Community life

Members’ fury over quit order

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Hackney Synagogue members are furious that they were given less than a month’s notice to stop using their Grade II listed shul.

Louis Cohen, the warden of the north London congregation, said they were informed by the United Synagogue only last week that the Victorian building in Brenthouse Road was being sold at the end of the month.

After tomorrow week, the community have permission from the new owners to hold services downstairs in the hall of the building for a year.

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Hendon rabbi loses job

By Keren David, July 16, 2009

Financial cutbacks have cost a new community its full-time rabbi.

Rabbi Avi Scharf is returning to Israel after a year, following a funding cut to reduce his role at the Alei Tzion community in Hendon to part-time.

The rabbi arrived from Israel last year with his wife Devorah and their four children. His position was funded by the congregation, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and Immanuel College.

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Luton Liberals to seek new home

By Jay Grenby, July 16, 2009

The small Bedfordshire market town of Ampthill, though home to a well-known firm of wholesale kosher butchers, is not otherwise known as a hub of Jewish activity. But all that could change should Ampthill, as suggested, become the location for the permanent premises of the Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue.

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Welfare chiefs slam care plans

By Cathy Forman and Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

A leading welfare chief has criticised the long-awaited Green Paper on social care, claiming the proposals will have a negative impact on the Jewish community.

Leon Smith, chief executive of south London care home Nightingale, believes that care homes could lose out if the plans are implemented.

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Redbridge synagogues renew merger talks

By Leon Symons, July 16, 2009

Ilford Synagogue and Ilford Federation Synagogue have started new talks about a possible merger.

The congregations have both suffered a drop in numbers as a result of members moving to north-west London and Hertfordshire.

Five years ago, the synagogues started short-lived merger talks after it was revealed that membership at Ilford Synagogue, in Beehive Lane, had fallen dramatically. The United synagogue had also built up a deficit of around £400,000.

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MP urges teenage dialogue with Muslims

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

Muslims and Jews as young as 13 should be mixing on a regular basis according to Ivan Lewis, the Foreign Office Minister and Bury South MP.

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Bevis Marks in talks over rabbi's exit

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Members of Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London say that the redundancy process involving their rabbi has been suspended pending a meeting on Monday with the mahamad (executive) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation.

Congregants protested after learning of the possible loss of Rabbi Natan Asmoucha, who arrived from Zimbabwe last year to become rabbi of Britain’s oldest shul. Some feared the proposed redundancy could be a prelude to closing the place of worship.

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CST criticises funding delay

By Keren David, July 16, 2009

The head of the Community Security Trust has voiced frustration at the delay in securing government funding for Jewish school security. Rules were changed in October 2007 to allow councils to allocate money from education budgets to help schools’ security costs, but none has been forthcoming.

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Masorti birthday

By Jay Grenby, July 2, 2009

Edgware Masorti Synagogue launched a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary with a civic Shabbat service.

As revealed in a commemorative issue of the Edgware Masorti Times, the community was established in 1984 by nine families as the Conservative Synagogue of North-West London. It soon became the first Masorti-branded community in Europe.

It moved in 1996 to its Bakery Path site where a synagogue and community centre were built. Its first minister was Rabbi Chaim Weiner, now director of the European Masorti Beth Din, followed in 2000 by current minister, Rabbi Jeremy Collick.

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Reform rabbis’ new chair

July 2, 2009

The Assembly of Reform Rabbis has voted in a new chair, Rabbi Tony Hammond, who takes over from Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, and will serve a two-year term of office.

Rabbi Hammond, minister at Bromley Reform, said: “My aim is to lead the assembly in engaging with the ‘21st century synagogue’, in responding to tension between tradition and change.”

At the AGM of the Reform Movement, chair Stephen Moss thanked Rabbi Romain who “has done a sterling job in revitalising the assembly.”

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