Community life

Masorti gets a foothold by the sea

By Corinne Rein, October 22, 2009

A new Masorti group in Bournemouth has held its first services in the homes of supporters.

Around 30 people attended a service last Friday night and a weekly programme is envisaged, alternating between erev Shabbat and Shabbat gatherings.

Another event saw senior Masorti rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg address potential supporters at a local hotel on “Being a Masorti Jew”. His talk prompted a lively question-and-answer session.


Israel film venture has royal opening

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Prince Edward was guest of honour at the London launch of a project to encourage teenage film-makers in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Rwanda.

Films Without Borders, the brainchild of TV producer Jill Samuels, will work in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Foundation.


Lofty ideals for Orthodox

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Haringey housing bosses are appealing to residents to help refine a rulebook on loft extensions, a key issue in strictly Orthodox households.

The council is to undertake a six-week consultation on the guide, which sets out design principles for home extensions in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.

There are, on average, six children per household in South Tottenham and many families live in cramped conditions. Some loft extensions do not meet council guidelines.


School's fury on funding

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Edgware Jewish Primary chiefs are enraged with the government over the withdrawal of critical funding to progress its transition from a private to state school.

Headteacher Sara Keen confronted Schools Secretary Ed Balls at a conference for faith schools last week to demand answers.

Last December, the school applied to the Department of Children, Schools and Families for capital funding towards a new building. This was through the £327 million Standards and Diversity Fund, of which £138 million was earmarked for independent schools seeking aided status.


New girls' primary planned for north London

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Strictly Orthodox parents who have been unable to find acceptable school places for their children have joined forces to create a new religious primary school for girls in north London.

Over 40 people attended a meeting last week to discuss plans for the Bnos Beis Yaakov School. Educational phil-anthropist Benjamin Perl will be the patron and honorary president and St John’s Wood Synagogue leader Richard Harounoff will chair the project.

The committee is searching for premises, preferably in Golders Green, Hendon or Finchley, and hope to open next September.


Michael Howard praises Nightingale

October 22, 2009

Michael Howard spoke movingly about the care given by Nightingale to his late mother Hilda in an address to its biennial dinner, which raised over £1 million.

Before over 500 Nightingale supporters at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday, the former Tory leader praised the south London home as “a shining beacon in the area of care for the elderly”.


Welsh display gets £19k

October 15, 2009

A forthcoming exhibition on Jewish life in north Wales has received a £19,000 grant from Beacon for Wales.

Dr Nathan Abrams and Dr Sally Baker from Bangor University are planning a touring exhibition of university and other venues during the spring and summer of 2010.

It will incorporate screenings of the 1998 film Solomon and Gaenor, which explores the relationship between a Jewish/Welsh couple in the south Wales coalfields in the pre-First World War period.


Reform 'deeply worried' on funds

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Reform leaders have warned supporters about the impact of the recession on activities.

Addressing over 200 guests at the Movement for Reform Judaism’s annual dinner in central London, movement head Rabbi Tony Bayfield said he was “deeply worried about the remainder of this year and next year. We get no government grants, no public funding. We are entirely dependent upon private individuals.

“Never more than now do we need you to commit wholeheartedly to the future that you see.”


Austrian youth meets Shoah survivors

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

An Austrian student who has spent a year working with Holocaust survivors in Britain says the experience has made “a huge impact” on him.

Philipp Engel, 19, has finished his stint with the London Jewish Cultural Centre's Holocaust and anti-racism education department as part of the Gedenkdienst (servants to memory) scheme.

Run in conjunction with the Austrian Commemorative Service, the scheme sends 20 young Austrians to work for a year at sites related to Holocaust education, as an alternative to compulsory national service.


Sem graduate is first for cantor role at Reform

October 15, 2009

New Finchley Reform appointment Zöe Jacobs is the first graduate of a seminary programme to work as a cantor in a UK Reform congregation.

Cantor Jacobs graduated recently from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York. She led High Holy-Day services at Finchley and will also be co-ordinating Jewish music projects for the Reform movement.