1368 - 23rd May 2024

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Lack of prosecutions over Alderney atrocities ‘a stain’

First Orthodox female rabbi to lead community p13 History maker

Sunak condemns ‘deeply unhelpful’ move by ICC

Tories and Labour at odds after prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Israeli PM


Rishi Sunak has condemned the “deeply unhelpful” actions of the International Criminal Court in seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister, along with those for Hamas leaders.

Arguing that there is no “moral equivalence” between the two sides in the wake of the 7 October attacks on Israel, the British prime minister insisted that the international court’s move would make “absolutely no di erence” to wider peace in the Middle East.

of a terrorist group. The actions of the ICC do absolutely nothing to get a pause in the fighting, to get the hostages out or aid into Gaza.”

Foreign secretary David Cameron also said in the Lords: “Of course we respect the independence of the ICC, just as we respect its independence they should respect the independence of politicians not to suddenly lose their voice and lose all their opinions about these things.”

But shadow foreign secretary David Lammy sparked anger by defending the court in the Commons on Monday saying it was the “cornerstone” of international law.

If granted by judges, the warrant would leave those sought unable to travel to more than 100 countries, including the UK, without risk of arrest.

In the Commons yesterday, the prime minister said: “When it comes to the ICC, this is a deeply unhelpful development, which is of course still subject to a final decision.

“Labour has been clear throughout this conflict that international law must be upheld,” Lammy said in parliament on Monday, after ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan filed applications for the arrests on Monday against Netanyahu, and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, as well as the commander of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Israel’s defense minister.


“There is no moral equivalence between a democratically elected government exercising its lawful right to self defence and the actions

On Wednesday, speaking at a Chatham House event Lammy said he and Labour believed in the rules based order, and that in his view politicians should concentrate on attempting

On Wednesday, speaking at a Chatham attempting

Continued on page 3


The rabbi who married a couple with a combined age of 202 has spoken of his joy at seeing “two people whose smiles are evidence of the love they enjoy”.

Rabbi Adam Wohlberg, of Philadelphia’s Temple Sinai, officiated at the wedding of Bernie Littman and Marjorie Fiterman. Both live in a care home in the city


Scotland women’s Euro 2025 match against Israel will be played behind closed doors following a decision to move branded “deeply disturbing”.

The Scottish FA said that because of “updated intelligence and following extensive security consultations with all key parties” it had decided the Euro 2025 quali-

fier at Hampden Park on 31 May would be played without spectators in the ground.

“The stadium operations team were alerted to the potential for planned disruptions to the match and as a consequence we have no option but to play the match without supporters in attendance,” its statement added.

“Measures are in place to provide an automatic and full refund to supporters who have already purchased tickets for this match. We apologise for any inconvenience but the safety of supporters, players, team sta and o cials is of paramount importance”.

The Jewish Leadership Council said it was “deeply disturbed” at the

fact fans would not be able to attend.

In a social media post, the JLC said: “Sporting boycotts of Israel do nothing to help the people of the region and instead import division from an overseas conflict to the detriment of our own community cohesion. Sport should unite us”.

Nicola Livingston, of the Scottish Council of Jewish Commu-

nities, told Jewish News: “I am pleased that the Scottish FA did not buckle in the face of opposition, and that the match will continue to take place. But I am concerned that we still face a noisy minority, and it’s crazy that we cannot go about our lives as normal, taking part in regular activities and going to football matches.”

23 May 2024 • 15 Iyar 5784 • Issue No.1368 • @JewishNewsUK PROUD VOICE OF OUR COMMUNITY FreeWeekly PaperoftheYear UK
Britain will head to the polls on July 4 - full story www.Jewishnews.co.uk p3

Antisemitism now ‘currency of hate’

Communities Secretary Michael Gove has warned that antisemitism has become the “common currency of hate” connecting Islamist extremists to those on the far right and to the hard left.

In a speech delivered at the JW3 community centre on Tuesday, he focused on criticism on “the extreme left, academics and groups such as the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party”.

He said they “jostle to share platforms with Islamist groupings, deploy aggressive language about “Zionists”, as well as “support calls for intifada and praising the resistance – a synonym for Hamas – in terms that Jewish students say cause them physical fear.”

He condemned those at proPalestine marches in the UK who chant “from the river to the sea”, saying they seek “the delegitimisation and demonisation of the state of Israel as a prelude to its dismantlement and destruction.”

He said: “Many of those on these marches are thoughtful, gentle, compassionate people –driven by a desire for peace and

an end to su ering. But they are side by side with those who are promoting hate. The organisers of these marches could do everything in their power to stop that. They don’t.”

Noting the rise of antisemitism following the 7 October Hamas attacks in Israel, Gove said: “It’s an ironclad law of history that countries which are descending into darkness are those which are becoming progressively more unsafe for Jewish individuals and the Jewish com-

munity – the Spain of the Inquisition, the Vienna of the 1900s, Germany in the Thirties, Russia in the last decade.

“It is a parallel law that those countries in which the Jewish community has felt most safe at any time are the countries where freedom is most secure at any time. The Netherlands of the 17th century. Britain in the first decades of the last century. America in the second half of that century.

“So when Jewish people are under threat, all our freedoms

are threatened. The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine. Growing antisemitism is a fever which weakens the whole body politic. ”

Gove continued: “I have a simple request of opposition parties, who I believe are absolutely sincere in their abhorrence of antisemitism. Listen to the Jewish community.”

The secretary of state made his speech to coincide with the publication of a governmentcommissioned report from Lord Walney on political violence and disruption.

Gove added: “I see directly in my work tackling extremism and promoting community cohesion, there is one thing which –increasingly – unites the organisations and individuals which give cause for extremist concern.

“Antisemitism is the common currency of hate. It is at the dark heart of their world view. Whether Islamist, far right or hard left.”

Responding to the speech for Labour, deputy leader and shadow communities secretary Angela Rayner said: “There is no place in Britain for antisemitic hate and those who push this poison should face the full force of the law.”

Welcome for Lord Walney political violence report

Communal organisations have welcomed a report by the government’s adviser on political violence which recommends strengthening the laws around protests.

Speaking at the launch of a lengthy report containing 41 recommendations for the government to consider, Lord Walney said there had been an “explosion” of antisemitic conduct including threats and intimidation at anti-Israel demos since 7 October.

In response to the publication of the report both the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust welcomed the former Labour MP John Woodcock’s findings.

The CST said in a statement there was a need to balance the “right to free speech against protecting communities from harassment” and to prevent extremism and division.

They said they wished to work with the government to ensure Walney’s recommendations were implemented.

The Board also said the report, Protecting Our Democracy from Coercion, “rightly sets out serious concerns with the way in which protests claiming to embody democracy are in fact stifling it”. In a series of recommendations, Lord Walney said the government should restrict protest organisations that use criminal tactics, as well as consider creating protest bu er

zones around MPs’ constituency o ces and local council chambers.

He noted that many Jewish people were fearful to travel to central London over fears about being targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters.

Speaking to journalists in Westminster, Walney argued there was now a “serious blindspot” towards far-left activists entering into what he said was an “unholy alliance” with Islamists.

He singled out protest groups such as Palestine Action, as well as Just Stop Oil on a di erent issue, accusing activists linked to them of breaking the law.

Walney, who was introduced by the Counter Extremism Group’s Davis Lewin, argued there was a need for the public order act to be amended to make their activities illegal.

Home secretary James Cleverly has said he would carefully consider Walney’s recommendations.


Israel recalled its ambassadors to Ireland and Norway after the they announced a decision to recognise Palestine as a state.

Foreign minister Israel Katz said: “I have instructed the immediate recall of Israel’s ambassadors to Ireland and Norway for consultations in light of these countries’ decisions to recognise a Palestinian state. I’m sending a clear and unequivocal message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security.”

Hamas welcomed the move, saying: “This is an important step on the road to base the right of the Palestinian people over its land, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said Ireland, Norway as well as Spain will “now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give e ect to that decision. I am confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.”

Katz said the decision by the three European states sends a message that terrorism pays.

He added: “This distorted step is an injustice to the memory of the victims of 7/10, a blow to e orts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists, which undermines the chance for peace and questions Israel’s right to self-defence. Israel will not remain silent –there will be further severe consequences. “

New legislation aimed at protecting free speech on university campuses are currently “not fit for purpose” and could remove “crucial and hard won safeguards for Jewish students” and “potentially allowing antisemitism to grow”, a senior government adviser has warned.

In a damning rebuke of a current O ce for Students consultation on the Higher Education Freedom of Speech Act, Lord Mann claimed that the proposed advice could leave it acceptable for posters saying ‘Intifada until victory’ to remain on approved university notice boards.

His warning about the Higher Education legislation – backed by

Rishi Sunak to protect academic freedoms – came on the same day the Union of Jewish Students also expressed fears to communities secretary Michael Gove about the spread of Holocaust denial.

Speaking earlier at the JW3 community centre in Hampstead, north London, Gove conceded that “a number of students” had also raised concerns about the impact of the new laws on the Jewish community on campuses.

Mann, the government’s independent antisemitism adviser, also claimed that it would be possible for a Holocaust Denial Society to register at a university Freshers Fair, if the correct process under current guidance was followed.

The non-a liated peer also claimed that it would be possible for “free Palestine gra ti” to be scrawled on to a Jewish society poster “on an o cial noticeboard”.

2 Jewish News News / Gove speech / Envoys recalled / Walney report / Free speech 23 May 2024
Michael Gove delivers his speech at JW3 on Tuesday Lords Walney and Mandelson @lmharpin Irish PM announcing recognition of Palestine


Pickles apology over Alderney

Post-Holocaust envoy Lord Pickles has apologised and said it is “a stain on the reputation of the UK” that the perpetrators of atrocities on the Channel Island of Alderney “did not receive justice on British soil”.

He was speaking yesterday at the launch of his Alderney Expert Review at the Imperial War Museum. But historian Prof Anthony Glees, said there were at least four “coverups” to explain why Britain did not prosecute the Nazis who had run concentration camps on the island.

In fact, he said, the “intent” to bring perpetrators to justice was there, but because Britain had handed material to the Soviet Union as part of a wartime agreement, in the expectation that the Soviets would prosecute, nothing was done.

This landmark review was conducted by 12 academics from four countries, (Britain, France, Germany and Portugal), and was commissioned by Lord Pickles as a way of putting an end to “distressing and ridiculous claims about what happened on Alderney”. Additional input came from researchers in Spain, Canada, and Israel’s Yad Vashem.

The island was invaded by the Germans in July 1940 after almost all its British population was evacuated to the mainland. Grim years ensued, with slave workers on Alderney being forced to build fortresses for Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall”. The panel of academics, said its chairman Dr Paul Sanders, was confident that its

final figures of “a maximum of 1134 deaths – but probably more between 641 and 1027”, were correct.

One of the academics, Canada’s Robert Jan van Pelt, ridiculed claims made in the Daily Mail by retired British Army officers Richard Kemp and John Weigold, who wrote that “tens of thousands” had lost their lives on Alderney, later claiming that “a minimum of 40,000 slave labourers died… perhaps as many as 70,000”. Van Pelt dismissed such claims as “not plausible”.

Most of those who died were citizens of the Soviet Union. But a large number of those who worked on Alderney were Jews from France (although not all of those were French Jews). French academic Benoit Luc, who works for its Ministry of Defence and runs the National Office of War Veterans, estimated there were 590 Jews from France on the island during the Nazi occupa-

tion. Five hundred and eighty six of that number were repatriated after the war, but Luc’s figures indicate that four French Jews died and were buried on Alderney; Professor Caroline Sturdy Coll, a key member of the panel, has identified four more Jewish dead, buried on the island.

Above all, Lord Pickles said, he wanted the review to highlight that while there were “atrocities” on Alderney and there had been appalling living conditions, “those who called it a mini-Auschwitz were deeply insulting to those who died [in Auschwitz], and do not understand the sheer weight and vileness of the Nazi killing machine”. He had been “distressed” by “the continual misleading information about Alderney”.

The intention now is to implement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance charter for safeguarding sites.

‘Game-changing’ Saudi deal

President Isaac Herzog said the deal on the table for normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a historic game-changer and should be pursued.

“Two days ago, I met with the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and heard from him what was officially announced yesterday—that there is an option for normalisation with Saudi Arabia. This is a move that could bring about tremendous change, a historic ‘game-changer’ that constitutes a victory over the empire of evil,” Herzog said.

“I hope that this possibility is being seriously considered, as the empire of evil sought on October 7 to destroy the chance for normalisation. Our struggle, in the end, is not only a fight against Hamas. It is a wider, strategic, global, and historic battle, and we must do everything to integrate into the grand vision of normalisation,” he added.

Jake Sullivan visited both Saudi Arabia and Israel in the past week to promote a deal that would see normalisation between the two countries in what would be a mega deal that would include a defence pact between Riyadh and Washington, as well as a path towards Palestinian statehood.

“The semi-final version of the draft strategic agreements between the kingdom and the United States of America, which are almost

The parents of the five female observers kidnapped from the Nahal Oz base, who remain in Hamas captivity, yesterday released video footage to the public and media of their daughters’ abduction.

The video, captured by the body cameras of Hamas terrorists on 7 October, lasts just over three minutes and has been edited and censored to exclude scenes such as those of the murdered men and women at the Nahal Oz base and in the bomb shelter from which the observers were taken.

Seven observers were taken alive from the Nahal Oz base. Ori Megidish was rescued by IDF forces after 23 days in captivity; Noa Marciano was murdered by Hamas terrorists while in captivity, and her body was returned by the IDF for burial in Israel.

Five women, Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Daniela Gilboa, and Naama Levy, have been held captive by Hamas for 229 days.

The footage reveals the violent and traumatising treatment the girls endured on the day of their abduction.

The full video footage will be distrib-

being finalised — and what is being worked on between the two sides in the Palestinian issue to find a credible path — were discussed,” a statement from the meeting between Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman read.

The normalisation would include a two-state solution that “meets the aspirations and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

Benjamin Netanyahu rejected such a plan last week after Benny Gantz called for him to approve a sixpoint strategy that would include normalisation with Saudi Arabia.

“Would Gantz support a Palestinian state as part of a normalisation process with Saudi Arabia?… Netanyahu opposes bringing the Palestinian Authority into Gaza, and establishing a Palestinian state that will inevitably be a terror state,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said in response to Gantz’s demands.

uted. Amit Levy, brother of Naama said: “Naama is the best person I know. I miss her so much. And she was kidnapped from Nahal Oz alongside her friends. And even in the horrible video where she is being taken brutally by the terrorists, I can feel her strength and I can feel that she’s going to be back alive. Hopefully soon to celebrate her 20th birthday at home with her family and friends. I want to support you all for giving us your support and strength.”

The Hostages Families Forum said: “Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now. The State of Israel cannot accept a reality where its citizens constantly feel their lives are threatened and suffer from unrelenting fear and anxiety.

“With each passing day, it becomes more challenging to bring the hostages back home – the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for proper burial. The Israeli government must not waste another moment; it must return to the negotiating table today!”


Continued from page 1 to bring about a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a statement the Board of Deputies also said the application for arrest warrants was an “entirely unacceptable attempt at moral equivalence between Hamas – responsible for the October 7th mass terror attacks – and Israel.”

The Board claimed that the ICC application “appears to absolve Hamas from all responsibility” for the current situation in Gaza.

But in its own statement, advocacy group Yachad expressed disappointment that “mainstream Jewish community bodies in the UK” were questioning the independence and credibility of the ICC.

“The independence of the judiciary is a bedrock principle in democratic societies,” Yachad said.Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video-recorded statement:“The outrageous decision by the ICC pros-

ecutor, Karim Khan, to seek arrest warrants against the democratically elected leaders of Israel is a moral outrage of historic proportions. It will cast an everlasting mark of shame on the international court,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu accused Khan of creating a “twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas. This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR and Hitler.”

U.S. President Joe Biden also lashed out at the prosecutor, rejecting the “outrageous” decision by Khan: “Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. Let me be clear: we reject the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders.”


Jewish News 3 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024
review / Hostage footage / Herzog hope / ICC warrants / News
President Herzog: hopeful The expert review on Alderney was commissioned by Lord Pickles Relatives of hostages this week in Westminster, central London Photo E Jacobs Photography

Hitler’s stadium to host Shoah exhbit for Euros

An exhibition on the Nazi persecution of Jewish athletes is to run throughout next month’s European Football Championships in the grounds of the Olympic Stadium which Hitler built to stage the 1936 Berlin Games, writes Jenni Frazer Sports, Crowds, Power is a joint project of the World Jewish Congress, the Berlin Sports museum and the group What Matters, which works to combat antisemitism and racism in sport.

Sited at the Haus des Deutschen Sports (originally a Nazi construct) inside the Olympic complex, the exhibition shows how sport was used to create a common identity in Germany, and how it was leveraged as punishment in concentration camps.

Cory Weiss, of the WJC, said there would also be stories of pre-Holocaust Jewish football clubs “and how the Nazis’ racial ideology led to their destruction and the persecution and murder of athletes”.

At the same time, a travelling exhibition Football and Remembrance – organised by What Matters and the World Jewish Congress in co-operation with the cultural arm of the German Football Association – will make its way to the 10 host cities where the European Championships will be played.

Football fans will be encouraged to visit memorials, places of remembrance and museums to learn about the interwoven history of sports facilities and places of Nazi persecution and to hear about the lives and suffering of sportsmen and women who were persecuted.

Under the umbrella of Football and Remembrance, Lord Mann, the UK govern-

ment’s independent antisemitism adviser, is working with What Matters to offer England fans the opportunity to visit the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, liberated by British forces in April 1945.

He said: “We’ve worked closely with What Matters for many years. Together with them and the [English] Football Association, which is putting money into this initiative, there will be a free coach – or coaches – for England supporters and some FA officials to go to Bergen-Belsen.”

Visitors will travel to the former concentra-

tion camp on 17 June, the day after England play Serbia in their first Euro Championship fixture. “At Bergen-Belsen we will be looking at football and the Holocaust, as well as the camp itself and its liberation by British forces,” Lord Mann said.

Participation in the visit will be organised through the England Travel Club. Those attending will be guided through the camp by an expert from the Bergen-Belsen education centre. Lord Mann added that he hoped any Jewish England supporters at the champion-

ships would contact him on mannjl@parliament.uk if they wished to join the visit.

The championships run from 14 June to the final on 14 July. “If England get to the final,” Lord Mann said, “they will be playing in Berlin for the first time. We are looking at doing something [on antisemitism] in Berlin around the final.”

Scotland will be playing in Dortmund and the Scottish sports minister, Maree Todd, is due to visit and see what is being done there to combat antisemitism.


A history teacher from Nottingham held a 300strong audience spellbound on Sunday night as he told members and supporters of the ’45 Aid Society of his mission to help young deaf people learn about the Holocaust.

Domonic Townsend teaches at Nottingham University Samworth Academy, or NUSA. For the past three years he and colleagues have been working with D/deaf students and have successfully created a vocabulary of about 20 words relating to the Holocaust, which can be rendered in British Sign Language. The new terminology includes the signing for ‘death march’, ‘Gestapo’, ‘Kindertransport’ and ‘liberation’. Townsend told the audience: “We wanted to ensure that deaf pupils have the same level of Holocaust education as their hearing counterparts”. He called the work “transformative” and unveiled his latest project, a BSL choir of students singing the English lyrics of Matisyahu’s song, One Day. Townsend’s work at NUSA is supported by the ’45 Aid Society, whose chair, Angela Cohen, said it was “an honour” to have him address the annual reunion event.

The ’45-ers’ reunion this year was – inevitably – heavily weighted in favour of those of the second and third generation, though a highlight of the evening was an interview with one of the youngest survivors, Jackie Young.

Speaking to actress Louisa Clein, Young, who arrived in Britain aged three in 1945, spoke of being adopted by a loving north London Jewish couple, who refused to discuss his previous life or his biological parents. He discovered that he had been born Jona Spiegel in Vienna – and that he had spent two years, eight months, in Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia – only when he needed papers confirming his Jewish status in order to get married.

Young was one of six Jewish children taken to live at a house called Bulldog’s Bank in Sussex, where they formed part of a psychological study by Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund, one of the few studies of survivor children. Now, he told Clein, his greatest ambition “is to find a photograph of my biological parents”.

An Austrian priest who only discov ered his Jewish roots after fleeing the Nazis on the Kindertransport has died in London, aged 94.

Born 12 August 1929, the Rev Francis Wahle was baptised and grew up as a Catholic.

All of his grandparents were Jewish but he attended a Catholic school in Vienna’s Judenplaz. His father, Karl had converted in 1921 and his mother, Hedwig (nee Brunner) did so in 1940/41.

priesthood, he was ordained in 1965, staying at the English College in Rome from 1959 to 1966.

His pastoral work at Westminster Cathedral, London, included serving as Westminster Hospital Chaplain; he then took charge of part of Enfield Parish, and later moved to Queensway until his retirement aged 75.

The Nazis’ Nuremberg laws deemed his family Jewish and so, forced to leave his school, at the age of nine, he and his eight-year old sister Anna escaped Austria via Holland, arriving at Liverpool Street Station on 12 January 1939.

The two were separated; while Anna spent a ‘very miserable’ time with Ursula nuns in London, Francis was first taken to a Catholic home for German-speaking refugee children, then to Bankton House, in Sussex.

He read economics at University College London followed by a chartered accountancy course before starting work with the John Lewis Partnership. Feeling a pull towards the

In 1945/46, he discovered that his parents had emerged from hiding from the Gestapo in Vienna. His father Karl became a Supreme Court Judge, a member of the Supreme Restitution Commission, and later First President of the Supreme Court. Karl, together with both Francis and Anna, had an audience with the then Pope, who thanked Karl for their service to God.

Anna joined the Congregation of Our Lady of Zion, becoming Sister Hedwig at the end of the war. She later returned to Vienna and co-founded, then became director of the Information Centre for Christian and Jewish Understanding.

In November 2023, Francis met with King Charles III as part of the 85th anniversary Kindertransport commemorations. He died on 15 May at University College Hospital.

Jewish News 4 www.jewishnews.co.uk
Holocaust exhibition / Deaf education / Refugee mourned 23 May 2024
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Berlin’s Olympic Stadium will host Sports Crowds, Power from 23 May until the end of July A Vienna HaKoah football shirt The meeting of the ’45 Aid Society Francis Wahle

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A rabbi charged with two sexual assault offences pleaded not guilty in a hearing on Friday.

Judge John Lodge, the resident judge at Harrow Crown Court, heard the plea from Rabbi Chaim Halpern, 65, in a session held at Hendon Magistrates as the Crown Court building is temporarily closed.

A full trial is due to begin on 11 November. It is expected to last for six or seven days.

Much of Friday’s hearing concerned technical legal matters, relating to the trial. Further hearings regarding different aspects of the trial proceedings are due to be heard in June, July, August and September.

Rabbi Halpern, appearing under his birth name of Aaron Halpern, lives in Golders Green. He became the subject of a police investigation after an unnamed woman made allegations against him in an interview broadcast on Israeli TV in December 2022.

The alleged offences were said to have taken place on 1 June 2022. He has always denied the allegations.

Chief makes plea for Bevis Marks

Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis has made a direct appeal to protect Bevis Marks as it was revealed that almost 1,000 people had objected to renewed proposals for a 45-storey tower block that could overshadow the historic shul.

In a strongly worded letter to Lord Mayor of London, Prof Michael Raymond Mainelli, the Chief Rabbi says he is “saddened” by having to write a second objection to planning proposals tabled with the Corporation of the City of London. He previously wrote to the lord mayor’s predecessor, Alderman William Russell.

Bevis Marks, the oldest synagogue in Britain in continuous use, is under threat from a development “on the doorstep of the synagogue”, Rabbi Mirvis says. With “very limited changes” to the previous proposal, the new tower “has the potential to significantly affect the natural light that can reach the building. This will, in turn, disrupt prayers taking place inside, and the use of the courtyard outside. It would have a notable impact on the atmosphere that Bevis Marks is so famed for around the Jewish world, to the detriment of those worshipping there.”

Rabbi Mirvis’s letter adds that the granting of the proposal “would be a regrettable development with implications for rights of religious practice, precisely in the place where Jews first enjoyed these rights in England fol-

lowing the 17th century resettlement. That would be a tragic irony.”

The objections came from many who are members of Bevis Marks as well as from nonSephardi members of the Jewish community.

Simon Rozas, writing from north-west London, said: “I work near the building. Most City workers do not realise the historical and current importance of the adjacent synagogue to European history of the Jews, particularly the refugees from Spain and Portugal. It is similar in importance to the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, or the Altneu in Prague. No planning authority would even consider putting a high rise near those buildings, or near St Paul’s Cathedral, St Peter’s or Agia Sophia.”


The BBC has apologised for “the phrasing of the question” after a BBC London radio presenter, Eddie Nestor, referred three times to what he called “the Jewish lobby” during an on-air discussion with a candidate for London mayor.

The conversation with Lib Dem candidate Rob Blackie took place last month as Nestor wondered why it was seldom possible to find all the candidates together at a mayoral hustings.

Referring to an event held by London Jewish Forum at JW3, chaired by Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer, Nestor said: “The only time all four of you were together … was for the Jewish lobby. Why is it that lobby is so much more powerful than people with disabilities, why is it [the Jewish lobby] so much more powerful than people who are worried about the safety of women and girls, the aged voter.”

It felt to him, Nestor said, as though the hustings were an opportunity “whether it be on special interests, [or] ableism, whether it be blacks, gays, whoever”. Blackie said he agreed.

The BBC, responding to Jewish News, said: “We apologise for the phrasing of the question. Our intention was not to perpetuate harmful stereotypes or imply undue influence.

“We value diversity and are committed to using language that accurately reflects different perspectives. This has been discussed with the presenter and the wider editorial team.”

Aliyah: Building Dreams & Saving Tax

Jewish News 8 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 News / Bevis Marks / Rabbi charged / BBC apology
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The shul faces a new planning threat Chaim Halpern

Jewish students’ mental health burdens revealed

The largest ever survey of Jewish students in the UK has revealed that an overwhelming number are a ected by mental health challenges.

The National Jewish Student Survey 2024, of which 85 percent of responses were received before the Hamas atrocities of 7 October, is only the second comprehensive study of the Jewish student experience from UJS.

The organisation represents 9,000 students, across 75 Jewish Societies (JSocs) in the UK and Ireland.

The survey recorded more than 1,000 student submissions between June and November 2023 and highlights a range of experiences from antisemitism and Israel experiences to mental health, Jewish life on campus, and post-university plans.

Seventy-four percent of Jewish students have reported experiencing a mental health di culty in the past 12 months, which compares with 57 percent of British students, as recorded by the mental health charity Student Minds in 2023.

A total of 29 di erent mental health di culties were reported by Jewish students, including ‘stress’ (44 percent),

‘anxiety disorders’ (37 percent) and ‘depression’ (30 percent).

Nearly half of all Jewish students (44 percent) study in one of six cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Nottingham, and Oxford.

Over the past decade the number of Jewish students at campuses like Manchester have decreased (-37 percent since 2011) while others such as Bristol have grown in the size of their Jewish populations (+200 percent).

The survey also found that top worries for survey respondents are the cost of living, events in Israel, antisemitism and climate change.

Thirty-nine percent of Jewish stu-

dents a liate with modern Orthodoxy, with Reform and Liberal students making up 24 percent. Masorti students make up 8 percent; 15 percent of Jewish students say they are ‘just Jewish’.

The report adds that UJS’ Jewish Societies and national UJS programming are the most popular Jewish provision, with 89 percent and 63 percent of students participating respectively.

Forty percent of Jewish students directly experienced antisemitism.

More than three-quarters reported ‘casual’ antisemitism.

Only about a third were comfortable talking about Israel at university.

Jewish students have strong and positive feelings about Israel: only 14 percent would not identify as Zionist.

Nearly every respondent attend a Pesach seder each year, 95 percent light Chanukah candles, and 86 percent said they fast on Yom Kippur.

To facilitate the National Jewish Student Survey, UJS partnered with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, CST, Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jewish News, Progressive Jewish Students (PJS), University Jewish Chaplaincy, and UJIA.


Cambridge University said it would host last week’s graduations at an alternative location as a pro-Palestine protest camp remained outside the venue that has hosted ceremonies since the 18th century.

Protesters pitched tents on a lawn outside Senate House, with graduation ceremonies due to take place there on Friday and Saturday. The university said in a statement on Thursday that it had taken the “very di cult decision” to hold the events at an undisclosed “alternative location”.

A Cambridge University spokesperson said: “All students who want to graduate this weekend will still be able to attend their degree congre-

gation at an alternative location that is fitting of the occasion. We are confident that ceremonies will be a memorable and enjoyable experience for students and their guests.”

An encampment appeared outside King’s College a fortnight ago. The students have threatened to continue their protest until a set of demands are met, and chanted: “Let your students graduate; come and negotiate.”

The university said in an earlier statement that it would be “happy to talk with our students and engage with them” but it was “impossible to have a conversation with an anonymous group”.

Jewish News 9 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 Student health / Cambridge graduations / News
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Nearly three-quarters report difficulty Pro-Palestine protesters’ tents forced the change

News / Hostage funerals /

Four hostages buried in Israel

The bodies of hostages Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter were laid to rest on Sunday, seven months after they were killed.

The IDF announced that it had recovered their bodies on Friday night in a military operation in Gaza.

All three had been kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova Music festival on 7 October. Shani Louk’s body was dragged through Gaza on a pickup truck with terrorists celebrating her kidnapping.

Louk, 22, was laid to rest in Srigim near Beit Shemesh, with her mother saying it was a “relief when the army informed us that they’d found her body and that it was complete”.

Louk was declared dead in October after the army found fractions of her skull. But the families of Amit Buskila and Itzhak Gelerenter were still hoping that they were alive in Gaza.

Thousands attended Buskila’s funeral at the cemetery in Kiryat Gat. Buskila’s mother, Ilana, said at the funeral: “I prayed for a different ending to the torment I’ve been through.

“I was lucky to have you for 28 years. You wrapped me in love, you were my inspiration… you entered the hearts of the people of Israel.”

The family of 56-year-old Itzhak Gelerenter had asked media not to attend the funeral, but his brother Itay told Army Radio that the family can be comforted by the fact that: “We have a grave, we have somewhere to cry, somewhere to fall apart.”

Itzhak’s daughter, Yarden, told 103FM radio: “We are grateful for the opportunity to say goodbye properly. There is comfort in that..

this is the first time I have said ‘good morning’ since October 7, specifically on the day of my father’s funeral, because the lack of knowledge [about him] has been too heavy a weight to walk around with and live with.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement after the IDF announced it had retrieved the three bodies, saying: “This terrible loss is heartbreaking. My wife Sara and I grieve with the families; all of our hearts are with them in,their



Three Israeli government ministers issued calls to Benjamin Netanyahu this week amid a crisis in the coalition over the war in Gaza and the path forward.

Defence minister Yoav Gallant was the first to urge the prime minister to draw up a postwar plan for the territory.

“I call on Netanyahu, to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza strip, and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza strip will be raised immediately,” Gallant said in a speech to the nation on Wednesday.

hour of heavy sorrow. We will return all of our hostages, the living and the deceased alike. I commend our brave forces whose determined action has returned the sons and daughters to their own border.”

President Herzog also offered his condolences to the families, saying: “My heart goes out in sympathy to the grieving and tormented families of the hostages Itzhak Gelerenter, Amit Buskila and Shani Louk, whose bodies were rescued from Gaza and will be brought for eternal rest in Israel.

“My thanks go to the IDF, the Shin Bet and the security forces for their tireless efforts, as we all carry the hope and prayer for the speedy return of all the other hostages. May the memory of those we have lost be blessed.”

The body of 53-year-old hostage Ron Benjamin was also retrieved, but the announcement was made on Saturday evening. He was killed while cycling near the Gaza border on 7 October and then his body was taken by the terrorists to Gaza. Benjamin was be laid to rest on Monday.

At least 45 years in jail for ‘revenge’ murderer

A man who murdered a stranger in the street in “revenge” for the Israel-Gaza conflict has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 45 years.

Ahmed Alid, 45, stabbed Terence Carney six times in Hartlepool on 15 October, eight days after Hamas attacked Israel.

Minutes earlier he tried to kill his housemate, Javed Nouri, by hacking at him while he slept.

“influence the British government”. The attack on Alid’s housemate Nouri was “an attempt to punish him for converting to Christianity”. In a holding cell at Middlesbrough police station after his arrest, Alid said in Arabic that “Allah willing, Gaza would return to be an Arab country” and that he would have continued his “raid” if his hands had not been injured.

On Sunday, finance minister Betzalel Smotrich issued demands to Netanyahu, saying a “public ultimatum must be issued to Hezbollah that they completely stop firing and withdraw all forces to beyond the Litani River”.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz on Saturday gave an ultimatum to Netanyahu. He said the prime minister must “formulate and approve a plan of action” to achieve six strategic goals by 8 June or he would resign from the government. Gantz’s demands, Netanyahu fired back, would mean an “end to the war and defeat for Israel, abandoning the majority of the hostages, leaving Hamas in power, and creating a Palestinian state”. Gantz responded that he did not think the Palestinian Authority should govern Gaza, nor should there be a Palestinian state.

Doorbell footage showed Carney, 70, who was walking in the town centre, shout “no, no” as Alid stabbed him. Prosecutors at Teesside crown court said it was a deliberate attempt to target Carney before Alid walked off, leaving his victim for dead.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb told Alid he had “hoped to frighten the people of Britain and undermine the freedoms they enjoy” when he murdered Carney.

The judge said he intended it as revenge for Israel’s response to the Hamas attack and to

. The judge ruled that Alid had committed terrorist offences when he killed Carney and attempted to murder Nouri. Carney’s wife, Patricia, said in a statement read to the court that she could no longer go into town because it was “too painful” to be near the spot where her husband had been murdered.

Alid, an asylum seeker from Morocco, was found guilty last month of four charges, including murder.


French police have shot dead an armed suspect who tried to burn down a synagogue in the northwestern city of Rouen.

The man reportedly had a knife and an iron bar and when he went towards the police an officer shot him.

Police were called at about 06:45 (05:45 BST) after smoke was seen rising from the shul, local reports said. Firefighters at the scene eventually brought the fire under con-

trol inside the synagogue. There appeared to be no victims other than the armed man, the mayor said.

Damage inside the synagogue has been described as significant.

“I’m really upset, it’s catastrophic,” said the head of Rouen’s Jewish community, Natacha Ben Haïm. A petrol bomb had been thrown through a window, setting the synagogue alight, she said. The walls and furniture were left blackened by the fire.

The president of France’s Consistoire Central Jewish worshippers body Elie Korchia added that police “avoided another antisemitic tragedy”.

Prosecutors said two investigations were under way: into the arson attack on a place of worship and into the death of the man.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin praised police “for their responsiveness and courage “.

France has seen a surge in antisemitism since Hamas attacked southern Israel last October leading to the current war in Gaza.

Last week a memorial in Paris to 3,900 men and women who helped rescue Jews during the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two was daubed with red-painted hands. France has the third largest Jewish community in the world, after Israel and the US.

www.jewishnews.co.uk 10 Jewish News
murder 23 May 2024
cabinet / ‘Revenge’
Tragic: Itzhak Gelerenter, Amit Buskila, Ron Benjamin and Shani Louk Challenges: Gallant (left) and Gantz Ahmed Alid Mourners at the funeral of Shani Louk, 22, in Srigim near Beit Shemesh French officers in Rouen
Jewish News 11 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024
Jewish News 12 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024

A mother set to graduate from Yeshibat Mahayana in New York has been speaking about becoming the first Orthodox female rabbi to lead a UK community

First Orthodox female rabbi to be ordained ROUND TRIP FOR BENDICKS MINTS

Miriam Lorie says she has chosen to be known as “rabbi” rather than “rabba”, the title used by London School of Jewish Studies lecturer Lindsay TaylorGutharz, because “the word in Hebrew is not gendered”.

She says: “It simply means ‘teacher’, so it doesn’t need a gendered addition. And I think we’re at a place where women can take that title without the same controversy that it would have had a few years ago.”

Currently “rabbi in training” at Kehillat Nashira, the partnership minyan in Borehamwood, rabbi-elect Lorie is optimistic about the pace of change within the Jewish community and the Orthodox world in general.

She told Jewish News: “It is very hard to find halachic objections to women conducting life cycle events. Perhaps the only thing that might be called into question would be a wedding — and even so, a rabbi who conducts a wed-

ding is a bit like a master of ceremonies role. You give the dvar Torah, but you’re not actually the one who marries the couple. They are married by having two witnesses, having the ketubah, the ring, and the right combination of words at the right time. So if I conducted everything in the halachic way, which I have been taught to do, I don’t think even that could be called into question.”

The Chief Rabbi has previously sent a message to United Synagogue rabbis and rebbetzins about partnership min-

yanim, telling them that such services could not be held in US congregations. He said there was “virtually complete consensus within the Orthodox rabbinate” on the matter.

But the future Rabbi Lorie was more confident that there was a shift in opinion — “even within the United Synagogue”.

She said: “I think the fact that we are struggling to find halachic objections to life cycle events indicates that it is very hard to find halachic objections to women becoming rabbis.” There was increasingly, she said, “a recognition that in the world we are living in, women are judges and lawyers and doctors”. It did not make sense to say women could not have that level of authority within Judaism.

And she was hopeful that within a decade the idea of partnership minyanim would be accepted within the United Synagogue, which she praised for “working very hard” to improve the role of women in its lay structure.

Three other British-based women are enrolled in the Yeshivat Maharat training programme and will graduate in the next few years.

 Opinion, page 22

Bendicks are on the menu again, the London Beth Din said this week, when it disclosed that they have regained their certification.

As Jewish News reported in December, the KLBD logo was removed from the chocolate mints because of “necessary changes made at their production facility”.

Now it has been revealed that the KLBD logo will return to the packaging over the next few months, and that available stock of all varieties remains kosher-certified whether with or without the logo.

Rabbi Elie Schoemann,

interim director, KLBD, said: “We are so pleased to be able to make this announcement today.

“We had heard rumours of stockpiling in parts of the Jewish community and are relieved that kosher consumers can now buy Bendicks from any store in any part of the country.

“I would like to thank the Bendicks and KLBD teams for making this possible. In a world full of difficult news, we hope this small ray of sunshine will bring some happiness to Friday night dinner tables across the community.”

13 www.jewishnews.co.uk Jewish News 23 May 2024
rabbi / Kosher mints / News
Student rabbi Miriam Lorie
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Afghan escapes to the UK

Engineer who restored historic Jewish sites tells of community in Herat

An Afghan engineer whose recent work saving Jewish cultural heritage in Afghanistan had put him on a Taliban blacklist has made it safely to the UK.

Farid (not his real name) got out via Iran after his wife was granted a student visa from a British university to study here. They arrived recently with their young son.

Farid worked on sites in the north-west of the war-torn country in 2019. “We restored Jewish cemeteries, places of worship and some historical areas that were unprofessionally restored by the UN from 2013 to 2018,” he said.

“Our role was to find defects, weak areas that needed restoration. . As part of our work, we also met people who had lived with the Jews of Herat when they were here.”

One of them was 75-year-old Ali Khan, he says, who spent his childhood and teenage years playing with Jewish children and living alongside Jewish neighbours in the old city of Herat, where most people speak

Persian. Known for its wine, Herat lies in a fertile valley on the ancient Silk Road connecting east and west, where Jews carved their prayers in Hebrew and Aramaic on mountain rock.

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, only 280 Jewish families remained in Herat, and almost all had left by the 1990s. A decade later, the Aga Khan Trust began renovating its four synagogues. Some became schools and nurseries.

Khan told Farid and the team that the city’s mosques and synagogues “were located in the same

area… everyone worshipped in the same way. When the Jews were living in Herat, there was no di erence between us and them. What they said, what they did, there was no di erence.

“We never had any controversy. They were good people. They did

not follow our religion, and we did not follow theirs.” Farid can recount the comments because he wrote a report at the time.

Farid is a Pashtun, a minority in Herat, and was interested in the history of Jews in the region, not least because some Pashtuns claim their descent from the Ten Lost Tribes of the Israelites. His work was funded by Jewish organisations in the United States keen to preserve Jewish history, as well as Jewish families keen to maintain the graves of their late family members.

“They want to come, even if it means risking their security,” he says. “They want to visit the graves of their forebears because it is important to them. Jewish people have so much respect for their ancestors,” he says with a look of sincerity and admiration.

Will the Taliban preserve the heritage, as they promised? He pauses, considering his answer carefully. “They claim they will, but I’m not sure.”

The devastating events of 7th October brought together the people of Israel and strengthened the connection that Jews around the world have with the land they call home and those that live there. Leaving a gift in your will to UJIA will ensure that this bond, one that has lasted thousands of years, continues long into the future.

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Jewish News 23 May 2024 Special report / News
Farid restored cemeteries and places of worship in north-west Afghanistan
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Britain likely to restore its funding of UNRWA JEWISH HOPEFUL

The United Nations Palestinian relief agency UNRWA can expect the UK to restore funding, deputy foreign minister Andrew Mitchell has said.

Confirming that the government is still awaiting an O ce of Internal Oversight Services report from the United Nations, he told MPs: “The house should expect that we will be restoring funding to make sure humanitarian support is available.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development O ce paused funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in January, after the government heard allegations that some of its sta were implicated in the 7 October attacks, and had shown support for Hamas.

But Lib Dem defence spokesperson Richard Foord told the Commons on Monday: “The Colonna report (into UNRWA, dated April 2024) found that

Israeli authorities have yet to provide proof of their claims that UN sta in Gaza are involved in terrorist organisations.

“For the supply of aid to those Palestinians in Gaza who are innocent, the UNRWA is the only serious organisation capable of it. Why won’t the British government follow the lead of our Australian, Canadian and European allies and reinstate funding to UNRWA?”

Mitchell replied that MPs

were still awaiting the Colonna report into the matter, adding: “The house should expect that we will be restoring funding to make sure that humanitarian support is available through that mechanism, but [Foord] I’m sure will reflect on the appalling events which were revealed about members of UNRWA sta and we must complete the process which I set out.”

Mitchell later suggested to MPs that the government would

set a series of “conditions” for the relief agency to abide by, after the report comes back from the UN as expected with similar recommendations.

Last month Jewish News told how Downing Street was under pressure to restore funding to UNRWA despite Israel’s claims of links to the Hamas attacks.

Israel has accused more than 2,135 of the agency’s sta of being members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad – proscribed terror organisations in Israel, the UK and US. But the Colonna report, which looked at ways of making UNRWA more “transparent and accountable”, suggested Israel was yet to provide “supporting evidence”.

Some pro-Israel Tory MPs have continued to argue that such a decision would amount to “moral bankruptcy” because of what they say are clear links between UNRWA workers and Hamas, including support for the 7 October attacks.


A Jewish Labour member is among those seeking to stand for the party in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North seat. Harry Spencer, who grew up in north London and works in arboriculture, has confirmed his bid on his website.

Another highly rated potential candidate being encouraged to stand is Sem Moema, the GLA Rep for the region, and a councillor in Hackney for over eight years.

Labour opened applications for the Islington North seat last week, and a shortlist is due to be announced today. Former party leader Corbyn, now an independent MP, has yet to confirm he will stand at the next election.

Spencer has previously been a prospective candidate for the Hertsmere seat.

Labour MP Dawn Butler has joined a group of authors in withdrawing from the Hay Festival over claims that its sponsor Baillie Gi ord profits from “Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide”.

She said she “cannot in good conscience participate” in the literary event, where she had been scheduled to speak about her book A Purposeful Life. The Brent Central MP believed that Israel had a “right to defend herself” but said she had become “disgusted by events in Gaza”.

The Edinburgh-based investment manager Baillie Gifford, responding to a claim by the group Fossil Free Books that it profits from “Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide”, described such statements as “seriously misleading”.

Jewish News 17 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 UNRWA funding / News briefs / News
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The Foreign Office paused funding for the agency in January

Editorial comment and letters to the editor



Lesson in handling university activists

Professor Colin Bailey is a breath of fresh air among the academics currently wrestling worldwide with the phenomenon of pro-Palestinian students squatting on their campuses.

Professor Bailey is the principal of Queen Mary University, London. and was recently assailed by a shouting group of masked students yelling about divestment and resistance.

Walking to his office — as video footage shows — Professor Bailey was “engaged” by protesters who, they said, wanted a meeting with him. He asked them to take their masks off which they refused, saying they “did not feel safe” on campus without their masks. The professor said: “Really?” and failed to hide his amusement.

“Why are you laughing at our demands?” came through a megaphone. Patiently, Professor Bailey said he would not speak to anyone wearing a mask, and, further, would not have a meeting until the encampment was removed.

Inevitably this provoked outrage. “The camp is not coming down until you meet us!” Professor Bailey, however, walked away.

Quite why no others have been ready to treat these entitled protesters, most of whom wouldn’t know a ketubah from a keffiyah, with the disdain they deserve is a mystery. Perhaps the provosts and vice-chancellors of other UK universities should pay attention to Prof Bailey, whose message seemed to be: “Behave like adults and you will be treated like adults. Behave like spoilt children, however….”

Jacobs 020 8148 9701 marc@jewishnews.co.uk

Yael Schlagman 020 8148 9705 yael@jewishnews.co.uk Operations Manager Alon Pelta 020 8148 9693 alon@jewishnews.co.uk

Doing Israel a disservice

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has revised its Gaza fatality numbers to less than half those originally claimed after Hamas admitted it could not account for more than 10,000 deaths.

Even these numbers are unreliable speculation, as combatants masquerade as innocent civilians and many deaths of genuinely innocent civilians are caused by Hamas itself, either by rockets falling short or the use of human shields.

Your letter writer Mr Lister (9 May) hasn’t been to Gaza, nor has a military background, yet opines that “ample evidence” shows that the IDF is “trigger happy”, and Israel’s actions in Gaza are not those of a “democratic, law abiding country”.

He claims to know better than Colonel Richard Kemp, commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and Professor John Spencer, the world expert in urban warfare, who both say the civilian/combatant ratio of deaths in Gaza at 1.5:1 in incredibly low, unlike the world average

of 9:1 in modern warfare, praising Israel for its extraordinary and unparalleled efforts to save civilian lives. Col Kemp says the IDF is the most moral army in the world.

Israel’s mistaken killing of the six noncombatants is not unique. The US and UK have sadly made such errors in recent wars on a larger scale. Mr Lister’s assertions that “Hamas has no capacity for threatening Israel’s existence” and “it cannot be wiped out like the Nazis” are both false.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, aka Son of Hamas (whose father is one of its founders), insists Israel is fighting an existential war and if Hamas isn’t eradicated now there will be more deadly wars in the future. Hamas is a tool of Iran, which openly aims for Israel’s destruction.

It’s shameful that Jewish News gives a platform to someone – for a third time – who appears to join ranks with Israel’s enemies in its war for survival, giving them undeserved succour and publicity.

Gerry Solomons, Highgate


Letter writer Mr D Lister (‘Total war isn’t the way’, JN, 9 May) highlights the significant military prowess of Nazi Germany and militaristic Japan, comparing them to Hamas, and claims that they were significantly different. However, as a history teacher specialising in 20th-century totalitarian regimes and having visited Germany on multiple occasions, I respectfully disagree.

Japan resorted to manufacturing military planes from plywood and, before Hiroshima, envisioned defending its territory with its largely unarmed civilian population (indistinguishable from combatants).

By 1945 Germany had become a weakened nation, its military force often comprised of a mix of people’s militia, reminiscent of Islamic Jihad and Hamas today, and foreign mercenaries, including French, Georgian, Ukrainian (and even Polish police officers fighting on the Nazi Germany side), along with even possibly a handful of British volunteers, or


I will be flabbergasted if New North London Synagogue continue to employ Rabbi Lara Haft Yom-Tov. As an Orthodox Jew, I certainly believe social justice is a noble cause. Not only that but it is also a Jewish cause, intertwined in our Torah. It should be more pronounced.

At the same time, people such as Rabbi Haft Yom-Tov, who has been so offensive about Israel, do nothing but alienate the importance of social justice to Jews. This, of course, is happening at a seminal time in Jewish history when justice for Jews and the Jewish state is seen as obscene, even racist.

As we Jews in the UK straighten our spine and demand immediate consequences for openly antisemitic behaviour, we should also demand consequences among our own for unacceptable behaviour.

Rabbi Haft Yom-Tov’s imminent firing will, I hope, be the steep learning curve she desperately needs. In my opinion, she are blinded by irrationality that is damaging to her community in pursuit of her version of social justice at all costs – irrespective of the facts, concerns and sensitivities of those she is meant to lead.

Derek Saker, By email

‘forced volunteers’. A wealth of relevant literature, including memoirs, exists on this subject, which I would like to bring to Mr Lister’s attention.

Israel, a democratic nation, remains so despite a regrettable incident resulting in six non-combatant deaths. This doesn’t nullify its democratic principles nor does it imply the IDF’s recklessness.

Similar accidents occur in all armies and police forces, yet Jews, for some reason, often seem held to a much higher moral standard than other ethnic groups. Sadly, any Jewish involvement often presumes guilt.

The ongoing investigation unquestionably reaffirms Israel’s commitment to the rule of law and its liberal democracy in the current struggle against Hamas and, for all practical purposes, authoritarian Iran with its vast, well-equipped and well-funded army. This is something Mr Lister seems not to acknowledge.

On behalf of London Fire Brigade, I would like to wish the Jewish community a safe and joyful Lag B’Omer celebration.

It is important that the community enjoys this festive period safely. The London Fire Brigade wants to make sure you are looking after yourself and those around you so please take extra care with your bonfire by following these simple fire safety tips.

Make sure to build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges and don’t build them on public highway. Use firelighters instead of flammable liquids and keep the size of your bonfires small – we recommend under three metres. Be careful not to burn dangerous items such as batteries, aerosol cans and bottles Don’t leave your bonfire unattended and keep children and pets a safe distance away. Keep a bucket of water, hosepipe or a extinguisher nearby and ensure the fire has fully been extinguished before leaving unattended

The Brigade is here to keep you safe and our fire stations are always open for the local community to visit.

Carter, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety


The apology from the ‘rabbi’ to members of NNLS regarding Lara Haft Yom-Tov’s comments is not enough. Nothing less than the rabbi’s resignation will suffice. If her views were as far to the right as they are to the left then she would be considered a Kahanist. I’m sure Masorti Judaism would never consider a Kahanist rabbi, so why employ someone with such abhorrent views?

Damon Lenszner, Masorti member


I note that not a single one of the new Board of Deputies honorary officers is a woman or a Sephardi Jew. So what happened to all the inclusivity reports the Board has invested in lately? Could it all just have been empty virtuesignalling… something that the Board excels at? Colour me shocked!

Colin Rossiter, WC2A

Jewish News www.jewishnews.co.uk 18 23 May 2024
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‘Cough! Oh, now I’ve got borscht all over the canvas. No matter, I’ll work it in and pretend it was deliberate’


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We must accept the hand of non-Jewish friendship

Last week two very good things happened. The British public voted for Israel’s Eden Golan at Eurovision. And on Yom Hashoah, Christian groups organised a ‘March of Life’ rally in London (and Oxford) to celebrate Jewish life and to stand with us against the haters. It was attended by triple the number of people who were at the Jewish community’s Yom Hashoah event at Westminster.

It may be hard to be a Jew at the moment. But it’s not as lonely as we might think. We do have friends. They are keen to show their support publicly and vocally. And guess what? They can even bang out a rally chant without getting embarrassed.

I, however, do get a bit embarrassed when we as a community refuse their hand of friendship. We may worry that there’s a knife in their other hand, or perhaps an evangelising crucifix. After centuries of persecution, that

is understandable, up to a point. But mostly, we are looking a gift horse in the mouth (that’s a 5th-century Christian proverb, by the way) because groups like Christian Action Against Antisemitism do not wish to proselytise. They feel a sense of responsibility from the weight of Church history. And they are outraged by the explosion of anti-Jewish racist glee which began the day after 7 October. They know that what starts with Jews does not end with Jews. The ‘Red Green Alliance’ of extreme leftists and extreme Islamists wishes to overthrow what we all believe in: the Judeo-Christian values of western civilisation. It’s a war on truth, freedom and plurality. That is why courageous Iranian dissidents stand with us too.

So now is the time to be gracious and to accept the help of others, and to drop petty communal go and obsession with controlling the message — which is witless when we don’t even have a message. While Hamasniks around the world orchestrate every march and cunning stunt according to a 30-page communications guidebook, we worry about a JLC versus a BoD logo. We are fiddling while Hendon burns. True, we do have ‘external’ conversations.

But we whisper. Even now, as the Anti Jew smashes through one red line after another, we prefer a quiet word in Westminster’s ear to confident, co-ordinated counter-action in public. We aren’t willing to promote a Yom Hashoah rally if we haven’t organised it. We don’t want the help of non-Jewish educators on university campuses. Even when our gentile friends have audience insights and expertise that we do not, we don’t see their value… because they don’t understand what it is to be Jewish. But that’s not the point. Our friends understand the audiences that we as a community have lamentably failed to address, let alone tame. Friends of the British Jewish community see what we fail to see. They say what we fail to say. They press buttons we don’t know exist. Their support lends third-party credibility. How sad that I even need to spell this out. We must accept the hand of friendship because on that hand, there is skin in the game. Our war is their war. This actually makes them more than friends. It makes them allies. And allyship changes things. When Abraham Heschel and his fellow rabbis marched with Martin Luther King, it helped to change civil



rights in America. When the Jews of South Africa campaigned with Mandela, it helped to end Apartheid (the real one).

So this is not a call for interfaith work — that alone would be too niche. It is a call to get smart and get strategically allied. To get a message out, together. To get it amplified by the huge majority of decent, middle-of-the-road people in Britain who don’t much like the brazen antics of the narcissistic ke yeh brigade.

The Shoah happened because in that era, the heads of nation states and most of their populations were either against us or looked the other way. This time it’s di erent. We are allies against a common enemy whose terrorist ‘spectaculars’, from 10/7 or 9/11, delight and incite the useful idiots of the Red Green Alliance.

In early summer the National Holocaust Museum – the only Holocaust museum in the world founded by Christians, the wonderful Smith family, “as a gift to the Jewish people” –will launch an allyship manifesto. It will define goals to gel and empower all of us who dare to stand up against the relentless and staggeringly well-funded war of attrition on the freedoms we all cherish. I hope you will join the alliance.

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Jewish News 21 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 Opinion
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I’m grateful my kids can say ‘my mum the rabbi’

On 3 June, I’ll become a rabbi. In New York, at Yeshivat Maharat, I will watch as a parchment certificate is signed by a panel of my teachers. Later that day, in a ceremony attended by hundreds, I’ll walk under a banner bearing the Hebrew words said to our matriarch Rivka as she set o to join the Jewish family: “Our sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads.”

Becoming a rabbi was beyond my wildest dreams as a girl growing up in an Orthodox shul. Rabbis are men – that’s how it will always be in Orthodox Judaism, it seemed; until the first Orthodox Jews started asking why. Orthodox halacha (Jewish law) is certainly not egalitarian when it comes to leading prayers and the obligation to keep certain mitzvot. But when it comes to the job of a rabbi, which in many cases is entirely one of education, pastoral care and halachic advice, there are no

reasons why a woman cannot play these roles, even in an Orthodox community. Ask your Orthodox rabbi and they will struggle to give you any reason beyond “it’s just not the way things have been done”.

And so the first few women began to undertake the study and receive semicha (ordination), at first a trickle, but now with more than 100 Yeshivat Maharat graduates and current students, four living the UK at the moment, Orthodox women rabbis are part of the future landscape. The course covers the same as Orthodox men’s rabbinical training , which is predominantly Jewish law and Talmud. Maharat also provides thorough training in pastoral care, leadership skills, sermon-writing skills and practical rabbinics.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this wave of change. Being a rabbi brings together my passion for Torah learning and teaching, my love of pastoral care and being with people at their happiest and hardest times, and the challenge of shaping a vision for a community and bringing meaning to people’s lives.

I’ve been able to put my rabbinic work into


practice alongside my studies for the last couple of years, serving as the rabbi-in-training for Kehillat Nashira, a flourishing Partnership Minyan community in Borehamwood. In this time I’ve had the joy of conducting bat and bar mitzvahs, stone settings, simchat bat and brit milah ceremonies (not as the mohel though!) and numerous shul services. I’ve taught scores of b'nei mitzvah students, engaged couples and adults. This work is an absolute privilege. I am deeply grateful to be alive at a time when it’s possible, and deeply grateful for my family’s support, particularly when my sons aged nine and six proudly say “my mummy is a rabbi”. Change takes time, and I am under no illusion that Orthodox shuls will have 50 percent

of their rabbinic positions filled by women anytime soon. But change is happening, and women are increasingly being empowered to teach and lead across the Orthodox world

In the past few weeks, I’ve met with several Orthodox rabbis. All have been delightful, and wished me hatzlacha (good luck) which has meant a great deal. I’m a big believer in meeting, knowing one another, and being collegiate. After all, we’re all in this work for the same reasons.

After graduation, I’m looking forward to continuing the work and growing my community. I’m looking forward to leading my first wedding, and when sadly necessary, funerals. So when I walk under that banner next week I’ll be taking a step further in a career that I love, and a step forward for a community that I love. I hope that many more women in the UK will take their own steps under that banner.  To watch Miriam’s semicha service online, visit wizevents.com/yeshivat maharat2024. All are welcome at a UK celebration on 30 June: kehillatnashira. org/event-details/miriams-semicha

Many of Israel’s fiercest critics fail 7 October test

Last week, Dana Abuqamar, a Palestinian student studying at the University of Manchester, was informed by the British government that her student visa had been revoked. The Middle East Eye site published a video interview with Abuqamar, describing her visa as having been cancelled “following her speech in a university demonstration”. Abuqamar talked about having lost a number of relatives in Gaza during the last eight months and that her visa had been revoked on the grounds of “national security”. Thousands of people shared the video, expressing outrage at the callous behaviour of the government. They seemed less keen on sharing the video of what Abuqamar had actually said at that “university demonstration” –which was odd, as she had been interviewed on national television on 8 October, concerning the people of Gaza, and said the following: “In terms of having family there, of course one would be worried for what is happening and its e ects on their mental and physical health – a

lot of Gazans right now are living in fear – but also they are full of pride…we are full of pride, we are really, really full of joy at what has happened.”

Late last year, ITV decided to invite a young Palestinian woman, Latifa Abouchakra, on air to discuss the sharp rise in Islamophobia since 7 October. Abouchakra told ITV that “it makes me feel, as a Muslim woman in this country, that no matter how hard I work, no matter how good I can be, it will never be enough because apparently Muslims and Palestinians are inherently terrorists”.

There has undoubtedly been a sharp spike in anti-Muslim hatred in the last eight months. Unfortunately, as ITV subsequently and embarrassingly admitted, it had chosen poorly with regard to its studio guest. Abouchakra is a reporter for Press TV, the Iranian Regime’s propaganda channel. On 7 October, she posted a video to her Instagram. Beaming, she told watchers: “Nothing will ever be able to take back this moment, this moment of triumph,

this moment of resistance, this moment of surprise, this moment of humiliation on behalf of the Zionist entity.”

Over the past few months, a trend has emerged, which we can call the 7 October test. It can – and should – be asked of all the people who are shouting the loudest about Israel and its conduct in Gaza. The test is simple: what was your initial response to the 7 October attacks by Hamas? If it was celebratory, then why on earth should we or anyone else see you as the moral arbiters of anything ever again?

The number of people who fail that test may surprise some. Last week, a contributor to another far-left site, Novara Media, said on Piers Morgan’s show that there was a “stronger case for kicking Israel out [of Eurovision] than Russia”. When he was asked what his response to the 7 October attacks had been, he was mysteriously reticent – perhaps because at the time what he had tweeted was, ‘So guys, do we support the right of an occupied people to fight an occupier or not?’ One of his fellow contribu-


tors tweeted on 7 October: ‘Today should be a day of celebration for supporters of democracy and human rights worldwide, as Gazans break out of their open-air prison and Hamas fighters cross into their coloniser’s territory. The struggle for freedom is rarely bloodless and we shouldn’t apologise for it.” They later apologised and claimed they wanted to “move forward di erently” . The examples pile up.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being horrified at the situation in Gaza. Many thousands have died, as Hamas knew they would: in late October, Mousa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas o cial, told Russia Today that the 500km of tunnels below Gaza were for Hamas fighters and not for civilians; that it was the responsibility of the UN – and Israel as the “occupier” – to protect them.

But when you see someone whose timeline is filled with nothing but anti-Israel abuse, apply the 7 October test. Were they celebrating? Were they justifying or denying?

People who have failed the 7 October test have forsaken any right to chide, condemn or lecture others. They appear to think now that if they shout loud enough they can make people forget they are morally damned. But we owe it to ourselves to remember; the world may have moved on from 7 October but we have not. I am not sure we ever will.

Jewish News 22 www.jewishnews.co.uk Opinion 23 May 2024

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Israel’s trade will take long-term hit from war

As the Eurovision public vote rolled in earlier this month there was a moment of quiet celebration for Israel. Amid the mayhem, booing, rudeness, and ignorance about events in the Middle-East which marred the occasion there was a moment of sanity. Viewers across the world, including those in Britain, gave Eden Golan a loud endorsement, pushing her up to fifth in the rankings.

The long, brutal Gaza war, the intense media coverage and the protests at universities across the globe have dealt a big blow to Israel’s reputation and given heart to the previously well-funded but thinly supported boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Seven months after Benjamin Netanyahu’s assault on Gaza, in retaliation for the barbarity of Hamas’s 7 October attacks, much support for Israel has dissolved. Even the United States –under pressure politically – flirted with cutting o some arms supplies. Strong Palestinian and

Islamic populations in Michigan and Pennsylvania have become a cause of political concern for Biden’s White House. The growing dismay with Israel’s conduct of the Gaza war led the New York Times to headline the risk of Israel losing allies and ‘becoming a pariah state’.

Worrying for the longer term is the impact on trade relations with the rest of the world. So far UK foreign secretary David Cameron has stood firm against pressure for an embargo of British arms. Israel is not a big consumer of UK defence equipment, which is much more focused on Gulf countries.

In the Islamic world, however, Israel’s trading partners are fast fading. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has from the onset of the war sided with Hamas, denying they are terrorists, and is even thought to have o ered the leadership refuge in his country. In more practical terms the country’s trade ministry has ordered a total suspension of commerce between the two nations. Turkey has been one of the few countries in the region with normalised trade with Israel. The latest data suggests an act of self-sacrifice for Turkey’s economy.

Exports to Israel of 54 di erent categories

of goods amount to $5.4bn a year or 8 percent of the total exports. Israel sends $2.34bn in the opposite direction. The suspension came just days after the US Congress approved a $23bn deal to sell F16 fighter jets to Ankara, which has long been seen as a bulwark against Russian expansionism in the Middle East.

Elsewhere in Asia the Middle East turmoil is disrupting commerce in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia. Both booming, emerging-market countries have been boycotting US brands since Israel launched its campaign against Hamas. Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut are being boycotted in spite of the outlets being locally owned franchise operations. As a result private equity groups General Atlantic and CVC have paused sales of share stakes in the food groups. CVC had intended to sell a 21 percent stake in Malaysia’s QSR brands which operates KFC and Pizza Hut.

The disruption is symptomatic of the way in which anti-Israel sentiment has spreads across the globe. Late last year the German sportswear group Puma said it was terminating its sponsorship of Israel’s national football team. The firm says it took the decision a year ago and

the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with Palestinian calls for boycotts of Israeli goods and trade.

The attempts around the world to isolate Israel by boycotting Israeli athletes and academics has caused anguish in the country which feels it is being unfairly targeted. Israelis find it hard to understand why so little attention is paid to the victims of 7 October and the plight of the hostages. Questions are also raised as to the double standards, such as the lack of attention given to the civil war in Sudan, China’s persecution of Uyghurs, a 12-millionstrong Muslim minority.

Much of this is a sharp reminder to Jews in Israel, including a dwindling number of Holocaust survivors, that Hitler’s persecution of Jews began with boycotts of Jewish enterprises.

So far the western democracies have stood firmly on Israel’s side. But the prolonged war and terrible death toll and destruction in Gaza is proving a devastating blow to Israel’s reputation and longer-term economic prospects. More broadly, it is more sand in the wheels of an increasingly fractured world trading system beset by new complex geopolitics.

Jewish News 24 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024
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A look

The future of Jewish theatre Win a hamper!

Counting the notes

Why did a successful songwriter give it all up to become a maths teacher? A new play seeks the answer. By Debbie Collins

Tom Lehrer is Teaching Math and Doesn’t Want to Talk to You is the longwinded but ironic title of a new play opening at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate. Already we’re o ended. As Jews we’re a friendly collective and love to chat, so why doesn’t

Tom want a yachna? The irony lies in the fact that this play is essentially an on-stage chat with Lehrer, investigating his career change from well-known singersongwriter to obscure maths lecturer.

Now 96, Tom Lehrer, who grew up in Manhattan, is a Harvard graduate who left with a degree in mathematics but during the 50s and 60s had a fantastic career in music. Humorous songs were his schtik, including Poisoning Pigeons in the Park and Masochism Tango, a song about the mutual hatred between two people, featuring the lyrics “Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches. The last time I needed twenty stitches.”

In the early 70s, Lehrer retired from public performance to teach maths and musical theatre history at the University of California.

Shahaf I ar, whose credits include Indecent (JW3 London) and Bad Jews (Centre Stage, Israel), plays Lehrer. He says he was drawn to the role because “although most of my theatre work was in Israel, I attended university in London and actually discovered Lehrer’s work whilst studying there.”

Harry Style (no that’s not a typo) is playing the piano and is also the play’s musical director. His previous work includes You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, A Slice of Saturday Night at the Gatehouse, and a turn on The Voice with his barbershop quartet The Ashatones. He says that music was always his childhood dream. “Everything I do is music-related although I did once consider international law and I really enjoy languages. I’m sticking with this though because it’s all I’ve got!”

This is a coveted role for Harry because he knows and admires Lehrer’s work. “The show is chock full of songs – I was given a playlist of about 25 but not all are featured or in their entirety, just abridged versions. I’m constantly listening to his songs, getting my mind in that mode.”

family so whilst it wasn’t actively discouraged, I feared my immediate community would disapprove.”

Shahaf says that theatre world in Israel has su ered since 7 October. “It’s all up and running but artistically and commercially it’s still quiet, so I feel fortunate to be able to shift my focus and skillset to another country. The wonderful thing about theatre is going into a room and adopting this new family for a short period and then you go your separate ways – I feel I am addicted to that! It’s such an unusual human interaction to experience daily.

One of Lehrer’s well-known songs the audience will hear is The Elements, in which he set the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the Major-General’s song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Harry once performed The Elements with Ashley Jacobs from The Ashatones, at a charity event. “On the final note, the keyboard fell o the stand and collapsed with the most perfect timing so it looked like it was part of the set,” he laughs. Shahaf studied sociology at university “whilst secretly carrying out my childhood dream to become a rock star! I had to carve my way discreetly into the performing arts as there was no role model for me in my

“It’s such a beautiful and fortunate thing as a performer to have this opportunity to temporarily put everything else in your life to one side. I live between Israel, London and Warsaw – I leave my little family and travel constantly, spending months at a time where work takes me. The last couple of weeks have been a complete immersion, which I love.

“Tom’s rhyming structure is very consistent, so your brain picks up from the repetition and then we build on it in the rehearsals.”

All too often non-Jews take the roles of Jews, as in the recent adaptation of The Lehman Trilogy Not all actors object though. “To my mind it’s a case-by-case analysis of the situation,” says Shahaf. “I’m of Jewish heritage but it’s really a question of the director envisioning the show plus the intention and tone of the piece. Of course, I’m glad from a casting perspective and it might make certain groups of people more comfortable to know there’s more alignment with ethnicity in certain roles.”

Harry says: “I hadn’t really thought of it in words until Shahaf said about a ‘case-by case basis’ which I agree with – each show and character is di erent. And some

nuances might need someone to represent in a certain way. I saw Fiddler on the Roof at the theatre featuring a non-Jewish Tevye but didn’t give it a second thought. As long as the character is handled with the right amount of sensitivity, I think it’s fine.”

Do an internet search for Tom Lehrer and you’ll unearth many theories about why he gave up the gig. It doesn’t look as if Shahaf or Harry will be following suit.

 Tom Lehrer is Teaching Math and Doesn’t Want to Talk to You is at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate from 28 May until 9 June upstairsatthegatehouse.com

23 May 2024 Jewish News 25 www.jewishnews.co.uk
Shahaf says theatre in Israel is has suffered since 7/10 Shahaf Ifhar, who plays Tom Lehrer, discovered his work while studying in London Right: Harry Style plays the piano and is the show’s musical director Tom Lehrer

The Jewish show must go on

A large crowd of creatives came together last weekend to discuss the future of Jewish theatre. Jewish News theatre critic Poppy Shulman lets us in on the conversation

If, as the saying goes, two Jews will have three opinions then 90 creative Jews are likely to have hundreds of opinions. That is exactly what happened at an open space conference at JW3 last Sunday, when the Jewish theatre world came together to respond to the question: “What next for Jewish theatre in the UK?”

The event, initiated by the Shoresh Charitable Trust as part of its continuing contribution to Jewish theatre, posed a huge range of questions prompting myriad discussions, starting with: “What is Jewish theatre?”

But then there were others, touching on issues and sensitivities that Jewish creatives in the theatre world felt needed to be addressed. These included topics such as how do we make Jewish theatre in a time of genocide against Jews? Antisemitism in, around and through Jewish theatre. Non-Zionist theatre. Keeping safe and sane. Jewish representation in casting, beyond the rhetoric of ‘Jewface’. Jewish musicals and topics such as theatre and Jewish life cycle and rituals. And the debate about whether there should be a designated Jewish theatre. Attendees, including luminaries such as Sir Nicholas Hytner, came from across the UK and around the world – actors, directors, producers, playwrights, theatre PRs, clowns, comedians, make-up artists, musicians, set designers, theatre funders and numerous creatives – all Jewish and together representing every aspect of theatre. Beatrice Baumgartner-Cohen was on hand to create visual minutes – in themselves wondrous works of art – to record the day’s events.

In recent months London has seen a raft of Jewish plays with differing themes. Many have been performed in off-West End venues. At the Marylebone Theatre there was the awardwinning White Factory, set in the Lodz ghetto of 1940s Poland and 60s America. Over at The Red Lion Not Even the Dogs was also based on a true story, namely the determination of one man to survive in the horrors of wartime Warsaw and to create a permanent history, written by the very people who were the victims of the Holocaust. Baron’s Court Theatre was home to Paved with Gold and Ashes, a short but beautifully written play, about the tragedy of the fire at The Triangle Shirtwaist factory. And over at Southwark Playhouse the musical Cable Street - the story of the 1936 uprising against Moseley and his Blackshirts - proved so popular that it sold out before it had even opened and the show is now returning for another run. But not all Jewish plays are about the Holocaust or tragedy. Kunstler, the story of Jewish American lawyer and civil rights activist William Kunstler, has just ended at the White Bear.

At Soho Theatre, and selling out every night, was Pickle, Deli Segal’s one-woman show about being Jewish and secular in the UK. And at the Park Theatre is Israeli-born Ofra Daniel’s Song of Songs, a love story inspired by biblical King Solomon’s writing, a journey of sexual and personal empowerment.

All these performances have two things in common, first that they tell stories about Jewish people and second that they have been

nominated for theatre awards. And the latter says a great deal about the quality of Jewish theatre and its ability to attract both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences.

There was discussion on whether non-Jews regularly go to Jewish plays. Certain plays have themes that are of particular interest to Jewish audiences and may not appeal to other audiences. However, if they know a performance is good and the storyline interesting, then, yes, they are likely to see it. Cable Street tells the story of a Jewish family, but also the

tale of the Irish workers and communists who fought in the street’s battle, so has wide appeal.

There has been a long tradition of Jewish involvement in theatre and performance. You only have to look at Hollywood in the 20th century, or Yiddish theatres that played to packed houses in London’s East End. And isn’t seder night, in reality, an immersive performance, said one attendee. It has a fantastic story, great songs, plenty of props (horseradish, charoseth and bitter herbs), lots of audience participation and, of course,

halfway through there’s an interval when you have something to eat!

There was much debate on whether there should be a designated Jewish performance space. Some feel this is the way forward: a place to incubate new writing and to show plays and musicals with Jewish themes or Jewish creatives, whereas others asked why a separate space was needed. Surely performances should be in mainstream venues and for universal audiences, they countered.

The huge canon of Jewish musicals was another hot topic. There is so much talent in this area, perhaps again stemming from the cantorial tradition, that many feel more needs to be done to help showcase new performances.

“We planned this conference last year, months before the events of October 7. We felt there was a need for a conversation. And this became all the more pertinent, post-October 7,” said event facilitator Rachel Grunwald. Indeed the tragic events in the Middle East dominated much of the eight hours of debate.

The consensus was that the day had been hugely beneficial. Connections had been made, networks created and optimism fostered, thanks to the remarkable talent that there is in the theatre world and to the audiences who appreciate their great performances.

William Galinsky, programming director at JW3, said: “I feel sure something exciting will come about as a result of today’s event.”

26 Jewish News JN LIFE 23 May 2024
Nicholas Hytner (centre) at last Sunday’s event Beatrice Baumgartner-Cohen penned visual minutes of the discussions


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Tantalise your taste buds with a delightful assortment of Farhi treats. Discover the Signature Stuffed Dates, Cocoa Dusted Pecans and Dipped Orange Slices. Then dive into the irresistible Cinnamon Honey Almonds, relish the zest of Pate de Fruit and savour the decadence of Dark Chocolate Pistachios. And, of course, don’t overlook the luxurious Assorted Chocolate Jumbo Raisins – a must-have for sharing with loved ones. To see the Farhi range, visit farhi.co.uk.

To enter, visit jewishnews.co.uk/farhi

Jewish News 27 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2023 JN LIFE FREE ESTIMATES PROVIDED We offer: ● Furniture restoration ● French polishing ● Upholstery ● Repairs 020 7272 8462 alan@ajbrett.co.uk www.ajbrett.co.uk 168c Marlborough Road N19 4NP
Terms & Conditions Competition closes 6 June. Winner will be notified by email. Entrants must be UK-based and aged 18+. No cash alternative and prize cannot be exchanged.

Antiques Buyers

Wanted all Antiques & furniture including Lounge Dining and Bedroom Suites. Chests of drawers. Display and Cocktail Cabinets. Furniture by Hille. Epstein. Archie shine. G plan etc in Walnut. Mahogany. Teak and Rosewood.

We also buy Diamonds & Jewellery. Gold. Silverware. Paintings. Glass. Porcelain. Bronzes etc.

All Antiques considered. Full house clearances organised. Very high prices paid, free home visits.

Check our website for more details www.antiquesbuyers.co.uk

Email: info@antiquesbuyers.co.uk

Please call Sue Davis on Freephone: 08008402035 WhatsApp Mobile: 07956268290

Portobello Rd London. By appointments only. Please note rather than acting as agents for

Jewish News 28 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024
other organisations
charging you commission. Please be assured that in dealing with Antiques Buyers we deal directly with our clients and pay in full at the time of the transaction. Perry Field | 07802 157500 E: perryfield@hotmail.com SELLING YOUR ITEMS OF VALUE COULDN’T BE SIMPLER From individuals items and specialist collections to complete house clearances, removals, and probate valuations. We do as much as you need - just ask !!!
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In our thought-provoking series, rabbis and educators relate the week’s parsha to the way we live today

We must safeguard our resources

Parshat Behar focuses on the laws of the sabbatical year (shmitah), and the jubilee year (yovel). Every seventh year, the land must lie fallow and debts are released. After seven cycles of shmitah, the 50th year is yovel, when slaves are freed and all land returns to its ancestral owners.

These practices may seem archaic and irrelevant, but shmitah and yovel are about more than just agriculture. They are a statement about the nature of ownership and the dignity of every human being. By releasing debts and freeing indentured servants, the Torah seeks to prevent entrenched poverty. It is a reminder that no one should be trapped forever by circumstances; everyone deserves a chance to start anew.

On a practical level, allowing the land to

rest every seven years ensures its productivity. Overworking the soil leads to depletion and diminishing returns. The Torah recognises that both land and people need regular periods of rejuvenation. Just as we require a Shabbat to recharge our spiritual batteries, the land requires a shmitah to restore its vitality.

A key theme that emerges from these laws is the importance of safeguarding: safeguarding the land, the vulnerable, and our spiritual heritage.

The concept of safeguarding is central to Jewish thought. We are commanded to protect the vulnerable, whether it’s the poor, the stranger, the orphan or the widow. We are obliged to build a society of justice and compassion, where no one falls through the cracks. The laws of shmitah and yovel take this idea to an extreme, institutionalising a regular system of societal reset and redistribution.

Nowadays, safeguarding has taken on new urgency. We have become increasingly aware of

the scourge of abuse and exploitation, particularly of children and other vulnerable groups. Jewish communities worldwide have recognised the need to implement robust policies and practices to prevent abuse and respond e ectively when it occurs. This important work requires ongoing education, vigilance, and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths.

But safeguarding is not just about preventing harm. It’s also about actively nurturing the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of every community member. It’s about creating a culture of chesed (lovingkindness), where everyone feels valued and supported. This is the deeper message of the yovel year: that we are all interconnected, and we all have a stake in each other’s wellbeing.

The Torah’s vision of a society shaped by shmitah and yovel is an imposing one, but it is not beyond reach. By incorporating these principles into our lives and communities, we can create a more just and compassionate world.

We can start by safeguarding our own spiritual health, regularly hitting the reset button and aligning ourselves with our core values. We can extend this ethos of care and renewal to our relationships and communal institutions, implementing policies and practices that safeguard the dignity of every human being.

The notion of ancestral land returning to its original owners every 50 years underscores that we are all interconnected across generations. We have a responsibility to safeguard the physical, emotional and spiritual resources we have inherited, and pass them intact to the next generation. As the Talmud says, we are not the owners of the world, only its guardians. As guardians, we’re entrusted to safeguard its resources and its people. We have the power to make a di erence in the lives of others, by working together to build a society of justice,

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Jewish News 29 www.jewishnews.co.uk
23 May 2024 Orthodox Judaism
The sabbatical year is reflected in Shabbat
Everything starts with a dream
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Uni students need us now more than ever

Right now, our university students really need us. As well as the stress of exams and the general pressures of being away from home, since 7 October they have also had to cope with Israel being at the forefront in the news and in student politics.

At present, the vast majority of Jewish chaplaincy at UK universities is Orthodox. It is o ered by Chabad, Aish and University Jewish Chaplaincy. These organisations do an excellent job in catering for students who seek an Orthodox form of Jewish life. But this is not su cient.

A recent UJS survey showed that one in four Jewish students identifies as Progressive. For many of them,

the form of Jewish life available at university is not their Jewish home.

Young Progressive Jews often can’t find a prayer space or study space that meets their needs, one that echoes the rich, inclusive, musical Jewish life in which they grew up. This can be especially alienating for the thousands of young people whose Jewish identity may not be recognised by all existing organisations, including those who may have grown up secular, who have converted, who are from mixed-faith families, or who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Those who have nuanced or critical views on Israel can also feel Jewishly homeless, now more than ever.

One of the things that can get lost in the current conversation about the campus experience is the diversity of views. Some Jewish students are involved in the current protest camps. To others they are alienating,

threatening or unnuanced. And many sit in an ambivalent space in between their more certain peers to either side, or hold multiple, competing views within themselves.

This spring, we relaunched Progressive Jewish Students. Building on the excellent work of UJS and JSocs, our goal is to create a Progressive Jewish life on campus that is meaningful, robust, diverse, inclusive and safe, creating a positive space for students to explore their Jewish identity and practice with peers. We are working to ensure that students can continue to practice their Progressive Judaism on campus – through university visits for Shabbat services, pastoral care and lunch and learns; posting out festival packs, as we just did for Pesach; and seeking to ensure that students are in touch with their nearest of our 80+ Reform and Liberal communities.

A stimulating series where progressive rabbis consider how to navigate Judaism in the face of 21st-century issues

We aim to o er students opportunities for Jewish learning, experience and pastoral support that will give them resources in this period of their lives, so that they are equipped during their time at university with the leadership skills to organise and take responsibility for their Jewish life as adults.

We aim to make sure that every student has a safe Jewish space.

It is especially important that there is a diversity of Jewish culture and religious practice visible on university campuses, that all our students have access to the practical and emotional support that they need, and that whatever their identity and background, every student can be part of a community that cares about their belonging and wellbeing.

Jewish News www.jewishnews.co.uk
30 23 May 2024 Progressive Judaism
Young Progressive Jews often can’t find a place that meets their needs

Ask our

Our trusty team of advisers answers your questions about everything from law and finance to dating and dentistry. This week: Creating a business plan, lasting power of attorney and shipping abroad

Dear Adam,

I am setting up a new business and have been advised to build a business plan. Are you able to provide any guidance?


Dear Lara

Businesses at any stage in their life cycle can benefit heavily from creating and implementing a business plan. Not only is a business plan there to map out your goals and aspirations, but also to identify any financial risks and operational challenges you may encounter.

A business plan will usually outline strategies to avoid all of these issues – that’s why it’s important to create a thorough plan as early as possible in your business journey.

It can help communicate your business goals,

Dear Carolyn

My children suggest I should make a Lasting Power of Attorney, what do you think?

Many thanks Charles

Dear Charles Arguably there is no time like the present to put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place,

whether in respect of decisions relating to your property and finances (which some might see as being of greater priority) or in relation to health and welfare matters. Indeed, you can only do so whilst you still have mental capacity. By doing so, you will ensure that your attorney is someone you have chosen and, importantly, you will have the opportunity to make them aware of any particular wishes. I do not know your age, but it is also worth mentioning that this is not just something which is relevant for ‘older’ people - for example, people who travel a lot can benefit from knowing that someone they trust can manage their a airs whilst they are away. It is always

market knowledge, and financial understanding to potential shareholders and investors.

A plan is also instrumental in accessing funding. If you want a lender to take you seriously, you’ll need to prove that you understand how you’ll use their money to grow your business and give them a return on their investment.

To avoid the risk of closing prematurely, your plan should account for any threats you may face and how you would overcome these obstacles. Cashflow forecasting can play a crucial role in this process, especially for existing businesses.

Usually, it’s best practice to keep your business plan reasonably short but there are a few things you must include if you want your plan to be comprehensive and a solid representation of what you’re expecting of your business: market research, financial planning including cashflow forecasting, an income statement and a balance sheet. You should include basic business information, market research and financial planning.

good to know that there is someone there for you if the unexpected happens. If you do not have an LPA in place, and sadly lose capacity, then your family would need to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to help look after your assets and/ or ensure your welfare - this can be a time consuming and costly exercise and would only add to what will already be a stressful time. So yes, I would say grasp the nettle now and think about making an LPA sooner rather than later - one less ‘what if’ to worry about! Do get in touch if you would like any further advice or help with the process.

For further advice, please call 020 8732 6121 or email enquiries@kkl.org.uk

Dear Stephen

Do you offer a service by which I can send a very small and low value shipment from the UK to Israel, perhaps a dinner service?

Dear Sarah

The quick answer is ‘yes’ however the actual size and weight of the shipment will dictate how we send it –and the cost!

Remember – the value of the shipment has nothing to do with the cost of shipping – only taxes and duties if you are liable for them in Israel.

Our minimum charge for a sea shipment is for 4cbm – roughly 9 washing machines. There are minimum charges for sea freight shipments and we have to think about packing, UK and Israeli Customs clearance, port charges, collection and delivery etc. Often these charges will be the same, or almost as much, as the

charges for moving a whole 20’ container. However, if the items to be shipped are:

• Fragile?

• Large?

• Heavy? then sea freight is the best option. Airfreight is fast and can be very reasonable for smaller, lighter items and the transit time is, of course, faster than by sea. We would be pleased to quote for either method of shipment.

We operate a regular ‘groupage’ service for shipments that are too small for a sole-use container. If you have anything to ship then just call me and we will find the best way to get it there!

Jewish News 31 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 Professional advice from our panel / Ask Our Experts
eNABLeD Registered Charity No. 259480 Leave the legacy of independence to people like Hayley. PLeAse rememBer us iN your wiLL. Visit www.jbd.org or call 020 8371 6611
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• UK born, licenced Israel estate agent in Israel since 2001

• Ilan assists in buying, financing & re-sale of new & existing property in Israel.

• Helps level the playing field opposite vendors, developers & even the bank

• Attentive to your needs, saving you time, hassle & money

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• Lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in will drafting and trust and estate administration. Last 14 years at KKL Executor and Trustee Company

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• 45 years’ experience in shipping household and personal effects

• Chosen mover for four royal families and three UK prime ministers

• Offering proven quality specialist advice for moving anyone across the world or round the corner

STEPHEN MORRIS SHIPPING LTD 020 8832 2222 www.shipsms.co.uk stephen@shipsms.co.uk

Jewish News 32 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024 Ask our experts / Professional advice from our panel
Got a question for a member of our team? Email: editorial@jewishnews.co.uk
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Antique – Reproduction – Retro Furniture (any condition)

Epstein, Archie Shine, Hille, G Plan, etc.

Dining Suites, Lounges Suites, Bookcases, Desks, Cabinets, Mirrors, Lights, etc. House clearances

Single items to complete homes

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Dave & Eve House Clearance

Friendly Family Company established for 30 years

We clear houses, flats, sheds, garages etc. No job too big or too small! Rubbish cleared as part of a full clearance. We have a waste licence. We buy items including furniture bric a brac.

For a free quote please phone Dave on 07913405315 any time.


Email Sales today at sales@jewishnews.co.uk


Confidential Bereavement Counselling for adults and children individually. Support Groups available. We offer in person, online and telephone counselling. Contact Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service in confidence. 0208 951 3881 enquiries@jbcs.org.uk | www.jbcs.org.uk


Former “Magic Circle” solicitor offers help with:

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Sheltered Accommodation

We have an open waiting list in our friendly and comfortable warden assisted sheltered housing schemes in Ealing, East Finchley and Hendon. We provide 24-hour warden support, seven days a





For more information contact Tom lawmentor@btinternet.com / 07590 057097 LAW MENTOR

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11 Female rabbit (3)

12 Morally proper (7)


9 Tiled high-point of a house (7)


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

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

Hibernating rodents (7)

13 Blue Shoes, Presley song (5)

14 Culinary pulveriser (6)

16 Plus (2,4)

19 Farmland units (5)

21 Make more secure (7)

23 Try to win the affection of (3)

24 Sudden thrust (5)

25 Take away (7)

26 Tending flocks (11) DOWN

2 Dog’s restraining chain (5)

3 Appendix to a will (7)

4 Wax light with a wick (6)

Live (in) (5)

The Talented Mr ___, 1999 thriller (6)

Spiny plant (6)

Sing in a sentimental manner (5) 20 Neater, smarter (7) 22 Depart (4,3) 23 Brusque (5)

Strange, gloomy and weird (5)

Sunday-roast restaurant (7)

1 Tie-breaker (7) 2 Of the Sun (5)

3 Immunising agent (7)

5 ___ basket, wickerwork carrycot (5)

6 Bishop’s area (7)

7 Signal to take action (4-2,4)

4 Game reserve ranger (6)

5 Stay clear of (5)

6 Piece of permanent equipment (7)

10 Of clothes, reaching the middle of the leg (4-6)

15 Squash (7)

17 With vision (7)




with brass bands can all be found in the forwards or backwards, in a horizontal, direction, but always in a straight, unbroken line.

7 Part of a collar (5)

13 Lurker (7)

15 Pilot (7)

16 Black magic (7)

18 Heavy uninteresting food (6)

20 Lottery (5)


17 Interference affecting audio equipment (6)

18 Thicket (5)

19 Rope loop (5)

22 Practise for a feat of endurance (5)

21 Join together (5)



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.

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.

The listed words related to bones 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.

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

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

puzzle solutions.

23 May 2024 Jewish News 35 www.jewishnews.co.uk Fun, games and prizes
23/05 See next issue for
All puzzles © Puzzler Media Ltd - www.puzzler.com
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 ACROSS
Deny responsibility for
Really bad
Baby’s tummy-ache
N N O O S S 26 25 25 72519 18 14 21 232219212 23 14 20 1222103 15 23 14 16 22 21 22210108 15 20 14 10 91920 619 54252225 521415 22 10 924 5122016102 14 3252 16 13 14 14 10 5 13 21 53142615106 14 23 22 14 25 26 17 525 22 911 5515151016102 17 24 210105 16 12345678910111213 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 33 5 5 12 14 5 5 3 4 3 3 24 9 7 9 1 8 3 1 8 5 6 4 2 8 5 3 7 1 4 5 6 7 4 2 2 1 8 9 7 5 OI SD HY T IBIA VE LT SEP ATS A EOS II ENEU NO E DRUURN SL OR AAE HL M RUR AR AL LI XA M UDHU NUU ET NT IP AM V POB K NUC KLE I AT EIS DRN LF LC EO TF B RHU E NS CO CC YXSX O
1 Postman 5 Tangy
Introspection 10 Drawings 11 Grit 12 Swordplay 16 Fray 17 Dividers
Turn to account 21 Lay-by 22 Ushered. DOWN: 2 Owners 3 Threw away 4 Arson 6 Aft 7 Gloria 8 Mess up 11 Grandiose 13 Red-hot 14 Trauma 15 Prince 18 Vices 20 Nab. UG BSPK NR ABY RW LE HT CIN MS ET NOC EI ON AS MT UI O AAS LL M RGR NS WH RO FU ATA ECE EL FET F CM DERA IN ST SHE PHER DK EO OT D APB RL HUN IO EI NS IO AA T G YDE CMH IL LY F U S S I L Y Q U I F F M O I D N R S P R A W L R A T I O N I P O I I Z P R O B E E V O L V E D E O C I N E X C H A N G E D J E G Q U R U N A W A Y F U N N Y S T P C E S S T R O L L L U R K E D L N Y A R E C Y B E R U N D Y I N G 3 9 2 6 1 4 7 8 5 1 7 4 5 9 8 3 2 6 8 6 5 2 7 3 4 1 9 2 4 9 3 5 1 8 6 7 5 8 3 7 6 2 9 4 1 7 1 6 8 4 9 2 5 3 4 3 7 1 8 6 5 9 2 6 5 8 9 2 7 1 3 4 9 2 1 4 3 5 6 7 8 1 5 3 212 3 214 3 4 14 3 5 1 5 5 21424 3 4 5 3 1 3 1214 5 2 5 1424 3 2 3515 1 1 4232 4 2 3141 3 1 4525 2 2 3134 1
Crossword ACROSS:
Last issue’s solutions
25/01 See next issue for puzzle solutions. All puzzles © Puzzler Media Ltd - www.puzzler.com
3 4 5 6 9 10 11 13 16 17 18 20 21 22 23 25 (5,6) animals (5) WORDSEARCH CROSSWORD CODEWORD
N N I I S S 19 22 84413231924172313 10 11 23 17 16 10 8 6101815112423 4811232410 23 15 21 17 1 24 23 11 18 22 10 26 19 17 15 6 10 19 17 19 24 23 19 14 8251011 25111113 18 6334724 22 5101012 583 10 45 23 17 17 419 19 22 23 4101 10 19 19 11 10 19 19 24 24 23 10 10 11 1 10 910182419201010241 10 12345678910111213 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 4 5 3 3 5 314 2 5 4 3 9 7 2 6 2 3 8 1 4 4 5 5 2 3 7 3 9 4 7 8 3 4 9 6 5 2 LL IE RY G KLA N TST D IOI AR UM BB POE RB U MA DHR SI EAEAA CI N GM S ELS O ATS DN AB H SH IR EAP OM P ETE U ATE PM UR TE
6 3 8 2 9 5 7 1 8 9 1 5 3 7 2 4 6
7 5 1 4 6 8 3 9 1 5 9 4 6 3 7 8 2 3 8 6 7 1 2 9 5 4 7 2 4 9 8 5 1 6 3 6 1 8 2 7 4 3 9 5 5 4 2 3 9 8 6 1 7 9 3 7 6 5 1 4 2 8 1 3 5 214 4214 3 5 3 5 3 5 21 1421 3 4 2 3 5 421 4121 3 5 3 4154 1 1 2323 2 3 5414 5 2 1232 1 3 4514 3 1 2325 1 solutions TROMBONE TRUMPET TUBA YORKSHIRE
Jewish News 36 www.jewishnews.co.uk 23 May 2024

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