Community life

Bevis Marks in talks over rabbi's exit

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Members of Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London say that the redundancy process involving their rabbi has been suspended pending a meeting on Monday with the mahamad (executive) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation.

Congregants protested after learning of the possible loss of Rabbi Natan Asmoucha, who arrived from Zimbabwe last year to become rabbi of Britain’s oldest shul. Some feared the proposed redundancy could be a prelude to closing the place of worship.

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CST criticises funding delay

By Keren David, July 16, 2009

The head of the Community Security Trust has voiced frustration at the delay in securing government funding for Jewish school security. Rules were changed in October 2007 to allow councils to allocate money from education budgets to help schools’ security costs, but none has been forthcoming.

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Masorti birthday

By Jay Grenby, July 2, 2009

Edgware Masorti Synagogue launched a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary with a civic Shabbat service.

As revealed in a commemorative issue of the Edgware Masorti Times, the community was established in 1984 by nine families as the Conservative Synagogue of North-West London. It soon became the first Masorti-branded community in Europe.

It moved in 1996 to its Bakery Path site where a synagogue and community centre were built. Its first minister was Rabbi Chaim Weiner, now director of the European Masorti Beth Din, followed in 2000 by current minister, Rabbi Jeremy Collick.

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Reform rabbis’ new chair

July 2, 2009

The Assembly of Reform Rabbis has voted in a new chair, Rabbi Tony Hammond, who takes over from Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, and will serve a two-year term of office.

Rabbi Hammond, minister at Bromley Reform, said: “My aim is to lead the assembly in engaging with the ‘21st century synagogue’, in responding to tension between tradition and change.”

At the AGM of the Reform Movement, chair Stephen Moss thanked Rabbi Romain who “has done a sterling job in revitalising the assembly.”

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One Big Friday Night is blessed

By James Martin, July 2, 2009

The Jewish community displayed its propensity for hospitality as over 200 homes played host to Friday night dinners with a difference.

Around 2,000 people attended parties throughout the UK last weekend, in aid of the inaugural Jewish Care One Big Friday Night.

The dinners, which are expected to raise over £20,000, involved people hosting meals for family and friends, in a bid to raise awareness of the social care charity. Guests being asked not to bring gifts, but instead to make donations to Jewish Care.

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Buzz day at Limmud

By Faga Speker, July 2, 2009

Local, national and international speakers attracted 100 people to the fourth Newcastle Limmud.

The 30 speakers included Evie Friedman from the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, David Jacobi who explored Israel’s environmental issues and local amateur art historian Kurt Shapira who spoke about the fate of Jewish art in Nazi Germany. There were also workshops on Jewish geneaology, Israeli dancing and wine-tasting.

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School starts to rebuild

July 2, 2009

Construction work has started on the £20m rebuild of Manchester’s King David School in Crumpsall.

The Eaton Road site is currently home to an 800-place high school and sixth form, a junior and infant school and nursery.

Work will be completed at the school next year with pupils moving in during December 2010. The overall scheme, including the refurbishment of existing buildings, demolition and landscaping of the new school grounds will be finished by July 2011.

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A Knockout £40K for One Family

July 2, 2009

Over £40,000 for victims of terror in Israel was raised by the sixth It’s A Knockout day for youngsters organised by the Care 4 Kids committee in aid of One Family UK.

Held at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree, the event brought together 600 pupils from schools including Hasmonean, JFS, Immanuel, Yavneh, Rosh Pinah, Sinai and Mathilda Marks.

As well as the games, there were arts and crafts activities, a bouncy castle and face painting, plus child friendly refreshments such as popcorn and candyfloss.

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Sephardi shuls’ musical first

July 2, 2009

The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation has appointed Eliot Alderman as its first director of music.

Mr Alderman, 31, will act as choirmaster at the Lauderdale Road Synagogue and will also have the responsibility for the conservation and development of Sephardi liturgical music at Bevis Marks and Wembley synagogues.

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Boris praises museum’s education role

July 2, 2009

The educational role of the Jewish Museum will become increasingly important in the fight against rising antisemitism, one of its leading supporters said last week.

In welcoming Mayor of London Boris Johnson as guest of honour at its annual dinner Lady Wendy Levene, chair of the museum’s development committee, told the 200 guests at Mansion House in the City of London that antisemitism has become rife and acceptable in mainstream society.

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