Community life

Education for all from Masorti

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

Subjects ranging from the Bible and Talmud to an introduction to Islam are among the 50 classes available from Masorti’s new adult education programme, Lishma.

Launching in March, it will be held in venues in North-West London and Hertfordshire and will be open to non-Masorti members.

Lishma founder Matt Plen believes that “Masorti’s blend of traditional, tolerant, open-minded Judaism is relevant to people across the community.


Liberals get textbook tips

February 26, 2009

Never Mind The Bullocks is the latest advice to bar and batmitzvah students from Liberal Judaism. For the phrase — a reference to a verse in Isaiah — is the title of a textbook written by the chairman of its rabbinic conference, Rabbi Pete Tobias.

It takes the form of a conversation between a rabbi and the prophet as preparation for a bar/batmitzvah course.

The author sees it as “more than just a bnei mitzvah textbook. It is also meant as a presentation of a Liberal Jewish attitude to the Torah.”


Wine store opening

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

The owner of a new kosher wine store in Hendon believes his market will be unaffected by the credit crunch.

Speaking after the opening of The Grapevine, David Margulies said: “A lot of premium wines have come down in wholesale price and we have been able to pass on that discount to our customers.”

Located in Bell Lane, The Grapevine fills a gap in the market created by the closure of Amazing Grapes.

“About five months ago the opportunity came to take over the store and it held an appeal as we were looking to expand our operation,” Mr Margulies explained.


Residents’ Brazil date

February 26, 2009

Residents and staff from Jewish Care’s Friern Barnet nursing and dementia home, Lady Sarah Cohen House, enjoyed a footballing treat when they were guests of Arsenal for the friendly international between Brazil and Italy.

The club supplied the tickets for the Emirates Stadium fixture as part of its community outreach programme and the residents at the game were Bernard Reiss, Peter Kaye, Harry Spicer and Gerry Romancer.

Care home manager Raj Sunderalingam said: “The residents thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we are really grateful to Arsenal.”


Manchester school receives glowing report from Ofsted

February 26, 2009

Manchester Mesivta has been assessed as a “good school with outstanding features” by Ofsted inspectors.

The inspectors reported that “the school is very successful in achieving its aim to develop in pupils a passion for learning”.

They were also impressed by the respect shown between the secondary school’s 200 pupils and by its leadership and management. Head Phaivish Pink provided clear direction and inspired staff with his love of the school and determination to improve its quality of education.


Elstree looking south to boost membership

By Jay Grenby, February 26, 2009

Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue is endeavouring to increase its 1,270-family membership through a recruitment drive.

Outlining the strategy in his Shabbat sermon, Rabbi Naftali Brawer said the focus would be on the south side of its catchment area, a favoured spot for young families.

A major selling point of the south-side efforts is Yavneh College, where Borehamwood has agreed use of the school’s synagogue for additional Shabbat and festival services.

“It’s the most beautiful little shul,” Rabbi Brawer said. “I regularly take services myself there.”


Jacobson's filthy time

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 19, 2009

Howard Jacobson has told a Manchester audience how he felt “cleansed” to be the target of “antisemitic filth”.

Debating “Britishness and Literature” with fellow novelist Martin Amis at Manchester University, Mr Jacobson said: “One good sign we have in our society is that we have comedians. I don’t think you can live a decent life unless somewhere the whole idea of decency is being trashed.


Changes at Limmud

By Ben Jaglom, February 19, 2009

A reshuffled Limmud Scotland leadership is working on a major event for early in 2010.

The new chair is Fiona Brodie, whose community involvements have included the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the Scottish Jewish Archives and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.

She replaces Evelyn Tiefenbrun, who has taken up the post of regional Limmud co-ordinator.


Manchester minister dies in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 19, 2009

A well-known Manchester personality has died in Jerusalem from a brain tumour. Rabbi Ephraim Groundland, 76, was the minister of Higher Prestwich Synagogue for 17 years from 1959 and was the major fundraiser for its first building.

He also served as the rabbi of Stockport and Southport congregations, and after moving to Israel, travelled the globe raising money for the Israeli anti-missionary organisation, Pe’ilim. Rabbi Groundland has additionally officiated at festival services in Marbella.


Housing association fears cut in Barnet funding

By James Martin, February 19, 2009

The Barnet-based Jewish Community Housing Association fears the loss of essential services through local authority funding cutbacks.

JCHA currently receives £71,752 from Barnet Council’s Supporting People programme to pay for wardens and an emergency calls system for seven schemes and over 200 tenants, among them people with learning or physical disabilities.