‘twice a day’ or ‘once a year’? - re-examining the Passover Haggadah

Rav Jeremy Gimpel The Struggle is The Way - The Ancient Jewish Philosophy That Turns Adversity to Advantage Steven Gar Counter- Terrorism; Fighting the enemy from within

Session 9 - 21:45

Rabbanit Tehila Gimpel Why do Jews love the Blues?On the Spiritual Significance of the Israeli Flag Rav Gideon Weitzman Who is my mummy? - Defining Motherhood in the Case of Surrogacy

Rav Shlomo Kimche Ethics of war in the Torah and in IDF Today

Maariv - 22:30

Rav Yedidya Meir Medinat in the Modern World (B’Ivrit)

04/05/2022 11:58


5 May 2022 Jewish News

www.jewishnews.co.uk

MIZRACHI UK’S WEEKEND OF

ST

INSPIRATION

EN

EC

OU

Shacharit & Breakfast- 08:45

RT

Rav Anthony Manning- 10:00 Medinat Yisrael- Redemption, Confusion & Mashiach ben Yosef

Session 1 - 10:40

Rav Aviad Tabory Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim (nowadays)halachic challenges and dilemmas

Rabbanit Rivka Weitzman The generations of PeretzFrom Judah to Ruth to David

Rav Johnny Solomon Modern Orthodox interiority: Men, Women, and the unspoken spiritual crisis facing our community

Session 2 - 11:20

Rav Anthony Manning To ask or not to ask? Dealing with difficult questions in Hashkafa

C

THURSDAY 12 MAY EVENING LAUNCH EVENTS

FRIDAY 13 MAY YOM IYUN ACROSS 6 SCHOOLS

Steve Gar - 12:05 Counter- Terrorism; Fighting the enemy from within Lunch - 12:45 Rav Gideon Weitzman - 13:30 Between Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim

Session 3 - 14:20

Rav Gideon Weitzman Who is my mummy? - Defining Motherhood in the Case of Surrogacy

Rabbanit Laura Silbermann Rabbi Meir and Elisha Ben Avuyah; Believing in a non believer

Rav Ari Silbermann Shir Hama’alot and the Dynamics of Revolution

R’ Josh Harris A look beyond Halacha: What God really wants from us.

Session 4 - 15:10

Rabbanit Rivka Weitzman Life behind the blank wall- My Experience With a Dementia Patient

Rav Shalom Hammer

32 SPEAKERS ACROSS 64 COMMUNITIES

SUNDAY 15 MAY DAY OF INSPIRATION IN KINLOSS, STENECOURT AND SOUTH HAMPSTEAD

Truths my Daughter Taught Me Rav Ari Zivotofsky Mesorah, ingathering of the exiles, and the kashrut of exotic birds

Rav Elad Eshel What Sefer Vayikra is really about

SHABBAT 13/14 MAY

MONDAY 16 MAY RABBINICAL CONFERENCE

Rav Hershel Schachter - 16:00 Various Aspects of Eretz Yisrael

HA

Session 5 - 16:45 Rav Hershel Schachter Halacha of the Dateline

Rav Doron Perez The unparalleled miracle of Kibbutz Galuyot

Rabbanit Laura Silbermann A quest built on kindness; Contemplating Ruth & Avraham

Session 6 - 17:30 Rav Ari Zivotofsky Jews of Africa: Past, present, and future- a firsthand account

Rav Greg Bank The Tale of a Two Headed Man

Rav Shalom Hammer Like Dreamers: When a Jewish Dream Becomes a Reality

Rav Doron Perez - 18:15 Augustus Caesar, Israel and a celebration of Happiness

Mincha - 19:00

Jewish News 5 May.indd 3

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Doors Open - 13:30

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Sivan Rahav Meir - 14:00 The most inspiring stories covered this year in Israel and abroad Nitsana Darshan Laitner Going on the offense against Israel’s enemies

D

Session 1 - 15:00

Rav Dov Ber Cohen The Most Important thing I ever Learnt. (might just be yours too)

Steve Gar - 16:00 Counter- Terrorism; Fighting the enemy from within

04/05/2022 11:58


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Jewish News 5 May 2022

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NITSANA DARSHAN-LEITNER NEW WEST END SYNAGOGUE, CENTRAL SYNAGOGUE HILLEL FULD BUSHEY UNITED SYNAGOGUE SIVAN RAHAV MEIR FINCHLEY UNITED SYNAGOGUE, HIGHGATE SYNAGOGUE, HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB SYNAGOGUE RAV HERSHEL SCHACHTER MAGEN AVOT, NER YISRAEL, TORAS CHAIM SYNAGOGUE, BEIS HAMEDRASH NISHMAS YISROEL, BEIS GAVRIEL, NER YISRAEL RABBANIT SHANI TARAGIN KEHILLAT ALEI TZION, MAGEN AVOT, NER YISRAEL, HENDON UNITED SYNAGOGUE, BNEI AKIVA RAV REUVEN TARAGIN NER YISRAEL, HENDON UNITED SYNAGOGUE, BEIS GAVRIEL RAV SHLOMO BRODY GOLDERS GREEN UNITED SYNAGOGUE, SHOMREI HADATH RAV DOV BER COHEN RADLETT UNITED SYNAGOGUE RABBANIT PESHA FISCHER BARNET UNITED SYNAGOGUE RABBANIT RACHELLE FRAENKEL COCKFOSTERS & N SOUTHGATE SYNAGOGUE, WOODSIDE PARK UNITED SYNAGOGUE, BARNET UNITED SYNAGOGUE DR TOVA GANZEL SHOMREI HADATH, HAMPSTEAD SYNAGOGUE, GOLDERS GREEN UNITED SYNAGOGUE STEVE GAR HALE SHULE, WHITEFIELD HEBREW CONGREGATION, STENECOURT SHUL RAV JEREMY GIMPEL BOREHAMWOOD AND ELSTREE UNITED SYNAGOGUE, OHR YISRAEL TEHILA GIMPEL BOREHAMOOD UNITED SYNAGOGUE, OHR YISRAEL RAV SHALOM HAMMER STANMORE AND CANONS PARK UNITED SYNAGOGUE RABBANIT KAREN HOCHHAUSER CHEADLE YESHURUN RAV JESSE HORN PINNER UNITED SYNAGOGUE RAV SHLOMO KIMCHE BIRMINGHAM CENTRAL SYNAGOGUE RAV MENACHEM LEIBTAG EDGWARE UNITED SYNAGOGUE, EDGWARE YESHURUN RAV DR BENJY LEVY ST. JOHNS WOOD SYNAGOGUE RAV ANTHONY MANNING STENECOURT SHUL RAV YEDIDYA MEIR FINCHLEY UNITED SYNAGOGUE, HIGHGATE SYNAGOGUE, HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB SYNAGOGUE RAV DAVID MILSTON HENDON UNITED SYNAGOGUE, NER YISRAEL, MAGEN AVOT RAV DANNY MIRVIS FINCHLEY UNITED SYNAGOGUE RAV DORON PEREZ THE VILLAGE SHUL, SOUTH HAMPSTEAD SYNAGOGUE RAV ELIYAHU SILVERMAN EDGWARE ADATH YISROEL, EDGWARE YESHURUN, AHAVAT YISRAEL, EDGWARE UNITED SYNAGOGUE RAV JOHNNY SOLOMON BETH HAMEDRASH HAGADOL, ETZ CHAIM, UNITED HEBREW CONGREGATION RAV AVIAD TABORY HALE SHULE RAV MOSHE TARAGIN EDGWARE UNITED SYNAGOGUE, EDGWARE YESHURUN, EDGWARE ADATH YISROEL RAV GIDEON WEITZMAN STENECOURT SHUL, MOORE LANE , BNEI AKIVA RABBANIT RIVKA WEITZMAN STENECOURT, HEATON PARK SHUL, BNEI AKIVA, WHITEFIELD RAV ARI ZIVOTOFSKY CHIGWELL & HAINAULT SYNAGOGUE

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