Community life

Mitzvah Day: Volunteering across the world

November 19, 2009

Providing an international flavour to Mitzvah Day, 250 UK ex-pats gathered at Kibbutz Schiller, near Rehovot, picking oranges for Leket Israel, a charity sourcing surplus food for distribution to the needy.

Project organiser Charlotte Casselson said “the response has been overwhelming. To see people of all ages and nationalities showing their support for this invaluable organisation is inspirational.” Formerly known as Table to Table, Leket Israel provides more than 110 tons of food per week to over 230 soup kitchens, homeless shelters, old age homes and other organisations.

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Mitzvah Day: Volunteers pack a heavyweight punch

November 19, 2009

The New London Synagogue in St John’s Wood was transformed into a warehouse-cum-sorting office as 61 volunteers collected and packed relief parcels for refugees and asylum seekers.

They filled 408 bags and boxes weighing a total of almost 2,500 kilos, as well as 397 kilos of rice. They also sewed 46 woollen scarves and collected £180 worth of phone cards. Event leader Angela Gluck said: “As a people we’ve known what it means to be displaced so this is very close to all our hearts.”

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Concern over resignations at Simon Marks school

November 19, 2009

More than 100 parents attended an information meeting on Monday at the Simon Marks Jewish Primary in Hackney following the resignation of head Nicole Delamere and other teachers.

Governors’ chair Howard Pallis told them that reception teacher Esther Williams had also quit, the third resignation in less than a month. Parents had previously complained about being “kept in the dark” over developments at the school.

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South London Liberal celebrates new woman rabbi

November 19, 2009

An added element to the 80th anniversary celebrations of South London Liberal Synagogue was the induction of Rabbi Janet Darley as minister.

An economist who moved to Britain 20 years ago, Rabbi Darley called on her congregants “to volunteer your services, to consider running for council and to play an active role in sustaining our community”.

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Hamstead Synagogue launches job search

November 19, 2009

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue is trying to help members back into the employment market through the launch of the JobShidduch.com website. The intention is for the free service to link job-seekers with vacancies in companies run by other members.

Minister Rabbi Reuven Livingstone said the Initial response had been “really positive from those in management or ownership positions”.

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Leeds Limmud attracts 300 guests

November 19, 2009

Topics ranging from looted art to the Jews of Jamaica attracted over 300 people to the ninth Leeds Limmud, held on Sunday at Weetwood Hall.

Leeds MPs John Battle and Fabian Hamilton were among the 60 presenters, Mr Hamilton discussing the Middle East situation, Mr Battle focusing on community cohesion. There was also a minibus tour of historical Jewish Leeds.
There were workshops on Israeli dancing by Julia Kay, mosaics by Sharon Welsh and Jewish genealogy by Frances Harris. Mitzvah Day was marked by a blood donor drive.

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Artist’s hospital mural for sick children

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

A Jewish artist from Radlett has transformed a hospital children’s area by painting a huge safari themed mural.
Leigh Warman, 45, spent almost three months on the mural in the corridor between the children’s ward and the operating theatre at Watford General.

It is the latest of over 50 murals completed by Mr Warman at hospitals across the country, including Great Ormond Street, the Royal Free and Nottingham.

“Kids go to hospital so frightened but if they can see something they recognise it takes the edge off,” Mr Warman said. “Now it’s lovely and beautiful.”

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Mitzvah Day: London communities pitch in

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

To appreciate the breadth of Mitzvah Day activities, you need to experience some of its projects first hand. So with Mitzvah Day committee member Ruth Smilg as my chauffeur and guide, I embarked on a whistlestop tour of events in the capital.

First up was the “collectathon” at New North London Synagogue in Finchley, where at 10am, the hall was filled with an ever-growing pile of clothes, shoes, food, toiletries and stationery.

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Mitzvah Day: Interfaith action praised by leaders

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

Leaders of other faiths have praised the inclusive nature of Mitzvah Day — which this year coincided with the launch of the government’s Interfaith Week — saying that their own communities could learn from it.

One of the biggest projects was at Kentish Town City Farm where young Jews worked alongside Muslims and Hindus renovating equipment and stables.

The initiative impressed Fuad Nahdi, director of Radical Middle Way, which promotes mainstream understanding of Islam. “I’m proud to be part of such a noble exercise,” he said.

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Tories back Norwood’s green policy

November 19, 2009

MEP Marina Yannakoudakis was among a Conservative group brought by Barnet Council leader Mike Freer to Norwood’s Buckets and Spades Lodge in Finchley on Mitzvah Day.

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