Community life

Grandmother extends her marathon effort

By Craig Silver, February 12, 2009

A 61-year-old Stamford Hill woman with three children who suffer from autism and Aspergers is preparing to run her eighth London Marathon this year in support of a charity helping Jews with special needs.

Glenda Aussenberg — who has nine children aged between 25 and 35 — originally ran on behalf of Chai Cancer Care raising over £25,000.

She feels a particular affinity with In Touch, explaining: “They are a wonderful charity and have helped my daughter who has a child with Down’s syndrome.”

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Elstree Liberal shul goes back in time

February 12, 2009

An evening of reminiscence launched the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Liberal Synagogue Elstree.

More than 100 members and friends, including Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich, packed the Hertfordshire shul to hear past and present leaders recall its history.

TLSE started life as the “wandering community” of Stanmore Liberal Jewish Congregation, with services held in a variety of private homes and halls. It moved to permanent premises in a former Elstree school in 1977 and changed its name to Hertsmere Progressive Synagogue.

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Snow stops dinner

By Ben Jaglom, February 5, 2009

A major charity dinner was among the casualties of Monday’s heavy snow in London.

Camp Simcha, supporting children with life-threatening illnesses, had to alert the 650 guests expected at the Wembley Stadium event when it became apparent that many could not travel because of road conditions.

The good news was that Camp Simcha managed to reschedule the dinner for next week and that caterer James Zimmer agreed to donate the food for Monday to Gift, assisting vulnerable members of the community.

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Storm over anti-Israel leaflet

February 5, 2009

Community leaders in Redbridge have accused Liberal Democrats of “a cynical ploy” in running an anti-Israel election campaign in a council ward with a high number of Muslim and Jewish voters.

The charge follows the circulation of a by-election leaflet in Valentines ward including a call from party leader Nick Clegg to “stop arming Israel”, and a reference to the “latest innocent victims in the rubble of a UN school”.

Liberal Democrat Shoaib Patel won the by-election from the Conservatives by 182 votes.

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Lessons of Holocaust

By John Fisher, February 5, 2009

The 600 people at Sunday’s Leeds civic ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day were urged to learn the lessons of the Shoah.

“It all started with such small little acts,” HMD Trust chair Dr Stephen Smith cautioned. “Small statements, small-minded politics. Eventually, it killed and it killed and it killed.”

Dr Martin Kapel, who was nine when he arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport, likened criticism of the government’s immigration policy to the fears voiced in the 1930s when Jews fled the Nazis.

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Tribe takes on US chedarim

By Simon Rocker, February 5, 2009

The United Synagogue’s youth arm, Tribe, set up to provide social and cultural activities, is to take over cheder education from the US’s Agency for Jewish Education.

Despite the growth in Jewish day schools, around 1,500 children still remain in the US part-time system. Some US members have voiced concern at giving Tribe responsibility for chedarim.

At a US council meeting last Thursday, Stanmore Synagogue’s Paul Dresner said the move seemed strange because Tribe does not have “a professional educator”, whereas the AJE was “a professional education department”.

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Irish death

February 5, 2009

Irish Jewish Museum curator Raphael Siev has died after collapsing at the HMD commemoration at Mansion House, Dublin.

He had insisted on giving a reading at the ceremony before going to hospital.

After attending Gateshead Yeshivah and qualifying as a barrister, Mr Siev worked for the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He devoted his latter years to the museum.

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£3.9m for Leeds housing

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

The regeneration of a sheltered housing complex for the Leeds Jewish community has moved a step closer after a £3.9 million grant from the government. The money will enable the construction of 46 two-bedroom and 16 one-bedroom apartments.

They will be built next to the Leeds Jewish Community Centre in Stonegate Road and will replace outdated bungalows at the Queenshill Estate site.

Construction begins in the spring and is due to be completed by the end of 2010. LJHA will then have 230 properties in its portfolio.

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Olmert date

February 5, 2009

Members of an emergency UK mission to the Negev met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The 30 participants in the JNF and One Family trip also visited schools damaged by rocket attacks and met soldiers and civilians injured during the Gaza conflict.

JNF UK chairman Samuel Hayek told Mr Olmert that the group conveyed “the UK Jewish community’s strong feelings of support, empathy, respect and solidarity at this time”.

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Dementia strategy welcomed

February 5, 2009

A broad welcome has been given to the government’s new dementia strategy by Nightingale in Clapham, one of Europe’s largest care homes for the elderly.

Nightingale chief executive Leon Smith believes the proposals will help destigmatise the condition. But the strategy “must only be part of the desperately needed review of how long-term care of older people is funded”. This included making symptom-inhibiting drugs such as Aracept freely available on the NHS.

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