Community life

Liberal VIP at United induction ceremony

By Ben Jaglom, April 2, 2009

Hornsey and Wood Green Liberal MP Lynne Featherstone was among over 150 Highgate Synagogue members and guests at the induction of Rabbi Nicky Liss on Shabbat.

Rabbi Liss, 33, said the day was one of the proudest of his life. “It was an incredible occasion and my family flew in from all over the world to witness the induction.” The involvement of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks had been “an inspiration to me and many members of the synagogue told me they felt touched by the occasion”.


Impassioned Burchill lights up Limmud

By Yael Breuer, April 2, 2009

Julie Burchill choked with emotion as she spoke about her affinity to Jews and Israel during Sunday’s Brighton Limmud, held at Roedean School on the seafront.

More than 100 of the 600 capacity crowd heard the controversial writer describe herself as “philo-semitic”. She recalled watching The World At War TV series as a young girl and mistakenly believing that the Israeli tanks filmed during the Six-Day War were on their way to rescue Jews in Auschwitz.


Agudas home help in Barnet

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

New subsidised housing for north-west London’s Orthodox community could be available within two years.

The Agudas Israel Housing Association, which administers assisted housing schemes in Hackney and Haringey, wants to develop 13 units, including maisonettes and flats, in Barnet.

They are part of a planning application from Metro Construction, which is also seeking Barnet Council approval to develop the former Carmelite monastery in Bridge Lane, Golders Green, into 29 apartments and five detached houses.


Wax works for MDA

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

“Everyone’s been hit by the credit crunch,” Ruby Wax told 365 Magen David Adom supporters last Wednesday. “I have little money, which is why I’m in Manchester.”

But to the delight of MDA leaders, the dinner addressed by the comedienne raised a recession-busting £250,000-plus.

The attraction of Ms Wax — who admitted that she had never heard of the charity before being asked to speak — doubled the attendance of last year’s MDA Manchester dinner.


Lieberman’s policies spark Seder riposte

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

Concerns over the results of Israel’s recent elections have prompted the distribution of over 2,000 copies of special readings for Seder night to Progressive Zionists.

Noa Marom, emissary for the Liberal youth movement, LJY-Netzer, said that the insert for the Haggadah was triggered in particular by the “questionable platform” of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party led by new Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.


Fire destroys Edgware mikveh

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

A fire at Chabad House, Edgware, last Thursday afternoon caused damage estimated at £50,000.

The blaze at the Hale Lane premises — attributed to “a breakdown in the electrical installation which services the mikveh”— started at 4pm. Fire services were on the scene in 10 minutes but could not save the outdoor shed housing the mikveh, furniture and prayer books. The mikveh was installed eight years ago in memory of former PoW Jack Marks, who had died in a house fire.


Manchester fightback

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

Manchester kosher store bosses say that Pesach trade has been strong despite supermarket competition and decreased demand for luxury items.

“I’ve just not stocked the expensive cakes and biscuits because I didn’t think people are prepared to spend the money on them,” said Richard Hyman of Titanics.


Kosher traders wage a Pesach price war

By Ben Jaglom and Jessica Elgot, April 2, 2009

Budget conscious shoppers may be turning to the big supermarket chains to cut their Pesach bills. But a JC food basket survey of mainstream and specialist retailers this week shows that kosher outlets are competitive on many items.

Tesco has been enticing customers with “buy one, get one free offers” on essentials such Rakusen’s matzah. Sainsbury’s has responded by selling the matzah at half-price. Yet the cheapest Rakusen’s matzah in our survey is on offer for 47p at the Pesach shop opened by Chabad in Redbridge to cover for the lack of a local kosher grocery store.


JFS chair: ‘Schools will not fill places in 2010’

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The chair of governors of Britain’s biggest Jewish comprehensive has predicted that waiting lists for places in London’s three mainstream state secondaries will disappear next year, when the Jewish Community Secondary School opens in Barnet.

JFS chair Russell Kett believes “at least one, if not all three of the schools will be seriously affected as a result of the opening of JCoSS”.


Banksy’s £100k gift to shul

By Jessica Elgot, April 2, 2009

Notorious graffiti artist Banksy has donated an original artwork to the New North London Synagogue, Finchley, which hopes to auction it for £100,000 in support of its drop-in centre for asylum seekers.

Simon Hattenstone — a volunteer at the centre and the only journalist to have interviewed the elusive Banksy — persuaded the artist to offer his work. It is a version of his painting of children saluting a Tesco bag, adapted to the shul’s eBay sale of underwear donated by stars including Emma Thompson, Nick Hornby and Daniel Day-Lewis.