Jonathan Kalmus

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.


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Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary governors have withdrawn a controversial application to rebuild the school on green belt land.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


Ghostbusters plan fundraising sequel

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Manchester's JNF Butterfly committee resorted to scare tactics to swell the charity's coffers.

An all-night ghost watch was held in 14th century Salford manor house Ordsall Hall.

With only torches for light, participants toured the premises with two mediums, who attempted to rouse the spirits of the venue's former residents. The night's events were relayed on infrared webcams.

Whitefield beauty therapist Sharon Myerson said she was suitably petrified. "The medium said I had a spirit linking to my arm and we heard knocking at a window."


‘Dire’ plight of Manchester unemployed

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 27, 2008

Increasing unemployment among the Manchester community is leaving families in financial turmoil, the city's Jewish job-finding agency has warned.

"We have seen a rise in dire cases," reported JCom co-founder Norman Younger. "We know a dozen people with families who have been made redundant and can't pay their monthly bills. The employment gap has been steadily widening."

Mr Younger - who started the agency as a spin-off to his company formation business - said 100 job-seekers had registered in the last six months.


Manchester plans a mikvah with music

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 20, 2008

A state-of-the-art mikvah is to be built at the Yeshurun Synagogue in South Manchester.

The plans extend to an integral music system designed to enhance the spiritual experience.

The modern-Orthodox community in Gatley agreed to the project when the Manchester Mikvah Fund offered to fund the development. The fund will co-ordinate planning and construction, supported by donors who want to encourage mikvah observance.

Manchester's existing mikvah is in Hale, a 30-minute round trip.


Road to recovery

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 13, 2008

Manchester rabbi Yossi Chazan is on the road to recovery after a minor heart attack and hopes to return to his full-time duties at Holy Law Synagogue within the next few weeks.

Hundreds of people from across the Manchester Jewish spectrum have visited the popular rabbi's family home to wish him a speedy recovery. He was discharged from Salford's Hope Hospital last week after a minor cardiac procedure.

Rabbi Chazan returned to the synagogue on Sunday to speak at a congregant's wedding.


Cancer care for north

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 13, 2008

Chai Cancer Care is joining forces with Manchester welfare charity, the Fed, to set up its first satellite service outside of London. A Manchester branch is expected to open in early 2009, but some counselling and therapeutic services could be on offer within weeks.


Swastika greets shul visitors

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 6, 2008

A two-foot high swastika was daubed on the front wall of a Manchester synagogue - only hours before a senior policeman and local politicians made an official visit.

The wall at Whitefield Synagogue was defaced in the early hours of Saturday. Shortly afterwards, a special service for Jewish ex-servicemen was held at the synagogue, attended by MP Ivan Lewis, council leaders and the area's police inspector. A barmitzvah was also overshadowed by the incident.


Masked men rob driver of his BMW

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 6, 2008

A man has been left shaken after masked thieves stole his black BMW from outside his home.

The 57-year-old victim, who does not want to be named, said three men dressed in dark clothes and balaclavas demanded his car keys when he left the vehicle to open the garage in Park Lane, Whitefield, Manchester. The assailants then drove off at high speed.


Special needs support

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 6, 2008

Parents struggling to place special needs children in appropriate education will soon be able to access a free national Jewish consultancy service.

The facility is being provided by Cheshire-based Jewish special needs school Delamere Forest, which says it will offer advice regardless of where callers live and which school their child attends.


Manchester records will be going online

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 6, 2008

Tens of thousands of Jewish genealogical records will be made public under initiatives by the Manchester Council of Synagogues and the city's Jewish genealogical society. People will be able to access the records over the internet through a pay-as-you-view facility.

The genealogical society has released 300 new digital records from the closed Prestwich cemetery.


Car crime plagues Jewish areas in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2008

Car crime is plaguing Jewish areas in north Manchester. A Whitefield man has been left shaken after masked thieves stole his black BMW from outside his home.

The 57-year-old victim, who does not want to be named, was left unharmed after three men dressed in dark clothes and balaclavas demanded his car keys when he left the vehicle to open the garage on Park Lane. The assailants then sped off at high speed.


Lancashire theme park goes Jewish for a day

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 30, 2008

A Lancashire theme park turned Jewish for a day, attracting 2,000 visitors from across the community.

The Camelot amusement park, near Chorley, held a special Jewish day on the Sunday which fell during intermediate days of Succot.

Organisers set up a kosher café, burger bar and six giant succah huts. Jewish music was also played throughout the day on the park's speaker system.


Anger over £9m centre

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 17, 2008

Plans for a £9 million family centre in Salford have come under fire from strictly Orthodox local residents and a school over issues of security and religious sensitivity.

Salford Council is in negotiations with Jewish leaders after 50 residents turned out to protest against the proposed centre, known as The Hub, at a recent consultation meeting.


Supermarkets in kosher food fight

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 10, 2008

Competition for kosher shoppers has hotted up in Manchester with the new Morrisons store in Whitefield looking to become the biggest kosher player among the main supermarkets.

The store, opened four weeks ago, boasts of offering a bigger range than the local Asda and Sainsbury's and wants to take on North Manchester's current kosher favourite, Tesco in Prestwich.

At Morrisons, deputy manager Danny Welch said his team checked-out rival supermarkets' kosher ranges before deciding what to stock.


School dismayed by planning rejection

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 10, 2008

A planning application to move a successful strictly Orthodox Manchester private school from its dilapidated building to a state-of-the-art complex has been refused.

Pupils at the Etz Chaim Boys' Grammar have consistently attained the best overall GCSE grades in the region. However an Ofsted report last year described its building as "in a poor state of repair and in need of a very substantial programme of refurbishment".


School’s congestion charge fear

By Jonathan Kalmus, October 3, 2008

King David High pupils in Manchester will have an American-style bus service under proposed transport plans that would force parents who drive their children to school to pay a congestion charge.

The yellow buses are part of a suggested city-wide transport revamp, incorporating a Manchester congestion charge within five years. The local transport authority would allocate yellow buses solely for King David's secondary school, but there would be no organised transport provision for infant and junior pupils.


Nesbitt’s WJR star role

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 26, 2008

"You might wonder what a Northern Irish Presbyterian is doing at a World Jewish Relief dinner, as indeed am I," joked actor James Nesbitt, as he helped Manchester WJR to raise over £100,000 from last Wednesday's event at the Radisson at Manchester Airport.


School reprieved over drug clinic

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 25, 2008

Manchester City Council looks set to reject a controversial proposal for a drug abuse and alcoholic clinic next to the King David School campus.

The council says it is duty-bound to consider preliminary plans from the Westwood Nursing Home, in Crumpsall, for a rehab clinic, but has indicated that a full planning application will almost certainly fail. The care home had its council accreditation suspended after asking its elderly residents to leave to make way for the proposed clinic.


Help for appeal family

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 19, 2008

Offers of help are pouring in to Manchester welfare charity The Fed for the family highlighted in its Rosh Hashanah appeal.

The appeal letter illustrated health and financial problems of the family, whose names were changed to protect their identity.

In addition to appeal donations, supporters of The Fed have responded with offers of employment and even free photographic and video services for a family celebration.

"It's touched people's hearts and we've seen a very sympathetic response," reported The Fed's Joyce Khan.