Cathy Forman

Ilford Primary programme gets MP's vote

By Cathy Forman, November 25, 2010

Ilford South Labour MP Mike Gapes came away "really impressed" by the Mitzvah Day activities at Ilford Jewish Primary.

Younger pupils decorated Chanucah cards for the Blue Peter Go Cardz appeal. Older children were addressed by eight-year-old pupil Darcy Tish, who is recovering from an operation, before making "get well" cards for children in local hospitals.

A serviceman spoke about his experiences in Afghanistan to year five and six pupils, who composed letters to serving soldiers.

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Scotsman hate case man pleads guilty

By Cathy Forman, October 21, 2010

A man has pleaded guilty to distributing threatening and insulting antisemitic material through the website of The Scotsman newspaper.

Mohammed Sandia, 45, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where Sheriff Michael O'Grady called for a community service report before sentencing next month. Mr Sandia was released on bail.

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UJIA chief promises home sale benefits

By Cathy Forman, September 29, 2010

The incoming Manchester UJIA chairman has pledged that proceeds from the sale of its Mamlock House site will be ring-fenced for the community.

Hale-based Andrew Joseph, 47, who has served the organisation for 20 years, steps up from his role as vice-chair. "It is the intention that the proceeds from the sale of Mamlock House will be committed to a community asset," he said. "The exact nature of that asset is still to be decided."

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Widow 'held to ransom' in burial fees row

By Cathy Forman, August 13, 2010

A 79-year-old widow claims she is not being allowed to erect a headstone for her husband for refusing to pay an additional burial fee which is at the heart of a long-running dispute between Birmingham's two Orthodox synagogues.

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Hackney council winner celebrates

By Cathy Forman, May 13, 2010

With a closely contested general election boosting turnout in the council polls, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Hackney Council, Ian Sharer, was enjoying the spotlight.

"It was incredible," he said after his re-election in Cazenove ward, "a tsunami of voters and no one knew who they were. We hadn't canvassed them. We were saying 'who are they coming for?'"

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Redbridge Jewish Community Centre considers relocation

By Cathy Forman, May 6, 2010

A feasibility study on the Redbridge Jewish Community Centre site is being conducted by the local council, which is considering its purchase to expand the adjacent state secondary school.

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Borehamwood girl, 5, dies

By Cathy Forman, March 25, 2010

The funeral of a five-year-old Borehamwood girl who died suddenly last week was held at Bushey cemetery on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Hertfordshire Coroners office opened and adjourned an inquest into the death of Hanna Collins.

Former Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue minister Rabbi Alan Plancey, who officiated at the funeral, said Hanna's parents, Claudia and Andrew, were "devastated. They are a loving and caring couple. We have to give them every support we can."

Hanna also had a twin and an elder sister.

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Blackpool synagogue merger talks fail

By Cathy Forman, March 4, 2010

Talks to bring Blackpool's two dwindling congregations under one roof have broken down.

Meetings were held over a 12 month period between the town's Orthodox and Reform synagogues with a view to both operating from the Reform shul's building in Raikes Parade. The United Hebrew Congregation's Grade II listed building is 100 yards away in Leamington Road.

"We would like it to happen if it can come about," said Reform president Leon Tax.

"We want to find some way of bringing the two communities together." The Reform shul "is larger than we need and maintenance is an issue".

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Bournemouth breakaway group change name

By Cathy Forman, February 11, 2010

The breakaway group from Bournemouth Reform Synagogue has changed its name.

Originally known as the Southern Reform Community, it is now called the Southern Jewish Community.

“Our name has had to be changed to comply with a request from the Movement for Reform Judaism,” explained group member David Sheaf. “They felt that having ‘Reform’ in our name might lead people to think we are already affiliated. This we considered a reasonable request.” However, the group still hoped to affiliate to Reform.

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Birmingham burial fees row eased

By Cathy Forman, February 11, 2010

Meetings were held this week in an effort to resolve a long-running dispute over burial fees between Birmingham’s two Orthodox synagogues.

On Wednesday evening the shul councils of Birmingham Hebrew Congregation (Singers Hill) and Central Synagogue met separately to discuss plans for a solution.

Central leaders have been enraged by steep rises in burial fees and maintenance charges from Singers Hill, which looks after the Witton and Brandwood End cemeteries on behalf of the community.

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Leeds youth club leader honoured by Gordon Brown

By Cathy Forman, February 4, 2010

Youth club leader Raina Sheaf was among community heroes hosted by Gordon Brown at a 10 Downing Street reception.

Leeds North-East MP Fabian Hamilton nominated Mrs Sheaf, chief executive of local club the Zone, as someone “widely respected in the Jewish community”.

She was “thrilled to be invited. It was good to realise that Mr Hamilton values what I do at the Zone.”

Mrs Sheaf, 43, travelled to London with Mr Hamilton’s other nomination, Abid Hussain, owner of a local chain of stores and an active supporter of the Leeds Islamic Centre.

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North Tyneside: 100 candles for Holocaust Memorial

By Cathy Forman, January 28, 2010

A ceremony in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides took place at North Tyneside's Council Chamber. The event, hosted by the chairman of North Tyneside Council, Councillor Michael Huscroft, Mayor Councillor Linda Arkley and the borough's Holocaust Memorial Committee, culminated in the lighting of 100 candles.

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Harry Potter star leads Mersey farewells

By Cathy Forman, December 9, 2009

Actor Jason Isaacs has led the tributes to his uncle Lennie Isaacs, the JC’s Liverpool correspondent for 15 years, who died last week aged 70.

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Breakaway planning

By Cathy Forman, December 3, 2009

The breakaway group from Bournemouth Reform Synagogue has agreed a framework for its future direction.
From January, the Southern Reform Community will be running alternate weekly Shabbat morning and evening services in homes of supporters. “We are going to see how it goes,” said Janet Gee, a member of the breakaway group and a former Bournemouth Reform chair.

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Reconciled in Lincoln

By Cathy Forman, October 22, 2009

The unveiling of a plaque at Lincoln Cathedral commemorates the blood libel of 1255, when 18 Lincoln Jews were hanged having been falsely accused of the ritual murder of a local boy.

Kaddish for the hanged Jews was also recited at a service at the shrine of Little Hugh, who was venerated as a saint. The wording on the plaque records that when the boy’s tomb was opened in 1791, the body bore no signs of mutilation.

The 200 people at the service were addressed by Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich on “A Jewish view of Jesus”.

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Breakaway group finds Southern comfort

By Cathy Forman, October 8, 2009

The breakaway group from Bournemouth Reform Synagogue has given itself a title — the Southern Reform Community.

Over 80 people supported the group’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at the local Carrington Hotel. “The atmosphere was amazing,” reported former Bournemouth Reform officer Melanie Smith. “Many agreed it was the best set of High Holy-Day services they had attended for years.”

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Bournemouth Reform faces breakaway

By Cathy Forman, September 10, 2009

Bournemouth Reform Synagogue is holding a special general meeting on Sunday in an effort to stave off the threat of a breakaway group within the 500-strong community.

Disaffected members cite concern at the shul’s financial management, infighting among the synagogue council and unhappiness with minister, Rabbi Neal Amswych. It is claimed that 70 people are prepared to support alternative High Holy-Day services at the town’s Carrington House Hotel for members who do not want to attend the synagogue.

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Wiping the slate clean on Mersey

By Cathy Forman, August 20, 2009

A fundraising drive to repair the roof at Liverpool’s Old Hebrew Congregation has got off to a flying start.
As a condition of a £160,000 English Heritage grant in the spring, members of the Grade I listed Victorian synagogue had to raise a further £20,000.
Synagogue project director Alaster Burman then came up with the idea of bringing in the money by the sale of 2,000 slates at £10 apiece.

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Secret £1.2m donor saves four schools

By Cathy Forman, July 30, 2009

An anonymous £1.2 million donation from a London trust will save four Israeli schools from closure.
The money has been given to the British Friends of Shuvu, supporting a religious schools network.

Falling donations from the UK and America had put the future of six schools in jeopardy. The pledge from the London trust will preserve the places of over 1,000 students but Shuvu schools in Nahariya and Ashkelon still face closure.

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£1m plan is not Brum and dusted

By Cathy Forman, July 30, 2009

A proposed £1 million-plus deal with a local housing association to redevelop Birmingham Central Synagogue’s Edgbaston premises has fallen through.

The shul’s 200 members had been due to be asked at the AGM to approve plans to sell two-thirds of the site to Birmingham-based housing association Optima. However, synagogue president Geoffrey Clements wrote to them explaining that Optima had been unable to secure government funding for the project.

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