Your blogs

  • 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.

  • Did Mossad send a big-nosed bird to spy on Turkey?

    Jennifer Lipman
    May 15, 2012

    Could a Jewish Mossad agent have been masquerading as a bird to gather intel about Turkey?

    Remember when the Saudis captured a vulture on suspicion it was spying for Israel? Or the bizarre claim that the Sharm el-Sheikh shark had been sent by Israel to attack unsuspecting tourists? Well, to add to your list of spurious claims made by Israel's enemies about Mossad's dastardly tricks, I bring you the big-nosed bird spy.

    Apparently, the Turkish authorities are in a bit of a flutter about a European Bee-Eater (it's a species of bird – who knew?) that was recently found dead in a field in Ankara.

  • Now we're 64: Ambassador Taub's children steal the show

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 30, 2012

    At the Israeli Embassy's Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration last week, Ambassador Daniel Taub's children wowed guests with their version of "When I'm 64".

    The song, performed by Judah, Sophie, Reuven, Asher and Amichai Taub, had the audience clapping and cheering - and for good reason.

    When we were younger, when Israel began, not so long ago

  • What Mel Gibson could learn from Lady Bracknell

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 12, 2012

    So, does Mel Gibson really “hate Jews” quite as much as Joe Eszterhas claims he does?

    According to Eszterhas, Gibson is an unrepentant antisemite, who used him to clean up his reputation after that infamous drink-driving anti-Jew rant, and all the rest. Mel Gibson will no longer star as Judah Maccabee, the Jewish hero and warrior, or at least not in the Warner Bros version of the film as scripted by Eszterhas.

    Eszterhas’ private letter to the actor, made public on a gossip website as all good Hollywood take-downs are these days, includes some pretty strong accusations; Gibson wanting to convert Jews through the film (he thinks his acting is just that damn good?), rubbishing the Holocaust (that old faithful) and repeating the blood libel of “the sacrifice of Christian babies and infants” (FYI, Mel, that’s not what the Torah says).