Community life

Board stays out of export licence row

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies has resolved to stay out of any row between the Foreign Office and Israel over the decision to cancel five export licences.

It is adopting a “wait and see” strategy and will get involved only if receiving an indication from Israel that it should take up the case. The Foreign Office’s decision to ban the export of parts for Israel’s naval vessels was believed to have been prompted by a concerted campaign by pro-Palestinian groups.


Essex golfers make a mint from Rags

July 16, 2009

There were riches from Rags as the Redbridge Aid Golf Society generated £145,000 from its 39th annual tournament at Abridge, the majority for Redbridge Jewish Community Centre.

Community centre chairman Philip Leigh was partnered on his round by former Coronation Street star Bradley Walsh.

Demonstrating commitment to the cause, Rags chair Lloyd Green postponed his honeymoon in order to take part.


Welfare charity is transparently the best

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

Manchester welfare organisation The Fed has been ranked among the UK’s most transparent charities by independent watchdog Intelligent Giving.

The Fed’s latest rating of 80 per cent places it 15th in the national list, alongside charities such as Children in Need and the Samaritans. It is a huge advance on the 29 per cent assessment of the Fed for 2004/05.


First rabbi for fledgling Gloucestershire

July 16, 2009

Rabbinical student Anna Gerrard is to work for a year with Liberal Judaism’s fledgling Gloucestershire community.

London-born Ms Gerrard, 29, holds a theology degree from Birmingham University and has worked for Liberal Judaism’s young adults outreach programme. She relishes the prospect of assisting the “exciting development” of the 50-member group and will be dividing her time between Gloucestershire and Jerusalem, where she is continuing her studies.

Community founder member Allison Hyman said: “Anna will be crucial at helping with cheder classes.”


Scots Shoah memorial book on display

By Stephanie Brickman, July 16, 2009

Scotland’s first Holocaust Memorial Book has been put on permanent display in the vestibule of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation’s synagogue. A kiddush marking the event was held by the Association of Jewish Refugees, which created the book.

The leather-bound volume contains the names and some photographs of several hundred people who perished in the Holocaust, all relatives of Scottish Jewish residents.

AJR member Irene Mason, who has seven of her relatives listed, said that preparing the book had been an emotional experience.


Belarus visitors

July 16, 2009

A tour of Old Trafford was a highlight of the three-week visit by 15 youngsters from Belarus who were hosted by Orthodox families in Manchester and the north.

The youngsters, aged 10 to 15, and two teachers, also spent three days at St Annes and Blackpool. Three of the girls were batmitzvah during a special Shabbat service conducted by St Annes Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Leonard Book. They also toured the Lake District, participated in lessons at Manchester’s King David High and had dental and optical check-ups.


Orthodox tenants housing let down

By James Martin, July 16, 2009

An affordable housing scheme for Orthodox families in Stamford Hill is struggling to fill all its units because Hackney Council has failed to find “suitable” families as tenants.

Jewish housing association the Industrial Dwellings Society (IDS) purchased 20 units from Taylor Wimpey at Latham’s Yard in Upper Clapton in 2002, with the support of a £3 million Housing Corporation grant. The first 15 were occupied at the start of June.


Members’ fury over quit order

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Hackney Synagogue members are furious that they were given less than a month’s notice to stop using their Grade II listed shul.

Louis Cohen, the warden of the north London congregation, said they were informed by the United Synagogue only last week that the Victorian building in Brenthouse Road was being sold at the end of the month.

After tomorrow week, the community have permission from the new owners to hold services downstairs in the hall of the building for a year.


Hendon rabbi loses job

By Keren David, July 16, 2009

Financial cutbacks have cost a new community its full-time rabbi.

Rabbi Avi Scharf is returning to Israel after a year, following a funding cut to reduce his role at the Alei Tzion community in Hendon to part-time.

The rabbi arrived from Israel last year with his wife Devorah and their four children. His position was funded by the congregation, the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and Immanuel College.


Luton Liberals to seek new home

By Jay Grenby, July 16, 2009

The small Bedfordshire market town of Ampthill, though home to a well-known firm of wholesale kosher butchers, is not otherwise known as a hub of Jewish activity. But all that could change should Ampthill, as suggested, become the location for the permanent premises of the Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue.