To further progress Jewish life in the UK, The Board is delighted to announce that it is working on a new project that seeks to forecast the needs for the Jewish community over the next 100 years.
Jewish 100, looks to the year 2108 and then takes a step back to see how Jewish life arrived at the state it will be in.
At this time, initial research is being undertaken by Jane Cohen and results are set to be delivered early 2009.
“According to initial estimates, there will be 1.7million Jews in the country, a slight decline on the current figures,” said Jane Cohen. “But this is only an estimate, we need to do some real forecasting into the future.”
A budget of £3.8m has been allocated for the work involved.
“It is not just a question of sticking a finger at the wind to make predictions,” Jane Cohen added. “It is about being 100% accurate and with a £3.8m budget, I can make sure it is correct.”
Board puts Yiddish on British Speaking Clock
Voiced by Larry David and sponsored by Bonn Matzo Company
The Board of Guardians of British Jews is delighted to announce the launch of the world\’s first Yiddish language speaking clock service voiced by TV star Larry David as the final part of the 350th anniversary of Jews being readmitted back to England by oliver Cromwell.
Since deregulation of the speaking clock in 1996, British people have been able to dial and find out the time of the day in a choice of 12 languages including French, German, Italian, Somali, Polish and Urdu.
In 1998, The Board under guidance by then president Hannah Cohen launched a petition to get Yiddish included in the language choice.
“It has taken eight long years, but after much lobbying of the British communication regulatory authority, we now have Yiddish included in the speaking clock service and as part of our celebration of 350 years of being back in the country,” said Harry Greenberg, president of The Board. “We are delighted that Larry David is to be the voice of the speaking clock.”
The service which costs 10p a call is sponsored in part by the Bonn Matzo Company which has helped to keep the cost of the call at half the price of other similar services. “We are also honoured that Bonn is able to support this project,” Mr Greenberg added.
Before each time is read out, a message says “The time sponsored by Bonn Matzo is…”
For his part, Larry David was at first surprised at being approached to be the Yiddish voice British Jews call when needing to know the time.
“I didn\’t know British people pay to hear the time of the day, but when I heard about the project to put Yiddish on the speaking clock, I know I had to be involved,” said Mr David. “My grandfather was from London, albeit, his boat docked there on its way to America, but I have always had the deepest respect not just for Britain but for its Jews and in honour of its 350th anniversary of Jews being readmitted back to England, this is something I can be involved in.”
Following recent incidents, The Board of Guardians of British Jews has decided to remove entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen from its honorary executive as well as fining him £9,000 and banning him from visiting any UK synagogue for six months.
The decision which was decided by The Board\’s Surrey Beth Din takes affect from November 23 2006. Mr Baron Cohen can appeal the decision and has until October 23 to do so.
“We gave Mr Baron Cohen an informal warning over six months ago about the Borat character and how it is causing problems with the Kazakhstan government and that this is bringing major embarrassment to the Jewish community,” said Harry Greenberg, president of The Board. “Mr Baron Cohen ignored our letters and phonecalls and therefore after consultation with our rabbis, we have taken steps to exclude Mr Baron Cohen and let people know he is not connected with The Board and has been banned from setting foot into any synagogue for six months.”
The Board had hoped Mr Baron Cohen would stop performing as Borat but has not. Indeed, since The Board contacted him, Mr Baron Cohen in an act of defiance has actually increased his awareness of the character.
“We can only assume that Mr Baron Cohen is doing this as a total mark of disrespect to The Board,” said Board external director Emily Rosen. “He insults not only people from Kazakhstan, but also members of his own community. This we cannot accept lightly and therefore the steps we have taken should ensure that Mr Baron Cohen ceases to insult anyone.”
The move by The Board was in response to recent comments the US-based Anti-Defamation League has made about the harm Mr Barn Cohen is causing to US Jews.
“We have been informed that number of Jews in America are outraged by the antics of a British Jew, therefore in response to this, we have assured our US counterparts that on no UK Jew can cause such incidents in America and are grateful to the ADL for their support in this matter,” Mr Greenberg added.
Following his recent conversion to Judaism, the Board is delighted to announce that Mel Gibson is to honour the Board by becoming a vice-president.
Mr Gibson, 50, recently celebrated his barmitzvah under the supervision of Rabbi Joe Levine of Hendon in north west London.
“We are delighted that Mel has decided to embrace the Jewish faith,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Despite American media trying to imply his is anti-semitic, Mel is a true lover of all Jews and the Jewish faith. He has been undergoing a conversion for the past 24 months and we are delighted to announce he has embrace the faith.”
The Board wishes to express its full support to Mr Gibson as he deals with the current issue of being framed in the United States and is fully supportive of him.
“Mel has said he wishes to move to London and follow other Jewish stars such as Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss who now call London for home. London is a warm community for all Jews and Mel will certainly find a welcome here.”
Following research by The Board into Britain’s Jewish Goth community, west London\’s Brentford Synagogue is to be the first in the country to host weekly Goth services.
According to the 2005 poll, 8% of Britain\’s Jews between the ages of 13 and 35 identified with Goth culture and music.
With 375,000 Jewish Goths in the UK and 120,000 living within four miles of Brentford Synagogue, Rabbi Kent Levin is offering services relevant to the needs of the Goths.
“When I first came to London in the early 80s, I was aware of the Goth music scene and actually in to it myself and indeed I am still. What always stuck me were the huge numbers of Jews involved in it,” Rabbi Levin said. “So when the Board did some research, it made perfect sense to help Goths with their Jewish needs.”
A weekly alternative shabbat service on a Tuesday evening aims to attract a packed audience of 500 into the synagogue with an overflow service taking place at the nearby Brentford Football Club social bar which has capacity for an additional 300 people.
“If we had the shabbat service on Saturday itself, we would be unable to broadcast it,” said Rabbi Levin. “This is about being both alternative and relevant for young people and by having shabbat services on a Tuesday we can do that by broadcasting it and teaming up with the local football team.”
“Offering relevant services is something we have been trying to do for years,” said Rabbi Barry Goldberg of the Alliance of Jewish Rabbis Trade Union. “I commend Rabbi Levin for what he is doing and hope to see other synagogues offer similar services to its local community.”
The Board has expressed its concern to French authorities over the way they have handled its Bird Flu crisis by denying members of the Jewish community chicken soup.
Since announcing that 3.12% of its country is infected by Bird Flu, the French government has banned all Jews from consuming chicken soup, though non-Jews are still allowed to buy and make it.
“We are appalled that France has reacted this way to the crisis,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “They are the only country to ban its Jewish citizens from having chicken soup.”
Though other countries have had bird flu, the Board is rather concerned why the French have taken its anti-chicken soup stance against Jews.
“Why chicken soup for Jews and not chicken soup for non-Jews,” Mr Greenberg added. “Could it have anything to do with the fact that chicken soup and Jews go together?”
The Board is in close co-operation with its respective Jewish French colleagues and will be organising a rally to support them in order to get chicken soup back on the menu.
“We will be having a rally on March 26 where 450,000 Jews from across London will gather outside the French embassy,” commented Board communications director Susan Jacobs. “We cannot accept or tolerate denial of our basic eating rights.”
The Board of Guardians of British Jews has once again called on McDonald\’s to stop broadcasting a TV commercial that shows a bagel that contains non-kosher products within it, following a record number of complaints from members of the UK Jewish community.
It has also told McDonald\’s to take off its menu a bagel that features bacon and if it fails to do so, a boycott of McDonald\’s and associated brands (including Coca Cola) that are sold at its restaurants will be started.
In early 2005, The Board was informed of a TV advertising campaign that featured bacon within the bagel. At the time, McDonald\’s were notified of the deep concern the Board has of taking such a recognised image eaten by Jews and now associated with a non-kosher product.
McDonald\’s did not respond to The Board\’s requests and now has even increased its range of non-kosher products going into the bagel.
“While we are not offended by neutral products going into a bagel such as jam or cream cheese, putting pork-sausage or bacon in it is something we cannot accept, that coupled with the recent advertising campaign by McDonald\’s shows how much disregard they have for the feelings of the Jewish community,” said Board director of communal services Jacob Bloom.
Within a week of the McDonald\’s sausage bagel commercial going on television, The Board had 125 letters as well as 3,400 emails from Jews across the country expressing their concern at seeing a bagel being used in such a way.
“We have already notified McDonald\’s of our concern last year, yet one year on and they not only continue with their old product range, but also add a new product that they know will carry on showing total disrespect for the Jewish community and also for the bagel,” said Board president Harry Greenberg.
“We are giving McDonald\’s an opportunity now to resolve the matter by removing any pig product from the bagel and if they fail on this occasion, we will start the boycott,” Mr Greenberg added.
8 January 2006 – In the Board of Guardians of British Jews semi-annual Honours to the Jewish community, which is part of the Queen\’s honours, the Board is delighted to recognise members of the British Jewish community for their contribution to work done by inside and outside the community.
Among those who have been honoured are former Conservative leader Michael Howard, Professor Emily Howard and actor Matt Lucas.
“All these Jewish people have one thing in common, they have made a major contribution not to just the work of the Board but also to help the Jewish community,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “These honours recognise both the well known and the not so well known of the community.”
The Winter awards announced today will be given out at a gala ceremony attended by the Queen on March 23 2006.
The Board\’s Honours which are recognised by all sections of the Jewish community were created in 1981 following a meeting between then Board director John Joseph and Queen Elizabeth II. It was then decreed by her majesty that the Jewish community should be allowed to have its Honours during the Queen\’s Honours.
Since then, there has been both Winter Honours and Spring Honours.
For Winter 2006, the following Honours are to be given.
Professor Emily Howard – Since 1993, Professor Howard has been head of research at the Jewish Research department of London and Herts University. Her report, “Jews in the Iron Age” which looked at the Jewish contribution to Britain\’s Iron Age helped to understand how the first Jews arrived in Britain from Egypt.
Malcolm Wise – Community volunteer, Mr Wise has been a regular helper to the Board funded Jewish Guide Dogs Home. The Jewish Guide Dogs Home helps provide guide dogs to members of the Jewish community where the dogs are specifically trained to deal with part of the Jewish lifestyle which include getting to synagogue. Mr Wise helps to train the dogs and since 1972 has trained over 600.
Matt Lucas – Actor Matt Lucas has risen to popularity with his TV partner David Walliams with the popular BBC TV show Little Britain. Matt himself has been active in the work of the Board as a supporter and hosted the 2004 annual Board dinner which raised £530,000
Michael Howard – The former Conservative leader has been instrumental in supporting the Board and has been a director of it on a number of occasions, both when the Conservative Party were in power and as in opposition. As a Board director, Mr Howard has been on a number of committees and takes a keen interest in the Board\’s sports division.
The Board is delighted to announce that the Queen will declare December 27, National Chanukah day and make it a public holiday for all.
The move comes after 18 years of campaigning by the Board for the British government to recognise that Chanukah is a Jewish festival.
“Given the Xmas is a public holiday in recognition of one of the most famous Jews of all time and indeed Easter is also a holiday in honour of one of the most famous Jews of all time, we feel that Chanukah is not just a festival for Jews but for all and should be part of Britisih society,” said Board president Harry Greenberg.
The Board feels by introducing Chanukah to the masses it can then be experienced by everyone and important issues of going green can also be learnt.
“Chanukah is not just for Jews, it\’s for everybody and the message of Chanukah of how strategic planning can help you overcome anything is one that are proud to share,” Mr Greenberg added. “It is about how with just a little bit of something, you can make it last long. I guess you can say, it is a very green and eco friendly festival. How one day worth of oil lasted for eight days is a question everyone asks and today, Jewish scientists are close to discovering how that happened. We hope what we find will help solve the world oil problems.”
As part of National Chanukah Day, the Queen will be lighting a menorah in Buckingham Palace.
The Board of Guardians of British Jews is to issue a small claims notice at the Reading Beth Din (Jewish law court) against writers David Baddiel and Ben Elton over outstanding fees they have not paid to the Board.
Baddiel and Elton are two of the 1300 people who annually try and avoid paying the Board levy to support its work and the Board will now start to highlight those who refuse to pay.
Payments to the Board from Jewish men are expected to start from the age of 13, when in Jewish law they are responsible for their own mitzvahs (deeds) and one mitzvah is to make the annual Board donation.
“When both David and Ben were barmitzvah, they made an agreement in hebrew to pay the fee. For five years after his barmitzvah, David paid and for Ben it was just two years. Despite constant reminders, both of them have failed to continue with payments and therefore we have decided to claim a full claim for all payments. We are not prepared to write this off,” said Board president Harry Greenberg.
Both Baddiel and Elton were prepared to do their barmitzvah and accepted their passage from boy to man and therefore they should accept their full responsibility to make this payment.
Despite constant reminders, both men have ignored the requests to pay or have written back making various excuses.
In the case of David Baddiel, he wrote on 2 March 2003:
“Why are you hounding me? As far as I am aware, I did not agree to this and why didn\’t my rabbi translate this piece of my barmitzvah into English? I\’m not paying. So sue me and I\’ll see you in synagogue about this.”
In the case of Baddiel, he currently owes the Board £3254.32 and in the case of Elton this is £5432.02 (both amounts include interest and reminder notices).
To help support the Board in its collection of fees, it is has recently appointed Edward Jacobs as its chief collection officer. Mr Jacobs, 42 from Bushey, Hertfordshire is a former director of the TV Licensing where he was responsible for collecting overdue payments.
“We are grateful to have Edward join as and to help support the work we do. We are confident that Edward and his team will help increase the money coming into the Board by dealing with those who constantly refuse to pay,” added Board president Harry Greenberg.
Mr Jacobs takes up his new role from December 12 2005.
The UK\’s Jewish community has welcomed plans to introduce a new festival into the Jewish calendar.
Yom Yom, which means Day Day will be the first new Jewish festival in 2300 years and is being launched initially in the UK. If it proves popular, it will be introduced to other Jewish communities around the world.
“We are delighted that Yom Yom is coming to the UK first,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Our community will welcome this wonderful day that celebrates the Day and all things associated with it.”
While the Jewish community has always marked special events such as a new moon and a new year, the new Yom Yom aims to show the importance of what people can do in a day.
“Yom Yom will be a joyful day, it will be about celebrating what a great day the day is and how each of us has a part to play in making the day good, not just or ourselves, but for others,” Mr Greenberg added.
The theme for Yom Yom will be Spread A Little Happiness written by Vivian Ellis.
“We will be translating the lyrics into Hebrew so that it can be sung at every synagogue,” Mr Greenberg added. “The song is a classic uplifting melody and something that can unite the Jewish community together on the day.”
Welcoming the introduction of Yom Yom, the World Chief Rabbi, Morris Elias said: “I am pleased to see the UK Jewish community has come together on the Yom Yom project. We were looking for a Jewish community that is united together and with the UK community we have found one that works as one.”
The UK will test Yom Yom for a period of three years. Once that is over, members of the World Jewish Council will then decide how it should be adopted as a Jewish festival across the world.
The Board of Guardians of British Jews is to support a campaign by the British Jewish Actors and Performer Association (BJAPA) to raise awareness of the casting of non-Jews in clearly defined Jewish parts both on screen and also on stage.
The first “Put Jews back in the Spotlight” campaign will start on October 26 to highlight the lack of Britsh Jewish actors getting lead roles in the London production of Mel Brooks musical The Producers.
The British Jewish Actors and Performers Association which was founded by Bernie Winters in 1974 and is currently chaired by Dan Stein. It was formed by merging two groups, Anglo Jewish Performers and British Jewish Actors Society both of which were established in the late 19th century under Royal approval from Queen Victoria who was concerned herself when Jews were not allowed to perform lead roles in Yiddish theatre.
“We have been getting very concerned over the past few years as members have been contacting us and saying they have not been getting clearly defined Jewish roles,” said Dan Stein, chairman of The British Jewish Actors and Performers Association. “When we looked more into this we were shocked to discover that major productions such as Mel Brooks\’ The Producers have yet to cast Jewish people into the lead roles despite the two lead characters being Jewish.”
“We are as concerned as the BJAPA and its members,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Queen Victoria signed and supported the Jewish performers act of 1892 and for years it has been respected. We therefore call on those casting Jewish roles for stage and screen to make sure they comply with the rule. As we have shown in the past, we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal and boycott action against those who flaunt the law.”
The move by the BJAPA follows that of a similar campaign in the United States when Jewish performers raised concern over the way Jason Biggs kept on being offered leading Jewish roles in films such as American Pie and Woody Allen\’s Anything Else. This was dispite Biggs not being Jewish or having any Jewish connection.
Earlier this year, the New York Jewish Actors Collective staged a 14 day protest outside the theatre where Biggs was the lead Jewish character in Modern Orthodox.
Members of the New York Jewish Actors Collective (NYJAC) are advising the BJAPA and how to organise direct action.
“The Biggs situation was resolved by the hard work of the NYJAC and we are grateful for their help to British Jews,” said BJAPA chairman Dan Stein. “If we need to also organise a 14 day protest outside The Producers or even a 73 day protest, we will do it too.”
Board withdraws Jewish support to Labour Party – Lord Levy and Peter Mandelson ordered to severe links
The Board of Guardians of British Jews is to issue an edict to withdraw all support for the Labour Party following Wednesday\’s anti-Semitic attack by Labour\’s self-styled suited and booted brigade on an 82-year-old Jewish man at its annual conference.
“We were shocked by the scene when Walter Wolfgang said \’nonsense\’ during Jack Straw\’s speech and was hurled out. What the Labour Party failed to realise was that Mr Wolfgang was speaking in Yiddish and \’nonsense\’ actually means, \’speak up\’,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Mr Wolfgang is a senior citizen who could not hear what was being said and only commented in Yiddish, his first language to ask Mr Straw to talk a bit louder.”
Until the Board gets a personal apology from the Labour Party attack on the whole Jewish community, it will issue a rabbinical edict which will be led by joint chief Rabbis Sir Jonathan Sacks of the Unity Movement and Rabbi Beryl Cohen of the Independent Synagogue Society.
“Our first withdrawal will be Lord Levy who will refuse to offer any help in fundraising for the Labour Party,” Mr Greenberg said. “We have also called on Peter Mandelson to work part-time and go on a work slow protest.”
The Board of Guardians is also calling on the Labour Party to be committed to equal understanding of languages and to treat Yiddish like it treats other languages.
“Had Mr Wolfgang said it in French or Italian, I doubt very much if he would have been thrown out, but just because he said it in Yiddish, everyone took it as meaning something else,” Mr Greenberg. “We call on the Labour Party to now include Yiddish in all its forms of communication.”
The Board to take action on behalf of Rachel Stevens against TV show hosts Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood
The Board of Guardians of British Jews has received instructions from entertainer Rachel Stevens to represent her in a Jewish court of law in order to get an apology from television presenters Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood known as “Dick” and “Dom”.
On 10 September, Rachel was seen on the BBC children\’s show Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow in which she felt intimidated by the presenters and decided she did not want to continue appearing on the show. Refusing to be “gunged” after being told it contained unkosher ingredients, Rachel used the agreed stop word “oy” but the two presenters Dick and Dom tried to continue with the “gunging”.
“Rachel came to us and when we heard what happened, we were truly stunned,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Never in our 38 years of existence have we had such a blatant abuse of one of our most beloved entertainers. Not only was the \’gunge\’ made from an unkosher animal which we understand consisted of Emu fat mixed with other ingredients, but the pre-recorded show went out on a Saturday morning which Rachel never agreed to and implied that Rachel was prepared to work on the Sabbath, which quite clearly is not true. Even after the show, McCourt and Wood mocked Rachel which is unacceptable.”
Under her real name, Rachel Steinetski, the Board has also sought guidance from Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. “He has advised us that Rachel has a case somewhat like that of Bernie Winters in 1972 when broadcaster Anglia TV misled him over eating a sandwich which turned out not to be kosher,” said Board head of legal affairs, Miriam Lee. “The then Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits issued a powerful edict which got Bernie the apology he deserved.”
The edict in 1972 required anyone Jewish working at Anglia to resign. Over 420 people including the broadcaster\’s sales director as well as actors and actresses left to join other broadcasters. It also resulted in the third series of Anglia\’s Tales of the Unexpected being cancelled.
“The Chief Rabbi showed he could do it then, and the Chief Rabbi today has said an edict is a possibility unless Rachel gets an apology and a commitment from Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood to stop their verbal and on-screen attacks against her. If it means that Jews at the BBC resign en masse, then that is a clear possibility as once an edict is issued by the Chief Rabbi, every Jew must follow it.”
The court case is set for November 8 at Highbury Beth Din (Court of Law) in London.
A new Jewish TV station on Freeview, Sky and NTL is to be launched under the auspices of The Board of Guardians of British Jews.
Jew4, a partnership between Channel 4 and The Board, goes on air from October 29 and features a variety of programming from music shows and news to a sitcom and movies.
The community managed station will also feature a number of professional broadcasters and entertainers including: Lionel Blair, Matt Lucas, The Chief Rabbi, Sir Adam Harris, Lord Bloom of Hampstead and Rachel Stevens.
Rachel Stevens will present the weekly Jewish music show, while Lionel Blair will be the host of Come Klezmer Dancing, a dance show with a klezmer twist.
Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks will present Thought for the Week while Sacha Baron Cohen will present a daily cooking show – Oy Kosher.
“We are delighted to have such a talented team onboard for Jew4,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Our mix of showbiz, news, culture and religion we believe will have appeal both inside and outside the Jewish community.”
Since Channel 4 expanded its channels to include E4 and More4, the new Jew4 comes as broadcasters look to expand their range of programming aimed at diverse community groups.
The Board which already has a stake in four Jewish radio stations across the UK believes TV is a medium to reach out to Britain\’s three million Jews.
“We have been approached by other TV broadcasters but Channel 4 made the best offer to us,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “As a joint venture, we both help each other, Channel 4 with the transmission and us supplying the programming.”
A penguin that has grown to symbolise the friendship between Jews and Germans is to be adopted by the Board of Guardians of British Jews.
Pincus the Penguin, who lives in Berlin Zoo is a popular visit for many Germans both Jewish and not who have been mesmerised by Pincus\’ Jewish-like eating habits.
Unlike other Penguins who are fed unkosher fish and seafood, Pincus will only eat kosher fish.
Since coming to Berlin Zoo in 1999, Pincus has been a popular draw for the crowds who watch in fascination as the penguin rejects the non-kosher fish and scrambles towards the kosher delights.
“Pincus came to us from Warsaw Zoo as part of the 1999 European Zoo Exchange and when we first started to feed him prawns and swordfish, he didn\’t take any interest,” said Berlin Zoo director Otto Ziller. “Someone at Warsaw mentioned Pincus was special and was always picky with his food, so we had some salmon and gave it to him which he enjoyed.”
Over time, it become apparent the Pincus was no ordinary penguin. “One day a Jewish couple from Florida came to the zoo and were eating a smoked salmon bagel and Pincus was hovering around them while the other penguins were in another part of the penguin area. One of the staff noticed this and after some tests, we discovered that Pincus was drawn towards the smoked salmon.”
Since finding a love for Jewish food, Pincus has a diet consisting of such delights as gefilta fish (chopped and mixed fish with carrot and made into golf ball sized portions), smoked salmon and schmaltz herring.
“The Board is delighted to be associated with Pincus and the Zoo which has started to make the Jewish diet and kosher food better known in Germany,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “We have decided that as a symbol of unity, the Board wishes to be associated with Pincus and we will be featuring his name and image across the Board from our letterheads through to the annual New Year appeal.”
Chief Rabbi to resign from The Board of Guardians of British Jews to focus on new freelance writing and book novel
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks has decided to resign from The Board in order to develop his writing and other freelance opportunities.
The move will also allow Sir Jonathan to keep the money he has been making from his writing and books which previously was donated by him as Tzedakah – charity to the Jewish and non-Jewish community.
In his time, he has donated over £150,322 from the royalties of his books and other projects in which he has been paid and in which he has always accounted to the community.
“Sir Jonathan is a great example of a man who is committed to the community and has served us well, especially with his ever giving nature to all. We are sorry to see Sir Jonathan leave the Board as one of our members, but appreciate his honest approach that he wishes to develop his own personal projects including additional writing columns in national newspapers and a new book,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “I look forward to being one of the first to read the book Sir Jonathan has been telling us about for years.”
“When I joined The Board way back in 1974, I never realised how much it would grow and what a wonderful group it has become, but now, 30 years later, it is time to move on,” said Sir Jonathan. “It is also time for me to start work on a novel that has been in my head for the last decade and I can only do this by stepping down form current commitments to focus on my creative side.”
The Board of Guardians of British Jews has raised concern over the way a Virgin Trains poster is currently being displayed in a popular Jewish area.
The poster located in the lower end of Golders Green Road in north West London and directly opposite a parade of Jewish and kosher shops shows large images of sausages.
“We have had over 125 phonecalls since this poster went up,” said Board director of communications Shirley Bloom. “People have been concerned over the image which looks like that of a pork sausage. Had it been a beef sausage, we wouldn\’t have such an issue, but being pork, it brings memories of when McDonalds had a poster of a bagel with bacon inside it and displayed that to the Jewish community. We were offended then and we are offended now. It is not right or proper that large images of traife products are blatantly shown in such a vile manner in what is a large and popular area with the Jewish community.”
When the Board contacted Virgin Trains, a spokesperson refused to reveal the source of the meat on the poster. “These sausages are for the traditional British breakfast we serve, we also offer vegetarian options.”
The Board has now issued a formal letter to Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson in which it asked for the removal of the poster and a clarification as to the meat content. The Board has further suggested that, like his airline Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains should also offer pre-booked kosher meals on the train.
“The Jewish community has always had good dialogue with Sir Richard Branson and his businesses, ever since we raised concern over the way in which his artist Sid Vicious used to wear a Nazi emblem,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “Sid apologised to us in 1977 and used part of his proceeds from My Way to set up the Sid Vicious Jewish Music Foundation which to this day is still supported by the music industry including Sir Richard. We don\’t know what has happened with the train poster going up, but it needs to go down.”
Board sets up Scottish branch following 10 year campaign by Malcolm Rifkind – Other regions to follow
The Board is delighted to announce plans to open up a Jewish Scottish Board division.
The new Board of Guardians of Scottish Jews will represent the interests of the nearly 1.4million Jews who live in Scotland and like the London-based British Board will be the only voice to speak on behalf of all Scottish Jews.
In a voting process, 93% of all Scottish Jews agreed that they will allow the Board to represent them.
The annual Jewish tax duty which goes to the Board of £79.40 will now be split 90% going to Scottish Jewish Board and 10% to the national Board. The additional money raised will benefit a number of Scottish based projects including: Kosher Haggis Enterprises, Jewish Kiltmakers, Association of Jewish Bagpipe Players and the Glatt Kosher Wild Salmon Company.
As over 50% of all Scottish Jews live in Dundee, the headquarters of the division will be based in Dundee with additional regional offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Falkirk. A special opening event is planned for August 15 2005 in which local Jewish and international Jewish dignitaries will be taking part including Dame Shirley Greenberg, Warren Mitchell, Barry Cohen and Jacob Goldberg.
“I am pleased to see that after ten years of planning, we now have a dedicated Board of Guardians of Scottish Jews,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “I am also happy to announce that Sally Jacobs has accepted our invitation to be the president of the Scottish Board.”
The campaign to set up a Scottish Board was first started by politician Malcolm Rifkind who was previously based in Scotland before becoming a London MP for Kensington and Chelsea.
“In 1995 I was approached by a group of Jewish people living in Dundee who felt that a Jewish Board in Scotland was important to them. Since then this issue has been important to me and I felt it was an important subject to raise with the London-based Board,” said Malcolm Rifkind. “It has taken alot of campaigning and work, but we are now there. Well done to everyone involved.”
“Scottish Jews are grateful to the help and support of the Board and Malcolm Rifkind in setting up our Board of Guardians of Scottish Jews, we have lived in Scotland for over 700 years and now with our Board we can better represent the interests and needs of our community,” said Sally Jacobs.
Plans for other regional Boards including Wales and Northern Ireland are being considered following consultation with members of those communities.
The Board has agreed to a test project which has put a cash machine in a tombstone at Chester Jewish Cemetery.
Following the death of Morris Gorski earlier this year, he put in his will a clause that his heirs would only be entitled to get their share of his money by visiting his grave in River Path Road on a weekly basis.
Mr Gorski was a popular businessman who owned a number of businesses including property company Gorski Holdings plc, the UK\’s largest builder of three bedroom flats and apartments.
Working with ATM North Europe Services, the cash machine will allow his heirs to collect up to £750 a time when they turn up. A special debit card has been issued to 25 of Mr Gorski\’s heirs which they can use at the graveside as well as being able to use elsewhere.
“When Uncle Morris said he was going to do this, we thought he was joking,” said niece Jane Gould. “But when we were read the will, we soon realised he wasn\’t. I would visit his grave anyway, but I guess Uncle Morris wanted to make sure that other family members got a worthwhile incentive to visit him.”
According to the Board, should the test project involving Mr Gorski prove popular, other people will get the opportunity to have cash machines in their tombstones.
“As the forward thinking Jewish group we are, we do like to consider all ideas and when Mr Gorski was alive he asked us if this is something we would consider for him,” said Board president Harry Greenberg. “We listened and thought it was a wonderful idea especially if he felt it was a way to encourage family members to visit him. We consulted with members of the Board who agreed that when the time came to honour Mr Gorski\’s request we would.”