Leeds

Boris Johnson backs big Mitzvah Day

November 18, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and London Mayor Boris Johnson are supporting the final push for Mitzvah Day, Sunday's community-wide volunteering initiative.

Dr Williams says "the Jewish community should be proud of what they achieve each Mitzvah Day. I am also proud that increasing numbers of Anglican groups are joining our Jewish friends, both to build bridges and to make a difference to those in our community who, from time to time, need a helping hand."

Mr Johnson describes the day as an example of the community spirit he wants to see across the capital.

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Man jailed for racist YouTube videos

By Marcus Dysch, November 15, 2010

A man has been jailed for 15 months for posting racist video clips on YouTube.

Gareth Hemingway admitted five offences under the Public Order Act at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard he had posted five videos featuring racist imagery and when he was arrested at his home in Sussex, police found a collection of Nazi memorabilia including a flag bearing the symbol of the SS.

The clips posted online called for a “racial holy war”, described acts of violence and made references to far right groups including Combat 18 and POWER (Patriots of White European Resistance).

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We need more cash, says chief

By John Fisher, November 11, 2010

Leeds Jewish Welfare Board president Edward Ziff has accused the community of not doing enough to support the charity.

Addressing some 80 people at the LJWB's 132nd annual meeting at the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Community Centre on Monday evening, Mr Ziff said that fundraising is always a crucial issue.

"It is politically correct to say that the community is 'doing well' but the reality is that while this community is as affluent as it has ever been that does not show itself in the form of an outward support of this organisation."

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A guiding light

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 11, 2010

Leeds' Etz Chaim Synagogue has developed a new downloadable guide to help non-Jews who attend services as guests to understand its rituals and customs.

The Etz Chaim Guide for Visitors, a downloadable 11-page synopsis, includes the do's and don'ts about what to wear, the best time to arrive and how to muddle your way through a siddur and chumash.

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JNF pulls out of Midlands as it closes another base

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2010

JNF is to shut its office in Birmingham, following the closure of its Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester offices in August.

The charity will now operate from its central London office and a new regional office is planned for Manchester.

Birmingham's office will close on December 1. A date has not been fixed for the opening of the new Manchester office.

Ruth Jacobs, regional co-ordinator for JNF Midlands for 20 years, said the community had donated "hundreds of thousands of pounds" to the charity over 65 years in the city.

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Walking tubes and rugelach on the go

By Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

London is either a student's dream or nightmare. On the one hand, there are world-class academic institutions and bars and clubs for every taste. On the other, you have to get the tube to class and rents can be astronomical.

As second-year Queen Mary University student Danni Godsi puts it, "it really depends on the type of person".

The city's Jewish student body is thought to number around 2,000, but the true figure is probably higher, as not everyone signs up for JSoc. Around 30 universities are covered by UJS, with at least 20 JSocs in the capital.

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Even with shrapnel, Israeli kids are freer

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

Israeli schoolchildren, even those on the war-blighted Lebanese border, have greater freedom to learn through exploration and play than their "over risk-assessed" British counterparts, according to a Jewish primary school headteacher.

Leeds Brodetsky Primary School head Jeremy Dunford, returning from his first visit to Israel, said he had found that Israeli pupils were able to use school equipment with far less adult supervision, and greater success, while British children were less likely to learn how to cope with risk as a result of strict UK health and safety laws.

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A bite at interfaith follows kosher food

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

A kiddush for 100 Christians at a Leeds synagogue has spawned a new interfaith initiative to create a Jewish heritage day out for schoolchildren and faith groups.

Three weeks ago Alwoodley's Etz Chaim Synagogue hosted 100 members of the neighbouring St John the Evangelist Church which was looking for a large reception venue after a major ceremony. The food had to be kosher so the synagogue laid on a kosher Christian kiddush.

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Lord Sacks: 'Take note London'

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi has said an ambitious project to celebrate 150 years of Leeds Jewry should be replicated in other UK communities.

Lord Sacks was guest speaker at a dinner at Etz Chaim Synagogue for 200 people to launch LJ150, which will see public exhibitions of the city's Jewish heritage over the next two years.

Commenting afterwards, he praised "the way that generations are in dialogue through this project and the way community elders keep the needs of the young at the forefront of their minds".

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Mature students find new flavour for Jewish life

By Katie Taylor, November 4, 2010

A new society for Jewish postgraduates and mature students has been set up in Yorkshire.

Leeds students Michael Kay and Kate Sutton, along with Julia Doff from Manchester University, set up the Jewish Postgraduate society (JPG) last month.

"We want to provide a different flavour from the usual JSoc events," said Michael, 23, who is studying for a PhD in the history of science.

"We aren't the first to try this. UJS did something similar years ago, but there wasn't much interest – possibly because there weren't so many students.

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