Community life

Shofar blasts herald Belsize Square revamp

By Ruth Rothenberg, October 7, 2010

Belsize Square Synagogue celebrated the completion of its year-long renovation and 70th anniversary series of events with a rededication service attended by the mayor of Camden, Cllr John Simpson, and Finchley and Golders Green MP, Mike Freer.

The 450-strong audience heard chairman Paul Burger praise the mastermind of the project, Jonathan Joseph, for more than doubling the capacity of the synagogue to 600, and fundraiser Alan Morgenthau for producing the not-quite-yet-reached £1.85 million target.


West End show goes north

October 7, 2010

Local thespians were invited to share in the limelight when a hit London West End show was staged at a Manchester theatre.

The Jewish Theatre Company was approached by The Really Useful Company to provide supernumery actors for the crowd scenes for its production of Evita at the Lowry.

After rehearsals, six JTC actors appeared on stage and rubbed shoulders with the professional cast.

Howard Yaffe, publicity manager of the JTC, said: "We thought we would be asked just to do the walk-on walk-off crowd scenes, but were pleasantly suprised to be involved with two of the main numbers.


Scots discuss minority issues

By Stephanie Brickman, October 7, 2010

Representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities have met the Scottish Labour Party leader to brief him on communal issues.

At the meeting with Iain Gray MSP, which was attended by SCoJeC representatives Ephraim Borowski and Leah Granat as well as Ken Macintosh MSP for East Renfrewshire, concerns were expressed about the effect of the trend towards localisation on minority communities in general.


Bradford biker goes the extra mile

By Katie Taylor, October 7, 2010

One of the smallest Jewish communities in the UK is reaping the benefits of a rare level of co-operation between different faiths through fundraising.

Dave Langfield, a non-Jewish friend of Bradford synagogue, raised £2,100 with a three-day, 1,000-mile motorcycle trip around England. The money will help restore a 100-year-old Sefer Torah.

Fundraising manager Rachel Amdurer said: "There was literally a gasp in the room. We only expected a small amount. If he had made £500 I would have been happy."


Mourner upset at 'run down' cemetery

By Robyn Rosen, October 7, 2010

A mourner has spoken of her shock at the state of Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery after visiting her granddaughter's grave.

Fiona Siegal went to the cemetery last week to visit the grave of her granddaughter who passed away four years ago, aged four.

"I was shocked to see how run down and neglected the whole place has been allowed to become," she said.

"The graves were overgrown with weeds and no effort had been made to tidy up paths and spaces between lines of gravestones. The earth was bumpy and uneven and it was difficult to reach the graveside because of this.


Nancy Dell'Olio: 'I just want peace'

By Katie Taylor, October 7, 2010

Former international lawyer and glamorous charity fundraiser Nancy Dell'Olio was special guest at Magen David Adom's charity event this week.

She spoke to around 200 women at a gathering in Hampstead, dispelling myths about her "poor background" and talking about her charity work with organisations such as the British Red Cross, which works closely with MDA.

She also spoke of her attraction to Israel's "joy and spirit" but admitted that, despite her Jewish roots, she shies away from leading a religious life. Ms Dell'Olio said: "That is an individual choice and one that isn't for me.


Charities told to expect council budget cuts

By Jessica Elgot, October 7, 2010

Jewish charities in Barnet have been told to expect cuts of more than 15 per cent from Barnet Council's funding of services for the elderly and learning disabled.

Charities like Norwood, Langdon, Jewish Care and Kisharon must prepare budgets to show how they would cope with the loss of funding from the council – which must slash 25 per cent of its services budget over the next three years.


Raincoats make a splash

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 7, 2010

A new exhibition about historic Jewish contributions to Manchester's raincoat and waterproofs industry has opened at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

The "Waterproof People" exhibition is being run in conjunction with Manchester's Jewish Museum which provided rare artefacts from Jewish-run waterproofing businesses. Many Jewish entrepreneurs became involved in the waterproofing industry and by 1903 there were at least 100 waterproof workshops around the Jewish immigrant districts of Cheetham Hill and Strangeways.


Networking site rolls out

October 7, 2010

A new business networking initiative is being launched by Manchester's Jewish Representative Council in an effort to bolster business opportunities for Jewish entrepreneurs.

JnetManchester will offer monthly meetings attended by leading business professionals from across the Jewish community and Greater Manchester.


Charities fearful over funding cuts

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 7, 2010

Two of Manchester's Jewish welfare charities are bracing themselves for large losses in local authority funding running up to the Government's comprehensive spending review later this month.

The Federation of Jewish Services, Manchester's largest welfare charity, says possible cuts from four Greater Manchester councils will hit its support networks which do not directly care for the frail, ill or needy.