Community life

Chief Rabbi opens Lubavitch centre

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

Officially opening the £1.5 million Lubavitch Children's Centre in Stamford Hill on Monday, Lord Sacks said he became a rabbi because of the Lubavitch movement.

The Chief Rabbi told more than 150 guests: "In April 1968, I attended the opening of the first Lubavitch building with others and it was the connection made at that wonderful occasion that drew myself and Elaine [Lady Sacks] into the ambit of Chabad Lubavitch. And it changed our lives. I would not be a rabbi, let alone the Chief Rabbi, if Lubavitch did not hold out its hand to me.


Bloom's restaurant closes in Golders Green

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

Bloom's restaurant in Golders Green has gone into liquidation.

It has been closed since Sunday and a notice on the door asks creditors to contact insolvency firm David Rubin and Partners. A creditors' meeting is being held on June 25.

The iconic Bloom's restaurant in Whitechapel opened in 1920 and closed in 1996. The Golders Green branch opened in 1965 and was renovated in 2007.

An Edgware outlet launched in 2007 lasted only a year.

A Bloom's waiter, who asked not to be named, said he had not been paid for six weeks - and some colleagues had gone unpaid for longer.


Fee crisis shuts Orthodox school

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

A strictly Orthodox girls' primary in west Hendon was forced to close for four days until parents paid overdue fees.

Beis Soroh Schneirer, in Wilberforce Road, faces serious financial difficulties and needs to pay the Nationwide £300,000 in mortgage fees by the end of the month.

It was owed £200,000 in school fees and informed parents last week that it would not reopen until it had received the money.

Lessons resumed on Wednesday after £120,000 in fees had been paid.


Council blunders on Hertsmere school places

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

Six children have been denied places at Hertsmere Jewish Primary School's nursery this autumn after the local council miscalculated the distance of their homes from the school.

The heavily oversubscribed HJPS gives priority for its 60 nursery places firstly to those with siblings at the school and, next, to those living closest to it, according to measurements by Hertfordshire County Council.

But the council admitted this week that it had got the calculations wrong in some cases.


New head for Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary

By Judith Hayman, June 3, 2010

Claire Simon will bring over 30 years' teaching experience to the headship of Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School, which she takes up in September.

Mrs Simon, 56, is currently assistant head at Accrington Academy, where she teaches maths and is in charge of the transition from primary school programme. She also chairs its PTA.

"I want more parents to be aware of what a really good school Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary is," she said. "I want to make it the hub of the community. I will ensure that every child, every teacher and every parent matters."


'Oldest Jew' dies at 108

By Jessica Elgot, June 3, 2010

The woman thought to be Britain's oldest Jew died this week at the age of 108.

May Mendleson, a resident at Cardiff's Penylan Jewish care home for five years, was born in Glasgow and lived in London and Newport. The funeral was on Wednesday and she was buried at Newport's Jewish cemetery next to her husband Harry, who died in 1994 at the age of 100.

She was fondly remembered by former Newport Synagogue president Abraham Davidson, who said: "She was a nice woman, but very forthright. She didn't suffer fools gladly and always knew exactly what she wanted."


Why Hale is the best move for Jews

By Judith Hayman, June 3, 2010

Twenty-five years ago, Hale was a place to move to in Manchester to get away from Judaism, for joining the Cheshire set and forgetting your Cheetham Hill roots. But that is no longer the case.

Located 12 miles south of Manchester city centre, Hale is home to a thriving 1,000-strong congregation with a strong sense of unity. It is led by Rabbi Joel Portnoy, who joined in the quad-biking and hot air ballooning on a recent residential Shabbaton in Bournemouth with the congregation's barmitzvah and bat chayil students.


Keeping the faith in Dundee's Jewish community

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

The patchy paintwork on the façade of the Dundee Synagogue building bears testimony to the clean-up operations after antisemitic daubings during the 1980s.

That was a tense time for the small Jewish community with Dundee twinned with Nablus and the PLO flag flying over the City Chambers. Local neo-Nazi factions took the link-up as a green light to target the synagogue and the community almost halved in 1984-85.


Funding climbs for twinning

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

Thirty UJIA supporters went on a climbing expedition in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday in support of a bar- and barmitzvah twinning project with Ethiopian Jews.

They scaled The Cobbler, otherwise known as Ben Arthur, which affords some spectacular views. Led by Steven Banks and Mark Tenby, the group completed the 884-metre hill climb in five hours.

Six Scottish families are among 21 from the UK participating in this year's twinning scheme, which pairs bar/batmitzvah celebrants with Ethiopian counterparts in Israeli absorption centres.


Ajex fears for parade

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

The chair of Manchester Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women has warned that this year's local Ajex parade could be the last.

Malcolm Solomons fears that the heroism of Jews in the wartime forces may not be relayed to the young generation as veterans die or become too frail to participate in marches or educational activities.

He wants community members to wear the medals of their parents and grandparents at the commemoration at north Manchester's Heathlands Care Village on Sunday week.