Communal charity mergers are ‘not financially driven’

Months after it was revealed that Nightingale House in Clapham and Hammerson House in Hampstead were discussing a potential merger, the organisations officially joined forces on Monday to become Nightingale Hammerson.

The move paves the way for the homes to share expertise and a common governance structure while maintaining their individual identities.

There will be no cuts in services at either site, but the uniting of some back office functions is expected to bring some cost savings.

While saying there would be some “financial benefits”, Harvey Rosenblatt, the chairman of Nightingale who will become the chairman of Nightingale Hammerson, said: “The primary motive behind the merger is one of sharing expertise between two care organisations whose common ethos places the utmost importance on providing the highest quality care for residents.

“Over the coming months and years, we will be sharing our expertise and evolving progressive new models of care and accommodation.”

Meanwhile, JAMI and Jewish Care have together created a single mental health service based in Golders Green, with the latter’s staff working in community-based mental health transferring over to JAMI.

A joint statement said the merged service would reduce the duplication of mental health services and “provide the opportunity to have a single strategy for mental health services helping to identify what the community needs, address gaps in the service and to plan for a better service”.

There is no intention to make redundancies as a direct result of the merger and staff from Jewish Care‘s residential services will not be affected.

Simon Morris, chief executive of Jewish Care, said: “Everyone involved agreed that the two organisations coming together to form one mental health service, and its potential to achieve much more than each organisation’s individual efforts, was extremely beneficial for our community.”

This deal, expected to take effect by September, will see finance and IT services shared to reduce costs.

But Laurie Rackind, chief executive of JAMI, said the merger was not driven by financial concerns. “Cost-savings may be a by-product but are not the intended outcome. However it is hoped that value for money will be improved, with more available for services and a reduced total spend on overheads.”

He added: “The merged service will allow JAMI to further its reputation as an outstanding organisation which will be of huge benefit to our community.”

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Simcha Expo resounding success

Hailed as a resounding success by the event’s exhibitors and visitors, it boasted in excess of 80 stands – from florists to photographers and bands to bridal wear – helping guests arrange every aspect of their forthcoming weddings or bar/batmitzvahs.

Sponsored by Classico Productions, the show had the atmosphere of a simcha itself with live music provided by Soul Symphony brought to you by Young Guns and Pink Truffle and a never-ending supply of tasty canapés courtesy of Chives Catering.

Among the visitors on the day was Louise Marks, a mother of two. Describing the event as “entirely innovative”, she said: “It was a must in any person’s diary when planning their perfect simcha.”

The sentiment was shared by Rachel Cohen whose son’s barmitzvah is fast approaching. “The Simcha exhibition was excellent, a really great opportunity to get ideas. I had been struggling to find a good caterer, but with so many exhibiting on the day, I was able to sample food from each one. I’ll definitely be coming back next year, even if I’m not planning a party1″

Event organiser Adam Bloom said: “The feedback we’ve had from exhibitors and attendees has been so positive. I wish everyone who is planning, attending or celebrating a simcha this year a warm and hearty mazel tov.”

Expressing delight at the day’s success, Jewish News & Media Group chief executive Dan Assor added: “I would like to thank our sponsor for their support, as well as all of our exhibitors for showcasing their products and services on the day. I would also like to thank all the members of the community who came along for helping to make it such a wonderful occasion.”

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Chief Rabbi’s Prayer For Haiti Victims

He called on United Synagogue communities to recite it and asked congregations to contribute to fundraising and rehabilitation efforts.

Lord Sacks also expressed his distress at the “tragic loss of life and damage” suffered by the people of Haiti, saying: “Not only are the people of Haiti dealing with shock, anguish and physical danger, but they are coping with the challenge to survive at a time when the infrastructure around them is destroyed.”

A prayer for Haiti:
Adon ha-olamim, Sovereign of the universe. We join our prayers to the prayers of others throughout the world, for the victims of the earthquake which brought destruction and disaster to Haiti and took so many lives.
Almighty God, we beseech you, send comfort to the bereaved, and healing to the injured.

Be with those who are engaged in the work of rescue. Grant strength to those who see to the needs of the injured and sick, give shelter to the homeless and those who provide sustenance to those in need.

Almighty God, we recognise how insignificant we are, and how helpless in the face of nature when its full power is unleashed.
Open our hearts in prayer and our hands in generosity, so that by our actions we may bring comfort, healing and support.

Help us now and all humanity as we seek to do what we can by helping people reconstruct their broken lives.

Ken Yehi Ratzon, ve-nomar Amen.

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Support WJR’s Haiti Emergency Appeal

An earthquake of such magnitude striking a country so deeply mired in poverty has resulted in true human catastrophe. As of 14th January the death toll remained unknown, although it is feared that thousands have been killed and many more injured. The Red Cross has estimated that 3 million individuals (30% of the population) may require some form of emergency assistance. Damage to buildings is widespread, ranging from the Presidential Palace to shacks in the shanty areas around the city. The lack of social services and employment opportunities in a country with a crumbling infrastructure only heighten the scale of the devastation.

In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, priorities include food and shelter, clean water and sanitation, telecommunications and medical services and supplies. WJR, fulfilling its remit as the primary humanitarian aid agency of the UK Jewish community, has immediately mobilised a response to this tragedy and is liaising with partners on the ground to meet these needs.

Paul Anticoni, WJR‘s Chief Executive, said,
“While it is too early to speculate on the scale of loss of life, we know that it is buildings that kill people, not earthquakes and early reports from Port-au-Prince indicate major building collapse. It seems inevitable that there will be massive unmet humanitarian need. Life is already extremely tough for many in Haiti and this disaster will seriously compound the situation. As part of our Jewish imperative of Tikkun Olam, we are once again calling on our generous community to help us show we care for the victims of such indiscriminative disasters.”

To support WJR‘s Haiti emergency appeal, please telephone

020 8736 1250 or donate online here

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Edgware Jewish Primary School Stays Open After Parents Shovel Snow

In an operation that grabbed national and local media attention, parents from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School gave up part of their Sunday to personally help clear snow and impacted ice from the institution’s car park and private access road, ensuring that pupils could return on Monday after three days away.
Headteacher Michele Bazak told the Jewish News: “We are on a hill where the snow was particularly bad. I came here on Saturday night and couldn’t even get the car up the hill.”

With no sign of a thaw and with a bill to have it cleared by a private company likely to run to thousands of pounds, she issued a call for parent volunteers -and almost 100 shovel-wielding mothers and fathers responded. A risk assessment was carried out and arrangements made for participants to car share to limit the number of vehicles descending on the area.

Bazak said: “Volunteers worked from 9.30am to 3.30pm. It was quite an operation, masterminded by Daren Nathan (of the premises committee) and Philip Pomerance (parent). In spite of the snow that fell on Sunday, we were still able to open because the main problem of the impacted ice in the car park had been removed. The parents were so supportive. We are very grateful.”

Meanwhile, workers at Jewish charities went the extra mile – or in one case 12 miles – to ensure residents continued to receive support. Carer Rafael Szczesiak twice walked six miles from his home in Kentish Town to Jewish Care‘s Rubens House, while the team leader at the Finchley facility, Alice Adu, stayed overnight to ensure she could start her shift on time in the morning.

Similar stories of dedication came from Norwood. Despite its Ravenswood community in Berkshire facing 40cm of snow and two fallen trees which blocked access to the site, the charity reported that residential services remained operational as did its residential services for adults with learning disabilities in London. Norwood’s David Harris said: “I would like to thank them for their dedication and generally going the extra mile. All this meant we have been able to provide services to residents.”

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Buy tickets for Valentines Event!!!

The only Over 35’s Night catering for the Jewish Community

Date: Valentines Day 14th February

Time : 8pm til 11.30pm

Venue: The Vine, 86 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1PB

Tickets: £20 before the 3rd February £25 thereafter

Ticket Offer: Buy 4 tickets and get an extra ticket free.

With every ticket purchased you get a free glass of wine or soft drink, a selection of food
And a free month membership to Totally Jewish Dating.

To buy a ticket now email or call 020 7692 6934

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Send Us Your Snow Pics

Please email your pictures of the snow to

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Putting The Fun Into Chanukah

The JCC organised a Chanukah Extravaganza on Sunday where more than 100 children gathered to make their own stained glass dreidels and clay menorahs. Genevieve Jacobs, JCC strategic planner, said the event got everyone into the Chanukah spirit. “It was a great success,” she said. “Everyone got really involved in building a huge menorah from stacked boxes and we had a big sing-song of Chanukah songs.”

Hasmonean High School is readying itself for its Chanukah event on 13 December where Rabbi Yehoshua Hartman, Rabbi Akiva Tatz and Rabbi Daniel Rowe will provide a religious insight into the festival of light. The event is open to all and there will be refreshments and live music from the school band.

Several giant menorahs will be lit up around London this year. Brent Council’s menorah was decorated by local school children and among the many holiday events in the area is a concert by the London Cantorial singers and a performance by beatboxer Daniel Brill. Mayor of Brent Councillor Jim O’Sullivan said: “This festival is a great way for people to learn about and celebrate each others’ culture.” In Golders Green the giant menorah will be lit every night of the holiday (except Friday) and in Trafalgar Square on 16 December the deputy mayor of London will do the lighting honours.
Ahead of the festival the Jewish community has thrown itself into the holiday mood. Students at Immanuel College held a Chanukah Fair and Auction where they raised more than £1,000 in aid of Camp Simcha and Teenage Cancer Trust charities.

The United Synagogue‘s Project Chesed initiative teamed up with Tikva Children’s Homes in Odessa to help abandoned and abused Jewish children in Ukraine have a happy Chanukah. Candice Woolfson, Project Chesed director, said: “Most families within the United Synagogue are able to take items like toys and nappies for granted but for Tikva’s children in Ukraine, they are few and far between.” And Norwood raised £4,000 to spend on Chanukah presents including games, CDs and toys for the charity’s children centres.

• While Jews in London and around the world prepare to celebrate the festival of lights, an environmentalist group in Israel is causing outrage by encouraging Jews to light one fewer candle. The Green Chanukiah campaign claims lighting the menorah for all of the eight days can cause significant damage to the earth’s atmosphere.

The founders of the campaign claim that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide and calls on Jews to “save the last candle and save the planet”.

Rabbi Leivi Sudak of Lubavitch of Edgware expressed horror at the campaign. He said: “It is shocking that people are trying to attack our beautiful festival. Chanukah is the festival that brings light and hope to the masses. Such people are masquerading under the guise of trying to protect God’s planet by insisting that we should extinguish the light that could help people.”

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The Magic Of Mitzvah Day

Danielle Leslie picked up this year’s award during a fireworks party at Brondesbury Cricket Club last Sunday after being selected by a panel of high-profile judges from a shortlist of five.

Together with her mum Sylvie, the 39-year-old founded the charity Future Dreams, which has raised nearly £750,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer by staging star-studded West End shows.

She said: “I am thrilled to have been the recipient of the award. I had no idea I had even been nominated, so I was very surprised to hear I had been shortlisted and even more surprised to win.”

Danielle added that the award is also recognition for her mum, who passed
away this year after being diagnosed with a secondary tumour. She said: “Mum would be proud of me so this award is for her too. She worked tirelessly for Future Dreams until the end of her life. I have worked hard to raise the enormous amounts needed in the battle against breast cancer and mum and I prove that it is possible to realise dreams even in difficult circumstances.”

Despite still having to undergo three more chemotherapy treatments, the former professional dancer is currently brainstorming for her next fundraising event while praying that a forthcoming scan will give her “good results”. She said: “Hopefully I will go into remission and have the chance to enjoy my life for a long while.”

Congratulations on receiving the Community Hero Award came from television star Gaby Roslin, who hosted the two West End shows organised by the mother and daughter team. She told the Jewish News: “I’m absolutely delighted for Danielle and her family. She is not only a courageous woman but also an inspiration. Her love, kindness and generosity of spirit are endless. I feel honoured and very lucky to count her as a wonderful friend and guiding light. Her late mother Sylvie was very special to me as are her father, Eddie and all her family.”

Other finalists in this year’s Community Hero Award were 94-year Keith Saunders, who has volunteered for World Jewish Relief for more than 20 years, Big Brother volunteer for Camp Simcha Shmuli Kruskal, veteran Chai Cancer Care volunteer David Miller and Paula Cohen and Keith Harris, who coordinate the Norwood 25 Group.

Charged with the difficult task of selecting this year’s winner was a panel including Board of Deputies President Vivian Wineman, Baroness Julia Neuberger, adviser to the JCC for London and the prime minister’s former volunteering champion, television producer Dan Patterson and Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks.

Jewish News Editor and panel member Richard Ferrer said: “It was a privilege to present the award to Danielle who, along with her late mother Sylvie, has done so much to raise money and awareness about breast cancer. Praise is also due to runners-up David, Keith, Paula and Keith and Shmuli. Although not winners on this occasion they are all, nonetheless, heroes, who deserve our gratitude for their efforts.”

The presentation of the Award took place during a party at the conclusion of Mitzvah Day, the annual Jewish day of volunteering which this year saw more than 15,000 people give their time in support of good causes across the country. As well as members of the Jewish community, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus also took part in some of the 250 events held under the Mitzvah Day umbrella.

Marks said: “In five short years, Mitzvah Day has come from nowhere to one of the biggest events in the Jewish calendar. Quite simply, everyone – every community, every leader, every child – can to do something for others on Mitzvah Day.”

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Community Mourns Former Board President Israel Finestein

Judge Israel Finestein, who passed away on Monday aged 88, held a host of prominent positions within the community, including the presidency of the Board of Deputies between 1991 and 1994.

Among the other titles he held over the years were the vice-presidency of the World Jewish Congress, the presidency of Norwood and the Jewish Historical Society. He was also a founder of the Hillel foundation, and a past chairman of the Jewish Museum, London, the Jews’ College Library, and the British Section of the International Association of Jewish Jurists.

Outside the community, the Hull-born QC and Crown Court Judge was a past president of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Having graduated with a double first in history from Cambridge, Finestein, who was buried at Bushey cemetery yesterday, was a respected author who penned several books on Anglo-Jewish history.

Paying tribute to the late judge, friends and colleagues recalled his humour, intelligence, and leadership. Vivian Wineman, the current Board president, described Finestein as a “man of towering intellect and deep humanity”.

He added: “At the same time, all who knew him revelled in his dry wit. The Board, the Jewish community and beyond will all be the poorer for his passing.
“His scholarship was extraordinary and had he not decided to devote his considerable talents to the law he would no doubt have made an enormous impact on the world of academia.”

A statement from the Board described Finestein’s years as president of the Board as “just a fraction of the work that he did for a community which he loved and which reciprocated his affection”.

Lord Janner, who served as president of the Board from 1979 to 1985, said: “I am deeply saddened at the death of my remarkable friend. He was a wonderful leader of our community and we will miss him greatly.”

During his time at the Board of Deputies, Finestein revised the constitution and organisation of the Board. He also made a point of reaching out to other ethnic and religious minorities.

Aubrey Rose, a close friend who served as senior vice president under Finestein, said. “He was the finest man I have ever known. I cannot tell you how I sad I am that this lovely man has passed away from us. “The Jewish community should be proud to have had a leader of such quality, ability, fairness and uprightness.”

Dayan Ivan Binstock of St John’s Wood Synagogue, which Finestein regularly attended, called him an “elder statesman of Anglo-Jewry” and said “his opinion was very much valued”.

The head of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, noted Finestein’s wisdom and piety. “He was the ideal Anglo-Jew – religious, knowledgeable and wise,” said Levy. “He was so proud of the Anglo Jewish tradition and his whole life was a real Kiddush Hashem.”

Norwood chief executive, Norma Brier, meanwhile, hailed Finestein as “a brilliant orator”. She said: “His wisdom was enhanced by his compassion for the children with disadvantage and disabilities that Norwood supports, about whom he cared deeply. His passing signifies a great loss to the Jewish community.”

Finestein’s wife Marion, to whom he was married for more than 50 years, passed away six years ago.

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