Jonathan Kalmus

Miracle mum needs life-saver

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 23, 2009

Hundreds of Manchester Jews will take part in a bone marrow screening drive on Sunday in an effort to save the life of a young Manchester mother-of-three with leukaemia.

Shortly after being diagnosed nine weeks ago, 32-year-old Leora Kuhillow from Whitefield fell unconscious and was placed on life support. On three occasions doctors told her husband Mark that she would not survive.

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MRIs for ‘Orthodox post mortems’

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 22, 2009

A major step to enshrine non-invasive post mortems in English law was revealed by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice on Tuesday.

The move could dramatically reduce hundreds of surgical post-mortems carried out annually on Jewish people against their families’ wishes and halachah (Jewish law).

It is understood that an amendment to recommend the use of non-invasive methods may be made to the Coroners and Justice Bill when it is debated in the House of Lords.

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Manchester delighted with austerity appeal

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 7, 2009

Manchester welfare charity The Fed is experiencing an encouraging early response to its Pesach appeal, which in line with the times, has a distinctly non-glossy and low-budget appearance.

The charity has stopped outsourcing artwork to professional design companies, one of many cost-cutting measures. The streamlining is partly the result of The Fed recently gaining a government-sponsored Investor in People Award, which involves a year-long assessment process.

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Fed to axe two jobs

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 7, 2009

Manchester welfare charity The Fed is cutting expenditure by £133,000 across its social care services, a reduction of nine per cent, in a move to ride out the recession.

Chief executive Karen Phillips blames poor investment returns and lower donations, but stresses that the disruption to services will be minimal.

“We’ve gone through a rigorous review of expenses and a restructure of projects culminating in two redundancies,” she said.

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Manchester schools star in league tables

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

Manchester’s three largest Jewish primaries are among the country’s top performing schools, according to the latest league tables based largely on year-six SATs exams.

At North Cheshire Jewish Primary, ranked 14th out of 14,000 schools, headteacher Jackie Savage said the close-knit Manchester community was key to local schools’ achievements as it brought a high level of educational co-operation.

There has been enormous improvement in the performance of junior pupils at Manchester King David Junior pupils, ranked 34th.

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Wax works for MDA

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

“Everyone’s been hit by the credit crunch,” Ruby Wax told 365 Magen David Adom supporters last Wednesday. “I have little money, which is why I’m in Manchester.”

But to the delight of MDA leaders, the dinner addressed by the comedienne raised a recession-busting £250,000-plus.

The attraction of Ms Wax — who admitted that she had never heard of the charity before being asked to speak — doubled the attendance of last year’s MDA Manchester dinner.

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Manchester fightback

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 2, 2009

Manchester kosher store bosses say that Pesach trade has been strong despite supermarket competition and decreased demand for luxury items.

“I’ve just not stocked the expensive cakes and biscuits because I didn’t think people are prepared to spend the money on them,” said Richard Hyman of Titanics.

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Manchester museum tackles intolerance

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 26, 2009

Manchester Jewish Museum received an award for promoting community relations at a civic ceremony marking its 25th anniversary this week.

The vast majority of the museum’s 14,000 annual visitors are non-Jewish schoolchildren, who attend as part of their religious studies syllabus. Many have left their mark by scratching their names on the back benches of the renovated Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. However, the recent etching of “Hamas” on a bench illustrates the need for the museum’s interfaith work.

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Police plea on crime reporting

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 19, 2009

Senior police officers have warned Manchester Jews that failing to report antisemitic incidents is hampering police efforts to stamp out hate crime.

At a meeting arranged by the Salford force for Jewish community members on Monday, Chief Superintendent Robert Potts said: “We know for a fact that there is under-reporting [of antisemitism].” Official numbers for incidents remained low despite a spike in January’s figures resulting from the Gaza conflict.

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Shul is a first for Feds

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 12, 2009

The first Federation synagogue outside the capital is to be built in Manchester.

Planning permission has been granted for a 200-seat venue for the Ohr Yerushalayim community in Salford, which has been meeting in a rented hall.

Having attracted 18 people to its inaugural service in 2000, the community has grown to a membership of 100 young Orthodox families.

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Welfare centre will take crime reports

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 5, 2009

Bury Police have launched a hate crime reporting centre for Manchester Jewry.

The offices of Crumpsall-based welfare charity The Fed will be open to local Jews as a drop-in reporting point. Staff will be trained to log reported incidents on to a dedicated police database. It follows the establishment of a similar third-party reporting point at Brackman’s kosher bakery in Salford last month.

Police liaison officer for the Jewish community in Prestwich, PC Chris Grayshon, hopes the centres will reduce the number of unreported antisemitic incidents.

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Airline left me with just shirt on my back

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 26, 2009

A young Orthodox man was left without his clothes for four days and only a T-shirt and jeans to wear for Shabbat after the airline Thomsonfly told him last Friday that their flight from Tel Aviv had run out of luggage space.

Yisroel Rothstein, 17, of north Manchester, tried to explain that the rest of his clothes were in storage while his family moved home.

“I wasn’t asking for a brand new suit but at least, if they don’t give me my luggage, they should offer a limited amount to spend on some clothes,” he said after his suitcase was delivered, ripped, on Monday afternoon.

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Israel lesson at KD prize day

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 26, 2009

Manchester King David governors’ chair Joshua Rowe changed the programme for the high school’s prize day on Tuesday to show the 1,500 audience a high-tech presentation on the history of Israel’s conflicts.

Mr Rowe took the decision to counter the increasing number of pupils and parents questioning the morality of Israel’s Gaza campaign.

“There are certainly students asking questions,” he explained. “People are influenced by the media and parents can be somewhat apathetic. The battlefront is everywhere.

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Hale shul building

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 26, 2009

As South Manchester’s community continues on its suburban sprawl, Sephardi congregation Shaare Hayim is having a 200-seat satellite synagogue complex constructed in Hale.

The facility will cater for the many among the synagogue’s 589 members who have moved away from its Didsbury base. It will incorporate a hall, minister’s accommodation and classrooms.

Planning permission was received a few weeks ago after a five-year preparatory process during which two adjacent plots of land were purchased.

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Bernstein’s vision for Manchester future

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 26, 2009

Manchester Jewry could benefit from the recession as better job prospects and higher living standards stem the tide of younger community members migrating to London. That’s the view of Manchester City Council chief executive and Manchester Jewish Community Project (MJCP) chair Sir Howard Bernstein.

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Jacobson's filthy time

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 19, 2009

Howard Jacobson has told a Manchester audience how he felt “cleansed” to be the target of “antisemitic filth”.

Debating “Britishness and Literature” with fellow novelist Martin Amis at Manchester University, Mr Jacobson said: “One good sign we have in our society is that we have comedians. I don’t think you can live a decent life unless somewhere the whole idea of decency is being trashed.

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Manchester minister dies in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 19, 2009

A well-known Manchester personality has died in Jerusalem from a brain tumour. Rabbi Ephraim Groundland, 76, was the minister of Higher Prestwich Synagogue for 17 years from 1959 and was the major fundraiser for its first building.

He also served as the rabbi of Stockport and Southport congregations, and after moving to Israel, travelled the globe raising money for the Israeli anti-missionary organisation, Pe’ilim. Rabbi Groundland has additionally officiated at festival services in Marbella.

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Friday night project in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 18, 2009

Seven-hundred supporters of Manchester welfare charity The Fed took part in Fed Friday, for which people were asked to host a Friday night dinner and solicit donations from guests. With donations from half the participants received, the fundraising total stands at £4,000. Profits from sales of specially-produced promotional red challot have swelled the proceeds.

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Manchester students lose boycott motion

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 13, 2009

A motion to boycott Israeli goods and condemn Israel’s Gaza operation as an “atrocity” has been passed at Manchester University’s Student Union.

In an emergency general meeting on Wednesday afternoon, 550 students voted for the motion, defeating 200 voting against.

The motion will mean the union now resolves to boycott “all companies that support or benefit from the Israeli occupation” and will lobby the university to take similar action.

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Burglar gets his very own eruv

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

A Manchester eruv may still be under discussion but one local burglar has got his own, all to himself. One catch — he is not allowed to use it.

Cat-burglar Keith Doyle, 25, had such a taste for raiding Jewish houses that he has been banned from entering Manchester’s most Jewish area. The rare criminal antisocial behaviour order, or crasbo, issued by Manchester Crown Court, proclaims an exclusion area which runs along the four main roads surrounding the neighbourhood of Broughton Park. Doyle will be arrested if he is seen inside it.

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