Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Stop Iran? Easy, just ask 'em to

    Orlando Radice
    Feb 17, 2012

    Writing in this week’s New Statesman, former weapons inspector Hans Blix calls Israel’s use of the Stuxnet virus to hobble the Iranian nuclear programme and its assassination of the country’s nuclear scientists an “outrageous, gangster-style war”. So if you have solid evidence to believe that a country is developing the means to wipe you off the map, you are akin to a “gangster” when you seek to prevent that? Interesting argument…

  • Moral capitalism and the collapse of Jabe

    Simon Rocker
    Feb 15, 2012

    It is ironic when Prime Minister David Cameron and others have been talking of the need for moral capitalism that the Jewish Association for Business Ethics has folded owing to lack of funds.

    JABE successfully exported Jewish ideas on ethical practice to schools and offices well beyond the Jewish community.

    It grew out of an initiative, Integrity in Action, which was launched in partnership with the Chief Rabbi’s Office. And therein lay the seeds of its downfall.

  • Rick Santorum's Chanucah faux pas

    Jennifer Lipman
    Feb 10, 2012

    A new kosher conundrum in the will they / won't they rollercoaster of the Republican presidential hopefuls. Did Rick Santorum really mean to send Jewish voters a card with a quote from the New Testament on?

    Rick – he of the sweater vests and staunch Christian conservatism – was obviously hoping to shore up support from an unlikely corner when he sent the card last year (at least, I assume it was last year; getting the date of Chanucah wrong would have been an even bigger gaffe).

    But really, dude? Even for those who want all the religions of the world to work together (and Santorum doesn't really strike me as a happy-clappy interfaith kind of guy), this is pretty bizarre.

  • Harry, it's over to you

    Danny Caro
    Feb 9, 2012

    Who in their right mind would take the England job? One has to ask.

    In fact, it's the question a handful of respected managers in the game will have asked themselves this morning.

    Indeed very few people took to Fabio Capello because he wasn't English and didn't speak the lingo.

  • Should batmitzvah girls be called to the Torah?

    Simon Rocker
    Jan 23, 2012

    You may have read our story in Friday’s newspaper about a United Synagogue member asking the London Beth Din whether there are circumstances in which a woman could be called to the Torah.

    Here is a copy of the paper submitted to the Beth Din written by Dr Alexis Brassey of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue in support of his case.

    An enquiry to the London Beth Din:

  • Sacks challenged over interfaith views

    Simon Rocker
    Jan 20, 2012

    A number of rabbis here have been talking about an article in the latest edition of Tradition, the American journal of Orthodox thought published by the mainstream Rabbinical Council of America.

    It is written by Alan Jotkowitz, who is director of the Jakobovits Centre for Medical Ethics at Ben Gurion University, and is a critique of the interfaith views of Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

    The author is an admirer of the Chief Rabbi whom he describes as “probably the world’s most foremost expositor of Jewish values and ethics”.

  • An Israeli yeshivah head’s view of Limmud

    Simon Rocker
    Jan 6, 2012

    Rabbi Herzl Hefter, head of Harel Yeshiva in Israel reflects on his recent appearance at Limmud in his weekly email letter:

    “Early Friday morning I returned home to Israel from the Limmud Conference in the UK. Jews of all backgrounds, secular, Orthodox, Masorti, Reform and Liberal attended. I say 'attended' and not 'were represented' because we were all there as individual Jews, representing only ourselves, united by a thirst for Torah and community. Limmud had managed to create a wonderful “safe space” where Jews could simply encounter one another as fellow Jews. Coming from Israel, the experience was inspiring, almost intoxicating.

    So why am I depressed? Because I had to write “coming from Israel…” To what did I return home? I returned home to haredi violence in Beit Shemesh and a haredi boy dressed by his parents with a yellow Star of David. According to reports, his father said that the Nazi-Zionist government's persecution of the haredim is worse than what was carried out by the Nazi regime. What would my father, who witnessed his mother being taken to be shot, who alone survived of nine brothers and sisters and unknown number of nephews, nieces and cousins, what would he say?