Community life

Edgware's first lady

By Jay Grenby, May 23, 2008

Edgware and District Reform Synagogue has elected a female chairman for the first time in its 73-year history. For the next three years, Linda Kann will be at the helm of what is claimed as the largest Reform community outside North America, and indeed the largest synagogue of any denomination in the UK, with 2,000 member families.

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Blears backs tolerance plan

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 23, 2008

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears visited the Manchester Jewish Museum last Friday to express backing for its plans for a centre of tolerance on its Cheetham Hill site.

Ms Blears spent 90 minutes at the museum, discussing the “high priority” project with museum director Stuart Hilton.

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Finchley rabbi quits to start new chapters

May 23, 2008

Rabbi Roderick Young is quitting Finchley Reform Synagogue to focus on his writing. He is finishing a children’s book and is about to embark on the story of his family and how he discovered Judaism at the age of 23.

Rabbi Young became the congregation’s principal minister in November 2006. Since January, he has shared rabbinical duties with Rabbi Miriam Bayfield, an arrangement designed to give him more writing time.

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Board hailed for standing up to hatred

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 23, 2008

Combating antisemitism is the model for stamping out hatred in Britain and forging inter-communal cohesion, two leading Merseyside politicians told Sunday’s Board of Deputies meeting at Liverpool’s town hall.

Praising the Board for its work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman said that anti-Jewish sentiment and the electoral advances of the BNP were issues that resonated beyond national borders.

The Board, she declared, was “standing up for all people to take a positive stand against hate”.

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Rabbi designs the 'first Jewish tartan'

May 23, 2008

Glasgow Shul in the Park minister Rabbi Mendel Jacobs claims to have created the world’s first Jewish tartan.

Having consulted religious leaders and the Scottish Tartans’ Authority, Rabbi Jacobs set out to design a tartan which would reflect Scotland’s Jewish history. “As a Scottish-born rabbi, I felt it important to celebrate the rich tapestry of culture and history we share. Jews have been an integral part of Scottish culture for more than 300 years, with the first Jew recorded in Edinburgh in 1691.”

Barnet's members vote for full US status

By Jay Grenby, May 23, 2008

Barnet Synagogue members voted overwhelmingly on Monday to upgrade from affiliated status to full constituent membership of the United Synagogue. Shul chairman Paul Kleinman said the change was “at the right time” and “on the right terms” for the congregation.

At an extraordinary general meeting, over 100 members heard Mr Kleinman outline the benefits to the congregation, and US vice-president Geoff Hartnell explain the US’s responsibilities. Following a lively debate,  around 90 per cent backed the board’s recommendation to upgrade.

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Demo in Dublin, VIP guest in Wales

May 16, 2008

Ireland’s Israeli Ambassador Zion Evrony told the 150 guests at a celebratory reception in Dublin that despite Israel’s impressive achievements, what it wanted most was peace with its neighbours. However, the difficulties entailed were illustrated by a group of Palestinian supporters who heckled participants as they arrived at the venue. Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan was among the 350 guests at the Israel 60 celebrations at Cardiff’s City Hall.

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Birthday parties draw the crowds

By Jay Grenby, May 16, 2008

American rock band Blue Fringe hit the right note for 250 revellers at Stanmore Synagogue’s Israel 60th birthday bash, The group of four twentysomethings, who met at Yeshiva University in 2001, played a Jewish-themed set of pop, rock, funk and R&B to a predominantly youthful audience.

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Party plans on ice as youngsters are the focus in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 16, 2008

Children and Jewish unity were at the heart of Manchester’s Israel at 60 celebrations, which saw a 1,200-strong crowd fill the Sheridan Suite in the north-west of the city last Thursday.

For the kids, there was indoor ice skating, giant inflatable assault courses and interactive stalls, with around 150 volunteers from community organisations and youth movements helping them to get the most from their day. For the rest, Israeli band Kol Chai and singer Danny Bergson played Israeli and Jewish music throughout the evening and there were separate dancing areas for men and women.

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Glasgow guests enjoy passport privileges

By Lindy Markson, May 16, 2008

The 700 arrivals at Glasgow’s Israel at 60 party at Eastwood Park, Giffnock, received “passports” to enter a mock-up of Ben Gurion airport lounge and then an Israeli market place. Their target was to win prizes by collecting stamps for activities including making kites, jewellery and key rings and decorating a cookie.

Other popular pursuits were face painting and a quiz challenge from JLGB.

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