Community life

Shivah film to get new lease of life

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

A short film which starred Sir Derek Jacobi as a trickster targeting shivah houses is to be made into a full-length feature.

Sidney Turtlebaum was first screened at last year’s UK Jewish Film Festival, featuring an 80-something gay conman who steals from mourners in the Jewish heartlands of north west London — using a newspaper that looks worryingly like the JC to track down the shivahs.

The 10-minute comedy was shot in Golders Green and funded using a £10,000 grant from the Pears Foundation UKJFF Short Film Fund.

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More shuls aid crunch victims

By Jay Grenby, March 5, 2009

Job losses among the New North London Synagogue membership as a result of the economic downturn has prompted the Finchley-based Masorti shul to establish an employment resource project.

Congregants have been asked to offer counselling and training to those affected and to forward news of job opportunities.

“We’ve had a great response,” reported NNLS executive director Claire Mandel. “Job-seekers in our community are starting to make use of the service, and we know of at least one success already.”

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Baftas day in Ilford

March 5, 2009

Ilford Federation Synagogue hosted its own Baftas at the weekend - the Bring A Friend To Shul Award.

In its second year, the Ilford Bafta goes to those bringing along the most additional congregants to a Shabbat morning service. Once again, the winners were Michael and Lauren Crader, who brought 17 friends with them.

Presenting them with their trophy, Rabbi Alex Chapper said: "The idea behind the Baftas is to encourage regular attendees to reach out to others on the periphery who may just be waiting for an invitation to come to shul.

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Liberal party at the Commons for donors

March 5, 2009

There was an Anne Frank theme to the Liberal Judaism dinner at the House of Commons on Saturday evening to thank patrons who had donated a total of £180,000 to the movement.

The guest speakers were actress Tamsin Greig — who portrayed Anne Frank’s mother in the recent BBC adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary — and Anne Frank Trust co-founder Bee Klug.

Anne Frank’s step-sister Eva Schloss was also among the 80 guests who enjoyed a tour of the Commons from Harwich and Clacton Tory MP Douglas Carswell. In the Lords, their guide was Liberal Judaism president Baroness Neuberger.

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Key survivor is remembered

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

One of the UK's best known Holocaust survivors was remembered at a memorial service on Sunday, a year after his death at the age of 97.

London-born Leon Greenman endured six Nazi camps but lost his wife Esther and two-year-old son Barney at Auschwitz.

He honoured the pledge he made in the camp to tell what happened "with every breath until his last," recalled Ruth-Anne Lenga, education consultant at the Jewish Museum, who organised the commemoration at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.

For more than 60 years, Mr Greenman addressed countless school, youth and other groups a

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Lucas wants to produce a British-Jewish sitcom

By Ben Jaglom, March 5, 2009

Little Britain star Matt Lucas has told a West London Synagogue audience of his dream of creating a Jewish sitcom.

Addressing the 300 people at the charity event on Sunday, Lucas said: “I want to produce a sitcom that will address many of the contemporary issues that affect British Jews such as intermarriage and a decline in observance. I have the provisional title of Four Generations.”

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Rare showing on museum 25th

By Cathy Forman, March 5, 2009

Manchester Jewish Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary by staging an exhibition of artefacts not generally shown to visitors.

Explained Alexandra Grime, curator of the Cheetham Hill museum: “We have asked previous curators, volunteers and local historians to choose their favourite item from the extensive collection of objects that we hold. This gives visitors the opportunity to see items that are usually in storage.”

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MP's fears over rising antisemitism

March 5, 2009

Antisemitism has taken "a turn for the worst", an MP declared at a Wizo panel debate in London's West End.

John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, said that "significant antisemitism is coming from the mosques and Muslim community in this country", as well as from the far-right.

"Politicians must take responsibility beyond their own boundaries to influence issues," he said.

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Windfall for listed building

By Cathy Forman, March 5, 2009

London’s New West End Synagogue is to receive £108,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for urgent repairs to a leaking roof in its Grade I listed property.

“It is a special synagogue,” said Cindy Molenaar, business manager at the London region of English Heritage. “The interior is stunning and it is important to avoid any damage to it.”

Gutters and downpipes also need replacing at the Bayswater shul, which was built in 1879 and was accorded Grade 1 listed status in 2007. The cost of the repair work will be £250,000 and the balance will come from synagogue funds.

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Walking into festival

By James Martin, March 5, 2009

Boris Johnson has welcomed the Jewish involvement in The Story of London, a major cultural festival taking place in June.

Launching the project this week, the London Mayor said: "The Story of London is about a city of 300 languages and many faiths and is aimed at all communities.

"There will be a superb opportunity to explore some of the sites that have been at the heart of the Jewish community's important place in the city's development."

As part of the project, walking tours of the East End and Hampstead will be organised by the Jewish Museum.

"We're delighted to b

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