Community life

US moves to cut burial transfer costs

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 8, 2009

People moving from city to city will face a lesser financial burden to change their burial arrangements if the United Synagogue’s national burial fee transfer scheme is implemented.

The US is asking Orthodox synagogues to guarantee to forward a fixed element of a congregant’s past fees to another Orthodox burial organisation. At present, accumulated fees are lost when a person moves to another burial society.

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£4m shul project

By Jay Grenby, December 30, 2008

Several hundred New North London Synagogue members attended a ground-breaking ceremony for the shul’s £4 million building project at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.

Minister Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg told them that, as well as being home to the growing Masorti congregation — 1,600 adults and 900 children — the new building would “allow the synagogue to serve the wider community”. He illustrated New North London’s commitment to others by making a donation to an Israeli soup kitchen.

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Holiday helpers give a charitable present

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 30, 2008

Supporters of the Tikun charity have been helping in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and care homes during the holiday period through its Light up a Life programme.

Operating from December 24, the programme has attracted more than 200 volunteers and assisted charities and projects including Crisis, North London soup kitchens, Jewish Care and Gift.

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Norwood’s big spend

December 30, 2008

How Norwood spent £35 million in the financial year to March 2008 is detailed in the welfare charity’s newly released annual review.

The vast majority — £31.68 million — went on running its services. The remainder was used for raising funds (£2.58 million) and management (£742,000).

Over £15 million was spent on providing adult services at the Ravenswood Village in Berkshire, close on £8 million on learning disability support in London, £6 million on special education services, £2.28 million on children and family provision and £470,000 on fostering and adoption.

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School gets better Ofsted marks

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 30, 2008

An Orthodox boys’ school placed on special measures by Ofsted in 2006 as “inadequate” is celebrating an improved inspection report.

Pardes House Primary in Finchley, North-West London is now rated as “satisfactory” by Ofsted, which noted: “The headteacher, the menahel [religious principal] and the governors have a shared will and determination to bring continuing and sustained improvement.”

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Maccabi cricketer dies in US, aged 24

December 30, 2008

A well-known Maccabi cricketer has died from a leukaemia-related illness in New York at the age of 24.

Richard Ableson played for Belmont and Edgware Cricket Club until his move to America in 2007. The son of former BECC chairman Mark Ableson, the spin bowler and hard-hitting late middle order batsman made his first XI debut at the age of 14. He was described by current chairman Neil Myeroff as “the perfect club member, always on time and helping out with odd jobs. He was also fun off the field and his sense of humour was great for team spirit.”

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Leo Baeck to auction signed Chagall books

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2008

London’s Leo Baeck College is to sell a collection of 49 books signed and illustrated by Marc Chagall.

The collection, believed to be worth more than £250,000, was donated to the college 15 years ago by Alfred and Irmgard Neuman, who were neighbours of the artist in St Paul de Vence, South of France. They were impressed by its role at the time as the only Progressive rabbinic seminary in Europe.

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Shul looks ahead

By Jay Grenby, December 30, 2008

Radlett Synagogue members have approved a wide-ranging “strategy and vision” document defining the community’s goals over the next five years.

After the last in a series of consultations with congregants, board member Andrew Katz claimed “a loud and clear endorsement” of the shul’s plans.

Mr Katz and board colleagues Michael Seres and Howard Cohen were aiming to “grow the buzz in Radlett through a mixture of religious, educational and social activities for all ages across the community”.

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Rights - and wrongs

December 30, 2008

A judge, a JC columnist and a rabbi debated different aspects of human rights at a League of Jewish Women forum at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood.

Judge Dawn Freedman gave legislative examples of how the Human Rights Act has been interpreted, citing the controversial plan for 42-day pre-charge detention of terror suspects and the retention of DNA samples of people who had not been convicted.

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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.

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