Community life

Rising costs fuel appeal by mikveh

By Jay Grenby, January 14, 2009

Soaring gas and electricity bills are key factors behind a substantial increase in costs which threatens the future of the Edgware communal ladies’ mikveh.

In response, an appeal has been launched for “little but often” donations to help make up the shortfall in expenditure on heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance and repairs.

Since the fundraising drive preceding the opening of the facility in 1990, the trustees have depended on the generosity of a few individuals to keep it running.

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Artist remembered in his home city

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 14, 2009

More than 100 people attended the launch of a tribute exhibition at Manchester Jewish Museum for artist Simon Black, who died, aged 49, last year after a battle against cancer.

The Reflections exhibition has given his family the opportunity to display his work in his home city after a similar event in London. Sunday’s opening was addressed by the artist’s widow Raina, eldest daughter Bobbi and his sister Jane.

Speaking afterwards, Jane Black said Mancunians would recognise much of the personal and local imagery in his paintings.

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Kosher Kanteen is on menu for Brent Cross

January 14, 2009

The first kosher restaurant in a major UK shopping centre will open in Brent Cross in the spring.

Operating under Federation supervision, The Kanteen will feature an onsite bakery producing bread, bagels and pastries and will also offer a menu of Israeli specialities and mainstream favourites.

Managing director Robert Dallas said he was delighted to offer a kosher dining option to the many Jews who shop at Brent Cross.

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Norwood's £33m man

January 14, 2009

BDO Stoy Hayward partner Andrew Viner is Norwood’s new treasurer, overseeing a recession-trimmed £33 million budget. He succeeds Russell Tenzer, who held the post for 13 years.

Mr Viner, 38, will operate alongside the charity’s corporate services director, Philip Bunt, and chair Norwood’s corporate services committee.

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Sparking regional innovation

January 14, 2009

Communities outside the capital can apply for a share of a £100,000 fund to support innovative Jewish projects.

Sparks — the Clore Jewish Development Fund — will be making its third year of disbursements with a maximum individual award of £20,000.

Applicants are encouraged “to approach this funding opportunity in creative and imaginative ways”.

The fund was launched in 2007 and beneficiaries have included the regional Limmud programme and Mitzvah Day volunteering projects.

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Music to the ears of pre-schoolers

By Jay Grenby, January 14, 2009

Barnet mums who once ran a toddler group at the local United Synagogue have come up with a new concept for pre-schoolers and their parents.

Serena Kurash and Susan Sacks have launched Jam — Jewish Arts and Music — meeting weekly at the shul, for sessions themed around an aspect of Jewish life.

The women bring a wealth of experience to the venture. Mrs Kurash has worked with children as a piano teacher for over 20 years; Mrs Sacks ran her own nursery. They developed the idea for Jam from their time with the toddler group.

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Race to thank cancer victim’s care charity

January 14, 2009

The step-brother of 24-year-old Maccabi cricketer Richard Ableson, who died in New York from a leukaemia-related illness in December, is running next month’s Watford Half-Marathon as a thank-you to a supportive charity.

Daniel Austin, 29, will be raising money for Camp Simcha, working to improve the lives of Jewish children with serious illnesses.

Its American sister organisation Chai Lifeline had been hugely helpful to Mr Ableson after he was diagnosed with leukaemia last summer and his mother Oriol wanted to express the family’s gratitude.

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High value appointment

January 8, 2009

Professor Graham Zellick has been appointed chairman of the Valuation Tribunal for England.

Although the post is effective from this month, the tribunal will not come into being until the autumn, when it will replace the existing 56 local valuation tribunals dealing with appeals on council tax and business rates.

The 60-year-old barrister recently completed his term of office as chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and was previously vice-chancellor of the University of London, principal of Queen Mary and Westfield College and an Electoral Commissioner.

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Cemetery gets a facelift

January 8, 2009

A Jewish cemetery may soon be added to the Liverpool Heritage Trail following a successful restoration project.

Addressing the Leeds branch of the Jewish Genealogical Society at the Sinai Synagogue, project manager Saul Marks outlined the efforts made to restore the derelict Deane Road cemetery site to its former glory.
The Merseyside cemetery had been a target for vandals and fly-tippers before the project was launched in 2003 with support from environmental regeneration charity the Groundwork Trust.

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Chai high on clarity

January 8, 2009

A “vast improvement” in the clarity of Chai Cancer Care’s annual report has been reported by Intelligent Giving, the online advisory service assessing charities’ transparency.

Intelligent Giving noted that Chai — one of the three beneficiaries of this year’s JC Charity Appeal — now offered “a clear explanation of its achievements and plans”.

Awarding it 66 per cent for the quality of its reporting — up from 36 per cent — Intelligent Giving suggested that “more information about how it is governed and greater financial detail would push the score even higher”.

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