The recession

US cuts budget and jobs as income falls

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The United Synagogue is axing jobs and planning to cut spending by nearly £250,000 in the light of the economic downturn.

A spokesman for the Orthodox synagogue organisation said on Monday that a financial review had led “to a proposal that a small number of positions will be made redundant. However, as we are still within the consultation process, we cannot confirm the number of positions that may go.”


Palmers Green minister fights US plan to make him part-time

By Jay Grenby, January 29, 2009

Palmers Green and Southgate Synagogue’s Rabbi Emanuel Levy is fighting a move to make his position part-time in a cost-cutting measure.

Although a United Synagogue spokesman suggested that the 60-year-old minister had accepted the change, Rabbi Levy said on Monday that he would appeal against the decision.

“I believe that the need for my services is as great now as it has ever been. We maintain regular daily services, shirum, education and welfare activities, exactly as we have always done.”


Hate wave feared in recession-hit Ukraine

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

A major wave of antisemitism is feared in Russia and Ukraine in 2009 as their economies begin to bear the full brunt of the global financial crisis.

The warning comes from senior officials in local Jewish organisations and from the Israeli government.

One veteran emissary from a major Jewish body was especially worried.


Divine aid

December 11, 2008

A special day of prayer was observed last week among strictly Orthodox congregations in response to the growing economic crisis.

Notices were posted in synagogues by the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Rabbi Avraham Pinter, principal of Yesodey Hatorah said that the crisis “is affecting everybody” and donors had been hit.

“A lot of food products are imported so weakness of the pound is having an additional adverse effect,” he said.


Salary freeze at Reform

December 11, 2008

The Reform movement has deferred pay increases for staff for six months because of the economic situation. Salary rises have been postponed from the beginning of January until July.

Movement head Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield told its quarterly council meeting on Monday that although some donors had been badly affected by the financial crisis, others had offered additional support


What makes Israel recession-proof?

By Candice Krieger and Simon Griver, December 4, 2008

A drop in production is inevitable
Mark Ross, chief executive of the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce

Israel is not in recession as it has not experienced two consecutive quarters of negative growth. GDP growth currently stands at 2.3 per cent.

However, if it drops below 1.7 per cent, it falls below the rate of population increase, and if it stays like that for more than six months, Israel will be in recession.


Green boosts rabbi’s recession-relief plan

By Leon Symons and Simon Rocker, November 27, 2008

Rabbis up and down the country are mobilising to help congregants hit by the recession.

Mill Hill United Synagogue Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet launched an initiative to offer help to victims of the credit crunch. His project was given a boost with a donation from BHS chairman Sir Philip Green, who has given £15,000 to a kosher supermarket in North-West London to help families in need.

Rabbi Schochet used his Shabbat sermon to highlight the problems facing families and has set up a committee which can offer legal, financial, employment and counselling skills.


Global recession hits growth in Israel

By Simon Griver, November 27, 2008

The Israeli government has announced a range of rescue measures as new data show the country's economy is beginning to feel the effects of the global recession.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer also sprang a surprise by cutting interest rates an additional 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent - the lowest level in Israel's history. Mr Fischer has now lowered interest rates by 1.75 per cent since the start of October.


Chief gives EU credit crisis talk

By Leon Symons, November 20, 2008

Europe needs a new covenant of hope to carry it through the current economic crisis and beyond, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

Addressing the parliament for the first time, Sir Jonathan discussed the differences between a covenant and a contract. European politics, he said, needed the former.

Sir Jonathan compared a contract to a deal and a covenant to a marriage. "A contract deals with ‘arenas of competition' while a covenant deals with ‘arenas of co-operation'.


Sacks throws rabbis a credit crunch lifeline

By Simon Rocker, October 24, 2008

The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, is planning a special seminar next month to equip rabbis to deal with the impact of the financial crisis on their congregants.

Its aim is to help them provide pastoral care, encourage support networks and be aware of the sort of help available, such as the Employment Resource Centre.

He is also inviting some business representatives to advise rabbis on how communities can help.