Community life

Familiar face returns to fill pulpit vacancy

By Jay Grenby, February 18, 2009

St Albans Masorti Synagogue, which has been without a minister since the departure of Rabbi Jeremy Gordon to the New London at the end of 2007, has temporarily filled the breach.

American rabbinical student Rafael Kaiserblueth, 28, will arrive before Pesach to spend three months as a visiting scholar before returning to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York to complete his training.

The Sams community is delighted at the appointment, particularly after a Canadian rabbi it had recruited pulled out at the last minute for family reasons.


Board urges shuls to adopt green agenda

By Bernard Josephs, February 18, 2009

Efforts to move environmental issues up the communal agenda have been outlined by the Board of Deputies.

In a report distributed to delegates at Sunday’s meeting in Central London, the board’s Environmental and Social Issues Action Group explained: “The intention is that green issues should become a major concern rather than a minor one as currently — and that the Jewish community should become green in practice as well as in theory.”


Hertsmere receives top marks

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

Hertsmere Jewish Primary School is celebrating an “outstanding” rating from Ofsted inspectors and a top score for Jewish studies from Pikuach assessors.

Ofsted found the curriculum “extremely well planned, including a remarkably effective balance between the secular curriculum and Jewish studies”. Tuition standards were excellent with staff ensuring “there are many opportunities for imagination and play, both indoors and outside”.


Tory leaders join students on Auschwitz visit

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2009

Conservative Party chairman Francis Maude and Barnet Council deputy leader Matthew Offord accompanied students on a trip to Auschwitz last week. Visiting under the aegis of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project, the group’s itinerary took in the town of Oswiecim and its Jewish cemetery, as well as the Nazi death camp site.


Boris declares war on racists in Gaza protests

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

Boris Johnson has condemned those who have used the Gaza conflict as a platform for antisemitism.

Addressing a dinner at Westminster Synagogue which raised £75,000, the London Mayor said: “I deplore efforts to import the bullying, hatred and divisiveness found in the Middle East to the streets of London”.


Merseyside’s new menu

By Lennie Isaacs, February 18, 2009

The kosher restaurant at Liverpool’s Harold House Community Centre, which was destroyed by fire in August, is to reopen on March 1.

Mark Polak, a former co-owner of the Bagel Shop in the city centre, will run the refurbished 60-seat restaurant and hopes for “the full support of the Liverpool community”.

Although the menu has not yet been finalised, it will include traditional Jewish dishes and Mediterranean options.


Lottery bid for cemetery

By Lennie Isaacs, February 18, 2009

The restoration of an historic Liverpool Jewish cemetery hangs on a bid for £220,000 in lottery funding.

Deane Road Jewish cemetery in Kensington is the final resting place of some of Liverpool’s best-known entrepreneurs. The last burial was in 1929 and it had fallen into disrepair until a campaign to refurbish it was launched three years ago.

Actress Miriam Margolyes, solicitor Rex Makin and MPs Louise Ellman and Jane Kennedy are among those supporting the restoration.


Volunteers' share deals

February 18, 2009

Over 50 Jewish charities were represented at an idea-sharing seminar for volunteer co-ordinators.

The Jewish Volunteering Network event, hosted by UJIA, included a talk by Carol Hart of the Association of Jewish Refugees on how charities could pool training and other resources.

People management consultant Colin Rosen discussed how more effective organisational structures could help volunteers.


Concert tribute to tenor

By Ruth Rothenberg, February 18, 2009

Eight chazans and two male choirs joined forces for a sold-out tribute concert to a popular tenor who died of cancer last year, aged 62.

The Wembley Synagogue event — also raising money for Chai Cancer Care and Laniado Hospital in Netanya — was in memory of Peter Heimann.

Mr Heimann was an enthusiastic chorister at Belsize Square Synagogue, where he sang in the choir from his teenage days, and at Mill Hill Synagogue, which he joined in 1995.


Friday night project in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 18, 2009

Seven-hundred supporters of Manchester welfare charity The Fed took part in Fed Friday, for which people were asked to host a Friday night dinner and solicit donations from guests. With donations from half the participants received, the fundraising total stands at £4,000. Profits from sales of specially-produced promotional red challot have swelled the proceeds.