Community life

Hertsmere head is standing down

By Robyn Rosen, February 11, 2010

Hertsmere Jewish Primary’s first headteacher is retiring after 11 years in the post.

Michele Bazak took charge at the Radlett school when it opened in 1999 with 80 pupils. It now has 480 pupils and 75 staff.

“It has been a real privilege to be the first headteacher,” Mrs Bazak said. “It gave me the opportunity to build a school with my own vision and to build a team of educators who could provide a wonderful education.


Matt Lucas hosts birthday quiz at Edgware Reform

By Jay Grenby, February 11, 2010

Matt Lucas hosted a supper quiz on Sunday to launch Edgware Reform Synagogue’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

The 260 tickets were snapped up within 24 hours and the Little Britain star — Edgware Reform’s most famous son —did not disappoint his audience, which included his mother and step-mother.


BBYO celebrates 70th birthday

By Robyn Rosen, February 11, 2010

BBC news presenter Jonathan Charles was among 100 BBYO alumni who gathered in central London on Monday for the first of the youth movement’s 70th birthday events.

Those with the longest links to the organisation included north Londoner Felix Franks, 83, who met his wife Hedy, 80, after joining BBYO in 1948.

“I had been in the British Army and didn’t know many Jewish people and so joined to meet new people,” he recalled. “I met a very beautiful girl and asked her out for a date.” They married in 1950 and now have five grandchildren.


Camp Simcha’s northern exposure

February 11, 2010

The increasing Manchester influence of Camp Simcha, helping children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, was highlighted at a Salford meeting.

Neville Goldschneider, executive director of the north London-based charity, reported that Camp Simcha had been working with 13 local families, among them seven children with cancer and others with genetic or heart conditions.

“It is so important for us to inform the community about Camp Simcha so that families that may need us know we are here.”


Rabbi criticises Scotland's first Masorti synagogue

By Stephanie Brickman, February 11, 2010

The establishment of Scotland’s first Masorti group has not been welcomed by the minister of Glasgow’s biggest shul.

Rabbi Moshe Rubin of the 850-member Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue voiced concern at the addition of another congregation in an area of declining Jewish population. “With the size of the community, it’s just not desirable to create yet another division.”

But at Masorti Scotland, which holds its inaugural service at the weekend, Warren Bader took issue with Rabbi Rubin. “We do not see ourselves as being divisive to the community,” he said.


Birmingham burial fees row eased

By Cathy Forman, February 11, 2010

Meetings were held this week in an effort to resolve a long-running dispute over burial fees between Birmingham’s two Orthodox synagogues.

On Wednesday evening the shul councils of Birmingham Hebrew Congregation (Singers Hill) and Central Synagogue met separately to discuss plans for a solution.

Central leaders have been enraged by steep rises in burial fees and maintenance charges from Singers Hill, which looks after the Witton and Brandwood End cemeteries on behalf of the community.


Glasgow: Community where less is more

By Stephanie Brickman, February 4, 2010

Ask any Scot to complete the sentence “I belong…” and the immediate answer will be: “I belong to Glasgow, and Glasgow belongs to me”. What is true of the general population equally applies to Scottish Jewry. There is pride and passion about being a Jew and a Glaswegian.

However, two-thirds of what was once a 15,000 population now reminisce from a distance — usually London, Manchester or Tel Aviv.


Manchester community questions MPs and ministers

February 4, 2010

A panel including Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis, Liverpool MP Louise Ellman and deputy Israeli ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher attracted a 200 crowd to South Manchester Synagogue in Bowdon on Sunday.

Topics covered included Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report. Mr Lewis said the Goldstone Report, accusing Israel of war crimes, was flawed but defended the British decision not to vote against it at the UN.


Last Liverpool kosher caterer ends kashrut

February 4, 2010

The last Liverpool-based kosher caterer has relinquished its kashrut licence.

Marcos Catering, established in 1990, will henceforth cater small events on an unlicensed basis. Director Phil Marco said the expansion of a non-kosher noodle bar with his two sons did not sit with a kosher enterprise.

“I don’t think there will be anyone taking over kosher catering in Liverpool — the community isn’t big enough. Our biggest business has been in Manchester.”


Hertfordshire children plant trees for Tu Bishvat

By Jay Grenby, February 4, 2010

Over 150 children and their parents from four Hertfordshire communities marked Tu Bishvat by tree planting in the Woodland Trust’s 850-acre Heartwood Forest, close to St Albans.

The youngsters — from the cheders of the Radlett and Shenley United shuls, Radlett and Bushey Reform and St Albans Masorti — planted over 1,000 trees. The initiative was organised by Radlett United member Debbie Hougie, a geography lecturer at Hertfordshire University.

“It was fantastic to see so many children and their parents involved,” she said.