Community life

Frum fitness

By James Martin, October 15, 2009

A “frum gym” opened this week in Hendon to cater for the Orthodox women’s market.

Bournemouth-born Ami Winbourne solicited the opinions of 100 local Orthodox women before launching Contours Express. “The concept of women-only gyms has worked well with religious women from all faiths, who are understandably concerned about modesty. There will be no men on site.” The concept is supported by Ita Symons, chief executive of the Agudas Israel Housing Association, who said it was difficult for Orthodox women to find a suitable excercise venue.


Liberal elected

October 15, 2009

Senior civil servant Lucian Hudson has been elected as the new chairman of Liberal Judaism. The Liberal Jewish Synagogue St John’s Wood congregant succeeds Nigel Cole, who has stepped down after five years.

Mr Hudson, 49, is a consultant to government and voluntary bodies and has experience as a television executive and journalist.


Shul vandals are the children of members

By Jay Grenby, October 15, 2009

Congregants’ children vandalised Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue’s play area over Yom Kippur, the shul has claimed. Yet an email appeal for the culprits to come forward and contribute to the cost of repairs has to date met with a zero response.


Tributes to judge

By Leon Symons, October 15, 2009

Judge Israel Finestein, one of the outstanding figures of the Anglo-Jewish community in the second half of the 20th century, died on Monday. He was 88.

Judge Finestein, who retired from the bench as a deputy high court judge and a former crown court judge, had been president of the Board of Deputies from 1991 to 1994 and served on a diverse range of communal bodies. He had also been active outside the community, chairing the Mental Health Review Tribunal. He had also been a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.


JBD gives its clients 'a life of dignity'

October 15, 2009

Chancellor’s wife Maggie Darling gave a glowing account of Jewish Blind and Disabled as she hosted a reception for over 100 JBD supporters at 11 Downing Street on Tuesday to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary.

In her welcoming remarks, Mrs Darling voiced her admiration for the work JBD does to give clients “a life of dignity”. Speaking afterwards, she pledged to visit a JBD property and hailed the organisation as a model for other small charities. Its values chimed with those of her and her husband.


Cemetery proposals rejected

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Plans to expand Edgwarebury cemetery have been rejected after environmentalists said that it infringed on the green belt.

Belsize Square Synagogue, one of the four Jewish communities that use the site, have said they have less than a year’s worth of space left at the cemetery in Edgware and are deeply concerned about the decision.


Radio slot for rabbi

October 15, 2009

Reform rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has joined the Jewish regulars on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot.

Her next broadcast will be on October 22. Rabbi Janner-Klausner, of North Western Reform Synagogue in Golders Green, also appeared on BBC1’s Big Questions programme earlier this month.

“It is an honour to add a progressive Jewish voice to the public sphere and I realise how precious an opportunity this is,” Rabbi Janner-Klausner said.

Other Thought for the Day contributors include Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Lionel Blue.


Sephardi head hosts Spanish envoy

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

A reception in honour of Spanish Ambassador Carles Casajuana was hosted by the spiritual head of London’s Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, Rabbi Abraham Levy.

Envoys from Spain are traditionally invited to visit the community in recognition of its historic links with the country, Rabbi Levy explained.

Mr Casajuana said that Jewish culture formed “a very important component” of Spanish heritage and culture.

Guests included Dame Gail and Gerald Ronson — or “Don Geraldo” as Rabbi Levy dubbed him.


Supporting bereaved parents

By Keren David, October 8, 2009

A website has been launched to help Jewish families trying to come to terms with the death of a baby in the first days of life, a stillbirth or miscarriage.

Amanda Bradley, 30, from Edgware hopes the new site — — will allow families to share experiences and get support and practical help.

“It has just evolved to fill a gap,” she said. “I hope it will help with the sense of isolation that families often feel in these circumstances.”

Mrs Bradley runs a Rosh Chodesh group in Borehamwood.


Comedy stars coming out for Mitzvah Day

October 8, 2009

David Mitchell and Angus Deayton are bringing comic relief to Mitzvah Day, the nationwide good deed programme on November 15. Mitchell and Deayton will be judging competitions for the best projects on the day, which is expected to attract 15,000 volunteers.

Mitchell said that “time can be a much more generous gift than money. Just ask someone rich, busy and old which they value most.”