Community life

Sephardi leaders search for spiritual head

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

Sephardi leaders have started the search for a new spiritual head to succeed Rabbi Abraham Levy, who has led the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation for 30 years.

Gibraltar-born Rabbi Levy is 71 and has served the congregation for more than 50 years in total.

"I am very ready to retire and to help find a successor," he said. "We need to find someone we can train to succeed me. Our traditions and liturgy are unique in the world."


Kingston synagogue helps Czech Jewish archive

By Jay Grenby, March 18, 2010

America's Holocaust Memorial Museum is to fund the digitisation of a Czech archive assembled by Kingston Synagogue's Ostrava group.The support was announced on Sunday at the group's annual reception for survivors and descendants of Ostrava Jewry.

The group was set up five years ago to find out more about the history of Ostrava and its Jewish community after a Sefer Torah once used there was offered to the Kingston shul on permanent loan by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust.


Local kosher shops struggle to compete

By Jonathan Kalmus, Jessica Elgot and Stephanie Brickman, March 18, 2010

Among the shoppers at Haber's World kosher store in Prestwich, Manchester, on Sunday, Jennifer Forman from Altrincham had already sorted one major element of her Pesach provisions. "I've got a houseful of the 29p [Tesco] matzahs, but mostly I've tried to buy in the Jewish shops. I want them to carry on. Things seem cheaper than normal."

Whitefield grandfather Geoffrey Reynolds said he had bought both from supermarkets and kosher outlets. "There is better variety at the kosher shops and we always come out to support them."


Shenley rabbi quits: 'We were not a good fit'

By Jay Grenby, March 18, 2010

Yet another United Synagogue pulpit has fallen vacant with this week's announcement that Rabbi Natan Levy is to leave Shenley shul.

Rabbi Levy, who was appointed as the growing community's part-time minister only 18 months ago, said his departure was by mutual consent. "The Shenley community and I had reached a point where we agreed that a parting of the ways would be to the benefit of both of us," he said.

"It was no one's fault. It is a great community which I love dearly but we were not a good fit. They were looking for a certain kind of rabbi and I was not that rabbi."


Charedi plan to buy Skinners' School

By Leon Symons, March 18, 2010

Hackney's Charedi community is to renew its efforts to buy the old Skinners' School after councillors rejected a home-building plan for the site.

The planning sub-committee voted 5-4 against Berkeley Homes' proposal to knock down the school and build luxury homes. The decision was greeted with delight by local Charedim who packed the public gallery.

Members of the Belz, Satmar and Lubavitch communities maintain that the site should remain in educational use.


Smart shoppers win Pesach price war

By Robyn Rosen and Cathy Forman, March 18, 2010

Shoppers are the winners in a price war on Pesach essentials as kosher stores are meeting the competition from the major supermarket chains.

A JC investigation reveals that many stores have kept prices at last year's levels and used deals on matzah to lure customers through their doors. But independent retailers complain that they cannot compete with some supermarket specials.


New chief executive for Langdon Foundation

March 11, 2010

To oversee its expanding services for young Jewish adults with learning disabilities, the Langdon Foundation has appointed Alison Rosen as chief executive.

Previously Wizo's executive director, Ms Rosen is "extremely enthusiastic about joining the Langdon family. This really is such an extraordinary and aspirational organisation in its approach to facilitating independent living to those with learning difficulties."


Wizo raises over £2m

March 11, 2010

Wizo's UK groups have raised £2.2 million for 100 welfare projects in Israel over a 12-month period, exceeding the annual commitment by £600,000.

UK chair Loraine Warren said: "There can be no greater satisfaction than to see how the quality of life of so many disadvantaged and vulnerable Israelis is being improved through the continuing efforts of our loyal and generous supporters."


Obama envoy praises the CST

By Leon Symons, March 11, 2010

Barack Obama's special envoy against antisemitism lavished praise on the Community Security Trust when addressing its annual dinner in London.

Hannah Rosenthal said the CST's work in recording and analysing antisemitic incidents was invaluable to American agencies dealing with hate crime.


FZY celebrates centenary

By Robyn Rosen, March 11, 2010

The Federation of Zionist Youth celebrated its centenary with a reunion for over 350 alumni at the JFS premises in north London on Sunday.

A programme of reminiscence included archive photos, memory boards and quizzes and there were speeches looking back and forward.

Among the guests were Whetstone couple Betty and Bunny Marks, who met through the movement in 1951. "I have great memories of FZY," Mrs Marks said. "The thing about FZY is it embraces all aspects of Judaism and is a lovely way of mixing with people from all over the country. It influenced my life."