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Jeremy Corbyn.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted into his own party on Tuesday evening after being suspended from it last month.

On the release of a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission Report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party last month, Corbyn had said, “The scale of the problem was…dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

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On Tuesday morning, though, Corbyn retreated from his comments that led to his suspension, writing on Facebook: “To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated.’”

The decision to reinstate Corbyn was made at a meeting of five panel members of Labour’s National Executive Committee.

In a joint statement, Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl, Jewish Leadership Chair Jonathan Goldstein, and Community Security Trust Chief Executive Mark Gardner said, “Today’s decision is a retrograde step for the Party in its relations with the Jewish community. Jeremy Corbyn’s…confected non-apology earlier today adds insult to injury…. Labour’s mountain to climb to win back the trust of our community just got higher.”

 

‘Non-Essential’ Shops Threatened With Fines

Barnet Council has threatened to fine several non-essential Jewish shops in London’s Golders Green for failing to comply with Covid regulations.

Under the current lockdown, only shops deemed essential by the government are allowed to open. Among those warned were jewelry and gift stores.

Rabbi and Shul Exchange Legal Threats

A dispute over fasting during the pandemic has led to legal threats between the rabbi of Liverpool’s most historic synagogue and its management committee.

The dispute arose after Rabbi Ariel Abel of Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation advised healthy people in his pre-Yom Kippur Jewish Telegraph column not to fast so as not to lower their immune system during a global pandemic.

In response, the rabbi received a letter from his senior warden Saul Marks, requesting that he “write nothing that could reasonably reflect badly on the congregation or bring it into disrepute.”

Rabbi Abel, who is also a lawyer, threatened legal action against the shul and discontinued his Jewish Telegraph column. The synagogue, in turn, is taking legal advice.

As public prayer in synagogues is forbidden during the current lockdown, the shul is currently closed.

 

Court to Hear Case on Parental Educational Rights

Values Foundation executive director Judith Nemeth has cautiously welcomed a Let Kids Be Kids Coalition (LKBKC) legal challenge over government limiting the rights of parents to withdraw their children from a new course on the facts of life, which is due to come into effect next summer.

After previously having been denied the right to a judicial review, LKBKC’s case has now been granted a hearing on December 3.

LKBKC has said that the new course “encourages the teaching of morally controversial and scientifically disputed topics such as gender fluidity and transgendersism.”

Nemeth told The Jewish Press, “The challenge is defending parental rights in deciding what their children should learn in keeping with the Human Rights Declaration.”

 

Westcliff Chassidim Want Their Own Shul

Proposed design of the new Westcliff shul.

Westcliff’s chassidic community is planning to build its own synagogue after a conflict with the mainstream Southend and Westcliffe Hebrew Congregation.

The chassidic influx to the resort from London’s overcrowded Stamford Hill has led to plans to convert a disused warehouse into a shul, complete with a mikveh and sukkah. Westcliff already has a Reform as well as an Orthodox synagogue.

The planning application states: “While two synagogues already exist in the borough, there are fundamental elements and customs of the Chassidic community’s observance of Jewish law that set it apart from other Orthodox Jewish services and practises.

“Accordingly, the Chassidim community needs its own synagogue dedicated to worship, teaching and learning.”

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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.
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