Jonathan Kalmus

Manchester Zionists on the move

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 7, 2010

Salford's Bnei Akiva bayit will be the last remaining Zionist building in Greater Manchester after the closure of Mamlock House, the former home to Manchester's Israel charities.

Manchester's Zionist Central Council is due to open its new offices at the bayit on October 4 as a temporary measure.

An extension to the bayit will be funded from the Mamlock House sale proceeds.

"It's a bit of a disaster," bayit director Shimon Gillis admitted. "We've got one large building, but loads of organisations are approaching us to use the bayit. It's going to be impossible to juggle."

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Customer care boost in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 7, 2010

The Federation of Jewish Services in Manchester is mirroring an NHS strategy with a new post to boost customer service.

Shira Baram has started work as customer care co-ordinator, a role based on the Patient Advice Liaison Service offered in hospitals, which is designed to improve the NHS by better recording feedback and complaints.

She will be the person to turn to for Heathlands residents, care clients and their families when they feel services do not meet expectations, or could be improved.

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Donor to match mikveh money

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 7, 2010

An anonymous donor is speeding the fundraising for a major refurbishment of Manchester's communal mikveh.

The benefactor has offered to match contributions from community members for the £75,000 still required.

Around £250,000 has already been raised towards work on bathrooms, rewiring, roof repairs and updating fire safety equipment at the mikveh in Tetlow Lane, Salford. The seven pool, 12 bathroom complex dates back to the 1950s.

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One dead and 13 sick in wedding food poisoning tragedy

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

An inquest has been opened to investigate an outbreak of suspected food poisoning at a Jewish wedding which led to the death of a woman and affected 13 others, including the bridegroom and best man.

Nine cases of salmonella have been confirmed by health officials while five other people have reported being taken ill with other complaints.

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Fears for future as Mamlock groups disperse

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

Hopes for a new communal building to house Manchester Zionist organisations have been dashed as former users of UJIA's Mamlock House disperse to separate locations.

UJIA's sale of the dilapidated north Manchester premises - which have been at the centre of local pro-Israel activity for nearly 50 years - was intended to save £50,000 annually in running costs. A number of parties have expressed interest in the site.

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Corrie star's FJS opening night

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

A newly refurbished mental health facility has been opened by Manchester's Federation of Jewish Services as part of its merger with the Healthlands Village.

Modelled on a cafe lounge, the ground floor space in Heathlands' Eventhall House in Prestwich was officially launched by Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine at a party on Tuesday night. The actress takes a particular interest in mental health issues as her father Tom chairs a charity supporting mood disorder sufferers.

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Teacher training goal

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2010

Manchester Mesivta headmaster Phaivish Pink is working to combat a shortage of highly-qualified Jewish studies teachers in Manchester schools.

On Sunday, the Torah Teachers Training Scheme, which he directs, organised a seminar in advanced classroom management skills for 25 local teachers. "There is no government requirement for kodesh staff to be qualified," Mr Pink pointed out. "But there is a growing recognition that professionally qualified kodesh staff are better and more effective."

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Airline stop rabbi for 'suspicious' shofar

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 2, 2010

An Israeli rabbi narrowly escaped arrest after being stopped by security officers at Munich airport for carrying a shofar.

Airport officials pulled aside Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who is in his late 50s, and asked him to explain the religious article while arriving on a flight from Tel-Aviv on Monday night. Rabbi Halperin was visiting his daughter Esther Chitrik who lives in Nuremberg and works as an Chabad emissary in the city.

"He was in a bit of a panic," said Gigi Mechlowitz, a fellow Jewish passenger from Manchester, who stopped to help.

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Zionists ordered out of pro-Palestinian event

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

Senior Jewish figures were told to leave a pro-Palestinian event where controversial Israeli journalist Gideon Levy was speaking.

Manchester Jewish Representative Council vice-president Michael Samuels and ZCC director Karen Solomon were told to "get out" because they were Zionists, by the chair of a public meeting at the Quaker Friends Meeting House in the city on Thursday.

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Jewish genes may hold breast cancer secrets

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

One thousand Jewish women are being sought for a major cancer study after researchers conducting a £1.5 million project say Jews hold the genetic key to preventing breast cancer.

Researchers at Manchester charity the Genesis Appeal, which runs Europe's first purpose-built breast cancer prevention centre, say only 16 Jewish women have so far agreed to take part in the study.

They fear a poor turnout could jeopardise critical medical data which could be unearthed by PROCAS, the largest attempted research into the risk of breast cancer for ethnic groups, involving 60,000 people.

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Northern pupils' GCSE successes

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

Northern GCSE stars were headed by Manchester Mesivta's Simcha Brownson, 15, who gained 10 A*s and three As. Another Mesivta high achiever was Saul Yardley, who passed 12 subjects at A* and A grade.

Mesivta said it was a "bumper year" for pupils with 98 per cent scoring all their subjects at A*-C in the strictly Orthodox school's express stream, in which many students sit GCSEs at 15 so as to start yeshivah studies at 16.

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Hate slogan daubed in Broughton

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

The spray-painting of a three-foot high "F--- Israel" slogan in one of Manchester's busiest areas is being treated by police as a hate crime.

It was daubed in Bury New Road in the densely Jewish populated area of Broughton Park between Sunday night and the early hours of Monday.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said a member of the public was seen trying to clean the graffiti off the wall. The matter "was then passed to neighbourhood policing and environment services were requested to attend. It's being treated as a hate incident because of where it was and what was written".

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Policing the festivals

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

High visibility patrols near synagogues, mobile police stations and extra hate crime reporting centres will be features of Greater Manchester Police's High Holy Days security operation.

"The efforts we have made over the years means we have more community confidence than ever before," said Sergeant Ian Campbell of Prestwich Neighbourhood Policing.

Chief Superintendent Jon Rush said the continuance of operations at last year's level was based on "positive feedback" from community members.

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Manchester plans eruv

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 26, 2010

Whitefield Hebrew Congregation has submitted a planning application to Bury Council for the first Manchester eruv.

The proposed eruv - a religious boundary permitting, for example, the pushing of prams or wheelchairs on Shabbat - would cover under a square mile north of the city where several thousand Jews live. It would require the construction of just three eruv poles.

Whitefield Synagogue's Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag says the "ingenious" design by an eruv expert in Antwerp means it could be up and running within nine months at a lower cost than those in the London area.

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Charity continues after founder dies

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 20, 2010

A strictly Orthodox charity that donates £1.3 million annually to Jewish education and low income families is to continue despite the death of its founder.

Philanthropist Shloime Leitner, 61, who died from leukaemia two weeks ago, started the Broom Foundation in 1986 from a small office in his Salford home.

It was among the first to introduce charity vouchers to the religious community and the Broom Foundation voucher books have been a major means of charitable donations for thousands of people.

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King David hails A-listers

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 20, 2010

Manchester A-level students are celebrating some top results.

King David High School reported that 80 per cent of pupils achieved A*, A and B grade passes.

Governors' chair Joshua Rowe said the results were testimony to the dedication of pupils and staff, who regularly stayed on after school to assist students.

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Leeds ready to party for 150th

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 20, 2010

Leeds Jewry is launching a £50,000 project to celebrate 150 years of Jewish heritage and contributions to the city.

To mark LJ150, high profile exhibitions are planned over the next two years to showcase works by home-grown artists. Vintage wedding dresses and past fashions from retail giants Marks & Spencer and Burton, both started by Jews in Leeds, will also be on display.

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Oldham police take on Nazi impersonators

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 19, 2010

Police in Oldham asked swastika-wearing Nazi impersonators at a village pub to remove the symbols for fear they would spark disorder at an event attended by 10,000 people.

Officers attended the Granby Arms pub in Saddleworth on Saturday, and found a number of men dressed as Nazis.

They were participating in "Yanks Are Back", an American-themed wartime heritage event for military vehicle enthusiasts, being run in the area last weekend. No arrests were made and the event passed off without incident.

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Thieves hit Liverpool synaogue roof

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 19, 2010

Merseyside police are investigating repeated thefts of large amounts of lead from the roof of Liverpool's Princes Road Synagogue.

Thousands of pounds' worth of damage is thought to have been caused to the Grade I-listed building.

The latest theft comes after £170,000 worth of repairs to Princes Road, funded by English Heritage and communal donations. The robbery has also caused rainwater to leak into the shul's annexe, causing further damage.

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Temporary home for key Jewish archive

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 19, 2010

Manchester City Council has solved a potentially serious problem for scores of Jewish studies students and researchers faced with the closure of Manchester's Central Library for three years of refurbishment.

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