East End

Bevis Marks in talks over rabbi's exit

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Members of Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London say that the redundancy process involving their rabbi has been suspended pending a meeting on Monday with the mahamad (executive) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation.

Congregants protested after learning of the possible loss of Rabbi Natan Asmoucha, who arrived from Zimbabwe last year to become rabbi of Britain’s oldest shul. Some feared the proposed redundancy could be a prelude to closing the place of worship.


School deputy head suspended

By James Martin, July 9, 2009

The Simon Marks Jewish Primary governors have confirmed the suspension of deputy head Norma Blair pending an investigation into allegations of serious misconduct.

Eighty parents at a meeting at the Stoke Newington school on Tuesday night were told by governors’ chair Peter Kessler that Mrs Blair had been suspended and that the matter was being investigated by the Learning Trust, which runs Hackney schools.


Sandys Row Synagogue wins lottery

May 14, 2009

The survival of one of Britain’s oldest synagogue buildings has been assured with an award of over £250,000 from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sandys Row Synagogue in London’s East End will use the money for essential repairs to its Grade II listed building — “a little known architectural gem in the heart of Spitalfields,” according to conservation architect Anthony Walker, who led the shul’s advisory team.


Shabbat services are back at East End shul

By Isabel Janner, May 7, 2009

Fieldgate Street Great Synagogue in London’s East End has held its first Shabbat service in 18 months as it fights for its future.

The 110-year-old shul has been under threat of closure because of the dwindling local Jewish population.

But president Raymond Singer was heartened by the attendance of 20 men and eight women at the weekend service.

“There are four other shuls in the East End, all fighting for a congregation, and it is survival of the fittest,” Mr Singer said.


Hackney listing threatens sale

By Jay Grenby, February 18, 2009

English Heritage’s award of Grade II listed status to the historic Hackney Synagogue building has jeopardised the United Synagogue’s plan to sell the site.

The US — which opposed the listing — had put the 112-year-old Brenthouse Road property on the market, highlighting the redevelopment potential. The hope was that a sale would fund the congregation’s relocation.

It is understood that a potential buyer has asked for time to reconsider, given that the listing, recognising architectural and historic interest, could scupper any plans for demolition.


Childrens club provider quits Hackney school

By Craig Silver, August 7, 2008

Hackney's Simon Marks Primary has parted company with its after-school club provider after a breakdown in relations.

Mapalim said it had "no choice" but to end its involvement after clashes with acting head Norma Blair-Clayden.


Demolition reprieve for Satmar shul

By Marcus Dysch, July 31, 2008

A strictly Orthodox synagogue has won a temporary reprieve from having part of its complex demolished.

The Satmar Synagogue in Craven Walk, Stamford Hill, North London, won an appeal on a technicality against an enforcement notice issued by Hackney Council.

The council issued the notice last September in an attempt to reverse the construction of two extensions and installation of three air-conditioning units at the building, which had been started before planning permission was granted.


Jewish and Muslim schools visit East End

June 20, 2008

Year Six boys from Simon Marks Jewish Primary and Tahwid Muslim School, both based in Hackney, embarked on an East End trip. They visited historical landmarks and took part in a group session, where the boys engaged in a discussion about their cultures. Mark Garfield, assistant head at Simon Marks, said: “This is the first time our schools have had any interaction and it proved to be a positive experience.”


Charedim among poorest, yet have less social housing

By Simon Rocker, June 12, 2008

Strictly Orthodox Jews in Hackney, North-East London, are more likely to be receiving state benefits than the general population of the borough — but much less likely to be living in social housing.

According to a council study, 58.7 per cent of Charedi households received means-tested benefits compared with 38.6 per cent on average for Hackney as a whole.

But only 8.5 per cent of strictly Orthodox households lived in affordable social housing compared with 44.1 per cent for Hackney as a whole.


Youth Direct's large Jewish literature collection

June 5, 2008

Youth Direct’s new library at its Manor Road centre offers a large selection of Yiddish and Hebrew books. Youth Direct’s James Field said: “There are more than 8,000 young people in the Hackney and Haringey Jewish community and many do not access public libraries. We hope providing an opportunity for young boys to borrow books to take home and giving them the space to explore Jewish literature in a socially accepting environment will encourage them to read.”