Community life

Masorti synagogue gets its man - eventually

By Jay Grenby in St Albans, July 23, 2009

St Albans Masorti members have approved the appointment of student rabbi Rafael Kornblueth as their first full-time minister, albeit not until next summer.

Mr Kornblueth has been in St Albans as a visiting scholar, but will return to America to complete his final year of rabbinic training at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, for which the shul is supplying a part-bursary. By arrangement, he will commute back to St Albans to lead festival services.

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A very special volunteer

July 23, 2009

A physically disabled Jewish Care resident was runner-up in the Volunteer of the Year category at the Institute of Fundraising national awards.

Simon Davies has severe athetoid cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair and communicates through a voice synthesiser or computer.

He lives at the charity’s Rela Goldhill Lodge in Barnet and volunteers in Jewish Care’s fundraising department. He also runs a greeting cards business, Simon Says, which has raised over £20,000 for Rela Goldhill Lodge.

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Holocaust heroism honoured

July 23, 2009

The daughter of a British sergeant said to have saved 400 Jewish lives during the war was among relatives of Holocaust heroes who met Communities Minister Shahid Malik in Westminster.

Linda Clarke’s father Charles Coward was captured near Calais and sent to the Monowitz PoW camp (known as Auschwitz III) in 1943. As well as helping the Jewish prisoners, he managed to send coded messages to the British authorities about the number of Jewish transports.

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Jewish Care welcomes £10m windfall from housing association

By Keren David, July 23, 2009

Jewish Care’s £40 million care campus project in Golders Green has received a £10 million gift from a housing association which is selling its site in an exclusive Hampstead location.

The cash comes from the Otto Schiff Housing Association, whose homes are on The Bishops Avenue. OSHA’s Leo Baeck House, which has been run by Jewish Care since 2002, will soon be closing in preparation for sale. Its 32 residents will be offered places in other Jewish Care establishments.

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Police chief’s pledge to combat hate crime

By James Martin in Barnet, July 23, 2009

The new head of Barnet Police has pledged to do his “utmost to clamp down on antisemitic incidents” following a significant rise in cases within the borough.

Eighty-six incidents were reported in the year ending in March, compared to 53 over the previous 12 months. Close to half occurred in a two-month period from the start of Israel’s Gaza incursion.

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Board stays out of export licence row

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies has resolved to stay out of any row between the Foreign Office and Israel over the decision to cancel five export licences.

It is adopting a “wait and see” strategy and will get involved only if receiving an indication from Israel that it should take up the case. The Foreign Office’s decision to ban the export of parts for Israel’s naval vessels was believed to have been prompted by a concerted campaign by pro-Palestinian groups.

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Essex golfers make a mint from Rags

July 16, 2009

There were riches from Rags as the Redbridge Aid Golf Society generated £145,000 from its 39th annual tournament at Abridge, the majority for Redbridge Jewish Community Centre.

Community centre chairman Philip Leigh was partnered on his round by former Coronation Street star Bradley Walsh.

Demonstrating commitment to the cause, Rags chair Lloyd Green postponed his honeymoon in order to take part.

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Welfare charity is transparently the best

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

Manchester welfare organisation The Fed has been ranked among the UK’s most transparent charities by independent watchdog Intelligent Giving.

The Fed’s latest rating of 80 per cent places it 15th in the national list, alongside charities such as Children in Need and the Samaritans. It is a huge advance on the 29 per cent assessment of the Fed for 2004/05.

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First rabbi for fledgling Gloucestershire

July 16, 2009

Rabbinical student Anna Gerrard is to work for a year with Liberal Judaism’s fledgling Gloucestershire community.

London-born Ms Gerrard, 29, holds a theology degree from Birmingham University and has worked for Liberal Judaism’s young adults outreach programme. She relishes the prospect of assisting the “exciting development” of the 50-member group and will be dividing her time between Gloucestershire and Jerusalem, where she is continuing her studies.

Community founder member Allison Hyman said: “Anna will be crucial at helping with cheder classes.”

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Scots Shoah memorial book on display

By Stephanie Brickman, July 16, 2009

Scotland’s first Holocaust Memorial Book has been put on permanent display in the vestibule of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation’s synagogue. A kiddush marking the event was held by the Association of Jewish Refugees, which created the book.

The leather-bound volume contains the names and some photographs of several hundred people who perished in the Holocaust, all relatives of Scottish Jewish residents.

AJR member Irene Mason, who has seven of her relatives listed, said that preparing the book had been an emotional experience.

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