Jonathan Kalmus

Chaplain flies in

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2010

Manchester Airport has introduced its first Jewish chaplain. In a statement the airport said the move comes following the death of an 85-year-old man from Crumpsall on a flight from Tel Aviv in June. Rabbi Jonathan Roitenbarg, 33, from Prestwich, will now offer on-call assistance to Jewish passengers and will visit twice a week to coincide with two Tel Aviv flights.

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Manchester shul seeks home for historic items

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2010

South Manchester's sephardi community is giving away the antique contents of a synagogue which is to be demolished.

Didsbury's Shaare Zedek Synagogue, which was sold to pay for a newly built synagogue closer to congregants who now live in Hale, is to be demolished in January. Antique furnishing from the 1920s building are being offered, including a large aron kodesh (ark), period light fittings and oak furniture. Wooden pews to seat 200 people have already been donated to Hillock Hebrew Congregation in Bury, whose own pews were in urgent need of replacement.

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You Can Do It kosher

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2010

DIY giant B&Q has opened its first kosher kitchen showroom in a bid to entice Jewish customers.

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It's snow joke – road grit needed

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 22, 2010

An appeal for 20 tonnes of road grit for the Jewish community has been launched by a Manchester volunteer group.

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FOI papers 'lost', say

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 22, 2010

Civil servants lost a Freedom of Information appeal which could shed light on a missing Israeli soldier.

The Foreign Office said it did not know what had happened to papers requesting a 1982 ambassador's report, which may have contained references to Zachary Baumel. It only said they had been passed to the Information Commissioner's Office. But an official there said: "The FO are dealing with it. It's not an ongoing case with us."

Now lawyers acting for the soldier's family have been asked by the FO to make a fresh appeal. But they fear the mix-up could be a delaying tactic.

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Foreign Office says no to MIA report

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

On June 11 1982, three Israeli soldiers went missing after a battle with Syrian and Palestinian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub in the last moments of the Lebanon war. Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, all in their 20s at the time, are still officially MIA - missing in action.

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Hip flats to woo youth

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

A novel plan to offer fashionable and affordable housing targeted at young professionals in Leeds is to be launched in a bid to attract young people to the community.

The idea has come from Leeds' newly hired Jewish community development executive, Susie Gordon, who is developing a three-year strategic plan to reverse the numbers of young people leaving the community and strengthen its demographic base. She believes traditional community plans which rely on running events for young people is not enough.

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Fears over losing a local public voice

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

North Manchester's Jewish community could lose its only public forum for voicing concern over local issues after Bury council is looking to scrap local meetings to save money.

Local Area Partnership (Lap) meetings cost the council an estimated £200,000 to arrange a forum where police commanders, all local councillors and other authority representatives hold open meetings for local people to attend six times a year. They have also issued over £1 million in local grants including money to repair the Jewish Rainsough Cemetery.

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BNP faces backlash over Oldham threat

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 9, 2010

Jewish and Muslim communities in the north-west are readying themselves for a new campaign against the BNP if its leader Nick Griffin stands in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

The BNP leader hinted last Friday through the Twitter website that he might contest the seat. This came in the wake of the High Court upholding the decision to strip former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas of his seat, for lying about a rival in last May's general election campaign.

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Museum stalls Quaker history

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

A man whose family was saved from the Holocaust by the Quaker movement has accused Yad Vashem of failing to record the historical rescue.

Peter Kurer, 79, from Manchester, was brought to England in 1938 from Vienna by Quakers in a mass rescue operation of Jews from Germany and Austria. Their father, Jacob, a dentist, came to Britain in 1936 seeking contacts to help his family and met Horatio and Mary Goodwin, a Quaker couple in Whalley Range, south Manchester.

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Leeds puts its history on show

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

An exhibition celebrating the history of Leeds Jewry is being heralded as a major success after attracting well over 1,000 extra visitors to the Leeds City Museum on Sunday.

Around 1,800 people, including 300 children, attended the Jewish Heritage Day display. It was arranged as part of a two-year community project to document the Jewish contribution to the city since the founding of its first purpose-built synagogue 150 years ago.

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Pupils give top marks to King David campus

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

Pupils at Manchester King David Schools switched to their new £22 million state-of-the-art building this week - and liked what they saw.

As the three-storey campus opened its automatic doors on Tuesday, 650 students - just over half the schools' total - got their first glimpse of the 100,000 square foot property as part of a staged transfer from KD's dated former buildings. High school pupils were given a guided tour with accompanying maps to help navigate the maze of 70 rooms.

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Manchester fears volunteer crisis

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

Manchester's Federation of Jewish Services is facing a volunteer shortage as local authority budget cuts begin to bite.

The welfare charity operates a network of 250 volunteers in North Manchester, providing extra support for mainly elderly Jews in 200 households every week. But demand is increasing with more people living longer at home and local authorities rolling out tougher criteria on elegibility for residential care funding.

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Leeds school plan advanced

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 2, 2010

Plans for the first Jewish secondary school in Leeds are to be submitted to the Department for Education within weeks after sufficient demand was established at two parent meetings.

Planners hope to take advantage of the government's free schools initiative, allowing for state-funded schools to be set up in response to parental demand. The intention is to open in 2012 on the existing Brodetsky Jewish Primary site in Alwoodley.

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Northern participants rely on animal instincts

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 25, 2010

The gardening skills of Manchester Habonim Dror members helped preserve allotments that needy residents rely upon for fresh produce.

As their Mitzvah Day contribution, the 16-to-19-year-olds tended to plots belonging to the husband of a terminally ill cancer patient and a woman who had suffered a heart attack.

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Football stars kick-start Maccabi fundraiser

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 25, 2010

Manchester football legends helped Maccabi raise more than £5,000 from a dinner.

England and United defender turned football pundit Gary Pallister was joined by ex-City player Tommy Booth at the dinner at Prestwich's Hilton Suite, attended by 120 guests.They were interviewed on stage by Manchester broadcaster James H Reeve.

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Terror as Israel jet blown off course

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 18, 2010

Airline passengers flying from Israel to Britain fainted when the pilot twice failed to land in gale-force winds.

The pilot of the Jet2 flight to Manchester struggled against winds of up to 80mph to wrestle the plane to within seconds of landing.

But he was forced to divert to East Midlands Airport, near Leicester, 80 miles away.

Many shaken and nauseous passengers chose to take taxis, costing up to £200, rather than the coaches provided by the airline to get home.

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Fury over Palestinian activists Israel Nazi jibe

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 18, 2010

Two Jews who are senior members of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in Manchester have been criticised for making "monstrous" parallels between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and Nazi atrocities.

Last week, Manchester PSC chair Linda Clair, who is Jewish, wrote to the left-leaning Morning Star newspaper claiming Israel would eventually conduct a holocaust. She wrote: "The Israelis have massacred many thousands of Palestinians since 1947 and continue to do so.

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Now Blackpool koshers its rock

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 18, 2010

The world's first fully kosher Blackpool Rock factory has begun runs of confectionery and is to supply supermarkets within a week.

Coronation Rock, one of the oldest rock producers, which supplies confectionery to Harrods, the London Eye and Alton Towers, was granted a full factory kashrut licence by the Manchester Beth Din two weeks ago. The company can make up to 20,000 sticks of rock a day in over 2,000 flavours and has already begun supplying Jewish novelty lollies to kosher shops.

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