Community life

Birthday concerto

By Ruth Rothenberg, March 5, 2009

Belsize Square Synagogue celebrated its 70th anniversary on Sunday with the premiere of a specially commissioned cello concerto echoing the experience of its founding members, refugees from Nazi Germany.

Written by the shul’s choirmaster Benjamin Wolf, Etz Chayim, Tree of Life reflects a community reclaiming its traditions — and above all, its musical heritage.


Southern comfort

March 5, 2009

Prize-winning author Linda Grant and a special guest drew over 100 literary lovers to the first Jewish Book Week event in South London.

The bonus for the audience at the Nightingale home in Clapham was that Ms Grant was accompanied by Canadian fashionista Catherine Hill, the inspiration for her new book, The Thoughtful Dresser.

Ms Hill came to Canada as a teenager after surviving Auschwitz. She att-ributes her survival and career success to the credo that looking good leads to feeling good — even in a death camp.


Kisharon cooks up £10k

By James Martin, March 5, 2009

Over 1,000 people made a meal of supporting special needs educational charity Kisharon on Saturday evening.

They were guests at 60 dinner parties nationwide organised as part of a “Quiches for Kisharon” fundraiser from which the charity hopes to generate £10,000.

Kisharon’s Juliet Moss said Costco and kosher butcher Louis Mann were among retailers who supported the event by either “donating food, a percentage of profits, or collecting donations from shoppers”.

Leanne Orkin helped to organise a dinner party in Stanmore for 70 guests which raised over £2,000.


Yavneh pupils enjoy Olympic games

By James Martin, March 5, 2009

Four-hundred Yavneh College pupils were put through their paces by British Olympic triple jumper Larry Achike on Tuesday.

Achike visited the Borehamwood secondary to conduct a fitness circuit on behalf of Team Superschools, with participants raising £5,000 through sponsorship towards a trampoline and a support scheme for promising young athletes.

After completing a demanding series of exercises, pupils took advantage of the opportunity to quiz Achike about his career in international athletics, training methods and diet.


Restaurant trade defies recession

By James Martin, March 5, 2009

Kosher diners are not being put off their food by the recession.

Twenty kosher licence inquiries have been received by kashrut authorities in London and Manchester over the past few months.

This week, Kedassia-supervised Golders Green Indian restaurant Mattancherry reopened under new management.

There have been two recent kosher additions in Manchester and new restaurants are set to open after Pesach in Hendon and Borehamwood.


Edgware's web extra

March 5, 2009

Edgware Synagogue is aiming to broaden the appeal of its website with the introduction of EU Playback, offering users a range of educational and enterainment material.

The audio programme includes a synopsis of the week's sedra and Desert Island Discs-style interview with a congregant, interspersed with the subject's favourite music.

Russia's national anthem and the theme music from Schindler's List are among the selections of opening "castaway" Rabbi David Lister, who is celebrating the first anniversary of his Edgware appointment.

Three congregants are the brains behind


Shivah film to get new lease of life

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

A short film which starred Sir Derek Jacobi as a trickster targeting shivah houses is to be made into a full-length feature.

Sidney Turtlebaum was first screened at last year’s UK Jewish Film Festival, featuring an 80-something gay conman who steals from mourners in the Jewish heartlands of north west London — using a newspaper that looks worryingly like the JC to track down the shivahs.

The 10-minute comedy was shot in Golders Green and funded using a £10,000 grant from the Pears Foundation UKJFF Short Film Fund.


More shuls aid crunch victims

By Jay Grenby, March 5, 2009

Job losses among the New North London Synagogue membership as a result of the economic downturn has prompted the Finchley-based Masorti shul to establish an employment resource project.

Congregants have been asked to offer counselling and training to those affected and to forward news of job opportunities.

“We’ve had a great response,” reported NNLS executive director Claire Mandel. “Job-seekers in our community are starting to make use of the service, and we know of at least one success already.”


Baftas day in Ilford

March 5, 2009

Ilford Federation Synagogue hosted its own Baftas at the weekend - the Bring A Friend To Shul Award.

In its second year, the Ilford Bafta goes to those bringing along the most additional congregants to a Shabbat morning service. Once again, the winners were Michael and Lauren Crader, who brought 17 friends with them.

Presenting them with their trophy, Rabbi Alex Chapper said: "The idea behind the Baftas is to encourage regular attendees to reach out to others on the periphery who may just be waiting for an invitation to come to shul.


Liberal party at the Commons for donors

March 5, 2009

There was an Anne Frank theme to the Liberal Judaism dinner at the House of Commons on Saturday evening to thank patrons who had donated a total of £180,000 to the movement.

The guest speakers were actress Tamsin Greig — who portrayed Anne Frank’s mother in the recent BBC adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary — and Anne Frank Trust co-founder Bee Klug.

Anne Frank’s step-sister Eva Schloss was also among the 80 guests who enjoyed a tour of the Commons from Harwich and Clacton Tory MP Douglas Carswell. In the Lords, their guide was Liberal Judaism president Baroness Neuberger.