Community life

Building in Brighton

By Cecily Woolf, November 27, 2008

Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation's board has approved the start of work next month on the first phase of essential repairs to the historic Middle Street Synagogue.

The cost of making the building safe, wind and waterproof is in excess of £360,000.

English Heritage has contributed £317,000 towards the project and the shortfall has been covered by internal fundraising.

"We are going to restore this building as a cultural, educational and historical centre," pledged the Brighton and Hove chairman, Martyn Cooperman.


Chanucah with Boris

By Leon Symons, November 27, 2008

London Mayor Boris Johnson has given the green light for a major Chanucah celebration in Trafalgar Square.

Chanucah in the Square will be held at five o'clock on December 22, the second night of the festival, when the mayor will lead a civic lighting ceremony.


Bury school plan stalled

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary governors have withdrawn a controversial application to rebuild the school on green belt land.

The intended Whitefield site is considerably closer to the Jewish population than the current building in Unsworth and the governors believe it would attract more pupils. However, the proposal prompted hundreds of written protests from local residents. Bury Council's planning committee had been due to make a final decision this week.


Katie Melua unplugged for Africa aid charity

By Marcus Dysch, November 27, 2008

Katie Melua is to perform at the launch of a welfare charity whose members were moved by a visit to an Aids orphange during an Aish trip to South Africa.

The singer will play an acoustic set at AfricArt, being staged by the African Social Action Project (ASAP) at the Getty Images Gallery in the West End next month.

"These guys went on a trip, saw a problem and have then gone and created their own charity to help. It is incredible and inspiring," she said.


Liverpool Street service recalls rescue mission

November 27, 2008

The night before the main Kindertransport reunion, World Jewish Relief held a commemorative event at Liverpool Street station - the point of entry for the Kinder.

Guests including Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald joined 150 Kinder for a service led by Rabbi Barry Marcus, followed by a reception at Bevis Marks Synagogue.


Royal guest at refugees’ reunion

By Ruth Rothenberg, November 27, 2008

The Prince of Wales joined former child refugees on Sunday at what will probably be their last major get-together.

Before addressing the 500 Kindertransport reunion guests who filled the JFS school hall in North London, the prince went on a teatime walkabout , asking individuals how they had coped with such a dramatic change in their lives. Among those he chatted to was physicist Frank Beck, who worked at the CERN nuclear research establishment in Geneva for 30 years.


Ghostbusters plan fundraising sequel

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Manchester's JNF Butterfly committee resorted to scare tactics to swell the charity's coffers.

An all-night ghost watch was held in 14th century Salford manor house Ordsall Hall.

With only torches for light, participants toured the premises with two mediums, who attempted to rouse the spirits of the venue's former residents. The night's events were relayed on infrared webcams.

Whitefield beauty therapist Sharon Myerson said she was suitably petrified. "The medium said I had a spirit linking to my arm and we heard knocking at a window."


‘Dire’ plight of Manchester unemployed

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Increasing unemployment among the Manchester community is leaving families in financial turmoil, the city's Jewish job-finding agency has warned.

"We have seen a rise in dire cases," reported JCom co-founder Norman Younger. "We know a dozen people with families who have been made redundant and can't pay their monthly bills. The employment gap has been steadily widening."

Mr Younger - who started the agency as a spin-off to his company formation business - said 100 job-seekers had registered in the last six months.


Harrow shul enjoys an energy boost

By Jay Grenby, November 27, 2008

A phone call from Middlesex New Synagogue to its energy supplier has brought light relief to the Harrow shul and its elderly members.

Mindful of soaring costs, the MNS executive had been considering replacing the bulbs in the prayer-hall chandeliers with low-energy lamps. Working on the theory that "if you don't ask, you don't get", a call was made to E-on to ask whether the company would consider donating 120 lamps to help the shul reduce its fuel bill.


Radlett beats traffic problem

By Jay Grenby, November 27, 2008

Radlett Synagogue is hoping to get the go-ahead for a major redevelopment of its Watling Street site, provided "councillors and planning officials do what they say they are going to do", shul vice-chair David Kohler has revealed.

Hertsmere Council granted conditional planning permission in January for the demolition of the former village hall in which the shul is located for replacement with a two-storey state-of-the-art synagogue, subject to agreement on parking.