£2m Leeds unit opens

By John Fisher, April 2, 2009

Leeds care home Donisthorpe Hall is opening a £2.2 million unit for dementia sufferers on time and on budget despite the original builders having gone into administration.

The three-storey 21-bed Woodlands unit, due to take in residents at the end of April, offers specialised care and modern facilities. It is currently available for public viewing.


Levy to pay key staff

By John Fisher, March 26, 2009

A communal levy to maintain the posts of two key Leeds professionals is to be discussed by local synagogues.

Addressing Sunday’s meeting of Leeds Jewish Representative Council, Robert Bartfield said the jobs of community development worker Neil Clarke and Leeds Jewish Initiative co-ordinator Natalie Jackson had been preserved through a mixture of private and organisational funding. Some of this comes to an end in September.


Radio star aged nine

By John Fisher, March 12, 2009

Nine-year-old Sam Berson has become the youngest presenter at Leeds Jewish community station Radio Jcom.

After just five weeks’ training, Sam is fronting the Sam Berson’s Children’s Show, a mix of interviews and music.

“Lots of my friends from the 22nd North Leeds cubs and scouts have been invited on to my programme and I want to include excerpts from all my favourite musicals,” he said.

He has recorded his own version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now to use as his theme music.

Radio Jcom is broadcast daily on the internet and is hoping to get an AM slot in the summer.


Approved by Ofsted

By John Fisher, February 26, 2009

Ofsted inspectors have upgraded the Brodetsky Primary School in Leeds from satisfactory to “good with outstanding features”. The Alwoodley primary also received a top score from Pikuach Jewish studies assessors.

Head Simon Camby was praised by the Ofsted team for “the inspiration from which all staff gain strength”.

There was “outstanding” provision for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the 250 pupils and the children displayed good knowledge of healthy eating and keeping fit.


800 at club reunion

By John Fisher, February 19, 2009

Sunday’s 80th anniversary celebrations of the Judean Club in Leeds attracted international interest with the 800 turnout including former members now living in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Israel.

The club was the dream of young Zionists who organised local lectures and social events in the 1920s. Launched by the late Louis Wigoder, it met in disused army barracks.


£3.9m for Leeds housing

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

The regeneration of a sheltered housing complex for the Leeds Jewish community has moved a step closer after a £3.9 million grant from the government. The money will enable the construction of 46 two-bedroom and 16 one-bedroom apartments.

They will be built next to the Leeds Jewish Community Centre in Stonegate Road and will replace outdated bungalows at the Queenshill Estate site.

Construction begins in the spring and is due to be completed by the end of 2010. LJHA will then have 230 properties in its portfolio.


Death at golf club

By John Fisher, January 15, 2009

A Leeds community stalwart died of a heart attack at Moor Allerton Golf Club on Tuesday.

Sam Goldman, 85, was taken to the clubhouse after feeling unwell on the course. An ambulance was called but paramedics could not revive him. Four-hundred people were at the funeral on Wednesday.

Mr Goldman oversaw a raft of improvements at the award-winning local care home, Donisthorpe, during 18 years as chairman. The United Hebrew Congregation member also generously supported many other charities, particularly in Israel.


£2.2m project hits snag

By John Fisher, December 11, 2008

The chairman of Leeds residential home, Donisthorpe Hall, has pledged that a £2.2 million wing will be finished using “in-house expertise” after the construction firm went into administration.

Geoff Caplan — who worked in civil engineering and building before retirement — said the state-of-the-art dementia unit “is well on the way to completion.


Kindness of murdered Chabad couple ‘knew no bounds’

December 5, 2008

The 250 people at a Leeds Lubavitch Centre memorial service for those killed in the terror attack on Mumbai’s Chabad House included three community members who had received hospitality from Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka.

Angela Frieze, who had dined at Mumbai Chabad earlier this year, recalled the Holtzbergs as “a caring couple. The work they did will be sadly missed by those of us who were honoured enough to meet them.”


Population controller

By John Fisher, December 4, 2008

Neil Clarke intends to demonstrate staying power as Leeds’ first community development officer. The goal of the 23-year-old is “to encourage young people to remain in Leeds and attract people at Leeds University to move to the city permanently”.

Originally from Reading, Mr Clarke is himself a Leeds University graduate. He will be based at the representative council offices and will work closely with the Leeds Jewish Initiative and university chaplaincy.

He has launched a weekly newsletter and intends to develop a communal website and database.