Community life

Barnet's members vote for full US status

By Jay Grenby, May 22, 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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Hello Dolly: you're 105

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 22, 2008

Big celebrations were planned yesterday at the Heathlands home in Manchester, where resident Dolly Phillips was due to celebrate her 105th birthday.

Hove lecturer stages play on Yom Kippur War

May 22, 2008

Hove lecturer Gail Louw is to have a play staged at the Devonshire Park Theatre. The play, Killing Faith, is based on a story told to her by one of her non-Jewish students. Dr Louw, who lectures at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, explained: “He ran away from home to his aunt, a Holocaust survivor, who lived in Kiryat Shemona. The next day the 1973 war began.” The play runs at the Eastbourne theatre from 20 to 24 May.

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Rabbi Gordon evokes the spirit of Louis Jacobs at his induction

By Simon Rocker, May 22, 2008

Rabbi Jeremy Gordon was on Sunday inducted as the spiritual leader of the New London Synagogue, the St John’s Wood congregation founded by the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs.

Newly installed Westminster Lord Mayor Louise Hyams was among the guests celebrating the arrival of Rabbi Gordon, who grew up in the community and had previously led St Albans Masorti Synagogue.

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Shul is slashing wedding costs

By Jay Grenby, May 22, 2008

The Western Marble Arch Synagogue has followed reductions in membership fees by slashing its charges for wedding ceremonies.

A new “highly competitive” basic rate for forthcoming weddings is around £1,000, down from £1,850, and includes security, the services of the registrar and a free year’s membership for the newlyweds. The rate also applies to weddings previously booked but yet to take place.

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Edgware's first lady

By Jay Grenby, May 22, 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 22, 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 22, 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 22, 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 22, 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.”