Community life

Last-minute minyan attracts a crowd

By Jay Grenby, October 1, 2009

A congregation of more than 40 attended the Yom Kippur services organised at the last minute by the Borehamwood Sephardi Minyan. The unscheduled services followed the “resounding success” of the fledgling community’s first Shabbat service just three weeks ago, when more than 70 adults and children crowded into the local Allum Hall.

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Radlett inducts second minister

By Jay Grenby, October 1, 2009

A former Hasmonean Preparatory head boy who was raised in an Orthodox environment has been inducted as Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue’s assistant minister.

Rabbi David Mitchell, who switched to Reform Judaism while at Oxford University, was welcomed as the shul’s “first second minister” by an audience of 200.

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Harrow and Northwood may merge

By Wally Leaf, October 1, 2009

Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue is considering closing as an independent synagogue to merge with six-mile distant Northwood and Pinner Liberal shul.

Harrow chairman Adrian Cohen, after a shul council meeting, said: “We’re committed to exploring this.”

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Salford outreach project survives

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 1, 2009

A suspended citizen’s advice service dedicated to Manchester’s Jewish community has been guaranteed survival after the leader of Salford City Council intervened.

The Jewish Outreach Project, part of Salford’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, had funded a dedicated Jewish advisor, but was forced to shut in May when lottery funding ran dry. Now the bureau’s chief, Tom Tougher, said the service will receive half its £16,000 annual budget through Salford council. Its leader, John Merry, secured the money after being told of the closure.

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Anger over Cathedral art

By Robyn Rosen, October 1, 2009

An Israel support group in Liverpool is outraged at a cathedral which, they claim, is displaying a “one-sided” exhibition of children in Gaza.

Last week, the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool city centre unveiled the exhibition, entitled Loss of Innocence, featuring pieces of art by Gaza children.

But Sue Hadden, chairwoman of the Liverpool Israel Support Group, was angered by its content and contacted the cathedral.

She said: “There needs to be more balance. If they are showing pictures of Gaza children suffering, it should show Sderot children who have suffered terribly.”

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Plea to save Charedi sites

By Robyn Rosen, October 1, 2009

Charedi community leaders have warned that some longstanding institutions, including mikvehs, charities and schools are “suffering dire financial deficits” as the recession takes its toll.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has sent out an urgent appeal to the strictly Orthodox community as a “wake-up call” to help organisations “on the verge of bankruptcy”.

Chanoch Kesselman, executive co-ordinator at the union, said: “Most of the hardship experienced by these institutions is because of the recession, coupled with the increase in expenses.”

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John Hurt: Lessons not learnt from Holocaust

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Actor John Hurt fears the world has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.

Mr Hurt was one of the speakers at a Holocaust Educational Trust dinner in central London, making a link between events leading up to the Shoah and current economic problems.

“We’re in a situation now which is dangerous and parallels can be made to the time before the war, with the banking crises and loss of faith in the government. We love to put blame on the Hitlers and the Stalins but we need to look at ourselves and see that we are all at fault.”

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Coe opens centre named after young cancer victim

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

A multi-million pound laboratory researching groundbreaking cancer treatments has been named after the late wife of leading football agent, Jon Smith.

Lord Coe officially opened the Lee Smith Foundation Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hendon last week. The foundation was set up in memory of Lee Smith who died from leukaemia 28 years ago at the age of 29 and has raised money for research scientists, treatment and medical equipment throughout the world. The new laboratory will research vaccines for breast and prostate cancer.

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Family friendly Bayswater

September 24, 2009

A mother and toddlers group has been launched at the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater in a bid to integrate more young central London families into the community.

The group is the idea of Toni Nagel, who runs the congregation’s children’s services, and two New West End mums, Keren Levy and Charlotte Poltny. It has the active support of the minister’s wife, Anne Shisler, and the congregation’s acting chair, Gaby Morris.

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Farewell to Chief's aide

By Simon Rocker, September 24, 2009

A large crowd gathered at St John’s Wood Synagogue for a farewell reception for Syma Weinberg, who retired this summer as executive director of the Chief Rabbi’s office after nearly 13 years.

The former Hasmonean Preparatory School deputy head and education consultant to Jewish Continuity is making aliyah with her husband Henry in December.

“It’s been a privilege to have been working in the community for 40 years,” Mrs Weinberg said.

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