Community life

Salita is boxing clever with pre-fight minyan

By Faga Speker, December 3, 2009

Newcastle Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Dovid Lewis is helping boxer Dmitriy Salita prepare for the fight of his life.

Before the religiously observant Salita challenges Britain’s Amir Khan for the WBA light-welterweight title on Saturday night in Newcastle, Rabbi Lewis will be organising a Shabbat minyan and meal in the boxer’s hotel. The rabbi also hopes to attend the fight, along with members of the Newcastle and Gateshead communities.


Manchester tops the class in Sats tests

By Cathy Forman and Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Manchester’s Jewish primary schools excelled in the Sats performance tests taken by 11-year-olds in the summer.

Newly-published government figures identify North Cheshire Jewish Primary as one of the county’s top performing schools, with pupils achieving a 100 per cent pass rate at level four in science, maths and English. Taking into account its “contextual value-added measure”, which rates schools by the progress of pupils from the age of seven to 11, North Cheshire also topped the borough chart for Stockport.


Movers and shakers

December 3, 2009

Two teenagers have beaten a world record for the longest continuous handshake, raising almost £1,500 for charity.

UCS pupils Matthew Rosen, 16, and Joe Ackerman, 15, shook hands non-stop for 15 hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds at the O2 Centre in Finchley Road, beating the previous record of 15 hours.

As part of their promotion of the event, the boys placed a spoof training video on YouTube and took an assembly at school. Proceeds will go to charities supported by the school, among them the Parkinson’s Disease Society.


Breakaway planning

By Cathy Forman, December 3, 2009

The breakaway group from Bournemouth Reform Synagogue has agreed a framework for its future direction.
From January, the Southern Reform Community will be running alternate weekly Shabbat morning and evening services in homes of supporters. “We are going to see how it goes,” said Janet Gee, a member of the breakaway group and a former Bournemouth Reform chair.


Mumbai memorial

December 3, 2009

Chabad Lubavitch chief executive Rabbi Bentzi Sudak was among the speakers at a Kensington Palace remembrance service for victims of last year’s Mumbai terror attacks.

Among the murdered were Chabad Mumbai directors Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, whose toddler son Moshe was spirited away through the bravery of their Indian nanny Sandra Samuel.
Rabbi Sudak said that while the terrorists had tried to “spread a veil of darkness, humanity responded with its brightest light. We witnessed the heroism of the likes of Sandra and the unbreakable spirit of the people of Mumbai.”


Glasgow deli

December 3, 2009

A new branch of Mark’s Deli has opened in Giffnock, the second kosher store in the area run by Mark Cohen.
Mark’s Deli provides a lifeline to Jews living away from the mainstream, delivering orders from Dundee to John O’Groats. “As long as there are people needing kosher food, we’ll get there by hook or by crook,” Mr Cohen, 35, said.

He is continuing a century of kosher provision by his family. His mother Doreen is a caterer, his great-great aunt Sophie Geneen ran Glasgow’s original kosher caterers and great aunt Annie Cooper also operated a kosher deli.


Rabbi enjoys warm welcome

By Jay Grenby, December 3, 2009

The Chief Rabbi celebrated a new chapter in the history of “one of the liveliest, warmest and most welcoming shuls in London” when he inducted Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld as Kingston, Surbiton and District Synagogue’s minister on Sunday.

Lord Sacks told his audience that the young American-born minister had already “endeared himself to the Kingston congregation as someone who cares both about the community and the individual”.


Manchester museum in crisis as attendances fall

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 3, 2009

The cash-strapped Manchester Jewish Museum has launched a survival appeal in the wake of falling income and attendances.

Annual visitor numbers have dropped from 15,000 to an estimated 11,000 for 2009 as squeezed educational budgets have reduced the number of school parties on which the museum relies heavily to meet its £140,000 running costs.

In 2003, 500 school groups visited the museum. Last year, there were 350 and the decline is continuing. The museum charges £2.95 per pupil. It attracts few visitors from the local Jewish community.


Interfaith women meet Board of Deputies

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2009

Women from six faith communities have met at the Board of Deputies to discuss the challenges they face in modern Britain.

Bharti Tailor, the first woman secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain and Cassandra Balchin, chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, were among the 50 guests, also including former Board vice-president Rosalind Preston.

Coinciding with Interfaith Week, the impetus for the event was the review paper on the role of women in the Jewish community: Connection, Continuity and Community — British Jewish Women Speak Out.


Stanley Fink backs Liberal Judaism

November 26, 2009

Hedge fund boss and Tory Party fundraiser Stanley Fink lauded the inclusive nature of Liberal congregations when he hosted Liberal Judaism’s patrons evening in central London on Monday.

Mr Fink said that he and his wife Barbara had been warmly welcomed by the movement. Its ethos tallied with their own and they had become keen advocates of Liberal Judaism.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich told patrons that their donations were being used in creative ways. As well as supporting the development of new communities, the money was helping younger congregants.