Barry Toberman

It's a perfect 10 as 25,000 join in UK good deeds

By Barry Toberman, November 26, 2015

Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks concedes that her yearly summation is always "it's the best yet". But with an estimated 40,000 people around the globe participating in the tenth edition - 25,000 in the UK - Ms Marks argues that "it is not only the numbers but the quality of projects" that demonstrate the progression of the day of good deeds.


A weekend in Budapest: Simply the 'Pest

By Barry Toberman, November 19, 2015

There is something both comfortably familiar and appealingly exotic about Budapest. Wander the parliamentary area, whose buildings were inspired by Westminster, the high-end shopping malls that showcase global brands and some of the many museums, and you will feel totally at home.


Charities count cost of 'living wage' pay rises

By Barry Toberman, November 12, 2015

George Osborne's headline-grabbing Budget commitment to a substantially increased national living wage caught charity bosses on the hop. Four months on, Jewish Care chief executive, Simon Morris, can put a price on it in his charity's terms - and it is a high one.


Star-studded opening to UK Jewish Film Festival

By Barry Toberman, November 8, 2015

The 19th UK Jewish Film Festival got off to a glitzy start on Saturday evening as stars of the gala premiere, Closer To The Moon, joined 300 movie fans for a reception and screening at BFI on the Southbank.

Set in Romania in 1958 where antisemitism was rife, the film is based on the true story of a disenchanted group of Jewish friends who plot an audacious bank raid.


Corinthia Hotel

By Barry Toberman, October 8, 2015

It was no coincidence that film director Wes Anderson checked into the Corinthia before shooting The Grand Budapest Hotel. Its ornately mirrored lifts suggest the splendour of a bygone era while also rekindling memories of favourite scenes from the endearingly quirky movie. So, too, does the brasserie and atrium with its lofty vista, and the baroque-style grand ballroom.


Basel: If it's good enough for Herzl

By Barry Toberman, October 1, 2015

If a two, or even three centre holiday is not enough, then how about a three nation afternoon? It's one of the intriguing possibilities thrown up by a short break in Basel. On a walking tour of the pretty, compact city on our opening morning, our guide explains that Germany is just a couple of miles away (a tram takes you there) and France is equally close.


Glasgow: Numbers fall but hopes are high

By Barry Toberman, September 24, 2015

Cosgrove Care, supporting those with learning disability and mental health issues, is one of a variety of organisations providing welfare, social and cultural activities for the Glasgow Jewish community.

But only around 30 of its 120 clients are Jewish. "We suffer from a reduced community," admits the charity's treasurer, Paul Shafar. "We could not operate just serving Jewish clients."


Scots win 'no fly' zone after flag row

By Barry Toberman, September 10, 2015

The outgoing Glasgow City Council leader has told Jewish community members that the Palestinian flag will never again fly above the city chambers.

At a meeting at Glasgow Reform Synagogue on Monday, Gordon Matheson expressed regret over the upset caused by the flying of the flag during last year's Gaza conflict.


Targeting a rise in mitzvot as the good deeds go global

By Barry Toberman, September 10, 2015

The walls of Mitzvah Day's north London offices are plastered with targets for the continued development of the annual day of good deeds and its associated year-round projects.

Interviewed by the summer beach at the adjacent JW3 community centre, Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks was loth to reveal the target figures.


Cameron praises award-winning volunteer

By Barry Toberman, September 8, 2015

A grandfather from Bushey who has helped more than 100 people find volunteering work across London through the Jewish Volunteering Network has been named a Point of Light award winner by David Cameron.


DoubleTree By Hilton London Docklands

By Barry Toberman, September 5, 2015

Rotherhithe might not be the obvious getaway destination. But this renovated and freshly rebranded waterfront property could change opinions, not least for those wishing to make a night of it after a concert at the nearby O2 Arena.


Nicola Sturgeon: ‘I stand with you against antisemitism’

By Barry Toberman, September 3, 2015

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has recognised the fears of the Jewish community over rising antisemitism, telling a meeting at Glasgow's Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue complex that one instance of antisemitism was one too many.

Hearing anyone say they did not feel loved in Scotland "breaks my heart", she told a capacity audience of 300 during a lengthy Q&A session on Monday night.


Nicola Sturgeon tells Scottish Jews: 'one instance of antisemitism is one too many'

By Barry Toberman, September 1, 2015

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has recognised the fears of the Jewish community over rising antisemitism, telling a meeting at Glasgow's Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue complex that one instance of antisemitism was one too many.


Living in a small community: 'There is no need for a welcoming group - you are it'

By Barry Toberman, July 24, 2015

With the Anglo-Jewish population increasingly concentrated in north London and the Hertfordshire suburbs, it is easy to forget that Jewish life exists, and in some cases thrives, in small regional communities.


Why the Swiss are such good sports

By Barry Toberman, July 17, 2015

Chocolate, cheese and clocks. None too shabby a triumvirate, granted. But what else does a major Swiss city have to offer? Quite a lot, as I discover after arriving in Lausanne, a 40-minute train ride from Geneva airport.


Bournemouth hotel, the Green Park, to star in documentary recalling its glory days

By Barry Toberman, July 2, 2015

Where thoughts of summer holidays now turn towards Israel, the Caribbean and America, it was once the height of exotica for British Jews to contemplate a week away in Bournemouth. Because, for a considerable post-war period, the seaside town's kosher hotels were the vacation venues of choice for Jews across the social spectrum.


Royal Jewish Care dinner raises over £5 million

By Barry Toberman, June 12, 2015

Jewish Care’s 25th anniversary dinner has raised a record £5.1 million.


Norwood offers guaranteed jobs to JCoSS students

By Barry Toberman, June 11, 2015

Norwood and the Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) are joining forces on a pioneering health and social care BTEC, which comes with a job guarantee for graduates.

For the East Barnet school, the course is a selling point for its first sixth-form cohort, with interest expressed by 20 students, including some currently at other schools.


Duke of Cambridge pays tribute to Jewish Care at charity's 25th anniversary dinner

By Barry Toberman, June 11, 2015

The Duke of Cambridge paid a glowing tribute to Jewish Care at its 25th anniversary dinner tonight.

Addressing 1,500 people at the event at Alexandra Palace, the Duke praised "the real and loving care" the charity provided to thousands of elderly and vulnerable people.

He described Jewish Care as an outstanding organisation, before wishing it "mazeltov" on its anniversary.


Radisson Blu Edwardian

By Barry Toberman, May 28, 2015

Arriving at your hotel before midday, the best-case scenario is normally that reception staff deal with check-in formalities and arrange storage for luggage so you can go about your business unencumbered until such time that your room is available.