Charedim, mums and action men join the Jews running for office

By Dana Gloger, April 18, 2008
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Bury
Jewish candidates: Seven

Sam Cohen
First elected in 1983, the Conservative councillor for Unsworth is hoping to be re-elected this year. A member of Bury Hebrew Congregation, the former handbag distributor is currently chair of the council’s planning control committee.

Jonathan Grosskopf
Born and bred in Sedgley, the Conservative councillor is hoping to hold on to his seat in the ward. “My nickname is ‘Action Man’ because I’m a man of the people, and I help people with their causes against the council,” Mr Grosskopf said.

Frank Adam
Also contesting the Sedgley ward is veteran Labour candidate Mr Adam, who served as a councillor from 1998-2002.

Jackie Harris
Grandmother Ms Harris, a Conservative councillor for Radcliffe North, moved to Bury from Liverpool 35 years ago. She explained: “I first became interested in politics as a child, when my father ran a construction business in Northern Ireland.”

Raymond Solomon
A Tory in the St Mary’s ward, he belongs to the executive committee of the Zionist Central Committee in Manchester, where his wife Karen is administrator. Mr Solomon, 51, has six children, the oldest of whom is making aliyah in two weeks; the youngest two attend King David School in Manchester.

“I’ve been involved in politics my whole life, but when I retire we’re going to settle in Israel. With a bit of luck, I’ll run for office in Israel,” he said.

Michelle Wiseman
The Conservative candidate for Pilkington Park, she has been a councillor for the ward since 2003. The married mother-of-three is chief executive of Manchester Jewish Community Care.

Ms Wiseman, 46, is currently the council’s executive member for safe and secure communities and is campaigning for a larger police presence on Bury’s streets. She is also the Parliamentary candidate for Bury South.

Julie Baum
The LibDem candidate is standing in the Besses O’ the Barn ward.

Salford City Council
Jewish candidates: Five

David Lewis
The Conservative candidate for Irwell Riverside ward was previously a councillor between 2004 and 2006. “I was Salford’s only Jewish councillor at the time,” he said. “Salford has a long tradition of Jewish councillors, which has diminished in recent years.”

Mr Lewis, who is a member of Manchester Reform Synagogue, owns the Mapleford nursing home.

Shneur Odze
In 2007, Lubavitcher Mr Odze, originally from Stamford Hill, North London, lost a council seat by just 34 votes. This year, the Conservative is hoping to win the Kersal ward.

Mr Odze, who was previously a Hackney councillor in London, and whose father, Harvey Odze, is still a councillor there, said: “I have the overwhelming support of rabbis, but I’d represent everyone. Kersal is about 42 per cent Jewish, though the census says 38 per cent, but actually the majority are not strictly Orthodox.”

Harold Kershner
Also standing in the Kersal ward is 72-year-old LibDem Mr Kershner. The former president of Manchester Great and New Synagogue, a chartered accountant, he volunteers for Salford NHS and for the Lowry Centre. He is also the director of local housing board New Prospect, treasurer of Hillel House and a trustee of the Jewish Cultural Centre.

Dr David Wolfson
Tory Dr Wolfson is standing in the Broughton ward.

Leeds City Council
Jewish candidates: Two

Ronald Feldman
Standing in the Alwoodley ward, Mr Feldman was first elected a councillor in 1971. A governor of Allerton High School and Brodetsky Primary, he was also Lord Mayor in 1991-2. The Conservative candidate belongs to both Eretz Chaim synagogue and the Hebrew United Synagogue.

Mark Harris
The LibDem candidate for the Moortown ward is also a trustee of Leeds’s Sinai Synagogue.

Liverpool
Jewish candidates: Three

Raphael Levy
A research fellow at the University of Liverpool, Mr Levy is standing for the Green Party in the Warbreck Ward. It is the first time the 31-year-old, originally from France, will be standing as a councillor. “Green and environmental issues need to be taken more seriously in Liverpool,” he said.

Edwin Clein
The Lib candidate is standing for the Childwall ward.

Beatrice Fraenkel
Ms Fraenkel, who was a LibDem councillor for 22 years, has crossed the floor in the council and is standing as a Labour candidate for the Kirkdale ward.

The BNP is also fielding candidates in many of the same wards as Jewish candidates. Nationally, they have 650 people seeking election. In Leeds, BNP candidates are standing in all 33 wards; in Bury, they are contesting seven out of 17 wards; in Liverpool, 11 out of 30 wards; and in Salford, six of 20 wards. Manchester will see three BNP candidates standing across its 32 wards, while in Trafford’s 21 wards, only one is standing, and in Stockport six are standing across 21 wards. In Birmingham, BNP candidates are standing in all 40 wards and four National Front candidates are seeking election.

    Last updated: 3:06pm, March 2 2009