Community life

Care home for disabled children

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

A 12-bedroom home primarily for children with severe disabilities is to be built in Stamford Hill following the purchase of a £2 million property.

New charity Bayis Sheli is taking charge of the project, which is backed by the Interlink Foundation, the umbrella organisation for the Charedi voluntary sector.

Interlink helped to secure more than £3 million in funding from Futurebuilders England, a government investment programme. The Charedi community will have to raise at least another £1 million towards furnishing and running costs and a fundraising drive is under way.


School’s out

By Ben Jaglom, February 12, 2009

After three days of weather and power-related closures last week, Moriah Jewish Day School pupils have again been at home after the heating system broke down.

A message posted by headteacher Alan Shaw on the Harrow school’s website on Monday explained that a specialist part had to be brought over from Germany and could take up to four days to arrive. Apologising to parents for the incovenience and disruption, he explained that “we are bound by legal requirements for a minimum temperature of 18 degrees centigrade in classrooms”.


Chief is bullish on Manchester’s future

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has predicted a rosy future for Manchester Jewry despite the large-scale migration of younger community members.

Interviewed on Saturday evening before participating in a question-and-answer session in support of South Manchester Synagogue’s youth projects, Sir Jonathan argued that in some respects Manchester Jewry was stronger than the capital’s community.


Religious studies row at Edgware primary

By Jay Grenby, February 12, 2009

Parents of pupils at Edgware’s Rosh Pinah Primary have been angered by the removal of chumash and Rashi learning from the school’s curriculum following a review of Jewish studies provision.

At least 40 families — representing around 10 per cent of the school’s roll — are said to be deeply concerned at the move. Some are considering withdrawing their children or withholding payment of the voluntary contribution towards Jewish studies.


ZF guest Halevy hails Gaza action

February 12, 2009

Former Mossad head Ephraim Halevy hailed the impact of Operation Cast Lead in a speech to 500 Zionist Federation supporters in Central London on Sunday.

Addressing the ZF’s annual dinner, which raised over £100,000, Mr Halevy maintained that from a military standpoint, the operation had been an “all-out success”, inflicting a humiliating defeat on Hamas.

“This was also evident with the total isolation of Hamas in the Arab world. Egypt and Saudi Arabia turned their back, as did Iran and Syria. And where was [Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah?”


Finchley gets more spiritual

February 12, 2009

Finchley Reform Synagogue has appointed a director of spiritual development to find “alternative means for people to grapple with their spiritual journeys”.

In the new role, Rabbi Howard Cooper will conduct a Shabbat morning service once a month, play a part in festival services and contribute to the shul’s adult education activities.


Visionary project

February 12, 2009

An organisation promoting Jewish responsibility has set its sights on improving vision in Africa.

Project Chesed, a joint initiative of the United Synagogue and the London School of Jewish Studies, has joined forces with the Eye Warehouse to collect thousands of pairs of spectacles which will be sent by Vision Aid Overseas to optical clinics in countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia. The Project Chesed collection is dedicated to the memory of Giles Van Colle, an optician and US member, who was murdered in 2000.


Festival service in jail

February 12, 2009

Tu Bishvat was marked in Colding-ley prison, Surrey, on Monday by the planting of a cherry tree and a service for the four Jewish inmates.

The ceremony was conducted by Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich and student rabbi Elana Sondel.

Rabbi Rich had “noted with sadness that the expansion of the prison had necessitated the loss of a number of trees. I offered to celebrate Tu Bishvat by donating a tree and the governor readily agreed. The prison workshop will make a plaque acknowledging the donation.


Meat goes off the menu at day centres

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

New and cheaper charges for services are to be introduced by Jewish Care as part of its recession-beating strategy.

From late April, a flexible pricing structure for activities, food and transport will be implemented at its day centres. Last month, chief executive Simon Morris announced that up to 22 jobs would be cut at head office as part of attempts to save £2.5 million.

After Pesach, service users will be asked to pay £1 for transport to centres and £3.50 per day for activities, rather than the current all-inclusive charges of between £10 and £12.


JNF weekend earns over £50k for Sderot

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

Responding to a plea from Sderot for funding for a secure park for children, JNF Manchester raised over £50,000 at the weekend.

Almost £5,000 was brought in from a party at the Bijou bar in the city centre on Saturday evening. Close on 400 people attended the event, staged by JNF’s new Unite group, catering for 21-to-40-year-olds.

The bulk of the money was brought in from JNF’s annual Green Sunday telephone appeal. Thirty volunteers manned phones at the charity’s Manchester offices in Mamlock House.