Brighton rocks to the beat of Limmud


Brighton Limmud organisers Michelle and Gordon Kay said Sunday's event at Sussex University showed "how successful this community can be together".

Three hundred visitors had a choice of 75 sessions in the uni's Chichester and Fulton buildings. Although Israel was prominently featured, the wide-ranging programme covered the gamut from "kosher happiness" to Masorti rabbi Daniella Kolodny recalling her years as a US Navy chaplain.

Sally Becker spoke about her time as "the Angel of Mostar", helping the sick and wounded in Bosnia, and Scarlett Epstein explained how Albania saved her life and those of other Jews during the Holocaust.

The Healing Room offered 15 minute tasters of holistic treatments and therapist Amanda Wright led a session on "Shiatsu from a Jewish medicine perspective".

For children, there was puppetry, Israeli dancing, challah baking and a session with TV vet Marc Abraham.

Brighton's own Polina Shepherd showcased improvised Chasidic tunes and her klezmer musician husband Merlin gave a talk on his involvement in Yiddish and British theatre. They joined the Chutzpah Choir and other musicians in the Limmud finale.

Jewish Council for Racial Equality executive director Dr Edie Friedman used the event to unveil Jcore's No Way to Live charter, calling on the government to introduce a single asylum support system to provide cash assistance to those who would otherwise be destitute while they are in the UK.

Lord Beecham was among signatories of the charter, also urging the government to grant asylum seekers the right to work after they have been here for six months and to restore their eligibility for secondary healthcare. He said that "as the grandson of people who found refuge in Britain from the pogroms of Eastern Europe, I endorse the campaign to combat destitution".

Dr Friedman added: "Who better than the Jewish community to speak up for vulnerable refugees? Most of them have fled horrors we can hardly imagine, only to be forced into misery and marginalisation here. These concessions would, at a stroke, end their destitution and restore their human dignity."

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