Community life

Chabad celebrates learning by phone

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

Chabad Lubavitch is celebrating an educational landmark ‑— 100,000 hours of learning by telephone through its Tel-Torah project.

Set up eight years ago by Chabad Lubavitch of Edgware and available in English and Yiddish, the programme offers 19 topics as well as a daily shiur, children’s stories and “pick a mishnah” facility.

Chabad Lubavitch UK chief exexcutive Rabbi Bentzi Sudak said: “This is a wonderful achievement and just goes to show the importance of self-learning.

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Terror victims meet Harry Potter star

January 21, 2010

A group of Israeli victims of terror enjoyed dinner with Harry Potter star Emma Watson on Sunday.

The Israelis, visiting under the aegis of One Family, spotted Watson at The Grove in Watford. When one introduced himself to the actress, she left her friends to join their table, signing autographs and talking about her career.

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Communities Minister backs faith schools

January 21, 2010

Communities Minister Shahid Malik has emphasised the government’s support for faith schools to an audience of community leaders, attacking the notion that they are damaging community cohesion.

Mr Malik addressed a Jewish Leadership Council lunch at the Met Su Yan restaurant in Golders Green attended by key staff of over 40 organisations, including the Board of Deputies, UJIA, Jewish Care, Norwood and the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade.

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Elstree to add a rabbi

January 21, 2010

Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue is to appoint an associate rabbi to extend religious, educational and pastoral services to the growing community of 1,300 families.

Shul chair Anthony Arnold said the appointment was “something that has long been needed and is essential to the continued growth, support and development of our members”. It was “an opportunity to build a rabbinic team of diverse personalities and talents that in combination will be twice as effective”.

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King Solomon satisfied with its Ofsted ruling

January 21, 2010

The King Solomon High School in Redbridge has received a positive report from Ofsted inspectors, whose main concern was that more able pupils were not making the progress they were capable of.

Ofsted rated the school as good in most categories and outstanding in a few. It noted that headteacher Spencer Lewis had “worked tirelessly since his appointment two years ago to improve the standard of education students receive and his work has been successful.

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Growing offshoot of Tribe

January 21, 2010

Almost 1,000 twentysomething singles have signed up to the community membership programme administered by Tribe, the United Synagogue youth arm.

For a £5 monthly fee, the programme offers full synagogue membership, including burial rights, plus event discounts and special activities.

“It is a myth that the United Synagogue is an old fashioned organisation with nothing to appeal to young adults,” said Tribe executive director Rabbi Andrew Shaw. “We have worked hard to engage with young people.”

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Forum helps mixed couples

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

When the mother of Christian journalist Simon Thompson found out he was marrying a Jew, it “sent alarm bells ringing.

“It was more through misunderstanding — the fear of not knowing what it meant,” he explained on Sunday. “She had a fixed view of what a Jew was.”

Mr Thompson, 36, will wed his long-term girlfriend, project manager Rebecca Shurz, 32, in a civil ceremony in two months. They were among over 40 couples at the “I’m Jewish, My Partner Isn’t” seminar at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.

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Hindus launching their own Mitzvah Day

January 21, 2010

Inspired by British Jewry’s Mitzvah Day, the Hindu community has established its own day of good deeds.

Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks and Board of Deputies vice-president Jonathan Arkush were among over 300 guests at a Stanmore temple for the launch of National Sewa Day, which will coincide with Mitzvah Day on November 21.

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Olympic goals of community

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The Jewish Committee for the London Games wants to be the first recipient of an Inspire mark, making it an official London 2012 brand.

Guests at the committee’s first seminar on Tuesday were told that it had applied to the programme as a project inspired by the Games.

The committee was founded by the London Jewish Forum, Maccabi GB, UJIA and Lord Janner to promote communal involvement in London 2012 activities.

Among the 50-plus people at the seminar were Ephraim Zinger, director of the Israeli Olympic Committee, and representatives of volunteering charities.

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Disciplined response to misbehaving pupils

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

Instances of exclusions at King Solomon High School in Redbridge have dropped by almost 80 per cent in two years — and risen by over 50 per cent at JFS.

Figures obtained by the JC show a massive drop in fixed-term suspensions at King Solomon from 177 in the 2006/7 academic year to 38 in 2008/9. At JFS, the 80 “instances” in the last academic year contrast with 52 in 2006/7.

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