Community life

Rabbi enjoys warm welcome

By Jay Grenby, December 3, 2009

The Chief Rabbi celebrated a new chapter in the history of “one of the liveliest, warmest and most welcoming shuls in London” when he inducted Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld as Kingston, Surbiton and District Synagogue’s minister on Sunday.

Lord Sacks told his audience that the young American-born minister had already “endeared himself to the Kingston congregation as someone who cares both about the community and the individual”.


Manchester museum in crisis as attendances fall

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 3, 2009

The cash-strapped Manchester Jewish Museum has launched a survival appeal in the wake of falling income and attendances.

Annual visitor numbers have dropped from 15,000 to an estimated 11,000 for 2009 as squeezed educational budgets have reduced the number of school parties on which the museum relies heavily to meet its £140,000 running costs.

In 2003, 500 school groups visited the museum. Last year, there were 350 and the decline is continuing. The museum charges £2.95 per pupil. It attracts few visitors from the local Jewish community.


Interfaith women meet Board of Deputies

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2009

Women from six faith communities have met at the Board of Deputies to discuss the challenges they face in modern Britain.

Bharti Tailor, the first woman secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain and Cassandra Balchin, chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, were among the 50 guests, also including former Board vice-president Rosalind Preston.

Coinciding with Interfaith Week, the impetus for the event was the review paper on the role of women in the Jewish community: Connection, Continuity and Community — British Jewish Women Speak Out.


Stanley Fink backs Liberal Judaism

November 26, 2009

Hedge fund boss and Tory Party fundraiser Stanley Fink lauded the inclusive nature of Liberal congregations when he hosted Liberal Judaism’s patrons evening in central London on Monday.

Mr Fink said that he and his wife Barbara had been warmly welcomed by the movement. Its ethos tallied with their own and they had become keen advocates of Liberal Judaism.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich told patrons that their donations were being used in creative ways. As well as supporting the development of new communities, the money was helping younger congregants.


Dame Vera joins Loss tribute

By Jay Grenby, November 26, 2009

Dame Vera Lynn was guest of honour at a sell-out concert staged by North West Surrey Synagogue to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late bandleader, Joe Loss.

It was organised by his daughter Jennifer Loss Jankel, an active member and past chair of the Weybridge-based Reform congregation, both as a tribute to her father and to raise funds for the shul and the Joe Loss Lectureship at the University of London. It featured music and entertainment from the Joe Loss Orchestra and Singing Stars, led by Todd Miller.


Anish Kapoor discusses Royal Academy exhibit

By Julia Weiner, November 26, 2009

Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota and the BBC’s Alan Yentob were among the 350 guests at the annual dinner of the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel to hear sculptor Anish Kapoor, whose work is on show at the Royal Academy.

Born in Bombay to an Indian father and an Iraqi Jewish mother, Kapoor was an apposite choice as speaker as he is working on a major sculpture for the Israel Museum. He discussed his Royal Academy display in conversation with the exhibition’s curator, Jean de Loisy.


Israel Deputy Prime Minister seeks UK support

By Marcus Dysch, November 26, 2009

Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom has urged British donors to continue their support for the Jewish state as it attempts to pursue peace and faces a threat from Iran.

Addressing British Ort’s gala dinner in London on Monday, Mr Shalom said the Israeli government was working hard to “give people a normal life”. However, Iran was “trying to do everything it can” to become a nuclear power and the region’s dominant force.


Habonim Dror celebrates 80th birthday

November 26, 2009

Over 150 Habonim Dror members past and present joined a celebration of the youth movement’s 80th anniversary at Ivy House, Golders Green, on Sunday.

The event — which sold out in less than 48 hours — looked back on Habonim achievements and forward to its future role. The £3,000-plus raised will benefit the movement’s bursary fund.

TV producer Dan Patterson compered the evening, which included a quiz mixing Habonim trivia with current affairs and a song game.


It's a wrap: fashion icon wins charity prize

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2009

Real life Jewish princess and fashion pioneer Diane von Furstenberg cut an impressive figure for Jewish Care when she was honoured as its Woman of Distinction.

The designer, best known for her wrap dress, told around 300 women at London’s Langham Hilton how her life was shaped by her mother Liliane Nahmias, an Auschwitz survivor.

Ms von Furstenberg was born in Brussels in 1946, 18 months after her mother was liberated, then weighing little more than three stone.


Cambridge Reform to build new synagogue

November 26, 2009

Cambridge Reform is to build a synagogue after a nomadic 25 years in the city.

The 250-member Beth Shalom congregation raised £500,000 to buy a 400-square metre city council site in central Cambridge.

Synagogue chairman Frank Harris said the community now needed to raise a further £1 million to fund construction of the premises. “A lot of work is still to be done,” he said.

A committee has been set up to oversee the building’s design, planning and construction and a local architect has been appointed.