Community life

Kingston hosting Czech mates

March 19, 2009

More than 60 people with connections to the one-time 10,000 Jewish population of the Czech city of Ostrava gathered at Kingston Synagogue to share memories and review research by the shul’s Ostrava group.

The group was set up four years ago after a Sefer Torah once used in Ostrava was offered to Kingston on permanent loan by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust. In that time, the team has developed links with families originating from the region and has heard remarkable survival stories of Ostrava Jews.


Fighting poverty

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

International Development Minister Ivan Lewis has praised Jewish groups for their role in fighting world poverty.

The Bury South MP was at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday for a consultation meeting on eliminating poverty involving his department and faith organisations.

“New Labour has been trying to work against the Thatcherite slogan of ‘There’s no such thing as society,’” he said. “But with the help of faith groups, we can help to disprove this by promoting the need to reach out to others.”


Police plea on crime reporting

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 19, 2009

Senior police officers have warned Manchester Jews that failing to report antisemitic incidents is hampering police efforts to stamp out hate crime.

At a meeting arranged by the Salford force for Jewish community members on Monday, Chief Superintendent Robert Potts said: “We know for a fact that there is under-reporting [of antisemitism].” Official numbers for incidents remained low despite a spike in January’s figures resulting from the Gaza conflict.


Wartime bomb found at JCoSS site

March 19, 2009

Bomb disposal officers were called to the Jewish Community Secondary School site in Barnet last Wednesday after building workers disovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.

The site and the neighbouring East Barnet Upper School were evacuated and residents alerted in advance of a controlled explosion, which was heard across a wide area. Cordons were then lifted and the locality reopened to traffic and pedestrians.


King David criticised by Ombudsman

By Cathy Forman, March 19, 2009

Liverpool’s King David Primary has been criticised by a Local Government Ombudsman for inadequately responding to a critical report on an admissions appeal complaint.

The Ombudsman, Anne Seex, reported in January 2008 that one of the school’s admission criteria was not “objective and clear”. It could not fully explain how it selected the 21 applicants from the 54 who applied under the same category as the complainant. The non-Jewish parent had not been given the reasons for his daughter being refused a King David place in 2006, so was unable to prepare for a second appeal.


Perl: leaders are failing pupils

March 19, 2009

Educational philanthropist Benjamin Perl has accused the communal leadership of failing the needs of thousands of Jewish children.

Addressing a fundraiser for the Morasha Primary School in Finchley on Wednesday, Mr Perl urged anyone doubting the demand for more Jewish schools to consider the situation in Hertfordshire.


US cuts back on education

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

Jewish schools should take over teacher training and curriculum development from the United Synagogue, the US believes.

The US wants to “shift responsibi-lity to where it belongs”, its president, Simon Hochhauser, told a meeting of its council in Hendon on Monday.

Until now, the US’s Agency for Jewish Education has overseen teacher training and the production of Jewish studies material.


Aiding Africa

March 12, 2009

Thirty Reform movement members will be volunteering in a Kenyan orphanage in July through its Jour-neys4Justice scheme.

“It’s wonderful to be part of a group of Jewish volunteers going out to Africa,” said Dr Dan Marcus, 29, a founder of the Kenyan Orphans Project.

“The project was started in 2001 by two friends and I while we were medical students in an effort to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children.”

Trip organiser Julian Resnick said: “We are embracing the Jewish values of tzedakah [charity] and tikkun olam [repairing the world].


ERC on move

March 12, 2009

Significantly increased demand for the services of the Employment Resource Centre have resulted in a move to larger premises.

The ERC — which has been helping Jews back into the job market for 16 years — will from next week operate from more spacious offices in Finchley Central.

This relocation will enable the centre to cut its waiting lists and offer improved facilities to clients. Seminars will still be held at the ERC’s current home in East Finchley.


South Bank harmony

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The Spiro Ark joined forces with the Muslim-owned Vigo Group to host a sell-out concert of interfaith music on London’s South Bank on Saturday night.

Vigo co-sponsored an appearance at the Purcell Room of Berakah, featuring musicians from Muslim, Christian and Jewish backgrounds.

Berakah (“blessing” in Arabic) was founded by Muslim guitarist Mo Nazam and its repertoire runs from the mystical Hebrew hymn, Yedid Nefesh, to fusions of klezmer violin and Middle Eastern rhythms inspired by Sufi folklore.