London memorial for IDF soldiers

By Jay Grenby, July 24, 2008

A Bnei Akiva-organised service in memory of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser at Hampstead Garden Synagogue on Sunday was attended by over 500 people.

Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald was among communal leaders and Israeli representatives at the service, arranged at short notice by BA's Eli Bauernfreund and Joshua Pomerance following the return of the soldiers' bodies to Israel from Lebanon as part of a prisoner-exchange deal.


A rocket from Sderot

By Alexandra Abrams, July 17, 2008

A group of 19- to 24-year-olds from Sderot brought an unusual gift to their South Hampstead Synagogue hosts — the shell of a Kassam rocket fired at their town in 2003.

The rocket shell, taken to London with Israeli government permission, was placed on the synagogue entrance table on Shabbat. “It stunned congregants to silence,” reported Alexandra Maurice, chair of the Hineni committee, under whose auspices the young Israelis visited. It was a “stark and real” reminder of the daily threat to Sderot residents.


Strong legal argument

July 10, 2008

Delivering the annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture at Hampstead Synagogue, Baroness Kennedy argued that while law and democracy are the pillars of British society, it is the law which is paramount.

The human-rights and civil-liberties specialist pointed out that there are currently 80 cases of alleged Islamic terrorism awaiting trial.

Trying to take short-cuts would only lead to unsafe convictions and thus should be avoided.

Although one impulse to the threat of terrorism was to withdraw the rights of some, judges should fight to maintain the human rights of everyone.


Second film festival for Tel Aviv University Trust

July 3, 2008
Tel Aviv University Trust, sponsored by Investec Private Bank, held its second Student Film Festival at the Everyman Cinema. Over 400 supporters viewed four award-winning short films made by students at the Yolanda and David Katz Arts Faculty at the university. The films’ subject matter — foreign workers, religious identity and Jewish-Arab relations — made for a lively audience question-and-answer session with two of the young directors, Aya Somech and Pini Tavger.


Leeds duo to run London arts show

By John Fisher, June 20, 2008

Two Leeds women are to run an arts festival to attract young people into a London theatre to experience the venue as a centre of performance.

The scheme got under way when Leeds-born directors Emma Gordon and Alexa Christopher-Daniels introduced their project, Twenty 2e7en, to young arts professionals at the New End Theatre in Hampstead in January.

Following the  event, a core company was established comprising 12 directors, performers and designers. As a result, Ms Gordon and Ms Christopher-Daniels have created the two-day festival at the theatre.


Zaka donated rapid rescue motorcycle

June 1, 2008

North London residents Gillian and Irving Carter donated a rapid rescue motorcycle to Zaka in honour of their grandson Asher’s barmitzvah. At a dedication ceremony in Tel Aviv, David Rose, executive director of the British Friends of Zaka, said: ”Thanks to your generous donation, Zaka volunteers are able to get to an accident in the fastest possible time.”


‘Not in my back yard’: Charedi chief fights new eruv plan

By Simon Rocker, April 10, 2008

The religious leader of London’s Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations moved this week to prevent the creation of an eruv in his own back yard.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the Union’s rabbinate, urged members of the strictly Orthodox community not to back plans for a local eruv that would cover the Charedi strongholds of Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington in North London.