Community life

Seminars on taboo topics provide southern comfort

By Jay Grenby, May 7, 2009

Liberal, Reform and United Synagogues in south London have joined forces to tackle issues that “have far too long been taboo in the Jewish community”.

Seminars focusing on depression, cancer and drugs and alcohol abuse are launching the venture, organised primarily by Kingston Liberal Synagogue and the Weybridge-based North-West Surrey Reform community, with the backing of the Kingston United congregation.

More..

Four shuls, one voice

By Jay Grenby, May 7, 2009

A combined Yom Hazikaron/Yom Ha’atzmaut event at Pinner Synagogue was the first in what is hoped will be joint ventures between the four United Synagogue communities on the outer north-west London fringes.

The commemoration attracted over 300 members from the host community, Northwood, Ruislip and Watford. The programme featured the visiting rabbis and contributions from young community members. A proportion of profits will be donated to Magen David Adom.

More..

Class act for Ivrit lessons

By Cathy Forman, May 7, 2009

Clore Tikva Primary in Redbridge this week formally launched a new programme of Ivrit teaching commissioned by Leo Baeck College.

The curriculum has been piloted since September, when Ivrit classes for pupils were reduced from three to two per week because of a fall in parental contributions at the voluntary-aided school. Clore Tikva’s Hebrew co-ordinator Dalia Wittenberg has developed the UJIA-funded programme.

More..

Friends honoured

By James Martin, May 7, 2009

A new gymnasium —named in honour of two former active youth members in Kenton — is the centrepiece of a £70,000 refurbishment programme which will act as “a community hub” for north-west London Jews.

Kulanu, formerly the Kenton Youth Centre, celebrated the completion of six months of refurbishments on Tuesday with a reception which was attended by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, and over 100 others, and included the unveiling of a state-of-the art gymnasium, and sports facilities including a full-size snooker table and table tennis tables.

More..

Tributes to leaders

By Isabel Janner, May 7, 2009

Two Israeli emissaries were honoured for “truly remarkable work” by Israel’s Ambassador Ron Prosor at a ceremony at the London embassy.

Asaf Segev was recognised for his contribution to the Leeds community, particularly his work with students. Noa Jellinek’s accolade was for her teaching at the Independent Jewish Day School in Hendon, where her innovative Hebrew learning methods have inspired other Jewish educators.

More..

Miracle teenager says thanks to supporters

By Jay Grenby, May 7, 2009

A 13-year-old Radlett girl who recently left hospital after lengthy treatment for a rare form of cancer has thrown a thank-you party for those who have helped her.

Just over a year ago, Immanuel College pupil Alana Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer which mainly affects young people.

More..

Crohn’s challenger

May 7, 2009

A 40-year-old Crohn’s disease sufferer from Radlett is getting on his bike in America to raise money for and awareness of Crohn’s.

Frustrated by the lack of knowledge about the inflammatory bowel disease, Michael Seres will take part in a 210-mile cycle around the Hudson River in New York.

Mr Seres was disgnosed early in life and has undergone 21 operations in 30 years, including the removal of a large part of his intestine. But he has been given the green light by doctors for the 70-mile-day challenge next month.

More..

Manchester Tay Sachs screening set to close

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

The last screening for Tay Sachs outside of London is due to take place in Manchester next week.

Screening drives for the fatal genetic disorder have traditionally been run inside Jewish schools, paid for by the Tay Sachs Screening Programme. However, the charity, run by north Manchester-based doctor of genetics Sybil Simon, is due to close when she retires.

“For the past 20 years I have run it and fundraised for it. There is no one to take this over. No one wants to do voluntary work anymore.”

More..

A friend in Wittenberg

May 7, 2009

Masorti’s senior rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg addressed a Trafalgar Square rally on Monday urging the government to grant citizenship to 450,000 long-term migrants.

“The story of the stranger is our story also,” Rabbi Wittenberg told an audience of 25,000 people including trade union members, MPs and faith leaders at the Strangers into Citizens event. “All too often we have been exiles, refugees, seeking a safe haven to become good citizens.” Rabbi Wittenberg’s mother fled to the UK from Nazi Germany.

More..

Peace duo on visit

By James Martin, May 7, 2009

Two prominent speakers in the campaign to bring peaceful dialogue to the Middle East have been touring the country this week.

Former Palestinian resistance fighter Ali Abu Awwad and Israeli Robi Damelin have been speaking on behalf of the UK Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum, a group that supports the work of the Israel-based BFF which campaigns for peaceful dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

The pair spoke to around 200 people at a fundraising dinner in the West End about the efforts of the forum in promoting greater understanding about the conflict to both sides.

More..