Community life

Small talk makes sense in Birmingham

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

Birmingham Central Synagogue is set to sell its synagogue building to a care home developer and transform its community centre into a smaller shul.

The 200-member Edgbaston congregation has been investigating selling the 700-seat synagogue for two years. Housing Association Optima was in negotiations to buy the premises last summer but pulled out after losing some government funding.

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Brighton's cover story

By Cecily Woolf, July 15, 2010

Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation members have been given an update on building work at the congregation's historic Middle Street synagogue.

Chairman Martyn Cooperman told the shul's annual meeting that essential repairs to the roof costing £460,000 had been completed.

English Heritage gave a £319,000 grant and a further £100,000 was taken from the proceeds from the sale of the cottage at the back of the synagogue. The remainder was met from shul funds.

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JCoSS is building on a strong foundation

By Jessica Elgot, July 15, 2010

Parents and pupils had their first taste of the JCoSS experience at an induction day for the cross-communal school which opens in Barnet in September.

The initial intake of 150 hail from a diversity of Jewish backgrounds with Reform and Orthodox families particularly well represented. There are also pupils from Masorti, Sephardi, Liberal and secular households. Five applications for places were signed by Lubavitch rabbis and some of the children have Israeli parents. Three non-Jews will also be among the first recruits.

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The inside story on £44m Jewish Care campus

July 15, 2010

As the saying goes, it is good when a plan comes together. And giving the JC a pre-opening tour of Jewish Care's £44 million care campus in Golders Green, the charity's chief executive, Simon Morris, has the look of a man who knows he is on to a winner.

Barely four-and-a-half years from concept to completion, the 160,000 square feet Maurice and Vivienne Wohl site has its first occupants - Jewish Care employees are adjusting to their new surrounds as part of a gradual move of over 160 staff.

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Rabbi to go

July 15, 2010

Childwall Synagogue rabbi Lionel Cofnas has announced his retirement after 30 years in the Merseyside pulpit.

He plans to move to Manchester next summer after standing down and eventually to make aliyah.

"When I came to the community, the shul was packed," he said. However, the situation had changed dramatically as "many young people have moved away".

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'Distress' over Lady J absentees

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser has bemoaned the large number of "no shows" at a US-organised memorial tribute to Lady Jakobovits.

Athough almost 1,000 people turned out for the event at St John's Wood Synagogue last month, 400 people booked tickets but did not attend.

At Monday's US council meeting, Edgware representative Silvia Hartman said: "The evening was well done but I was absolutely and totally distressed at the amount of people that were not there.

"The community was not properly informed. It was a throwaway line in our own shul and we're a huge community."

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Edgware seeks state aid for school project

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

Edgware Jewish Primary is ready to start building a single-form entry school and hopes to become state funded when it opens in 2011.

EJPS has been operating as an independent school since 2006, growing from an opening intake of 39 pupils to more than 130 children.

In October 2008, it was granted planning permission for a larger site in Hale Lane.

This will be equipped with high-tech IT facilities, library, gym, playground and full disabled access. It will make more places available in years two to four and at full capacity, EJPS will accommodate 240 children from the age of three.

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Glasgow shul closing after rabbi quits

By Stephanie Brickman, July 15, 2010

Netherlee, Clarkston and Queens Park Synagogue in Glasgow is to close after 70 years.

The move, expected for some time, is being finalised following the resignation of Rabbi Raphael Bokow after six years with the 250-member congregation. An EGM next month will determine both the closure date and the future of the synagogue building.

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Jobs go as UJIA income plummets

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

Fifteen redundancies are being sought at UJIA as the charity implements a £400,000 economy drive after a dramatic fall in donations.

UJIA's 86-strong workforce will be cut by up to 17 per cent. Four jobs have already gone in its Manchester operation, which has relocated from its long-time Mamlock House base.

Job cuts will be made across departments but a spokesman stressed that the redundancies would not impact on UJIA projects at home or in Israel. Six new positions may result from a review of activities.

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Yavneh sets 2011 target for new primary

By Jay Grenby, July 15, 2010

A two-form entry primary section for Yavneh College in Borehamwood could accept pupils as early as September 2011, parents were told this week.

The move, intended to alleviate the severe shortage of Jewish primary school places in the Hertsmere area, was announced at a public meeting on Monday at Yavneh.

However, parents were cautioned that many obstacles had to be cleared before before building could start at the site, with the securing of planning permission high among them.

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