Community life

Leaders' fresh pledge on harmony

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2009

Leaders of the United Synagogue, Reform, Liberal and Masorti movements have made a fresh pledge of commitment to the Stanmore Accords, the 1998 agreement to avoid infighting and promote co-operation.

The Stanmore Accords recognised that British Jewry was “damaged by infighting and mutual recrimination”.

Yet the future of the agreement had been in doubt amid growing dissatisfaction among the non-Orthodox bodies with the progress achieved.

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Hackney listing threatens sale

By Jay Grenby, February 18, 2009

English Heritage’s award of Grade II listed status to the historic Hackney Synagogue building has jeopardised the United Synagogue’s plan to sell the site.

The US — which opposed the listing — had put the 112-year-old Brenthouse Road property on the market, highlighting the redevelopment potential. The hope was that a sale would fund the congregation’s relocation.

It is understood that a potential buyer has asked for time to reconsider, given that the listing, recognising architectural and historic interest, could scupper any plans for demolition.

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Mosque guests on Shabbat

February 18, 2009

Birmingham Progressive Synagogue welcomed 20 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to its Shabbat morning service.

The visitors, ranging in age from eight to 98, also joined congregants for lunch, where a talk by Waqar Ahmedi on the Ahmadiyya community was followed by a question and answer session led by Rabbi Margaret Jacobi and Imam Maulana Tahir Selby.

Rabbi Jacobi said that “in these difficult times, it is heartening to feel that we can form friendships with people of a different faith and discover how much we have in common”.

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Wartime care

February 18, 2009

A beersheba doctor has told a London audience how his hospital coped during the Gaza conflict.

“We functioned effectively under missile fire,” said Professor Mark Clarfield, head of geriatrics at Soroka Hospital, in a speech to the Jewish Medical Association UK.

He reported the preparations for treating casualties of the conflict and protecting staff and patients from missile bombardment.

Senior members of the medical professional were among the audience at University College London.

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Teenager has Paris Metro covered

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

University College School pupil Charlie Gould has helped to raise over £2,000 for charity by spending almost 16 hours passing through every stop on the Paris Metro.

The 15-year-old South Hampstead Synagogue member was joined by a fellow pupil, Fred Isaac, and teacher Andrew Wilkes on the French expedition. Charlie and Fred had been unsuccessful in an attempt last year to cover every stop on the London Underground.

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Marco Pierre rustles up a £77,000 Norwood breakfast

By Ben Jaglom, February 18, 2009

Marco Pierre White spiced up a Norwood business breakfast last Friday with some colourful anecdotes and a few trenchant opinions on fellow celebrity chefs.

Speaking about Gordon Ramsay, he opined: “If Gordon was made of chocolate he would eat himself.” However, he would quite happily be marooned with Heston Blumenthal. “As well as being a very intelligent man who could provide me with excellent conversation, I would get 18 courses every night for dinner.”

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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.

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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.”

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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”.

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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.

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