Community life

Sem graduate is first for cantor role at Reform

October 15, 2009

New Finchley Reform appointment Zöe Jacobs is the first graduate of a seminary programme to work as a cantor in a UK Reform congregation.

Cantor Jacobs graduated recently from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York. She led High Holy-Day services at Finchley and will also be co-ordinating Jewish music projects for the Reform movement.


Jews schmooze in city festival

By Joseph Cohen, October 15, 2009

The community in Northern Ireland is to make its mark on the cultural calendar with a series of events to raise awareness of Judaism.

Belfast’s Lord Mayor Councillor Naomi Long and the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Nelson McCausland were among 70 guests who attended Belfast Hebrew Congregation for Tuesday’s launch of “Jews Schmooze”.

Mr McCausland said: “I am delighted to show my support for Jews Schmooze and the invaluable work that the Belfast Jewish community and others undertake to build awareness and understanding of Jewish culture in the wider community.”


Minister praises Jewish schools' high standards

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Schools secretary Ed Balls has praised the work of faith schools and emphasised the “high standards” he has seen at Jewish schools.

Mr Balls addressed more than 150 faith school teachers during the Keeping Faith in the System conference this week in central London. Representatives from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, Beis Yaakov High School, Salford and Clore Tikva School in Ilford were among those who attended.


Racist attack on Manchester teen

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 15, 2009

North Manchester police are investigating an antisemitic assault on a 16-year-old boy as he walked home with his family from synagogue on Shabbat.

Witnesses saw one white and one Asian man shouting racist abuse at passers-by from a black car parked on Kings Road in Prestwich.

“They then got out of the car,” said one witness. “I saw one of them smack the boy in front of his mother and two sisters.

“The attacker fell as he punched and, rather embarrassingly, his trousers fell down.”

The car was later seen following two other young Jewish boys.


Sent packing for survival plan

October 15, 2009

Schools, shuls and individuals have responded positively to World Jewish Relief’s Operation Winter Survival to provide essential items for impoverished Jewish families in Eastern Europe.

Many organisations have planned group “packathons” to fill survival bags with donated warm clothes and toiletries. Members of United, Reform, Liberal and Masorti communities have joined forces for a Herts collection. In Kenton, Sobell Sinai primary pupils have adopted the project as part of a programme about the importance of helping deprived and vulnerable communities worldwide.


US taken to tribunal

By Leon Symons, October 15, 2009

The former director of education for the United Synagogue’s Agency for Jewish Education is taking the US to an employment tribunal.

Jeffrey Leader was one of a number of people made redundant at the beginning of the year in what the US dubbed a “reorganisation” of what had been regarded as its flagship education body.

The AJE had won plaudits from the highest echelons of government for its teacher-training programmes.


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.