Jonathan Kalmus

Coroners Bill favours scan over the knife

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 29, 2009

A dramatic fall in the number of invasive post-mortems carried out on Jewish people against their families’ wishes could be on the horizon, according to new legislation proposed in parliament this week.

In London, 80 per cent of around 150 post-mortems carried out annually on Jews still use invasive surgical procedures and remove body parts, in contravention of halachah (Jewish law). Currently, if the coroner orders a post-mortem, civil law will override religious law.

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Meeting Miliband

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 29, 2009

Concern over rising antisemitism since the Gaza conflict was voiced by Manchester Jewish leaders in a meeting with David Miliband during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to the city last Thursday.

Regional student chaplain Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein told the minister that religious students were being advised not to wear kippot. “The very thin line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is always crossed when things are going on in the Middle East. The minister listened to this and took written notes,” Rabbi Rubinstein said afterwards.

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Bury MP Ivan Lewis kicks off for United

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 29, 2009

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis kicked-off Manchester’s HMD programme by starting a football friendly on Sunday between Manchester Maccabi and FC United, the club founded by fans opposed to the Glazers’ takeover of Manchester United. The 300 crowd at the Maccabi sports centre also heard a talk from survivor Jack Aizenberg.

Maccabi’s project manager Suzy Gellman said the match was FC United’s idea. “It showed communities standing up to hatred and using sports to get that message across.”

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Tesco’s biggest kosher section

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 22, 2009

Tesco is targeting Manchester Jewish shoppers by installing its biggest kosher section in the new Cheetham Hill store.

The Cheetham Hill Tesco is the closest major supermarket to North Manchester’s main Jewish population and offers over 270 kosher products.
“It’s really nice to come in and see all this kosher variety in Cheetham,” said Ruth McNicholas. “Normally if I want kosher food, I have to go to Prestwich.”

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Still minding the shop at 100

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 22, 2009

Most men of 100 would gladly put their feet up. But it’s been business as usual for Jack Yaffe, who runs the family household goods store in the heart of Manchester’s Jewish community.

The great-grandfather celebrated his landmark birthday on Saturday and says he has no plans to retire, despite suffering vision problems. “I don’t feel any different and I don’t know why there is all this fuss,” he said. “I hope to have many more years. I want to carry on — I’d really like to dress the window like I always used to do.”

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Masked gang attack father with hammer

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 15, 2009

A young father was beaten with a hammer in front of his heavily pregnant wife in an armed robbery on their home.

Their children, aged two, three and six, slept while three masked men smashed through the family’s front door at around 7.30pm.

Running upstairs, they demanded rent money, appearing to know that the victim collected rent for his property business.

“They repeated ‘where’s the money?’, again and again,” said the 27-year-old, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals.

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Swastika daubed outside shul

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 15, 2009

Two large swastikas were daubed in Broughton Park in the early hours of Saturday morning. One was on the pavement outside the Stenecourt Synagogue, the other on a telephone junction box a few hundred yards away in Singleton Road.

The graffiti was discovered by shul-goers and police officers on patrol with community security volunteers.

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Artist remembered in his home city

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 14, 2009

More than 100 people attended the launch of a tribute exhibition at Manchester Jewish Museum for artist Simon Black, who died, aged 49, last year after a battle against cancer.

The Reflections exhibition has given his family the opportunity to display his work in his home city after a similar event in London. Sunday’s opening was addressed by the artist’s widow Raina, eldest daughter Bobbi and his sister Jane.

Speaking afterwards, Jane Black said Mancunians would recognise much of the personal and local imagery in his paintings.

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US moves to cut burial transfer costs

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 8, 2009

People moving from city to city will face a lesser financial burden to change their burial arrangements if the United Synagogue’s national burial fee transfer scheme is implemented.

The US is asking Orthodox synagogues to guarantee to forward a fixed element of a congregant’s past fees to another Orthodox burial organisation. At present, accumulated fees are lost when a person moves to another burial society.

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‘Support our heritage sites’

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2008

As Culture Secretary Andy Burnham launched a £1.5 million scheme to part-fund heritage officers for historic places of worship, a warning was sounded over the Jewish community’s failure to support its many heritage sites.

Dr Sharman Kadish, director of Jewish Heritage — working to preserve more than 40 protected Jewish sites across the UK — was among guests at the English Heritage event in Manchester at which Mr Burnham announced the initiative.

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Anger over missionary leaflet drive

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 18, 2008

Evangelical Christian missionaries have been targeting Manchester’s Jewish community with leaflets using religious terminology and Ashkenazi spellings to entice people to read them. Residents in Broughton Park, who have received the leaflets through their doors, are concerned about what they call the “deceptive material”.

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Congestion charge ‘no’ brings relief

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 18, 2008

Manchester communal groups have expressed relief at the overwhelming no vote against a proposed local congestion charge.

If the plan had been supported, drivers would have been charged for travel between the major Jewish areas of Whitefield and Prestwich.
Welfare charity The Fed said its operations would have been severely affected. Head of services Mark Cunningham had feared a big increase in running costs.

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Congregants flee after man breaks into shul

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

Congregants of a Satmar Chasidic synagogue fled last week after an intruder, dressed in an over-sized winter coat, mounted the platform in front of the Ark and apparently began shouting in a foreign language.

The incident occurred in the midst of an afternoon prayer service at the Satmar Synagogue on Northumberland Street in North Manchester. Fifty worshippers inside scrambled to exits; police arrived on the scene within minutes after receiving a number of panicked phone calls.

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Fireman saves scrolls in Manchester shul blaze

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

A fire crew commander has been praised for rescuing three Sifrei Torah from a blaze at a small Charedi shul in North Manchester on Sunday night.

It was around midnight when emergency services were alerted by a neighbour to a blaze at the Apta building, a converted terraced house on Welbeck Grove in Salford. Shul members who gathered outside explained to fire-fighters that important religious articles were inside. Fireman Patrick Walsh re-entered the building to retrieve the scrolls.

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Young ambassadors encounter ignorance

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

Two young Israeli ambassadors who toured northern sixth-form colleges say they found more ignorance about Jews than hostility towards Israel.
Hadar Tamir, 18, and Tom Zawilinski, 16, spoke about being teenagers at a time of conflict. For many of their audience it was a first encounter with Israelis.

The visitors live just outside Tel Aviv and have attended the same school in Lod. Questions were invited at the end of their presentation, in which they used Google Maps to help explain the Middle East’s geography.

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Deli owner raided twice in a week

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 4, 2008

A Manchester kosher shop was targeted by thieves, only days after his home was broken into.

Early last Tuesday evening, Motti Gershon’s Shefa Mehadrin kosher deli was targeted by armed robbers who threatened a till assistant with a hammer and robbed two cash registers.

Only days before, thieves ransacked Mr Gershon’s house in the Sedgley Park area while he and his wife were at friends for Friday night dinner. Jewellery, a car and phones were taken.

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New probe into death of bagel-stab violinist

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 4, 2008

A new inquest is to be held into the death of a musician stabbed on his way to buy bagels after his killer was given an indefinite jail sentence.

Klezmer violinist Michael Kahan was attacked by paranoid schizophrenic Jonathan Mills in June this year outside a shop in Crumpsall, north
Manchester.

Mills, 31, was ordered to be detained in a high security psychiatric hospital after Manchester Crown Court heard that he stabbed Mr Kahan because he was suffering delusions that Jewish people were preventing him from getting his medication changed.

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Support for the abused

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 4, 2008

Talks have started over the establishment of a Manchester support service for Jewish women who have suffered domestic violence.

The initiative stems from a panel discussion held by London-based Jewish Women’s Aid in Manchester last Thursday. As well as JWA vice-chair Elaine Grazin and campaigns manager Gay Waldman, the discussion featured Dawn Redshaw from Salford Women’s Aid, Judge Lindsey Kushner and Prestwich rabbi Yehoshua Landes.

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Victims shocked by Manchester burglaries

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 4, 2008

Prestwich and Broughton Park residents have been shaken by a spate of audacious robberies.

Up to a dozen Jewish households and businesses have been burgled in the past fortnight and police are urging community members to step-up security measures in their homes.

Most of the robberies have been in the early hours of the morning. In four cases thieves entered the victims’ bedrooms.

A Prestwich mother recounted her fright at waking at 4am to see a man rummaging through her possessions. Her husband was away and she was at home with her two children.

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Bury school plan stalled

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary governors have withdrawn a controversial application to rebuild the school on green belt land.

The intended Whitefield site is considerably closer to the Jewish population than the current building in Unsworth and the governors believe it would attract more pupils. However, the proposal prompted hundreds of written protests from local residents. Bury Council's planning committee had been due to make a final decision this week.

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