Come to Chabad — near the pub

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2009

A £250,000 Chabad centre has opened in Manchester’s Whitefield area. A one-year refurbishment has transformed the former off-licence into a facility housing a Jewish resource library, Judaica store, lounge and a multimedia lecture hall.

However, director Rabbi Shmuli Jaffe says the centre’s greatest asset is its location. “It is opposite the Parkfield Inn pub, which is full of Jews on Thursday evenings, and its street corner is where the kids are on motzei Shabbos, being the only stretch of Jewish shops in the neighbourhood.”


First lottery-funded theatre workshop in Manchester

May 21, 2009

The first lottery-funded theatre skills workshops by Manchester’s Jewish Theatre Company took place at Bury Hebrew Congregation. Run by TV actresses Marilyn Bar-Ilan and Amanda Fairclough, around 30 children and adults took part. Some 17 weekly workshops were planned after the group received a £10,000 Lottery grant. Chairman Shelley Blackston said: “The Lottery money came because we were creating community based projects.”


Michael Portillo speaks at Manchester fundraiser

May 21, 2009

Michael Portillo attracted 150 business men and women to a fundraising breakfast in aid of Manchester Jewish Community Care.

Held in the city centre Freemasons Hall, the former Tory minister spoke about the state of British politics in the current economic conditions and some of the challenges facing Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. TV presenter Rob McLoughlin chaired the event which raised around £7,000 for the Nicky Alliance Day Centre.


Battle to revive Manchester advice service

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2009

Salford’s Citizens Advice Bureau has suspended a service providing “sensitive and informed” guidance to Jews after losing lottery funding.

The head of the bureau is in discussions with Salford City Council in an effort to revive the Jewish Outreach Project, which offered advice surgeries at Jewish venues, such as The Fed and Agudah Community Services.

Advisers were recruited from the Orthodox community to raise awareness of social services among Charedim who were not accessing their benefit entitlements.


Peter Fahy: observant Jews can have a police career

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 14, 2009

Continuing his campaign to get more Jewish bobbies on the beat in Manchester, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy has declared that observant Jews could fulfil a police career.

After addressing Sunday’s Manchester Jewish Representative Council AGM, the chief constable said religious observance was no more an operational constraint than childcare.

Although conceding that “Sabbath observance could be more difficult”, he added: “We are able to be flexible and it is something we can work around with individual negotiation.”


Counter-terror plans under way

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 11, 2009

A counter-terrorism strategy aimed at encouraging Manchester’s Jewish community to report suspected terror activity is being developed. It may include opening terrorism reporting facilities locally in Jewish offices and a kosher bakery.

More than 30 people, including counter-terrorism police officers and community members, met at a closed meeting hosted by the Community Security Trust. It was organised by the Greater Manchester Police Authority, the watchdog which oversees policing in the region, as part of an ongoing consultation project to engage the public’s help.


Manchester rabbi departs

May 7, 2009

Prestwich Hebrew Congregation members have said goodbye to Rabbi Yehoshua Landes after 10 years of service. His departure was agreed last summer and he has begun teaching at the King David High School.


Manchester Tay Sachs screening set to close

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

The last screening for Tay Sachs outside of London is due to take place in Manchester next week.

Screening drives for the fatal genetic disorder have traditionally been run inside Jewish schools, paid for by the Tay Sachs Screening Programme. However, the charity, run by north Manchester-based doctor of genetics Sybil Simon, is due to close when she retires.

“For the past 20 years I have run it and fundraised for it. There is no one to take this over. No one wants to do voluntary work anymore.”


Get a (longer) life in Salford

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

A scheme is being piloted in Manchester to ensure that observant Jewish patients have the right to stay alive if they become critically ill.

The so-called Halachic Living Will allows patients’ religious beliefs to be taken into account in any medical decisions.

Under the scheme, patients can sign a legal contract to appoint a rabbi or representative who would then make life-saving medical decisions — in line with halachah (Jewish law) — on their behalf if they become mentally incapacitated.


Big turnout at screen tests

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 30, 2009

Over 600 Manchester Jews responded to an appeal to attend a bone marrow screening drive on Sunday in support of local leukaemia suffer Leora Kuhillow, whose story was reported in Community last week.

Such was the level of interest that organisers had to turn people away from the Hilton Suite venue in Prestwich. Separate men’s and women’s testing areas were provided in deference to religious sensibilities.

Organiser Lisa Cohen-Binder says that those who could not be screened could be tested at their GP or at a follow-up drive in south Manchester next month.