Community life

Rabbi quits Norrice Lea pulpit

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Livingstone, minister of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, has announced his resignation after 11 years.

Rabbi Livingstone, who is originally from South Africa, said he had a “variety” of options to pursue after feeling he had “peaked” from his post at one of the largest synagogues in London, which has 1,800 adult members and more than 1,000 members under the age of 21.

Rabbi Livingstone said: “I came to the point where I wanted to move on. I have had a pretty good time here. It’s a big shul and I have accomplished a lot. I feel that I have peaked here.”


'Class act' wins claim over US

By Leon Symons, December 22, 2009

A former senior educator has won his claim for unfair dismissal against the United Synagogue.

Jeffrey Leader, former director of education of the US’s Agency for Jewish Education and an employee for more than 20 years, was one of six people made redundant there as part of a cost cutting exercise that saw 17 people shed from the US. He brought the case because he claimed the redundancy process was unfair and he was given insufficient time to consult about alternative employment.


Party on

December 22, 2009

More than 1,000 doughnuts were consumed in two hours during Westfield shopping centre’s first Chanucah party. A giant menorah, klezmer band, school choir and arts and crafts entertained 1,000 guests.

Michael Gutman, Westfield’s managing director, said that the success of the event means that it will return next year.

He said: “It was fantastic to be able to celebrate Chanucah with so many members of the Jewish community.”


Virtual reality for Sussex

By Cecily Woolf, December 22, 2009

A virtual Jewish community centre linking the scattered communities throughout Sussex has become a global hit.

Graphic designer Gary Weston and charities consultant Andrew Devon designed SJO as a service to the community with the blessing of the local Representative Council, whose chairman Beryl Sharpe said: “Gary and Andy have done a great job.”


Teenager snaps up photo prize

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

A severely disabled teenager has won an award for a self-portrait photograph taken after hours of practice with a sensitive remote switch linked to a digital camera.

Max Goulde, 18, has been awarded the east Midlands runner-up prize in the national I-Click Photographic Competition and will have his work displayed at the Oxo Gallery in the South Bank.

As a result of a serious illness at 18 months old, Max has cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, epilepsy and is blind. He is in a wheelchair and requires around the clock care.


Woodside Park Synagogue double joy

December 17, 2009

Woodside Park Synagogue has welcomed home emeritus chazan, Rev Michael Plaskow and his wife Phyllis, for the rededication of the refurbished Wiseman Linden hall.


Potters Bar synagogue relocates to town centre

December 17, 2009

Potters Bar and Brookmans Park synagogue, long-established at Bell Bar, is moving to the centre of the town.

The last Shabbat service took place at the current Meadowcroft premises last Shabbat with the inaugural morning service planned for this Shabbat.

President Howard Lanning said that the congregation “sees the move as a major stepping-stone in the growth of the community. Meadowcroft is behind us now and I must thank the team at the United Synagogue for being with us every step of the way.


Toy stories for children in need

December 17, 2009

The Camp Simcha Chanucah Toy Drive attracted thousands of children from over 40 Jewish day schools and chederim who brought in a toy for children in hospital.

Over 35 volunteers spent a day sorting and packing a mountain of toys at the Camp Simcha centre in Hendon. Dozens of volunteers then delivered sack loads of toys to over 100 hospital wards and children’s hospices around the South East.


The Jewish Children of the Year awards ceremony

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

A 13-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome who attends a mainstream school, a big sister who helps her leukaemia-stricken brother and a teenager with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who is studying the International Baccalaureate, were among those who were honoured at this year’s Jewish Children of the Year awards.


JNF appoints new chief executive

By Leon Symons, December 17, 2009

JNF, Anglo-Jewry’s leading charity for Israel, has appointed a new chief executive. Elliot Conway, currently director of the Interparliamentary Council on Antisemitism, will take up his post in the New Year.

His appointment will draw a line after a turbulent period in the charity’s history which saw the departure of the previous chief executive Simon Winters and chair Gail Seal and a lengthy and costly court action involving Keren Kayemet L’Israel.