Desecration at synagogue leads to fast

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2011

Members of a London synagogue observed a special fast on Monday after a burglary in which its Torah scrolls were dumped on the floor.

Thousands of pounds' worth of silver artefacts and scroll cases were stolen from Magen Avraham, a congregation of Aden Jews in Finchley, late last Thursday night or in the early hours of Friday.


Museum trustees pledge to fight synagogue-disrepair writ

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2011

Trustees of an immigration museum housed in a disused synagogue have said they will vigorously contest a writ issued against them in the High Court.

The Spitalfields Centre for the Study of Minorities, located in the former Federation synagogue in Princelet Street, east London, is facing a demand to appoint new trustees to the charity.


Prestwich pondering Aish partnership

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 25, 2011

A derelict synagogue hall in Manchester may be redeveloped to provide an educational and social venue for the community.


Prestwich sports pitch opposed

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 11, 2011

Bury Council is pressing ahead with plans for a controversial sports pitch in Prestwich which Jewish residents claim will increase antisocial behaviour.

The council will decide on Tuesday on its own application for a multi-sports pitch on King's Road, opposite Jewish homes and synagogues. The application was submitted despite an earlier public consultation in which councillors expressed shock at the level of Jewish concern.

One-hundred Jewish residents have signed petitions and there have been 25 individual objections.


German shul in barn restored

By Toby Axelrod, February 3, 2011

What would you do if you discovered that a dilapidated barn in a nearby village is actually a 186-year-old shul?

Brigitta Stammer, from Gottingen in Lower Saxony, decided, as many others might, to help restore the building to its original purpose.

But this was no ordinary restoration. In order to complete the rebirth of the half-timbered synagogue, Ms Stammer took part in a project to move it, piece by piece, from its location in Bodenfelde to Gottingen, where she lives. And, what's more, Ms Stammer is not even Jewish.


Coming home to Bowdon

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 28, 2011

Rabbi Dovid Lewis will be returning home to fill South Manchester Synagogue's ministerial vacancy.

Manchester-born Rabbi Lewis, 32, currently at Newcastle's United Hebrew Congregation, is expected to transfer to the Bowdon community in June. He succeeds Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin, who vacated the post after 25 years to launch a strictly Orthodox private high school in north Manchester.

Rabbi Lewis holds a BA in Jewish studies from SOAS and an MA in theological research from Durham University. He obtained semichah in Israel in 1999.


Israeli police arrest scroll gang rabbi

January 13, 2011

Police hope to have put a brake on the rising number of Torah scroll thefts from synagogues around Israel after arresting two gangs last week.

In the largest of the swoops, police uncovered an unusual example of Arab-Jewish co-operation when they charged three Arabs in Lod and a prominent rabbi from the strictly-Orthodox town of Elad, near Petach Tikvah, with the theft of 70 Torah scrolls.


Share dealers reap rewards

By Jay Grenby, January 13, 2011

In a ground-breaking home-share, Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue will be moving into the nearby Middlesex New Reform premises in Bessborough Road.

Both communities are delighted with the arrangement, which will see the Harrow community becoming tenants of Middlesex New, one of the largest synagogues in the Reform movement. The congregations will retain their separate identities.

The initial contract is for a minimum two-year period with an option to renew, with the costs of the building being shared.


Woodside Park is looking to join the eruv club

By Jay Grenby, December 29, 2010

Woodside Park Synagogue is putting the finishing touches to its plans for an eruv, which it intends to submit to Barnet Council in early spring.

The move follows community and general public consultation meetings. If approved, the eruv will cover four square miles, taking in Whetstone, Oakleigh Park and Totteridge, as well parts of Finchley.

It will abut the existing North-West London eruv, as well as the eruvim planned by the Barnet and Mill Hill communities, creating a large area enabling the Shabbat-observant to push prams or wheelchairs and carry certain items.


Synagogues face VAT slap for listed buildings

By Leon Symons, October 14, 2010

Synagogue buildings given heritage status face increased costs that could run into thousands of pounds after the government decided to cut a grant that refunded VAT.

The cut, which will start in January, is part of the government's overall drive to tackle the economic deficit.

Currently synagogues, along with all other listed places of worship, can claim a grant equal to the VAT paid on certain specified works, including architects' professional fees. Now they cannot claim for those fees as well as work on items such as clocks, pews, bells and organs.