Community life

Radlett shul plan approved

March 19, 2009

Radlett Synagogue has finally got the go-ahead to proceed with a major redevelopment of its site.

Hertsmere Council granted planning permission at a specially convened meeting on Monday, ending over two years of uncertainty for shul officers.

The latest proposals were passed by a seven-to-one majority after the committee chairman declared his vote in favour at the beginning of the ballot. The scheme involves the demolition of the former village hall used by the shul and its replacement with a two-storey state-of-the-art synagogue.

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Khalili hails Chief with £80,000 gift

By Jay Grenby, March 19, 2009

Billionaire property developer, philanthropist and Islamic art collector Professor David Khalili has funded an £80,000-plus refurbishment of the Bloomstein Hall at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue. The hall was dedicated on Sunday in honour of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and the walls have been inscribed with a dozen quotes from Sir Jonathan’s recent writings.

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Israel discovers many friends in Ireland

By Joe Cohen, March 19, 2009

Former Northern Irish First Minister Rev Ian Paisley was among the speakers at the inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel last Thursday at the Stormont parliament building.

Mr Paisley spoke of his ties to Israel and, on the domestic front, expressed revulsion at the killings of two soldiers and a policeman by Republican extremists. A minute’s silence was observed for the victims.

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Jacobson enjoys novel approach of Limmud

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Howard Jacobson was the star attraction at Sunday’s second Cambridge Limmud, which drew a crowd of close-on 400.

Event chair Tim Goldrein said the aim had been “to capitalise on our location by delivering the best high-brow speakers”. To this end there were 34 talks, as well as a special programme for children. “I think the work of our 100 volunteers paid off,” he reflected.

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Family celebrates triple simchah

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

The Baker family from Elstree will have a triple celebration on Shabbat when their daughter and twin sons will be bat- and barmitzvah at the New North London Synagogue in Finchley.

Philip Baker said boys Alexander and Oliver had delayed their big day so as to share it with sister Yolande.

“We wanted them to mark the occasion together,” Mr Baker explained. “We’re part of the Hakol Olin service which is egalitarian and allows both men and women to read from the Torah. As such, all five members of our family will be sharing the reading.”

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Kingston hosting Czech mates

March 19, 2009

More than 60 people with connections to the one-time 10,000 Jewish population of the Czech city of Ostrava gathered at Kingston Synagogue to share memories and review research by the shul’s Ostrava group.

The group was set up four years ago after a Sefer Torah once used in Ostrava was offered to Kingston on permanent loan by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust. In that time, the team has developed links with families originating from the region and has heard remarkable survival stories of Ostrava Jews.

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Fighting poverty

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

International Development Minister Ivan Lewis has praised Jewish groups for their role in fighting world poverty.

The Bury South MP was at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday for a consultation meeting on eliminating poverty involving his department and faith organisations.

“New Labour has been trying to work against the Thatcherite slogan of ‘There’s no such thing as society,’” he said. “But with the help of faith groups, we can help to disprove this by promoting the need to reach out to others.”

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Police plea on crime reporting

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 19, 2009

Senior police officers have warned Manchester Jews that failing to report antisemitic incidents is hampering police efforts to stamp out hate crime.

At a meeting arranged by the Salford force for Jewish community members on Monday, Chief Superintendent Robert Potts said: “We know for a fact that there is under-reporting [of antisemitism].” Official numbers for incidents remained low despite a spike in January’s figures resulting from the Gaza conflict.

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Wartime bomb found at JCoSS site

March 19, 2009

Bomb disposal officers were called to the Jewish Community Secondary School site in Barnet last Wednesday after building workers disovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.

The site and the neighbouring East Barnet Upper School were evacuated and residents alerted in advance of a controlled explosion, which was heard across a wide area. Cordons were then lifted and the locality reopened to traffic and pedestrians.

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King David criticised by Ombudsman

By Cathy Forman, March 19, 2009

Liverpool’s King David Primary has been criticised by a Local Government Ombudsman for inadequately responding to a critical report on an admissions appeal complaint.

The Ombudsman, Anne Seex, reported in January 2008 that one of the school’s admission criteria was not “objective and clear”. It could not fully explain how it selected the 21 applicants from the 54 who applied under the same category as the complainant. The non-Jewish parent had not been given the reasons for his daughter being refused a King David place in 2006, so was unable to prepare for a second appeal.

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