Community life

'Oldest Jew' dies at 108

By Jessica Elgot, June 3, 2010

The woman thought to be Britain's oldest Jew died this week at the age of 108.

May Mendleson, a resident at Cardiff's Penylan Jewish care home for five years, was born in Glasgow and lived in London and Newport. The funeral was on Wednesday and she was buried at Newport's Jewish cemetery next to her husband Harry, who died in 1994 at the age of 100.

She was fondly remembered by former Newport Synagogue president Abraham Davidson, who said: "She was a nice woman, but very forthright. She didn't suffer fools gladly and always knew exactly what she wanted."

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Why Hale is the best move for Jews

By Judith Hayman, June 3, 2010

Twenty-five years ago, Hale was a place to move to in Manchester to get away from Judaism, for joining the Cheshire set and forgetting your Cheetham Hill roots. But that is no longer the case.

Located 12 miles south of Manchester city centre, Hale is home to a thriving 1,000-strong congregation with a strong sense of unity. It is led by Rabbi Joel Portnoy, who joined in the quad-biking and hot air ballooning on a recent residential Shabbaton in Bournemouth with the congregation's barmitzvah and bat chayil students.

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Keeping the faith in Dundee's Jewish community

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

The patchy paintwork on the façade of the Dundee Synagogue building bears testimony to the clean-up operations after antisemitic daubings during the 1980s.

That was a tense time for the small Jewish community with Dundee twinned with Nablus and the PLO flag flying over the City Chambers. Local neo-Nazi factions took the link-up as a green light to target the synagogue and the community almost halved in 1984-85.

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Funding climbs for twinning

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

Thirty UJIA supporters went on a climbing expedition in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday in support of a bar- and barmitzvah twinning project with Ethiopian Jews.

They scaled The Cobbler, otherwise known as Ben Arthur, which affords some spectacular views. Led by Steven Banks and Mark Tenby, the group completed the 884-metre hill climb in five hours.

Six Scottish families are among 21 from the UK participating in this year's twinning scheme, which pairs bar/batmitzvah celebrants with Ethiopian counterparts in Israeli absorption centres.

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Ajex fears for parade

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

The chair of Manchester Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women has warned that this year's local Ajex parade could be the last.

Malcolm Solomons fears that the heroism of Jews in the wartime forces may not be relayed to the young generation as veterans die or become too frail to participate in marches or educational activities.

He wants community members to wear the medals of their parents and grandparents at the commemoration at north Manchester's Heathlands Care Village on Sunday week.

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Dementia support cafe launched

June 3, 2010

Jewish Care is launching a café and peer support group in Westcliff for dementia sufferers and their carers.

Funded by Southend Borough Council and established in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society, the service opens next week at Jewish Care's Southend and Westcliff Jewish Community Centre.

Centre manager Graham Freeman said: "People with dementia, and those who care for them, should have the opportunity to share experiences."

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Luton synagogue's open house

June 3, 2010

The first open house at Luton Hebrew Congregation since last year's move to a converted doctor's surgery proved a popular attraction.

Local faith leaders from a variety of communities were the principal guests, among them representatives of Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue. Also present was a BBC local radio presenter, who was impressed by an interior with "stained glass windows resplendent, enhancing the warm and welcoming atmosphere".

Rabbi Yossi Schwei and some of his congregants explained Jewish rites and practices to the guests.

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American-style kosher bakery for Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

This month's opening of an American-style kosher bakery in Prestwich will increase competition in a crowded market in north Manchester.

The Royal Bake is the third kosher bakery to launch in 18 months, making it nine in the area.

"It's gone bakery mad," observed Dovid Kaufman, manager of Haber's in Prestwich, a kosher shop stocking products from 18 bakeries from London to Gateshead.

"A lot of customers have noticed a sudden massive variety." But there was also evidence of increased home baking - "our yeast sales have doubled".

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Interlink looks for male staff

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

Interlink, the umbrella organisation for the Charedi voluntary sector, wants to employ its first male staff member.

The organisation has advertised for a male development worker, to provide support, financial information and advice to its charities.

Interlink director Chaya Spitz said: "Although Interlink has male trustees, it has an all-women staff both in London and Manchester. This has led to our sometimes being perceived as a women's organisation and we believe that our services are more accessible to women."

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England flags on Borehamwood eruv

June 3, 2010

Poles for the long awaited Borehamwood eruv have a new topping - England flags.

The St George emblem has appeared on five of the 34 poles marking the perimeter of the eruv, which allows observant Jews to push or carry certain items on Shabbat and festivals.

"It looks like a kids' prank," said an Elstree and Borehamwood Eruv Trust representative. "It makes no difference to the function of the eruv."

The spokesman dismissed the possibility that the action reflected opposition from residents to the visual impact of the eruv poles.

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