Alexander Goldberg

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

Unusual coalition gov’t leaves British Jews uncertain on policy

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By Winston Pickett


LONDON (JTA) – With Britons uncertain of how the country’s first coalition government since World War II will go about governing, the country’s Jewish community appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.

During the campaign, many Jews expressed alarm at Liberal Democratic positions on Israel.

Now party leader Nick Clegg, who last year called for a European arms boycott of Israel, is Britain’s deputy prime minister. And William Hague, the Conservative Party leader who during the 2006 Lebanon war called Israel’s military response to Hezbollah’s attack “disproportionate,” is the new foreign minister.

What influence that will have on British foreign policy is, like much about the new government, a political unknown.

The new prime minister, David Cameron of the Conservative Party, has been a strong backer of Israel. It is one of the many issues on which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have fundamental philosophical differences. Others include how to trim the country’s deficit and bring spending under control.

“With so much on the government’s plate, Israel -- along with foreign policy in general -- will be put way on the back burner,” said Robin Shepherd, foreign policy director of the Henry Jackson Society think tank and author of “Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel.”

“Given that both parties in the coalition will be preoccupied with the economy and that the Conservative Party has shown no real interest in the Middle East anyway, the British Foreign Office will find itself in an immensely powerful position to influence the direction of policy,” Shepherd said. “In other words, the Arabist-oriented bureaucracy is likely to inherit a lot of power by default as top politicians attend to other matters.”

Candidates affiliated with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said the Jews should not worry.
“I don’t think the Jewish community has anything to fear,” said Robert Halfon, a Jew and prominent figure in Conservative Friends of Israel who won a parliamentary seat last week for the Conservatives representing Harlow, north of London.

Matthew Harris, a Liberal Democratic candidate in Hendon who finished third in a race won by the Conservative candidate, said, “I think British Jewry will be pleasantly surprised by this government, and particularly by the quality of the five Lib-Dem Cabinet ministers that will be taking up their posts. Whether on faith schools, security and even Israel, I think people will find the Lib-Dems and this coalition to be broadly supportive of Jewish interests.”

For the time being, official Jewish bodies made do with issuing pro forma statements congratulating the new government.

The country’s Jewish umbrella group, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, put out a statement saying it “warmly welcomes the new prime minister, David Cameron, and his coalition Conservative/Liberal Democrat government” and that it “looks forward to a constructive, fruitful working relationship with Mr. Cameron, his Cabinet and his wider team together with a continued, regular dialogue with politicians of all parties and key civil servants.” 

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, had no comment.
“As a strategic body, it is not our role to provide a running commentary on a government that has yet to finalize its Cabinet and set out key policies,” he told JTA.

Leaders of various Jewish organizations are hoping the candidates’ pledges to the Jewish community, made in interviews with the country’s main Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, will hold fast.

Both Clegg and Cameron promised support for security for the community. Clegg pledged to put 3,000 more police officers on the streets, and Cameron backed the funding of security around Jewish institutions, including schools.

As for the faith schools themselves -- a major concern for many British Jews -- new Education Secretary Michael Gove is long considered a staunch advocate of Jewish communal interests, particularly in countering anti-Semitism. Gove, a former Times columnist and the author of "Celsius 7/7" critiquing what he deemed as the lax policies of Britain and the West toward terrorism, has publicly voiced his support of state-supported Jewish schools and pledged that the schools "will not have to pay for security" under a Tory government.

Both Cameron and Clegg said they backed changes to the current “universal jurisdiction” legislation, which allows British magistrates to issue arrest warrants for visiting foreign politicians and military staff. The law has been used to target Israeli officials and soldiers for alleged war crimes, in some cases scaring away Israeli officials from visiting Britain.

Cameron and Clegg also have spoken out forcefully against anti-Semitism.

As news of Britain’s new coalition government sank in, Jews also were trying to assess how the government’s priorities for cutting spending would affect domestic Jewish interests.

“It’s too early to know how a deficit reduction program will impact on funding for state-supported Jewish schools and social services,” said David Seidel, a community organizer in Brighton and a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “Ditto for the final outcome of the new government’s policies generally, as well as whether the government can remain stable.”

In post-election analyses, it appeared that the Jewish community, like the rest of Britain, swung Conservative in last week’s vote.

In an analysis by the London Jewish Forum of 18 parliamentary constituencies, 40 percent of Jews voted Conservative, 37 percent voted Labor and 19 percent voted Liberal Democrat. That differed only slightly from the London-wide general vote, which went 34 percent Conservative, 37 percent Labor and 22 percent Liberal Democrat.

“This is a shift from a dominant Labor preference in years past and is something that is important to keep in mind on the local level where day-to-day Jewish interests are represented,” said the director of the London Jewish Forum, Alex Goldberg. “When faced with budgetary cutbacks promised by the new coalition government, grass-roots alliances are key." 

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

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

Jewish cultural event launched

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A major Jewish cultural festival is launching in London in February.
The London Jewish Forum and the Greater London Authority have joined forces to work with many of the capital's Jewish cultural providers to launch Open Jewish Culture.

The aim is to bring as wide an audience as possible to Jewish arts and heritage.

OJC will produce a programme of events in London that promises to showcase the very best of the capital's Jewish Culture across arts, culture and heritage.

Open Jewish Culture runs from 27 February to 29 March 2010 across various venues in London.


Film festival


Participants and organisers are being asked to upload their cultural events onto the OJC website and to become part of the March programme.

Late in January, www.openjewishculture.org will officially launch as a hub that brings together all of London's public Jewish cultural events, large and small. It will carry listings and commentary, together with multimedia.

Included in the programme will be an international literary festival, Jewish Book Week, as well as the grand opening of the new Jewish Museum.

At the same time the OJC's aim is to help promote individual artists, small producers, and synagogue, youth & student cultural programmes.

The Jewish Community Centre and the UK Jewish Film Festival are also participating.

'Brilliant idea'


Producer of Open Jewish Culture, Jack Gilbert said: "If you make Jewish Culture happen then we'd like to hear from you. Whether you are an established producer or creating your first piece of work, a single artist or a collective, a community group, a school or a synagogue please get in touch as soon as possible to find out how you can participate and benefit.

"We are here to help each of you, and to facilitate a network that helps each other."

Alex Goldberg, Chief Executive of the London Jewish Forum said: "The LJF is delighted to have been commissioned by the Mayor's office to develop the Open Jewish Culture programme - the first of its kind. I am excited to see the variety and diversity of Jewish Cultural events that we can support and can bring to a wider Jewish community in London and beyond."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "I am delighted to give my backing to this brand new festival of Jewish culture. Across all walks of life, Jewish men and women have been key players in London's continuing success.

"The London Jewish Forum have come up with a brilliant idea in consultation with the various community groups they represent. Coinciding with the reopening of the Jewish Museum, it will give Londoners and tourists alike the chance to discover more about the fantastic variety of Jewish arts and culture that is out there."

Further information can be found about what's happening and how to get involved by going to the Open Jewish Culture website


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/local/london/hi/people_and_places/religion_and_ethics/newsid_8439000/8439525.stm

Published: 2010/01/05 13:16:05 GMT

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