Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • The Barmitzvah That Never Was

    Simon Rocker
    Aug 3, 2009

    A rather sad tale of everyday intermarried life from this weekend’s Guardian.

    In a first-person piece, Annabel Wright, a self-confessed “non-practising Jew” married to a “lapsed Church of England” husband, recounts how her 12-year-son Marcus became interested in Judaism and wanted to have a barmitzvah.

    A friendly Progressive rabbi suggested that she and Marcus join classes at the synagogue but, alas, Annabel eventually found she couldn’t go along with the religious ride. “As time wore on, I realised that if Marcus was to follow the faith, I just couldn’t do it with him,” she said.

  • Press TV held in breach by OFCOM

    Stephen Pollard
    Aug 3, 2009

    Press TV has just been held by OFCOM to be in breach of the required impartiality standard. The judgment is here:

    Under the Communications Act 2003, and therefore the Code, due impartiality must be preserved by broadcasters in all major matters of political or industrial policy. In dealing with these major matters broadcasters must include an appropriately wide range of significant views.

    ...The Israeli-Palestinian conflict understandably raises extremely strong views and emotions from all sides. It is right that broadcasters are able to reflect such opinions within its programmes. There must be a place for such programming which gives air to highly opinionated and vocal reaction on issues of such importance. However, in order to comply with the Code, broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme. Further, in such cases, when presenting any significant alternative view, it must be given due weight and consideration.

  • No more Curb?

    Stephen Pollard
    Aug 3, 2009

    I've been away for a few days, devoid of news, so I'm only now catching up with the key story, which we covered here.

    I don't know whether to be thrilled or in despair: thrilled that

    The cast of Seinfeld will finally be reunited after 11 years

  • The football world has lost a true gent

    Danny Caro
    Jul 31, 2009

    The football world has lost a dear friend and gentleman in Sir Bobby Robson.

    I have wonderful memories of his best achievement on the international stage where he led England to the 1990 World Cup semi-final.

    Not around to see the heroics of 66, I was kept on the edge of my seat as his team made hard work of getting out of a group.

  • Rant, rant, rant

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 30, 2009

    A reader — and I use the term loosely — expresses deep anxiety about a story in the Daily Mail, about the police being issued with hijabs in case they have to enter a mosque. When are they going to start issuing the police with kippot in case they have to go in to a shul, she complained.

    In some confusion, and given that I admit a built-in prejudice against anything that appears in the Daily Mail, I sought a little enlightenment. It turns out that the Avon and Somerset Constabulary have taken the interesting initiative of equipping its female officers with a uniform issue hijab. They are, in fact, £13 headscarves, embroidered with the force's name and logo, and are designed to be multi-faith: "They are designed to be used in any place of worship and can be used to cover the head or the shoulders. For example, plain clothes officers could use them to cover their shoulders in a Catholic Church, or they can be used to cover the head in synagogues."

    For the life of me, I don't see what is wrong with that. I imagine the Mail put a typically spiteful anti-immigrant spin on the story, but frankly, I think the police should be encouraged if they are trying to show respect for religious observance, of whatever stripe.

  • Toast of the town

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 30, 2009

    On the way to the bank, I noticed a display board outside Oddbin’s in Holborn proudly advertising one of the off-licence’s latest acquisitions; “Kosher Côte du Rhone”.
    Is it this an indication that kosher wine has now gone mainstream? Could m' learned friends at the High Court down the road be taking a new tipple?