Jonathan Kalmus

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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Medic's life-saving stories

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 17, 2009

French-born Magen David Adom paramedic Sarah Cascella has been recounting life-saving moments during a speaking tour of northern England.

Manchester communal organisations and the Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow representative councils hosted Ms Cascella, 26. She also met Leeds couple Pam and Philip Glynn, who raised almost £2,000 for MDA as part of their golden wedding celebrations, and addressed 200 Christian Friends of MDA in Bolton at a ceremony marking the dedication of their second ambulance.

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Salford school seeing double with £3m plan

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 17, 2009

A £3.5 million rebuilding project will enable the Salford Chasidic community’s oldest school to double its capacity.

The private Chinuch Norim Primary is to construct a four-storey complex on the site of its 50-year-old building.

Two-hundred parents and community members gathered on Sunday for the laying of the cornerstone

ceremony.

Planning permission was granted three years ago to replace the current premises, which accommodate 250 pupils.

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Manchester plots modern youth club

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 17, 2009

A meeting space for south Manchester teenagers is being created in an attempt to reinvent the Jewish youth club for the current generation.

The intention is to launch The Hub in large open-plan premises in Hale Barns by November and organisers will leave it up to members to decide how to fill the space. Young company directors and professionals are behind the project and are in final negotiations to lease an 8,000 square foot building. Half the £120,000 needed for the project has been raised.

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Orthodox get a tonic from NHS

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 10, 2009

A £100,000 NHS pilot scheme to offer culturally sensitive healthcare to strictly Orthodox Salford families was rolled out to local health professionals on Tuesday at the Hershel Weiss Surestart family centre.

They were told that imminent trial services would include a post-natal counsellor and a male health worker recruited from the local community.

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Manchester King David aims to avoid points entry system

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 10, 2009

Admissions to Manchester’s King David schools in 2010 will depend upon synagogue affiliation, rather than attendance at services.

Governors’ chair Joshua Rowe believes the “points for observance” entry policy announced by JFS following a Court of Appeal ruling in June is “too cumbersome. We want to keep it as unintrusive and as transparent as possible. Instead of using a birth test for being Jewish or not being Jewish, we are using affiliation to a synagogue for admissions.”

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Limmudfest proves the Peak of diversity

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 3, 2009

A queue of Renault Clios struggling up hill roads in the Peak District offered a clue to farming locals that a different kind of summer festival was taking place in Hope Valley, Derbyshire, over the Bank Holiday. Another sign of the arrival of Limmudfest was the Tesco delivery man bringing home comforts to some of the 600 campers at the Cliff College venue.

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School expansion cash

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 13, 2009

A £500,000 grant will facilitate the completion of a major building project at Broughton Jewish Primary to add a new floor and hall to the premises.

The Salford school, which has a growing pupil population, received another local authority grant last September to begin a two-phase expansion with ground floor classrooms and a refurbished entrance area. Now a second floor of classrooms will be added over its single-storey entrance building. A small hall will also be a much needed addition, according to governor Leonard Seitler.

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MDA benefits from a little outside help in Bolton

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 6, 2009

A market stall in Bolton’s city centre run by Christian Friends of Magen David Adom has helped towards the £150,000 funding of two new Israeli ambulances.

Retired coal miner Barrie Robinson and his team have raised £5,000 selling donated bric-a-brac. They also distribute leaflets explaining why they “stand with Israel”.

Manning the stall on Tuesday, Mr Robinson said: “People tell us, ‘you know what the Jews are doing in Israel —why do you support them?’ We tell them from a Christian perspective why we’ve got to stand by the Jewish people.”

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The Project loses out on lottery

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 6, 2009

Manchester’s Jewish Youth Project is to shut down with redundancies for its director and administrator after a £415,000 lottery funding bid was unsuccessful.

Known as The Project, it has, since 1994, provided support for youth groups, leadership training and counselling on issues such as bullying and drugs. Funded mainly via grants, it lost its then lottery backing two years ago. A local Jewish trust fund stepped in with support.

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How a TV documentary helped one woman get a divorce

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2009

A couple who came before the Manchester Beth Din speak anonymously in the documentary about the problems that led to the husband refusing to give his wife a get.

The 49-year-old wife, who has three children from her first marriage, claimed that her husband had become abusive when she told him she wanted a divorce and that he would give her a get only if she paid his court fees.

“The final dissolution took just a year. We gained our civil divorce in 1998. But it’s taken 11 years for the get, which was received in April at the Manchester Beth Din.

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Star charity

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2009

The northern branch of Charedi welfare charity Interlink has received recognition for its advice and adult learning services. The Matrix Standard — a nationally accepted mark of good practice commonly awarded to employment agencies and higher education institutions — puts Interlink in a stronger position to apply for government funding.

Director Nava Kestenbaum hopes the formal acknowledgement of “Interlink’s high standards” will increase opportunities to assist the community.

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