Community life

Fireman saves scrolls in Manchester shul blaze

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

A fire crew commander has been praised for rescuing three Sifrei Torah from a blaze at a small Charedi shul in North Manchester on Sunday night.

It was around midnight when emergency services were alerted by a neighbour to a blaze at the Apta building, a converted terraced house on Welbeck Grove in Salford. Shul members who gathered outside explained to fire-fighters that important religious articles were inside. Fireman Patrick Walsh re-entered the building to retrieve the scrolls.

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Salary freeze at Reform

December 11, 2008

The Reform movement has deferred pay increases for staff for six months because of the economic situation. Salary rises have been postponed from the beginning of January until July.

Movement head Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield told its quarterly council meeting on Monday that although some donors had been badly affected by the financial crisis, others had offered additional support

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Helping refugees

December 11, 2008

Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald was part of a Jewish Council for Racial Equality delegation which discussed the plight of destitute asylum seekers with London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes at City Hall on Tuesday.

The meeting focused on the role of Jewish communities in supporting those refused asylum, who are being assisted at centres such as the New London Synagogue drop-in facility. New London’s Rabbi Jeremy Gordon was also part of the delegation, along with Jcore’s Dr Edie Friedman.

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London lovebirds get engaged at 88 and 92

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 11, 2008

Two Jewish Blind and Disabled tenants have got engaged at the ages of 88 and 92.

Rose Massil and Laurie Lawrence celebrated with a party for over 80 friends and volunteers. “It’s been spoken about as the party of the year,” the bride-to-be said.

Both widowed, they live in the charity’s North London flats and first met five years ago when Mrs Massil’s son Philip invited Mr Lawrence to a Rosh Hashanah celebration.

“We chatted and about a fortnight later he phoned me and asked for a date,” Mrs Massil said. “I found it dead funny that someone my age gets a date.”

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Liverpool launches special needs centre

By Lennie Isaacs, December 11, 2008

Merseyside Jewish Community Care is to open a £350,000 centre for people with learning difficulties.

MJCC delegates were informed on Tuesday that the charity is to work in partnership with the Manchester-based Langdon community to offer a support service for young Jewish adults with learning disabilities.

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£1m appeal for Mumbai children

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 11, 2008

A British charity has launched an international appeal to raise over £1 million for the children of those killed in the attack on Mumbai’s Chabad House.

Those helped by the Chevras Mo’oz Ladol appeal will include two-year-old Moishy Holzberg, who was rescued from the centre where his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg, were murdered.

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Bamber feted on distinctive role

By Marcus Dysch, December 11, 2008

A veteran human rights champion is this year’s Jewish Care Woman of Distinction.

Helen Bamber received the award from clinical psychologist and TV presenter Dr Tania Byron at a lunch at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall on Monday before an audience of 180 women.

Ms Bamber, 83, recalls growing up in the 1930s “at a time of great deprivation, unemployment and hardship. The Jewish community was very much the scapegoat.

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Young ambassadors encounter ignorance

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

Two young Israeli ambassadors who toured northern sixth-form colleges say they found more ignorance about Jews than hostility towards Israel.
Hadar Tamir, 18, and Tom Zawilinski, 16, spoke about being teenagers at a time of conflict. For many of their audience it was a first encounter with Israelis.

The visitors live just outside Tel Aviv and have attended the same school in Lod. Questions were invited at the end of their presentation, in which they used Google Maps to help explain the Middle East’s geography.

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£2.2m project hits snag

By John Fisher, December 11, 2008

The chairman of Leeds residential home, Donisthorpe Hall, has pledged that a £2.2 million wing will be finished using “in-house expertise” after the construction firm went into administration.

Geoff Caplan — who worked in civil engineering and building before retirement — said the state-of-the-art dementia unit “is well on the way to completion.

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Reaching out to Charedim

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 11, 2008

One hundred Charedi community members responded to an outreach exercise by Haringey Council on Sunday.

The council staged an open day at South Tottenham Synagogue, with a crèche facility and traditional kosher brunch, to give Charedim the chance to meet councillors, voice concerns and obtain information about a range of local services and benefits.

Project manager Sara Leviten said: “The Charedi community are very hard to access. They don’t necessarily know how to reach the council.” But Haringey was making progress in getting through to the strictly Orthodox.

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