Community life

Bone marrow group wants more screen tests

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A year-long global fundraising campaign supporting Jews needing bone marrow matches has reached London.

Volunteers from the British Friends of Ezer Mizion, which organises bone marrow testing in Israel, were outside north-west London synagogues and shops seeking donations towards a £2.5 million UK target.

Simon Maurer of the British Friends says the campaign will enable “many more Israelis to go for a bone marrow test, which will improve the chances of Jews worldwide finding a match”.


Tweet smell of success

June 4, 2009

As part of its outreach efforts, Reform Judaism now has a presence on both Facebook and Twitter.

The movement’s Martin Dix says the idea is to “engage with Jews across the country who may otherwise have no contact with the Jewish community, live at a distance from Jewish centres, or who do not want to join a synagogue but are looking for new ways to connect with Jewish life.”

Traditional forms of communication were no longer sufficient. “Twitter and Facebook are hubs of social networking, bringing together millions of people.


Come to Chabad — near the pub

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2009

A £250,000 Chabad centre has opened in Manchester’s Whitefield area. A one-year refurbishment has transformed the former off-licence into a facility housing a Jewish resource library, Judaica store, lounge and a multimedia lecture hall.

However, director Rabbi Shmuli Jaffe says the centre’s greatest asset is its location. “It is opposite the Parkfield Inn pub, which is full of Jews on Thursday evenings, and its street corner is where the kids are on motzei Shabbos, being the only stretch of Jewish shops in the neighbourhood.”


Fifteen-year-old mourned

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

Over 1,000 people attended the funeral of a 15-year-old boy from Stamford Hill who died after being in a coma for four days.

Chaim Roth was one of 10 children from a Satmar family in Stamford Hill living in assisted housing provided by Agudas Israel.

According to Yesodey Hatorah School principal Rabbi Avraham Pinter, he had got up after taking a nap in his room but then “collapsed into a coma on the floor”. He died in Homerton Hospital.


New memorial to Shoah hero

By Ben Jaglom, June 4, 2009

A garden honouring the late MI6 agent who helped thousands of Jews to flee Nazi Germany was opened at Finchley’s Sternberg Centre on Sunday in the presence of Cherie Blair.

Frank Foley worked as a passport control officer at the British Embassy in Berlin as a cover for his spying activities. As well as favourably interpreting the rules on visas, he helped to forge passports and even sheltered Jews in his own home.


Charity climber is off to a sticky start

June 4, 2009

Paul Albert chose some sticky conditions in Romford Market to prepare for his fundraising climb of Mount Kilimanjaro next week.

He sat in a bath of rice pudding from 10.30am-3pm to raise almost £600 for the local St Francis Hospice, which cared for his grandfather Harry Cohen in the final weeks of his life.


Survivors’ big day in Parliament

June 4, 2009

A group of Holocaust survivors spent Wednesday at the heart of government.

Survivor Roman Halter wrote to Gordon Brown at the end of last year asking if it would be possible for him and his colleagues from the Survivors’ Centre in Hendon to visit Parliament.

As part of a programme co-ordinated with the Holocaust Educational Trust, MP Ian Austin escorted 19 survivors around the House of Commons.

In the most dramatic of political weeks, the group also watched Prime Minister’s Questions, took tea with Hendon MP Andrew Dismore and were given a tour of Downing Street.


Charity cyclist tragedy

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A north London solicitor died on Sunday after collapsing when cycling with friends near Potters Bar.

Hadley Wood father-of-three Steven Kenton, 58, was a keen cyclist who had completed many charity bike rides and a sponsored Mount Everest Base Camp trek. He was a “committed fundraiser” for children and families charity Norwood.

Mr Kenton’s eldest daughter, Elana, 28, said he “always gave to others. He was very active in the North London Hospice and would always volunteer to draft wills for free for the residents there.”


Security force launches patrols of Charedi areas

By Leon Symons, June 4, 2009

A controversial American-style security organisation has begun regular patrols in London’s biggest strictly Orthodox communities.

Based on the Shomrim (guards) of New York, the privately funded service covers the Hendon/Golders Green and Stamford Hill areas through two independent arms — North-West London Community Patrol and Stamford Hill Safety Rescue and Patrol. Shomrim claims it has been set up “because the community feels unsafe due to a spike in street attacks and robberies over the last couple of years”.


Lofty ambition to clarify extension rules

By James Martin, Haringey, May 28, 2009

Haringey’s strictly Orthodox community is being consulted over new guidelines clarifying the council’s position on loft extensions.