Jonathan Kalmus

Have a cheeseburger (thanks, Heather)

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

Heather Mills, ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney, has secured kashrut certification from the Manchester Beth Din for her vegan food brand - although the products in her range that simulate pork and seafood will not get the rabbinic stamp on its packaging.

The Redwood Wholefood Company produces plant-based alternatives to chicken, beef and pork, as well as and dairy-free cheeses. All of its 61 products are kosher, but the Beth Din's MK kosher stamp will not appear on Cheatin' ham slices, vegetarian bacon rashers and scampi-style pieces.

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Man racially abused judge

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

A man who made antisemitic remarks about a Jewish judge who had ruled against him has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and fined nearly £2,000.

Gregory Hughes, who owned a tattoo business in Sheffield, admitted to making a number of derogatory comments about District Judge Charles Khan's Jewishness and position as
a judge.

He made the remarks during Judge Khan's ruling after losing civil proceedings against Nicholas Keddey on March 10 this year at Sheffield County Court.

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Shul 'lifeline' for women marrying out

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

Affiliates of the Manchester Council of Synagogues are to review the membership policies of synagogues which bar those who have married out.

The policies are designed to discourage intermarriage but, in light of the Supreme Court's JFS ruling, the bar could now stop some Jewish children getting into Manchester Jewish schools. This is because families have to have synagogue membership, rather than show attendance to satisfy the religious practice-based admissions criteria.

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Wizo: close bonds pay

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

One of Manchester's most successful Israel support groups has said close bonds between members is the key behind its strength.

North Cheshire Wizo has raised an estimated £300,000 in its 50-year history, despite beginning as a crowd of young mothers in 1960 in the home of the current co-chairman, Ruth Fink who shares the role with Rae Ingelby.

"We were all pregnant at the time, there were a lot of young children while we made coffee mornings to raise money," said Mrs Fink.

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Keeping simchahs kosher

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

Efforts to stem the trend of non-kosher barmitzvah celebrations in Manchester have been urged by delegates to the city's Council of Synagogues.

Monday's AGM of the Orthodox representative body agreed to investigate whether families could be asked to sign an agreement committing to serve supervised food.

Council life vice-president Shalom Goldblatt said that "a barmitzvah is the beginning of adult Jewish life, so it's not appropriate to celebrate it with a treife do".

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More opt for schools

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

Northern Jewish schools are anticipating a bumper pupil crop in September with the best admissions numbers in years.

Manchester's Kind David Primary and High schools and Leeds' Brodetsky Primary report full intakes for the new academic year.

North Cheshire Jewish Primary says it is oversubscribed and has had to consider appeal cases.

North Cheshire head Jackie Savage says the school received 48 applications for 45 places.

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Kosher addition

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 15, 2010

South Manchester Jews will have an eat-out option from Sunday when a new coffee shop begins offering kosher sandwiches and hot beverages.

Serious Coffee, in Hale Barns, has gained such a strong Jewish following in its first month of trading that its owner has responded to requests for kosher items.

A range of sealed sandwiches and wrapped cakes will be available alongside its non-kosher foods. Owner Peter Bardsley has gone as far as offering kosher milk for cappuccinos and hot chocolate.

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Police won't take action against Tesco boycotters

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Merseyside police said this week that no action would be taken against Israel boycott protesters who marched into a Tesco store to hand out leaflets asking shoppers not to buy goods from West Bank settlements.

Police answered a call from the Aigburth Tesco Metro in south Liverpool just after 11am on the Saturday before last after the store's manager complained that protesters were disturbing customers.

But by the time officers arrived, the 10 pro-Palestinian activists were conducting a "peaceful demonstration" outside the store according to officers.

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Schools on alert as child snatchers stalk streets

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Police have appealed for calm after reports of four attempts to snatch school children in south Manchester.

North Cheshire Jewish Primary school, in Cheadle, received a warning along with other Stockport schools after four attempted abductions were reported to police in two weeks.

Three children had to break free after being grabbed by a lone man in several locations across the borough. Two of the incidents occurred last week as they went home from primary schools in Hazel Grove and Brinnington Park, a few miles from the Cheadle Jewish school.

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No kosher food at Asda in Liverpool

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Asda has defended the removal of kosher items from its store in Liverpool's Sefton Park, citing poor sales.

Israeli-born Rafi Sharabi, who lives nearby in Wavertree, said a number of angry Jewish customers had rung to complain.

He was eventually told by the store management that following a directive from head office, staff had removed kosher lines from the world section, which carries Indian, Chinese and halal ranges.

An Asda spokesman said: "Obviously we care about what our customers think. If there is a swell of complaints, there is a possibility of putting the products back in."

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Wizo celebrates North Cheshire's 50th

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

North Cheshire Wizo's 50th anniversary celebration reunited 14 of the group's 17 chairwomen. Among them was Sally Weinstein, now living in America, who came over from New York.

In her legal work, she represents American women who have been victims of domestic violence and she spoke about Israeli charities supporting abused women.

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Leeds parents upset by school's yo-yo promotion

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Parents at Leeds' Brodetsky Primary have got into a twist over yo-yos after the school allowed an outside company to promote them to pupils.

Brodetsky has received complaints over a motivational assembly programme, "The NED Show", run by American-based company All for Kidz and featuring yo-yo tricks.

There is no charge for the show but participating schools are asked to sell its stunt yo-yos, costing £5-£10, for five days afterwards.

Headmaster Jeremy Dunford said the assembly last Friday had been successful in promoting self-esteem and new learning skills.

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GP pronounces man dead on Israel flight

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

Passengers and cabin crew were left stunned as a man died on board a Jet2 plane from Israel to Manchester on Tuesday.

Stewardesses ran with oxygen masks to try to revive 85-year-old Philip Cohen, from Crumpsall, whose health had declined rapidly an hour into the flight. But he was pronounced dead immediately by Prestwich GP Dr Jonathan Liebermanwho was also on board.

The doctor helped to cover the deceased and laid him across three seats for the remainder of the flight.

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Liverpool chair denies his troubles led to centre closure

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

The ex-chair of Liverpool's Harold House community centre, Sam Beilin, has denied that his personal finance issues contributed to its closure.

Mr Beilin, one of the city's best-known property developers, was declared bankrupt in April, with reported debts of £1m. Mr Beilin resigned as chairman of the charity which runs Harold House shortly afterwards.

Mr Beilin reaffirmed that the decision to close Harold House in May was due to "massive, massive losses" and high running costs, while fewer young people had meant a drop in income.

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King David Liverpool faces legal battle on admission

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

An explosive legal battle is looming over Liverpool's King David High School after the mother of a Jewish girl denied a place saod she is in a position to fight for all children in her position.

Dawn Chapple, an accountant who left a high-paying job two years ago to focus on her daughter's dyslexia, confirmed this week that legal action would "definitely go ahead".

She said: "I've had a number of meetings with my solicitor and a barrister. It's all been very positive and in my favour.

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Limmud provides a World Cup alternative

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

Organisers of Sunday's Limmud in Manchester organised an accomplished team of speakers as a counter-attraction to England's World Cup travails.

A decent proportion of the 250 people who attended heard bill-topping writer Howard Jacobson discuss passages from his forthcoming novel, which humorously focuses on anti-Zionism as the new antisemitism.

"Central to the book is how uncomfortable it is to be a Jew in England at the moment."

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Delamere Forest school celebrate relocation

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 1, 2010

It will be the end of an era on Sunday when current and former pupils of Delamere Forest attend a day of celebration at the Cheshire special needs school before its relocation to north Manchester.

One thousand British Jews have been educated at Delamere, which opened in 1920 as the Jewish Fresh Air Home and School for poor inner-city children suffering from malnutrition or asthma caused by smog. But lessening demand for residential schooling and changes in local authority funding had jeopardised Delamere's future.

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Councillors urged to act over Bury Nazis

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2010

Jewish leaders have called on Bury councillors to "stop sitting on the fence" after a muted response to communal outrage over men dressed in Nazi regalia at a public event three weeks ago.

Since the event, it has emerged that 20 men wore swastikas and SS insignia at the East Lancashire Railway wartime re-enactment. One man posed as Nazi war-criminal Hermann Goering, while photographs have confirmed some men wearing up to five pieces of Nazi insignia and a jeep draped in a large Nazi flag, which flout rules set by the organisers banning such displays.

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Jewish schools 'will face many legal challenges'

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2010

Lawyers say Jewish schools may face a barrage of battles from parents contesting practice-based admissions decisions.

This follows the case of Kayleigh Chapple, the non-observant Jewish girl denied a place in Liverpool's King David High School.

Solicitor Jack Rabinowicz, an expert in education law, says the move from descent-based criteria is going to lead to "a lot of disagreement and dispute.

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Israel deports anti-Zionist activist to UK

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2010

A woman from Bolton who claims she was "brutally" locked up by Israeli immigration staff at Ben Gurion Airport for no reason other than wanting a holiday in Israel has been unmasked as a high-profile anti-Israel political campaigner.

She is also behind a website which peddles the claim that Israel harvests human organs and that "the Jews are eating villages".

Komal Adris (below) told the Bolton News and Asian Image, which runs the UK's leading Asian news website, she was strip-searched and locked up for 15 hours without access to lawyers, on Tuesday.

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