Jewish NewsJewish News http://www.jewishnews.co.uk Britain's BIGGEST Jewish Newspaper... Online! Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:16:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Liberal and Reform Judaism launch ‘alliance’ http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/reformdinner-e1411138194368-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/liberal-reform-judaism-launch-alliance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=liberal-reform-judaism-launch-alliance http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/liberal-reform-judaism-launch-alliance/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:50:33 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35239

Liberal and Reform Judaism have launched “an alliance” to speak for one-in-three synagogue-affiliated Jews in the UK. The deal encompasses a total of 82 progressive Jewish communities. Leaders of both movements said they would aim to build on their growth by “reaching out to British Jews who describe themselves as secular, cultural or just Jewish”. […]

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Liberal and Reform Judaism have launched “an alliance” to speak for one-in-three synagogue-affiliated Jews in the UK.

Janner-Klausner (Right) at reform Judaism's annual dinner

Janner-Klausner (Right) at reform Judaism’s annual dinner

The deal encompasses a total of 82 progressive Jewish communities.

Leaders of both movements said they would aim to build on their growth by “reaching out to British Jews who describe themselves as secular, cultural or just Jewish”.

The move will see increased cooperation in areas such as student chaplaincy, social justice and social action.

It adds to the two groups’ existing ties in rabbinic training, gap year programming and representation on Israel, cross-communal and other institutions.

Rabbi Danny Rich

Rabbi Danny Rich

“Together, we can provide an outward-looking, modern and relevant alternative to merely secular Judaism,” said Liberal Judaism’s chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich.

“This could become the primary expression of Judaism within a couple of generations.”

Senior Rabbi Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner added: “There is so much more that unites the movements than divides us. The more we can cooperate, the stronger our voice.”

Responding to concerns, however, the two leaders said this was “not a merger” and added that the movements “will retain their autonomy” and distinct identities.

“The synagogues will remain constituent members of their respective movements practicing Judaism in the way that is most meaningful to them,” they said.

The news came shortly after one of the world’s leading experts in religion has warned Reform Jews against a growing tendency to dismiss progressive religions as full of “do-gooding liberals”.

Speaking at Reform Judaism’s annual dinner, Prof. Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University said Britain was in a constant fight to preserve liberal values.

“We need to keep telling the story of equal human dignity and we need to make progress and reform constantly, [otherwise] we will be sucked back,” she said.

Woodhead praised her hosts for ordaining a female rabbi 40 years ago and for being “about the only religion in this country to have a female leader”.

 

 

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OPINION: Disagree with us by all means, but keep the debate respectful http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Hannah-Weisfeld-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-disagree-us-means-keep-debate-respectful/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=opinion-disagree-us-means-keep-debate-respectful http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-disagree-us-means-keep-debate-respectful/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:42:53 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35328

By Hannah Weisfeld Director, Yachad Yachad was established in May 2011 to give a voice to British Jewish supporters of Israel enabling them to speak up in support of a two-state solution as a basis for providing peace and security for Israel and the Palestinian people. Since then, tens of thousands of community members have […]

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By Hannah Weisfeld

Director, Yachad

Hannah Weisfeld

Hannah Weisfeld

Yachad was established in May 2011 to give a voice to British Jewish supporters of Israel enabling them to speak up in support of a two-state solution as a basis for providing peace and security for Israel and the Palestinian people.

Since then, tens of thousands of community members have attended our events, taken part in our campaigns and trips, and in just over three years, we have amassed upwards of 4,000 supporters and hundreds and hundreds of donors.

We work regularly with the majority of youth movements, Jewish students, and in synagogues spanning Liberal to Federation communities.

The cross-section of representation among our staff and current and former board members is a good example of the people we represent: former IDF reservists, major communal philanthropists, former staff of BICOM, graduates of Zionist youth movements, members of United, Masorti and Reform communities.

Like (to name a few) the leader of the political opposition in Israel; Tzipi Livni, the Minister of Justice; Yuval Diskin, Ami Ayalon Yaakov Peri – all former directors of Israel’s Shin Bet – and all 1,000-plus members of  the Council for Peace and Security (made up of former army, security and diplomatic corps who have held positions of seniority), we too are supportive of the creation of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps.

Click here for the opposing view

Our partners in Israel span a range of organisations. For example, last year, Yachad brought to the UK the former head of the Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon.

On a trip to the region with a group of Jewish lawyers this year, we met with representatives of the Yesha Council, the official body of the settler movement, former legal advisors to the Israeli government, as well as Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din.

We are proud of our association with organisations committed to protecting human rights. We think it is a testament to Israel’s democracy that the country has a robust civil society with which we can
engage.

I am proud that, as the director of Yachad, I have been invited for the past two years to speak on a panel at the Trade Union Friends of Israel event at the TUC conference, because we have a strong track record of being able to present Israel’s case to more hostile environments.

I am honoured when the BBC calls Yachad and asks us to appear on the television and the radio to explain why the decision of the Tricycle to cut its ties to the UK Jewish Film Festival is so problematic.

Yachad may disagree with what other Zionists believe to be in Israel’s best long term interests.

However, we do not question whether these individuals have Israel’s best interests at heart. We engage in respectful debate and dialogue.

We invite those who disagree with Yachad to behave in the same manner.

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OPINION: Drilling one hole impacts on us all http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/paul-freedman-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-drilling-one-hole-impacts-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=opinion-drilling-one-hole-impacts-us http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-drilling-one-hole-impacts-us/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:39:33 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35324

I have a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies and one in physics. I tell you this mainly to make my mother proud (it still might). Actually, they came the other way round: physics first and training to be a rabbi later, but that never meant abandoning science and “doing” Judaism instead. Both my scientific background […]

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paul freedman

paul freedman

I have a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies and one in physics. I tell you this mainly to make my mother proud (it still might). Actually, they came the other way round: physics first and training to be a rabbi later, but that never meant abandoning science and “doing” Judaism instead. Both my scientific background and Judaism influence the way I approach the world. S

o I was disturbed, although not altogether surprised, to read recently how under-represented science graduates are in Parliament. Do MPs need a science degree? Of course not. But a certain degree of scientific literacy must surely matter when considering the issues that face us as a society. A new Populus poll shows almost half of MPs remain unconvinced by the overwhelming (97 percent) scientific consensus on anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change.

Tory MPs fare worst in their willingness to disregard the science, with 53 percent feeling the evidence is inconclusive and 18 per cent believing it to be “environmentalist propaganda”. The debate is not about climate change, but what we do about it. See theconsensusproject.com. A midrash tells the story of the passengers on a small boat. One of them took a drill out of his luggage and started to bore a hole in the floor under his seat. “What on earth are you doing?” exclaimed the others. The man kept on drilling.

“What’s it to you?” he said. “I’m only drilling under my own seat.” No longer can we say, “It’s just one quick car journey” when we could walk, cycle or at least take public transport. No longer can we say, “It’s just one light that I forgot to switch off, or television that I left on standby, or unnecessary flight I took.” Bangladesh is apparently one of the countries most immediately vulnerable to climate change. Yet one person flying in an airplane for one hour is responsible for the same greenhouse gas emissions as a typical Bangladeshi in a whole year. No longer can one country say, “What’s it to you? We’re only drilling a hole in our bit of the ozone layer.”

• Rabbi Paul Freedman is senior rabbi, Radlett Reform Synagogue and vice-chair, Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK

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Two Voices: Why is comedy so integral to Jewish identity? http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Two-Voices-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/two-voices-comedy-integral-jewish-identity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=two-voices-comedy-integral-jewish-identity http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/two-voices-comedy-integral-jewish-identity/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:36:33 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35320

Q. As we mourn Joan Rivers, why is comedy so integral to Jewish identity? • Rabbi Charley Baginsky says… In the last year of her life, Joan Rivers experienced one of her most controversial moments when she made a joke referencing the Holocaust. While she refused to apologise for the gag, her justification of it […]

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Q. As we mourn Joan Rivers, why is comedy so integral to Jewish identity?

• Rabbi Charley Baginsky says…

Rabbi Charley Baginsky

Rabbi Charley Baginsky

In the last year of her life, Joan Rivers experienced one of her most controversial moments when she made a joke referencing the Holocaust. While she refused to apologise for the gag, her justification of it allowed an insight into her own view of the centrality of humour.

It is a means by which we can talk and educate about traumatic events; it represents the decision to survive painful moments. Joan memorably proclaimed: “I think that’s how we get through life. That’s how I get through. You make people laugh, you can deal with it.”

As we enter Rosh Hashanah and prepare once more to read the Akedah, we can see the tragi-comedy present even there. Abraham, whose name means ‘father of many’, has a conversation with God which begins with God commanding “take your son and sacrifice him”. Good start for a father of many! Isaac on the other hand, whose father carries out God’s command without question, Isaac who never speaks to his father again after this episode – his name means he who laughs.

Jewish humour is so often the laughter through tears, the means by which we express the tensions implicit in the experience of life. It allows us to say what otherwise might be too painful and what we have no other language to express.

As the Yiddish proverb says: “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”

• Charley Baginsky is rabbi of Kingston Liberal Synagogue and chair of Liberal Judaism’s Rabbinic Conference

 

Daniel Cainer

Daniel Cainer

• Daniel Cainer says…

HOW JEWISH was Joan Rivers? We all recognised her, or at least a variation of her – the bossy, potty-mouthed aunt with an opinion on everything, forever upsetting and offending people; the extravagant show-off who stole the room, spoke her mind and told it like it was.

My grandma Asney was not dissimilar. Except that she wasn’t as clever, or endearing and, at least according to family legend, not as funny.

How funny was Joan? As funny as she was Jewish. As funny as she was insecure. Funny because she saw the joke was on her. Where Asney would relentlessly criticise other people’s habits and attitudes and style, Joan would do the same but add the funny twist that made it forgivable. Swinging from triumph to tragedy and back again, they were both still looking over their shoulders for Cossacks.

I discussed with Joan why there were so few overtly Jewish entertainers in the UK compared to the USA. She said it was because there were fewer Nazis in the Catskills. Well, coincidentally, now there is a new shadow and ‘Jewish’ is a tough sell.

As they close the lid on Joan Rivers, she will, sadly but perhaps fittingly, be immortalised for an ad-lib or two that misfired. She was full of contradictions (as we all are) and exposed them with the gift of the gag. How Jewish and how funny is that?

• Performer Daniel Cainer’s collection of stories in song, Jewish Chronicles, begins a six-week run at the Soho Playhouse, New York, next month. www.danielcainer.com

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Desert island texts: Prayer Book for Jewish Members of HM Forces http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Desert-Island-texts-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/desert-island-texts-prayer-book-jewish-members-hm-forces/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=desert-island-texts-prayer-book-jewish-members-hm-forces http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/desert-island-texts-prayer-book-jewish-members-hm-forces/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:32:54 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35319

If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose? This week Neil Janes, of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, selects: Prayer Book for Jewish Members of HM Forces A YOUNG man in 1940, a private in the Pioneer Corps, is issued with a Prayer Book for […]

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Desert Island TextsIf you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?

This week Neil Janes, of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, selects: Prayer Book for Jewish Members of HM Forces

A YOUNG man in 1940, a private in the Pioneer Corps, is issued with a Prayer Book for Jewish Members of HM Forces. The book survived the war and was given to me by my grandmother. The young man in question was my grandfather of blessed memory, and the prayer book is a treasured volume. My grandfather had relatively recently arrived from Nazi Germany.

He was an enemy alien, by virtue of his birthplace, and therefore, initially part of the Pioneer Corps. I never talked with him in great detail about his wartime experiences, though I have read some of his memoirs. The prayer book itself is short, a reflection of the exigencies of war;. The midrashic teaching, that there is a time to lengthen and shorten one’s prayers, was surely created for times like these. On my desert island, I imagine energy will be better spent saving my life in deeds rather than praying for salvation.

The composition of the prayers is deeply moving; I would find it difficult to write prayers in times of such deep crisis. Drawing on traditional motifs from the liturgy, this prayer book speaks to the inner spirit of human kind. More than the prayers, in being cast away with this book, I will be reminded of the troubles that have befallen my people and humanity. My family witnessed devastation yet, with great nobility, people began to rebuild.

They did not despair. Can you imagine concluding prayers for those fallen in battle ‘nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’, only to go back to battle? These young soldiers did and then went on to work for peace. I’d hope the prayer book might remind me of my own capacity for strength and resourcefulness to tend to the future once again, as my grandfather did before me.

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The Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat for all Jews http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/LJN-front-Shabbat-uk-SA-Challah-Bake-1-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/chief-rabbis-shabbat-jews/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chief-rabbis-shabbat-jews http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/chief-rabbis-shabbat-jews/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:23:35 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35313

If you haven’t yet heard about the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK, you soon will. It’s set to be one of the most ambitious and wide-reaching projects ever undertaken by the Jewish community in the UK. The story of Shabbat UK began last year in South Africa, with Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein who wanted to unite […]

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If you haven’t yet heard about the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK, you soon will. It’s set to be one of the most ambitious and wide-reaching projects ever undertaken by the Jewish community in the UK.

The Shabbat event in South Africa

The Shabbat event in South Africa

The story of Shabbat UK began last year in South Africa, with Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein who wanted to unite the Jewish community of South Africa in a unique way. He posed a challenge to his community – that regardless of their level of religious affiliation or the pressures of their busy lives, they would experience one traditional Shabbat all together. Mobile phones and iPads were to be switched off. There would be no watching television, listening to the radio or use of social media.

No travel by car, shopping and certainly no work. The response was extraordinary. Families who were otherwise entirely secular, saw an opportunity to forget about the pressures of their daily lives for 25 hours and focus much more on their family, friends and community.

And so, on 11 and 12 October 2013, innumerable communal meals and Shabbat events were organised and thousands of Jews observed Shabbat together.

The overwhelming success was such that one year on, an even more ambitious question was raised – could the project go international?

In the UK, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis answered that question with Shabbat UK. Next month (24 and 25 October), the Chief Rabbi is calling for Jews across the UK to join the millions of others worldwide who will be experiencing a Shabbat like no other.

The idea is that every Jew, whatever their background, will do something special to mark the occasion and experience an enhanced Shabbat. “Shabbat is so powerful.
It brings the Jewish world together,” he said. “It gives us meaning and joy, it uplifts the spirit.

“Shabbat gives me an opportunity to spend time with my family, to fuel my connection with the community, to engage in spiritually uplifting activities and to appreciate what is really important in life.”

The campaign has already had a fantastic response. More than 100 shuls, schools and community organisations are already signed up to put on some kind of programme to mark Shabbat UK and organisers say that figure is likely to double by the time the actual day arrives.

Rabbi Daniel Rowe, educational director of Aish UK, who has been asked by the Office of the Chief Rabbi to spearhead the project, told Jewish News: “At its heart, Shabbat UK is a grassroots campaign and we’re hearing every day about new programmes being developed all over the country; each one is more ambitious and impressive than the last.

“We have huge marquees for hundreds of people, incredible educational events and my personal favourite – people opening up their homes and inviting friends and family who might otherwise not be experiencing a Shabbat meal into their home.”

One of the most popular events will no doubt be a huge ‘Challah Make’ day, which will bring thousands of people together at the Allianz Park sports stadium in Hendon on Thursday, 23 October. Organised by Rebbetzin Joanne Dove of Seed, the event will be linked with communities in Leeds, Essex and Manchester.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

“We hope more than 5,000 people will take part in this challah bake, with every participant getting the ingredients and an apron when they arrive,” said Rebbetzin Dove. “I have been teaching challah making for 13 years and will be sharing my recipe with everyone who takes part.

“There is something very comforting about making your own challah and I hope this event brings people together and encourages them to support Shabbat UK.

“Already, Stanmore synagogue has a bus booked to bring more than 70 members of the community to the event and if you can’t make it, local synagogues will be open so you can use their kitchen to make a challah.”

For 23-year-old Jessica Goldstein, who lives in Hampstead, getting involved in Shabbat UK has been a chance for her to focus on a tradition she loved growing up. “As I’ve got older, I’ve attended family Shabbat meals much less frequently. By marking Shabbat UK, it has given me a real opportunity to take a Friday night off from my usual routine and, instead, enjoy the occasion of sitting down with my friends and family to enjoy Shabbat.

“I love the nostalgia of Shabbat, it’s a really exciting opportunity to invite people to spend time together without having to worry about work or anything else.”

If, after reading this, you feel inspired to join in the event, the Shabbat UK website offers a number of initiatives, including Shabbat recipes and a ‘KidZone’ area, where you can find instructions on making a board game that can be played on Shabbat.

• Find out more at: www.shabbatuk.org

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Hitchcock’s unseen Holocaust documentary http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/34-Second-turn-bottom-Night-will-fall-pic-credit-IWM-children-smiling-through-barbed-wire-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/hitchcocks-unseen-holocaust-documentary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hitchcocks-unseen-holocaust-documentary http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/hitchcocks-unseen-holocaust-documentary/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:22:11 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35314

A powerful new documentary about the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the efforts made by Allied cameramen to film the horrors encountered there opens in cinemas this weekend. Using archive footage and eyewitness testimonies, Night Will Fall tells the story of the filming of the camps by photographers from the British, American and […]

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Night will fall pic (credit IWM) children smiling through barbed wire

Night will fall pic (credit IWM) children smiling through barbed wire

A powerful new documentary about the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the efforts made by Allied cameramen to film the horrors encountered there opens in cinemas this weekend.

Using archive footage and eyewitness testimonies, Night Will Fall tells the story of the filming of the camps by photographers from the British, American and Soviet forces. Narrated by actress Helena Bonham Carter, the film explores how a team of top cameramen came together in 1945 to make a documentary about the horrific discoveries that had been made in the camps as a way of providing undeniable evidence of the Nazis’ crimes.

The project was masterminded by Sidney Bernstein, founder of Granada TV, who enlisted his friend Alfred Hitchcock to help edit it. But despite initial support from the British and US governments, the film was never finished. Today, 70 years on, after being rediscovered in the 1980s, it has been restored and completed by Imperial War Museums.

Acclaimed filmmaker André Singer, who chronicles the untold story of the film’s history and the fate of Bernstein’s project, said: “It has been an enormous privilege to talk to the soldiers who first entered the camps, the cameramen who filmed, the editors who viewed the footage, and the victims who suffered there and who were recorded on film in the first, unbelievable moments when rescue finally came.”

Among the survivors, liberators and others who talk about their experiences in new and archive interviews are Branko Lustig, producer of Schindler’s List. who survived incarceration in Auschwitz.

Other speakers are renowned cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a surviving member of the Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz, and Lt. Col. Leonard Berney, one of the first British soldiers to enter Bergen-Belsen. There are also reminiscences by Sergeant Mike Lewis, a combat cameraman with the Army Film and Photographic Unit, and film editor John Krish, who saw some of the shocking raw footage of Dachau when it first arrived in London.

In another segment, Sidney Bernstein describes the evolution of his film project, and David Dimbleby talks about his father, Richard, a legendary figure of public broadcasting, who recorded a now-famous on-site report from Bergen-Belsen.

• Night Will Fall, made with the support of the British Film Institute, opens on 19 September in cinemas nationwide

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OPINION: An angry open letter to the director of Yachad http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Roslyn-Pine-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-angry-open-letter-director-yachad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=opinion-angry-open-letter-director-yachad http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-angry-open-letter-director-yachad/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:15:25 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35309

By Roslyn Pine Deputy, North Salford Synagogue Dear Hannah Weisfeld You define your organisation, Yachad, as pro-Israel and pro-peace, which reminds me of Humpty Dumpty’s famous dictum to Alice in Through the Looking Glass: “Words will mean whatever I want them to mean.” You recently wrote that because there was “no moderate, progressive thinking voice that […]

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By Roslyn Pine

Deputy, North Salford Synagogue

Deputy, North London Synagogue

Roslyn Pine

Dear Hannah Weisfeld

You define your organisation, Yachad, as pro-Israel and pro-peace, which reminds me of Humpty Dumpty’s famous dictum to Alice in Through the Looking Glass: “Words will mean whatever I want them to mean.”

You recently wrote that because there was “no moderate, progressive thinking voice that could express concerns about Israel from a pro-Israel perspective… it was down to me to make it happen.”

Really? The Zionist Federation is an umbrella group of some 120 organisations with more than 50,000 affiliated members who famously rejected your application to join. Yachad, on the other hand, can only muster some 4,000 members – a minuscule number in a community of 250,000 – even with all your relentless self-promotion and propagandising.

Clearly, British Jewry does not buy your message. So let’s cut to the chase and say what Yachad’s real mission is. Its purpose, which it pursues with ruthless zeal, is to force Israel back to the 1967 lines (which you falsely call borders) including withdrawing from the holy city of Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest site, Hebron, and all of Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish civilisation.

Abba Eban, one of Israel’s most respected statesmen, famously called the 1967 lines the “Auschwitz borders”, for the very good reason that the return to them would spell the end of the Jewish state.

He was not given to hyperbole.

Your modus operandi is the steady indoctrination of a false narrative into the minds of the impressionable young, taking them on trips to the West Bank (correctly known as Judea andSamaria) to show them the “realities on the ground”, describing reclaimed Jewish “settlements” as illegal and employing the services of fringe groups with known anti-Israel animus, with the ultimate aim of creating a broadly based pressure group to effect change. Not for you, Hannah, is living in Israel and becoming part of the democratic process to effect change.

They say you can judge a person by the company he keeps. You endorse, among others +972 blog, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence (whose members prefer to remain anonymous). Their websites, amplifiers of crude Arab propaganda, reveal a thinly disguised hatred of Israel, masquerading as a noble quest in the pursuit of human rights for the Arabs, yet a cold indifference to Jewish human rights.

Click here for the opposing view

You put the onus on Israel to forge a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but are silent about the stream of propaganda pumped out relentlessly by Abbas’ “moderate” PA, indoctrinating the young with hatred against Israel and Jews, ensuring that peaceful coexistence can never happen.

The Palestine Charter calls the creation of Israel an illegal act, null and void, calling for the destruction of the Jewish state repeatedly. So it’s no wonder that the majority of Palestinians do not want the two-state solution. And when they do, it is only as a stepping stone to a Palestine replacing Israel. It is spelt out unambiguously, yet you refuse to hear.

If you were serious about peace, you would demand of Abbas that he stops the anti- Semitic incitement of Palestinians. You run Yachad seminars with their legal “experts”, but have no idea as to how international law applies to territory beyond the Green Line.

Consider Abbas’ petition to the UN to enhance the status of the PA, thus giving it access to the International Court of Justice, enabling it to bring criminal charges against Israel. Not only was it a violation of the binding 1995 Oslo interim agreement, which forbade unilateral moves by either side, but it was opposed by almost every Western nation. Yachad, however, lauded this illegal act. You ignore the binding instruments of international law designating the whole of the “West Bank”, the patrimony of the Jewish people. You call it “occupied Palestinian territory”, knowing that Jordan’s illegal 1950 annexation (recognised only by Great Britain and Pakistan) saw the ruthless ethnic cleansing of its Jewish population, the destruction of all 58 synagogues in the Old City and the desecration of Jewish holy sites.

Or take the case of the Sumarin family, evicted from a house where they had been squatters in Silwan after their documents were proven forged. They owned another house nearby, which they rented out so were not homeless. But you criticised the Supreme Court ruling as one for which there will be a moral price to pay.

You have nothing to say about the latest Gaza conflict, which demonstrated again that Israeli withdrawal always brings war, not peace. Nor have you a clue as to how Israel could protect 80 percent of its population in the event that the Judean highlands are handed over to a future Palestinian state, exposing the coastal strip to attack. Israelis would be sitting ducks.

You responded on Twitter to Bishop Desmond Tutu’s recent article calling for Israel to “liberate yourself by liberating Palestine”, by asking: “Is this the first of many from respected world leaders?” The bishop’s false accusation of deliberate Israeli killings of civilians in Gaza and censure of Israel‘s “disproportionately brutal response” is an affront to decency when the noble and self-sacrificing actions of the IDF have been well documented.

And this is a man you describe as a world leader? Since the founding of the Jewish state, more than 23,000 young Jewish lives have been sacrificed in its defence so that we all can visit or live there in safety. The admission of Yachad to the Board of Deputies would be an insult to their sacred memory.

Hannah, withdraw your application now.

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OPINION: Vhy did ve oust meat, fish and dairy? Not to lose veight, honest! http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Angie-Jacobs-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-vhy-ve-oust-meat-fish-dairy-lose-veight-honest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=opinion-vhy-ve-oust-meat-fish-dairy-lose-veight-honest http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-vhy-ve-oust-meat-fish-dairy-lose-veight-honest/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:13:50 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35310

By Angie Jacobs It all vegan when we watched a documentary on Netflix called Vegucated. It followed three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agreed to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. “We could do that”, I challenged my ‘I like a bit of bread on my butter’ husband, Tony. “We could do […]

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By Angie Jacobs

Angie Jacobs

Angie Jacobs

It all vegan when we watched a documentary on Netflix called Vegucated. It followed three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agreed to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. “We could do that”, I challenged my ‘I like a bit of bread on my butter’ husband, Tony. “We could do it while the kids are away in August, just for the two weeks, obviously” I continued. “Ok,” he replied, “but can we still have chicken on a Friday night?”

As with making other lifestyle changes, it’s always a good idea to tell people you are doing it. You feel committed and less likely to wimp out. I opened my big gob, both on Facebook and in real life. When people asked why we were going vegan for two weeks, I explained about the positive effects on our health, the peace of mind of knowing that no animals were killed to feed us and the reduction, however small, our efforts would make to the carbon footprint. When people asked Tony why we were doing it, his answer was more simple: “Angie thinks she might lose weight.”

I do love my food. As a family, we’re all about supper. I love cooking, too, and this challenge would be about making more recipes from scratch rather than getting processed convenience food out of the freezer.

What’s more, I had a week off work so could have some really quality time with my new vegan cookbooks that I had bought from Amazon with my birthday money. (Don’t tell my mum. Ever since I can remember, the cheque has been given to me with the words: ”And get yourself some new clothes!”).

But before I started cooking, I turned to Facebook and made a page called “Angie & Tony – The Vegan Fortnight.” As is always the way, I found myself far more amusing than my readers and spent lots of time answering my own requests for famous vegans. Quinoa Reeves, I quipped, Kale Machlachlan, Lasoya Jackson, Nut King Cole. I moved on to songs: Pearl Barley’s a Singer (Elkie Brooks), Pasta Duchie on the Left Hand Side (Musical Youth) and Love Me for a Raisin (The Osmonds). No? Them neither.

So back to the gig. How difficult could it be? I mean, as Jews we’re used to all this dietary regime stuff. Veganism would be just like eating constant parev … oh, but no eggs, ouch. In fact, it would be a little like an inverse Pesach (okay, so potatoes sit in both camps).

Indeed, the night before the challenge was a bit like erev Pesach, with lots of yogurt and cheese finishing off.

It was a tough job and we had to do it.

The day arrived and we kicked off with cereal and that nice coconut milk we’d had at the V Delicious Day at Olympia. Hmmm, it tasted different. I’ll have cheese on toast instead. Er, no. Eggs?

Breakfast really was rather tricky and ended up with toast and non-dairy spread – every day. But I got into my stride for lunch and supper and with the help of my recipe books, made some top nosh.
So what did we eat? It’s got nothing tofu with you. (Sorry, that was meant to be a joke). Tofu, despite having a bad press, is really quite good when it’s part of a Thai curry. We made our own paste using fresh lime juice and basil and it’s even been eaten without complaint by our offspring since we’ve been carnivorous again.

Homemade mushroom burgers have also gone down a treat as have lots of interesting grainy salads. Freekeh, bulgar, spelt and couscous. Who knew?

And what of my chicken loving husband? He didn’t get his roast, but there was some fowl play. Despite having parev chocolate in the house, he still took a packet of Maltesers up to bed with him every evening.

I felt like a woman cheated. His defence was that it wasn’t a religion and he could do what he wanted. I let him believe it.

We broke it after 13 days as the kids were home from their vegetarian camps and chalisching for a bit of flayshik. (Also, our butcher had thrown in a piece of lamb with a deal on a barbecue won in a competition, but that’s another story.) A moral, moral victory.

Did I lose weight? Did I heck.

After all, nobody said you can’t have wine and tortilla chips.

One more famous vegan? Sean Bean.

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Readers’ Letters: 18/09/14 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Letters-150x150.jpg http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/readers-letters-180914/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=readers-letters-180914 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/readers-letters-180914/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:08:31 +0000 http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/?p=35306

Our weekly Readers’ Letters page, now published online and in print • When it’s time to finally step aside Dear Sir Jerry Lewis and I have known each other for too many years to mention, and I know that he has a keen interest in British political history. So perhaps he could take heed of […]

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Our weekly Readers’ Letters page, now published online and in printLetters

• When it’s time to finally step aside

Dear Sir

Jerry Lewis and I have known each other for too many years to mention, and I know that he has a keen interest in British political history. So perhaps he could take heed of the following: When British prime ministers step down or lose an election, they tend to leave parliament or, in the case of Harold Macmillan, Anthony Eden and Baroness Thatcher, are kicked upstairs. More than anything else, they tend to leave the arena and let those who have succeeded them get on with the job in hand.

Perhaps Jerry, Lionel Kopelowitz and Eldred Tabachnik should take a leaf out of Churchill’s, Atlee’s, Blair’s and Major’s book and depart with dignity. He should remember that those who stayed – such as bitter old Ted Heath – became a joke.

The Board of Deputies is so much better than it ever was, more respected and more professional – witness the manifestos for the European elections just gone and next year’s general election. The Board is certainly more representative and diverse than it ever was, with young people and women taking the helm.

It could, of course, be more diverse, and the proposed acceptance of Yachad and hopefully British Herut and the Chareidim will address that. I have a suggestion: perhaps, like serving Honorary Officers, Deputies could have term-limits, too. I am the deputy for Bromley Reform Synagogue and I’ll know when to step aside and let it go – and that will probably be three terms.

Joe Millis
By email

• Help get galloway removed as an mp

Dear Sir

Many, if not most, of your esteemed readers probably have little time for the rantings and ravings of George Galloway, the MP for Bradford West.

Given that Mr Galloway was investigated by the West Yorkshire police and I believe is currently under investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service for incitement to hatred as a result of his inflammatory remarks directed against Jewish people, I believe he is unfit for purpose to hold the prestigious office of, and the benefits that accrue from being, a Member of Parliament.

I am currently compiling a petition at http://tiny.cc/yzvplx (URL shortened for convenience) to have him removed as an MP.

Now, while in practice the process for the removal of an MP is more complicated than just via a petition, the 1,000+ signatories to date will each have generated an email to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, something I am sure the commissioner cannot fail to notice. For this reason I urge readers of Jewish News to sign it.

I have cited the following reasons for his removal:
1) Galloway’s website for the Respect Party is nothing short of a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel tirade, adding no value, which it should as the website for a British political party, to the lives of the Bradford constituents he represents.
2) There is nothing on the front page of his political party website that either represents or assists the welfare of his constituents.
3) His publicly-expressed hatred for a country and its people who are many miles from his constituency means that he is not fit for purpose to represent some of his local constituents (which is what he is paid by the taxpayer to do), namely those of Jewish faith.
4) By encouraging a boycott of Israeli products, in particular medical products, he seeks to deny his constituents potentially life-saving or life-enhancing products that have been invented in Israel.

This cannot be seen in any way as being of benefit to his constituents and does not represent the manner in which an MP and public representative should behave. He should therefore be removed as a MP immediately for both his unbridled racism towards Jewish people, for wishing to deny his constituents life-saving medical products and for bringing the Houses of Parliament into disrepute.

Edward Moss
Prestwich

• Don’t be fooled by gaza backlash

Dear Sir

In the wake of Israeli actions in Gaza, our leaders, communal bodies and press are all labelling the surge of attacks against Jews as acts of “anti-Semitism.” This is, of course, a grave misconception.
We may like to tell the world that Jews and Israel are distinct entities, but we all know this is a deceptive tool used to claim that Jews are being irrationally targeted for Israeli actions, while simultaneously allowing British Jewry to continue their staunch support for the Jewish state.

When will it click that we can’t have it both ways? If a person’s Jewishness is expressed by identification with Israel, then all aspects of a person’s Jewishness will be attacked by those who hate Israel.
UK Jews are not being attacked because they are Jews per se, but because the majority of Jews in this country pledge total allegiance to the Jewish state, defending it when it slaughters hundreds to avenge the lives of three boys snatched from a location they had no right to settle in.

When thousands of British Jews gather in central London protesting against anti-Semitism, gleefully brandishing Israeli flags, the message conveyed is: “We are Jews and we support Israel; how dare you attack us for being Jews who support Israel.”

It is clear that recent attacks against Jews do not originate from the traditional hatred of Jews, they stem from unswerving Jewish support for Israel. Such attacks are in fact instances of anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism. This is the reality in Israel itself. It should be acknowledged here too.

Joseph Cohen
Edgware

• The hasbara special goes round & round

Dear Sir

The train leaving the station is belching black smoke and grime. The wheels are not so much turning round as groaning as if gasping and spluttering for air. Like an old war horse fit to pack it in. There are very few people on board this train. But they seem happy enough and oblivious to the rows of empty seats around them, all of which are marked “reserved”. On the platform people are trying unsuccessfully to board.

It’s the “Hasbara Special” and in all truth it’s going nowhere – just round and round in circles until it eventually returns to the very self same platform and station where it started. Dusted down, it’s then filled with the same bloated promises of yesteryear as it awaits the next crisis to befall the Jewish community, when no doubt it will react in the same tardy fashion. Be it the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council or Zionist Federation, the reaction remains between muted and silent.

Individuals and small groups take to the streets and the airwaves and write to the press expressing their exasperation at the bias of the coverage. But when the fires are cooled, the statuesque returns and nothing changes.

The particular target of my frustration is the Zionist Federation which, to be fair, was the only Jewish communal organisation to lift its head above the parapet and gauge the awful PR carnage out there.

But why should fairness count when incompetence reigns. I have carefully studied the ZF adverts in the Jewish press. I commend it for placing the adverts. The Jewish press, by definition does not have a large potential audience and any payment to the coffers is no doubt welcome. The ZF was naturally upset, and made it known, that it was left out of a community meeting to discuss the recent crisis. To me, this action seems very odd but I would have more sympathy for it if they did not display the same exclusivity in protecting its own patch as the other Jewish communal organisations do in protecting theirs.

In 1980, in between leaving the Evening Standard to join, whisper it quietly, the News Of The World, I met at the House of Commons with Greville Janner and a senior Jewish executive from the Daily Mirror, long since dead.

The topic was how to move on the old guard who knew very little but said a lot when it came to Jewish affairs in general and Israel in particular. After a couple of meetings this community fixer decided nothing could be done and the meetings ended.

Now, more than 30 years later, nothing has changed. It’s still Groundhog Day. Although I am not impressed with the ZF’s action, at least it decided to take some. However, a training day held alongside a biennial conference might seem like a good idea, but should people willing to give up their Sunday for training be asked at the same time to pay for it? The training day is to be followed by an advocacy day in December. By then the Martians might have arrived or Putin, if past actions are any guide, might well be occupying London to protect the ever growing number of Russian speakers living there.

Squeezed somewhere in between these events is a proposed picket of Channel 4 News –  and boy does it deserve it! I have always thought the best demonstrations are, or give the impression of, being spontaneous. In the case of Channel 4, the bird has flown.

The Hasbara train still has the same old faults. It chugs along to nowhere with new people making the same old mistakes, with the first rule always being to fiercely protect your patch. The last thing any outsider can do is climb aboard and grab a seat. They are all taken.

Adrian Nedlestone
By email

• No question of a take over of land

Dear Sir

Stephen Oryszczuk reported (Jewish News, 3 September) that “Britain strongly condemned Israel’s decision to expropriate almost 1,000 acres of Palestinian land on the West Bank as a response to the kidnap and murder of three teenagers in June”.

It is unfortunate that an Israeli army spokesperson should have announced that on the instructions of the political echelon, 4,000 dunams at Gevaot (a small Jewish settlement) is declared as state land, giving the misleading impression that it was a “political” decision.

What actually happened was that, after several years of investigations, it had been determined that the land in question was not privately owned and so, by virtue of the Ottoman law still operative in the territory, it was “state land”. There is no question of takeover of any privately owned Palestinian land whatsoever, despite the IDF spokesperson’s reference to “giving Palestinian landowners 45 days to appeal” – it is merely a clarification of the land’s long-standing legal status.

Furthermore, it in no way substantiates Peace Now’s assertion that it was could “dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem areas”.

Perhaps that organisation should be renamed “Peace in our time” to reflect its true nature.

Martin D. Stern
Salford

• And now comes the propaganda war

Dear Sir

So Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas now wants the UN to replace the USA as the leading peacemaker between Israel and the Palestinians. PA negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, meanwhile, intends to take Israel to the ICC for war crimes. According to her, Hamas is not guilty of war crimes.

Both the UN and ICC are puppets of Muslim countries and the outcome of both investigations would be anti-Israel. They now claim to want Israel to “withdraw” to the 1967 borders, which even President Obama in his wisdom also advocates, making Israel indefensible.

The relentless propaganda and the incessant flow of misinformation seems to be more virulent than ever.

Sidney Sands
N12

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