Jewish performers and composers are well represented in the Proms season, which starts tonight.
Perhaps the biggest name among the performers is Daniel Barenboim, who is conducting three concerts with his Jewish-Arab West-Eastern Divan Orchestra — two on August 21 (his violinist son Michael also takes part), plus Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, the following day.
Three years ago, a blaze in a basement bar at the Royal Albert Hall triggered the sprinkler system and caused a power failure, resulting in the cancellation of a Prom — something not even wartime air-raids over London achieved.
There will be sparks at the Albert Hall again tonight, but, one hopes, with far happier results. Stravinsky’s Fireworks will light the touch paper for the 115th season of the BBC Proms, setting off the world’s biggest cavalcade of classical music.
Offend Vanessa Hidary on a date and you run the risk of a scathing verbal attack — in the form of a witty, fast-paced poem.
In her 2003 poem, Hebrew Mamita, Hidary describes how a hapless suitor remarked that she did not “look Jewish”. At the time she said nothing, but later she realised the remark was supposed to be a compliment.
Oh, the irony. Theatre producer David Babani’s first West End show was a New York revue called Forbidden Broadway, a parody of the great American and the great British musical. The show was packed with mickey-taking turns that took the rise out of the theatrical establishment.
This week’s episode of Casualty 1909 — the BBC’s medical drama set in The London Hospital 100 years ago — focuses on the Jewish patients.
Recently arrived Eastern European immigrants and more assimilated Cockney Jews muck in together in the hospital’s male “Hebrew ward”, where, separated from other patients (at their request), they can talk Yiddish, eat kosher and pray together.
One of the most important art collections in the country is about to be unveiled in its brand new home at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Amassed over 40 years and worth more than £100 million, the collection includes some stunning Judaica, alongside important gold and silver pieces, and Italian mosaics. And it existence is thanks to an East Ender called Abraham Bernstein.
We have a winner. The JC readers’ joke competion proved extremely competitive but the judges, comic writers David Schneider and Ivor Baddiel, finally awarded victory to Ron Goldstein of Cockfosters, North London.
Mr Goldstein offered this slice of rabbinical wisdom:
Three ministers of religion are in a train carriage on their way to an ecumenical conference. Inevitably the talk gets around to the thorny subject of “when does life actually begin”.
‘This is a play which is sort of outside my comfort zone,” says Lesley Joseph during a break in rehearsals. By her own admission the actress is better known for comedy, pantomime and light entertainment, and best known of all as Dorien, the glammed-up, high-heeled Jewish neighbour in the Marks and Gran sitcom Birds of a Feather. So you can see why the role of Kathleen, a psychologically fragile, ageing woman who has to have her shoelaces and belts taken away from her, is a departure.