Community life

Forum helps mixed couples

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

When the mother of Christian journalist Simon Thompson found out he was marrying a Jew, it “sent alarm bells ringing.

“It was more through misunderstanding — the fear of not knowing what it meant,” he explained on Sunday. “She had a fixed view of what a Jew was.”

Mr Thompson, 36, will wed his long-term girlfriend, project manager Rebecca Shurz, 32, in a civil ceremony in two months. They were among over 40 couples at the “I’m Jewish, My Partner Isn’t” seminar at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.


Hindus launching their own Mitzvah Day

January 21, 2010

Inspired by British Jewry’s Mitzvah Day, the Hindu community has established its own day of good deeds.

Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks and Board of Deputies vice-president Jonathan Arkush were among over 300 guests at a Stanmore temple for the launch of National Sewa Day, which will coincide with Mitzvah Day on November 21.


Olympic goals of community

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The Jewish Committee for the London Games wants to be the first recipient of an Inspire mark, making it an official London 2012 brand.

Guests at the committee’s first seminar on Tuesday were told that it had applied to the programme as a project inspired by the Games.

The committee was founded by the London Jewish Forum, Maccabi GB, UJIA and Lord Janner to promote communal involvement in London 2012 activities.

Among the 50-plus people at the seminar were Ephraim Zinger, director of the Israeli Olympic Committee, and representatives of volunteering charities.


Disciplined response to misbehaving pupils

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

Instances of exclusions at King Solomon High School in Redbridge have dropped by almost 80 per cent in two years — and risen by over 50 per cent at JFS.

Figures obtained by the JC show a massive drop in fixed-term suspensions at King Solomon from 177 in the 2006/7 academic year to 38 in 2008/9. At JFS, the 80 “instances” in the last academic year contrast with 52 in 2006/7.


Scot and bothered over future

By Stephanie Brickman, January 21, 2010

A row has erupted in Glasgow over plans by the local representative council to hold a meeting on the community’s future.

News of the meeting was leaked by a blogger identified only as “One of the privileged few” on the website of the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum (GJEF).

The news prompted a flurry of critical posts, with the original blogger writing: “I think it is not acceptable that the future of our community is discussed and decided upon by a secret cabal.”


New primary school planned in Herts

By Jay Grenby, January 21, 2010

Exploratory talks are being held towards the establishment of a second state-aided Orthodox Jewish primary school in Hertfordshire.

The discussions involve community leaders, the United Synagogue and the local education authority and a disused school in Potters Bar is among early sites under consideration.


Paralympic athlete at Kenton school

By Jay Grenby, January 14, 2010

Star British paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson gave a motivational address to Jewish primary school staff members at a teacher training day at the Sobell Sinai in Kenton.

Those present included the heads of the United Synagogue’s five primaries — Hertsmere, Ilford, Moriah, Wolfson-Hillel and the host school — along with 150 teachers.
Hertsmere JPS head Michele Bazak said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for the staff to engage in an educational dialogue. They exchanged ideas without the restraints they encounter in other settings.”


Bath cemetery £50,000 facelift

By John Adler, January 14, 2010

The first stage of the £50,000 restoration of the old Jewish cemetery at Combe Down in Bath has been completed.

Disused for nearly a century, the Grade II-listed site with its re-roofed prayer house dates from 1812 and has 40 discernible Jewish headstones.

The restoration has been overseen by the Friends of Bath Jewish Burial Ground, a collaboration between Combe Down Preservation Society and members of Bristol’s Progressive and Orthodox communities. Support has also come from Bath Council and the Board of Deputies.


UJIA Super Sunday

January 14, 2010

The phone lines were hot in London and Manchester as over 100 volunteers were on call for UJIA’s Super Sunday, raising £122,000 for projects at home and in Israel. Youth movement members from Bnei Akiva, FZY and Habonim were among the volunteers.


Prayers for Japan Orthodox 'drug smugglers'

January 14, 2010

One thousand members of Manchester’s Charedi community turned out on Monday for a prayer meeting on behalf of three strictly Orthodox young Israelis facing potential imprisonment in Japan for drug smuggling.

The men have been held since April 2008 when drugs were found concealed in historical artefacts in their baggage. Lawyers claimed they were conned into taking the items. Gateshead’s Rabbi Shraga Zimmerman urged the audience “to feel the pain, fear and suffering of others as your own.”