Community life

Masorti will take the train to New York

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 30, 2008

Fifteen Masorti members identified as future leaders of the movement will be travelling to New York as part of a training venture.

The group will also undergo professional leadership training sessions in the UK and theological tuition by rabbis as part of the five-month Atid Hadash, or New Future, programme Masorti is funding.


Conference is full of Eastern promise

December 30, 2008

The first winter conference of East (East Anglian Synagogues Together) brought 73 adults and 11 children from 13 shuls to the Suffolk village of Ditchingham, near Bungay.

It was an apposite location as Bungay features on maps from the Middle Ages as a centre of Jewish life and activity.

Israel and its impact on British Jewry was the theme and guest speakers included Zionist Federation president Eric Moonman and small communities minister Reverend Malcolm Weisman.


Brigade signs up for the Duke’s award

December 30, 2008

Over 300 Jewish high school students have enrolled for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through a Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade promotional drive.

The biggest number, 150, are from JFS. Forty-five pupils have joined the scheme from Immanuel College, 30 from Hasmonean, 27 from Menorah and 20 apiece from Yavneh College and King Solomon. More are joining up from from King David in Manchester.

New JLGB award co-ordinator Daniel Seedburgh looks forward to helping to prepare entrants “for expeditions which include map-reading skills, camping and outdoor cooking and first-aid”.


Care home VIPs at Spurs

December 23, 2008

Four Jewish Care residents with a combined age of 337 were guests of Spurs for the Uefa Cup match with Spartak Moscow at White Hart Lane last Thursday.

Bernard Reiss, 83, Howard Boyers, 94, Harry Spicer, 86 and Frieda Depreli, 74, together with their carers from the Lady Sarah Cohen home in Friern Barnet, enjoyed the 2-2 draw as part of a Spurs outreach programme. The match brought back happy memories for Mr Spicer, who said: “I haven’t been to the ground for so many years. Though I can no longer attend the games, my son does.”


MP is a candle-lighting house guest

December 23, 2008

Higher Education Minister and Tottenham MP David Lammy lit the first Chanucah candle in the home of one of his constituents on Sunday.

The event was in the house of Shmuel Davidsohn, executive director of the Chaverim youth group, where Mr Lammy was joined by other community members, rabbis and local politicians.

“It was the most brilliant day,” Mr Davidsohn reported. “It is always a pleasure to know that people in the government are supporting our community.”


Lottery chief checks up on museum’s £4.2m windfall

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 23, 2008

New Heritage Lottery Fund chairman Jenny Abramsky visited a building site at the Jewish Museum in Camden last Thursday to see how it is spending a £4.2 million HLF grant.

The cash is helping to fund a £9 million extension to the musuem, currently split between premises in Camden and Finchley, although the Camden site is closed because of the redevelopment. The plan is to merge the collections on the enlarged Camden site, which will have the space for temporary exhibits.


Shul hardship fund

December 23, 2008

Aware that 2009 could be a difficult year for some of its congregants, Hendon Reform Synagogue is setting up a fund to assist those suffering financial hardship.

Its aim is to provide financial aid, support and advice until social services or a Jewish charity can take up the reins.

Hendon Reform will be celebrating its 60th anniversary and it has been agreed that profits from a commemorative brochure will go into the fund.


Church wants to buy Welsh synagogue

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 23, 2008

Swansea Hebrew Congregation is selling its 67-year-old synagogue building to a church group.

The community has less than a dozen-and-a-half active members with an average age of 70. Others have moved away but retain membership for burial or sentimental reasons.

If the sale to the LifePoint Church is completed, the congregation will be able to rent a small hall in the premises to continue services.


Shabbat is delayed for Blue Peter crew

By Jay Grenby, December 23, 2008

Edgware Synagogue congregants were more than a little surprised when their rabbi asked them to turn up on a Sunday afternoon for a Shabbat service.

But there was no shortage of volunteers — particularly among the younger members of the community — when it was revealed that the request was because of a visit by a Blue Peter camera crew and Jewish presenter Joel Defries.

They were filming for a segment to be broadcast on January 27, Holocaust Memorial Day.


Sweet finish to Montefiore tribute

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2008

A bygone treat — a lemon tart baked according to the recipe of Judith, Lady Montefiore — was served to 120 people at Lauderdale Road Synagogue, Maida Vale, including the Israeli Ambassador, the Chief Rabbi and the Earl of Balfour.

The historic dessert rounded off a dinner to celebrate two of British Jewry’s greatest supporters of Israel — Lady Montefiore’s husband, Sir Moses, the Victorian philanthropist, and Dr Moses Gaster, who led the Sephardic community as Haham from 1887 to 1918.