Community life

Blunkett’s musical favourites play well with cultural centre

By Isabel Janner, May 7, 2009

David Blunkett has told a London Jewish Cultural Centre audience that community and charity work is a positive by-product of the recession.

In a Desert Island Discs-type evening at the Golders Green venue, the former Home Secretary chose songs and a poem of personal relevance.

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Going back in time to deal with recession

By Ben Jaglom, May 7, 2009

As a response to the recession, Reform Judaism has instigated Living in the age of Anxiety, a series examining the issue through Jewish teachings.

The course launched with a lecture on leadership at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley by Reform chief executive Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand. The series was inspired by David Karat, who explained: “I have been working in finance for 30 years and I find that every day there is new information on the economic crisis that most people struggle to absorb.

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£500k medical aid is a tonic for Israel

May 7, 2009

Magen David Adom UK has dedicated almost £500,000 worth of equipment in Israel.

Six ambulances, three motorbikes and four defibrillators were presented over a two-day period. Dedications were conducted in Tel Aviv, Netanya and Modi’in.

MDA UK chief executive Eli Benson said: “We were so proud that the UK community could make such a significant contribution in providing vehicles and equipment that will be used daily in carrying out life-saving work.”

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Manchester rabbi departs

May 7, 2009

Prestwich Hebrew Congregation members have said goodbye to Rabbi Yehoshua Landes after 10 years of service. His departure was agreed last summer and he has begun teaching at the King David High School.

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Kiddush spiced by marriage proposal

By James Martin, May 7, 2009

Congregants at a Saatchi Synagogue kiddush in St John’s Wood got more than they bargained for when the shul shammas asked his girlfriend to marry him.

After a couple of fishballs to steady his nerves, television journalist Elliott Gotkine proposed to Mia Serra in front of 70 people.

Although taken aback, Ms Serra, who runs a belly-dancing school, said yes and there were congratulations all round. They will marry in London in August.

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Gift from model prisoners

May 7, 2009

A model of Anne Frank’s house made by prisoners at the high security Wakefield jail has been handed over to Anne Frank House representatives in Amsterdam.

Inmates had been inspired by the Anne Frank Prison Project, which took an exhibition to the jail last year recounting wartime atrocities and promoting tolerance and diversity.

Anne Frank Trust UK prison exhibition manager Steve Gadd said: “2009 is an extremely significant year — Anne Frank would have been 80. We would like this presentation to be a celebration of Anne’s life and the inspiration she has been to millions.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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