Community life

Pole star dazzles pupils

December 2, 2010

A non-Jewish man who learned Hebrew to help him restore a synagogue in Poland has inspired a group of Jewish Liverpool and Manchester teenagers.

Sixth-formers from the King David High schools in both cities went on a first joint Holocaust educational visit to Poland. It took them to concentration camps but also to a number of lesser known locations over five days.

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Manchester fears volunteer crisis

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

Manchester's Federation of Jewish Services is facing a volunteer shortage as local authority budget cuts begin to bite.

The welfare charity operates a network of 250 volunteers in North Manchester, providing extra support for mainly elderly Jews in 200 households every week. But demand is increasing with more people living longer at home and local authorities rolling out tougher criteria on elegibility for residential care funding.

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Leeds school plan advanced

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

Plans for the first Jewish secondary school in Leeds are to be submitted to the Department for Education within weeks after sufficient demand was established at two parent meetings.

Planners hope to take advantage of the government's free schools initiative, allowing for state-funded schools to be set up in response to parental demand. The intention is to open in 2012 on the existing Brodetsky Jewish Primary site in Alwoodley.

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Another eruv planned

By Robyn Rosen, December 2, 2010

Brondesbury Park Synagogue is planning the latest London eruv, allowing the Orthodox to carry items or push buggies and wheelchairs on Shabbat.

An eruv committee has been formed and meetings are being held to confirm the boundaries, taking in Brondesbury Park, Queens Park, Mapesbury and parts of West Hampstead.

"This really takes the Brondesbury Park community to the next level," Rabbi Baruch Levin said. "It is going to open up new boundaries in terms of the level of observance of the community and attract people to an area which ticks all the boxes Jewishly and communally.

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Hospital orders menorah removal

By Robyn Rosen, December 2, 2010

Hampstead's Royal Free Hospital has withdrawn its consent for a giant electric menorah in the entrance area.

The menorah was placed on Tuesday by Tzivos Hashem, a charity run by Rabbi Yossi and Chanie Simon, after permission was received from the hospital's communications officer. On Wednesday, the couple were told to remove it.

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Tearful Maitlis supports WJR

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2010

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis was moved to tears as she recalled her participation in a World Jewish Relief mission to Moldova.

Ms Maitlis told more than 500 guests at the WJR dinner at London's Guildhall that she joined a mission last November, having been a regular supporter.

"WJR is an organisation I know well, in a community which is my own. But I always said no - I was either having a baby, or the country was having an election. But this time I found myself without an excuse when WJR invited me to Moldova."

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Britons are sent packing in Israel

November 25, 2010

Spreading its wings overseas, Mitzvah Day came to Israel with more than 100 British volunteers gathering at Kibbutz Shiller, near Rehovot, to pack clementines for Leket, a charity feeding the needy.

On average, Leket provides clients with two kilos of fruit per week. In two hours, the volunteers picked enough citrus to feed 750 families.

In a message of support to the volunteers, British Ambassador Matthew Gould wrote that by "playing a positive role in Israeli society, as you are today, you are sending a powerful message about Britain and about the relationship between our countries".

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Hendon puts a number on its contribution

November 25, 2010

Putting its Mitzvah Day contribution in numbers, Hendon Synagogue calculates that 80 balloons were blown up by barmitzvah boys to decorate the community centre and 80 packages of fresh green vegetables were presented to the Gift charity.

Sixty seniors were taken to a tea party with food prepared by the community's youth and 30 Chanucah cards sent to IDF soldiers. Another key figure was 100 - the age of birthday celebrant Evie Mantz. Local MP Matthew Offord was among the special guests.

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Cakes, cars, clothing and interfaith co-operation

November 25, 2010

Student support swelled the Mitzvah Day crowd at Brighton Reform's cupcake-wrapping session to 180. The cakes were delivered to patients at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, residents of Jewish Care's Hyman Fine House and needy community members. Cross-communal welfare group Helping Hands organised the event.

Progressive synagogue congregants participated in a gardening project in Brighton's Moulescombe area which encourages the involvement of troubled teenagers.

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Good things come in fives for Stanmore

By Jessica Elgot, November 25, 2010

More than 400 Stanmore Synagogue members collected clothes and books and made Chanucah cards in support of five charities.

Volunteers filled 35 sacks of winter clothing and knitted blankets for World Jewish Relief, donated books to the British Heart Foundation and made 180 Chanucah cards for Emunah. A large van of shopping was sent to Watford New Hope Trust for the homeless and the synagogue also collected books, DVDs and chocolate for soldiers in Afghanistan.

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