Jonathan Kalmus

Jewish girl's King David place goes to non-Jew

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 11, 2010

A Jewish girl has been denied a place at King David High School in Liverpool because her family could not meet the new admissions criteria to prove her level of religious practice. The place went to a non-Jewish girl.

The Orthodox school was forced to reject a place for Kayleigh Chapple this September, even though her mother, uncle and aunt were former pupils.

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Bernstein to decline payout after voters shut out of polling station

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 10, 2010

Sir Howard Bernstein, the chief executive of Manchester City Council, is to refuse a £19,000 payout if a report shows significant failures over his running of voting in Manchester during the May elections.

An internal investigation has been launched by the council following anger from 300 voters who were locked out of polling stations in Withington, south Manchester, after 10pm on May 6.

It has emerged that Sir Howard is to receive a combined payment for acting as the returning officer who oversaw voting in that constituency
and four others.

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The Leeds kids who go to King David, Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 10, 2010

To appreciate the importance Leeds parents attach to Jewish education, you need to take the bus - to Manchester.

With no Jewish high school in Leeds, secondary age pupils have traditionally gone to the fee-paying Leeds Grammar or local state schools. However, an increasing number of families are now opting to send their children to the King David High after attending Leeds' Brodetsky Jewish Primary. As well as the attraction of keeping their children within a Jewish environment, there is the appeal of King David's consistently high academic results.

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Residents protest Jewish school move

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 10, 2010

Angry residents made plain their opposition to Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School's relocation plans at an acrimonious public meeting on Monday.

Bury and Whitefield called the meeting in partnership with a local rugby club to discuss the proposal to develop nine acres of green belt land owned by Whitefield Golf Club, which is in financial difficulty because of falling membership. The plans incorporate a new school and an all-weather rugby pitch.

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Unite votes to boycott Israel

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2010

Britain's largest union, Unite, has unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies at its first policy conference in Manchester on Wednesday.

The motion, which passed unanimously, called the union "to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies", while a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be "similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid".

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'Banned Nazis' spotted at WW2 rally

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

Angry complaints have been made about men in Nazi uniforms with swastikas seen drinking at bars in Bury.

People taking part in East Lancashire Railway's re-enactment of wartime scenes on Sunday were photographed with Nazi insignia, despite the event's organisers banning the practice.

Whitefield Councillor Michelle Wiseman complained to fellow Bury councillors after receiving a text message from an angry man, who wrote: "At East Lancs Railway in Bury. Full of men dressed as Nazis, disgraceful."

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Call for UCU chief to quit over boycott

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

The Stop the Boycott campaign has called for the general secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, to resign from her TUC position after the UCU passed a string of anti-Israel resolutions at its Manchester conference last weekend.

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Ajex fears for parade

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

The chair of Manchester Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women has warned that this year's local Ajex parade could be the last.

Malcolm Solomons fears that the heroism of Jews in the wartime forces may not be relayed to the young generation as veterans die or become too frail to participate in marches or educational activities.

He wants community members to wear the medals of their parents and grandparents at the commemoration at north Manchester's Heathlands Care Village on Sunday week.

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American-style kosher bakery for Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 3, 2010

This month's opening of an American-style kosher bakery in Prestwich will increase competition in a crowded market in north Manchester.

The Royal Bake is the third kosher bakery to launch in 18 months, making it nine in the area.

"It's gone bakery mad," observed Dovid Kaufman, manager of Haber's in Prestwich, a kosher shop stocking products from 18 bakeries from London to Gateshead.

"A lot of customers have noticed a sudden massive variety." But there was also evidence of increased home baking - "our yeast sales have doubled".

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Birmingham rabbi dies

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2010

Rabbi Jerachmiel Cofnas, who served the Birmingham community for 50 years, has died aged 98.

More than 600 people attended his funeral at Philips Park Cemetery in Manchester on Friday.

He died at the Beenstock Home in Salford last Wednesday, the first day of Shavuot.

Rabbi Cofnas was minister for Birmingham's former New Synagogue, but was also a shochet and respected as an expert mohel.

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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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