This week’s community news roundup, by Hayley Seifert

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Astronaut Greg Chamitoff with Sinai Primary School pupils

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Astronaut Greg Chamitoff

  • One giant leap for Sinai! 

NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff dropped in on Sinai Primary School last week to speak to pupils about life aboard the International Space Station and the feeling of taking his first space walk. Chamitoff, who is the cousin of a current pupil, served as the flight engineer and science officer for a six-month mission. Headteacher Robert Leach said: “The pupils were inspired by his talk and were thrilled to have their questions about space travel answered by an astronaut who has lived in space for more than 198 days.”

  • Batmitzvah Banquet

Hasmonean held its annual Batmitzvah Banquet as Year 7 students took part in the programme designed to enhance their understanding of what it means to be a young Jewish woman in the 21st Century. Events included a speech from Rebbeztin Kimche, a meal served by the Sixth Form and an entertaining choir. Headteacher Rachel Fink addressed the batmitzvah graduates and spoke passionately about their roles as Jewish women, before each were presented with a copy of the book Oh The Places You’ll Go.

  • Gladis’ excellent care

A carer who works at Sydmar Lodge care home in Edgware received the London Borough of Barnet Adult and Communities ‘Excellent Care Award’ in honour of the excellent care she provides to the elderly. Gladis Koswatta received the award for the work she does at the home, which caters primarily for the Jewish community. Sydmar Lodge manager Abigail Khandaker said: “Gladis is a dedicated and caring member of staff.”

  •  Mosaic to Norwood’s ears

Artistic Year 4 pupils from Sinai School in Kenton unveiled a mosaic they created for Norwood’s Ravenswood village in Berkshire. The materials for the mosaic, which will take pride of place in Ravenswood’s synagogue, were donated by the Burning Bush Masonic Lodge.

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Mosaic created by Sinai School pupils

Rabbi Meir Salasnik, current Master of Burning Bush Masonic Lodge said: “We are delighted that one of our charity projects this year is to sponsor Norwood for this exceptionally well executed mosaic by Sinai School pupils, which will beautify Ravenswood village.” If your school would like to take part in a silimar project, call Norwood on 020 8809 8809 and ask for volunteering.

Celebration for Shifra

Shifra, baby of Zara and Ben Fryer, was blessed during a Shabbat Service at Woodford Liberal Synagogue. Shifra’s grandparents were joined by many of the congregation and friends to celebrate the occasion, which was followed by blessings and a Kiddush. Synagogue chairman Bob Kamall said: “It’s lovely to see the synagogue full for such a happy occasion and for baby Shifra to be surrounded by all her family.”

  • Shuls Golden Jubilee

St Johns Wood United Synagogue celebrated its Golden Jubilee over Shabbat at its Grove End Road premises. The community was founded in 1876 at the corner of Abbey Road and Marlborough Place and moved in 1964 to its present site. A flagship community of the modern orthodox United Synagogue, the service was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, as well as local councillors and representatives of faith communities, schools, hospitals, institutions and civic societies. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis delivered the sermon.

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Mosaic Jewish Primary School hosted a charity concert

  • A concert for all ages

The friends of Mosaic Jewish Primary School hosted a charity concert that attracted more than 170 people, including members of south London’s communities, pupils and families of Mosaic Jewish Primary School (MJPS) and residents.

An audience spanning the generations, aged from four to 99 years were entertained by five young musicians, who travelled from Israel as part of the Musicians of Tomorrow programme, a charity aimed at giving musically gifted children living in the north of Israel, the chance to excel.