Community life

Banksy’s £100k gift to shul

By Jessica Elgot, April 2, 2009

Notorious graffiti artist Banksy has donated an original artwork to the New North London Synagogue, Finchley, which hopes to auction it for £100,000 in support of its drop-in centre for asylum seekers.

Simon Hattenstone — a volunteer at the centre and the only journalist to have interviewed the elusive Banksy — persuaded the artist to offer his work. It is a version of his painting of children saluting a Tesco bag, adapted to the shul’s eBay sale of underwear donated by stars including Emma Thompson, Nick Hornby and Daniel Day-Lewis.

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Elstree shul denies claim of rabbis’ rift

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

An alleged rift between the current and former Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue rabbis is the talk of the community.

Writing in the shul magazine, author and JC columnist Michael Freedland referred to a “certain disquiet” between Rabbi Naftali Brawer and his predecessor Rabbi Alan Plancey. “Something must be done to get these two gentlemen together — for their own good and for ours.”

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Bus link’s next stop

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

Moves towards a direct bus link between Golders Green and Stamford Hill are gathering momentum with a survey of residents by London TravelWatch, the transport users’ consumer group.

LTW has distributed several thousand leaflets asking residents about their travel needs between the two areas.

Flyers have also gone out to synagogues and the research will continue for another month before the findings are presented to Transport for London.

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Chabad opens kosher shop in Redbridge

By Jessica Elgot, March 26, 2009

Chabad Lubavitch volunteers are offering Redbridge residents a specialist Pesach provisions outlet in Cranbrook Road.

Since the closure of Brownstein’s delicatessen last year, Redbridge Jews have had to rely on mainstream supermarkets for their kosher groceries.

The Chabad venture offers a wide variety of kosher food and drink and home delivery can be arranged.

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Care story launches appeal

March 26, 2009

Jewish Care has set a £250,000-plus target for its Pesach appeal, highlighting the challenges in caring for the elderly population.

The appeal features the story of Jack and Joan, who struggled to cope when Joan was diagnosed with dementia. It explains how the staff at the charity’s Kay Court, where Joan went to live, noticed how calming it was for her to have Jack around and encouraged him to spend as much time at the home as possible. This way, his needs could also be addressed.

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Levy to pay key staff

By John Fisher, March 26, 2009

A communal levy to maintain the posts of two key Leeds professionals is to be discussed by local synagogues.

Addressing Sunday’s meeting of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, Robert Bartfield said the jobs of community development worker Neil Clarke and Leeds Jewish Initiative co-ordinator Natalie Jackson had been preserved through a mixture of private and organisational funding. Some of this comes to an end in September.

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Aliyah interest rises as British recession bites

By Ben Jaglom, March 26, 2009

A combination of the credit crunch and rising antisemitism is encouraging more British Jews to consider buying homes in Israel, according to exhibitors and visitors at an Israel property fair in London.

Among the 200 browsers at the Marriott Hotel Swiss Cottage was retired engineer David Marks, 65, who observed: “This country has declined significantly over the last few years. Though I own my own house, I will be unable to afford to pay the council tax on my property once my wife stops working.

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Helping children in need

March 26, 2009

Jewish Child’s Day has defied the economic downturn by allocating 15 per cent more to supported causes.

Executive director Daniel Burger reported that the latest JCD distribution to children’s agencies in the UK, Israel and Eastern Europe totalled £115,000. “I think donors realise that if they are feeling the effects of the credit crunch, then how much more must those children in this country and Israel that rely on our support be suffering?”

UK disbursements included £3,500 to Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue towards bringing over 19 children from Belarus.

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Wizo’s £3.7m fundraising year

March 26, 2009

Wizo met its increased financial target for its 90th anniversary year, raising a total £3.7 million.

As a result, the UK organisation has been able to expand support for its 100 projects in Israel. These include the renovation of a Jerusalem day care facility and an extension to a Beersheba community centre

UK chair Loraine Warren said: “There can be no greater satisfaction than to see how the quality of life of so many disadvantaged and vulnerable Israelis is being improved through the continuing efforts of Wizo supporters”.

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Manchester museum tackles intolerance

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 26, 2009

Manchester Jewish Museum received an award for promoting community relations at a civic ceremony marking its 25th anniversary this week.

The vast majority of the museum’s 14,000 annual visitors are non-Jewish schoolchildren, who attend as part of their religious studies syllabus. Many have left their mark by scratching their names on the back benches of the renovated Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. However, the recent etching of “Hamas” on a bench illustrates the need for the museum’s interfaith work.

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