Jonathan Kalmus

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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Welfare charity is transparently the best

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

Manchester welfare organisation The Fed has been ranked among the UK’s most transparent charities by independent watchdog Intelligent Giving.

The Fed’s latest rating of 80 per cent places it 15th in the national list, alongside charities such as Children in Need and the Samaritans. It is a huge advance on the 29 per cent assessment of the Fed for 2004/05.

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MP urges teenage dialogue with Muslims

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 16, 2009

Muslims and Jews as young as 13 should be mixing on a regular basis according to Ivan Lewis, the Foreign Office Minister and Bury South MP.

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Corrie star remembers Manchester campaigner

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 9, 2009

Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh was among friends and family who remembered a radical-left Manchester Jewish campaigner whose book spurred MP John Mann to chair the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Steve Cohen, who died in March, described himself politically as a “dangerous Jew”. An immigration-law barrister from Prestwich, he set up the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, fighting legal battles for asylum seekers.

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Bonus for favourite builder

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 9, 2009

The non-Jewish construction boss responsible for many key Manchester Jewish organisational buildings was honoured by communal leaders on Wednesday.

Harry Johnston’s company built the Brookvale special needs home, sections of the Heathlands care village and Broughton Jewish Primary School.

Over 40 people were at the surprise ceremony at the Bnei Akiva bayit in Salford, another of his builds. Mr Johnston had attended under the misconception that he was being consulted over a leaky roof.

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US fights swine flu

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 9, 2009

Contingency plans for Orthodox communities to deal with a swine flu pandemic will be released by the United Synagogue on Monday.

An advice document with guidance for synagogues, communal groups and schools will be sent out to communities and published on the US website. It also covers contingency arrangements for burials if deaths increase. Plans are in place to maintain essential community services if large numbers of staff fall ill.

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King David safety drive

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 2, 2009

A street awareness drive was launched in conjunction with Greater Manchester Police on Monday at King David High School.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney addressed around 400 pupils at a special assembly to launch a joint partnership scheme with the CST and Maccabi Streetwise project. “This pilot could transfer to other areas of Greater Manchester,” he said afterwards.

Some 3,000 safety cards will be handed out to young Jews across the city offering advice on drugs, alcohol, bullying and internet safety. GMP has jointly funded the £10,000 project.

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Vigils held for Shalit

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 2, 2009

Vigils to raise awareness and mark the third anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit took place in three cities.

Manchester saw the highest profile event in the city centre’s main shopping area. Organisers outside Marks & Spencer held placards and wore T-shirts calling for Gilad Shalit’s release. Members of the public were invited to sign a petition for Shalit’s release. Hundreds of people took part, while Rebecca Ryan, star of Channel 4 drama Shameless, offered her support.

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Pensioner escapes Prestwich car crash

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2009

An elderly driver in her 70s landed her car in the front garden of a Bury Old Road house in Prestwich after losing control of her Citroen C3. No one was injured in the incident, which happened during the morning rush-hour, despite the car flying over the pavement opposite the Holy Law Synagogue. The garden's roses faired better than its wall which was completely demolished. Bystander John Czernenko says the car sp u n out of control.

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