Community life

Wizo’s £3.7m fundraising year

March 26, 2009

Wizo met its increased financial target for its 90th anniversary year, raising a total £3.7 million.

As a result, the UK organisation has been able to expand support for its 100 projects in Israel. These include the renovation of a Jerusalem day care facility and an extension to a Beersheba community centre

UK chair Loraine Warren said: “There can be no greater satisfaction than to see how the quality of life of so many disadvantaged and vulnerable Israelis is being improved through the continuing efforts of Wizo supporters”.


Manchester museum tackles intolerance

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 26, 2009

Manchester Jewish Museum received an award for promoting community relations at a civic ceremony marking its 25th anniversary this week.

The vast majority of the museum’s 14,000 annual visitors are non-Jewish schoolchildren, who attend as part of their religious studies syllabus. Many have left their mark by scratching their names on the back benches of the renovated Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. However, the recent etching of “Hamas” on a bench illustrates the need for the museum’s interfaith work.


Mersey bleats over collapse of building plan

By Cathy Forman, March 26, 2009

Members of Liverpool’s Childwall Synagogue have voiced dismay at the shelving of plans for a new complex.

Reporting to its annual meeting on Monday, chairman Norman Goldstone said the collapse of plans to relocate the Stapely care home to the rear of the shul would put plans for the complex “on hold for a few years”.

Childwall would have received £2 million from the £3.5 million sale of the Stapely site, which was scuppered by the economic downturn. The money would have funded a building incorporating offices, kitchens and a mikveh.


Brum deal pleases youth worker

March 26, 2009

Birmingham Progressive Synagogue has appointed Hannah Minsky to develop its new youth club venture.

The youth worker, originally from Southgate, is studying maths and philosophy at Birmingham University.

Her background is in the Netzer youth movement and she has done youth work in the Jewish and wider community.

Movement chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich said the appointment reflected “the huge demand for Liberal Judaism in the Midlands, which has only grown since the opening of the Midlands Centre for Liberal Judaism last year”.


Hundreds mourn wife of top rabbi

March 26, 2009

Seven-hundred people attended tributes to Blumer Schneebalg, wife of leading Manchester rabbi Menachem-Mendel Schneebalg, who died at the weekend, aged 83.

The eulogies were at the premises of the strictly Orthodox Machzikei Hadass organisation, which Rabbi Schneebalg heads.

A Holocaust survivor who saved her sister in Auschwitz, Mrs Schneebalg lived in Israel after the war and was a household help to rabbinic sage Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz, also known as the Chazon Ish. After marrying in 1953, she dedicated her life to Manchester communal welfare work.


Leeds Hillel gets a major facelift

March 26, 2009

A state-of-the-art Jewish student house will open in Leeds in time for the next academic year.

The redevelopment of the existing Leeds Hillel in Springfield Mount will offer expanded facilities. As well as an enlarged dining and lounge area, there will be meeting rooms, study spaces, high speed internet connections and wi-fi zones. Another feature will be a chaplain’s office where students can go for confidential discussions.

Students have been consulted on facilities and the layout of the building.


Greater appetite for simchah leftovers

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A charity which distributes left-overs from simchahs to needy families in the Stamford Hill Charedi community is reporting unprecedented demand because of the credit crunch.

Hamasbia founder Hindy Biberfeld explained that while hosts remained happy to donate unused food, the charity was receiving many more requests as a result of increased unemployment. Many parents were struggling to feed their families.


Row over stone setting charge

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

The United Synagogue burial chief has denied claims that it is asking mourners to pay £150 for the use of a prayer hall for Sunday stone settings.

Borehamwood Synagogue member Jeffrey Permutt alleges that the charge was specified when he requested information about arranging a family stone setting.

But head of burial Melvyn Hartog maintains: “The charge is not for the hire of the hall. It goes towards the costs we incur bringing in staff on Sundays, which is when everyone wants a stone setting.”


Sussex home joining Norwood

March 26, 2009

Brighton care organisation Sussex Tikvah is to come under Norwood’s aegis following approval of the move at an EGM on Sunday.

Sussex Tikvah operates Rachel Mazzier House, which is home to six adults with moderate learning disabilities.


Tribute to archbishop

March 26, 2009

A Board of Deputies reception this week honoured the outgoing Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Board president Henry Grunwald, the Chief Rabbi and Lord Janner were joined by representatives of other faiths to acknowledge the cardinal’s contribution to Catholic-Jewish relations.

Dr David Ryall, assistant general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said the cardinal had been “very touched by the sentiments expressed”.