Community life

Luton synagogue to become full US member

By Jay Grenby, May 6, 2010

Luton Hebrew Congregation is to become a full constituent member of the United Synagogue.

Around half the community's 131 members attended an EGM to vote on a motion to end nearly 90 years of staunchly-maintained independence. Despite a long history of opposition, there was just one dissenting voice.

Synagogue chair Brian Green was delighted by the overwhelming support for the move. "We have recognised that as a smaller independent community on the fringes of London, we could no longer achieve further growth on our own.

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Radlett women want more 'passion' in synagogue

By Jay Grenby, May 6, 2010

Radlett women want "more passion" - in their shul services.

A survey at the United shul also identified demand for livelier and more tuneful services featuring female as well as male speakers. The women further responded that segregation made them feel "marginalised and unvalued".

The survey, conducted anonymously on the community's website, was designed to determine "how the women members experienced shul and what could improve the experience for them". Views were additionally sought on the shul experience of their batmitzvah age daughters and on the recital of kaddish by women.

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JCoss Jewish head to go on maternity leave after opening

May 6, 2010

The director of Jewish education for the new Jewish Community Secondary School in Barnet will be away on maternity leave shortly after it opens in September.

Elaine Robinson - who was UJIA's head of Jewish social responsibility before joining JCoSS - is expecting her first child in October, but hopes to be working for the first few weeks of term.

She is in the process of finalising the school's Jewish curriculum arrangements.

A JCoSS spokesman said the school was "well into the process of arranging maternity cover".

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Ex-servicemen's leader sees a future in education

By Robyn Rosen, May 6, 2010

The new national chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women says its educational programme can shape its future.

Arnold Phelops, a former dental surgeon who served in the Royal Army Dental Corps in the 1950s, was elected at the Ajex AGM.

An Ajex member for 12 years, he has chaired its Hendon and Golders Green branch and leads its national education committee.

"We go out to various organisations and schools and they come to our museum and we tell them our stories and experiences," he said.

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UJIA chief defends sale of Manchester base

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 6, 2010

Manchester UJIA chairman Keith Black has defended its controversial decision to sell off its Mamlock House premises by pledging that money saved would go towards countering "terrifying" anti-Israel activity.

The impending move has left smaller charities which co-lease the dilapidated north Manchester building struggling to find alternative accommodation.

But Mr Black said this week that UJIA's hand was forced by a 10 per cent drop in income in a harsh economic climate.

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Liberal Judaism's first Israel and diaspora officer

May 6, 2010

As part of Liberal Judaism's commitment to "a progressive and democratic Israel", Daniel Needlestone has been appointed its first Israel and diaspora officer.

He will work closely with full-time shlicha Dana Friedman and the Liberal Judaism chairman and chief executive, Lucian Hudson and Rabbi Danny Rich, who were both recently in Israel to strengthen links with the movement's partners.

A graduate of UJIA's Adam Science leadership programme, Mr Needlestone is co-chair of Pro-Zion and founder and chair of the UK Jewish Teachers Association.

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Liverpool loves Limmud

May 6, 2010

Limmud lovers from all corners of the country descended on Merseyside on Sunday for a wide-ranging Liverpool event at the Hope Park campus.

Five-hundred people enjoyed speakers and activities ranging from a lecture on challenges in the Middle East from Israel's deputy ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher to Yiddish music and a Lag b'Omer parade led by Lubavitch's Rabbi Avremi Kievman. Sue Hadden and Sara Saville were the event co-chairs.

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Building starts on Borehamwood and Elstree eruv

By Jay Grenby, May 6, 2010

The first poles for the Borehamwood and Elstree eruv were installed this week, to the delight and relief of the area's two Orthodox communities.

If all goes to plan, the notional boundary allowing the carrying of certain items and the pushing of prams and wheelchairs on Shabbat and festivals will be operational by mid-summer.

And with more young families moving to the area, the completion of the project could not have come at a better time, says Borehamwood Synagogue rabbi Naftali Brawer. "The eruv will positively transform Jewish life in our community," he declared.

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Rabbis discuss shared responsibilities

By Robyn Rosen, May 6, 2010

United Synagogue rabbis have discussed the desirability of ministerial teams to share responsibilities in larger communities.

A workshop during the Rabbinical Council of the US annual conference in Hemel Hempstead considered the team format, popular in America, where ministers take responsibility for different aspects of communal life.

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Manchester Jewish Museum's director on leave

May 6, 2010

The cash-strapped Manchester Jewish Museum has suffered another setback with its director having to take extended leave because of health concerns.

Stuart Hilton has suspected ligament problems in his spine, making it difficult for him to walk. His absence could jeopardise the museum's financial recovery after a positive initial response to its emergency financial appeal for £5 monthly donations.

"We know we are getting an extra £1,000 income, which is brilliant, but is nowhere near our target of £6,000 a month," Mr Hilton explained.

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