Community life

Edgware Orthodox school stays open despite financial crisis

By Leon Symons, January 29, 2009

A North London Orthodox boys’ grammar school is staying open despite the company that runs it having gone into voluntary liquidation.

Menorah Grammar School Limited has debts of £322,000 and only £1,200 in the bank, according to a report of a creditors’ meeting on January 16. A new set of governors has to be appointed and their first job will be to raise finance to pay staff salaries and reduce the debt, according to a former senior figure at the school.

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Redundancies at Jewish Care

January 29, 2009

Up to 22 administrative and support jobs are being cut at Jewish Care as the charity looks to chop £2.5 million off its budget for the financial year starting in April.

Faced with the prospect of increased costs and less voluntary and statutory income, Jewish Care hopes to save £1 million through the redundancies, with the remainder clawed back through a range of savings initiatives at its properties.

Around one-in-six of the staff at its Merit House, Colindale, base will lose their jobs and the consultation process is under way.

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Meeting Miliband

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 29, 2009

Concern over rising antisemitism since the Gaza conflict was voiced by Manchester Jewish leaders in a meeting with David Miliband during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the city last Thursday.

Regional student chaplain Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein told the minister that religious students were being advised not to wear kippot. “The very thin line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is always crossed when things are going on in the Middle East. The minister listened to this and took written notes,” Rabbi Rubinstein said afterwards.

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US cuts budget and jobs as income falls

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The United Synagogue is axing jobs and planning to cut spending by nearly £250,000 in the light of the economic downturn.

A spokesman for the Orthodox synagogue organisation said on Monday that a financial review had led “to a proposal that a small number of positions will be made redundant. However, as we are still within the consultation process, we cannot confirm the number of positions that may go.”

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MPs urge that Shoah lessons should not be forgotten

January 29, 2009

Irish President Mary McAleese told the country’s national Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony that “the wickedness and cruelty of the Holocaust lacerate our hearts to this day, as they should. God forbid that any generation will ever know the indulgence of forgetting or ever cease to probe how it all came to be”.

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Coventry sends a message in fight against intolerance

By Marcus Dysch, January 29, 2009

An emotional service in Coventry on Sunday attended by over 100 Shoah survivors served as the national commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Reflecting the government’s commitment to HMD, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was among the audience of 800 at the Belgrade Theatre and Communities Secretary Hazel Blears was one of the speakers, pledging to combat extremism in her Salford community and beyond.

“I will give my all to stop the Far Right,” she declared. “I will work hard to ensure Britain is a place where all are safe.

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Muslim is 'changed forever' by her visit to Auschwitz

By Bernard Josephs, January 29, 2009

A Muslim student received an ovation from MPs and Holocaust educators after delivering an impassioned plea for a united front against racial prejudice and hatred.

Addressing an HMD event at the House of Commons, Ifraah Samatar said that 60 years after the Holocaust, “we still live in a society where hatred and discrimination exist.

“We are all neighbours on this planet, be we Jewish, Muslim, Christian or whatever. We have to realise that when people look back 60 years they will ask themselves: ‘How could this have happened?’ Yet racism and genocide still happen today.”

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Blue Peter’s Joel Defries’ HMD journey

By Jay Grenby, January 29, 2009

A desire to fulfil his late grandfather’s dearest wish took Blue Peter presenter Joel Defries on an emotional journey for the programme broadcast for HMD on Tuesday.

Mr Defries’ ancestors came to the UK from Holland, Poland and Lithuania — the earliest in the 18th century. He was born in London, but spent some of his early years in New Zealand, joining grandparents who had emigrated there. His grandfather had always hoped that Mr Defries, a non-practising Jew, would get to know more about his Jewish background.

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A nation remembers and educates

January 29, 2009

Northwood’s four-day HMD programme — the largest of its type in the UK — launched on Monday with the first group from the anticipated 2,000 secondary school pupils and teachers from Harrow, Hillingdon and Hertsmere.

Organised jointly by the Northwood United and Liberal shuls, the scheme is in its eighth year. Many civic leaders were at the opening, where survivor Ziggy Shipper preached against hatred.

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Police are out in force for HMD events

By Jay Grenby and Hannah Leader, January 29, 2009

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears told a gathering of senior policemen and community leaders at Western Marble Arch Synagogue of her delight at the wide range of age and backgrounds of those involved in HMD activities.

Organised in conjunction with the Association of Police Authorities, the get-together was the latest arranged by the APA to raise awareness of diversity. Around 90 senior officers took part in a day-long seminar, followed by dinner and a programme of prayer, poetry and song to mark HMD.

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