Community life

Oxford keeps up services in summer

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

Oxford's Jewish community is enjoying a period of renewed success with services taking place daily for the first time in years.

The number of people davening at Oxford Jewish Congregation's Richmond Road synagogue traditionally drops in summer as students return to their home towns.

But the community has continued its daily minyanim with the help of University Jewish Chaplaincy's Rabbi Daniel Braune Friedman, who has co-ordinated an informal rota of male congregants.


Masorti's engaging new rabbi

By Jay Grenby, August 12, 2010

St Albans Masorti Synagogue's new spiritual leader has returned from America a less single-minded man. For just before his departure, Rabbi Rafael Kaiserblueth got engaged to Mariel Leonard of Washington DC.

Over the last few years, Rabbi Kaiserblueth has regularly visited the Hertfordshire community to lead festival and other special services. He also spent a three month period as a visiting scholar.


Burchill gets the facts

By Cecily Woolf, August 12, 2010

Julie Burchill was among the 250 people who packed Brighton's Ralli Hall to hear "an idiot's guide to the Goldstone Report" by Israel Connect chair David Cohen. More potential audience members had to be turned away at the door.


Bushey going back to school

By Jay Grenby, August 12, 2010

Bushey Synagogue congregants are praying that normal services can be resumed as soon as possible - and certainly by the High Holy-Days.

As part of phase two of the shul's £1.2 million refurbishment scheme, the main synagogue has been completely gutted.

So for the summer holiday period, the community has decamped for Shabbat services to Immanuel College, half-a-mile away.


Growing Tribe gets its Sefer Torah

August 12, 2010

The dedication of a new Sefer Torah was a highlight of the biggest ever summer camp of Tribe, the United Synagogue's youth arm.

Over 150 teenagers joined US leaders at the ceremony in Leicestershire, which was followed by a celebratory lunch.

Tribe executive director Rabbi Andrew Shaw said: "We are thrilled that Tribe now has its own Sefer Torah to use at its events. This is yet another important milestone in the amazing growth of our organisation over the last few years."

The camp attracted participants from London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Deputies at mosque exhibition

By Simon Rocker, August 12, 2010

A Board of Deputies delegation toured an exhibition on Islam's relations with other faiths at the Islamic Cultural Centre at the Regents Park Mosque in London.

Shahid Munir, director of research for Exhibition Islam, reported "a lot of enthusiasm from the Jewish community" for the display.

A particular highlight, he said, was a rare showing "of Torah scrolls which were written across the Islamic world where sofers [scribes] wrote in many exquisite styles".

Rabbis were also taken around the exhibition by Mehri Niknam, founder of interfaith charity the Joseph Foundation.


A Canterbury tale - and trail

August 12, 2010

A heritage trail of Jewish Canterbury has been launched online as a precursor to organised tours in 2011.

The service is being made available through JTrails, the National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail, along with a history of Canterbury Jewry and photographs and articles on famous Canterbury Jews.

Contributions are also invited from those with knowledge of Jewish connections to the city, particularly from the Second World War and beyond.


Irish envoy bows out with spud attack memory

August 5, 2010

Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony told a farewell reception that an abiding memory of his tenure was a photo of two Irish policemen guarding a bag of potatoes.

"The potatoes were, of course, Israeli," he recalled. "The occasion was the attempt by demonstrators to empty the shelves of a city centre store of Israeli food products, in continuation of their misguided boycott campaign.

"Happily, this campaign is having very little effect on the healthy trade relationship between Ireland and Israel, which amounts to more than 400 million euros."


Elstree does its civic duty

By Jay Grenby, August 5, 2010

Emeritus Elstree and Borehamwood minister Rabbi Alan Plancey was among local councillors at the shul's annual civic service on Shabbat.

The 400-plus congregation, including police representatives, was told by Rabbi Naftali Brawer that the shul took its civic responsibility seriously. "A number of our members are elected councillors and we are exceptionally proud of the work they do for all the residents of Borehamwood and Elstree. We are also thankful for all the dedicated support we receive from the wider municipal services."


Dangoor's £1.1m gift to charity

By Robyn Rosen, August 5, 2010

Iraqi-born philanthropist Naim Dangoor has donated £1.1million to Cancer Research in memory of his wife Renée, who died from breast cancer two years ago.

The 95-year-old's gift will fund the "About Cancer" section of the CancerHelp UK website for the next five years.

Website head Liz Woolf said: "Dr Dangoor's very generous contribution will help us ensure that this particularly important section of the website can make it even easier for cancer patients and their families to find a wealth of easy to understand information on a wide range of issues."