Schools are back in business after parents join snow-clearing teams

By Robyn Rosen and Stephanie Brickman, January 14, 2010
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Parents took on snow clearing duties to get Jewish schools in the London area reopened on Monday.

Over 90 people responded to a plea for help at the Hertsmere Jewish Primary premises and parents also engaged in snow shovelling at Rosh Pinah’s early learning site.

Among the Hertsmere volunteers was Daren Nathan, father of a nine-year-old pupil. “The school had been closed since Wednesday and being in such a rural location, the impact of the snow was horrendous,” he said. “It wasn’t clearing at all.

“On Saturday evening, we put in place an action plan and asked parents if they could help dig out the snow.

“We were only expecting a few but 90 turned up on Sunday and school reopened the next day.”

A French A-level oral exam had to be rescheduled at Hasmonean High School last week but written tests took place as planned.

“It’s be here or not do them at all,” said executive head Rabbi David Meyer. “We run all the written exams no matter what.”
However, as more snow fell in the south on Wednesday, Immanuel College in Bushey was closed to all but those sitting entrance exams, GCSEs and A-levels.

The coach service to Yavneh College in Borehamwood was cancelled after the morning run, leaving parents to collect their children as the decision was taken to close the school at midday. Rosh Pinah in Edgware was among other schools which closed early.

There was good news for Orthodox Jews in Golders Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb and Hendon as weather-related damage to the north-west London eruv was repaired before Shabbat.

Despite atrocious transport conditions, East Barnet butchers Perlmutters maintained deliveries of fresh meat and groceries to the Bournemouth community.

In Berkshire, a golf course loaned Norwood a JCB digger to help clear 40cm of snow around its Ravenswood residential village.

Glasgow-based Jewish Care Scotland had to suspend services at its day centre because of the icy conditions.

Instead, “our day centre workers have been phoning round 200 elderly people two or three times a week to see if they need any help,” reported chief executive Ethne Woldman. “We do their shopping, take round a meal or just visit to relieve the boredom of their being stuck in the house.”

The charity’s staff have been making in the region of 100 visits each week to clients such as Nanette Swan, a full-time carer to her severely disabled husband, who was confined to her home.

“My car was jammed in the garage by snow,” she said. “Jewish Care brought us meals on wheels at a time when I couldn’t find the energy to cook. They do such a lot in a quiet way.”

    Last updated: 4:15pm, January 14 2010