Jonathan Kalmus

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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New site for school refused

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 18, 2009

Planning permission to relocate Bury and Whitefield Primary School to a greenbelt site was unanimously refused by the council planning committee on Tuesday.

The school’s governors had been hoping the proposed new site would raise intake to the currently undersubscribed 165-pupil school by relocating on the doorstep of the Whitefield Jewish community from its current Unsworth site three miles away.

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Manchester legend dies at 106

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 11, 2009

The Manchester woman believed to be Britain’s oldest Jew has died three weeks after her 106th birthday.

Dolly Phillips devoted most of her life to helping others, running the Manchester Jewish Soup Kitchen and introducing a kosher meals-on-wheels service. She was awarded a British Empire Medal for her welfare efforts.

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Machete robbers slash jeweller’s arms to get gold and cash

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2009

Manchester police are hunting a machete-wielding robber with piercing blue eyes after a Jewish jeweller had his arms slashed during a raid on his car outside Prestwich’s main post office last Friday.

David Singer, 54, who lives in Whitefield, needed an operation to reattach an arm muscle which was sliced during his ordeal. Three men in black balaclavas surrounded his blue BMW at around 8.15am, smashing windows with bats and launching themselves through the openings.

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Come to Chabad — near the pub

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2009

A £250,000 Chabad centre has opened in Manchester’s Whitefield area. A one-year refurbishment has transformed the former off-licence into a facility housing a Jewish resource library, Judaica store, lounge and a multimedia lecture hall.

However, director Rabbi Shmuli Jaffe says the centre’s greatest asset is its location. “It is opposite the Parkfield Inn pub, which is full of Jews on Thursday evenings, and its street corner is where the kids are on motzei Shabbos, being the only stretch of Jewish shops in the neighbourhood.”

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Manchester united in support of Limmud

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 27, 2009

International Development Minister Ivan Lewis and Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein added some high-powered local interest to the return of Manchester Limmud on Sunday.

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Battle to revive Manchester advice service

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2009

Salford’s Citizens Advice Bureau has suspended a service providing “sensitive and informed” guidance to Jews after losing lottery funding.

The head of the bureau is in discussions with Salford City Council in an effort to revive the Jewish Outreach Project, which offered advice surgeries at Jewish venues, such as The Fed and Agudah Community Services.

Advisers were recruited from the Orthodox community to raise awareness of social services among Charedim who were not accessing their benefit entitlements.

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NHS urged to fund all Tay Sachs tests

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2009

In the week screening for the fatal genetic disorder, Tay Sachs, ended in the regions, a report by Jewish medical practitioners urges the NHS to fund all Tay Sachs testing within the Jewish community.

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'Miracle' survival after M6 crash

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 21, 2009

Two teenagers have described as a “miracle” their escape with only minor injuries after their Ford Mondeo spun off the M6 on Sunday at high speed.

Eli Niasoff, 16, from Salford, was tossed from the hatchback’s rear window, flying 20ft across three motorway lanes before landing in the central reservation. He was airlifted to hospital with suspected head injuries, but went home the same day with just a broken knee. The driver, 18-year-old Yitzchok Davies, from Prestwich, escaped without a scratch.

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Peter Fahy: observant Jews can have a police career

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 14, 2009

Continuing his campaign to get more Jewish bobbies on the beat in Manchester, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy has declared that observant Jews could fulfil a police career.

After addressing Sunday’s Manchester Jewish Representative Council AGM, the chief constable said religious observance was no more an operational constraint than childcare.

Although conceding that “Sabbath observance could be more difficult”, he added: “We are able to be flexible and it is something we can work around with individual negotiation.”

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Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School’s new plans

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 14, 2009

Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School has resubmitted a controversial planning application to relocate, having sparked a protest campaign by local residents last year.

The new application argues that the school’s 44-year-old premises are in need of a major overhaul, but the site is unsuitable for development under government building recommendations.

Instead, a £3.6 million state-of-the-art school is proposed on green belt land close to Whitefield’s Jewish community.

Based on a council consultation, over 130 residents oppose the new plans with just six in favour.

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Stateside job swap

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 14, 2009

Clients of a special needs charity will be going to work in America as part of an innovative exchange programme.

Two Jewish Asda staff from north Manchester will fly to Boston in October to work for retail giant Wal-Mart for three weeks. In return, a Jewish Wal-Mart employee will take a temporary job at Asda. The British participants, who will be named next month, will also be hosted by the Boston Jewish community.

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Counter-terror plans under way

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 11, 2009

A counter-terrorism strategy aimed at encouraging Manchester’s Jewish community to report suspected terror activity is being developed. It may include opening terrorism reporting facilities locally in Jewish offices and a kosher bakery.

More than 30 people, including counter-terrorism police officers and community members, met at a closed meeting hosted by the Community Security Trust. It was organised by the Greater Manchester Police Authority, the watchdog which oversees policing in the region, as part of an ongoing consultation project to engage the public’s help.

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Manchester Tay Sachs screening set to close

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

The last screening for Tay Sachs outside of London is due to take place in Manchester next week.

Screening drives for the fatal genetic disorder have traditionally been run inside Jewish schools, paid for by the Tay Sachs Screening Programme. However, the charity, run by north Manchester-based doctor of genetics Sybil Simon, is due to close when she retires.

“For the past 20 years I have run it and fundraised for it. There is no one to take this over. No one wants to do voluntary work anymore.”

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Get a (longer) life in Salford

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

A scheme is being piloted in Manchester to ensure that observant Jewish patients have the right to stay alive if they become critically ill.

The so-called Halachic Living Will allows patients’ religious beliefs to be taken into account in any medical decisions.

Under the scheme, patients can sign a legal contract to appoint a rabbi or representative who would then make life-saving medical decisions — in line with halachah (Jewish law) — on their behalf if they become mentally incapacitated.

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