Michael Mayer and I are sitting perhaps a tad too close to each other. We are in a tiny hospitality room behind the royal box at the Savoy Theatre where the Menier Production of Funny Girl has transferred. The walls are gilded with gold paint and the wallpaper is pure art deco opulence. And then the walls start closing in.
The tributes to the comic writer and performer Garry Shandling, who died suddenly last week at the age of 66, have been fulsome. The creator of the legendary Larry Sanders Show was acclaimed as one the most influential comedians of the past three decades, and an inspiration and mentor, by Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Hollywood's current king of comedy, Judd Apatow.
Orthodox, Reform, Liberal, Conservative - we are "all one family". A benign but unremarkable sentiment, you might think. Until you realise it was Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks who, freed from the chains of office, issued this comforting message on Sunday. He may well have added "secular" or "atheist" under his breath, but I was too stunned to notice.
As a Jew living in north-west London, I love spending time in the city's creative epicentre, which, for years, has been located over in the East End.
The area is awash with the latest fashion trends worn by hipsters sporting the bushiest beards and skinniest of jeans. It's been that way since cheap rents enticed a large artist community to colonise large studio space.
An obsessive whose ceaseless overworking has made paint merchants rich, or Britain's greatest living artist? Frank Auerbach's star has risen sharply since seven decades of his work opened to acclaim at the Tate last week.
"Israel is trying to protect itself, and it doesn't seem too bothered about being liked, but I am. I don't like it if people don't like me. And people don't like me if they feel Israel is being disproportionate."
The Talmud and Jewish comedy are not often spoken about in the same breath. But for Alex Edelman, one of the hottest tickets at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it has been a key component in his comedic development.
Ben Uri celebrates its 1a>remarkable centenary this month1b>. One hundred years of the Jewish community in London from July 1, 1915 seen through the eyes and art of principally émigré artists, predominantly Jewish. First, they were forced to flee from the Russian Pale and East Europe and then, 50 years later, from Nazi-occupied Central Europe to Britain.