Community life

Rabbi wins Tory seat

By Jay Grenby, October 29, 2009

Elstree and Borehamwood emeritus minister Rabbi Alan Plancey has an extended congregation after winning the Borehamwood North seat for the Tories in a Hertfordshire County Council by-election.

In his new role he will draw on the people skills honed during more than 30 years as a community rabbi.

“I don’t want them to go to waste and now I am going to employ them for the benefit of the whole community,” he said.

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Graduate joins Rwandan mercy mission for WJR

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

An Oxford graduate has taken part in a charity trip to Rwanda to help current or former street children reintegrate into family life and wider society.

Hannah Goldie, 22, spent a week in Kayonza, an eastern Rwandan province as part of a 10-person World Jewish Relief mission. She was chosen from close on 20 young applicants for a place largely financed by “a generous subsidy” from the Ansel Harris Memorial Fund.

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FZY celebrates centenary

October 29, 2009

Family links were to the fore as the Federation of Zionist Youth launched its centenary celebrations on Sunday at its Hendon base.

Fifty current and former FZY members heard movement reminiscences from Betty Marks, who was national secretary in 1950, and her daughter Alison Nagli, who took an FZY Israel tour in 1980. Also contributing by video-link was Mrs Marks’ granddaughter Emma Nagli, who is in Israel as a year scheme leader for the movement.

Current FZY secretary Jamie Slavin outlined the values that underpin the work of FZY.

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Tzedek gets Battle spoils

October 29, 2009

Leeds Labour MP John Battle told the annual meeting of overseas development charity Tzedek that its values were inspirational and a lesson to the wider community.

Tzedek was “light years ahead” of other organisations in not only supporting projects in West Africa and India, but educating UK Jews about development issues. “Development is the route to peace,” he declared.

The 50 Tzedek supporters at the north London meeting were also shown a video of former World Bank president Sir James Wolfensohn in conversation with the Chief Rabbi at a recent fundraiser for the charity.

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Chai in demand

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 29, 2009

Chai Cancer Care’s satellite service in Manchester is reporting an overwhelming uptake of its therapy and counselling services. The facility in Heathlands Village has seen client numbers swell in just six months to match demand for the charity’s Redbridge satellite, which opened over two years ago.

Visiting the Manchester service this week, Chai chief executive Elaine Kerr said calls were being received from Liverpool and Leeds.

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Joining the Belarus party

By Jay Grenby, October 29, 2009

A nine-strong Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue group visited Belarus to attend the bar- and batmitzvahs of youngsters from the shul’s twin community of Grodno and the neighbouring town of Lida. The celebrants had been hosted in Radlett in the summer for activities including a religious studies programme.

Headed by Rabbi David Mitchell and Belarus committee chair Paul Janes, the Radlett group started in Grodno, where bowler-hatted progressive rabbi Grisha Abramovich presided over Friday night and Shabbat morning services in which the teenagers had leading roles.

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MDA cooks up a £1.4m menu

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

On the day he became Baron Sacks of Aldgate, the Chief Rabbi helped Magen David Adom UK with its own celebration — a 60th anniversary dinner which raised £1.4 million for the medical emergency charity.

Addressing over 300 guests at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, the Chief Rabbi said: “For 60 years, during war and peace, the Anglo-Jewish community has supported MDA and it is magnificent. When we’re in Israel and we see an ambulance and look at the British names along it, it makes us feel so proud.

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Yavneh pupils to make their mark at Eton

By Leon Symons, October 29, 2009

A group of pupils from Yavneh College in Borehamwood will be visiting Eton College next week for the first of what the school hopes will be regular exchanges.

The group, mainly from year-10 because the youngest Eton pupils are 13, will be taking part in a faith forum at the famous public school. They will be telling pupils from other faith schools about Judaism, what it means to be Jewish and what life is like in a Jewish school.

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Building starts on Masorti's £4m shul

By Jay Grenby, October 29, 2009

Work began this week on a £4 million building for the New North London Masorti Synagogue — almost a year after the ground-breaking ceremony at the community’s base at the Sternberg Centre site in Finchley.

Congregants will still be able to attend services and other activities in the shul’s existing premises during the works. However, they are being warned to watch out for extra-deep bore holes, drilled to accommodate a ground-source heat pump, which will help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 20 per cent.

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Shoah survivors watch given to HET

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

The poignant history of a watch hidden by Holocaust survivors at Bergen Belsen and later given to a liberating soldier has been revealed during a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.

Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock received the watch (pictured) in the presence of Commons Speaker John Bercow and Tory MP Dr Julian Lewis. It had been donated by Elizabeth Barnes, 79, of Hythe, Hampshire, whose late father Ronald Cowles had bought it from the soldier over 60 years ago.

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