Quake-hit congregation rents house for New Year

By Dan Goldberg, September 27, 2011

The small Jewish community in earthquake-ravaged Christchurch will celebrate Rosh Hashanah in a rental property because part of the city's only synagogue needs to be demolished and rebuilt.

Canterbury Hebrew Congregation acting president Bettina Wallace said in a recent report to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which donated $US20,000 to the community's earthquake appeal, that


Take the rabbis' word for it - it's hard work

By Simon Rocker and Anna Sheinman, September 27, 2011

It was just a week before Rosh Hashanah and Rabbi Cliff Cohen, minister to the small Thanet Reform community in Kent, had yet to put pen to paper.

Like most of his clerical colleagues, he was about to go into sermon overdrive, with five to deliver over the High Holy Days. But he was not about to hit the panic button. "I work best under pressure," he said.


Service is extra at BES

September 22, 2011

A Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue minyan for young singles and marrieds attracted 85 people to its pilot Yachad (together) service.

Organisers Aryeh Richman and Simon Mitchell say it offers "a vibrant style of tefilah".


Farewell to Cardiff

September 22, 2011

Cardiff United Synagogue held a farewell Shabbat service and kiddush for Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg, who is moving on to Liverpool's Childwall congregation.

Presentations to the rabbi and his wife Blima were made by the synagogue council, education committee, cheder children and the Israel Information Centre.


Scottish openings

By Stephanie Brickman, September 22, 2011

Glasgow's historic Garnethill Synagogue and the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre reached a wider audience during the city's Doors Open Day on Sunday.


Bright Wimbledon future

September 22, 2011

Supporters of the twice-weekly playgroups organised by Judith Ish-Horowicz at Wimbledon and District Synagogue raised more than £3,500 to redecorate the premises.

Facilities now include a "Jewish home play area" with a Succah den for hiding in, a comfortable area for breastfeeding and new furniture.

Artistic mothers Eleri Larkum and Diana Carolath painted a tree of life mural and stencilled


Students' great shul crawl

By Marcus Dysch, September 22, 2011

Two Oxford University students have set out on an ambitious project to review every synagogue in Britain.

Danny Kessler and Joshua Felberg plan light-hearted assessments of nearly 400 communities, based on the standard of the kiddush, the rabbi's sermon, decorum, and "peculiar customs".

The friends served as co-presidents of Oxford Jewish Society last year and came up with the idea after see


Our ten finest shuls

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

What does Ramsgate have in common with Bradford, Brighton and Liverpool? They are all sites for historic British synagogues which have just been recognised as part of the cultural heritage of Europe.

The country's 10 finest synagogues have been nominated as part of a "Jewish route" across Europe – one of seven cultural routes being created across the continent by the Council of Europe.


Progressive plea on advocacy

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

The joint vice-chairman of Manchester Jewish Representative Council has asked for assurances that the Progressive community will enjoy equal participation in the Israel advocacy conference due to take place in November.

Mike Samuels - a member of the Orthodox South Manchester Synagogue - expressed concern at the possibility that the Reform movement might be "sidelined" at the Big Tent for Israe


Belmont minister is hailed by Chief

September 8, 2011

There was a full house at Belmont Synagogue on Shabbat for the induction of Rabbi Elchonon Feldman by the Chief Rabbi in the presence of a number of civic dignitaries.

Paying tribute to Rabbi Feldman, Lord Sacks said Belmont "could not have found a more outstanding individual to lead the community".