SCHOOL HEAD TAKES JEWISH JOURNEY
Almost 300 people volunteer. “Without them we would not be able to do what we do.” Some 650 home visits were organised over the year, more than 200 hospital visits made and In excess of 5,000 kosher meals provided.
A refurbishment of MJCC’s Shifrin House HQ has facilitated an expansion of well-being and support services, although the charity also uses other communal venues. Ms Dolan flourishes a copy of the latest monthly programme, where events run the gamut from “sequence dance” to “memory fitness”.
The centre is also home to Citizens’ Advice Bureau surgeries, dealing with issues such as low income, redundancy and debt. The MJCC will offer small grants for “crisis situations. But if someone has run up a credit card debt of
£20,000, we can’t solve that.”
Having “not received a penny from the city council since
2011”, MJCC needs
Lisa Dolan at Merseyside Jewish Community Care to run a tight ship. It has a budget of £350,000 and an operating deficit of £50,000.
“We have our various appeals to keep things ticking over,” Ms Dolan reports. “Our community is very supportive.”
At Stapely, trustee Philip Ettinger is realistic about the prospect of generating financial support “from such a diminished community”. Mr Ettinger, whose family are in the film business, has had to deal with the fall-out from Stapely’s own disaster movie. Speaking in the Stapely synagogue — where Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein is among the names on memorial plaques — he recalls the simultaneous double whammy of a scathing Care Quality Commission report and a critical inspection from Merseyside Fire Brigade.
The CQC rated the home inadequate overall, finding “no effective management and oversight of the service”, and placed it in special measures. The fire brigade requirements meant an expenditure of £250,000 and were it not for a major legacy, the consequences could have been dire. “Everything you planned goes out of the window,” Mr Ettinger reflects. “It effectively closes your business down.”
The fire chiefs are now satisfied and Mr Ettinger insists the issues with the CQC were “virtually 100 per cent clerical” and have been speedily rectified, although proof of the pudding will be the next inspection findings.
The “100 per cent kosher home” relies on non-Jewish clients for around half its occupancy and Mr Ettinger says that every penny beyond the break even point is ploughed back into the building.
Despite the recent difficulties, Stapely is pressing ahead with a project for a residential village for couples with medical support on site, which he feels will appeal to the Jewish community. “It’s now a place to come to. In the past it was a place to avoid.”
So what of the community’s future? Eddie Clein, a former Liverpool Lord Mayor, cites the example of the successful Haroldeans Jewish football team as a positive indicator: “Twentyfive Jewish footballers who went to universities outside the city and have come back.”
He adds that in general terms, things have been on the up since the city was Europe’s culture capital in 2008. “It changed the whole scene.”
Masorti’s Paul Schwartz ventures that “we might be on the cusp of getting people here. Big business organisations that might have in the past gone to Manchester are now coming to Liverpool.”
But probably best for now not to expect the opening of a clutch of kosher butchers.
An all-day Jewish heritage symposium linked to the Galkoff exhibition will be held at the Museum of Liverpool on Sunday
FOR years, Matthew Shaw passed Childwall Synagogue unaware that it was a Jewish religious building. He knows now.
The new head of King David Primary, who describes himself as “practising C of E”, has been enjoying a crash course in Jewish life.
“I’ve lived in this area for so long and had no idea there was such a strong Jewish community,” he admits. “All I knew was that Jews don’t eat pork and Saturday is the Sabbath.
“When I got appointed, I rang Princes Road [synagogue] and did a tour. It was amazing. I put down
Matthew Shaw has his dream job at the King David Primary educational books and picked up Jewish books like Yiddish for Dummies.”
A kosher cookbook has pride of place in his office and he extols the virtues of chopped liver.
Mr Shaw even admits to looking for mezuzot on house doors and is “really hoping” to visit Israel in the near future. “I’ve been to people’s houses to ‘talk siddur’ or for Friday night dinner,” the head adds. “I went to shul over the festival season and the services were so calming and inspiring. You could feel the spiritual nature.”
Mr Shaw took charge at KD after five years at another local school and says it is a dream appointment.
“You couldn’t ask for a better school for a first headship. The [academic] expectations and standards of behaviour are fantastic.”
Jewish children account for 20 per cent of the student roll of 430, all of whom study Ivrit.
Mr Shaw would be happy to see the Jewish pupil population grow but adds: “The message is that we are a Jewish school but we don’t want anyone to be excluded. I want any family to have the same welcome I have received.”
We might be on the cusp of getting people here’ Shul services are so calming and inspiring’