Joining Czech mates

August 13, 2009

Members of the Nottingham and Finchley Progressive synagogues travelled to the Czech Republic to visit Slavkov, formerly Austerlitz, from which they each have a Czech memorial Torah scroll.

The trip was organised by the Nottingham Friends of Austerlitz, working to preserve the memory of the town’s Jewish community. Just a handful survived the Holocaust and there is now only one Jewish resident, 78-year-old Ruth Matiovska, who recovered from a broken ankle in time to join a civic ceremony marking the visit.


Bumper crop from Leo Baeck

By Keren David, July 9, 2009

Eight Progressive rabbis were ordained on Sunday at the largest graduation ceremony held by Leo Baeck College.

Seven-hundred people were at West London Synagogue to support the new rabbis, “whose influence will be felt by a generation to come”, said Leo Baeck vice-principal Rabbi Michael Shire. “We are proud of their high academic achievements and skilled pastoral and spiritual abilities.”


In a league of their own

June 11, 2009

Two League of Jewish Women groups have been given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, an accolade equivalent in status to an MBE.

The league’s North-West Region, covering Greater Manchester and the Fylde coast, has been recognised for its work with the Jewish and wider community, such as helping at hospitals, schools and care facilities. Headstart, a sub-group based at Manchester’s Christie Hospital, works to boost the morale of chemotherapy patients.

Regional vice-president Averill Moore said the 550-member organisation was “overwhelmed, thrilled and excited”.


New memorial to Shoah hero

By Ben Jaglom, June 4, 2009

A garden honouring the late MI6 agent who helped thousands of Jews to flee Nazi Germany was opened at Finchley’s Sternberg Centre on Sunday in the presence of Cherie Blair.

Frank Foley worked as a passport control officer at the British Embassy in Berlin as a cover for his spying activities. As well as favourably interpreting the rules on visas, he helped to forge passports and even sheltered Jews in his own home.


LML romp

May 21, 2009

London Maccabi Lions romped home in the Under 15 National Cup final after running out 8-1 winners against Leeds Maccabi at Wingate & Finchley.

The Londoners scored twice early on with Yoav Kestenbaum playing in Sam Lewis to fire home.

The impressive Joel Grayson set up goal three with a pinpoint cross headed home by Samuel Marchant.

Inspirational captain Jake Yudelowitz got in on the act with a fantastic shot from 30 yards out that went in off the post.

There was still time for Lewis to complete a first-half hat-trick as the Lions went into the break 5-0 up.


Employment Resource Centre raises £5,000

May 14, 2009

MORE THAN £5,000 was raised for the Employment Resource Centre from its annual quiz night, held at Finchley Reform Synagogue and involving 200 supporters. ERC chair Trisha Ward reported a 60 per cent increase in demand for its services over the past few months, with accountants and lawyers among the new clients.


Safety first at Henlys

April 7, 2009

Finchley Synagogue has welcomed plans for a pedestrian crossing at Henlys Corner, having campaigned for safety improvements.

The crossing plan was announced by Barnet Council leader Mike Freer on Friday as part of an £8 million Transport for London scheme to improve safety and traffic flow.

“We’re delighted funding has been approved,” said a spokesperson for the shul, which is at the Regents Park Road end of Henlys Corner. Pedestrians currently have to cross at their own risk or take a 15-minute detour.


Family celebrates triple simchah

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

The Baker family from Elstree will have a triple celebration on Shabbat when their daughter and twin sons will be bat- and barmitzvah at the New North London Synagogue in Finchley.

Philip Baker said boys Alexander and Oliver had delayed their big day so as to share it with sister Yolande.

“We wanted them to mark the occasion together,” Mr Baker explained. “We’re part of the Hakol Olin service which is egalitarian and allows both men and women to read from the Torah. As such, all five members of our family will be sharing the reading.”


Finchley gets more spiritual

February 12, 2009

Finchley Reform Synagogue has appointed a director of spiritual development to find “alternative means for people to grapple with their spiritual journeys”.

In the new role, Rabbi Howard Cooper will conduct a Shabbat morning service once a month, play a part in festival services and contribute to the shul’s adult education activities.


Jewish Deaf Association host party

September 12, 2008
A party was held at the Jewish Deaf Association's North Finchley community centre to mark the retirement of Irene Spielsinger after 16 years as a sign language tutor. Although deaf herself, she has taught hundreds of people of all ages, including JDA staff and volunteers, police officers and teachers. She has also helped "hearing families" with deaf children to sign together.