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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘England’

UK Jewish Girls School Erased Evolution Questions from Test

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Yesoday HaTorah Senior Girls School in Hackney, England has been redacting evolution related questions out of their standardized science tests, according to a report on the BBC website.

The school removed evolution related questions from 52 tests.

The testing body said that in the future they will allow the school to officially remove evolution related questions.

The British Department of Education wants to ensure that the girls are learning the entire curriculum.

Uproar over Jewish Candidate’s Refusal to Shake Hands with Women

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

An Orthodox Jewish candidate for the European Parliament has caused an uproar in Britain by refusing to shake women’s hands.

Shneur Odze told the members of the right-wing populist UK Independence Party, or UKIP, that he will not shake women’s hands due to his religious beliefs, which proscribe physical contact with any woman other than his wife. Some party activists told the Times of London that they are offended by Odze’s stance and say it will alienate half the electorate.

Senior party officials have called the activists “rude” and “wrong” for not respecting Odze’s beliefs.

Ozde, 31, is fourth on the UKIP’s candidate’s list for member of the European Parliament from the North West of England. The Europe-wide election to the parliament is scheduled for late May.

A party regional organizer, Fred McGlade, resigned from his position with the party to protest the decision to include Odze on the list. He warned Crowther that he would stand down if Odze was chosen by the party because of his attitude towards women

That is how an ignorant person, Jewish or not, judges an Orthodox Jew. He assumes that a Jew thinks women are second-class citizens since a religious man won’t shake her hand. Jews, especially those whose understanding of Jewish law is not even on the level, so to speak, of Reform Judaism, often think the same of Orthodox Jews for not praying together with women.

The nose-in-the-air Jews like to think that when a Jewish man thanks God that he was not created a woman, the man couldn’t possibly be thinking of all the mitzvahs he would not be able to perform if he were a women. He obviously is a sexist who considers women to be the scum of the earth.

If that is the way the snobs look at others, perhaps it is they are sexist for even thinking like that.

Perhaps they are the sexists for not having marital relations according to Jewish law, which protects the woman from lust. Consult your synagogue’s Code of Jewish Law for details.

Perhaps it is the better-than-thou men, and women, who seem to think that “equality” means “sameness.” God must have made a mistake by not allowing men to give birth. On the other hand, as most wives know, if men were to give birth, the world would have ended after the first birth because he wouldn’t go through the pains of labor a second time around.

And it’s the same crowd of people who, when visiting a mosque, are the first to wear proper dress and take off their shoes, but wouldn’t dare cover their shorts in order to respect the customs of Haredi orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

If Ozde does get elected, it certainly won’t be with vote of those who encourage the Women of the Wall to practice secular coercion on the majority Orthodox Jewish population at the Wall.

But there are some, hopefully a majority, in Britain who are not so ignorant. UKIP chairman Steve Crowther told the London newspaper, “We have a policy of tolerance for and acceptance of people’s own religious observance. We do not consider it grounds for complaint. It harms no one.”

In a tweet on Monday, Ozde said, “Thanks for all the supportive emails, calls, texts, its been rather heartwarming Recon it’s had the reverse effect?”

A supporter also tweeted, referring to former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “Pretty standard among very Orthodox Jews. The Chief Rabbi didn’t shake Queen’s hand when he became a Lord.”

The Queen seems to have gotten over it.

JTA contributed to this report.

The Mucky Glory of a Free Press

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Events continue to demonstrate the reason why a free press matters so much. Without it, plenty of people, often in positions of considerable power, can get away with absolutely anything. A free press is messy — and when wrong, culpable — but it is also one of the only tools we have in the West to stop our decline into a form of permanent, systemic corruption. Two very different recent cases should remind us of this fact.

This month’s example comes in the guise of that most essential staple of British tabloid life: the naughty vicar. Or in this case, the extremely naughty Methodist Minister. The Reverend Paul Flowers has just been revealed, thanks to a disgruntled friend and the Mail on Sunday newspaper, to be a buyer and user of a variety of Class A drugs. Since that first revelation, he has also been exposed as having indulged in plenty of other distinctly non-Methodist activities. Needless to say, the British press — which bows to no one in its ability to turn a pun — has dubbed him ‘The Crystal Methodist.’

All of which might be deemed to just be so much fun or personal tragedy. Except that there is a serious dimension to this revelation. Which is that the Revd Flowers was also the chairman of the Co-operative Bank, a bank with 4.7 million customers in Britain, which has gone through an appallingly turbulent and mismanaged period in recent years, during which savers have suffered and the government has been forced to step in. Suffice it to say, without going into the scale of the mismanagement, that the Revd Flowers had absolutely no qualifications for running a bank. Yet, unfathomably, this was the important and personally lucrative position that this man ended up in. Why does the role of the press matter in all this? Because every other arm of state or civil society had failed to expose the problem, and it was down to the press to do so on behalf of everyone else.

Earlier this month, for instance, the Reverend Flowers appeared before a Parliamentary Committee and was asked various pertinent questions about the bank which he ran until June of this year. Much of it was pretty basic stuff. He was asked what the size of the Co-operative Bank’s total assets. He said he thought the bank had about £3 billion of assets. There was some incredulity from the MPs, and it took the chairman of the committee to inform Flowers that the actual figure of his bank’s asset was closer to £47 billion. On other questions, the Revd. did not perform even as well as that, barely making a stab at some answers, and repeatedly having to inform the committee that he would have to get back to them on that one.

Although Parliament did not have time to do much about this, it did not actually expose him. This was just another unsatisfactory and ignored grilling in a committee room. During an earlier period, when it might have done something, the now broken-up Financial Service Authority (FSA) had absolutely nothing to say about Flowers’s unique lack of qualification for his role. It did nothing significant — so far as anyone can see — to prevent or curtail a major British bank being run by somebody utterly unqualified for the task.

The point is that it took an undercover journalistic investigation and a tabloid splash to expose Revd Flowers and cause all the long-overdue repercussions of resignations at the top, and so on. Many investors and taxpayers may have wondered in recent years, “What are the people at the head of the co-op smoking?” It took the press to tell them.

UK Border Control Gone Berserk? Or Just Anti-Semitic? (VIDEO)UPDATED

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE, BELOW THE VIDEO CLIP

Is it possible that an American – true, a Jewish one – was detained for nine hours after landing in England to begin what was to be a summer job and then, after being subjected to anti-Semitic comments and threats, was kicked out?  The 23 year old American was kept in a holding cell, denied all but the meanest of basic necessities, had his passport and luggage taken away, was treated to several nasty anti-Semitic remarks, and then was kicked out of the country as if he were a criminal.  All of this happened, it appears, because the young man had several Israeli stamps on his passport.

It is a story that has taken a little while to get its sea legs, but one which people should begin hearing more about.

Louis Schlezinger “Chip” Cantor is from Kansas City, Kansas.  He spent his gap year on a Young Judea program in Israel, and has been there several other times as well.  This fall Cantor will be a senior at Florida Gulf State University.

During the school year Cantor made arrangements to work in London this summer with Shilling Communications.  He left for England late on May 29.

A tale of shocking treatment by airport border security of a western country, one that is ostensibly an ally of both the United States and Israel, was described in an article in Cantor’s hometown Jewish paper, the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle.

After landing in London, Cantor made his way to the customs agent.  Once it was his turn to hand over his passport, everything proceeded smoothly, Cantor said, until the agent saw the stamps on his passport revealing that Cantor had traveled to Israel several times.  With that, according to Cantor, the border security agent walked away with Cantor’s passport, and a long nightmare began.

About 45 minutes later, another border security agent brought Chip to an interview room, which was like a holding cell, and was told that “if he changed any of his answers to any questions, he was going to go to prison,” Chip’s father, Chuck, said.  The father also said that a woman in a burka came to the cell and photographed and fingerprinted the 23 year old.

This same woman, according to Chuck Cantor, said to Chip, “We’re putting your name and fingerprints and photos into a database. From now on it is going to be very difficult for you to ever travel in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the E.U. It will be up to each individual country to decide if they want to admit you.”

Although the younger Cantor repeatedly told the agents that he had not committed any crimes or done anything wrong, he was eventually told he was going to be deported.  It was not until this point that the border agents finally allowed Chip to call his father.  His father told Chip to call the American Consulate or the U.S. Embassy, but the UK security officials refused both requests.

In addition to the initial trigger being Cantor’s passport having multiple stamps showing entry and exit from Israel, several other specific factors led the Cantors to believe that what motivated the shocking treatment of Cantor by the UK airport border security was anti-Semitism.

For one thing, as Chip Cantor explained in a television interview on local station KMBC, one of the agents said he wanted to see his wallet, because he expected there would be a lot of money in it.

Another was that when Kevin Shilling, the owner of the media company at which Cantor was going to work this summer, called to try and intervene while Cantor was being detained, the customs agent told him that Chip should have lied to the customs agent, adding, “A Jewish kid would find that easy,” Shilling told the Jewish Chronicle.

The border security agent also told Shilling any additional attempts to aid Cantor would be useless and “the little Jew will be on his way back to his rich daddy,” in a matter of hours.

When Cantor was finally escorted onto a plane to return to the U.S., the escort refused to turn over the American’s passport until they were on the plane, and only then, loudly and in full view of the rest of the passengers, the escort said to an airlines employee, “here is this man’s passport. Do not give him his passport until you land in the United States.”

England… So Many Thoughts

Monday, June 17th, 2013

It’s 2:00 a.m. here in England. I’m leaving for the airport in just under 2 hours. I should be asleep…yeah, I’m not.

My shoulder is bothering me – that’s a whole post by itself, but the bottom line is that I need surgery to fix it and while the surgery itself isn’t completely complicated, the recuperation period is intense, complicated and a bit overwhelming at this point.

But more than my shoulder, England brings with it so many thoughts that I want to write about. I find it ironic that after not traveling much in my life, the two places I’ve arranged to visit are Rome and England – both have long histories connected with the Jewish people, both once ruled my land. In a sense, one took it away from us and the other was instrumental in the path that brought us back to it.

I need to sleep and then write. I need to post pictures – silly since they’re all on the web and even there likely more professional than I could have taken, but I want to, and so I’ll do that when I get back to Israel.

For now, I want to write about the hotels where I stayed here. I want to post pictures of the hotels as well – one in Manchester, one in London. I’ll write about the one in Manchester here because the one in London is the one that is more on my mind and I want to make it a full post.

So, for Manchester – all I can say is that I stayed in a really nice hotel – the Deansgate Hilton. It’s the tallest building in Manchester. I got a very good rate because I was attending a conference there. The people working at the hotel were wonderful, professional and kind. I didn’t get to the Manchester Jewish community area – hopefully if I ever find my way back to England, and I hope I do, I’ll try to get back to Manchester.

I did stop in the Rylands library – I hope I have that right. What an incredible building that is – magnificent. Before I left Israel, I hoped it would rain a lot while I was in England. Crazy, considering most people want sunshine for their vacation – I wanted the rain and amazingly enough…I think it rained every day I was here.

It poured on Shabbat here – literally to the point of hail falling. I walked (back to London again) for about 45 minutes – came back to the hotel completely and entirely soaked to the bone – it was glorious.

So next post – the hotel in London…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Dani Dayan, Caroline Glick Debate the Yesha Communities Issue

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I mentioned the debate here.

Here’s Dayan speaking:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJSRjq2QuH0]

Caroline Glick’s words can be found here at the 49th minute or so.

Here’s what she wrote about the experience:

…in one particularly ugly segment, Levy made the scurrilous accusation that Israel systematically steals land from the Palestinians. Both Dayan and I demanded that he provide just one example of his charge. And the audience raged against us for our temerity at insisting that he provide substantiation for his baseless allegation. In the event, he failed to substantiate his allegation.

At another point, I was asked how I defend the Nazi state of Israel. When I responded by among other things giving the Nazi pedigree of the Palestinian nationalist movement founded by Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini and currently led by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the crowd angrily shouted me down.

I want to note that the audience was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people, not unwashed rabble rousers. And yet they behaved in many respects like a mob when presented with pro-Israel positions…

I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob. My pessimism about Europeans’ capacity to avail themselves to reasoned, fact-based argumentation about Israel has only deepened from the experience.

Visit My Right Word.

Jewish Schools Endangered by New UK National Curriculum

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Educational achievement in England has been in a downward spiral, of late, and the British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, addressed the problem by instituting a new national curriculum.  One of the new requirements, however, looks like it may have dire consequences for Jewish schools in England.

As part of the new national curriculum, British schoolchildren will be required to take a foreign language, starting at age seven.

Foreign languages had been compulsory in England, but in 2004, students were permitted to drop the second language once they reached age 14.  When that happened, the percentage of students taking competence examinations at age 14 – 16 (the Graduate Certifiate of Secondary Educations, or GCSEs) in languages dropped from 75 percent in 2002, to just 43 percent in 2010.

The foreign language choices offered to British students to meet their national requirement will be French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Latin and Greek.

But this new requirement may have a devastating impact on the Jewish day schools of England, because Hebrew is not one of the officially recognized languages for purposes of satisfying the new foreign language requirement.  Jewish schools already have a heavy course load because of their Jewish studies classes in addition to the required secular classes.  Many Jewish school educators believe it might prove impossible to continue their programs if they are compelled to require another foreign language, in addition to Hebrew.

According to England’s Jewish Chronicle:

Board [of Deputies] senior vice-president Laura Marks said the government proposals could be “extremely detrimental to our community’s identity, as language — including modern and classical Hebrew — is a vital ingredient to understanding our faith and culture”. She urged the government “to reject the idea of stipulating just a narrow range of languages”.

However, it is not true, as it has been portrayed in some media accounts, that Hebrew specifically has been stripped from its standing as an “official language” in the UK.  There is and has been only one official language in England – English.  Arabic is also not offered as one of the recognized languages for purposes of satisfying the school language requirement.

The new national curriculum will not be put into place until the fall of 2014.  Therefore, it is possible that an accommodation will be made for various schools which have language requirements as part of their own curriculum, to be granted waivers.  Another option could be for the government to expand the list of languages, competence in which will satisfy the national curriculum foreign language requirement.

 

King James II

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

This is a portrait of King James II by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1686.

James II was King of England and Ireland, and also doubled under the name James VII as King of Scotland. His reign began on February 6, 1685.

He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. After he produced a Catholic heir, the English gentry invited his son in law William of Orange from the Netherlands to invade their country. James II abdicated in a hurry in 1688 and fled to France. He was replaced by William of Orange who became William III, ruling jointly with his wife, who was James’s daughter, Mary II (both Protestants) and together they were the William and Mary team.

James made one half-hearted attempt to take back his country in 1689, but gave up again and Lived out his life sponsored by his cousin, King Louis XIV.

James II, like Louis, was a believer in the absolute monarchy, kings ruling by the grace of God, etc. He also believed, strangely enough, in religious liberty for all his subjects. The first belief made him an enemy of the aristocracy, the second angered the Curch of England. So there you go.

Today, November 13, back in 1685, when he was still very much the king—for another three years or so—King James II of England ordered his Attorney General to stop any proceedings against the Jews because “they should not be troubled upon the King’s account but they should quietly enjoy the free exercise of their religion whilst they behaved dutifully and obediently to his government.”

I’m a great believer in gratitude to those who have done right by us. I often think of King James II when I get into debates with my friends both on the left and on the right over my deep admiration for the late President Richard Nixon. Like James II, he was despised by the powers that be across the board (even though he won by a landslide in 1972). But in October, 1973, by about the tenth day of the Yom Kippur war, Israel had run out of practically everything, and it was Richard Nixon who saved our hide, with a fleet of Galaxy cargo planes the size of spaceships, that brought in ammunition and supplies.

So, my word for today is Gratitude. To James II and Millhouse I and all the misunderstood rulers and despots who did right by us.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/king-james-ii/2012/11/13/

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