Community life

Artist’s hospital mural for sick children

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

A Jewish artist from Radlett has transformed a hospital children’s area by painting a huge safari themed mural.
Leigh Warman, 45, spent almost three months on the mural in the corridor between the children’s ward and the operating theatre at Watford General.

It is the latest of over 50 murals completed by Mr Warman at hospitals across the country, including Great Ormond Street, the Royal Free and Nottingham.

“Kids go to hospital so frightened but if they can see something they recognise it takes the edge off,” Mr Warman said. “Now it’s lovely and beautiful.”

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Mitzvah Day: London communities pitch in

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

To appreciate the breadth of Mitzvah Day activities, you need to experience some of its projects first hand. So with Mitzvah Day committee member Ruth Smilg as my chauffeur and guide, I embarked on a whistlestop tour of events in the capital.

First up was the “collectathon” at New North London Synagogue in Finchley, where at 10am, the hall was filled with an ever-growing pile of clothes, shoes, food, toiletries and stationery.

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Mitzvah Day: Interfaith action praised by leaders

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

Leaders of other faiths have praised the inclusive nature of Mitzvah Day — which this year coincided with the launch of the government’s Interfaith Week — saying that their own communities could learn from it.

One of the biggest projects was at Kentish Town City Farm where young Jews worked alongside Muslims and Hindus renovating equipment and stables.

The initiative impressed Fuad Nahdi, director of Radical Middle Way, which promotes mainstream understanding of Islam. “I’m proud to be part of such a noble exercise,” he said.

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Tories back Norwood’s green policy

November 19, 2009

MEP Marina Yannakoudakis was among a Conservative group brought by Barnet Council leader Mike Freer to Norwood’s Buckets and Spades Lodge in Finchley on Mitzvah Day.

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Ilona gets her necklace — thanks to the JC

By Marcus Dysch, November 19, 2009

A Ukrainian teenager living in a remote Jewish community has been presented with a Star of David necklace donated by a British girl who read about her in the JC.

Ilona Kaplyn, 15, featured in an article in May about Krivoy Rog — a former steel mining community 200 miles from the capital Kiev — after World Jewish Relief opened a community centre in the city.

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Leeds Jewish Initiative closes

By hayden cohen, November 19, 2009

Funding problems have forced the closure of Leeds Jewish Initiative, which provided social and educational activities for the 18-to-35s.

However, LJI co-ordinator Natalie Goldstone hopes the measure will only be temporary. “We are short of funding and as a result are having to take a bit of time out.” Mrs Goldstone, 29, who will be returning to her previous career as a graphic designer, was helped by a team of 10 volunteers.

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Myleene Klass has JC article framed in her toilet

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

Norwood celebrity guest Myleene Klass has framed a JC article about her alleged Jewish heritage.

Ms Klass revealed that the lighthearted “How Jewish is” column published in February 2007 — which assessed her as six per cent Jewish — had a place of honour between her awards and a picture of her with Celine Dion. “It doesn’t get much bigger than that,” she said.

Other famous faces at the dinner included music mogul Simon Cowell, whose guest was Heather Kerzner, wife of South African hotel and gambling magnate Sol Kerzner.

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Norwood’s £2.7m dinner

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

Norwood chiefs have described the £2.7 million raised from its annual dinner on Monday as a huge success in the current economic climate.

The proceeds from the Grosvenor House event, attended by 1,200 supporters, will go towards the £9 million needed from voluntary income to complete the charity’s £35 million budget for children, family and adult services.

Norwood chairman Bernie Myers warned that the recession “has reduced our statutory and voluntary income causing us to renew our efforts to be even more financially prudent and cost effective”.

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Mitzvah Day: MP hails Muswell Hill plant workers

November 18, 2009

Hornsey and Wood Green Lib-Dem MP Lynne Featherstone joined volunteers from the Muswell Hill community in brightening a local park by planting 2,000 bulbs.

Ms Featherstone said Mitzvah Day was “a reminder that a small amount of time can make a big difference to our environment and those less fortunate.

It is great to see people of all ages get together for a good cause.”
Other Muswell Hill projects included a tea party at the Rosetrees care home in Friern Barnet and the collection and distribution of over 30 large boxes of provisions to four local charities.

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Mitzvah Day: 15,000 join the day of good deeds

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2009

A record-breaking Mitzvah Day involved over 15,000 volunteers from 150 synagogues, schools and communal organisations in good deeds on Sunday.

The 250 projects ranged from repainting school buildings to clearing scrubland, from visiting the elderly to collecting clothes and food for refugees and the homeless.

An estimated 40 tonnes of food and non-perishable goods were donated to Mitzvah Day teams outside supermarkets and delis. A similar quantity of clothes was also collected, along with spectacles, sports kits, nappies and children’s toys.

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