Media winners make their mark in print
THE MANCHESTER community has had an exciting week, with Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks in their city for a series of meetings, events and presentations, notably a tribute to the volunteers who are the mainstay of the Manchester Jewish Federation.
While there, he attended an Any Questions event at the Great and New Synagogue, where he was joined by a brace of other chief rabbis, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich of Kiev and Rabbi Dr Riccardo Shmuel de Segni of Rome.
There may be some corks popping in North-West London this week, where those founders of the 35s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry who remain London-based (and now run the Finchley-based spin-off charity One to One, helping the underprivileged — Russian and otherwise — in Israel), will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of the protest group.
Founded in London by a group of 35-year-old women protesting at the treatment of Russia’s refuseniks — initially Sylva Zalmanson and Raisa Palatnik — they created a blueprint for effective protest.
They proved that marching, vigils and banner-waving could be more effective than quiet diplomacy. Community Life raises a glass to Rita Eker and Margaret Rigal of One to One and the Israel-based duo of Doreen Gainsford and Barbara Oberman — no longer 35, but still formidable.
And talking of formidable women, former Home Office minister-turnednovelist, Anne Widdecombe was due to be the guest speaker at last night’s annual dinner for the Jewish Association for the Mentally Ill at the Berkeley Hotel.
One can only hope she elaborated to the JAMI audience on her remark about the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard having “something of the night” about him.
Plaudits this week to the William Pears Group which is donating a whole floor of its new North-West London office development to the Pears Foundation to be used by the Jewish Social Action Hub, which has been launched by the foundation to operate as an incubator for Jewish organisations.
The hub will give accommodation and support to innovative organisations and individuals who have “ideas, inspiration and vision” declares a spokesperson for the seriously righton foundation.
And congratulations to the winners and runners-up in the Board of Deputies annual community media awards for synagogues and communal organisations, which were handed out on Sunday.
The publication winners were Radlett Synagogue’s Radius, the Leeds- based Etz Chaim Synagogue’s Shabbat Shalom, Luton Synagogue’s Gesher, the Lincolnshire Community’s newsletter, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogues’ Sameah (by far the most transformed publication) and UJIA’s Jewish Life. Jewish Care did well, scooping a win for its Volunteer News and an award for its website.
FZY and South Manchester Synagogue were the other winners in the internet category, while Belmont’s Stuart Burns won the best article trophy for the second time, though he was unable to collect it as he was at his daughter’s wedding.
As well as basking in Mr Burns’s glory, Belmont Synagogue was also the base for FZY’s Aim Higher event, where Lord Levy led the roll-call of speakers. In addition to hearing from the peer and representatives of World Jewish Relief and the Aegis Trust, guests saw a demonstration of Indian cookery and Israeli dancing and were able to take part in one-to-one text based learning.
And congratulations to pupils of Manchester Grammar School, who were in Israel last week for the dedication of a Mobile Intensive Care Unit for the Magen David Adom ambulance station in Jerusalem, for which MGS sixth-formers raised £56,000 through donations and a series of fundraisers.
Among those present at the dedication were Dr Christopher Ray, High Master of MGS and around 30 MGS Old Boys now living in Israel.
A demonstration of parent power in Brighton, where a group of Sussex Jewish parents are to relaunch the Orthodox Cheder, which serves the area’s two Orthodox synagogues, and the Eastbourne community. When the cheder’s former head, Rabbi Zalman Lewis, announced in July that he could no longer run the classes, a group of parents led by Lucinda Lewis (no relation) decided to step in. As well as managing the cheder for which they promise a diverse curricu- lum, they plan social events. Encouraging support in London this week for Neve Shalom-Wahat-al-Salam, Israel’s Arab-Jewish peace village. On Sunday, there was a World Congress of Faiths interfaith peace service at the Golders Green Unitarian Church, which featured Benita Hide, executive director of the British Friends of the village.
Meanwhile, Carlo Rizzi, music director of Welsh National Opera, gave an opera masterclass for students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in aid of the peace village.
Media award winners, front row: Romain Podgorney and Karen Rapstone (Luton) middle row: Wing Commander Steve Griffiths (Lincolnshire); Barbara Mazliah (Moriah School); Elkan Levy (Office for Small Communities); Debbie Joseph (UJIA); Jennifer Lipman (FZY); Anthony Green (Etz Chaim), John and Simone Sless (Manchester Synagogue) . Back row: Vic Aboudara (Jewish Care)