Community life

Government cash for Newcastle Jews

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

Newcastle's United Hebrew Congregation has been rewarded for its education work with visiting schools with a £6,000 Faith in Action grant from the government.

It is one of more than 100 projects promoting interfaith understanding - including several run by Jewish groups - that are the beneficiaries of £2 million in grants from the Communities Development Foundation.

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Volunteer ‘Oscar’ for bereavement group

September 7, 2010

A Queen's Award for Voluntary Service recognises the contribution of Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue's Bereavement Support Group over a 17-year period.

The group has provided comfort and support to those within and outside the Jewish community who have suffered a bereavement.

At Sunday's ceremony, local MP Nick Hurd - also Minister for Civil Society, whose department administers the Queen's Award - said it was the volunteers' Oscar.

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Elstree eruv one step closer

By Jay Grenby, September 7, 2010

The end looks finally in sight for the long-awaited Elstree eruv following the unanimous approval by Hertsmere Borough Council planners of a revised application.

An eruv trust representative said the decision would "bring closure to all planning related matters within 30 days".

The hope is that the religious boundary, covering most of the Elstree and Borehamwood residential areas, could be operational by the end of autumn. Only a small number of the eruv poles require modification or re-siting.

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Chief Rabbi's office director quits

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

David Goodman, the executive director of the Office of the Chief Rabbi, is to leave after a year-and-a-half.

Chief Rabbinate Trust chairman Peter Sheldon said Mr Goodman "has decided to move on to other things and we reluctantly agreed he can leave. He will be leaving before the end of the year."

There will be no replacement for the former Kisharon Day School executive director, who succeeded Syma Weinberg in the OCR post.

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UK's first cross-communal secondary school opens

September 7, 2010

JCoSS head Jeremy Stowe-Lindner was moved to tears on Monday as the UK's first cross-communal Jewish secondary school welcomed its initial 148 pupils in Barnet.

"I have to admit that a small tear welled up in my eye when the first students walked in," Mr Stowe-Lindner said. "I am so proud of what we have achieved here already, completing the building in just 18 months so that we can offer some of the very best facilities in the country.

"We have assembled an incredible team, a fantastic building and, from what I have seen, an energetic and enthusiastic group of students."

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Fears for future as Mamlock groups disperse

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

Hopes for a new communal building to house Manchester Zionist organisations have been dashed as former users of UJIA's Mamlock House disperse to separate locations.

UJIA's sale of the dilapidated north Manchester premises - which have been at the centre of local pro-Israel activity for nearly 50 years - was intended to save £50,000 annually in running costs. A number of parties have expressed interest in the site.

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Outspoken minister ousted

By Stephanie Brickman, September 3, 2010

Glasgow's historic Garnethill Synagogue is dispensing with the services of its long-time minister because of his "unacceptable behaviour".

Aharon Soudry has worked for Garnethill on a freelance basis for 20 years and shul chairman Gerald Levin claimed there had been many instances where his behaviour had fallen short of the standards expected of a spiritual leader.

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Corrie star's FJS opening night

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

A newly refurbished mental health facility has been opened by Manchester's Federation of Jewish Services as part of its merger with the Healthlands Village.

Modelled on a cafe lounge, the ground floor space in Heathlands' Eventhall House in Prestwich was officially launched by Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine at a party on Tuesday night. The actress takes a particular interest in mental health issues as her father Tom chairs a charity supporting mood disorder sufferers.

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Solicitor-General backs non-invasive post-mortems

September 3, 2010

Scottish Solicitor-General Frank Mulholland has assured Jewish representatives that the Crown Office is committed to encouraging non-surgical forms of post-mortem.

Following a meeting between Mr Mulholland and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Crown Office is to issue new guidance to procurators fiscal and pathologists backing the use of non-invasive methods acceptable in Jewish law, which can can also speed up the release of a body for burial.

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Teacher training goal

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

Manchester Mesivta headmaster Phaivish Pink is working to combat a shortage of highly-qualified Jewish studies teachers in Manchester schools.

On Sunday, the Torah Teachers Training Scheme, which he directs, organised a seminar in advanced classroom management skills for 25 local teachers. "There is no government requirement for kodesh staff to be qualified," Mr Pink pointed out. "But there is a growing recognition that professionally qualified kodesh staff are better and more effective."

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