Jonathan Kalmus

Manchester museum in crisis as attendances fall

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 3, 2009

The cash-strapped Manchester Jewish Museum has launched a survival appeal in the wake of falling income and attendances.

Annual visitor numbers have dropped from 15,000 to an estimated 11,000 for 2009 as squeezed educational budgets have reduced the number of school parties on which the museum relies heavily to meet its £140,000 running costs.

In 2003, 500 school groups visited the museum. Last year, there were 350 and the decline is continuing. The museum charges £2.95 per pupil. It attracts few visitors from the local Jewish community.

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Chief Rabbi's plea for pride in Judaism

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 26, 2009

Lack of pride in Judaism and its achievements had increased assimilation and reduced the community’s ability to defend Israel, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks told 100 Manchester leaders on Sunday.

Before an audience including Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis at the local representative council, Lord Sacks declared: “If we are not strong in ourselves, how can we fight the massive challenges that face us? Non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism.”

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Rabbi cleared of cocaine dealing

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 25, 2009
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Our Manchester correspondent Jonathan Kalmus reports from outside Manchester Crown Court after Rabbi Baruch Chalomish was cleared of cocaine dealing.

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Rabbi cleared of supplying cocaine faces rehab

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 25, 2009

The rabbi standing trial for supplying cocaine at a lavish party for rich doctors, businessmen and prostitutes has been cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

Baruch Chalomish, 54, escaped a lengthy prison sentence and was given unconditional bail. It was indicated by the judge that he would face an order to attend narcotic rehabilitation organised by the strictly Orthodox Jewish community when he reappears for sentencing on December 17.

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Rabbi cleared of supplying cocaine

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 25, 2009

Rabbi Baruch Chalomish has been found not guilty by a Manchester Crown Court jury on two counts of intent to supply drugs discovered by police at his home in Salford and a Manchester city centre apartment.

The rabbi pleaded guilty to possession of Class A drugs found at his home and the Shudehill apartment.

His co-defendant, Nasir Abbas, was convicted, in his absence, of intent to supply. A warrant is out for his arrest. The judge described him as "the main player" in the case.

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Jury out on 'cocaine and sex' rabbi

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 24, 2009

The jury remains out at Manchester Crown Court after nearly five hours of deliberating whether Rabbi Baruch Chalomish and his co-defendent, Nasir Abbas, were indeed running commercial cocaine parties.

Summing up the case, Judge Michael Henshell directed the jury of five men and seven women to return only a unanimous verdict on each defendant's guilt over each count of possession of a controlled drug and possession with intent to supply cocaine.

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Rabbi Baruch Chalomish drug trial

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 24, 2009
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Manchester correspondent Jonathan Kalmus reports from outside court during the trial of Rabbi Baruch Chalomish.

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Cocaine rabbi 'stereotyped as drug dealer'

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 23, 2009

The rabbi accused of financing a professional cocaine supply business, which involved prostitutes and run by a Muslim partner, is the "victim of a racial stereotype of rich Jew financing a poor Muslim".

That was the claim made by Rabbi Baruch Chalomish's defence barrister, Jonathan Goldberg QC, in his final speech to the jury in Manchester Crown Court today.

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Rabbi took kosher food to five-day coke binge

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 20, 2009

Admitting to snorting large quantities of cocaine and having sex with prostitutes, a rabbi accused of running a cocaine supply business told a court that he had taken kosher food with him to eat during a five-day drug binge at the Manchester city centre apartment where he was arrested.

Rabbi Baruch Chalomish has pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing cocaine, but denies two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He stands co-accused with a convicted drug dealer, Nasir Abbas, who has failed to attend the trial and is being tried in his absence.

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Mitzvah Day: Gifts galore in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 19, 2009

Organisers at South Manchester Synagogue in Bowdon were overwhelmed by the generosity of members who donated goods for World Jewish Relief and other charities.

In addition to collections on behalf of destitute asylum seekers, Cheshire Reform held a special cheder session to make pupils aware of their plight. Youth worker Ben Abram said that “by asking them to reflect on their own family backgrounds, which include Jewish refugees”, it had been an exercise in challenging stereotypes.

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Newly merged Manchester charity has £10m budget

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 12, 2009

The major Manchester welfare charity created by the imminent merger of The Fed and Heathlands Care Village is likely to have an annual budget of £10 million, considerably more than the current combined budgets of the two organisations.

Plans for Manchester’s first respite facility for disabled Jewish children and a new social housing strategy were due to be unveiled at last night’s AGM of The Fed at South Manchester Synagogue.

Although revenue has dropped, Fed boss Karen Phillips said the proportion was in line with the fall other charities were experiencing.

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Manchester: Tough choices facing leaders

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 5, 2009

Difficult decisions lie ahead for Manchester’s Jewish community at a time of enormous demographic change. Yet green shoots of renewal and reinvention are evident in the UK’s second-largest Jewish centre.

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, a key figure in the 25,000-strong Jewish community, says a crucial educational issue is sustaining two mainstream primaries, given the declining applications to the King David and Bury and Whitefield schools.

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Orthodox woman hospitalised after attempted mugging

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 5, 2009

A religious woman who was hospitalised after an attempted mugging outside the Shefa Mehadrin Kosher Deli in north Manchester is appealing with police for information which can lead to her attackers’ arrest.

Despite 14 witnesses to the incident on Tuesday of last week, police have not caugh the two men, described as white, in their 20s and dressed in dark clothing.

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Jewish 'terrorist' charged with killing gays, Arabs, Jews

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 5, 2009

A Jewish “terrorist” who has allegedly confessed to a string of murders and terror attacks was remanded in custody for a week in a Petah Tikvah court on Wednesday.

As part of the ongoing investigation, Ya’akov Teitel’s Manchester-born wife, Rivka, was arrested as she drove to a remand hearing for her husband, and was separated from her baby. The couple have four children and live in the Shvut Rachel settlement on the West Bank.

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Chai in demand

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 29, 2009

Chai Cancer Care’s satellite service in Manchester is reporting an overwhelming uptake of its therapy and counselling services. The facility in Heathlands Village has seen client numbers swell in just six months to match demand for the charity’s Redbridge satellite, which opened over two years ago.

Visiting the Manchester service this week, Chai chief executive Elaine Kerr said calls were being received from Liverpool and Leeds.

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Machete gang who targeted Jews rearrested

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 28, 2009

Convicted members of a machete gang which violently targeted a Jewish family and business in a string of robberies in Manchester have been re-arrested after being released early from prison.

Greater Manchester Police admitted to losing track of two gang members, both men and aged 20 and 21, on Tuesday after then pair breached their release terms. They were arrested only hours later for attempted burglary in Wigan after being spotting acting suspiciously outside a house. They had served only six months of their two year jail sentences before being released.

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Racist attack on Manchester teen

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 15, 2009

North Manchester police are investigating an antisemitic assault on a 16-year-old boy as he walked home with his family from synagogue on Shabbat.

Witnesses saw one white and one Asian man shouting racist abuse at passers-by from a black car parked on Kings Road in Prestwich.

“They then got out of the car,” said one witness. “I saw one of them smack the boy in front of his mother and two sisters.

“The attacker fell as he punched and, rather embarrassingly, his trousers fell down.”

The car was later seen following two other young Jewish boys.

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Salford outreach project survives

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 1, 2009

A suspended citizen’s advice service dedicated to Manchester’s Jewish community has been guaranteed survival after the leader of Salford City Council intervened.

The Jewish Outreach Project, part of Salford’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, had funded a dedicated Jewish advisor, but was forced to shut in May when lottery funding ran dry. Now the bureau’s chief, Tom Tougher, said the service will receive half its £16,000 annual budget through Salford council. Its leader, John Merry, secured the money after being told of the closure.

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Volunteers help cancer sufferers put fashion first

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 24, 2009

Looking in a mirror, Sue Woodcock said: “Now I look like a person with cancer.” The 53-year-old is sporting a scarf on hair which will inevitably fall out during cancer treatments at Manchester’s Christie hospital.

“OK,” said her Headstart attendant sensitively. “How about this?”

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Cheadle synagogue celebrates more female inclusion

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 24, 2009

Greater inclusion of women in Orthodox synagogue life is being celebrated at Cheadle’s Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation.

Over the past 20 years a special committee has campaigned for women to occupy positions on the synagogue’s executive, introduced women’s prayer services and last year began the first female honour of eshet chayil (woman of valour) to sit beside the traditional men’s Simchat Torah first and last Torah reading honours. These and other achievements will form the basis of an exhibition at the shul.

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