Community life

Reform launches review of its Israel policy

By Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The Reform movement has set up a working party to review its policy on Israel.

It would help give a "distinctive voice" on Israel in "challenging, difficult and possibly epoch-making times," movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield told its annual meeting at the Sternberg Centre in London on Sunday.

The working party will be chaired by Reform vice-chair Jenny Pizer, who said Reform engagement with Israel was "greater than ever".


Ovens ban after kosher bakery leak

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

A Hendon kosher bakery and café has been banned from using its gas ovens following a carbon monoxide leak on Sunday morning.

More than 20 people were evacuated and a large section of Brent Street was sealed off following the incident at Mr Baker.

It took five fire engines and specialist appliances, four rapid response ambulance cars and a team of police officers over four hours to deal with the leak.

The London Ambulance Service said that as a precaution, it had assessed 10 people at the scene but none had required hospital treatment.


Kingsbury school starts in synagogue

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

An Orthodox independent primary for girls unable to find Jewish school places elsewhere is to open in September at Kingsbury Synagogue.

The B'nos Primary School will start with two forms, nursery and reception, and already has 20 girls signed up.

Governors' chair Richard Harounoff said the school was needed as the Menorah Primary in Golders Green, Beis Yaakov in Colindale and Noam Primary in Wembley were oversubscribed. "This school has been created, not as competition, but simply because there are not enough places. It has good premises and well-regarded rabbis involved."


Gove vows to keep funding Auschwitz trips

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove has pledged that the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition will continue to fund the Holocaust Educational Trust's Auschwitz visits programme for sixth-formers and teachers.

MPs from all the main parties were among those at a Westminster reception hosted by the Speaker, John Bercow, on Monday to mark the 10,000th participant in the Lessons from Auschwitz programme.


Saatchi synagogue picks new rabbi

By Robyn Rosen, June 24, 2010

The small independent Saatchi Synagogue in St John's Wood is looking to a young American Lubavitch rabbi to oversee its development.

Rabbi Mendel Cohen, 27, and his wife Chai have moved from Seattle after responding to a JC advert and taking part in a selection weekend at the 70-member congregation.

Selection committee member Michael Herman said: "We hope the new rabbi will build more of a community and introduce non-social activities like teaching."


Kingston synagogue's memorial in Ostrava

By Jay Grenby, June 24, 2010

Kingston United Synagogue's Ostrava Group has been instrumental in the establishment of a memorial to Holocaust victims from the Czech town.

Cobblestone-sized shiny brass plates, recording the name, date of birth, deportation destination and date of death have been installed on the pavements outside their former homes.


Critics speak out over St John's Wood eruv

By Robyn Rosen, June 24, 2010

St John's Wood residents have voiced opposition to a planned eruv and its potential consequences for local diversity at a church meeting organised by a religious leaders' group.

The North Westminster Eruv committee plans to submit an application to Westminster Council at the end of the summer for the erection of 38 poles extending to Boundary Road in the north, Avenue Road in the east, Regent's Canal in the south and Shirland Road in the west.


Orthodox women prayer group celebrate 20 years

By John Jeffay, June 24, 2010

A Pioneering project to enhance the role of Orthodox women in synagogue life is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the Yeshurun shul in south Manchester.

With its regular Torah readings, the all-female tefillah (prayer) group has been the focus of much interest and some controversy.

But organisers of the Women in Judaism group are keen that this does not overshadow their educational and cultural programme, or their role in shul management.


Jewish museum man mourned

June 24, 2010

The director of the Jewish Museum in Manchester died this week, two months after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Stuart Hilton, 64, led the museum to tourist awards in his five years as director and was credited with keeping it operational amid financial difficulties. He took long-term leave some weeks ago and died on Monday evening at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, near to his home in west Yorkshire.


Prestwich appoints new rabbi

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2010

Prestwich Hebrew Congregation has selected a new rabbi after a year without a minister.

Dovid Eisenberg, the New York-born son of Austria's Chief Rabbi, was selected following pulpit auditions for the four candidates.

It will be the first ministerial position for the 29-year-old, who studied in yeshivot in America and Israel before coming to Whitefield kollel in Manchester three years ago.

Rabbi Eisenberg holds a degree in Talmudic law as well as a masters in business from Bar-Ilan University.

He will work as a team with his wife Miriam, who is from a Manchester family.