Community life

Snow shuts schools and welfare services

By Jonathan Kalmus and Robyn Rosen, January 7, 2010

Heavy snow in the north on Tuesday threw Jewish school and welfare services into chaos. And there were problems for London communal organisations as the snow reached the capital on Wednesday.

In Manchester, there was no school for the Manchester King David’s 1,400 infant, junior and high school pupils. Snow was 12 inches deep in the playgrounds on Tuesday morning and infant school governors’ chair Simon Rosenthal said some staff had walked four miles to the Crumpsall premises, having been unable to travel by car or tram. “It’s just impossible,” he said.


Emergency snow line for pensioners in Maidenhead

By Robyn Rosen in Maidenhead, December 29, 2009

Maidenhead Synagogue volunteers organised an emergency welfare check on elderly community members after heavy snow fell in the Thames Valley area.

The shul’s minister, Rabbi Jonathan Romain, was among those who phoned senior congregants living alone, checking on their well-being and, where necessary, delivering essential supplies.

“Synagogues are not just for Shabbat, but to be there to assist members in all sorts of circumstances, especially times when those alone are cut off and feel helpless,” Rabbi Romain said. “That is what community is all about.”


Masorti rabbis "virtual chaplaincy"

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2009

A “virtual chaplaincy” of Masorti rabbis has been launched to encourage young adults to engage in Jewish life without the need to join a shul.

The strategy is part of the relaunch of Marom, Masorti’s young adults and student division.

Movement director Matt Plen said the wider community was struggling to keep young adults involved in Judaism. “The community here is very good at working with youth, but that breaks down when people turn 18 and go to university. People of that age are very resistant to a framework of commitment.


CST welcomes extra police patrols

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 29, 2009

The Community Security Trust has welcomed the launch of a police campaign against antisocial behaviour in Prestwich after a rise in incidents of intimidation by groups of youths. Notices have been posted in local synagogues urging people to inform police about the offenders, who are thought to come from outside the main Jewish areas.

Funding has been sought from Bury Council to facilitate larger numbers of foot patrols by police officers across Prestwich. PC Andy Ferguson says the aim is to reassure residents.


Police: £20k for Jewish pensioner murder leads

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2009

A £20,000 reward is being offered for information on the murder of a Jewish pensioner in Stamford Hill a year ago.

Eveline “Lina” Kelmenson, 83, was discovered by police with her legs bound by duct tape in the top-floor bedroom of her three-storey house in Leweston Place on January 1, 2009, after her niece raised the alarm.

Police have reissued an appeal for information and have released further details about items stolen from the house. These include a gold chain that Miss Kelmenson wore around her neck and a Russian gold wedding band which belonged to her grandmother.


King David schools to rely on Orthodox shul membership

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 22, 2009

Manchester’s King David schools will rely on membership to synagogues rather than Jewish practice as the test for its admissions policy following last week’s Supreme Court ruling on JFS.

King David chair of governors Joshua Rowe said as a school with an Orthodox ethos, it will give priority to children whose parents are members of an Orthodox synagogue, but parents will not have to prove they attend it.

“The mission is to keep it simple for parents and for the school. We want as many children to join the school in the situation we’re in after the ruling.”


Rabbi quits Norrice Lea pulpit

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Livingstone, minister of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, has announced his resignation after 11 years.

Rabbi Livingstone, who is originally from South Africa, said he had a “variety” of options to pursue after feeling he had “peaked” from his post at one of the largest synagogues in London, which has 1,800 adult members and more than 1,000 members under the age of 21.

Rabbi Livingstone said: “I came to the point where I wanted to move on. I have had a pretty good time here. It’s a big shul and I have accomplished a lot. I feel that I have peaked here.”


'Class act' wins claim over US

By Leon Symons, December 22, 2009

A former senior educator has won his claim for unfair dismissal against the United Synagogue.

Jeffrey Leader, former director of education of the US’s Agency for Jewish Education and an employee for more than 20 years, was one of six people made redundant there as part of a cost cutting exercise that saw 17 people shed from the US. He brought the case because he claimed the redundancy process was unfair and he was given insufficient time to consult about alternative employment.


Party on

December 22, 2009

More than 1,000 doughnuts were consumed in two hours during Westfield shopping centre’s first Chanucah party. A giant menorah, klezmer band, school choir and arts and crafts entertained 1,000 guests.

Michael Gutman, Westfield’s managing director, said that the success of the event means that it will return next year.

He said: “It was fantastic to be able to celebrate Chanucah with so many members of the Jewish community.”


Virtual reality for Sussex

By Cecily Woolf, December 22, 2009

A virtual Jewish community centre linking the scattered communities throughout Sussex has become a global hit.

Graphic designer Gary Weston and charities consultant Andrew Devon designed SJO as a service to the community with the blessing of the local Representative Council, whose chairman Beryl Sharpe said: “Gary and Andy have done a great job.”