Community life

Rabbi criticises Scotland's first Masorti synagogue

By Stephanie Brickman, February 11, 2010

The establishment of Scotland’s first Masorti group has not been welcomed by the minister of Glasgow’s biggest shul.

Rabbi Moshe Rubin of the 850-member Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue voiced concern at the addition of another congregation in an area of declining Jewish population. “With the size of the community, it’s just not desirable to create yet another division.”

But at Masorti Scotland, which holds its inaugural service at the weekend, Warren Bader took issue with Rabbi Rubin. “We do not see ourselves as being divisive to the community,” he said.


Birmingham burial fees row eased

By Cathy Forman, February 11, 2010

Meetings were held this week in an effort to resolve a long-running dispute over burial fees between Birmingham’s two Orthodox synagogues.

On Wednesday evening the shul councils of Birmingham Hebrew Congregation (Singers Hill) and Central Synagogue met separately to discuss plans for a solution.

Central leaders have been enraged by steep rises in burial fees and maintenance charges from Singers Hill, which looks after the Witton and Brandwood End cemeteries on behalf of the community.


Glasgow: Community where less is more

By Stephanie Brickman, February 4, 2010

Ask any Scot to complete the sentence “I belong…” and the immediate answer will be: “I belong to Glasgow, and Glasgow belongs to me”. What is true of the general population equally applies to Scottish Jewry. There is pride and passion about being a Jew and a Glaswegian.

However, two-thirds of what was once a 15,000 population now reminisce from a distance — usually London, Manchester or Tel Aviv.


Manchester community questions MPs and ministers

February 4, 2010

A panel including Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis, Liverpool MP Louise Ellman and deputy Israeli ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher attracted a 200 crowd to South Manchester Synagogue in Bowdon on Sunday.

Topics covered included Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report. Mr Lewis said the Goldstone Report, accusing Israel of war crimes, was flawed but defended the British decision not to vote against it at the UN.


Last Liverpool kosher caterer ends kashrut

February 4, 2010

The last Liverpool-based kosher caterer has relinquished its kashrut licence.

Marcos Catering, established in 1990, will henceforth cater small events on an unlicensed basis. Director Phil Marco said the expansion of a non-kosher noodle bar with his two sons did not sit with a kosher enterprise.

“I don’t think there will be anyone taking over kosher catering in Liverpool — the community isn’t big enough. Our biggest business has been in Manchester.”


Hertfordshire children plant trees for Tu Bishvat

By Jay Grenby, February 4, 2010

Over 150 children and their parents from four Hertfordshire communities marked Tu Bishvat by tree planting in the Woodland Trust’s 850-acre Heartwood Forest, close to St Albans.

The youngsters — from the cheders of the Radlett and Shenley United shuls, Radlett and Bushey Reform and St Albans Masorti — planted over 1,000 trees. The initiative was organised by Radlett United member Debbie Hougie, a geography lecturer at Hertfordshire University.

“It was fantastic to see so many children and their parents involved,” she said.


Leeds youth club leader honoured by Gordon Brown

By Cathy Forman, February 4, 2010

Youth club leader Raina Sheaf was among community heroes hosted by Gordon Brown at a 10 Downing Street reception.

Leeds North-East MP Fabian Hamilton nominated Mrs Sheaf, chief executive of local club the Zone, as someone “widely respected in the Jewish community”.

She was “thrilled to be invited. It was good to realise that Mr Hamilton values what I do at the Zone.”

Mrs Sheaf, 43, travelled to London with Mr Hamilton’s other nomination, Abid Hussain, owner of a local chain of stores and an active supporter of the Leeds Islamic Centre.


Reform school slammed by Orthodox parents

By Jay Grenby, February 4, 2010

The Hertfordshire Jewish primary school supported by the Reform, Liberal and Masorti movements has been accused of hypocrisy by Orthodox parents.

Clore Shalom in Shenley has traditionally given preference to children whose families are affiliated to the three movements. But members of the nearby United synagogue — the only shul in the immediate area — claim their children are being unfairly denied places.

The Shenley families are backed by their rabbi, Natan Levy, who wants Clore Shalom to become a community school servicing all within the growing local Jewish population.


Deaf group wins lottery

February 4, 2010

An award of £170,000-plus from the Big Lottery Fund will guarantee the immediate future of the Jewish Deaf Association’s programme for its older members.

The Barnet-based charity offers a weekly day centre, computer lessons, social activities and personalised support for the 70s-90s. The money will help fund the salary of three key staff members over the next three years.


Strictly Orthodox Interlink Foundation expands

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

The future looks “positive” for the Interlink Foundation, the umbrella organisation for strictly Orthodox charities, after two years of deficit.

Addressing Interlink’s annual meeting, held in Stamford Hill and attended by over 100 charity representatives, trustee Rabbi Aba Dunner said a lot of hard work had been done to generate fresh income.