Community life

Fairtrade kipot are fashion statement

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

Communities throughout the country are using Fairtrade Fortnight to further their support for ethical trading.

A guide published by the Jewish Social Action Forum (JHub) has been distributed to shuls nationwide explaining how they can become involved.

The forum has received hundreds of orders for kipot - many personalised for simchahs - which are made by Indian co-operatives from ethically sourced cotton yarn.

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May Mendleson, 108, is Britain's oldest Jew

By Ruth Levene, February 25, 2010

May Mendleson doesn't like to have a fuss made of her - even on her 108th birthday.

Celebrations were low key for Mrs Mendleson, believed to be Britain's oldest Jew, at Cardiff's Penylan Jewish home, where she has been a resident for five years. However, she was delighted that her son Astor travelled from London with his wife Carole.

Born in Glasgow, she moved to London before marriage and took jobs including secretary to Hackney Conservative Party.

She met her husband Harry at a wedding where she was a bridesmaid and he was the best man.

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Hull care facility spreads its net for residents

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Hull's Jewish care home is hoping to attract new residents from neighbouring communities whose residential facilities are over-subscribed.

The committee at Menorah House is looking further afield to help fill its rooms, while assisting those unable to access kosher homes in other cities.

Ranked excellent at its last key unannounced inspection, the home has 24 flats, all with en-suite facilities and sitting rooms.

Harold Flasher, chairman of Menorah House's building committee, said the move was intended to help the home weather the recession.

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Work starts on £1m Immanuel project

February 25, 2010

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Tuesday to mark the start of building work at Immanuel College in Bushey.

An eight-classroom block costing nearly £1 million is planned for completion in time for the next academic year. The classrooms will be multi-functional, providing large or more intimate teaching areas and an examination hall.

"We are investing for the future of Immanuel College," said governors' chair Dr Sara Levene. "This new block will add state-of-the-art facilities to the campus".

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United Synagogue keen for law change over JFS

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 25, 2010

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser this week stressed the need to push for legislative change following the Supreme Court ruling on Jewish school admissions.

During a lively debate with Manchester leaders, educationists and Orthodox and Reform shul members at Whitefield Hebrew Congregation, Mr Hochhauser outlined his concerns over the ruling, which prohibits schools from choosing pupils according to their parents' Jewish status.

He suggested that it could also have implications for synagogues and communal charities.

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Esther Ranzten launches Who Do You Think You Are show

By Demian Smith, February 25, 2010

Responding to a growing interest in family history research, the Jewish Genealogical Society will be exhibiting at the Who Do You Think You Are? show at London's Olympia this weekend.

JGS education officer Jeanette Rosenberg said "people are studying their genealogy to find out where their family have got to. They are keen to connect with living relatives all over the world, since frequently families were separated by the Holocaust."

This year, the show organisers have created a specific website area to help Jews trace their ancestors.

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William Hague tackles Israel issues

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 25, 2010

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the government acted correctly in inviting, rather than summoning, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor to the Foreign Office to discuss the use of forged British passports by those involved in the killing of Hamas militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

On the day Mr Prosor met Permament Under Secretary Sir Peter Ricketts, Mr Hague told the 170 guests at a British-Israel Chamber of Commerce dinner in Manchester that there was "no need to humiliate him [Mr Prosor] in order to have a discussion".

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Harrow congregations to ponder merger proposal

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

Two Reform synagogues in the Harrow area have taken the first steps towards a potential merger.

Members of the Kol Chai community in Hatch End and the Middlesex New Synagogue have been invited to parallel open meetings on March 21 to discuss the option.

The idea is for the buildings to be sold to fund a purpose-built site for a combined adult membership of 1,300.

Kol Chai co-chair Neil Mendoza said: "Our area is an exciting and dynamic place to be Jewish. Harrow has the third largest Jewish population in London and Bushey is one of the fastest growing communities in the UK.

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Elstree nursery fails the Ofsted security test

By Jay Grenby, February 25, 2010

A shul-based independent nursery has been criticised by Ofsted following an unannounced visit prompted by concerns raised by a parent.
Ofsted found that the Little Bicks premises at Ohr Yisroel (Federation) Synagogue in Elstree "were not secure and an intruder could enter". It further could not "evidence that there was always a suitable manager working on a day-to-day basis".

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Grandmother's bid to become Sephardi exec

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

A London grandmother is bidding to become what is believed to be the first female executive member of Britain's oldest Orthodox synagogue body.

Doris Osen is standing for election next month to the mahamad of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, despite reservations from the Sephardi Beth Din as to whether Jewish law permits her to serve on it.

Mrs Osen, in her 70s, is descended from two of the families who founded Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London in 1701 and has chaired a number of the synagogue's committees down the years.

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