They are the forgotten heroes of global Jewry. It is our duty to remember them

By Colin Shindler, April 30, 2015

Last week saw the passing of two former Soviet Jewish refuseniks, Vladimir Slepak and Vladimir Prestin, who were not permitted to leave the USSR for almost 20 years. It was only when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 that the gates were finally opened for a small group of long-term Moscow activists.


Daniel ends 15-year wait for a barmitzvah boy

February 26, 2015

It was a landmark Shabbat for the tiny Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Hebrew Congregation as Daniel Knight-Woodhall became its first barmitzvah boy in 15 years.

Forty guests from around the country attended the service and kiddush in the congregation's Newcastle-under-Lyme building, which it moved to in 2006. It had previously worshipped in Hanley, three miles away, from 1923.


Popular London simchah venue to close

By Rosa Doherty, December 2, 2014

A popular London venue which has hosted simchahs for more than 40 years is to close next year.

The Royal Majestic Banqueting Suite in Willesden will shut in April when owner Helen Goide retires.

Mrs Goide said: “I have so much enjoyed serving the community all these years and it has been a privilege and a great pleasure.”


My barmitzvah inspired the Martian invasion...

By Angela Epstein, November 6, 2014

The year was 1979. And, as secret peace negotiations were thrashed out at Camp David, Israeli television ran rolling coverage and analysis of the ground-breaking meeting that, it was hoped, would lead to peace with Egypt. Expectations were mixed.


Generations tied together by eventful 120-year history of family Torah scroll

By Charlotte Oliver, June 19, 2014

When Sam Vecht reads his barmitzvah portion next Shabbat, he will use a very special Sefer Torah scroll - one that has passed down five generations of his family, and in the process has been hidden from the Nazis, been shot at and even had its own seat on an El Al flight.

The scroll was commissioned by Sam's great-great-grandfather, Aaron Vecht, when he moved his family to Australia in 1890.


Give girls a real batmitzvah experience

By Sarah Ebner, January 11, 2014

In two weeks’ time, on her batmitzvah, my daughter will read from the Torah. Jessica will be taking part in her first public act as an adult Jew, a week after her 12th birthday.

I am genuinely happy my daughter has this chance to leyn in front of our community. It’s all very different from my own experience.


Creating a special day at Southampton shul

By Rosa Doherty, January 6, 2014

Southampton Hebrew Congregation held its first barmitzvah in over a decade.

Winchester-based Jon and Sharon Rachman had to create Sam’s barmitzvah from scratch because the Jewish community in their area is so small.


Barmitzvah speech that went viral

By Dan Friedman, December 12, 2013

When barmitzvahs find internet fame, it is often because of their entertainment qualities — think showdancers and catchy pop songs.

Last month, however, Duncan Alpine Sennett caught attention for the power of his reasoning when he gave an impassioned defence of gay marriage in his barmitzvah speech.


Go for it, Paula, you go, girl

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, November 1, 2013

It’s the time of year when the batmitzvah invitations start arriving. We have received four, propped up on the mantelpiece looking pretty in an array of matching black, white and fuschia. I love a batmitzvah when a “daughter of commandment” is now responsible for her decisions and actions in life .