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Last Shabbat was the first time Parliament sat on a Saturday since the Falklands War, 37 years ago.

The Shabbat sitting, in which the government tried in vain to put forward its latest Brexit plan, posed a dilemma for MP Ivan Lewis, who has recently become Shomer Shabbat.


He told The Jewish Press, “I consulted rabbanim and they said I could go.”

After Shabbat, he posted on Facebook: “Apologies for delay in my post of today’s Brexit vote. I was unable to use my phone since late afternoon yesterday due to the Sabbath.”


MP Ellman Finally Quits Labour

After 55 years in the Labour Party, Jewish MP Dame Louise Ellman has finally quit. Although she had previously vowed to remain in the party to fight anti-Semitism in its midst, she apparently had a change of heart.

Ellman claimed that her local party has been taken over by extreme Corbynites, who are hostile to her views on Israel.

Dame Louise, 73, was due to face trigger ballots, possibly leading to her deselection as a candidate in the next election.

She said about her resignation: “My decision has been truly agonizing, as it has been for the thousands of other party members who have already left. I will not join any other party. I hope that under different leadership I will be able to return to my political home.”

She added, “I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our prime minister. With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming prime minister, I feel I have to take a stand. I cannot advocate a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. Anti-Semites have felt comfortable and vile conspiracy theories have been propagated….

“The overwhelming majority of the Jewish community is fearful of what a Corbyn government might mean for Britain’s Jews. I share those concerns. But this issue is not simply about the Jewish community. This is about the nature of our society. Jeremy Corbyn’s seeming tolerance of anti-Semitism would embolden racists, poison our public debate and damage the social cohesion of our country.”

President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Marie van der Zyl said, “This is a damning indictment of Labour. Louise Ellman has been a devoted member of the party for over a half a century. With yet another Jewish MP resigning from Labour over anti-Semitism, the party’s leadership needs to look no further than the mirror to see the ugly truth about the spread of this prejudice.”

In place of Ellman, the Riverside Labour party is now considering selecting as its parliamentary candidate, Jo Bird, a leftist Jewish Voice for Labour member councillor, who was suspended over anti-Semitism.


Polls Show Luciana Berger Winning

According to a recent poll, MP Luciana Berger is set to win Finchley and Golders Green – a London constituency with a high Jewish population – for the Liberal Democrats.

Berger was previously the Labour MP for Liverpool’s Wavertree, but left the Labour party over anti-Semitism in its midst. The incumbent is Conservative MP Mike Freer, who, although non-Jewish, is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and resigned in 2014 as a parliamentary private secretary in order to vote against a motion backing a Palestinian state.

A Survation poll revealed that if an election were held soon, Berger would win 33 percent of the vote with Conservatives trailing at 25 percent and Labour at 21 percent. Labour support has collapsed by more than half in the area, due to the anti-Semitism cloud hanging over the party.


Chief Rabbi Composes Prayer for Outstanding Women

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has issued a new prayer to honor women who have made an outstanding contribution to the Jewish community.

The new prayer, which can be said on Simchat Torah or Shavuot, translates as follows: “He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and our mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah – May He bless [name of woman inserted here] who faithfully makes an outstanding contribution of great value to our community and who has been honored with the title ‘Eishet Chayil’ on this holy day.

“Almighty G-d, may You bless her and all her family and may she continue to perform outstanding deeds before You with virtue and grace. May You send blessing and success for all her future endeavors, and may this be Your will. And let us say ‘Amen.’”

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