Community life

Kaddish Dropped after complaints

January 28, 2010

A WOMAN rabbi is distraught that an invitation to recite kaddish at the City Hall ceremony was withdrawn after complaints from “observant Jews”.

Rabbi Miriam Berger of Finchley Reform Synagogue was “honoured” to have been approached by Boris Johnson’s office. “But a few weeks ago I got a call asking to do a reading instead. They said pressure had been put on them not to allow kaddish by a woman.

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Boris: ‘Keep driving the message of the Holocaust’

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Boris Johnson stressed the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive at City Hall on Tuesday.

After hosting an HMD ceremony for survivors, civic and Jewish community leaders and students, the London Mayor said: “It’s so easy to become desensitised to the events of the Holocaust and forget how important it was. That would be tragic. We have to keep driving the message.

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Northwood remembers the Holocaust

By Jay Grenby, January 28, 2010

A memorial to Shoah victims has been installed in the entrance to Northwood Synagogue. The memorial is a wall of Jerusalem stone with a plaque in Welsh slate bearing a quotation from the Book of Job in Hebrew and English. Designed by architect Robert Budwig, it was donated by the congregation’s immediate past chair David Freedman in memory of his wife Estelle.

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Council denies Dismore snub

By Jay Grenby, January 28, 2010

Barnet Council has denied an HMD snub to the Hendon Labour MP who was one of the prime movers behind the establishment of the commemoration in Britain.

Instead of joining the formal procession of community leaders and other dignitaries at Sunday’s local ceremony, as he has done every year, Andrew Dismore sat in the back in the public area.

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Gordon Brown hails British Holocaust hero

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Gordon Brown backed HMD by praising a “brave and courageous” British PoW who swapped places with a Jewish inmate at Auschwitz.

Denis Avey, now 91, was a guest of the Prime Minister, along with survivor Ben Helfgott and Holocaust Educational Trust representatives at Downing Street last Friday.

With his wife Sarah also in attendance, Mr Brown signed the Holocaust memorial Book of Commitment and spoke with the group for 45 minutes.

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Holocaust survivor’s tales move Guildhall audience

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

An 84-year-old told Britain’s national Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony how joining the Auschwitz orchestra had kept her alive.

In a moving video testimony to an audience of 600 at London’s Guildhall, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch said: “It was the cello that saved my life and it has become a very important object for my family. It gives us a dimension outside the horror of what is going on in this world.”

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New chair of governors for JFS

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The new JFS chair of governors is accountant Michael Glass, 47, a foundation governor at the Kenton school since 2006 and vice-chairman for a year.

“I think it’s a very exciting challenge,” the Edgware resident said. “It’s time to move forward and concentrate on the academic elements and Jewish studies progression.”

He has two children, aged 13 and 16, who are currently JFS pupils and a third who finished last year.

Outgoing governors’ chair Russell Kett said the Supreme Court decision on JFS admissions was the “lowlight” of his tenure.

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Sephardi closure

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 21, 2010

The end of an 85-year era for one of south Manchester’s two Sephardi shuls was marked on Sunday with a deconsecration service at the Shaare Sedek Synagogue.

A closure decision was taken last year to enable the construction of a 200-seat satellite synagogue complex in Hale for some of the 600 members, which will carry the Shaare Sedek name. Building work on the £1 million-plus project is likely to start in late spring.

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Light 'virtual candle' for Holocaust Memorial Day

January 21, 2010

In the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is urging people to become involved by “lighting” a virtual candle at the www.hmd.org.uk website.

Organisers say this will signify “a commitment to helping build a safer, inclusive society where differences are respected”.

This year’s theme is “The Legacy of Hope” and marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. Events will be held throughout the country.

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Tories courting the Manchester vote

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 21, 2010

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague became the most senior Tory figure to back Michelle Wiseman’s campaign to unseat Labour minister Ivan Lewis in Bury South when he addressed 70 Manchester Jewish community members at Whitefield Golf Club.

Mr Hague took questions on Conservative policy and his own political career. Martin Gilbert, who asked about simplifying benefits, was impressed by his competence.

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