Community life

Going online to reach more abuse victims

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The new executive director of Jewish Women’s Aid has outlined plans to expand the charity’s services to reach as many victims of domestic violence as possible.

Emma Bell said an online advice system was at the forefront of attempts to encourage abused women to come forward. Victims could make contact via email rather than through the national telephone helpline.

“The email advice service marks a new way of getting in touch with the women who need our assistance,” explained Ms Bell, 34. “We recognise lots of women cannot use the telephone if they are in dangerous situations.

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Safety first at Henlys

April 7, 2009

Finchley Synagogue has welcomed plans for a pedestrian crossing at Henlys Corner, having campaigned for safety improvements.

The crossing plan was announced by Barnet Council leader Mike Freer on Friday as part of an £8 million Transport for London scheme to improve safety and traffic flow.

“We’re delighted funding has been approved,” said a spokesperson for the shul, which is at the Regents Park Road end of Henlys Corner. Pedestrians currently have to cross at their own risk or take a 15-minute detour.

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Maccabi’s £40k hit

April 7, 2009

Over 500 people were up for a fight on Thursday as Manchester Maccabi held a boxing evening at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

The attendance delighted Manchester Maccabi life president and event organiser Darryl Lee, who said: “We were sceptical that people would like Jewish boys fighting, but the response was so huge after last year that we knew this year was going to be bigger.”

About the worst injury was a sprained ankle sustained by a boxer entering the ring. The event raised £40,000 for the sports and community club in north Manchester.

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Israel gets new friend

April 7, 2009

A new support group for Israel has been set up in Liverpool. Retired accountant Johnny Cohen told the 25 delegates at the Merseyside Representative Council AGM that the first meeting of the Liverpool Israel Support Team had taken place. He would meet activist Joy Wolfe to seek advice on how “to argue the case for Israel”.

Council president Gordon Globe reported that the year’s events demonstrated the vibrancy of Merseyside Jewry, despite a declining population. Delegate Malcolm Turner expressed dismay that the Liverpool Jewish Bookshop was in need of modernisation.

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Fed to axe two jobs

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 7, 2009

Manchester welfare charity The Fed is cutting expenditure by £133,000 across its social care services, a reduction of nine per cent, in a move to ride out the recession.

Chief executive Karen Phillips blames poor investment returns and lower donations, but stresses that the disruption to services will be minimal.

“We’ve gone through a rigorous review of expenses and a restructure of projects culminating in two redundancies,” she said.

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Barnet school forced to close

By James Martin, April 7, 2009

A strictly Orthodox Golders Green school will have to close after Barnet Council rejected a final retrospective appeal for planning permission last Wednesday.

Beis Medrash Elyon, educating 45 boys in Golders Green Road, has operated without planning permission for five years.

Councillor Dean Cohen proposed that the school be granted consent “on the grounds that it has been in place for some time and its current use has demonstrated significant benefit to the local community”. Councillors Eva Greenspan, Melvin Cohen and Jack Cohen highlighted its educational merits.

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US turning down new members

By Simon Rocker, April 7, 2009

The United Synagogue has been accused of rejecting membership applications for affiliated shuls on geographical grounds.

Ruislip Synagogue in Middlesex and Romford Synagogue in Essex say they have had applications vetoed because the US has begun enforcing a regulation that members are supposed to live within a mile-and-a-quarter of their local synagogue.

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From MI5 to a novel existence

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

Former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington gave over 200 League of Jewish Women supporters an insight into life in the security services at a central London meeting.

Dame Stella recounted her rise up the MI5 ladder from the lowly base of a desk job in New Delhi. Having moved to India in the 1960s with her civil servant husband, she was “tapped on the shoulder and asked to join up”. Things are “very different now, with an application process and interviews just like any other career”.

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Kingston’s Holocaust study days

By Jay Grenby, April 2, 2009

Over 500 pupils from five south-west London schools have taken part in Holocaust workshops postponed from their original dates in early February because of the heavy snowfalls.

The programme — related to Holocaust Memorial Day and now in its third year — is a joint venture of the Kingston United and Liberal congregations. Expanded due to demand, it is now supported by neighbourhood grants from the local authority.

Pupils aged 13-15 were addressed by Holocaust survivors who discussed their experiences and the importance of the young generation rejecting all forms of prejudice.

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Widdecombe at home

April 2, 2009

Tory MP, author and broadcaster Ann Widdecombe shared her trenchant views on British life with residents of Clapham care home Nightingale.

Ms Widdecombe dealt with issues including Holocaust denial, knife crime, introducing a zero tolerance policy within policing and the government’s handling of the recession. She also took questions on matters such as care for the elderly and family responsibilities to the care needs of relatives.

Asked what would be her priority if made Prime Minister for the day, she responded that she would strive to loosen the grip of the nanny state.

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