Jonathan Kalmus

Manchester Police Chief: We'll fight hate

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

The Manchester community must do more to meet the threat of antisemitism in a city where they are more likely to face abuse than anywhere else in the country, according to its police chief.

In an exclusive interview, Chief Constable Peter Fahy said individuals must be more proactive in reporting incidents, and pledged to increase police numbers on campus significantly to thwart attacks such as the one suffered by Israel's deputy ambassador at Manchester University last month.

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Leeds' glittering young Jewish social scene

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

A buzzing Leeds Jewish singles and young families scene is gathering momentum and could help secure the future of the community.

A few weeks ago, a glitzy charity boxing night arranged by a committee of young professionals pulled in 600 people, a significant proportion of the city's Jewish population. Such demand shows that the community can still pack a punch on a social level. And most of the £44,000 raised will be invested in the local youth centre, The Zone.

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Langdon is doing its students proud

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

Twenty-year-old Hannah Levy was born with Down's syndrome, developed serious speech difficulties and has undergone major heart surgery. Yet despite having to converse in sign language, she is holding down a part-time job in retail, is a popular Hale Synagogue congregant and recently played percussion in a classical concert at the Royal Northern College of Music.

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Leeds rabbi: let's merge three synagogues

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

A radical plan to merge the three Leeds Orthodox synagogues into a super-community has received a mixed response.

The idea to consolidate the congregations on a large single campus was floated in a guest Shabbat sermon by Rabbi Jason Kleiman at the United Hebrew Congregation.

Rabbi Kleiman, minister of the nearby Beth Hamidrash Hagadol community, was participating in a pulpit swap. He said afterwards that a passionate response to a controversial sentiment was hardly surprising. But communal assets could be used more effectively.

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Leeds pupils' organic egg farm

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

Pupils at the Brodetsky Primary in Leeds will be entering the organic egg market thanks to a £10,000 outdoor classroom project.

Hens, a large pond and a computerised weather station are features of the facility, constructed by specialist contractors who build sets for TV soap Emmerdale.

Funded by a donation from a local community member, the project will encourage pupils to learn about nature, the weather and become involved in rearing the 18 hens. Eggs produced will be available for purchase from the school.

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Blue kisses raise money for sisters' charity

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2010

Two sisters have launched a world record charity attempt to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension, an incurable lung condition which claimed the life of their sister.

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Bayfield: Israel's friends can criticise

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2010

Reform Jews should not be scared to offer constructive criticism of Israel, delegates were told at the movement's biennial conference, held in Manchester at the weekend.

Three-hundred delegates were at the conference, which was split between the Manchester Reform, Cheshire Menorah and Whitefield Sha'arei Shalom shuls.

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Maccabi urges action against pitch vandalism

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2010

Manchester Maccabi is urging action against youths who have been damaging one of its football pitches.

Police have been called to the Prestwich club on a number of occasions after the teenagers refused to stop riding bikes over the pitch. The club has a land management deal with the local council for use of the grounds, but their location on a public thoroughfare prevents the club from fencing the pitch off. Sergeant Ian Campbell of the Prestwich neighbourhood policing team says extra patrols have started.

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Manchester Federation synagogue opens

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2010

The official opening of the first Federation synagogue outside of the London area attracted a crowd of 600 in Salford on Sunday.

Completed in two years, the £1.3 million Ohr Yerushalayim shul was completed with the help of a £500,000 investment from the Federation of Synagogues.

The shul, whose ark and banqueting suite are finished with Jerusalem stone, has a thriving congregation ranging from modern Orthodox to Charedi.

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Liverpool's Harold House shutdown

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 13, 2010

A Liverpool community meeting on Sunday will hear the background to the closure of Harold House.

The decision to close the centre, the heart of communal activities since 1951, was made in the light of rocketing running costs of £100,000.

Sam Beilin, chairman of the charity which owns Harold House, says it was a drain on communal funds.

"There will be excellent facilities on the new King David campus with effect from next year. We hope the groups that are leaving Harold House will make use of that campus in the future"

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New president for Manchester Rep Council

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 13, 2010

Lucille Cohen has taken over the presidency of Manchester Jewish Representative Council. The former Zionist Central Council president from Altrincham wants to introduce a "new interactive spirit" so the community can better understood its work.

In her inaugural speech to Sunday's council meeting, Mrs Cohen, 54, said Manchester Jewry was facing "increasingly challenging times. The security of the community, our children and students on campus is paramount," she said, referring to violent protests against deputy Israeli envoy Talya Lador-Fresher at Manchester University.

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Elections result: Cheadle

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2010

The already thin margin of support for Liberal Democrat's Mark Hunter didn't slip at all in Cheadle despite bad press over anti-Israel letters he sent to Muslim voters.

He remains in position as MP in the south Manchester area with a majority of 3,000, beating off Tory Ben Jeffreys who was hoping to add to the two Conservative seats now in Greater Manchester.

One Conservative activist close to Mr Jeffreys simply said it had been a "disappointing night".

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Election results: Bury North

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2010

Jewish candidate Richard Baum saw some success in increasing the Liberal Democrat vote in Bury North, although in third place he was no competition for the only swing seat to the Tories in Greater Manchester.

Conservative David Nuttall defeated strong opponent Maryam Khan for Labour, daughter of Afzal Khan, a former Manchester mayor and co-chair of the Muslim-Jewish Forum.

Far behind Mr. Baum was the BNP's John Maude with 1,825 votes, although stronger BNP results are expected in the constituency's local elections.

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Family banned from Jewish area for racist attacks

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 6, 2010

A mother, her son and his then boyfriend have been banned for five years from Manchester's most Jewish area after carrying out "disgraceful" racist attacks in a three-day spree.

Shameem Parker, 44, and her son Dean, 22, were sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court last Thursday, together with Barry Clark-Millar, 52.

All three, who pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated offences, received Asbos banning them from entering the Broughton Park area.

Judge Jonathan Foster QC also jailed the two men for four months each, while Mrs Parker received a 12-month community order.

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UJIA chief defends sale of Manchester base

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 6, 2010

Manchester UJIA chairman Keith Black has defended its controversial decision to sell off its Mamlock House premises by pledging that money saved would go towards countering "terrifying" anti-Israel activity.

The impending move has left smaller charities which co-lease the dilapidated north Manchester building struggling to find alternative accommodation.

But Mr Black said this week that UJIA's hand was forced by a 10 per cent drop in income in a harsh economic climate.

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Altrincham and Sale West: Election 2010

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 29, 2010

Manchester Jewry's most affluent community sits on the edge of the only Tory seat in Greater Manchester, Altrincham and Sale West.

It is home to Bowdon, Hale and Sale, some of Manchester's wealthiest suburbs, each with its own synagogue. It has the largest Jewish community outside north Manchester, although it makes up only two per cent of the area's population.

Nevertheless, incumbent MP Graham Brady is chasing the Jewish vote, noting the "vibrant" community is "integrated into every walk of life, whether business, education, public service or voluntary organisations."

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Far right 'serious threat', Lib Dem candidate warns

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 29, 2010

Jewish libDem candidate Richard Baum has warned that the BNP could make significant gains in the Bury North constituency.

The area, a few miles from where Ivan Lewis and Michelle Wiseman are duelling for their seat, has around five per cent Muslims, and virtually no Jewish community.

Mr Baum says six BNP candidates standing in most of the constituency's local elections is worrying. A further four are standing in the Bury South consituency.

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Former Tory leads BNP push for Bury

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 29, 2010

For the first time the BNP have a parliamentary candidate standing for Bury South, home to two significantly Jewish areas.

This week, election leaflets for Jean Purdy, a former Conservative activist and senior NHS nurse, landed on doormats in Whitefield and Prestwich setting out three objectives: to stop immigration, pull out troops in Afghanistan and to raise the weekly pension.

A Conservative spokesperson sought to distance the party from Ms Purdy, saying: "We disown any association with her. Their values are not ours."

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King David High relaxes mobile phone ban

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 29, 2010

Manchester's King David High has relaxed a controversial ban on mobile phone use by pupils.

Since its introduction three weeks ago, infuriated parents of offenders have complained that the the six-week confiscation rule has jeopardised their children's safety by leaving them without a phone at evenings and weekends.

Confiscated phones have been returned and confiscation periods of one or a few days will again be the norm.

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Blunkett: Change needed to oust Islamic extremists

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 22, 2010

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for a radical change of strategy to oust extremist Islamic groups, and suggested the government's current strategy may have inadvertently supported them.

Speaking at the Board of Deputies on Sunday, Mr Blunkett openly criticised Prevent, the UK's anti-radicalisation strategy, which has spent much of £140m to fund activities of moderate Muslim groups.

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