Blogs

Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.


  • 10 things that could only happen at Limmud

    Anna Sheinman
    Dec 25, 2012

    1. One 20-something girl goes up to a 20-something guy in the cafeteria: “Sorry to bother you, I think you lead me on tour?”

    2. Matisyahu, a rabbi and an artist hold an in-depth conversation at 1am about God’s sphincter muscle and ask – is it different from ours?

    3. When asked how to confront anti-Zionism in the community, an MP responds, “Well, I would be happy to come and give a talk to whoever wants, come and get my number after this is over.”

  • Masorti on the fence over gay marriage

    Simon Rocker
    Dec 13, 2012

    The Reform and Liberal movements have both welcomed the government’s promise to press ahead with the introduction of gay marriage.

    The Chief Rabbi has made his opposition known, but he has certainly not been as vocal about it as Catholic leaders.

    But the Masorti movement remains undecided. It did release a statement this week in which its senior rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said: “Gay people have long been subject to misjudgment, humiliation and exclusion, especially in religious life. A key Conservative responsum advocates full inclusion of gay people in all areas of Jewish life and leadership.

  • The proof is in the spanking

    Orlando Radice
    Dec 6, 2012

    If you were in any doubt that Bibi has made a boo-boo with the E1 settlement plan, here's the proof. Canada's Stephen Harper, probably the most pro-Israel prime minister in the world, has now also given Benjamin Netanyahu a spanking. Ouch.

  • Mazel Tov: a royal baby for Wills and Kate

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 3, 2012

    The wait is over. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child. According to St James's Palace: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby".

    With no word yet on whether the royal infant will be a boy or a girl, it's perhaps too premature to engage in a "will-they-won't-they" debate over whether they will choose to circumcise their offspring , as was once a royal tradition.

    But how did the Jewish communtiy react in 1982, when William was born? Well, as the JC reported on June 25 1982, we were rather excited.

  • Settlements - the view from Jerusalem

    Stephen Pollard
    Dec 3, 2012

    I’ve been trying to find out the thinking behind the Israeli government’s announcement that it intends to build a settlement of 3000 units in E1.Speaking to various Israeli government sources, here’s my take.

    The feeling in Jerusalem is that, no matter what agreements are signed between Israel and the Palestinians, the international community refuses to acknowledge Palestinian infractions.

    Instead, the argument goes, no sooner has Israel thwarted attempts to perpetrate a third intifada mounted by the Palestinians, than the United Nations rewards the Palestinian president with the new 'non-observer' status, and potential access to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

  • The ally you never knew Israel had: Micronesia

    Anna Sheinman
    Nov 30, 2012

    The inevitable has happened. The PA has been upgraded in the UN General Assembly with a huge majority vote.

    Israel was against the motion, as was its eternal ally the US, and Canada presumably does as it’s told. The traditionally pro-Israel Czech Republic also said nay.

    Perhaps more surprisingly to the casual UN live feed viewer, also pitching their tents in the anti-upgrade camp were the tiny nations of Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, Panama and the Marshall Islands.

  • A view from Tel Aviv

    Danny Caro
    Nov 22, 2012

    A must-read piece from someone I know only as a footballer. Until now ...

    I have never done this before, so forgive me if its rambling and doesn't make perfect sense. I am not usually one to let people in general know how I feel, but I just needed to get a few things off my chest.

    I think I have always felt that I as a Jew was very different to other people I met. I certainly wouldn't say I felt I was better than them, but I definitely felt like I wasn’t one of them.
    ...
    I grew up in a typical middle class home in North West London, never really having to worry about much. The concept of anti-Semitism only ever got as bad as some of the kids from the local comprehensive snarling in my general direction. When you compare it is an upbringing to almost all previous generations before me I would say I must have had it far better than almost all those before me, yet I could never shake the feeling that I was still very different.

  • New York after the storm

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 16, 2012

    I filled the My Week slot this week with a piece recalling my trip to Manhattan after the hurricane hit, and during election week. All told, an interesting time to be there.

    ● I'm on holiday in Manhattan and Sunday starts with a time-honoured New York tradition - a leisurely brunch with friends. We have booked at a place in the Village, and despite being without electricity for days thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the restaurant is up and running by the weekend.

    ● Walking in downtown Manhattan, although not as far as the flooded areas, it is clear the storm has had a serious effect. The streets are eerily quiet, with the papers filled with stories of misery and miracle, people charging phones at pop-up sites in parks, and bars advertising post-Sandy reopening dates. Dismayed runners from various countries are jogging all over the city, the annual city marathon having been cancelled at the 11th hour. A friend who helped clean up the worst hit areas reports over Shabbat lunch how gefilte fish was handed out to the needy by Orthodox Jews. We try to imagine how desperate we'd have to be to feast on what was once a staple heimishe delicacy.

  • Racism on the terraces - the shame of Beitar Jerusalem

    Marcus Dysch
    Nov 14, 2012
    A fascinating new short documentary looks at the vile racist abuse regularly displayed by the “fans” of Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem.

    American sports journalist Jeremy Schaap investigates the history of Beitar’s “La Familia” ultras who hound Arab players throughout the Israeli leagues.

    The ESPN film also features footage of the sickening attack carried out by Beitar followers at a shopping centre in the Israeli capital earlier this year.

    Club chairman Itzik Kornfein explains how the fans’ militancy has led to Beitar never buying Arab or Muslim players. Beitar is the only club in Israel’s top division never to have had an Arab player.

    Schaap interviews Arabs and Muslims from Israeli Premier League sides including Bnei Saknin and hears of the racist abuse and violence directed at them.

    Salim Tuama – who played 13 times for Israel and has made hundreds of appearances for Hapoel Tel Aviv – explains how even his feats for the national side could not protect him from the Islamaphobic bile spouted from the terraces at Beitar.

    Schaap also looks at the Israeli Football Association’s lacklustre attempts to punish Beitar for their fans’ actions.
  • We have an archbishop, but not a chief rabbi

    Simon Rocker
    Nov 8, 2012

    The new Archbishop of Canterbury will be formally named tomorrow - who is expected to be the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby.

    It took the Anglican Church eight months to choose their next head after Rowan Williams announced he was stepping down in March.

    It was almost two years ago - December 2010 - that Lord Sacks announced his retirement as chief rabbi and his successor has still not been found.