Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Braced for benefit cuts

    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.

  • I’m a Princess and don’t you dare forget it!

    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!”

  • The Six Sins of JSwipe

    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…

  • My week of living below the poverty line: day 2

    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.

  • My week of living below the poverty line: day one

    Rosa Doherty
    Apr 27, 2015

    Armed with my Live Below the Line information pack provided by Tzedek, and full to the brim of recipe ideas, and shopping list I set off for my local supermarket fiver in hand.

    My task – to help draw attention to the 1.2 billion people who live in extreme poverty, where £1 has to cover a lot more than just food and drink each day.

    With 32 charities doing the challenge I would take it on for Tzedek, the only Jewish charity and partner in the campaign. And money raised would go to help run projects in Asia and Africa where the focus is helping people help themselves.

  • Ten reasons these lists about Jews are one big, fat snore

    Charlotte Olive...
    Apr 22, 2015

    There are lots of lists doing the rounds on the internet claiming to know what it means to be a Jewish girl. Well, here's another one...

    1. Yes, we live near Brent Cross. But there are now two Westfields, and they have Primark and Forever 21. AND MORE PARKING.

    2. Maybe you like mixing with your clan, but the fundamental point of being Jewish is self-loathing. So why would I celebrate Passover in Eilat when I could go on an Easter egg hunt in South London?

  • My struggle with March of the living

    Rosa Doherty
    Apr 17, 2015

    “Arbeit macht frei” - work makes you free – the taunting words that mark the entrance to one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps where 1.1 million prisoners were tortured and killed.

    Only today, some of the victims to the regimes that ruled here stood under the sign in the sunshine, survivors who were now free.

    It was impossible not to be chilled by that image.

  • Auschwitz and Birkenau - context for a march that honours the dead and marvels in the living

    Rosa Doherty
    Apr 16, 2015

    Day two of my journey with the UK delegation involved a visit to both Auschwitz and Birkenau.

    On Thursday 11,000 people from all over the world march the three kilometres between the two camps, designed to contrast with the death marches which took place towards the end of the war.

    When the Nazis withdrew from the camps, inmates were forced to march hundreds of miles further west, while those who were too slow or fell were shot.