A week of helping and remembering
CONGRATULATIONS TO the Jewish Community Centre which attracted 2,000 volunteers to its Mitzvah Day. The annual event, which began in 2005, had volunteers involved in a huge range of projects in London and the regions, from environmental ventures to the painting of a children’s room at the Royal Free Hospital, plus numerous tasks for dozens of charities and organisations across the UK.
Well done too to One Family UK, which brought 22 survivors of terror to London via Israel’s One Family, which supports victims of terror and their families. The group was hosted by the Brondesbury Park community.
It was a time for remembering at the weekend, when 750 members of Ajex took part in the organisation’s annual march through Whitehall. The parade, traditionally held a week after the national Remembrance, brought Ajex members from across the UK as well as the USA, Gibraltar, Israel and France, to the Cenotaph, where Air Marshall Ian Macfadyen took the salute. Encouragingly, the marchers, mainly in their 80s and 90s, were supplemented by a large youth contingent from Bnei Akiva, JLGB, RSYNetzer and Jewish Scouts.
Kingston Synagogue welcomed more than 40 special guests to a Remembrance Shabbat service, including mayor Councillor Shiraz Mirza, two local MPs, Edward Davey and Barbara Kramer, local MEP Jean Lambert, Greater London Assembly chair Baroness Hamwee and the chairman of Kingston Mosque, Rashid Laher. A special service of Remem- brance was organised at St John’s Wood Synagogue by Mark Kosky, chairman of the City of Westminster Branch of Ajex. Among guests were the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Carolyn Keen.
A different aspect of World War Two was remembered last week when 250 people — including 60 non-Jewish schoolchildren and 30 members of the Muslim community — took part in a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Krakow in Poland. The tour party, led by Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Barry Marcus, also included chazan Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld and the Shabbaton Choir.
The Holocaust will be remembered this week in Barnet, where Barnet mayor Councillor Maureen Braun will take part in the planting of snowdrops, as part of the council’s Holocaust Memorial project.
Hundreds of members of the Golders Green Chabad community visited the Poale Aguda Israel HQ on Sunday and Monday, to see the proposals for a new Lubavitch yeshivah and community centre planned for Brentmead Place. Organisers and architect Kevan Fehler of local architects Stern Thom Fehler hope that feedback from local residents will help them refine their plans before planning permission is sought from Barnet Council.
And in Hertfordshire, 600 people attended Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue’s formal farewell to their minister of 31 years, Rabbi Alan Plancey, and his wife, Miriam.
Guests — who included local MPs, councillors and two mayors — were welcomed by Rabbi Plancey’s successor, Rabbi Naftali Brawer. United Synagogue president Dr Simon Hochhauser praised Rabbi Plancey’s interfaith, youth and charitable work, while Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks paid tribute to the enormous effort that the Scottish-born rabbi and his wife had invested in developing the Borehamwood community. A teatime reception earlier the same day saw another 250 members bid farewell to the Planceys.
Five-hundred people braved Sunday night’s bitter weather to attend former US Defence Department official Richard Perle’s talk on the Middle East, organised by the Zionist Federation, Henry Jackson Society and Kinloss Learning Centre.
And plaudits for the 50 semi-finalists of the 2007 Ambassador competition, whittled down from a field of 100 entrants from in Kenton and King Solomon High, Barkingside. The annual competition, run by US youth arm Tribe with Bicom and JNF UK, was created as a response to growing antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment on UK campuses. Contestants have been receiving advice from leading pundits, including Associated Press lawyer Adam Cannon and public-speaking expert Lord Janner.
And a round of applause for Clore Tikvah School in Barkingside, Essex, which is fast turning into a miniFame Academy. Molly Goodman and Katie-Louise Shalka-Fisher are the latest of its pupils to be appearing in Joseph at the Adelphi Theatre. Pupils Lauren Mead, Naomi Penn and sisters Lolita and Delilah Gendler previously performed in the musical.
The JC is delighted to add its congratulations to Leeds couple Michael Woolf and Barbara Spavin, who met through our personal columns and are to marry in January.
Limmud organisers have been reminding those who have not yet reserved for this year’s education and culture-fest that, with fewer than five weeks to go, they need to book fast. To be held for the first time at Warwick University after almost a decade in Nottingham, the conference will include a typically eclectic clutch of speakers, including Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Muslims Against AntiSemitism; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography editor Lawrence Goldman; and the JC’s Italian-Jewish cook Silvia Nacamulli; plus Finchley Catholic Boys High School students performing their Holocaust play Remember.
Dame Julia Neuberger ( centre) with ( from left) Rachel Ingram, Gaby Judah, Andrew Marshall and Rachel Marcus, paint a children’s room at London’s Royal Free Hospital as part of the JCC’s annual Mitzvah Day