Community life

Schools are back in business after parents join snow-clearing teams

By Robyn Rosen and Stephanie Brickman, January 14, 2010

Parents took on snow clearing duties to get Jewish schools in the London area reopened on Monday.

Over 90 people responded to a plea for help at the Hertsmere Jewish Primary premises and parents also engaged in snow shovelling at Rosh Pinah’s early learning site.

Among the Hertsmere volunteers was Daren Nathan, father of a nine-year-old pupil. “The school had been closed since Wednesday and being in such a rural location, the impact of the snow was horrendous,” he said. “It wasn’t clearing at all.

More..

Boris Johnson visits Hampstead synagogue

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2010

Boris Johnson has complimented Hampstead Synagogue leaders on the congregation’s “beautiful and vibrant” premises.

The London Mayor visited the Dennington Park Road shul last Friday morning in the company of London Assembly member Brian Coleman and Councillor Chris Philp, the Tories’ Parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.

“It’s been beautifully restored and is a fantastic illustration of the vibrancy of London’s Jewish community, showing both its proud history and bright future,” Mr Johnson said.

More..

Intrepid mohel reaches stranded family

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2010

A mohel walked three miles through blizzards and nine inches of snow to reach a family stranded in their Northumberland farmhouse to perform the circumcision on their newborn son.

Lorraine and Daniel Hershon and their four children have been unable to leave their home in the remote hamlet of Unthank, near Haltwhistle, since December 28. The oil reserves for their heating system ran out after a few days and an oil tanker had to turn back three times because of the treacherous roads.

More..

Oona Kings's debt to Jewish mother

January 7, 2010

Former Labour MP Oona King has told Jewish Council for Racial Equality backers of her debt to her Jewish mother.

At the launch of the Jcore Supporters’ Network, Ms King, now with Channel 4, recalled that, aged seven, she announced that she would be prime minister one day. Her mother replied: “Do you want to do that before you’re 30, or after?”

More..

Norwood’s new play scheme project

January 7, 2010

Norwood has received a £120,000 grant to run a new project, Time 4 U, offering play schemes and home support for children and young people with disabilities. The money has come from Redbridge Aiming High for Disabled Children, set up as part of a government initiative.

Referrals will be made by Redbridge AHDC and parents will have the option of home support or their children accessing half-term play schemes at Norwood’s Leonard Sainer Children and Family Centre in Barkingside.

More..

Kingston synagogue explores Czech links

By Jay Grenby, January 7, 2010

Kingston Liberal Synagogue is giving members the opportunity to explore its links with the Czech communities of Tabor, Blatna and Rychnov through an exhibition based on the Czech scrolls which the shul has on permanent loan.

The display tells the story of individuals, families and communities in the Nazi era and beyond. Inspired by a visit from the research director of the Czech Scroll Memorial Trust, Michael Heppner, a team led by KLS members Naomi Cream and John Gould has built on previous research to assemble the material.

More..

Stillbirth family sets up helpline

By Jay Grenby, January 7, 2010

An Elstree couple who have experienced the practical, emotional and social consequences of a stillbirth have launched a helpline offering support for others in the same situation.

Appalled at the lack of readily available guidance in the aftermath of their stillborn daughter Lenni Veronica 18 months ago, Dan and Lisa Shaffer have founded the Jewish Stillbirth Trust, with a www.helpmelenni.com website.

More..

Shul regulars enjoy a comfort break

By Jay Grenby, January 7, 2010

St Albans Synagogue members have bid a far from reluctant farewell to the 1950s’ metal seating installed when the shul was built. Although the chairs could now be deemed almost fashionable as retro items, most congregants found them cold and uncomfortable, particularly during the long High Holy-Day services.

The replacement seating features gold frames and more user friendly red padded seats, matching other shul furnishings. They are part of a £35,000 makeover, also including new blinds, ceiling tiles and a complete reconstruction of the building’s flat roof.

More..

Guildhall celebration for Holocaust Memorial Day

January 7, 2010

A ceremony in the Great Hall of London’s Guildhall will be the centrepiece of Britain’s 2010 Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations at the end of the month.

Holocaust and other genocide survivors will join politicians and religious leaders to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Its main motif will be the archive of testimonies found in the Warsaw Ghetto and the programme will feature musical contributions, spoken recollections and video statements.

More..

Three hurt in gas blast

By Leon Symons, January 7, 2010

Two men and an 11-year-old boy were taken to hospital after a suspected gas explosion in a house in Stamford Hill on Tuesday morning.

The 11-year-old was released while the two men were detained for treatment to burns to their faces and hands. Police, fire and ambulance staff, as well as members of the Hatzola strictly Orthodox emergency service, converged on the scene. The names of the injured have not been released. It is believed the men were working on flooring in the house in Craven Park Road.

More..