Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.
- Naomi Firsht
May 14, 2015
A few weeks ago I was in Bergen Belsen concentration camp trying to comprehend the atrocities that happened over 70 years ago. This morning I walked into a children’s playground in Toulouse and tried to understand a horror that happened just three years ago.
On March 19 2012, 3a>Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah forced his way into Ohr Torah3b> (formerly Ozar Hatorah) school and shot dead three school children and a teacher for the crime of being Jewish.
The buildings are low and square, in a cheerful orange coloured stone, nothing extraordinary, just your average school building. But the high surrounding walls, topped with barbed wire (added since the attack), and the line of policemen along the road outside, remind you that something awful happened here.
- Charlotte Oliver
May 14, 2015
He said, she said, this happened, that happened. Since news broke that JFS sent home 300 misbehaving pupils, I have heard multiple accounts of how the day unfolded.
Reports that often disagree and end up reducing themselves to squabbles over minute details.
But one element of the story is overwhelmingly consistent: the power of the united student voice.
- Sandy Rashty
May 13, 2015
While they were pelting classmates with eggs, pulling a security fence out of place, trashing toilets, spraying graffiti on public and school property, did the student vandals ever consider the impact their actions would have on JFS – and more importantly, state-funded faith schools across the country?
When one trying gangster looked to camera in a black balaclava before defacing a public sign, did he consider the impact his image, circulated on media outlets across the UK and a video that went viral, would have on watching school governors, councillors and backers.
Enough has been said about the sheer embarrassment last week’s Year 11 so-called “muck-up day” has caused JFS pupils, parents, teachers and graduates (of which I am one).
- Emma Jacobs
May 13, 2015
Last week, a JFS "muck-up day" caught the attention of national headlines. Year 11 students "celebrated" the end of their first five years at JFS. Some students took the celebrations too far.
The whole year was escorted out of school after 1a>fireworks and raw chicken were found on the premises1b>. The police were called and news spread fast across the cafes and nail bars of north west London.
By Shabbat, the reports had assumed epic proportions, with talk of 40 live chickens running amok and missiles being fired. The eruv couldn’t contain the story.
- Simon Rocker
May 12, 2015
Most British Jews will be pleased or relieved at the election result, if our poll indicating that a significant majority intended to vote Conservative was accurate.
But not everyone in the community will be feeling the same way. Here is an extract from a letter from an anonymous Orthodox Jewish school teacher from Golders Green which was published in last week’s edition of the Charedi weekly Hamodia:
“I am on a low wage and I’m forced to come on to government help for housing and basic expenditures.
- Charlotte Oliver
May 7, 2015
I have long suspected I was a princess, bolstered by my grandmother’s insistences. I felt it in the thin air I breathed, in my irritatingly-picky palate, and in the fact I have never quite managed a good night’s sleep.
“Mother, plump the mattresses!” I shrieked in distress. “I can still feel that sodding pea!”
Imagine my relief, then, that my suspicions have been confirmed thanks to the latest addition to the Royal Family — baby Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. That my royal pageantry, mastered so artfully after years of practice, has not been in vain. Forearm upright and perma-grin pursed, I am ready to meet my subjects. Please form an orderly queue. “Why the pomp?” my naysayers will ask. “Just because she’s called Charlotte, that doesn’t make you a princess!”
- Rosa Doherty
May 6, 2015
Twitter has reacted to the Sun’s ‘save our bacon’ election front page in a big way, but is it antisemitic?
Managing Editor of the Sun Stig Abell doesn’t think so…(obviously)
New Guardian nonsense: a piece of laboriously mediocre prose on whether Sun front is anti-Semitic. Of course not, you daft, pious bastards.— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) May 6, 2015
But it is making LA based Ben Winston, executive producer of The Late Late Show with James Corden, feel all #teamEd
- Josh Jackman
May 5, 2015
Jewish dating is a perilous activity. Finding someone in this tiny pool of British Jews who is your age, your level of religious observance, and who you’re compatible with can make you feel like an Israelite wandering in the desert.
That’s where JSwipe comes in. This free app is an increasingly popular route for meeting other Jews who are available, interested and interesting. If you both swipe right on each other’s face, you can start chatting (and find out what you actually want to know about them)! But before you get to that (possibly) magical time, beware the pitfalls which so many trip over.
After using it for nearly two weeks here are my top tips…
- Rosa Doherty
Apr 28, 2015
Barely a day goes by at the Jewish Chronicle without it being someone’s birthday, daughter's Bat Mitzvah, or uncle's wedding, and there is always, always cake.
“Have some, you must, if I give it to you it is free.”
By 11.30am it felt like if I had £1 for every time someone offered me their bagel, I could have raised half my £200 target for charity in one morning.
Should the NUS take a wider political stance, or focus on the issues that directly affect students on campus?Jordan Mizrahi
Apr 28, 2015
This week I had the privilege of attending my first National Union of Students conference in Liverpool, attended by nearly 700 delegates and dozens of observers, media personnel and campaigners. Representing the University of Bristol as one of its five delegates was also very special for me as it allowed me to speak and vote on behalf of my peers. It is an amazing feeling sitting down and voting on the very first motion in a huge arena; one minute you are sitting among 1,000 or so members of the audience and the next you are addressing them on the issues that you feel most strongly about.
Not only was I representing Bristol students, but also Jewish students and the Jewish voice on campus. Part of my involvement with Jewish issues at NUS was in the form of the UJS fringe event. UJS ran a great fringe event Faith not Fear, regarding sexual orientation in faith. This event was one of the most popular fringe events of the conference (hopefully not just because of the free food…) and was attended by a diverse and engaged audience.
However, whilst leafleting for the event I did have an encounter with a delegate that aligned himself with the Socialist Workers Party; he claimed that as a Palestinian supporter he couldn’t come to the Faith not Fear event. After pointing out that this was in fact a Jewish event, I asked him why he wasn’t able to come. The answer that followed reminded me that whilst on the exterior everything so far seemed great, there was a minority that clearly posed a danger to the welfare of Jewish Students on campuses across the country. He told me that the event was some sort of Zionist tactic and he could not endorse that. An event that was about liberation, freedom of expression and the difficulties facing LGBTQ+ that are of a faith was somehow, to this delegate, a Zionist plot.