A Community Lover's Guide to the Jewish Community

[We are in the process of re-launching this blog and plan to be up and running by March 2013. Please stay tuned...]


We are collecting Jewish community stories and this website is a space to showcase all the amazing and inspiring ‘stuff’ going on in our community!

In November 2012 we published ‘THE COMMUNITY LOVERS GUIDE TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY’ - an online book featuring some of the most inspiring initiatives and projects from around the Jewish community. The book is part of a series of similar books featuring stories and perspectives from around the world – not just the Jewish community. For example, other people are writing ‘community lovers guides’ to London, Manchester and New York! You can find out more about the project here www.communityloversguide.org

This website will complement the book by providing a space to share photos, videoclips, audio, drawings, ideas and written words – in fact, anything that is inspiring people to 'do community'.

In particular we will feature community initiatives that:

- Challenge the traditional ways of doing things inspire people to do things differently

- Are people led, rather than organisation led

- Involve 'hands-on' doing, learning or other types of creativity

- Seek to include, involve and connect people

- Are run resourcefully, re-using or re-imagining or sharing resources


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Yom Hashoah is the day on which the Jewish community commemorates the Holocaust.

Yom HaShoah is the Jewish Community’s day for internal reflection. It is our opportunity to educate our own children; to unite in passing on the torch of remembrance; to honour the victims of the Shoah (the Holocaust); and to recognise the achievements of its survivors and refugees who have given so much to our society.

Introduced in 1953, it is one of only four official days to have been added to the Jewish calendar in more than 2000 years. It is that important.

This year on Yom HaShoah please give just one day to “remember the past, honour the memory and shape the future!”

UJIA Birthright-Norwood ‘Limitless’ trip

Norwood and UJIA Birthright joined forces to lead the UK Jewish community’s first trip to Israel for young people with physical and learning disabilities that was free for all participants. The UJIA Birthright-Norwood ‘Limitless’ programme was a 10 day trip in March 2012 after nearly two years of careful planning. Check out these AMAZING video highlights.

The JCC and Tzedek are looking forward at some of the most revolutionary thinking of the past few years. From microfinance to Kindles, fairtrade to Magic Breakfast, hear about the great ideas that have changed the world and will impact quality of living in years to come. 

Pecha Kucha is itself a simple idea. Each presenter has 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each, amounting to 6 minutes 40 seconds of concise, fastmoving information!

"This project is a celebration of music and collaboration between people"

Kutiman, a funk musician from Israel, has created a project called ThruYOU, in which he cunningly weaves a selection of videos from YouTube in a way that will blow your mind.

500 people In 100 seconds: Israeli Stop Motion Music Video Is A Movie Within A Movie

Read more here

(via jewishclg)

We love you - Iran & Israel

Regardless of whether you agree with the political message or not - you have got to admire how these guys have used social media to spread their message, build a community around a cause and raise money  

‘Haggadah’ (Hamish Hamilton, £25), edited by Jonathan Safran Foer and translated by Nathan Englander, was published on March 16 2012 

"People gather and retell this story by moving through the Haggadah, which serves as a kind of user’s manual for the holiday (Pesach/ Passover).

I can’t think of another book that is read out loud at a table during a meal by family and friends, a book that isn’t just there to lead us through prayers and songs and stories, but also to ask questions and inspire conversations.”

Extract from a Financial Times interview with Jonathan Safran Foer.  Read the full article here

2012 is the Big Green Jewish Year of the Bicycle, a whole year of campaigns, action and education focusing on sustainable transport.  In celebration of this, Gefiltefest is organising the event of the year, the Rabbi Relay.

What? The Rabbi Relay is a collaborative cycle down the length of the UK, lead by 19 (and counting) Rabbis from the British Jewish community.  Starting at Land’s End and finishing at John O’ Groats, the ride raises the bar of communal action for healthy, clean, green living. 

Why?  As well as promoting cycling as a green and healthy mode of transport, we hope to raise £100,000 for food and environmental charities in the UK and overseas. 

No Place Like Home

What does it mean to be a British Jew in the 21st Century?

From family life at home, to services at the synagogue - award-winning photographer, Judah Passow, set out to record the rich diversity of contemporary Jewish life across the country.

His black and white photographs are now on display at the Jewish Museum in north London. Here, Judah tells the stories behind some of the images.

Judah Passow’s No Place Like Home can be seen at the Jewish Museum, London, until 5 June 2012

Further details:


http://cartoonkippah.podhoster.com/ (podcast with Judah Passow)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17304029 (slideshow)

Social media Purim @ Finchley Reform Synagogue 

With overheard plots and underhand government officials one has to wonder how the story of Esther would have been different in a world of phone hacking, facebook and mass communication. 

We are recreating the run up to the Megillah by giving each of the characters their voice in new social media forums.  Esther, Mordechai, Haman and the gang will be updating their facebook status and tweeting to create the modern Midrash behind the story.  If you use those sites you can follow the conversation by befriending them on facebook and following their tweets.  Join in the conversation with your own comments and help to create the story. 

On erev Purim (Wed 7th March at 8pm) we will be interspersing the Megillah reading by hacking into their computers and seeing what they have to say.  Simply come along and enjoy or be a part of it by sending in (asap) your own, homemade video clips giving your impression on those thorny questions.  Why did Vashti refuse to go to King Achashverosh’s party?  What was Haman’s problem with the Jews? Who is the hero, Mordechai or Esther?   

If the above is all gibberish, don’t worry, just come along, there will be the obligatory booing and cheering and glass of whisky for all – how off the wall can it be!

You can follow proceedings and take part on Facebook by liking the  FRS Purim.compage and befriending Esther HaYafahModechai AmiTzedekHaman Ha’AgagiVashti Queen and Achashverosh King.

If you’re on Twitter then follow the gang on @FRS_Esther@FRS_Mordechai,@FRS_Vashti@FRS_Haman and @FRS_Achashverosh.

An explosion of creative Jewish social entrepreneurship is giving shape to an emergent Judaism outside the walls of institutional Jewish organizations and beyond the labels of movement affiliation. A new generation is seeking and building dynamic, inclusive, and diverse new organizations and communities that reflect their personal identities and experiences in the world. There are more creative, passionate, authentic, and compelling ways to engage Jewishly than at any time in recent history. But current economic conditions are conspiring to put a lid on all that dynamism. And without structural support—not just money, but capacity and knowledge—many of these great new projects may not survive, or at least not thrive, in this period of uncertainty. Our challenge is to harness the energy created by these new endeavors, sustain it, and empower new leaders to create new Jewish destinies for themselves and their peers.


Two Finchley synagogues are providing emergency shelters for the homeless this winter

Once a week, from January to March, Finchley Reform and Finchley Progressive will offer a bed, hot dinner and breakfast to around 15 homeless people.

The synagogues are following in the footsteps of a group of Barnet churches that have opened their doors to people sleeping rough in the borough for the past nine years.

Happy Givers is an initiative to encourage young Jewish people to honour the practice of ma’aser kesafim, giving 10% of one’s income, which derives from Jacob’s commitment to God: “of all that you give me I will surely give one-tenth to you” (Genesis 28:22).

The Happy Givers events — named as such because giving promotes a sense of well-being — feature representatives of charities who try to persuade the audience to part with their cash.

Guests pay a small sum to take part — half of which could go towards a pledge — and are expected to donate at minimum amount to one or more of the causes. 

Open Arts Café is a monthly themed arts evening giving artists from all mediums a chance to present new and original work at various stages of development.

Music, theatre, film, puppetry, poetry, visual arts, dance, acrobatics…

Open Arts Café is one of London’s best nights out, with a fun, intimate and generous atmosphere. All are welcome, most like to stay late.

These are donation-only events, with wine and bites provided. The donations are given back to the artists involved.

The venue, West London Synagogue (WLS), is based in Marble Arch and has vast state-of-the-art facilities including studio spaces, a screening room, and a large versatile performance space. Investing and nurturing a collective of young professional artists who convene under one roof to create and develop ideas without censorship or discrimination is a continuing and growing tradition at WLS.

Jewish Journalism: Why should we care? - A Cartoon Kippah LIVE Event!

What is the relationship between the Jewish Media and our community? What does Jewish Media actually tell us? Does it really matter?

Cartoon Kippah invites you to a LIVE and exclusive panel discussion with some of the people who are intimately involved with, or affected by, the UK’s Jewish media outlets.

Presented by Founder of Cartoon Kippah and Host of The NEW Jewish Podcast David Yehuda Stern. 

Panelists include: 

David Aaronovitch, British author, broadcaster, and journalist
Jessica Elgot, Reporter for the Jewish Chronicle, 
Laura Ellman, PR and Communications Manager at the UJIA and 
Dimi Reider, Israeli Journalist & co-founder of online news-blog “+972”.

From what it really means to cater to the Jewish community to whether it is possible to maintain an unbiased approach whilst doing so - come and hear a diverse and gripping debate on what it really means to be a “Jewish Journalist”.

Held in the all-new JHub 2.0 space, light refreshments will be provided and there will be a chance for open discussions and questions at the end of the debate.

Come and hear how Jewish media can define the future of our community, and how we can define the future of our Jewish media!

Limited places, so book now 

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