Community life

Jewish Council compiles new Four Questions for Seder

March 18, 2010

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality has compiled its own Seder questions and answers which it hopes families will incorporate into the service.

It asks why there is "so much prejudice" against asylum seekers and refugees and why Jews have a special responsibility towards those seeking refuge in Britain. The issues of why our forebears came to Britain and why do people seek sanctuary in the UK complete the four questions.


Musical memorial to Shlomo Argov

By Leon Symons, March 18, 2010

The son of the late Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov, dedicated a music room in his memory at the refurbished Israeli Embassy on Monday.

Mr Argov was shot in the head at point-blank range as he left a dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in London's Mayfair in June, 1982, leaving him paralysed except for some movement in his head.

After emergency brain surgery, he spent three months in hospital in Britain before being transferred to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he remained until his death in 2003.


Business lunch in support of Yavneh College

March 18, 2010

BT chief executive Ian Livingston and his Next counterpart Simon Wolfson hosted a lunch for 45 business leaders at the BT Tower in support of Herts Jewish secondary school Yavneh College.

Introduced by educational philanthropist Benjamin Perl, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks spoke glowingly about Yavneh's achievements.

Mr Livingston also addressed diners, as did headteacher Dr Dena Coleman and pupils Talia Jay, Richard Reback and Liz Drey on different aspects of school life.


Grandmother is oldest UK immigrant to Israel

By Robyn Rosen, March 18, 2010

A 90-year-old great-grandmother has become the oldest person to make aliyah from the UK, more than 30 years after completing her original application form.

Phyllis Lader will leave Finchley on Sunday for a new life in an English-speaking retirement village located between Netanya and Ra'anana.

Mrs Lader, who has more than 60 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, still has the application form from three decades ago. Her then change of heart was prompted by a desire to stay close to family.


Sephardi leaders search for spiritual head

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

Sephardi leaders have started the search for a new spiritual head to succeed Rabbi Abraham Levy, who has led the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation for 30 years.

Gibraltar-born Rabbi Levy is 71 and has served the congregation for more than 50 years in total.

"I am very ready to retire and to help find a successor," he said. "We need to find someone we can train to succeed me. Our traditions and liturgy are unique in the world."


Kingston synagogue helps Czech Jewish archive

By Jay Grenby, March 18, 2010

America's Holocaust Memorial Museum is to fund the digitisation of a Czech archive assembled by Kingston Synagogue's Ostrava group.The support was announced on Sunday at the group's annual reception for survivors and descendants of Ostrava Jewry.

The group was set up five years ago to find out more about the history of Ostrava and its Jewish community after a Sefer Torah once used there was offered to the Kingston shul on permanent loan by the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust.


Local kosher shops struggle to compete

By Jonathan Kalmus, Jessica Elgot and Stephanie Brickman, March 18, 2010

Among the shoppers at Haber's World kosher store in Prestwich, Manchester, on Sunday, Jennifer Forman from Altrincham had already sorted one major element of her Pesach provisions. "I've got a houseful of the 29p [Tesco] matzahs, but mostly I've tried to buy in the Jewish shops. I want them to carry on. Things seem cheaper than normal."

Whitefield grandfather Geoffrey Reynolds said he had bought both from supermarkets and kosher outlets. "There is better variety at the kosher shops and we always come out to support them."


Shenley rabbi quits: 'We were not a good fit'

By Jay Grenby, March 18, 2010

Yet another United Synagogue pulpit has fallen vacant with this week's announcement that Rabbi Natan Levy is to leave Shenley shul.

Rabbi Levy, who was appointed as the growing community's part-time minister only 18 months ago, said his departure was by mutual consent. "The Shenley community and I had reached a point where we agreed that a parting of the ways would be to the benefit of both of us," he said.

"It was no one's fault. It is a great community which I love dearly but we were not a good fit. They were looking for a certain kind of rabbi and I was not that rabbi."


Charedi plan to buy Skinners' School

By Leon Symons, March 18, 2010

Hackney's Charedi community is to renew its efforts to buy the old Skinners' School after councillors rejected a home-building plan for the site.

The planning sub-committee voted 5-4 against Berkeley Homes' proposal to knock down the school and build luxury homes. The decision was greeted with delight by local Charedim who packed the public gallery.

Members of the Belz, Satmar and Lubavitch communities maintain that the site should remain in educational use.


Smart shoppers win Pesach price war

By Robyn Rosen and Cathy Forman, March 18, 2010

Shoppers are the winners in a price war on Pesach essentials as kosher stores are meeting the competition from the major supermarket chains.

A JC investigation reveals that many stores have kept prices at last year's levels and used deals on matzah to lure customers through their doors. But independent retailers complain that they cannot compete with some supermarket specials.