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VOICE OF THE COMMUNITY 1 April 2021
19 Nisan 5781
BBC announces ﬁlm marking a decade since the Jewish icon’s tragic death Page 12
Baddiel to the bone
Writer and Charedi leader in JN debate Page 10
In shul for Shavuot? Zero weekly Jewish Covid deaths recorded for first time
Hopes were raised this week that the UK is finally zeroing in on the end of the pandemic as the Jewish community recorded its first seven-day period without any Covid deaths, writes Adam Decker. The gradual lifting of restrictions on gatherings means that for the festival of Shavuot, which falls on 17 May, shuls could be busier than they have been for more than a year. More communal activities are likely to restart within days after restrictions were lifted on outdoor gatherings, though the Board of Deputies warned that “complacency can still be deadly” and people should continue to follow the rules. Mortality figures compiled by the Board in conjunction with seven of the community’s burial boards showed that for the first time since the coronavirus hit last year, no Covid-related funerals took place in the week leading up to Pesach. The watershed moment comes after the community’s death toll passed 900 before the festival. The peak of community deaths was during Passover last year, in the week ending 13 April, with 127 Covid funerals. President of the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl welcomed the news but spoke of the need to stick to the rules. She said: “Seder this year will have been difficult for many, not just because they could not meet with wider friends and
family, but also as they reflected on loved ones they have lost in the last year. However, as we know with this virus, complacency can still be deadly. While this week’s news is welcome, we urge the community to continue to scrupulously follow the government’s guidance on social distancing so we can prevent further tragedy.” Jewish Care has not recorded any positive cases of Covid among staff or residents since 14 February. A spokespeson said: “We are pleased to have reached a stable position for the first time since last year. We mourn the losses across the community and among our staff, residents and members and hope we can now look to a more positive future.” Steven Wilson, chief executive of the United Synagogue, said: “This is very good news and is testament to the care the community has taken, the dedication of so many healthcare professionals and the extraordinary vaccination programme. We are delighted we’re seeing an ever growing number of people retuning to our shul services.” The number of UK deaths from the coronavirus has now passed 127,000. More than 30 million people in the UK have received the first dose of the vaccine. Continued on page 7 Editorial comment, page 16
SURVIVOR & SAVIOUR Memorial hearts drawn on the side of the Thames embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament
Holocaust survivor Istvan Kormendi, 97, pictured in his Budapest surgery, endured forced labour during the Second World War after attending classes in defiance of laws banning Jews from studying medicine. He’s spent the last week administering COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of his patients. Watch video at jewishnews.co.uk
THIS WEDNESDAY 7TH APRIL 2021 • 7.30PM
SEE PAGE 10 FOR DETAILS
Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / Israeli election
The Arab List’s kingmaker ANALYSIS With the results of last week’s Israeli election too close to crown a winner, the outcome now depends on who can convince the president they have the most realistic chance of building a stable government, writes Nathan Jeffay. The United Arab List party – also known by its Hebrew initials, Ra’am – has four seats, which it could throw behind a Netanyahu-led coalition or behind his opponents. Alternatively, it could support no one, as Arab parties normally try to steer clear of coalition politics. But Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas is different. He broke away from the main Arab political alliance ahead of the election, and indicated his party was open to an agreement with Netanyahu, who is widely seen as antagonistic to Arabs. And so Abbas is inundated with calls and requests for meetings both from Netanyahu’s Likud and the politicians who are trying to build a non-Likud coalition: Yesh Atid, Blue and White and Labour. Before deciding which politician should try to form a government, President Reuven Rivlin will meet representatives from each party and ask who they feel should have the job. Israel’s political establishment is now waiting to hear who Abbas will recommend. Many are trying to influence what he tells the president before the meetings begin next week. But Abbas holds so much in his hands he could drag out negotiations for weeks, considering offers from both sides to either facilitate their potential coalition or scupper that of their opponents.
eration. What is unfamiliar is that the party in question is Arab and Islamist. Several of Ra’am’s causes are often associated with the Israeli left: it wants a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, settlements dismantled, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the ‘return’ of Palestinian refugees. Inside Israel, it wants to change the Nation State Law, which emphasises the Jewish nature of the state. This suggests it is most compatible with the left-wing Labour and Meretz in the anti-Netanyahu alliance. But on the other hand, it is socially conservative and is opposition to LGBTQ rights,
Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamist Ra’am party, speaks in the Knesset
The final election results put Likud and its allies at 52 seats, which will rise to 59 if Netanyahu can draw in Naftali Bennet’s right-wing Yamina. The anti-Netanyahu parties control 57 seats. Both are short of a 61-seat majority; both could potentially reach this target if Abbas agrees to support them. Abbas has met Yair Lapid, leader of the second-placed Yesh Atid, and sources said the talks were “excellent”, while there are reports
the Islamist party is leaning towards backing Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has been tweeting warnings to Abbas, suggesting Netanyahu will renege on coalition deals he makes. It’s a familiar situation in Israeli politics: a small faction making gestures to different camps, asserting its value and raising its price for coop-
making it a complicated partner for the left. Abbas’ power isn’t just the potential to make a coalition work, but also to ensure no government-building attempts succeed, and send the nation back for yet another election.
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The leader of one of the most conservative Arab movements in Israel’s multiparty system was born in the northern Druze town of Maghar in 1974. He studied dentistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his political views were forged in the years after an uneasy peace was struck with Egypt. Yet this was also
a time of optimism: over greater rights, peace with Jordan, and the prospect of peace with Yasser Arafat’s Palestinians. His movement is often described as Islamist, but that term’s association with extremism is unhelpful. “Socially conservative” is more accurate. Many of Israel’s Bedouins vote for Ra’am,
attracted to its call for equal rights for all citizens. Abbas is not the first Arab politician to show signs of cooperating with Netanyahu. But he is the first to throw off the left-wing label associated with most Israeli Arab parties. Whether he will now break another taboo and enter an Israeli government is anyone’s guess.
Last Yemeni Jews are deported as part of deal Three Yemeni families said to comprise the country’s final remaining Jews have been deported and are said to be seeking asylum in any country other than Israel, according to reports, writes Michael Daventry. The 13 people left Yemen as part of a deal that secured the release of Levi Salem Musa Marhabi, a Jew who had been detained by the armed Houthi movement since 2015. Sources at the Jewish Agency told Jewish News the families were now in Cairo and some had explored the possibility of making aliyah, but that one influential member of the group preferred relocating to the United Arab Emirates. Yemen has been torn apart in a civil war fought by multiple sides including the Houthis, which are backed by Iran. Several other Yemeni Jews have relocated to the UAE as a result of the conflict.
The London-based newspaper Asharq AlAwsat reported the families had left in exchange for Marhabi’s release. His family say he has been tortured and left partially paralysed by a stroke, after being arrested for attempting to move a rare deerskin Torah scroll out of Yemen. “They gave us a choice between staying in the midst of harassment and keeping Salem a prisoner or leaving and having him released,” the newspaper quoted one of those who were expelled as saying. “History will remember us as the last of Yemeni Jews who were still clinging to their homeland until the last moment. We had rejected many temptations time and time again, and refused to leave our homeland, but today we are forced.” The United States had been among those calling for Mahrabi’s release, with an appeal issued last November.
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Yom HaShoah / Yom Ha’atzmaut / News
Dignitaries at the last in-person Yom HaShoah, in 2019
The Chief Rabbi and other household names will help the community mark Yom HaShoah in a virtual ceremony next week. With coronavirus restrictions still preventing large-scale inperson gatherings, the event will be held online on Wednesday 7 April. Thousands tuned into last year’s virtual commemoration, marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust, and Prince Charles honoured survivors as “real heroes”. Yom HaShoah UK chair Neil Martin said: “While we had hoped not to ever organise a
virtual ceremony again, several positives have come from this challenge, most notably that we are able to involve and represent every corner of the UK Jewish community, making this commemoration a truly national moment of reflection on Yom HaShoah. “Perhaps most importantly of all, this commemoration will proudly show all survivors and refugees that despite the challenging times in which we live, no matter the circumstance, our community will always remember on Yom HaShoah.”
SURVIVORS WILL SALUTE ISRAEL’S 73RD March of the Living is to mark the 73rd anniversary of Israel’s statehood with a broadcast that will include a celebration online. The event, Salute to Israel’s 73rd Birthday, will feature Holocaust survivors who helped to establish the country and the athlete Henry Hershkovitz, who survived the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Communities from more than 25 countries will take part with video and photos they have sent in to capture what they see as Israel’s essence. There will also be a tree-planting ceremony and a celebration of the many who have made aliyah.
The annual programme that brings students from around the world together in Poland to march silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau has not been able to proceed since last year because of the pandemic. “This first-ever virtual celebration for Israel’s Yom Ha’atzmaut has been entirely produced by alumni of March of the Living for the benefit of our global Jewish community and friends of Israel,” said the organisation’s president, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman. The broadcast will be made available online for European audiences on 15 April.
NEWS IN BRIEF
BIDEN RELAUNCHES PALESTINIAN AID The Biden administration formally relaunched US assistance to the Palestinians with £11 million ($15 million) in Covid relief. The money, which will go to nongovernmental institutions distributing medical care and food assistance in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, reverses Trump administration policies of all but cutting off aid to the Palestinians. By distributing the money to nongovernmental groups, the Biden administration may be able to circumvent laws that ban aid to the Palestinian Authority.
SPIELBERG GIFTS HIS GENESIS PRIZE
The annual March of the Living has again been unable to take place in person
Steven Spielberg is donating his Genesis Prize to Jewish and nonJewish groups working to promote racial and economic justice. The prize’s foundation said on Thursday that the film director would double the £730,000 ($1 million) award with his own money and split it among 10 organisations, including Black Voters Matter and the Jews of Colour initiative. Spielberg said the stories in Genesis and Exodus give us “the ethical precepts commanding us to work for a more just world.”
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / Nazi files / Labour processes / PM’s message
Historians seek inquiry
told Jewish News. “But MI6 doesn’t release the same type of files. There’s evidence in the public domain, but it’s like building together a big jigsaw puzzle.” He added: “MI6 sticks to this idea that you don’t release files, because if you release one
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Researchers have called for the British intelligence services to release files that could shed light on its alleged use of war criminals as spies, writes Joshua Salisbury. While the CIA has released files about its use of those who collaborated with the Nazi regime for intelligence purposes after the war, British files remain under lock and key, according to a historian who researches on the topic. Dr Stephen Dorril, an honorary fellow at Leicester University, said the differences in approach were because of a culture of secrecy in Britain that was less present in the US. “The American side is pretty well covered, because the CIA has released hundreds of thousands of files, so there’s been quite a lot of work,” he
you have reason to request others.” The call comes after a bombshell BBC exposé last week revealed concerns that the now-deceased Stanislaw Chrzanowski may have been recruited by MI6 for intelligence work in Berlin despite being linked to the war-time murders of Jews in the town of Slonim, Belarus. Chrzanowski was never brought to trial under the War Crimes Act to answer to the accusations – and some have suggested his alleged status as a spy may have provided him with cover from justice. The revelations sparked calls by the Board of Deputies for an inquiry into the use of war criminals as spooks. Dorril, who has researched MI6 for more than 20 years,
told Jewish News his research had uneviled cases whereby those who had collaborated with the Nazi regime were recruited by the British to provide intelligence in eastern Europe before then helping the American government. This alleged pattern could be among the areas brought to light by an inquiry. Dr Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi-hunter and Holocaust historian with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, backed calls for an investigation. “I think that’s exactly what should take place,” he said. “This is a double blow for the victims of the Holocaust. “The allies weren’t able to save them and then they took the worst of their murderers under their protection and protected them.”
PARTY IMPLEMENTS NEW PROCESSES Labour has stepped up implementation of its action to tackle antisemitism with the launch of new materials to improve the process for handling complaints. Five documents have been published to promote transparency when looking at claims of anti-Jewish racism, following the highly-damning report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year. One of the biggest areas of concern throughout Labour’s five-year antisemitism crisis was the complaints handling process, which several whistleblowers alleged was subject to political influence. The EHRC told Labour it had to rebuild trust and confidence in this area, leading to the party publishing an action plan, which
was backed by the equalities watchdog in December. The new package of materials includes a complaints policy, a complaint handling handbook, an improved form to submit complaints, a social media code of conduct and clearer reporting statistics. A Labour spokesperson said: “This is all part of the action plan we have agreed with the EHRC and shows the positive changes we are making, including bringing more transparency to complaints handling. “Under Keir Starmer’s leadership we are working hard to restore the trust and confidence of the Jewish community. And we are committed to improving our culture and procedures to root out antisemitism.”
IT’S NOT JUST OUR
THAT GO THE EXTRA MILE
HOLOCAUST DENIER CHABLOZ IS JAILED A Holocaust denier has been jailed after claiming that Jews control “anything that’s worth controlling”. Alison Chabloz, 57, of St John’s Wood, was found guilty of a communications offence yesterday and was handed an 18-week prison sentence, of which she will serve nine weeks behind bars. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Chabloz claimed on the social media network Gab “anything that’s worth controlling will have Jews there controlling it” and accused Jews of turning their children into “psychopathic maniacs”. Stephen Silverman, of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “[The] verdict and sentence finally give the Jewish community justice and protection from someone who has made a vocation out of denying the Holocaust and baiting Jews.”
Magen David Adom UK
‘CHAROSET WILL BE JUST AS SWEET’
Boris Johnson shared his Passover greeting
Boris Johnson this week looked ahead to “matzah rambles” around the country as restrictions eased on meeting friends and family. In a Yiddish-flecked message, the prime minister acknowledged that this year’s Pesach would be celebrated again in isolation, even as the UK outpaces much of the world in vaccinating its population. More than a year after the pandemic began, 50 percent of the UK population has received a first dose of the vaccine and infections have plummeted. Rules were relaxed from last Monday, with people being allowed to gather outdoors in groups of six from a maximum of two households. Johnson noted that the timing would facilitate the “matzah ramble”, a tradition of hikes and picnics, while Zoom seders allow “something generations of Jews have dreamed of for millennia: the ability to mute the table’s inevitable kvetch”.
In his video message, he said: “Even second time around, it’s not quite what everyone is used to, but the charoset will be just as sweet and the matzah just as meaningful.” Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also issued a Pesach greeting, praising the community’s volunteers during the pandemic. He said Jewish people had “come together to support those in need during this crisis”, adding: “Your acts of kindness and giving tzedakah are an inspiration.” He also thanked the community for the opportunity “to begin to repair, to deepen, and to reinforce our relationship” in the wake of the Labour antisemitism row. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also wished the community well, saying that despite the capital being hit hard by the pandemic, “we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the central message of Passover, the triumph of hope and freedom over darkness and adversity, serves as a source of inspiration”.
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Academic support / Villa greeting / Sport restarts / News
Labour sued by ex staffer
LEFTIST SUPPORT FOR PROF MILLER
A senior former Labour staffer is among 21 people suing the party for defamation over its controversial leaked antisemitism report, writes Joshua Salisbury. Emilie Oldknow, alongside 20 others, launched legal proceedings for defamation yesterday afternoon against the Labour Party over the probe. The report, which contained staffers’ private conversations expressing hostility to the former leader Jeremy Corbyn and his allies, concluded factionalism hampered the effort to combat antisemitism. Oldknow, the former director of governance, was among those whose private WhatsApp conversations were contained in the report unredacted, which contains more than 500 references to her. Mark Lewis, of Patron Law, which is representing the claimants, confirmed the legal bid to Jewish News. “I can confirm that proceedings have been issued by 21 people in respect of the ‘Leaked Report’,” he said. At the start of March, the High Court ruled against a bid by Oldknow and others to force Labour to reveal the identity of the alleged leakers of the pro-Corbyn dossier. Mrs Justice Tipples ruled that the application was a “fishing expedition” that could risk harm to potentially innocent individuals. Oldknow’s counsel in that case had told the court the dossier was a “politically motivated hatchet job” that
A rally has taken place at Bristol University to defend the academic David Miller with the support of a group linked to former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP. Professor Miller (pictured) sparked condemnation across the Jewish community after calling for an end to Zionism and accusing the university’s Jewish Society of being “pawns of Israel”. A demonstration took place outside the university’s Wills Memorial Building to express “solidarity and support for Professor Miller”. Among the organisations named in support of the rally are the left-wing Labour Representation Committee – whose president is McDonnell. A spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism told The Tab Bristol: “The group of hard-left extremists about to descend on Bristol, in an apparent show of support for Professor Miller, should not be allowed to step foot on campus. “Instead of prioritising student welfare, Bristol University have shown they cannot guarantee the safety of minority groups.” The political sociology lecturer is currently under investigation by Bristol University for his comments. The institution refuses to comment on the ongoing process, saying it is confidential. Avon and Somerset Police have also launched an inquiry.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Jeremy Corbyn
attempted to blame her for the party’s failure to deal with antisemitism. Permission is also being sought for an appeal against that ruling, said Lewis. “I do not propose to make any further comment at this time, save to say that an application has also been made to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the decision refusing to give the identities of those that Labour say leaked the report,” he said. The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.
SO DO OUR
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27k ‘angry’ at Pesach Sport kicks off again Premier League football club Aston Villa has condemned “religious intolerance” after its Passover greeting was spammed by 27,000 ‘angry’ reactions and thousands of antisemitic comments. The Midlands side shared a Pesach greeting last weekend, before a wave of anti-Israel responses were posted underneath. More than 27,000 people had reacted to the post with an ‘angry’ emoticon, while hundreds expressed disgust at the racist abuse. One commenter, a verified Facebook user called Mahmoud Nashwan, a Palestinian from Gaza who lives in Belgium, responded with a Palestine flag, which was liked more than 4,400 times. Aston Villa commented on the post: “The club deplores religious intolerance of any form and is an inclusive organisation who welcomes people of all faiths.” However, one poster, Keith Rowe, thanked the club “for your good wishes at this special Passover time”, adding: “We are a small community here in Birmingham and really appreciate your supportive message.” Comedian Lee Kern asked the club on Twitter, “You say you deplore such intolerance, so I know it’s a mission, but why don’t you show this by blocking every scumbag? Anyone that can be identified as a Villa fan, ban them from your ground.”
Aston Villa’s message led to angry emojis
Jewish sport returns after Passover with the football season continuing until June. Maccabi GB this week laid out plans for the resumption of grassroots football after lockdown restrictions were eased. Maccabi GB Southern Football League chairman David Wolff said the first batch of games will begin in April, with no spectators until after 12 April. He said spectators will then be allowed “under strict social distancing rules. There will also be a mix of double headers and midweek games” in order to conclude the season before 30 June. The Cyril Anekstein Cup would only be played on midweek dates, he said. “Let us hope the games are played in the right spirit,” he added, warning
The football season continues
that “there are strict guidelines from the FA as to how Covid regulations are enforced and we rely on the teams to do this”. Teams can be reported to the County Football Associations for any breach and they can be disciplined by their County Football Association.
Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / Vaccine roll-out / Covid variant / Air travel / Israeli device
90% vaccination rate for 70+ Jewish over-70s have a vaccination rate of almost 90 percent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), writes Jack Mendel. Data released this week shows that the only religious grouping with a higher uptake of the jab are those registered as ‘Christian’ or having ‘no religion’, while there are concerns over lower rates among Muslim and black communities. The figures broke down vaccinations by religion and ethnicity, with the ONS showing the lowest rates were among those who identified as Muslim (72.3 percent), black African (58.8 percent) and Caribbean (68.7 percent). The data for people who identified as Jewish and Christian were 88.8 percent and 91.1 percent respectively, while those who said they had no religion were at 89.1 percent, and white British at 91.3 percent. This comes amid concerns over uptake of the vaccine in religious Jewish communities, leading to a vacci-
nation campaign at a pop-up centre in Hackney during the past month. Ben Humberstone, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: “Vaccination rates are markedly lower amongst certain groups, in particular amongst people identifying as black African and black Caribbean, those identifying as Muslim, and disabled people. “These differences remain after accounting for geography, underlying health conditions and certain indicators of socio-economic inequality.” Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP and chairwoman of the all-party parlia-
Sadiq Khan, centre, at a vaccination event aimed at strictly-Orthodox Jews
mentary group on coronavirus, warned about the “deeply alarming low uptake” among ethnic minority groups. Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s health spokesman, said the figures must be a “cause for deep alarm”, adding that it “would be totally unacceptable for any community to be left vulnerable to infection because of inaction”.
Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, said the vaccine roll-out has had an “extremely strong start”, but warned against complacency, adding: “We urgently need to engage with these groups to lessen any health inequalities that may be derived from lower vaccine uptake.”
ISRAEL HAS OWN COVID VARIANT Scientists this week discovered an Israeli virus variant and believe that there are hundreds of cases of the mutation in the north, south and centre of the country — but they don’t believe it poses a challenge to vaccine effectiveness. The variant has so far been confirmed in about 180 patients, from Haifa in the north to Beersheba in the south, but as the sequencing necessary for identifying it only takes place in samples from a minority of patients, it is believed that numerous other cases exist. The variant’s defining characteristic is a change of four amino acids in a location of the spike protein called 681. It was first discovered in July, but has only now been documented, according to a health ministry statement.
UK eyes Israel air corridor Handheld test approved Israel might be among the few places where Brits could easily travel abroad to this summer, according to reports. According to a report in The Sunday Times, government officials are eyeing up Israel as one of the countries with which to establish an air corridor arrangement because of its high vaccination rates. Sources told the paper that foreign holidays are looking unlikely before August. “There will be a system of travel corridors to green-list countries with good vaccination rates. Israel, here we come!” one Whitehall official said. More than half of the Israeli population have received both doses of a vaccine, the highest vaccination rate in the world. Those who are fully vac-
Wish you were here? Tel Aviv beach during lockdown
cinated can get a ‘green pass’, which gives access to facilities such as hotels, gyms and theatres. Overseas holidays were banned under UK law as of Monday, with those without a “reasonable excuse” to travel being fined up to £5,000. How-
ever, the rule could be relaxed to allow for tourism after 17 May, the date the government says is the earliest it could allow the resumption of overseas travel. A government review into foreign holidays is set to report on 12 April.
An Israeli company has received European approval for its rapid coronavirus test which it is hoped will help kickstart international travel, writes Nathan Jeffay. The handheld SpectraLIT machine eliminates the need for complex lab equipment by shining light through samples and giving immediate results using the spectral signature. This means that staff in airport booths who are currently tasked with collecting test samples and dispatching them to labs will simply have a machine at hand and be able to give passengers results after just 20 seconds of analysis. The system, which is being piloted at 36 hospitals worldwide, received European Medical Devices Directive approval for a swab version of its test, which allows it to start rollout across the European Union. This represents a regulatory green light for most of the technology used in its flagship product: a gargle test that eliminates the need for swabbing and generates results from a mouthwash sample.
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“This is an important milestone for fast testing,” said Eyal Zimlichman, a senior doctor at Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, who helped to develop the technology. He told The Times of Israel: “Despite the global rollout of vaccination efforts, Covid-19 still needs rapid diagnostic solutions to take steps back to normality, including international travel, and this represents an important milestone.” Handheld antigen tests are becoming more widely available, but authorities are reluctant to deploy them in places like airports owing to concerns about accuracy. The US Food and Drug Administration says such tests are “less sensitive and less specific than typical molecular tests run in a lab”. Zimlichman said SpectraLIT consistently achieves relatively high accuracy — 70-80 percent — and is an important addition to the market because it will be very cheap. He said the accuracy of the artificial intelligence system was likely to increase over time.
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1 April 2021 Jewish News
Communal life / Hate definition / Emotional simcha / News
Charting a path to business as usual Continued from page 1 Meanwhile, the United Synagogue has outlined dates by which weddings, children’s services and kiddushim could take place again. In line with the government easing of lockdown, community leaders have been told they can allow takeaway Kiddush and outdoor children’s services from next Monday, 29 March. From 12 April – the day shops and hospitality are expected to open – cheders could reopen and weddings with up to 15 people could begin to take place. From 17 May, the organisation hopes its rabbinic families will once again host members for meals limited to six people or two households, with a weddings limit of 30 people. It has set a date of no earlier than 21 June for the reintroduction of kiddush indoors and communal meals. Social distancing will be required at all times. Its shuls are also welcoming back the over-70s, who had been urged to pause their
The United Synagogue is looking at restarting communal life
attendance during winter because of their vulnerability. “This is a very important moment for our communities,” said Jo Grose, the movement’s director of communities and strategy. “Our buildings – and our shuls in particular – are the heart and soul of our Jewish life, providing a Covidsecure place for communal prayer, enabling mourners to say kaddish and marking bar and batmitzvahs in a cautious but joyful way.” The roadmap, which follows the
government’s plans, would mean from Monday, outdoor toddlers’ and children’s service will be permitted for a maximum of 15 adults, while takeaway kiddush will be welcomed back for communities with an eruv. Food will need to be eaten at home. If the government moves to its step two as planned from no earlier than 12 April, the US hopes its buildings will return to being community centres hosting sociallyndistanced shiurim, talks and meetings. Weddings will be permitted for 15 attendees, along with shiva ‘houses’ in the shul. Officials said they were planning to make all of these changes in line with the government’s easing of lockdown, but they may choose to be more cautious if required. Some virtual services may be kept. “Live-streaming certain prayer services have been particularly popular and we hope to keep Kabbalat Shabbat on a Friday afternoon and women’s Hallel services in particular,” Grose said.
STUDENTS REJECT IHRA Students at City University have voted to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in a campus-wide referendum. Last Friday, 671 students voted to reject the definition compared to 260 opposed, despite campaigns from Jewish groups for universities to adopt the IHRA definition. A visiting Jewish academic at the university, who did not wish to be named, told Jewish News: “I feel it’s creating a hostile environment for
Jewish students and staff at the university. It’s an insult not to adopt it.” But the staff union at the university, the UCU, earlier this month urged the university to reject the definition, citing free speech concerns. “We believe that the IHRA working definition, especially several of its ‘illustrative examples’ are deeply flawed and not fit for purpose,” said the branch in a letter. The motion, “Should the University reject the IHRA Definition of antisemitism?” was carried in favour.
Sammy recalls Jaacow A 13-year-old schoolboy has led candle comes with an individual the way in remembering those information card, including who died in the Holocaust by the name, age, and hometown lighting a yellow candle before of someone who was killed in his barmitzvah. the Holocaust. Sammy Garcia, from BoreYavneh College student hamwood, took part in a twinSammy was paired with ning ceremony live with Yad Sammy Garcia Jaacow during the ceremony, Vashem in Jerusalem last week, because he was from Lodz two days before his barmitzvah, where in Poland – the same town in which he paid tribute to Jaacow Swirski, a boy Sammy’s great-grandfather Aaron murdered with his family aged just 11. Davidson lived. Aaron sought a safer life During the yearly campaign co-ordi- in Ireland, but his two sisters, Berta and nated by Maccabi GB and supported Luba, and their eight children died in by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Shoah. “This was a moving experithousands of yellow candles are dis- ence that will stay with me for the rest tributed before Yom HaShoah. Each of my life,” said Sammy.
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / Duchess’ donation / Writing recognition
Meghan’s £10k to charity kitchen The Duchess of Sussex has donated £10,000 to the only joint Jewish-Muslim community kitchen in the UK. Called Himmah, the community project, based in Nottingham, provides more than 650 emergency food parcels every month to people across the city, as well as serving more than 60 hot meals every week. Reacting to the donation, director Sajid Mohammed said: “For ages I thought the whole thing was a hoax. They kept emailing me and ringing me about the donation saying it was from the Duchess of Sussex and I couldn’t believe it. I was gobsmacked and hugely humbled Meghan knew about our charity and wanted to support us. It’s an absolutely incredible sum and we’re so very grateful.” The charity said the money from Meghan’s foundation has been put towards stocking the food bank, purchasing equipment and providing vital funds for its Salaam Shalom Kitchen, a joint Muslim-Jewish community kitchen. Co-chair and trustee Karen Worth said: “We are so
The Duchess of Sussex, right, donated money to the Salaam Shalom Kitchen
delighted and pleased Salaam Shalom Kitchen has been noticed and chosen by the Duchess of Sussex. “The money given will help to continue our important work in the Hyson Green area of Nottingham, which is one the most deprived areas of the city.”
The donation came from funds raised for The Royal Foundation from the sale of Together: Our Community Cookbook and the duchess gifted the money so the charity can “continue transforming lives through the power of cooking and food”. Worth continued: “Post initial Covid lockdown period we have managed to reopen since the start of August. Even though our usual venue, The Bridge centre, remains closed, we are committed to continuing to assist those experiencing food poverty, for whatever reason. “Every Wednesday, we are outside The Bridge centre, whatever the weather, giving out a hot meal, supermarket donations and a friendly hello to anyone who needs this. “Initially we were giving out 60 meals each week, this has now increased to 90+ each week.” Mohammed said: “This year has been incredibly tough for a lot of people. We’ve seen a huge increase in uptake for our services since the start of the pandemic.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
PRINCE CHARLES PAYS TRIBUTE TO GRANDMA During a visit to Greece, the Prince of Wales paid tribute to his grandmother, Princess Alice, who is counted as ‘Righteous Among The Nations’. Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were guests at an official state dinner at the presidential mansion in Athens for the country’s Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations. He said: “It was in Athens that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice, during the dark years of Nazi occupation, sheltered a Jewish family.”
LACEY’S WRITING WILL BE KEPT AT BRITISH MUSEUM
Writer: Lacey Phillips
A pupil from a school in Radlett has been chosen from thousands of children across the country to have her essay kept forever at the British Museum, writes Joy Falk. Lacey Phillips, who is now nine and attends Edge Grove school in Radlett was selected by The Young Writers Association, which asked all children nationally aged
between seven and 11 to submit a creative piece of writing exactly 100 words, and work from the title, “A Wander In The Woods”. The best pieces will be published in a book entitled A Wander In The Woods – Amongst The Trees, which will be available in print on 7 May. Lacey’s story will be kept at the
British Museum forever. Proud mother Natalie Phillips said: “We are elated and beyond proud of Lacey and her achievement. We can’t wait to see her story in print.” Ten writers will receive a goodie bag and those awarded first and second prize will win books for their school library.
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1 April 2021 Jewish News
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / JW3-Jewish News debate
An atheist and a Charedi In the dying days of #Lockdown Three, national press attention – and that of this newspaper – turned to apparent wholesale ignoring of pandemic guidelines by members of strictly- Orthodox communities in Stamford Hill, writes Jenni Frazer. Shops were filled with people who were maskless and were not socially distanced; schools remained open, in defiance of government rules; and, apparently worst of all, massive weddings were taking place, in hired simcha halls with the windows blacked out to avoid police action. All of this, duly reported, led the writer and comedian David Baddiel, who has a oneword profile on Twitter – ‘Jew’ – and who has just published a well-received polemic, Jews Don’t Count, to wade into the already highly charged debate. “Stupid f****** frummers”, he wrote on Twitter (without the asterisks), denouncing this behaviour. It seemed to me that Baddiel was saying just the same about “the frummers” as he would have people accept that the wider community was saying about Jews in general. I said so, in a column for Jewish News. Last Wednesday night, under the auspices of JW3, a remarkable debate took place between Baddiel and the Charedi social activist Yehudis Fletcher, chaired by
Writer and comedian David Baddiel was speaking with Yehudis Fletcher, founder of Nahamu
QC Henry Grunwald, who is chair of World Jewish Relief and of the National Holocaust Centre and a former president of the Board of Deputies. The conversation, billed as ‘Reconcilable Differences’, was remarkable both for its good humour and respect between Baddiel and Fletcher, and for the sense of a learning curve and some sort of accommodation reached between representatives of two very different kinds of Jew – atheist, secular Baddiel, and religiously observant Fletcher,
THE UK JEWISH COMMUNITY NATIONAL HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION
campaigner against sexual abuse and founder of Nahamu, the first UK think tank to tackle religious extremism within Anglo-Jewry. It was Baddiel’s polite disagreement with me on Twitter – and his subsequent online argument with Fletcher – that led to the event, and it was abundantly clear that there was an appetite for this kind of conversation. More than 1,000 people registered for the event, from across the UK and also from Europe, making it pos-
sibly one of the biggest online debates of the pandemic. Speaking as a Charedi Jew, Fletcher said: “I never opted out of being part of the Jewish community, and I don’t like the framing of ‘mainstream Jewish community versus the Charedi community’. I think these are artificial differences, and as a persecuted minority we should learn to get along with each other.” For Baddiel, “religion is not just an irrelevance but a red herring”. He continued: “For non-Jews, when they think about antisemitism, they think it’s about religious intolerance and thus downgrade it as being less important than racism. “Neo-Nazis don’t ask if you keep kosher before they set light to your house – that’s why it’s racism.” But even he admitted that, as an atheist, he still took part in a Passover seder – although he insisted that it was more to do with remembering what he had done as a child than “anything to do with God”. As someone who has spent much of his career disparaging religion, Baddiel said he would include Orthodox Judaism in that category. “I read about [Stamford Hill] and I thought this was a religious sect within my community indulging in practices that led to the spread of Covid-19… partly because they pay no attention to lockdown laws.”
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JW3-Jewish News debate / News
walk into a Zoom room... He should, he said, be free to criticise such behaviour – “Jews Don’t Count doesn’t mean Jews never criticise each other.” He pointed out that in his controversial tweet he had deliberately and specifically used the word “frummers” to signal that he was a Jew criticising other Jews. Fletcher dismissed concerns that criticism such as Baddiel’s might increase antisemitism. “We’re not responsible for other people’s bigotry. Bigots are responsible for bigotry,” she argued. “But we absolutely should and must be able to examine our own behaviour, we must be accountable not only to the state but also to a free press. “I have a problem with the framing of an entire community as one. There is no religious obligation to flout Covid laws. There are certain issues within part of the Charedi community – which is not homogeneous – that encourages certain behaviour. But there is nobody coming from a Jewish values perspective who is saying: ‘We need to break the law.’” She added: “There are all sorts of reasons, ranging from the way people live, the way people’s lives have been conducted until now… we have had huge numbers of deaths.” Fletcher said she thought of Jews as an “outer class” within the outside world, and Charedim as an “outer class within Jewish
Former Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald QC chairs the JW3–Jewish News debate
society as well”. In the same way that Jews were frequently “othered” within wider society, she said, Charedi Jews were being “othered within Jewish society”. She pointed to huge problems such as poor secular education, poverty and very large families – although she later praised sometimes unacknowledged aspects of Charedi society such as entrepreneurship. Baddiel backtracked slightly, saying: “It seemed like I was saying everyone who lives in that [Charedi] community is an
SAVE THE DATE
idiot, and that is unfair, I hold my hands up. But I am talking about the practices within that community.” He said he had been contacted by NHS England with regard to a potential video aimed at encouraging Charedi Jews to accept Covid-19 vaccines – a similar one has been made by actor and TV presenter Adil Ray and actress and writer Meera Syal for their own community. “NHS England told me that, more than any other community, strictly-Orthodox Jews won’t listen. I said: ‘Well, they won’t listen
to me.’ You [Yehudis] are right, stupid effing frummers was wrong, and I apologise for that. But I stand by the idea this disease kills people, its spread needs to be contained as much as possible, and practices go on through that community that continue that – and that is really stupid.” Both participants spoke about their education – Baddiel attended North West London Jewish Day School, an Orthodox primary school, followed by Haberdashers’ Aske’s in Elstree and Cambridge University, while Fletcher is currently studying at Salford University – although she concded that, at 33, with three young children, she was “on the back foot” with her secular contemporaries. They spoke about the concept of free will and how it operates in the strictly-Orthodox community. “For some people, [an unravelling of the rabbinical strictures] would bring joy to their Judaism,” Fletcher said, adding, wryly, “for others, it would mean bacon sandwiches on Yom Kippur morning.” There were, she observed, “definitely people who are traumatised by extreme religious observance”. For herself, she said: “I’m not threatening to leave Charedi Judaism. I’m threatening to stay.” And, asked by Baddiel how anything would change, Fletcher had one answer: “Education, education, education.”
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
News / Amy documentary / Police appeal / Mayor’s seder
BBC to reveal ‘real Amy’
Mitch Winehouse with artwork of his daughter Amy
The BBC will mark 10 years On, will offer a “new femalesince the death of Amy Winedriven interpretation of her house with a one-off doculife, her loves and her legacy”. mentary uncovering “the real Asif Kapadia’s 2015 feature, Amy”, writes Alex Green. Amy, won the Oscar for best Winehouse, known for documentary feature, but was songs including Back To Black heavily criticised by Wineand Rehab, died of alcohol poihouse’s father, Mitch, who soning, aged 27, at her home in described it as a “sham”. Camden in north London on The former taxi driver and 23 July 2011. jazz singer said the film left out The documentary will positive aspects of his daughAmy Winehouse with feature interviews with her ter’s life, including her clothes her mother, Janice mother Janis as well as previdesigning and charity work. ously unseen footage from the Winehouse The BBC also plans to mark the anniverfamily collection, plus BBC archive content. sary of her death across television, iPlayer and Janis lives with multiple sclerosis, BBC Sounds with programmes highlighting a disease of the brain and spinal cord her influence on the next generation of that can lead to memory loss, and hopes female singer-songwriters and broadcasts of that by taking part in the project she some of her most memorable performances. can make a permanent record showing Dov Freedman, executive producer a different side to her daughter. of production company Curious Films, Family and close friends of the singer said: “Amy was a true musical icon, and we will also help to chart her ascent from north couldn’t be prouder to help those closest to London jazz singer to international star. Amy reclaim her story.” Janis said: “I don’t feel the world knew Max Gogarty and Rachel Davies, commisthe true Amy, the one I brought up, and I’m sioning editors, said: “While being a celebralooking forward to the opportunity to offer tion of her musical genius and featuring rare an understanding of her roots and a deeper and unheard performances, [the documeninsight into the real Amy.” tary] will also offer a reinterpretation of the The BBC says the documentary, which has prevailing narrative around her rise and fall, the working title Amy Winehouse: 10 Years told by those closest to her.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
BUSINESSMAN LOSES SEX DISCRIMINATION CASE A Jewish businessman mimicked spanking his female employee with a ruler before she was unfairly constructively dismissed, a tribunal has ruled. Stephen Taylor, founder and managing director of Promo Concepts, which sells corporate gifts, frequently brought employees to tears with his behaviour, the panel heard. Successful claims for sexual harassment, unfair constructive dismissal and sex discrimination were brought against the London-based company by a female employee. Taylor had denied the charges but, in a ruling published last week, the London Central Employment Tribunal said employees at the business were in fear of being dismissed at short notice, and the claimant was subjected to “sexualised remarks and behaviour”.
BURY COUNCILLOR LOSES WHIP AFTER HEBREW COMMENT A Conservative Bury councillor has had the whip removed after alleged antisemitic comments. Cllr Robert Caserta, who represents Pilkington Park ward, was reported to have used “inappropriate language” while on an interview panel last July. Among the reported comments was that it would be difficult to speak to residents “unless you are able to speak Hebrew”. The leader of the council’s Conservative group, Cllr Nick Jones, and MP Christian Wakeford have called the comments “at best inappropriate and deeply offensive and at worst could be construed as antisemitic”.
Appeal after ‘sex offences’ Police have launched an appeal after a series of alleged sex offences against two girls and a young woman in Stamford Hill. In the first incident on Wednesday, 20 January, a 15-year-old girl walking on Rostrevor Avenue was shown pornography by a man on his mobile phone. In the second incident, a 12-year-old girl was walking along Linthorpe Road at around 7pm on Tuesday, 16 February. A man exposed himself to her before making off. Later that same evening at around 9pm, a woman in her twenties who was pushing her child in a buggy on Kyverdale Road was pushed by a man who touched her bottom before fleeing. The three victims, who are Jewish, while not seriously physically hurt, were left “incredibly
Police want to speak to this man
shaken and upset”. Police want to speak to the man pictured in connection with the incidents. Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC, quoting reference 4603660/21.
SADIQ ZOOMS IN FOR SEDER London mayor Sadiq Khan marks Passover by attending a virtual seder, sharing a picture with a seder plate and bottle of grape juice. The politician, who is vying for reelection in May, thanked “Noeleen, John and the Cohens for inviting me – and making me feel like one of the family!”
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Jewish News 1 April 2021
World News / Emhoff seder / Rabbi probe / Auschwitz ‘reviews’
Photo by Blake-Ezra Photography
Sacks honoured at White House
Doug Emhoff and Kamala Harris at the virtual seder event
Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were remembered as America’s Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff hosted a historic White House virtual seder, viewed by thousands of people around the world. Rabbi Sharon Brous of Los Angeles’ ICAR Synagogue led the seder and invoked the memory of the late Chief Rabbi, echoing his words with the aim of highlighting the importance of gathering together, even if it must be virtually: “What turns the
bread of affliction into the bread of freedom? The willingness to share it with others.” And White House Special Council Abbe Gluck, who previously clerked for Justice Ginsburg, quoted the late justice from Ginsburg’s essay on the women of Passover: “While there is much light in today’s world there remains in our universe this harkening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. “The Passover story recalls to all of us, women and men, that with vision and action we can join hands with others
of like kind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.” Emhoff began by saying: “This is the second Passover in a row we are celebrating virtually, and hopefully it’s the last.” He encouraged people to keep socially distancing and to get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Vice-president Kamala Harris likened the Pesach story to continued fights for justice, which she said is a Jewish value, while President Joe Biden said: “Not only next year in Jerusalem, but next year in person, next year together.”
Rabbi accused over child marriage
GOOGLE MAPS REMOVES HATE
A Brooklyn rabbi is being investigated month, sharing a photo of a newlyfor allegedly arranging marriages engaged couple. She wrote that the between children as young as 15. girl is 17 and the boy 15, adding: “I am New York’s Police Department sharing this photo so you know what and the Administration for Chil- underage forced marriage looks like.” dren’s Services are looking into the While men and women in accusations against Yoel Roth, who Chasidic communities typically runs Yeshiva Tiferes Hatorah, as well marry young, marriages are generas a community in the town of Lib- ally not done before the age of 18. In erty, where many of the young cou- New York state, one must be 18 to ples whom he allegedly has married marry, although a 17-year-old can now live. marry with a court’s permission. Frimet Goldberger, a writer who Roth’s secretary, Shaul Indig, grew up in the Chasidic community, denied the claims to the US website posted about the practice earlier this The Forward. 16:04 Page 1 HALF PAGE ADVERT JAN 2020:Layout 1 09/01/2020
Google has admitted that it “needs to do better” to prevent hate on its platform after anger about antisemitic reviews of Auschwitz. An investigation by The Guardian revealed that more than 150 hate-filled comments were left on Google Maps for the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, including “Heil Hitler” and “It’s a shame the SS was disbanded so long ago”. According to the newspaper, the overwhelming majority of comments were anonymous. Auschwitz operated as an extermi-
Young love? Chasidic engagement
nation and concentration camp during the Holocaust, and more than 1.1 million people were murdered there. A Google spokesperson told Jewish News: “We are appalled by these reviews on our platform and are taking action to remove the content and prevent further abuse. We have clear policies that prohibit offensive and fake reviews and we work around the clock to monitor Maps.” It also confirmed that the comments were removed immediately when flagged, while accounts were suspended and disabled.
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1 April 2021 Jewish News
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
Editorial comment and letters ISSUE NO.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS
Reasons to be cheerful
One year ago, an exodus of Biblical proportions took place. We left our offices, synagogues, schools and social circles as the coronavirus turned into a pandemic. This week, during our second lockdown Pesach, hopes were raised of our permanent liberation from restrictions with the news that there were no reported Jewish Covid-19 funerals in the week leading up to the festival: a milestone in the timeline of this plague. It is worth noting that the seven largest burial societies reported 97 Jewish Covid-19 funerals the week before Pesach last year, and that the most Covidrelated funerals reported for a seven-day period was during the week ending 13 April 2020, the third day of Chol Hamoed, when there were 127 funerals. The virus has claimed the lives of some 900 members our community, and last weekend’s seders will have been painful for many, with empty seats other than for Elijah. We mourn with those who have been bereaved. It would be wise not to raise expectations following the latest weekly figures but we can be forgiven for indulging in cautious optimism that the worst might finally be over and brighter days lie ahead. Some 30 million people in the UK have now had a first Covid jab and 3.5 million have had two doses. This, together with further news this week that Jewish over 70s have almost a 90 percent vaccination rate, means we might allow ourselves to look forward to next year in Jerusalem, Finchley, Borehamwood or anywhere else we have been unable to visit since the pandemic took hold. With this pleasant anticipation we wish all our readers a happy and peaceful final days of Pesach.
THIS WEEKEND'S SHABBAT AND PESACH TIMES... Shabbat begins Friday night 7.21pm
Yom Tov begins Saturday night 8.25pm
Shabbat ends Saturday night 8.25pm
Yom Tov ends Sunday night 8.27pm Sedra: Shabbat Pesach
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Thanks, Andrew Sketches & kvetches Andrew Dismore will soon retire from his elected role as London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden. This marks the end of a more than 24-year relationship between Andrew and the Jewish community in Barnet, Camden and beyond. While I am no longer a Labour Party member, I worked on many of Andrew’s most recent elections to the Assembly and his attempts to hold and then regain his seat in parliament. I was proud to later learn from him in City Hall for three years. He has been a dedicated public servant and devoted to proper Labour values. Equally, his commitment to the Jewish community has been unparalleled. As he never sought higher office, he was always able to speak out as he wished on behalf of the Jewish community, whether on get law, matters related to Israel, Palestine and a two-state solution as a chair of Labour Friends of Israel, or his pivotal role in the creation of Holocaust Memorial Day – a legacy marked by millions every year. I worked with him on exposing and overturning the first BDS policy built into a government contract – the Emirates Cable Car contract signed by the then mayor of London, which included a clause prohibiting TfL from doing business with Israeli firms. He is one of the finest politicians I have ever worked with. We will miss you, even if your opponents won’t!
Adam Langleben, former Labour councillor for West Hendon, New Barnet, EN4
“Oh yes, they made such a good job of videoing my colon that I’ve booked them for my son’s barmitzvah!”
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E: IN L D A E D N IO T APPLICA h APRIL 2021 t 15 Y A D S R U H T 15/03/2021 12:05:43
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Editorial comment and letters
AM I NOT A REAL JEW? Salford’s supreme Defender of the Faith has permitted the Masorti and Reform movements in Israel to set themselves up as a separate religion and consented to their admitting members and even allowing them to conduct marriages. However, Martin D Stern declares ‘Reform differs significantly from Judaism’ (Jewish News, 18 March 2021). I await his elucidation of the attributes of genuine Judaism – his own brand. As he is a diehard apologist for the worst excesses of Chasidism, and as I am a mere United Synagogue member, I don’t think I can any longer identify as Jewish. If I deprived a few women of their seats on a plane, joined a huge crowd at an illegal wedding, got rid of my TV and wore the garb of the 18th century Polish aristocracy, some of the worst perpetrators of antisemitism, could I appeal to Stern for readmission?
Herbie Goldberg, Pinner
SURELY THE NHS, NOT PRAYER, IS SAVING LIVES?
How very moving and gratifying to read about the recovery of Eli Seliger from a dreadful coronavirus illness (Jewish News, 25 March 2021). How depressing, though, to read of the backstory. Eli was ‘ ....very much a nonCovid believer’, along with too many other ill-informed sceptics. Too young or too ill-informed, perhaps, to recall vaccines curing polio,
Rabbi Zvi Solomons’ excellent article threw focus on the missing Princess Latifa in Dubai, UAE (Jewish News, 18 March 2021). With all the celebrations of the new diplomatic relations Israel has with the UAE and other Gulf states, resulting in new communities, a kosher restaurant and supplies of matzah for Pesach, how are these situations reconciled? The UK and much of the international community have requested evidence of the princess’ well-being with no result. Does Israel have a part to play?
smallpox and other diseases. Then he ‘...gave his wife Lea permission to use technology.’ A wife in 2021 needs permission to ‘use technology?’ The community raised £50,000 for a Sefer Torah. “Prayers saved my life,” he is quoted as saying. Not £50,000 for the NHS, which needs the money more than the community needs yet another scroll? Well, they
didn’t save him did they? It was obviously divine intervention. Whatever it was, let us hope, and pray, too, if it moves us, for a refuah shlema for Eli and so many other victims of this cruel curse, while we acknowledge who is truly saving those who make it through.
Barry Hyman, Bushey Heath
St Albans presence ignored I’m writing to express my feeling of being totally underwhelmed by the exhibition on show at St Albans Museum, reported in last week’s edition. This has been a total takeover by the Masorti community, making hardly any mention of the United Synagogue in Oswald Road and still very much in existence. Our parents and relations, like so many others, came during the
early war years, becoming founder members of the original community, when synagogue services first took place in The Friends Meeting House, before a house was bought by the community in Clarence Road, with living accommodation above for rabbis and their families. Many of us have been friends for more than 70 years, and were most upset at there being hardly any acknowledgment of life
before SAMS – St Albans Masorti Synagogue. We were the JOES (Jewish Original Ex St Albanites) growing up and educated there... a vibrant community, making their presence felt in the shops, schools and in the social activities that banded them together during those difficult years. We are very upset at our presence being totally ignored. Hazel Kyte, By email
Sunday 11 April, 7.30pm, Free
FIDDLER AT 50: A Reunion Celebration of Fiddler on the Roof
Fifty years ago, Fiddler on the Roof premiered on screens for the first time. Today, we are joined by the cast and family to remember, celebrate, and discuss the impact of this ground-breaking film on the Jewish community and beyond. Topol’s daughters will share memories of growing up on set. Ruth Madoc (Fruma Sarah) and Paul Michael Glaser (Perchik) will divulge their favourite stories from behind the scenes, and the original sisters will probably break out in song.
BOOK NOW: jw3.org.uk/fiddler
David Busse, By email
CENSUS CLARITY Rabbi Mark Goldsmith wrote that “on the census, you will be able to record you are Jewish, but only as a religion” (Jewish News, 18 March 2021). This is not true. You select “Other” and write in “Jewish”. About 30,000 people did that in the last census in 2011 (including some who did not give their religion as Jewish) and I did it this year.
Michael Baxter, N20
Jewish News 1 April 2021
It’s unimaginable that there could be a Golda Meir today JENNI FRAZER
srael has just held elections and the president has made up his mind to ask the leader of the party with the most seats to form the next government. And she – no, that is not a typo – has accepted. Fifty-two years ago Israel welcomed its fourth prime minister into office, the toughtalking, take-no-prisoners Golda Meir. Russian-born and American-educated, she had served a long apprenticeship in the smoky backrooms of Labor Party politics, learning how to wheel and deal with the best of them. Of course, she was not a perfect prime minister – there is no such thing. But in her five years leading Israel, between 1969 and 1974, the state presented a proud face to the international community, as a country that welcomed women playing an equal part in its society. It is almost unimaginable today that there could be a Golda waiting in the wings of the
political stage. Tzipi Livni, like Golda, served as Israel’s foreign minister, but her career ended in disappointment in 2019 when her new party, Hatnua, failed to broker a deal with Labor and was unable to cross the required threshold to enter the Knesset. Livni, once the most powerful woman in Israeli political life, retired and has lived under the radar since. Labor’s latest leader, Merav Michaeli, is now the sole woman party leader in the new Knesset. Her list consists of alternate men and women – but, despite being in the straighttalking tradition of Golda Meir, she has not been able to acquire a critical mass of seats, and must join forces with other smaller parties in order to have any hope of power or leverage with the next government. It seems extraordinary that in 2021 a party leader such as Shas’ Aryeh Deri can get away with not only having no women on his list, but can actually claim that politics “is not women’s natural place”, and that political activism “runs counter to their worldview”. Deri is currently interior minister, a post he is likely to retain if Netanyahu succeeds in
TWO POSTERS BEARING DEFACED IMAGES OF WOMEN REMAINED TWO WEEKS AFTER BEING VANDALISED
cobbling together a right-leaning coalition. It was cheering, therefore, to hear the blunt assessment of the head of the secular Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman. Deri, he snarled, was actually “minister for the exclusion of women”. It’s not just Shas that has no women on its slate: nor does United Torah Judaism. Both the Arab parties – even the Islamist Ra’am – have women politicians. So what has become of the climate in Israeli society, in which a modern-day Golda Meir is an impossible dream? I think there is a clue in what has happened at the entrance to Jerusalem, in which two huge posters, bearing defaced images of women, remained hanging in place this week, a full two weeks after they were vandalised.
Visualise Your Future
The posters were adverts for a photographic exhibition called Making music out of trauma and depicted singer Achinoam Nini and musician Ofra Yitzhaki. The exhibition is a fundraiser for male and female soldiers who have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Someone – or several someones – blacked out the women’s faces on these posters. It’s not a new thing – it’s happened repeatedly on other posters showing women. Neither the police nor the Jerusalem municipality appear to have been able to do much except wring their hands. If society says by omission or default that such actions are acceptable, where will it end? Complete segregation? Half a century after Golda became premier, it seems lessons still need to be learned.
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1 April 2021 Jewish News
We’ve become shells of our former selves DR MICHAEL BRUNNER CONSULTANT IN INTENSIVE CARE AND ANAESTHETICS
t’s little over a year to the day that I stepped on to our intensive care unit for my night shift and realised Covid-19 had breached the threshold. Nothing could prepare me and my colleagues for what was to come. On the night of Tuesday, 17 March, we began intubating up to three people an hour and the numbers kept on growing. It was clear the role intensive care would play in the pandemic. In the space of a week, we were having big meetings about how we were going to plan for this and moving wards around so we could accommodate the large numbers of patients. You walk into the hospital and turn right and it's normal theatres, and then you turn left into the intensive care unit (ICU) and everything is different. Normal work life for me had stopped. One minute I was training people how to put on personal protective
equipment (PPE), the next I was in it for hours on end. I got coughed on by one patient (who later tested positive), which normally wouldn’t faze me but the idea of catching Covid and taking it home to my family made me very uneasy. In the beginning the loneliness was terrifying, feeling like you were seeing something no one else could. Now, everyone is in my world. We wear masks and wash our hands. Since then, there has been lots of crying, sadness and some anger. This last wave has really knocked everyone out and ‘the Blitz’ mentality evaporated around Christmas. The second wave was much worse and now everyone is beyond tired and worn out. I was on a call with a consultant colleague not long ago – between us, we’ve been in this
job for about 40 years. Both of us cried recalling speaking to family members about withdrawing support. These were the most difficult moments we ever experienced as we haven’t built up relationships with these people. The last time they saw their relatives they would have seemed fine. They haven’t watched them deteriorate so it comes as more of a shock. We have to deal with so much anger and blame from relatives: you have people shouting at you – that it's a hoax and you’re lying to them. They can’t see the sadness in your face when you talk to them on the phone and it all feels very unemotional. Our intensive care unit increased to 50 beds, just to cope, at one point. The hardest part is knowing that there aren’t any more fully trained staff to operate these beds. We will soon have
YOU HAVE RELATIVES SHOUTING AT YOU – THAT IT'S A HOAX AND YOU'RE LYING TO THEM
to deal with a huge backlog of patients with all kinds of issues. Is it fair to have stopped everything else in order to support patients with Covid? I don’t know the answer. Covid will be a new disease with which we will have to cope. This pandemic should provoke some real questions: are we going to expand or will we reconsider our purpose and ask what is this resource for exactly? Is it life at all cost? There were many acts of real kindness from the public who delivered food and drink at all times of the day or night. But sometimes, how we are treated in the hospital is at total odds with public displays of praise. Many doctors and nurses didn’t like the public clapping. To spend your entire year in PPE, not sleeping, sweating, dry, drained and then someone thinks he can call you a murderer. It’s heart-breaking. This time was hard. It’s taken the soul out of a lot of people. We are shells of our former selves. We are a lot more cross. We all know colleagues who have died through no fault of their own. Who are they going to blame? During this time, too, I have made true friendships and have seen real courage and bravery.
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
How the pandemic has recycled ancient tropes JEMMA LEVENE
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HOPE NOT HATE
ast week, the UK marked a year since the first lockdown, and paused to remember the lives lost and the dedication of NHS staff, key workers and carers. It has been a year marked by sacrifice, and community and solidarity in the face of a national crisis. But the past year has also seen a continuing growth in malign and dangerous attitudes in our society. Locked at home, spending hours online, and enabled by the lax moderation of the social media platforms, hundreds of thousands of people, searching for answers in an uncertain time, were drawn into the murky world of conspiracy theories. Although this world contains wild and often contradictory ideas about things as disparate as 5G or government child abuse plots, the huge surge in online activity during lockdown has risked people
being exposed to antisemitic tropes and Holocaust denial, both of which circulate within this scene. The spread of this mindset is deeply concerning because seemingly innocuous conspiracies risk acting as a gateway into hate. The idea that Jews are behind various historical calamities has deep roots. Sure enough, in the initial weeks of the pandemic, HOPE not hate’s monitoring observed a spike in online conspiratorial content, some containing either inferred or overt antisemitic references such as claims that there was a Jewish origin to the virus. Antisemitic tropes, such the New World Order, pervade the conspiracy scene. While some ignorantly share or engage with these ideas, unaware they are racist, others are more deliberate in their regurgitation. As well as using the pandemic to recycle and reframe ancient tropes about Jewish power, some bad actors are pushing people engaging with more generalised conspiratorial ideas towards Holocaust denial. The rabbit hole of a mindset that starts with
‘question everything’ can quite rapidly be led to questioning whether the Holocaust even happened. It’s important to know the conspiracy scene is vast and varied, and only a small proportion of people will engage with outright antisemitism. During the pandemic, Jewish online community events have become notable victims of targeted attacks such as “Zoom bombing”, exploiting a sudden widespread reliance on online events. Antisemites are infamous for their ever-evolving methodology, responding with agility to any opportunity to spread hate in a new social reality.
ONLY A SMALL PROPORTION OF PEOPLE WILL ENGAGE WITH OUTRIGHT ANTISEMITISM
On the positive side, there has been a change of leadership in the Labour Party and a commitment to tackle the anti-Jewish sentiment it has been plagued by in recent years. However, our latest polling found 34 percent of the public thought the Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism, showing it still has some way to go. The vile attack on a Jewish woman in Stamford Hill this week is a reminder of the risks faced by our community. Being visibly Jewish in the UK still carries a statistically high risk of being the victim of an opportunistic hate crime – but it is important we do not let the bigotry of a minority during this time obscure the incredible way the majority of the country showed the real solution was to come together at a time of unprecedented difficulty. Beyond the pandemic, our work at HOPE not hate will continue as we monitor and expose those who hate, and work to build the resilience and resources for those who wish to challenge it.
Gather virtually, for this most important of days NEIL MARTIN
CHAIR, YOM HASHOAH UK
ast year’s virtual Yom HaShoah UK Commemoration was the first of the many virtual communal events to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic, and would set the scene for all others that followed. In a strange juxtaposition, at a time of understandable anxiety and heartbreak for so many, it was the collective memory of the Holocaust that brought together our community as one. Despite commemorating the darkest moment in living memory, as the virtual children’s choirs sang, the ceremony gave people hope and, for many still struggling to come to terms with lockdown, it gave a sense of perspective. As the ceremony streamed live, with thousands watching from their homes, they joined in the unifying act of remembrance, as families from all across the UK (and beyond) simultaneously lit Yellow Candles from their homes. While organising the virtual ceremony will always remain one of my proudest moments, it was meant to be a ‘one-off ’. Sadly, of course, as the months went on, and further lock-
BE THERE AS THE UK JEWISH COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER TO MOURN THE LOSS OF SIX MILLION
downs were announced, despite a roadmap to an end hopefully in sight, it doesn’t come quite soon enough for this year’s Yom HaShoah Commemoration. You’ll be forgiven for being exhausted by online events; believe me, as CEO of JLGB, I know all about Zoom fatigue and how, after a year of virtual programmes, we all long for the return to face-to-face events. Yet somehow, we must all muster the collective strength to gather for one last virtual event, but perhaps the most important one of all, as we honour our pledge that, no matter what, we must always remember on Yom HaShoah. Just a few weeks ago, I heard a shocking statistic that more than 250 survivors and refugees, who rebuilt their lives in the UK, have sadly passed away from Covid-19 in this past year. This news reverberated around my head, and I hope it resonates with you as you read this too, and encourages you to watch this year’s national Yom
HaShoah Commemoration. For despite our fatigue, despite these extremely difficult and unprecedented times in which we currently live, if we have the opportunity to hear and become witness to the first-hand testimony of a survivor, even if virtually, we must grab it now, before it’s too late… and you hear the first-hand accounts of survivors and refugees, such as Icek Alterman, Arek Hersh MBE and Vera Schaufeld MBE, who will recount their testimony at next Wednesday’s commemoration, the stark realities of what they experienced and were forced to endure is simply beyond words. Notwithstanding the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust, next week’s virtual ceremony is designed to be appropriate for all ages and should be witnessed and remembered by everyone. So, next week, on Wednesday, 7 April at 7.30pm, pause that latest boxset, let your children stay up that little bit later, have your Yellow Candle ready
Yellow candles recall individual Shoah victims
and switch your Smart TV to YouTube and simply search “YomHaShoahUK” or watch on your mobile, tablet or computer at www. yomhashoah.org.uk. Be there as the UK Jewish community gathers from the north, south, east and west to remember together as one and mourn the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust, honour the heroes and its martyrs, and bear witness to the first-hand testimony of our community’s truly remarkable and inspirational survivors and refugees.
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Community / Scene & Be Seen
1 GIFT INCREASE
Volunteers with GIFT packed and delivered thousands of pounds worth of kosher food for Pesach. The charity says it has seen a 35 percent increase in referrals over the past year, with numbers having shot up in the weeks prior to Pesach, and that referrals have been driven by professionals who were asking for a food parcel for the first time. “It makes our work so much more meaningful, knowing what we do is making even a small difference,” said Yasmine Ittach, GIFT’s family liaison.
And be seen! The latest news, pictures and (virtual) social events from across the community
With the help of an army of volunteers, Jewish Care sent out hundreds of Meals on Wheels deliveries with matzah this Pesach, alongside packages to community centre members who were at home. Along with Pesach quizzes and activities, there was an online seder available for those at home to follow at any time, and older members of the community and residents in care homes shared thoughts before the festival with Rabbi Menachem Junik, Jewish Care’s spiritual and pastoral adviser.
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3 PESACH SUPPORT
Kisharon held an online cross-communal Bedikat Chametz for Pesach, with more than 100 attendees. Everyone received Kisharon Big Sweep sets and heard from Tribe Rabbi Cobi Ebrahimoff, who shared tips on how to enhance the seder, and enjoyed festive piano music and songs as well as playing a 10 plagues bingo game. Supporters designed, assembled, packed and delivered more than 700 packs to fulfil community orders for Pesach. “There was a real buzz around the college over the past few weeks,” said Aviva Braunold, manager of Kisharon Further Education College.
New kids on the blocks Winners of our Pesach-themed LEGO contest in association with Tribe are announced...
Yoni Segal, 16
The two lucky winners are Yoni Segal, 16, from Hasmonean High School for Boys, and Immanuel Schneider, seven, who attends Menorah Foundation. Both are now in line to receive a 500-piece LEGO set. “I’m so happy, I can’t believe I won!” said Immanuel, while Yoni added: “Thank you for choosing me. I want to do a course at college which involves problem-solving and being creative so I enjoyed the challenge of the design brief!” More than 80 entries were received in the readers’ competition, which set youngsters the
challenge of telling the dramatic story of the splitting of the Red Sea and advent of the Ten Plagues with building blocks, construction sets and Lego kits. Initial entries were whittled down to a shortlist of seven budding builders, with Immanuel and Yoni winning in the primary school and secondary school categories respectively. The winners were picked by Lyla and Eli, the children of Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer, and Motti and Sara, nephew and niece of news editor Justin Cohen, along with a representative from Tribe.
Immanuel Schneider, seven
Jewish News 1 April 2021
Weekend / Real life
‘I wish everything was a dream and I was back in Yugoslavia’ Nearly 30 years after the Bosnian War, one refugee recalls how she was forced to leave her home forever – but rediscovered her Jewish roots in the UK, hears Francine Wolfisz
Inside Book: A new biography looks at the life of notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel
Theatre: The awardwinning musical Jersey Boys returns to London in July
ometimes people get upset because they have broken a glass or a plate – but they have no idea what it looks like in one night to lose everything you have ever worked for.” Yet nearly 30 years on since the outbreak of the Bosnian War, Svjetlana Marijanovic has neither forgotten that feeling of loss or the memory of seeing her life turned upside down. She and her two young daughters were among the more than 140 families evacuated by the Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF, and later World Jewish Relief) and brought over to the UK in 1994 when life as they knew it in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo ceased to exist. Just a few years earlier, her home country was thrown into turmoil following the fall of communism in Europe. When in 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined several republics of the former Yugoslavia and declared independence, an ugly civil war was triggered that would last until 1995.
Svjetlana Marijanovic with daughters Tanja and Irena
An estimated 100,000 people lost their lives during the war, while more than 2.2 million were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the Second World War. Amid it all was Svjetlana, who not only recalls witnessing those terrible times, but also growing up as part of Sarajevo’s modestly sized Jewish community. The 72-year-old, who is a tenant at Jewish Care’s Wohl Court retirement living apartments in Hendon, recollects how she “had a very happy childhood in a stable and loving family and even more wonderful teenage years”. Growing up in a communist country, she was not fully aware of her Jewish identity, but “knew that my grandparents were different” and overheard them talking in Ladino whey they wanted to speak privately. “My grandfather Salomon always had his head covered. Not exactly with a kippa, but some kind of hat. My grandmother would get matzos from the Jewish community during Pesach and all her non-Jewish neighbours would beg her for a piece to try. They would talk about the New Year in the middle of the summer heat, while for me this time of year is associated with bitterly cold weather and the town covered by snow. There was also a menorah in their house, the kind of candlestick I never saw in my friend’s houses. “By the time I was in secondary school I knew I was Jewish, yet it didn’t mean anything.” That would all change, however, by 1992 and the eruption of civil war. “For the first time in the history of any war it was a blessing being Jewish. Svjetlana with her parents and grandmother in 1957 When Sarajevo became a city under siege, convoys were organised to get them out of the war zone.” Svjetlana still remembers the “absolutely frightening” moment life changed forever with the first shells. A trained paediatrician of 19 years, she was working at the hospital when one of the doctors told her to return home immediately because “something is happening”. She recalls: “I never reached my house that day as Sarajevo was completely bombed. Over the next six months, there was no food, no water, Destroyed buildings in Sarajevo no electricity, no gas, no glass on the
windows. Winter was fast approaching. Most of the children were hiding in a cellar and living by candlelight, where my daughter read all Dostoyevsky’s books. “There were places you could go to pick up bottles of water, but my mother, Betika, would never let me go because they targeted those places and the ambulances. Several of my colleagues were killed trying to save somebody else’s life.” The Sarajevo Jewish humanitarian society provided aid to thousands of besieged residents, supplying food and medicine, helped send letters and connected people through radio communication. As conditions became more perilous, residents began to be evacuated through convoys organised by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the CBF. In October 1993, Svjetlana – who by this time was divorced – left on a bus bound for Croatia with her daughters Irena, 15 and Tatjana, 11. “I didn’t know it would be a one-way ticket,” says Svjetlana, adding that she had lost everything: her house, her job, her cat, her bank account and the place she had always known as home. “People might think I had a choice whether to leave, but I really didn’t. If you are facing the possibility of being killed or your children dying, you have to leave.” After spending two months living in a hotel in Croatia, the family went to Switzerland for a short time before the CBF helped arrange a visa for Svjetlana to work as a volunteer with Norwood in London, while her daughters were enrolled at JFS. It was while looking for permanent work – and now also caring for her unwell mother – that Svjetlana began babysitting for an Orthodox Jewish family in Golders Green. “They helped rekindle my sense of Jewish identity. I learned a lot from them and am still learning. I became friends with their children, grandchildren, the entire family and was always invited to all the simchas. Two years ago, they helped me travel to Israel to visit my best friend Nada in Haifa. “The one thing I regret is not knowing more before – because I would have been the perfect Jewish mother,” she smiles. Svjetlana also found a renewed sense of community as a member of La Benevolencia, a group for Bosnian-Jewish refugees, at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon and received support for people dealing with trauma. In the 27 years since Svjetlana came to the UK, she has returned just once to her former home. “Although I love where I live now, still I wish everything was a bad dream and was like before.”
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Entertainment / Weekend
IN THE PIPELINE
Man’s Search For Meaning Viktor Frankl’s inspirational Holocaust memoir Man’s Search For Meaning will be adapted for the big screen, Deadline reports. Author and life coach Tony Robbins has teamed up with screenwriter Angela Workman and Straight Up Films, as well as Frankl’s grandson Alexander Vesely for the project, which will relate how the Austrian-born psychiatrist endured four Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, during the Second World War. Born in Vienna in 1905, Frankl (pictured) began cultivating an interest in psychology as a teenager and started corresponding with Sigmund Freud. He went on to study medicine at the University of Vienna and specialised in neurology and psychiatry, with a focus on depression and suicide. From 1926 onwards, he began cultivating a theory, known as logotherapy, which proposed meaning was the central motivational force in humans, not just the pursuit of pleasure. After the war, he continued to work as a psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna and published his memoir, which went on to sell more than 16 million copies. Frankl argues that the prisoners who were able to find meaning in their existence were more likely to survive the horrors of camp life. Robbins said: “The ability to find meaning in the most difficult times, even in times of injustice or extreme stress, is perhaps the most important skill we can develop in life. Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, provides the most compelling and triumphant account I have ever read of humanity’s ability to persevere through the unimaginable.”
Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning smash hit musical Jersey Boys will return to the West End’s Trafalgar Theatre in July. With music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, Jersey Boys tells the real-life story of Frankie Valli and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group The Four Seasons, from their epic rise to stardom to their eventual break-up. The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You. Jersey Boys is the winner of 65 major awards and has been seen by more than 27 million people worldwide. Details: www. jerseyboyslondon.com
The works of artist and Holocaust survivor Naomi Blake are on show at a free outdoor exhibition from the Royal Society of Sculptors. Blake’s work is being celebrated as part of the society’s Pioneering Women project, which shines a spotlight on the lives, careers and legacies of talented female sculptors. The works, which have been loaned by Blake’s children, Jonathan Blake and Anita Peleg, are displayed on the terrace of the organisation’s headquarters in South Kensington. They are Memorial to the Holocaust, 1999 Man Against The Odds III, 1986 Sanctuary and 1985. Born in Mukačevo, Czechoslovakia, in 1924, Blake was just a teenager when she was deported to and survived Auschwitz, before escaping a Nazi death march. She started a new life in Palestine and was involved in Israel’s war of
independence. It was during her recovery from a shot wound that she started to carve an olive branch and realised a newly-found passion for sculpture. Caroline Worthington, director of the Royal Society of Sculptors says: “Blake’s sculptures symbolise hope and optimism in the face of adversity, a message which surely resonates with us all at the moment.” Details: https://sculptors.org.uk
The Lost City of D Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is embracing his dark side for his latest role as a villain in Paramount’s romantic action comedy, The Lost City of D. The 31-year-old British actor stars alongside Sandra Bullock in the guise of a reclusive romance novelist, who believes there is nothing worse than getting stuck on a book tour with her cover model (Channing Tatum) until a kidnapping attempt sweeps them both into a cut-throat jungle adventure. Patti Harrison and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are on board for the project, which Bullock is producing.
Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side of the American Dream One of the most notorious Jewish mobsters of the 20th century – Bugsy Siegel – is explored in all his complexity in a captivating new biography from Michael Shnayerson. In a brief life that began in 1906 and led to a violent end in 1947, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel rose from desperate poverty to ill-gotten riches, from an early20th century family of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side to a kingdom of his own making in Las Vegas. Through the 1920s, 1930s, and most of the 1940s, Bugsy Siegel and his long-time partner in crime, Lansky, engaged in innumerable acts of violence, Meyer Lansky including founding the organised crime group, Murder, Inc, as well as bootlegging and illegal gambling. As the Second World War came to an end, Siegel saw the potential for a huge, elegant casino resort in the sands of Las Vegas. He helped bring The Flamingo to fruition, but success didn’t come easily for the casino and, just as he was beginning to turn a profit, his life was abruptly ended in a murder that remains unsolved to this day. Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side of the American Dream by Michael Shnayerson is published by Yale University Press, priced £16.99
Jewish News 1 April 2021
Business / Travel industry
With Candice Krieger
MORE PEOPLE WILL TRAVEL TO TEL AVIV THAN BEFORE The CEO of London Luton Airport tells Candice Krieger why aviation is so important and explains what pandemic safety measures have been taken onsite
he boss of London Luton year, with a 75 percent drop in passengers using Airport (LLA) says its UK airports. There was an 82 percent reduction UK to Israel route will be in LLA passengers between March 2020 and the instrumental in driving end of February 2021. its recovery from The Tel Aviv route, credited by the pandemic. Martin as one of LLA’s most imporWhile Alberto Martin, tant and busiest, will be a key driver who has been at the helm of in ensuring the airport’s recovery. LLA since 2018, does not Some 500,000 passengers anticipate passenger volumes travelled between the two returning to 2019 levels until hubs in 2019, with 35 peak 2024/25, he expects the Tel weekly departures. Even Aviv route to recover faster in 2020, when travel was and stronger than others due to heavily restricted, the route was significant pent-up demand and served between the July and the Alberto Martin successful vaccine roll-outs in both November lockdown. the UK and Israel. “Supported by the airport’s close In an exclusive interview with Jewish News proximity to the Jewish communities of London ahead of next week’s update from the governand Hertfordshire, we have established our ment on the plans for international travel, reputation as the ‘airport of choice’ for the he said: “The mix of leisure, VFR (visiting community,” said Martin. friends and relatives) and business travel Despite his projections about the time it will on the London Luton-Tel Aviv Route supports take to return to 2019 passenger numbers, he a swift recovery. More than 60 percent of predicts there could be a surge in travel to Israel the traffic in 2019 was people visiting friends this year and next as people look for alternatives and relatives. to European destinations. “This section of the market is likely to And, post-pandemic, Martin identifies an rebound fast after significant pent-up demand opportunity for more Israel flights, including being released and people booking trips to visit the possibility of a new UK to Eilat route. loved ones whom they may not have seen for “We hope to see it appear on our departure a long time.” board in the not-too-distant future,” he says. Martin said leisure travel accounted for While the pandemic has had far-reaching the majority of the rest of the traffic, which effects on the sector, aviation will be crucial for is also likely to be strongly helped by the economic recovery and also people’s longing to vaccine situation. reconnect with friends, family and places. The pandemic’s impact on the UK aviation “With many people looking forward to travelindustry has been devastating. According to ling again, and businesses needing to forge new research by travel website MyBaggage.com, the trading relationships abroad, airports need to be crisis cost airlines an estimated £20 billion last ready to respond to this demand.”
On Monday, 5 April, Boris Johnson is set to announce more information about foreign travel, a week before the government’s Global Travel Taskforce is due to report to the prime minister to help determine when and how to resume safe international travel after 17 May. Martin says: “Public health must and will always come first. The government’s roadmap out of lockdown means there is hope that travel will resume again soon, and I am confident the demand for air travel will return along with it.” He is calling for a risk-based tiered system for gradually lifting all layers of current restrictions to help get international travel moving again. “We will await announcements from government on 5 and 12 April, which we hope will enable us to be able to plan for the months ahead.”
The head of London Luton Airport is hoping to be able to welcome back travellers soon
LLA has introduced protective screens and hand gel dispensers throughout the terminal
LLA has submitted an application to increase its passenger capacity to 19 million a year
Asked if passengers should have vaccine passports, he replied: “As we are seeing across the continent from countries that have already begun to develop this technology, the UK must become leaders in the design, production and use of a global health certification process, which will form part of a wider solution to get international travel moving again.” LLA has submitted an application to up its passenger capacity from 18 to 19 million a year to accommodate the demands for travel when it does come. “Clearly, we will not reach 19 million passengers for some time yet, but taking action now is essential to prepare for what lies ahead.” Despite seeking increased capacity, Martin assures the company is “not taking our environmental responsibilities any
1 April 2021 Jewish News
Travel industry / Business
less lightly”, adding: “Sustainability is at the centre of our recovery plans. “We are committed to balancing our growth
with the impact we may have on our neighbours and the environment.” Next year, DART (Direct Air Rail Transit) will open; it is an automated people mover that will create a more seamless journey from train to plane. It will complement a new non-stop express rail service every half-hour between the airport station and London St Pancras. “This means passengers can now reach us from central London in around 30 minutes and is one of the ways we’re encouraging more passengers to travel to the airport by public transport.” Martin hopes to soon be welcoming passengers back and LLA is working hard to put safety measures in place to reassure them. Last year, LLA was the first UK airport, and one of the first in the world, to be awarded certification by Airports Council International (ACI) in its Airport Health Accreditation Programme. “We are constantly improving the layout of the terminal to speed up the travel process and we’ve introduced protective screens and hand gel dispensers throughout the terminal,” he explains. LLA has also partnered with Collinson to provide a drive-through Covid testing site for passengers. The centre provides both pre-departure and post-arrival screening, allowing them to travel to countries that require a negative Covid-19 test certificate. Martin became CEO at LLA in 2018. He joined as planning and investment director, and was responsible for the delivery of its recent
LLA was the first UK airport to be awarded certification in a special health accreditation scheme
£160m expansion project. He has 20 years’ experience in airports, holding a variety of executive roles across Europe but, unsurprisingly, says the past 12 months have been extremely challenging. This year looks equally as difficult. “The ongoing disruption over quarantine, changing travel guidance, together with Brexit uncertainty and the recent closures of borders, added significant pressure to the operations. “Without a successful aviation sector, the government’s ambitions to level up the regions of the UK and deliver a global trading Britain post-Brexit simply will be unachievable.”
His words are echoed by Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, who recently said: “The free movement of people and goods by air is vital for competition, connectivity and supporting the economic recovery.” But Martin remains optimistic and looks forward to welcoming back the north London community in the not-so-distant future. “The heart of our airport is the people it serves and the past year has been difficult for everyone. I hope the community will all be able to use our airport to take a break from the difficult year and enjoy themselves on one of our many routes.”
External Aﬀairs Oﬃcer The OCR is looking to recruit a talented and engaging External Affairs Officer, who will provide integral support in the areas of Education, Interfaith and Social Responsibility, as well as wider stakeholder engagement and issues management. The role is suited to someone with a real passion for the multiple issues the OCR works on, who has sound judgement and is committed to helping the Chief Rabbi achieve his vision of a Judaism of responsibility. You will have two years’ experience in external affairs roles, however recent graduates with strong credentials will also be considered. This is a full-time permanent role. For more information, please visit www.chiefrabbi.org/vacancies/ or contact email@example.com. The role is based at the OCR in North Finchley. The closing date for applications is Monday 19th April 2021.
Jewish News 1 April 2021
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1 April 2021 Jewish News
Torah For Today What does the Torah say about: Helping other nations
BY RABBI JONNY ROODYN The children of Israel are finally free, leaving Egypt behind and marching into the great unknown. Sorely regretting his actions, Pharaoh follows in hot pursuit with 600 horse-drawn chariots, as well as infantry and archers. With the Red Sea in front of them and their former captors behind them, the children of Israel find themselves in an impossible position and it seems like their newfound freedom will be extremely short-lived. The seventh day of Pesach commemorates the remarkable miracle of the splitting of the sea. The sea divides for just long enough to allow the Red Sea pedestrians to walk through and then comes crashing down on the Egyptian army, sending them to the bottom and untold spoils to the shore. Miracles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are
obvious, like the splitting of the sea and others less so. All rules are meant to be broken at one point or another and the Creator of the universe has the ability to suspend what we perceive as the natural order so as to achieve His desired results. Truth be told, nature is also miraculous; it’s just that we are so used to it that we take it for granted. In fact, this is representative of our continued existence as a nation, which itself is nothing short of miraculous. So, raise your glass this Shabbat and drink a toast to miracles great and small and remember the words of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that “A Jew who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.” ◆ Rabbi Jonny Roodyn is education director of Jewish Futures and serves Finchley Federation Synagogue
RABBI SHAUL ROSENBLATT There has been much ado recently about wealthy nations such as the UK ‘greedily’ grabbing vaccines. Indeed, the UK has ordered 400 million vaccines for its 67 million citizens. That’s three times as much as we need. Rwanda, on the other hand, has one million vaccines ordered for its 12 million citizens. It doesn’t sound equitable. Indeed, it is not. But, in my mind, the Torah would agree with this approach. ‘Fair’ and ‘right’ are not always synonymous. While we would all love to live in an ideal world, there are practicalities to consider. The rabbis tell us that ‘your life comes before the life of your friend’. You save yourself before you save someone else. Your family comes before strangers and your city comes before
foreign cities. While it is not stated, it is an obvious extension that your nation should come before others. However, I want to point out that the language is ‘before’, not ‘instead of’. It is common sense that you save yourself first. Your life is no less valuable than the life you might save and,
given a binary choice, it would be overly self-righteous to choose a stranger over yourself, Sydney Carlton in A Tale of Two Cities notwithstanding. Moreover, if you are not alive, how can you help someone else? So, the policy of UK first, in this circumstance, is entirely a Torah policy. Of course, UK first implies there are seconds and that is important not to forget. The UK has pledged its over-order of vaccines to developing countries and seems committed to using its time and money to help others once its own programme is complete. This is reasonable, fair and within the guidelines of Torah. Kudos to our government for getting it right. ◆ Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt is founder of Tikun UK
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Jewish News 1 April 2021
The Bible Says What? ‘We can eat an animal’s meat but not its blood’ BY RABBI DANNY RICH “And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. Anyone who eats blood shall be cut off from their people.” (Leviticus 3:17) This prohibition appears twice in the Book of Leviticus and is repeated in Deuteronomy 12:23. It is not immediately clear why it was not permissible to drink the blood of an animal, when it may be killed for food. It could well have been that the Israelites lived among other peoples who drank the blood of animals – and perhaps even humans too – and, as the Israelites sought to distinguish themselves from their neighbours, the prohibition on blood was a totemic means of so doing. The later and longer Levitical text – which states “you shall not partake of the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood”
– indicates that there may have been the idea that blood contained, or at least represented, the essence or soul of the creature concerned. Thus, the treating of the blood with respect might suggest a reverence for the life itself. This reverence for life itself underpins the system of shechita whereby meat suitable for Jews to eat must have been slaughtered and prepared in a manner that removes as much blood as it is reasonable to do so. Abraham Isaac Kook, the Chief Rabbi of Palestine from 1921 to 1935, went further. He taught that the eating of meat was “a temporary dispensation given to humanity, which has not yet reached the stage of overcoming its murderous instincts” – a rather harsh judgement, but one imitated by my three pescatarian children.
◆ Rabbi Danny Rich is a vice president of Liberal Judaism
Progressively Speaking Counting down to Shavuot and possible lockdown freedom BY RABBI DEBORAH BLAUSTEN It’s a rabbi’s dream! A whole community with 17 May in their diaries, as a mark of the start of a new epoch, a collective new beginning and the promise of togetherness. Alas, I fear this has less to do with the fact that this is the date on which Shavuot falls this year and more to do with the date’s position in our roadmap out of lockdown. While decisions about one aspect of this date are for others to make, something that each of us can do is ask what it means to mark this date Jewishly, as we count our way from Passover to Shavuot, from Exodus to Sinai through the days of the Omer. Exodus and Sinai are two defining narratives in our Jewish story, and they are inextricably linked. The Israelites were not freed from Egypt to a world free of responsibility; instead, they emerged from an enforced situation and at Sinai they entered into
a covenant with God that laid out a collective purpose, a positive definition of what it means to be a Jew. Whereas the Exodus is all about being shaped by our previous experiences, the moment of Sinai gave the Israelites a chance to begin anew. They were not told to forget slavery; indeed some of our most important ethical imperatives in Jewish tradition are rooted in the lessons of that time, but they were also now in a posi-
tion to shape their lives going forward, and to build a society based on essential values as laid out in the Ten Commandments. The layered timescales we are living with, the Omer period between Pesach and Shavuot, and the lockdown roadmap presents a real opportunity for thought. Can we use this period to consider what it means to emerge from a place of restriction into a world of freedom? Can we ask important questions about how that society ought to be? About how we treat our neighbour and live our Jewish lives? What would it look like to take this opportunity and reflect on what motivates our choices, taking ownership of our actions and turning the ‘when this is all over I really will’ thoughts of the past year into concrete actions? ◆ Rabbi Deborah Blausten serves Finchley Reform Synagogue
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Fun, games and prizes
THE JEWISH NEWS CROSSWORD 1
ACROSS 1 Hit with an open hand (4) 3 Die of hunger (6)
8 Birth of baby sheep (7) 9 Crowd (3)
B B G W D S S T Y B R E D
O E T R P N O N O A P C Q
N V H B O O A M X P X G A
N P K H Q S R X B L H M
A N S E A
F R A A P
J G N E O T
C T R C D T M A A
R R U
L B O X A P
N L Q R D F M
D B V E E K E S
Y O Y Y
T E R E B U Z O C E Z Z
FEDORA FLAT CAP MOBCAP PANAMA
PILLBOX PORK‑PIE SOMBRERO STETSON
Last issue’s solutions Crossword ACROSS: 1 Relay 4 Moist 7 Fry 8 Gesture 9 Star 10 Abet 13 Tea 15 Omen 16 View 19 Sighted 21 Ice 22 Messy 23 Yield DOWN: 1 Rift 2 Layette 3 Yogurt 4 Muse 5 IOU 6 Twenty 11 Beehive 12 Possum 14 Avidly 17 Stay 18 Bead 20 Gas
SUNHAT TOP HAT TRILBY
3 9 6 1 2 4 7 5 8
1 4 7 9 8 5 2 6 3
2 6 8 5 1 7 3 9 4
9 1 4 3 6 2 5 8 7
Each cell in an outlined block must contain a digit: a two-cell block contains the digits 1 and 2, a three-cell block contains the digits 1, 2 and 3; and so on. The same digit must not appear in neighbouring cells, not even diagonally.
See next issue for puzzle solutions.
Suguru 5 7 3 4 9 8 6 1 2
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 8 5 2 7 3 6 9 4 1
U Y F S U N H A T O B F W BERET BONNET BOWLER DERBY
M H W T T I
L M F
L R W B B S R P V K E K O P
DOWN 1 Retail (4) 2 Toting weapons (5) 4 Label (3) 5 Latin‑American ballroom choreography (5) 6 Symbolic badge or motif (6) 7 Instrument played under the chin (6) 11 Make a raised design (6) 12 Skimpy swimsuit (6) 14 Pack tightly (5) 15 Solvent similar to white spirit (5) 16 Tinted (4) 18 Blokes (3)
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 12, 23 and 25 with their letters in the grid will help you to guess the identity of other letters.
The types of hats 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.
4 3 3 1 6 4 8 7 5 3 2 7 1 4 3 8 9 1 6 2 9 5 3 6 9 5 4 2
E P P A C T A L
Fill the grid with the numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and 3x3 block contains the numbers 1 to 9.
10 Render poorer in quality by adding another substance (10) 13 Cavils (3,3,4) 17 Creditor’s note (inits)(3) 18 Niggardly (7) 19 Young child (6) 20 Manipulated (4)
4 3 1 6 7 9 8 2 5
7 8 9 2 5 1 4 3 6
6 2 5 8 4 3 1 7 9
1 3 1 3 1 4
2 4 2 4 2 3
5 1 3 1 5 1
All puzzles © Puzzler Media Ltd - www.puzzler.com
Wordsearch 3 2 5 2 3 2
1 4 1 4 1 4
2 3 2 5 2 3
2 1 2 1 2 3
4 5 4 3 5 1
1 3 1 2 4 2
4 2 4 3 1 3
1 5 1 5 4 2
3 2 3 2 1 3
K X K J E F D E E I M E Y
T U T G Z Y K R I G D L K
H F A O P G Y C U Q O O Z
L C H I N C H I L L A V O
M E P E T S N T H N P A M
O V R D J E L L A M S G L
U I G R A R W X M J F L S
Codeword S A N P I R O F S S N L P
E L I P X U U D T B I Q Q
M G M C E R Q U E B W V B
S H M T R S B S R N P U S
Z E E Y A G T E N S T I C
V R L W H R G S W A L C A
DO P E D P A E R U H E R R I NG L P V I L L N E S S A E I O X Y G E N Q E Y U U N D E R S I A ROBO T R K Y E O Y I E L D E D
L U P F R O N A T UM A E J O R
MME T E I EWE R A O Z E D O E I ON L A MON S G C O I C E S N A T E D
WT N Z K J Y X L BQUG I S D V O P E R M C H A F01/04
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