Community life

William Hague tackles Israel issues

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 25, 2010

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the government acted correctly in inviting, rather than summoning, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor to the Foreign Office to discuss the use of forged British passports by those involved in the killing of Hamas militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

On the day Mr Prosor met Permament Under Secretary Sir Peter Ricketts, Mr Hague told the 170 guests at a British-Israel Chamber of Commerce dinner in Manchester that there was "no need to humiliate him [Mr Prosor] in order to have a discussion".

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Harrow congregations to ponder merger proposal

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

Two Reform synagogues in the Harrow area have taken the first steps towards a potential merger.

Members of the Kol Chai community in Hatch End and the Middlesex New Synagogue have been invited to parallel open meetings on March 21 to discuss the option.

The idea is for the buildings to be sold to fund a purpose-built site for a combined adult membership of 1,300.

Kol Chai co-chair Neil Mendoza said: "Our area is an exciting and dynamic place to be Jewish. Harrow has the third largest Jewish population in London and Bushey is one of the fastest growing communities in the UK.

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Elstree nursery fails the Ofsted security test

By Jay Grenby, February 25, 2010

A shul-based independent nursery has been criticised by Ofsted following an unannounced visit prompted by concerns raised by a parent.
Ofsted found that the Little Bicks premises at Ohr Yisroel (Federation) Synagogue in Elstree "were not secure and an intruder could enter". It further could not "evidence that there was always a suitable manager working on a day-to-day basis".

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Grandmother's bid to become Sephardi exec

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

A London grandmother is bidding to become what is believed to be the first female executive member of Britain's oldest Orthodox synagogue body.

Doris Osen is standing for election next month to the mahamad of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, despite reservations from the Sephardi Beth Din as to whether Jewish law permits her to serve on it.

Mrs Osen, in her 70s, is descended from two of the families who founded Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London in 1701 and has chaired a number of the synagogue's committees down the years.

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Langdon wins Cherie Blair’s vote for home help

February 25, 2010

Cherie Blair has lent her support to a £1.75 million project by Langdon, supporting young Jewish adults with learning difficulties.

Mrs Blair joined Langdon leaders and clients on Monday to launch The Quadrant, an Edgware property being rebuilt and refurbished to provide one two-bedroom and two individual flats. There will also be accommodation for 24/7 carers and a drop-in community centre. Building work is expected to take 18 months.

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Gove to Board: How can we fix JFS case?

By Leon Symons, February 25, 2010

Shadow education spokesman Michael Gove has thrown down the gauntlet to the Jewish community over the Supreme Court ruling on JFS admissions.

Guest speaker at Sunday's Board of Deputies meeting in central London, he posed a question to delegates in the event of a Tory administration.

"Tell me what you think we as a government should do to remove the allegation of prejudice against a school that has done such a wonderful job and what we can do to ensure faith schools can carry on doing the fantastic job they do?"

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Rabbi regrets praise for child abuser

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

A senior member of London's strictly Orthodox rabbinate says he was unaware that an American rabbi he publicly praised was a convicted child abuser.

Rabbi Ze'ev Feldman, of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, wrote a letter endorsing a fundraising event in Stamford Hill this week to help pay for the weddings of four children of Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Weingarten.

Rabbi Weingarten, a member of the Satmar sect, was last year jailed for 30 years by a New York court for abusing one of his daughters.

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Woman rabbi for Masorti?

By Robyn Rosen, February 18, 2010

New North London Synagogue could appoint Masorti's first woman rabbi as it is inviting applications from both sexes for the post of assistant minister.

The Finchley shul aims to have the new recruit in place before the High Holy-Days. He or she will work with teens and young adults - who make up 30 per cent of the 2,750 members - and will share pastoral duties with Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg.

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WJR knitting group goes global

February 18, 2010

A knitting aid venture launched by a group of women supporting World Jewish Relief has gone global.

Over 2,400 squares have been stitched for 60 blankets to help WJR clients keep warm in Eastern Europe during the freezing winter months. And a voluntary workforce of close on 1,000 recruited by the Pomegranate committee includes women from France, Israel and America.

Through WJR's Gifts in Kind programme, the large colourful blankets are being dispatched to Jewish communities in Moldova, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus.

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Chief Rabbi hails B'nai B'rith on 100th birthday

February 18, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks recalled the "great personal debt" he owed B'nai B'rith when he addressed the centenary dinner of B'nai B'rith First Lodge.

He told the 320 guests at the Great Hall in Lincoln's Inn, central London, that his decision to become a rabbi had been influenced by a travel bursary awarded by the First Lodge in 1968.

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