Community life

Masorti name change

August 19, 2010

The growing New Essex Masorti community is to change its name in a bid to further increase membership.

From next month, it will be known as Buckhurst Hill Masorti Synagogue, more accurately reflecting its location at the local Woollard Centre.

"We know that when people visit us, they like what they see," said co-chair Howard Robinson.

"They recognise the traditional feel of the service and enjoy the warmth and vibrancy of the community. But we still remain a bit of a hidden secret.

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Tobias pilots change in Progressive reading

By Jay Grenby, August 19, 2010

The Liberal Synagogue Elstree is to pilot a new triennial structure for Torah readings, allowing extended readings from the five books of the Torah.

Shul minister and Liberal Judaism rabbinic conference chair Pete Tobias is behind the project, drawing up the revised structure during a sabbatical. Rabbi Tobias has long believed that the yearly pattern of Torah readings in most Progressive synagogues offers an unconnected selection of excerpts giving no sense of the whole.

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Appeal over school building

By Robyn Rosen, August 19, 2010

Developers Berkeley homes will appeal against a Hackney Council decision to stop a former school site being turned into luxury homes.

In March, hackney's planning subcommittee voted 5-4 against the proposal to demolish the old Skinners' School site in Stamford hill. Members of the Belz, Satmar and Lubavitch communities campaigned against the housing proposal and campaign leader and yesodey hatorah Schools' principal rabbi Avraham pinter considered the appeal "ill-advised. They don't have a chance of success."

The hearing is set for october.

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Branching out for simchahs

By Jay Grenby, August 19, 2010

A Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue member has set up a tree of life to commemorate the many simchahs in the growing herts community.

Leaves can be used by families to mark births, bar- and batmitzvahs, weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations. Former board member Aaron Kaye was inspired by a similar initiative prompted by his father, Larry, at Bournemouth Chabad.

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West London announces Rabbi Winer's departure date

By Simon Rocker, August 19, 2010

The search has begun for a new spiritual leader for the Reform movement's flagship congregation, the West London Synagogue, after this week's announcement of the impending retirement of Rabbi Mark Winer.

Earlier this year, congregants were informed that Rabbi Winer, 67, would be stepping down, but without a date being given.

But West London chairman Jonathan Lass ended speculation in a letter informing members that Rabbi Winer would retire next month on Succot.

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Cemetery plan battle is won

By Robyn Rosen, August 19, 2010

Four synagogue groups have won an eight-year battle to extend a Jewish cemetery in Barnet.

An independent inspector has supported an appeal against Barnet Council's rejection of expansion plans for Edgwarebury Lane cemetery last October - a decision taken against the recommendation of its officer. Barnet will also have to meet the costs of the appeal.

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Bradford makes most of Yorkshire's oldest shul

By Jessica Elgot, August 13, 2010

Bradford Reform can boast an architecturally extravagant synagogue, but there is nothing outlandish about its expenditure.

Saved from closure by a £5,000 heritage grant last year, the small community leads a hand-to-mouth existence, reliant on the support of outside donors.

"Every day there are tiny little miracles," says fundraising manager Rachel Yosef. "We have people who come to us out of the blue with donations. But it's never easy. This place has been on the point of shutting down since it was built."

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Widow 'held to ransom' in burial fees row

By Cathy Forman, August 13, 2010

A 79-year-old widow claims she is not being allowed to erect a headstone for her husband for refusing to pay an additional burial fee which is at the heart of a long-running dispute between Birmingham's two Orthodox synagogues.

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'Glee' chazan to launch new Glasgow service

By Stephanie Brickman, August 13, 2010

Masorti Scotland is transferring its operations from the historic Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow's West End to a scout hut in Newton Mearns.

But Masorti Scotland chair Warren Bader insists the move has nothing to do with initial difficulties at Garnethill, when some community members voiced concern that a Masorti presence might give the impression that Garnethill was no longer Orthodox.

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Chabad aims for Fringe benefits at Edinburgh Festival

By Jessica Elgot, August 13, 2010

Among the street performers and acrobats on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, the local Chabad group has been handing out kosher snacks and encouraging Jewish visitors to this month's Fringe Festival to lay tefillin.

Rabbi Pinny Weinman and two New York yeshivah students, Yaakov Hecht, 19, and Herschy Hecht, 17, have set up a stall close to Edinburgh Castle, where performers gather to hand out flyers for the 2,000-plus shows.

Rabbi Weinman said that proximity to the castle was like "being a part of history, like being near the Western Wall.

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