JC Articles

Football results as FA tackles antisemitism

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By Marcus Dysch, July 7, 2011

A Football Association initiative will tackle antisemitism and Islamophobia by encouraging cross-community matches, interfaith tournaments and grassroots education.

Faith in Football had its inaugural meeting at Wembley Stadium and will be chaired by Alex Goldberg of the European Centre for Jewish Leadership and the Faiths Forum for London.
Southport Hebrew Congregation's Rabbi Zevi Saunders, who manages MJSL side Crumpsall FC, will also work as part of the coalition.

Its establishment follows recommendations made by an FA commission into antisemitism and Islamophobia three years ago presided over by MP John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.

Faith in Football wants to organise cross-community tournaments at stadiums around the country with finals taking place at Wembley.

There will also be efforts to develop football in religious communities. Education sessions will be run at
learning zones at Wembley and other stadiums.

"It's remarkable that we have a consensus within this group that football can promote social action and break down barriers between people of different faiths," Mr Goldberg said.

"Collectively we have a responsibility to tackle faith-based discrimination in the game and a need to bridge the gap between football and religious communities where football has not been played in a structured way."

Football Association equality co-ordinator Jonathan Mills added: "We have been working closely with John Mann on a whole-football approach to tackling antisemitism and Islamophobia. This working group is certainly a step in the right direction in promoting unity between people of different faiths."
The Three Faiths Forum, the Metropolitan Police, the Muslim Women's Sports Foundation and the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign are among organisations working with Faith
in Football.

Its next meeting will take place in September in the Midlands, but sub-groups have already started work in communities around the country.

Source: http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/51339/football-result-fa-tackles-antisemitism

Olympic goals of community

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By Robyn Rosen

The Jewish Committee for the London Games wants to be the first recipient of an Inspire mark, making it an official London 2012 brand.

Guests at the committee’s first seminar on Tuesday were told that it had applied to the programme as a project inspired by the Games.

The committee was founded by the London Jewish Forum, Maccabi GB, UJIA and Lord Janner to promote communal involvement in London 2012 activities.

Among the 50-plus people at the seminar were Ephraim Zinger, director of the Israeli Olympic Committee, and representatives of volunteering charities.

London Jewish Forum chief executive Alex Goldberg said the Inspire mark would add “kudos” when attempting to attract funding for projects.

UJIA chief executive Douglas Krikler discussed educational ideas and there were suggestions for programmes in Jewish schools, a Limmud-style conference where visitors could learn more about Jewish culture and tours of Jewish London.

BBYO director Phil Peters said British pupils visiting Israel would have the opportunity to meet some of the nation’s Olympic hopefuls.

“Young people are very passionate Zionists in this country,” he said. “We have a great opportunity to engage young people who don’t find such a connection in some of the other more educational things we do.

“Over the build up to the Games, we want to engage with the athletes in Israel and are looking at ways the groups of tours going to Israel can meet the athletes, as well as when they come here.”



Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/26255/olympic-goals-community

Mayor's £50,000 to aid Jewish sports

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by Reporter

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced a £50,000 grant to the London Jewish Forum to be spent on promoting mainstream integrated sports in the Jewish community.
The grant is part of £2.4 million funding from his Olympic Sports Legacy programme, for 18 projects across the capital to help increase participation in sports.

The London Jewish Forum, on behalf of the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG), will now raise another £50,000 to match the grant for its Enable programme, which aims to promote disabled and non-disabled integrated sports.

Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said: "We are delighted that City Hall has offered £50,000 for a very exciting project, which offers the chance to make a real difference for the community against the backdrop of the London Games.

"The funding is contingent on an element of matched funding by the community and we are currently discussing the grant with potentially interested donors."

Alex Goldberg, from the JCLG, said: "This is part of our plan to ensure the legacy of the Paralympics and Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the German Jewish refugee who founded the Paralympic Games."

Working with 12 delivery partners, including Jewish Care, Norwood, Kisharon and Jewish Blind and Disabled, the JCLG plans to spend the money on three projects over two years, including three integrated sports events, one of which will be directed at the strictly Orthodox community.

Mr Goldberg said: "City Hall is interested in those who don't do much physical activity. There is a lack of facilities in religious communities."

The funds will also be used to train 50 community professionals and volunteers in disability sports at Stoke Mandeville and create a manual on integrated sports for Jewish schools and youth clubs.

"There is some level of disabled sports in the Jewish community, but there is very little in the way of integrated sports," Mr Goldberg said.

"We identified a lack of knowledge in the community and we hope by training people, they can use this in the years ahead and put on disabled sports activities, utilising equipment and events."

The Olympic kippah for Jewish volunteers

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By Marcus Dysch

Volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be offered the chance to wear an "Olympic kippah" as part of their uniform.
The specially-designed yarmulke will form part of the official attire for Jewish members of the 70,000-strong volunteering team.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has held discussions with representatives of the Jewish community to discuss provisions, including kosher food, which will be needed for Jewish competitors and visitors to the capital.
Alex Goldberg, of the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG), said: "We are steering LOCOG towards the model used by the British Army, which is quite advanced in yarmulke wear. There are examples of matching yarmulkes to uniforms.
"We have not got there yet, but the Olympic yarmulke may well be a crocheted one, in the same colour as the uniform."
An Olympic snood may also be produced, in the hope that religious women volunteers will come forward to offer their services at the Games.
"Strictly Orthodox people may want to volunteer and they should have the chance to have appropriate uniforms," said Mr Goldberg. The JCLG is stepping up its preparations for the Olympics and discussions with LOCOG on a range of issues affecting the Jewish community are said to be progressing well.
JCLG was consulted on the creation of the Games' mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, which were launched last month.
In their first online adventure, Mandeville discovers the history of the Paralympics, which were founded by Sir Ludwig Guttman, a German Jewish doctor who settled in London after fleeing Nazi persecution.
Jewish Olympians from previous Games will also be recruited to help promote London 2012 to the community.
One ambassador is likely to be the Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott, who represented Britain at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, and again four years later in Rome.
He captained the weightlifting team on both occasions.
Others approached for the roles include Susie Halter, who swam for the Hungarian team in the last London Games in 1948, and Allan Jay, who competed in fencing for Britain at five Olympics, winning two gold medals in Rome in 1960.
JCLG also hopes at least one ambassador will come from abroad. Boaz Kramer, an Israeli wheelchair tennis player who won the silver medal in the Paralympics doubles competition in Beijing in 2008, is likely to offer his services.
Mr Goldberg said: "Boaz wants to meet the British Jewish community and go into schools. He is a great role model.
"There are a number of countries who have realistic Jewish medal hopes for 2012.
"We already have Jewish sporting heroes here in London. We need to make the Olympics relevant to our community and to show that we can overcome some of the stereotypes in the community about our involvement in sport."
Jewish schoolchildren are likely to play a prominent role in the welcoming ceremony for the Israeli team, he said.
Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/32899/the-olympic-kippah-jewish-volunteers

Boycotter blames the Board for antisemitism in Britain

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By Marcus Dysch

The Board of Deputies is to blame for rising antisemitism in Britain, according to a leading member of a Jewish anti-Israel group.

Tony Greenstein, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG), was speaking on the BBC1 debate show, The Big Questions, on Sunday morning.

During the wide-ranging discussion, Mr Greenstein said: “Of course there’s no justification for antisemitism, but there’s also no justification for the Board of Deputies calling rallies in support of the invasion of Lebanon and Gaza in the name of the British Jewish community. That causes antisemitism.
“It associates every Jewish person with the terror in Lebanon and Gaza.”

Among those debating issues including the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the need for synagogues to employ security guards, were Alex Goldberg, of the London Jewish Forum; Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust; and Israeli-born anti-Zionist Professor Haim Bresheeth.

Prof Bresheeth said many people in Britain were “justifiably irate about what Israel has done in Gaza”.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, of the Zionist Federation, responded by saying attempts to burn down shuls in London had “nothing to do with Zionism or Israeli policy in the Middle East”.

Hadar Sela, who has dual British-Israeli citizenship, said: “If you have a gripe with Israeli foreign policy then that’s great, you’re entitled to have a gripe with it, but come to me. I’m Israeli. Come and make your gripe with me, not with British Jews.

“When things happen in Sri Lanka or China nobody takes it out on Chinese or Sri Lankan people in Britain, and so they shouldn’t. They also should not take it out on British Jews.”

Following the broadcast, the Board of Deputies defended the peace rallies it helped organise in London and Manchester at the height of the Gaza conflict in January.

A spokesman said: “It is regrettable that Mr Greenstein doesn’t feel that there was any justification for the rallies. Fortunately we know of at least 17,000 people between London and Manchester who would disagree with him.

“British Jews are desperate for peace in Israel and desperate for an end to terror. The suggestion that we should expect to be victims of hate crime because of that is insulting and dangerous.”


Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/22078/boycotter-blames-board-antisemitism-britain

Kosher Big Mac offer for the Olympics

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By Leon Symons
  • A mouth-watering prospect has been raised for the London Olympics in three years’ time —and it has nothing to do with sport.

Orthodox Jews who are enthusiastic sports fans usually ensure they have something to eat at such events by taking a packed lunch.

But that might not be necessary if the Jewish Committee for the London Games, part of the London Jewish Forum, gets its way.

It has asked the Games’ organisers to set up kosher food stands provided by the Games’ main food sponsor, McDonald’s.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said: “We have told the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) that there is no reason why there could not be a kosher — and for that matter halal — food stand run by Mcdonald’s.

“LOCOG has to deal with food diversity, which it will probably do through its faith reference group, and is taking this quite seriously. There is certainly a commercial model with large numbers of Jews and Muslims living around the area of the Olympic Park who will want to go the Games. It makes sense to have food on offer that they can eat.

“McDonald’s has a large number of outlets in Israel, a considerable number of which are kosher. So it has experience of working with kosher food,” said Mr Goldberg.

He said that the Forum had received support for the move from the East London mosque in Whitechapel.

He added that food was not the only matter to be considered by the faith reference group.

“There will be issues such as whether or not Orthodox Jews would be able to pay on Friday for food on Shabbat. Both Tisha b’Av and Ramadan fall during the Games, so there will be talks about faith provision in the Olympic Village.”

A spokeswoman for the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “Our food strategy covers the issue of catering for diverse dietary requirements which includes kosher and halal food. This will be a key part of our catering requirements.”


Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/14280/kosher-big-mac-offer-olympics

Boris meets Forum chiefs

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By Leon Symons

Senior representatives of the London Jewish Forum discussed a range of issues with London Mayor Boris Johnson and his deputy Richard Barnes at City Hall on Tuesday night.
Housing provision in Stamford Hill and developing Jewish cultural events were among topics covered during the hour-long meeting.

Also on the agenda was establishing a common contract across London's boroughs for welfare services, which would help charities like Jewish Care.

LJF chief executive Alex Goldberg said afterwards: "It was a very constructive meeting from which we will be able to make significant improvements on Jewish life in London."


Source URL:
http://www.thejc.com/articles/boris-meets-forum-chiefs

London joins Jewish global cities

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by Leon Symons

Jewish communities from the greatest cities across the globe are to be linked for the first time through the World Jewish Cities Project.

The new scheme was launched by London and New York when the London Jewish Forum met representatives of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council in the American city last week.
In the first phase of the project, Paris and Budapest will be approached to join and in the second phase Buenos Aires in Argentina, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo in Brazil, and Johannesburg in South Africa.

LJF chief executive Alex Goldberg said: "This is a very exciting initiative that has been born out of a scheme called '40 Cities' that was started while Ken Livingstone was mayor of London. The NYJCRC and the LJF have agreed to work together and we have formed links to take this forward.

"We believe cities are the future because today they are global and they have powerful mayors. There are great city Jewish communities who are of a certain size and dynamic who have built up relations with other communities and governments that would benefit from being brought together."

One example he pointed to was a medical and welfare link between NYJCRC and Jerusalem and which London has been invited to join.

"We will be talking to the key groups that make up the LJF about whether or not we will join," said Mr Goldberg.

As well as welfare and medical matters, the project will cover such diverse areas as education, development, leadership training, how the different communities deal with their city authorities and government and areas where they can form partnerships and exchange ideas.

"We are talking about some communities that have major infrastructures and can share their experiences of dealing with local and national government with those that maybe don't have as much experience.

"One area that will be examined is migration patterns. The NYJCRC wants to get in touch with British and Russian Jews there while we would like to hear from New York Jews living in London. This will open up all sorts of opportunities for us and for them," said Mr Goldberg.

Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/node/8326

'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012 'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012

By Leon Symons

Allegations that a police trainer has labelled a proposed commemoration of the Munich Olympics massacre at the 2012 London Olympics "a security threat" have been vehemently denied.

An Islamic scholar, hired by Scotland Yard to train police on interfaith issues, had warned that a commemoration ceremony "could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be ‘hijacking' the Games", The Times reported this week.

The scholar, Sheikh Michael Mumisa, was addressing senior officers from the Yard's Transport Operations Command Unit during a two-day training course on faith and interfaith, held last month at the Woolf Institute for the Study of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim Relations in Cambridge. The course was the first of its kind held by the Institute.

Its executive director, Edward Kessler, said: "Sheikh Mumisa's words have been twisted in a way that is not accurate. I know what was said because I was there throughout the course. We were very unhappy with what appeared because it did not reflect the course that the officers took.

"We are not experts in terrorism, we are experts in faith and interfaith and that's what they were here to learn. It was a very positive programme which dealt with subjects including antisemitism and Islamophobia.

"The possibility of a ceremony to commemorate the Munich Olympics massacre was mentioned as being key to the Jewish community. But it was discussed in terms of one type of commemoration being wholly appropriate and another being wholly inappropriate. The police would have to deal with the situation on the ground and the point was that they should be aware of the sensitivities of each faith community. It was certainly not talked of as a ‘national security threat' or the Games being ‘hijacked'."

Sheikh Mumisa was not at the Institute and could not be contacted for a comment. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian Black September group at the 1972 Munich Games. The 2012 Games will mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said that any commemoration would be "up to the families of those who died, with the Israel Olympic Association and, ultimately, the International Olympic Committee to decide what it will be".



Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/7497/security-row-over-munich-tribute-2012

London Olympics to mark Munich killings

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by Leon Symons


A special event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes is to be held during the 2012 Olympics in London.


A new body called the London Olympic Jewish Organising Committee, set up to link the capital's Jewish community with the Games, has held preliminary discussions with the London Organising Committee, the Israeli Olympic Association, and has had an initial meeting with the Mayor of London's office.


Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, which has helped set up LOJOC, said:
"We believe it is important that arguably the worst episode in Olympic history is marked in a most sensitive way.


"We are liaising with the Israeli Olympic Association, which is representing the families of those who died in the attack and I understand that it will be up to the families to decide ultimately what the commemoration should be.


"All of this is at a very early stage and everything will have to go before the International Olympic Committee," said Mr Goldberg. "So far, we have had very positive responses."


LOJOC has been formed initially by the Forum, Maccabi UK and UJIA. Mr Goldberg said it was hoped other communal organisations would join them.


The new committee will develop a programme of events around the Games for a number of different
purposes.


It wants to involve Jewish schools and their communities in meeting Jewish Olympians; the development of welfare, culture and religious services for Jewish athletes in the Olympic Village; a London 2012 Jewish website for visitors to the Games; the long-term legacy for the Jewish community within the five Olympic Boroughs and utilising sports to bring groups together and celebrate the cultural diversity of the city.


"This was a key platform that won London the bid in the first place," said Mr Goldberg.


"We know that in Atlanta and Sydney Jewish athletes visited members of the local communities, and we want to offer the same hospitality here for Jews who might be a long way from home."


The London Olympics Jewish Organising Committee is looking to involve the capital's community in the Games. It is already working with the Games Committee, Government, other communities in the capital and various Olympic Associations from Israel and other countries.

Source URL:
http://www.thejc.com/articles/london-olympics-mark-munich-killings

LJF call for re-think on marriage visa proposals

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By Leon Symons A Proposed visa law could place obstacles in the way of arranged marriages in the strictly orthodox community



MPs will vote on whether or not to raise the age for visas sought by people abroad wanting to marry here who are aged 18 to 21. The proposal is one of five put forward by the Home Office in an effort to halt forced marriages prevalent in other communities.

However, if the measure is passed, it will have a dramatic effect on those coming to be married in Britain, particularly from Israel and America, critics say. The proposed laws would not affect people coming from the European Union.


Michoel Posner of Agudas Israel Community Services in Stamford Hill said: “It is extremely disappointing for the community that this is happening. The community fully supports the government’s initiative in combating forced marriages. Nevertheless, we feel very strongly that raising the marriage-visa age is not necessarily going to achieve that purpose. Government figures for last year showed there were 69 forced marriages of people aged between 18 and 20. I wonder how many would have been affected if this rule had been in force then.


“There were far more than 69 marriages involving people of that age in Stamford Hill alone last year. If this is passed, young couples will be forced to live abroad and that will have a serious effect on the community,” he said.


Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum and former community-issues director at the Board of Deputies, said the picture would be clearer when a Bill is published.



“The devil will be in the detail,” he said. “It has been accepted by Home Office Minister Liam Byrne and Home Office officials whom we met that there is no forced marriage in the Jewish community and that this measure will impact disproportionately on the Charedi community. People will have to get married elsewhere and then move here some time later.”



Foreign spouses may be asked to agree to learn English. Specialist teams may also be used to identify vulnerable people at risk of forced marriage.

Forum gains a chief exec

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By Leon Symons
The London Jewish Forum has poached a senior Board of Deputies administrator to be its first paid official.

Alex Goldberg, currently director of the Board’s community-issues division, has been appointed as the first executive director of the LJF and will take up the post later in the year.

LJF chairman Adrian Cohen said: “This marks a major step in the development of the forum. Alex brings with him enormous relevant experience in areas of community development and social cohesion that will enable us to advance our work in London.”