Community life

Luton synagogue new ark to replace MFI wardrobe

By Jay Grenby, January 14, 2010

Luton Hebrew Congregation has acquired a custom-built ark for its Dunstable Road synagogue which it moved to in September. The ark replaces the modified MFI wardrobe which the independent shul utilised as a “temporary” measure for the past eight years.

Donated by three Luton families and built by a local cabinet maker for just under £3,000, the ark was based on rough drawings put together by shul chair Brian Green, treasurer Jeff Solomons and minister Rabbi Yossi Schwei. It holds four of the congregation’s Torah scrolls.


Haiti emergency appeal

January 14, 2010

Humanitarian aid charity World Jewish Relief has launched an emergency appeal to help those affected by the massive earthquake in Haiti.

WJR chief executive Paul Anticoni said on Wednesday said that although it was too early to speculate about casualties, “we know that it is buildings that kill people, not earthquakes. Reports from Port-au-Prince indicate major building collapse. It seems inevitable that there will be massive unmet humanitarian need.”

He urged the community “to show we care for the victims of such indiscriminative disasters”.


St John’s Wood is next in line for eruv

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2010

Plans are being drawn up for another London eruv, this time covering St John’s Wood and Maida Vale.

The North Westminster eruv will allow 1,000 Orthodox residents within the pole and wire boundary to do things otherwise forbidden under Jewish law on Shabbat or festivals, such as pushing a buggy or wheelchair or carrying prayer books.

In March, the eruv committee intends to submit an application to Westminster Council for the erection of 38 poles covering Boundary Road in the north, Avenue Road in the east, Regent’s Canal in the south and Shirland Road in the west.


Royal Free pays compensation over wrong MRI

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 14, 2010

Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital has paid £1,000 to the son of a woman who died a year ago after wrongly advising that a surgical post-mortem was the only available option — rather than an non-invasive MRI scan which does not breach halachah.

Brian Gedalla says he felt let down by the Royal Free — for which his mother Betty was a volunteer for 32 years — in the aftermath of her unexpected death in December 2008.


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.


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.


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.


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?”


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.


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.