Community life

Religious parking

April 7, 2009

Barnet Council’s “pray and display” religious parking permits have proved particularly popular with Jewish community representatives.

A permanent feature from the beginning of April after a successful trial, the £40-a-year permits allow those carrying out religious duties in the borough to park in residents’ bays. The council says the scheme fits its core priority of helping those in spiritual need.

Of the 48 permits issued to date, 18 have been taken up by Jewish groups, the largest number from a particular faith.

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Square’s family circle at 70

By Ruth Rothenberg, April 7, 2009

Belsize Square Synagogue’s 70th anniversary service was a family affair with the thanksgiving address delivered by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, grandson of Belsize Square’s first minister.

Rabbi Wittenberg, who heads the New North London Synagogue, drew on memories of growing up in the German-Jewish refugee community, recalling that the refugees had arrived destitute and disoriented.

But they had been welcomed by the Liberal Jewish movement and had thrived through acts of chesed (kindness), and by giving each other a helping hand.

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Home’s profitable DIY

April 7, 2009

There was a DIY element to the Pesach appeal of south London care home Nightingale as residents joined staff and volunteers to prepare the material for distribution.

Nightingale hopes to raise £90,000 towards the cost of running the home, one of the largest in Europe.

Chief executive Leon Smith pointed out: “Putting together the appeal takes patience and perseverance — a lot of envelopes were stuffed and stapled. The extra manpower that the volunteers provided was an enormous help.”

The appeal included extracts from letters from grateful relatives of residents.

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Manchester delighted with austerity appeal

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 7, 2009

Manchester welfare charity The Fed is experiencing an encouraging early response to its Pesach appeal, which in line with the times, has a distinctly non-glossy and low-budget appearance.

The charity has stopped outsourcing artwork to professional design companies, one of many cost-cutting measures. The streamlining is partly the result of The Fed recently gaining a government-sponsored Investor in People Award, which involves a year-long assessment process.

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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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