Community life

Tallit survives major fire

By Stephanie Brickman, September 10, 2009

When a fire caused extensive damage to David Neville’s family home in Edinburgh last week, his initial reaction was relief that no one had been injured.

But as the extent of the lost possessions became apparent, Mr Neville began to think about items which had been in the master bedroom — the seat of the blaze.

And he remembered that the tallit and tefillin given to him on his barmitzvah had been in the drawer of a desk which had been almost completely destroyed.

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Hampstead's £2m restoration

By Robyn Rosen, September 10, 2009

A lengthy £2.3 million restoration project has been completed at the Grade II-star listed Hampstead Synagogue.

Work on the Dennington Park Road building has included new roofing, heating and ventilation, electricals and disabled access. The kitchen has been refurbished and brick and stonework repaired. The money was raised from donations and the sale of adjoining premises.

“It looks absolutely stunning,” said heritage architect Stephen Levrant. “Instead of being dreary and oppressive, it’s light and wonderful.

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Arsenal sets yomtov goal for absent supporters

By Robyn Rosen, September 10, 2009

Arsenal is asking its Jewish season ticket-holders to make a Rosh Hashanah gift to the less fortunate.

The club wants fans who will not be taking up their seats on festival days to give them up to Arsenal’s community programme. They will then be distributed to supporters such as children in care, the homeless, or the disabled.

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Bournemouth Reform faces breakaway

By Cathy Forman, September 10, 2009

Bournemouth Reform Synagogue is holding a special general meeting on Sunday in an effort to stave off the threat of a breakaway group within the 500-strong community.

Disaffected members cite concern at the shul’s financial management, infighting among the synagogue council and unhappiness with minister, Rabbi Neal Amswych. It is claimed that 70 people are prepared to support alternative High Holy-Day services at the town’s Carrington House Hotel for members who do not want to attend the synagogue.

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Bus stop requests for hate crime details

By Robyn Rosen, September 10, 2009

Posters are going up at Golders Green bus stops encouraging locals to report antisemitic incidents during the High Holy-Days.

An initiative of the Community Security Trust, in conjunction with the police, the posters provide emergency contact details for reporting by witnesses to, or indeed victims of, racist activity.

A CST spokesman said: “We are starting this initiative because

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JCoSS: 'It will do exactly what it says on the tin'

By Robyn Rosen, September 10, 2009

True to his key promotional role for the Jewish Community Secondary School, JCoSS head Jeremy Stowe-Lindner happily adopts a famous advertising phrase to encapsulate his hopes for the £50 million project.

Speaking one year ahead of the opening of the cross-communal school in Westbrook Crescent, Barnet, Mr Stowe-Lindner, 35, opines that JCoSS will “do exactly what it says on the tin.

“What we’re trying to do is create an inclusive, outstanding school in a nurturing environment and we can build that from nothing.”

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Scottish welfare target

September 10, 2009

Jewish Care Scotland hopes to raise £60,000 from its Rosh Hashanah appeal to help it maintain assistance to over 500 clients.

JCS chair Maureen Solomons said: “It is essential that we raise enough to ensure we can continue to deliver the care and support we know people want. Donations will help fund the professional social work team, including those with specialist knowledge in debt management, family problems and care in the community for older people.”

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Hard-up students aided

By Chloe Markowicz, September 10, 2009

A charity supporting Jewish students in financial difficulty has made a record number of disbursements this year as the recession bites.

The Finnart House School Trust has awarded scholarships totalling over £180,000 to 30 students starting at universities including Oxford, Manchester and UCL this autumn.

Clerk to the trustees Peter Shaw said that although the awards were based on need, students had to prove they were capable of completing their degrees.

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'Modern approach' to mental health is hailed

September 10, 2009

Opening the £2.2 million Martin B Cohen Centre for Wellbeing in Edgware, Jewish Care president Lord Levy said it would provide the “modern approach that is needed in the community” to mental health issues.

The two-storey centre will offer a range of services which will also be available to Jews with mental health problems who are clients of other charities. Features include a drop-in cafe, IT suite, counselling and training rooms and a kitchen where users will receive cookery instruction.

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Charity Commission warns Cardiff home

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2009

The only Jewish old age home in Wales has been told it must do more to publicise help for people unable to pay its fees if it is to remain a charity.

Penylan House in Cardiff was informed by the Charity Commission that it had failed to meet the legal requirement to provide “public benefit”.

In a report on the home, the commission noted “the lack of clear information that assistance may be available for those who cannot afford the fees”.

It also found “the absence of a clear, budgeted plan of targeted assistance to help in cases where top-up fees cannot be afforded”.

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