Community life

US turning down new members

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2009

The United Synagogue has been accused of rejecting membership applications for affiliated shuls on geographical grounds.

Ruislip Synagogue in Middlesex and Romford Synagogue in Essex say they have had applications vetoed because the US has begun enforcing a regulation that members are supposed to live within a mile-and-a-quarter of their local synagogue.

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From MI5 to a novel existence

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

Former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington gave over 200 League of Jewish Women supporters an insight into life in the security services at a central London meeting.

Dame Stella recounted her rise up the MI5 ladder from the lowly base of a desk job in New Delhi. Having moved to India in the 1960s with her civil servant husband, she was “tapped on the shoulder and asked to join up”. Things are “very different now, with an application process and interviews just like any other career”.

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Kingston’s Holocaust study days

By Jay Grenby, April 2, 2009

Over 500 pupils from five south-west London schools have taken part in Holocaust workshops postponed from their original dates in early February because of the heavy snowfalls.

The programme — related to Holocaust Memorial Day and now in its third year — is a joint venture of the Kingston United and Liberal congregations. Expanded due to demand, it is now supported by neighbourhood grants from the local authority.

Pupils aged 13-15 were addressed by Holocaust survivors who discussed their experiences and the importance of the young generation rejecting all forms of prejudice.

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Widdecombe at home

April 2, 2009

Tory MP, author and broadcaster Ann Widdecombe shared her trenchant views on British life with residents of Clapham care home Nightingale.

Ms Widdecombe dealt with issues including Holocaust denial, knife crime, introducing a zero tolerance policy within policing and the government’s handling of the recession. She also took questions on matters such as care for the elderly and family responsibilities to the care needs of relatives.

Asked what would be her priority if made Prime Minister for the day, she responded that she would strive to loosen the grip of the nanny state.

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Historic Haggadah is on display

By Ben Jaglom, April 2, 2009

A Pesach tradition is on display at Leo Baeck College, Finchley, following the acquisition of an original edition of the Children’s Haggadah, published in Germany in 1933.

College librarian Annette Boeckler explained that the Haggadah had been shown in a Marburg museum of childhood, “where it was part of a collection of books and learning resources for Jewish children that was started by Barry Hyams and his wife Professor Helga Hyams in 1976”.

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Big night for Motor Neurone’s sufferer

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

A mother-of-two who has lived with Motor Neurone Disease for eight years has praised Jewish supporters for their “kindness and generosity” in raising £10,000 predominantly for the MND Association.

Sarah Ezekiel, 43, from Hendon — who was diagnosed when pregnant with her second child — spoke to the 200 guests at the Finchley fundraiser through a special computer. “MND is a devastating disease without a cure,” she said. “We need more awareness.”

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Students told: Lead Now and reap rewards

By Ben Jaglom, April 2, 2009

A UJIA programme offering graduates the opportunity to combine a year of leadership work with classes in topics such as networking and conflict resolution was launched before an audience of communal and corporate representatives at BDO Stoy Hayward’s West End offices. The Lead Now scheme will also give participants the prospect of an internship in a major firm at the end of their year.

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Manchester schools star in league tables

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

Manchester’s three largest Jewish primaries are among the country’s top performing schools, according to the latest league tables based largely on year-six SATs exams.

At North Cheshire Jewish Primary, ranked 14th out of 14,000 schools, headteacher Jackie Savage said the close-knit Manchester community was key to local schools’ achievements as it brought a high level of educational co-operation.

There has been enormous improvement in the performance of junior pupils at Manchester King David Junior pupils, ranked 34th.

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Recession splits the Clubhouse

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A pioneering Orthodox organisation that helps young people and families in trouble is to be broken up into separate charities as a consequence of the economic climate.

Harris Rosenberg, until recently head of grants and commissioning at the Northwest Clubhouse in London, said that rather continuing as an umbrella body, “a better way to protect our services to those in need of support in our community was to split it”.

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Chief's advice for students

April 2, 2009

The importance of student activism was stressed by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks when he addressed a Friday night dinner at Finchley Synagogue organised by Tribe Campus and University Jewish Chaplaincy, with Union of Jewish Students’ input.

He told over 250 students that they should also offer support to those beyond the campus world.

Among Jewish societies represented were Birmingham, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, University College London, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford.

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