Your blogs

  • 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.

  • Justin Bieber and Anne Frank: Why the fuss?

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 15, 2013

    Dear Kitty (as Anne Frank never wrote),

    "I'm soo sick of being stuck in hiding, because my dad keeps telling me to turn down the volume on my Justin Bieber CD. If only I could get out to go and see him on tour…"

    Clearly, Anne– the teenage diarist forced into hiding by the Nazis, who eventually died at Bergen Belsen – had more serious considerations than the average 21st century western teenager. In her diary, perhaps one of the most well-known examples of Holocaust-era testimony, she wrote of an everyday existence blighted by fear, death and hatred.

  • Eighth plague hits Egypt

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 5, 2013

    Here’s a mad pre-Pesach coincidence for you.

    Reports are emerging of a plague of locusts descending on modern Egypt – a catastrophe that, as you most likely know, marked the eighth stage in the ten biblical plagues visited upon Egypt ahead of the Exodus.

    Time magazine has the story:

  • 150 years of the London Underground

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jan 7, 2013

    This week marks the sesquicentenary – or 150th birthday - of the tube.

    Yes, even though it sometimes seems like the engineering of the Northern Line predates the battle of Hastings, or that bewildered travellers have been trying to circumnavigate the Circle Line since the time of Columbus, the tube is actually only 15 decades old.

    The first journey on what we now know of as London Underground took place on January 9 1863, between Paddington and Farringdon Street on the Metropolitan Line. Historians believe that was the last time there was good service on all London Underground lines.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Claire Danes and the boycotter's dilemma

    Jennifer Lipman
    Sep 25, 2012

    I'm 90 per cent of the way through the first series of Homeland, and I'm as hooked as everyone said I would be (nb: do not tell me what happens, I'll get there eventually). Its almighty awards grab at the Emmy awards on Sunday has confirmed it not only as the programme of choice for the masses, but the top pick of the critics too.

    Must be tough for the Israel boycotters out there, of course, that the hit show of the year started life as an Israeli series about Israeli soldiers captured in war while fighting for the survival of the Jewish state.

    Inconvenient, perhaps, that Homeland's writer, Gideon Raff, is an Israeli, and that episodes of the eagerly awaited second series have again been filmed in Israel.

  • You can run but you can't hide

    Jennifer Lipman
    Sep 21, 2012

    As I have written before, if there is one area involving women and Judaism that seems stuck in a ghastly status quo it is divorce, and the requirement for a man to grant his former wife a get to free her from the chains of a failed marriage.

    One case that has attracted a fair bit of media attention in recent months is that of Tamar Friedman, a chained wife whose husband (a senior aide to a congressman) has been targeted in a high-profile social media campaign.

    Showing an admirable "you can run but you can't hide" approach, the latest move of her supporters (the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot) has been to place an advert on the Washington DC transport system.

  • Conspiracy theories, Mossad and the tragic Al-Hilli murder

    Jennifer Lipman
    Sep 12, 2012

    Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, right? Aliens in Roswell, the moon landing that never was, Elvis alive and living in the countryside; we all like to stretch our imagination beyond the realms of what is possible or plausible.

    Invariably, one notion that tends to figure high on the list for the conspiracy theorists is the "it's the Jews wot dunnit" scenario.

    Throughout history, conspiracy theorists have chosen to speculate about the shadowy Jews and blame them for any and every scandal or disaster imaginable, from the medieval blood libels to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the Jewish grasp on politics, world finance and the media.