Community extra

My Community: Gillian Merron, MP

December 3, 2009

Gillian Merron, MP
Lincolnshire Jewish Community

Originally from Dagenham, Gillian Merron has been Lincoln’s Labour MP since 1997 and is currently a Health minister. Despite her busy political schedule, she finds time to run regularly and participates in the Lincoln 10k every year. She also enjoys watching Lincoln City FC home games. But her most rewarding pastime is attending services at the Lincolnshire Jewish Community, which has 55 members, 20 associates and 12 friends

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Wood work for the young

July 9, 2009

Joseph Machta and Dovid Benmayer are the new Borehamwood Synagogue youth directors and will start their job-share in September.

Both have been active in Jewish life on campus, served as cheder teachers, and have a youth work background through Bnei Akiva.

According to a member of the community’s youth management team: “We have a very extensive youth programme at Borehamwood and look forward to Joseph and Dovid bringing their passion and commitment to the creation of further exciting activities which will attract even greater numbers of young people.”


Residents appreciate room to reminisce

July 9, 2009

Memories were plentiful when Clapham care home Nightingale organised its first reminiscence week for residents, a highlight of which was the reopening of Nightingale’s reminiscence room, decorated in 1940s’ and 50s’ style.

With nearly two-thirds of residents affected by dementia, reminiscence activities are an integral part of Nightingale life.


Watford is big business

By Jay Grenby, July 9, 2009

Lubavitch rabbi Yaron Jacobs discussed the art of leadership to launch the Watford Jewish Business Club. Organiser Shimon Shaw was delighted with a turnout of almost 40, reporting “positive feedback. People connected very well and I saw lots of business cards passing from hand to hand.”

Although Watford might not seem an obvious location for Jewish business types, Mr Shaw is convinced the monthly “lunch and learn” sessions will draw support from larger communities such as Radlett, Bushey, Borehamwood and Edgware.


West London rabbi hits the jackpot in Vegas

By James Martin, July 9, 2009

A London Reform minister believes his upcoming move to Las Vegas is no gamble, rather the “opportunity of a lifetime”.
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen, 35, is leaving the West London Synagogue to take up a post next month with the Temple Sinai congregation in Summerlin, 25 minutes by car from the centre of the world’s gaming capital.

“I got the offer in April and decided it was a fantastic opportunity to be able to develop a community there,” he said.


Corrie star remembers Manchester campaigner

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 9, 2009

Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh was among friends and family who remembered a radical-left Manchester Jewish campaigner whose book spurred MP John Mann to chair the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Steve Cohen, who died in March, described himself politically as a “dangerous Jew”. An immigration-law barrister from Prestwich, he set up the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, fighting legal battles for asylum seekers.


Hebrew U scholar gets Oxford chair

July 9, 2009

A scholar of international renown has been appointed to a new chair at Oxford University for the study of Abrahamic religions.

Guy Stroumsa, the Martin Buber professor of comparative religion at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, takes up the post in October and will be a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall.

Professor Stroumsa stresses the importance of the comparative study of religions, “and in particular of the monotheistic religions, as contemporary problems demand intellectual attention on the religious and historical roots of our current predicaments.”


Volunteer force reports growth in numbers

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

The Jewish Volunteering Network has more than tripled the number of people on its books in under a year, the organisation’s first conference was told on Monday.

Inquiries from prospective volunteers have risen to more than 1,000 from 300 last September, while more than 130 organisations have registered with it.

Set up three years ago as an “appropriate response to a real need”, JVN was saluted by keynote speaker Professor Margaret Harris, an expert on voluntary organisations in the UK.


Bonus for favourite builder

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 9, 2009

The non-Jewish construction boss responsible for many key Manchester Jewish organisational buildings was honoured by communal leaders on Wednesday.

Harry Johnston’s company built the Brookvale special needs home, sections of the Heathlands care village and Broughton Jewish Primary School.

Over 40 people were at the surprise ceremony at the Bnei Akiva bayit in Salford, another of his builds. Mr Johnston had attended under the misconception that he was being consulted over a leaky roof.


Bumper crop from Leo Baeck

By Keren David, July 9, 2009

Eight Progressive rabbis were ordained on Sunday at the largest graduation ceremony held by Leo Baeck College.

Seven-hundred people were at West London Synagogue to support the new rabbis, “whose influence will be felt by a generation to come”, said Leo Baeck vice-principal Rabbi Michael Shire. “We are proud of their high academic achievements and skilled pastoral and spiritual abilities.”