Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Gilad Shalit

    Jenni Frazer
    Oct 12, 2011

    Within hours of the news breaking that a deal has been done to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, the debate about whether it is proper to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for the sake of one Israeli soldier has re-erupted.

    Israel has always held to the tenet that it will do anything and pay a very high price for its citizens, something it has demonstrated over and over again. Those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists are, understandably, unhappy about the swap: a former rabbi in the IDF has warned today that those who are being released will slide back into their old haunts and habits immediately, the better to wreak further havoc on Israel.

    I was very struck by the comment on one website in which someone wrote that he did not know how the Shalit family would live with themselves when the next inevitable act of terrorism was committed by someone who had been released so that their son could be free. But who can judge the Shalit family in that way? Who can imagine the pain and suffering undergone by the family in the last five years? And who among us can comprehend the lonely, frightening situation of Gilad himself, never knowing if the next knock on the door was someone coming to kill him?

  • The Honey Trap

    Simon Rocker
    Oct 3, 2011

    I have a seasonal confession to make: I don’t like honey.

    From early years, I have avoided spreading it on my challah or dipping my apple in it.

    As a child, I used to sprinkle sugar on them instead.

  • Was there a touch of divine intervention at Balenciaga on first day Rosh Hashanah?

    Jan Shure
    Oct 1, 2011

    Was I the only (Jewish) person on Planet Fashion who wondered whether there was a spot of divine intervention going on in Paris during Fashion Week when not one but three benches – and front row benches at that – collapsed during the Balenciaga show, which took place on the first day Rosh Hashanah.

    I do, of course, sympathise with the fashion capitals – London, Milan and New York as well as Paris – whose organisers all try desperately to fit in all four spring/summer fashion weeks, which take place annually in September, without clashing with Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Some years it’s easier, when the High Holydays fall late, as the four fashion weeks can usually be crammed in. But often rows erupt between organisers and buyers and journalists when one or other city tries to schedule major shows on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

    Two years ago it was London that offended, scheduling shows on the Yom Kippur and provoking the wrath of some senior fashion editors and ensuring that many top US buyers would be absent.

  • No copy cats, just coincidence...

    Jan Shure
    Oct 1, 2011

    There’s been weird stuff going on between The Times fashion pages and The JC fashion pages… cue X Files music.

    Last Saturday, September 24, the Times carried a fashion story about impossibly high shoes, and how the fashion pack refused to give them up. Under the headline “The fashion pack is really not over heels” new fashion editor Laura Craik wrote about “taxi shoes”, how the fashion editors and top fashion bloggers were clinging on to their impossibly high heels and how this was fine if you had a car waiting to transport you between runway shows, but not so great if you were a real person having to occasionally walk or run…

    Observant readers (and I am not talking religiously observant here) may have spotted that the most recent edition of the JC, September 30, which came out on Wednesday – two days early because of Rosh Hashanah – also contained a story about shoes, how the fashion pack were wearing “taxi shoes” with impossibly high heels, and how this worked if you “had a limo purring” at the kerb, but not so much if you were a real woman who needed to walk, etc.

  • Beyond the power of the Almighty?

    James Masters
    Sep 28, 2011

    It has been a tough week in the sports department at the JC office with a certain Mr Caro still reeling from North London Raiders dismal start to the season.

    It probably doesn’t help when you’re subjected to chants of ‘Danny Dire’ or ‘Caro out’ each time you walk in and out although it’s certainly entertaining to watch.

    Three defeats and a draw in their opening four games has seen twitter inundated with accusations that Danny may just be the MSFL’s very own version of Steve McClaren and he’s even been spotted taking a very long and hard look at himself in the mirror.

  • Metal gurus

    Simon Rocker
    Sep 21, 2011

    Earlier this year I ran an article about an enigmatic collection of lead books which, it was being argued, were ancient Jewish mystical texts.

    Immediately, rival theories began to appear all over the media here and abroad that these were early Christian codices.

    But the claims of antiquity began to be debunked on the blogs.

  • UJS's "radical, progressive" campaign? Sensible, or a cause for concern?

    Marcus Dysch
    Sep 16, 2011

    The Union of Jewish Students announced plans this week to launch a "radical, progressive" campaign, encouraging students to speak up for the rights and "liberation" of both Israelis and Palestinians.

    It includes proposals to ask Jewish students arriving at universities in the coming weeks to support "two states for two peoples" and hand out Israeli and Palestinian flags.

    The campaign has already led to online debate between students over how they want to be represented by UJS and what effect the proposals could have.

  • David Cameron, Durban and dancing at the UN

    Jennifer Lipman
    Sep 14, 2011

    Political life often seems to be something of a dance, a complicated balancing act in order to offend no-one, appease everyone and commit yourself to nothing.

    So kudos to David Cameron for (finally) deciding that Britain won't take part in the tenth birthday party of the Durban conference, an event supposedly about challenging racism that turned into the political equivalent of putting a kid in the middle of the playground and standing around pointing and mocking.

    Cameron said he doesn't want to commemorate a conference (actually, two, the 2009 review affair was also something of a hate-fest) associated with "open displays of unpleasant and deplorable antisemitism".

  • Struggling to pay the bills

    Simon Rocker
    Sep 2, 2011

    A poignant letter in this week’s Jewish Tribune reveals one family's battle to keep their head above water in these hard economic times.

    The anonymous writer used to raise money for Jewish schools, then he lost his job, home and became bankrupt. Life is now a constant struggle.

    For a while, paying Jewish schools weren’t a problem but then they became a “living nightmare” for him. I assume he is a member of the Charedi community and therefore has sent his children to one of the independent strictly Orthodox schools.