Community life

Taking the plinth for charity

By Robyn Rosen, August 13, 2009

A London teacher is using her hour on Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square to raise money for a charity launched in memory of a young Jewish leukaemia sufferer.

During her time on the plinth next Wednesday, Liz Mendes will release balloons sponsored by viewers of her donation website.

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Preserving heritage

By Cecily Woolf, Brighton, August 13, 2009

English Heritage architect Robin Nugent reported on the essential repairs being carried out at Brighton’s historic Middle Street Synagogue at the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation AGM.

A £317,000 English Heritage grant is funding work on the Grade II-star property, whose interior was described by Mr Nugent as “the finest in Brighton with the exception of the Royal Pavilion”.

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Residents fight special needs development

By Robyn Rosen, August 13, 2009

Campaigners against the building of a new development for Orthodox families in Stamford Hill will learn today if they can appeal against the plans.

Hackney Council last year approved proposals to redevelop the former Avigdor School site in Lordship Road into a new special needs school and nursery and 29 residential units for Orthodox families.

But hundreds of local residents have opposed the scheme and more than 30 turned up at the High Court last Friday to apply for a judicial review against the council’s decision.

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Voluntary contributors

August 13, 2009

Winners of Redbridge Jewish Community Centre’s annual volunteer awards included centre stalwarts Claire and Ivor Baylin.

The Baylins have volunteered at RJCC for 10 years and are heavily involved in its daily life.

Mrs Baylin welcomes people at the door and helps out in the dining room.

Her husband runs bowls and the centre’s afternoon quiz. At this year’s Purim show, she dressed as a cheerleader, while he became a snake charmer for the afternoon.

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Sole cause of Africa project

August 13, 2009

Project Chesed, the charitable arm of the United Synagogue, has launched a footwear collection initiative in support of Shoe Aid for Africa. Unwanted shoes, particularly in children’s sizes, will be distributed to needy communities.

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue was first off the blocks with a shoe party.

In return for their practical donation, children received instruction in the art of shoe graffiti.

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Scottish aid

August 13, 2009

A “rabbi on the road” venture by the Northern Regional Chaplaincy Board is among outreach schemes being funded by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.

Up to £3,000 over two years will go to the chaplaincy project, bringing Jewish life to the more remote Scottish areas. Up to £2,000 will aid Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation’s cheder resources partnership with the Dundee and Aberdeen communities.

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Shul rings changes on phones

By Jay Grenby, Radlett, August 13, 2009

Radlett Synagogue leaders are clamping down on the use of electronic devices during services to “bring some respect back into the shul”.

Members and guests have been using mobile phones, BlackBerry devices and even laptops in synagogue. One visitor was seen trying to order a takeaway at a recent Shabbat morning service. Another guest was caught discreetly videoing a barmitzvah with a camera hidden inside a tallit bag.

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Joining Czech mates

August 13, 2009

Members of the Nottingham and Finchley Progressive synagogues travelled to the Czech Republic to visit Slavkov, formerly Austerlitz, from which they each have a Czech memorial Torah scroll.

The trip was organised by the Nottingham Friends of Austerlitz, working to preserve the memory of the town’s Jewish community. Just a handful survived the Holocaust and there is now only one Jewish resident, 78-year-old Ruth Matiovska, who recovered from a broken ankle in time to join a civic ceremony marking the visit.

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Cancer charity is building up its caseload

By Robyn Rosen, August 13, 2009

At a time when many organisations are having to cut back, Chai Cancer Care is defying the recession by starting building work on a £1 million extension to its Hendon headquarters.

The expansion project will give Chai more space for its extensive range of services for Jewish cancer patients and their family and friends. It will further allow the charity to increase the number of people it sees each week from 350 to 450. With satellite services in Redbridge, south London and Manchester, Chai will be reaching a weekly audience of 500 when the extension opens next Pesach.

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Swine flu fears lead shul to plan online Yomtov

By Robyn Rosen, August 13, 2009

Maidenhead Synagogue is making the ultimate preparation for a major swine flu outbreak with plans to transfer its High Holy-Day services online.

Minister Rabbi Jonathan Romain says that should the government call for a ban on large public gatherings, he will cancel services and connect with his Reform congregation through the internet, with recordings of prayers, shofar blasts and even sermons.

More immediate precautions include a notice to members urging them to wash their hands before kiddush and the shul is providing extra antibacterial gel dispensers, tissues and dustbins.

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