Community life

Young ParliaMentors make interfaith gains

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2009

The Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, has saluted a “tremendously innovative” scheme to promote contacts between young Jews, Muslims and Christians.

She hosted a House of Lords reception for the second group of graduates of the Three Faiths Forum’s “ParliaMentors” programme, in which teams of students from the three religions undertake projects under the tutelage of an MP.

“The worse the global situation, the more important it is that individuals don’t retreat into nihilism and believe they can’t do anything,” Baroness Hayman said.

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Bradford is forced to sell

June 25, 2009

Bradford’s Reform congregation has reluctantly agreed to the sale of its Grade II listed building as “a very last resort”.

The proposal was supported at an EGM on Monday, despite opposition from within the 35-member shul.

Those against the sale include Rachel Yosef, who feels it would be the “death blow” for Bradford Reform. “We need to seize on the last fragment of hope and raise enough money to ensure that this sale does not happen.”

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Festival crowds flock to Leeds for arts showcase

June 25, 2009

Over 2,500 advance tickets were snapped up for the ninth Leeds Jewish International Performing Arts Festival, which was opened on Sunday at the Carriageworks Theatre by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Elliott.

First night performances included Steven Brinberg’s tribute to Barbra Streisand, Simply Barbra and Josh Epstein’s speed-dating comedy 7 Girls 7 Guys 7 Minutes. Israeli singer-songwriter Ronit Shahar, London cantor Steven Leas and comedian Mark Maier were among other stars of the five-day event.

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High property values

June 25, 2009

Norwood’s 10th annual property lunch was a big seller, raising £355,000 from the 500 guests to help people with learning and social difficulties.

Held at the Intercontinental Hyde Park, the lunch attracted leading players such as Gerald Ronson, who presented a lifetime achievement award to Sir Stuart Lipton, whose knighthood recognised contributions to London’s landscape.

Reflecting on the current economic climate, Sir Stuart was grateful to “planners who delayed consent. I’m lucky not to be building anything this year, though I do miss it.”

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Recession-hit UK families plead for Israel tour grants

By James Martin, June 25, 2009

One-in-five families planning to send their children on Reform Judaism Israel tours and UK summer camps are applying for bursaries as the credit crunch bites.

Such is the demand for financial assistance that the Movement for Reform Judaism has launched an appeal to raise £10,000 for additional financial assistance.

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Text ended: synagogue bans mobile phones

By Jay Grenby, June 25, 2009

Shabbat morning worshippers at Borehamwood Synagogue are having their mobile phones confiscated by security staff at the shul gates.

Borehamwood chair Anthony Arnold said the action had been taken in response to a noticeable increase in texting and photograph-taking during services by youngsters and adults alike. “It has now become an embarrassment.”

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Major Nightingale redevelopment designed to help a frail clientele

By Keren David, June 25, 2009

Work is starting on a £6 million redevelopment scheme at the Nightingale home in south London designed to meet the changing needs of increasingly frail residents.

Specialist architects have planned a unit for dementia sufferers based on the latest research about how they are affected by their surroundings. The new accommodation will include soothing colour schemes and “wander routes”, allowing residents to walk safely through the building.

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Dads can’t watch girls

By Keren David, June 25, 2009

Fathers have been banned from watching their daughters compete at a Jewish secondary school’s sports day.

Yavneh College in Borehamwood has written to parents informing them that “male spectators” are not allowed at the girls’ section of sports day, which is taking place on Monday.

“I disagree with this strongly,” said one mother, who asked not to be named. “It’s done for religious reasons but it’s completely over the top. My daughter is very disappointed that her dad won’t be able to watch her compete.”

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Jewish Care’s £3.6m dinner

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

A star attraction in Conservative leader David Cameron helped Jewish Care to raise a record £3.6 million from its annual dinner at Grosvenor House in London’s Mayfair on Monday night.

The total raised by the 1,150 guests outstripped last year’s proceeds by £100,000, to the delight of campaign chairman Steven Lewis. “The ability of our supporters to be so generous in recognising how vital our work is, in what is clearly a very tough year, was truly outstanding,” he said.

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Mayor’s windfall

June 18, 2009

Outgoing Hertsmere Mayor Councillor Sandra Parnell has raised almost £13,500 for her chosen charities, the British Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society. At her final council meeting, she thanked her chaplain, Borehamwood Synagogue emeritus minister Rabbi Alan Plancey, for helping her through a difficult year — she took on the role a few months after the death of her husband.

Councillor Parnell, 71, added: “I would like to thank those who donated to my charities — I know that the money will be appreciated.”

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