Social Action

Retirees who hope to fuel our future

By Jessica Elgot, December 1, 2011

Concern for his grandchildren's generation motivated retired solicitor Howard Zetter to use his winter fuel allowance payment - and those of others - to do something positive for disadvantaged young people.

After retiring in April, the 65-year-old Edgware Masorti member set up the Fuel Our Youth charity to encourage over-60s who can manage without their government winter heating assistance to d


Lessons from Ghana in co-operation

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2011

Strict discipline, a love of dance and creative ways to use small spaces were the key impressions brought back by three Jewish teachers from a week working in Ghanaian schools.

The trio went to West Africa with international development charity, Tzedek, which runs twinning programmes between Ghanaian schools and their British-Jewish counterparts.

It was the first time Tzedek had taken Britis


JVN film favourite

November 17, 2011

The story of a Holocaust survivor who sponsored an underprivileged Kenyan child through Harvard moved staff at the Jewish Volunteer Network so much, they bought the film rights.

Joanne Bell of the JVN said the charity wanted to make sure that as many community organisations, schools, chedarim and individuals could see the film, A Small Act.

The film was screened at the Belsize Everyman cinem


US social action champion to quit

November 17, 2011

The first director of the United Synagogue's social action division Project Chesed, is to leave after eight years at the organisation.

Candice Woolfson, who started at the US with the Community Development group, was credited by US chief executive Jeremy Jacobs with "having placed the Chesed agenda at the forefront of the US strategy for the future".

Ms Woolfson said that taking on the new p


Cooking up a feast for those with less

By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2011

A new cookery class run by education charity Tikun will see all produce from the lesson distributed to the homeless and those in poverty.

Tikun's Jo Hyams, who co-ordinates the monthly sessions with Hayley Greenspan, said the aim was to combine volunteering with an enjoyable social occasion.


Barmitzvah where green is the theme

By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2011

When organising a simcha, eco considerations might not have the same priority as hiring a venue, booking a caterer, choosing a band or selecting an outfit.

But "ethical" simchas need not require much addition to the "to do list", says United Synagogue Chesed director Candice Woolfson.


Growth plan has capital benefits

By Jessica Elgot, October 19, 2011

Synagogues, Jewish schools and charities could next year be decorating their succah with homegrown fruit and vegetables, even in the most populated inner city boroughs.

That is the goal of Capital Growth, a scheme to find 2,012 community food growing spaces by the end of the Olympic year.


Going green is also good for business

October 6, 2011

Which business owners may have less to repent at Yom Kippur? Maybe these four company bosses, who have found that going green and prioritising social responsibility is good for profits.

But it's possible to keep environmentally responsible at work, whatever your business. The Big Green Jewish website has a range of resources for firms looking to improve their social responsibility.


The buzz around urban beekeeping

By Jessica Elgot, September 22, 2011

London's Jewish Community Centre is doing its bit to ensure a sweet new year with a campaign to promote urban Jewish beekeeping.

Community members are being encouraged to run their own hives to combat a dramatic decline in honey bee populations.


Helping Thailand's child victims

By Jessica Elgot, September 8, 2011

The northern provinces of Thailand are a long away from Rabbi Jamie Cowland's Bournemouth roots. But he says that working with some of the planet's most damaged children in Chang Mai province has helped him to appreciate the values of Jewish leadership and social justice activism.

Many of the children have been victims of sex traffickers.