Community life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chief Rabbi's plea for pride in Judaism

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 26, 2009

Lack of pride in Judaism and its achievements had increased assimilation and reduced the community’s ability to defend Israel, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks told 100 Manchester leaders on Sunday.

Before an audience including Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis at the local representative council, Lord Sacks declared: “If we are not strong in ourselves, how can we fight the massive challenges that face us? Non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism.”

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Chancellor's wife tours JBD flat

November 26, 2009

When Maggie Darling hosted Jewish Blind and Disabled’s 40th anniversary celebration at 11 Downing Street in October, the Chancellor’s wife promised to visit a JBD property.

True to her word, Mrs Darling breezed into the charity’s Frances and Dick James Court in Mill Hill last Thursday to tour the 42-flat facility and meet staff and tenants.

One of the first things she saw was the wall of dedications from donors, where she stopped to study the inscriptions, remarking: “It’s very moving — I cannot think of a better memorial.”

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Mitzvah Day: Show of faith in Elstree

By Jan Grenby, November 19, 2009

Three Hertsmere shuls were represented on Mitzvah Day at A Celebration of Faiths, the launch of the borough’s inaugural Interfaith Week.

The Liberal Synagogue Elstree’s Shul of Rock kicked-off the event at Borehamwood’s Village Hall before a crowd of several hundred including Hertsmere Mayor Councillor Rosemary Gilligan. The performance of Shul of Rock — a band of teenage musicians supplemented by minister Rabbi Pete Tobias on guitar — was markedly different to the church choirs that followed them.

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Mitzvah Day: New communities join initiative

November 19, 2009

Regional communities supporting Mitzvah Day for the first time included Bristol, where volunteers from the shuls and university collected groceries for the local Refugee Action Centre.

Both the Orthodox and Progressive synagogues installed boxes for members to donate spectacles for the VisionAid charity. A third project was a blood donor drive.

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