Jonathan Kalmus

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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Chief is bullish on Manchester’s future

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has predicted a rosy future for Manchester Jewry despite the large-scale migration of younger community members.

Interviewed on Saturday evening before participating in a question-and-answer session in support of South Manchester Synagogue’s youth projects, Sir Jonathan argued that in some respects Manchester Jewry was stronger than the capital’s community.

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JNF weekend earns over £50k for Sderot

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

Responding to a plea from Sderot for funding for a secure park for children, JNF Manchester raised over £50,000 at the weekend.

Almost £5,000 was brought in from a party at the Bijou bar in the city centre on Saturday evening. Close on 400 people attended the event, staged by JNF’s new Unite group, catering for 21-to-40-year-olds.

The bulk of the money was brought in from JNF’s annual Green Sunday telephone appeal. Thirty volunteers manned phones at the charity’s Manchester offices in Mamlock House.

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My Fair Sadie proves to be a box-office sensation

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 5, 2009

A “women’s only” religious musical comedy has been the hottest ticket for Manchester Jewry.

Over 800 women enjoyed sell-out performances of My Fair Sadie at the Radcliffe Civic Suite at the weekend. So great was the interest that the final dress rehearsal was opened to the public.

The musical was staged by Pace — a performing arts group producing comedy for religious audiences — to raise funds for and awareness of Manchester welfare charity, The Fed.

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Shrubs is set to grow through diversifying

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 5, 2009

North Manchester’s Prestwich Hebrew Congregation is attempting to reverse a membership decline by using its 1.5 acre site as a community centre offering mother and baby groups, soft-play activities, adult education and cafe and banqueting facilities.

The shul’s executive has joined forces with outreach organisation Seed and local kosher food supplier Shefa Mehadrin to transform provision in the buildings adjoining the 650-seat synagogue.

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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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