Your blogs

  • The Kestenbaum phenomenon

    Geoffrey Paul
    Nov 21, 2010

    There is enough top military brass (retired) in the House of Lords almost to furnish a parliamentary detachment of their own, among them former chiefs of staff, supreme commanders and medal-heavy generals. What, I wonder, will they make of the arrival in their midst of an ex-IDF soldier, a holder of the Israel army’s “outstanding soldier award”? That unusual distinction appears nowhere in the media’s biographical notes on last week’s elevation to the peerage of Jonathan Kesternbaum, one-time director of the Chief Rabbi’s office and subsequently holder of some of the most challenging posts in business and technological development in Britain. Most of the newspapers missed something else. too. While he is, as they report, currently executive director of NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, the largest endowment in the UK exclusively dedicated to fostering innovation, he is about to sit in an even more challenging seat. At the end of the year Kestenbaum - Lord Kestenbaum - will take over Lord Rothschild’s responsibilities as Chairman and Chief Executive of Five Arrows Limited, the investment company controlled by Jacob Rothschild’s family interests, while Rothschild will remain on the board of Five Arrows under Kestenbaum’s chairmanship. Mr Kestenbaum will also work closely with Lord Rothschild on the overall management of his family’s various philanthropic organisations. Howzat for a former mazkir of B’nai Akiva, born, of all places, in Tokyo, and only just 51? Oh, and yes, this - to me - young man, who will sit at the head of one of the most powerful capitalist outfits in the world, will take his other seat on the Labour benches!,

  • Forgettable Sandeesh bows out of the competition as Stuart becomes the recognisable villain of the piece.

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 17, 2010

    I was discussing only today with a friend of mine how little coverage the Apprentice has received this year from the media. Is this because there is very little scandal surrounding the candidates that can not be embellished and placed emphatically in a red top newspaper?

    Well this is very possibly the case, coupled with the public relations company keeping a tighter reign on the exploits of the competitors, The Apprentice this year seems a little more understated than normal.

    The main contributing factor towards the show feeling a tiny bit more unsung than usual is of course the presence of three major reality television shows challenging for space in the press.

  • Week seven sees the candidates try their hands at selling the cinematic experience

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 17, 2010

    A movie experience of a lifetime is what is on sale in this week’s episode of the Apprentice as the two teams are instructed to create and sell the big screen experience to an unsuspecting public.

    Both teams will be lead by two candidates who have been flagged up by Lord Sugar as being possible time wasters in the form of Stuart ‘the brand’ Baggs and the very uncontroversial Sandeesh Samra.

    I have a distinct feeling that whichever team loses, unless a member of that team makes an almighty blunder, it will be the manager in charge that will get the boot.

  • Kate and William and chopped liver

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 16, 2010

    The wait is over for Waity Katie. A big Mazel Tov to Prince William and his new princess Kate Middleton.

    The natural question now is whether the Royal Wedding of the Century (my copyright) will have any impact on the Jewish world.

    Which Jewish celebs will be invited? Will Lord Sacks be there and will he be eating Hermolis or Tony Paige? When are they going to have a L’Chaim? Will she be heading to Hatton Garden for a diamond ring?

  • The curious case of Google Islam

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 12, 2010

    Oh, Americans. Forever doing their best to dispel the myth that they are not, ahem, the brightest of the bunch, a fair few have been rather upset with Google this week. Why?

    As you will probably know, the web giant like to change their logo to mark particular days or events - Sesame Street's anniversary, Halloween - and yesterday they decided to honour Veterans Day (what we call Armistice Day).

    But the graphic they chose, clearly of an American flag against a brightly lit sky, confused browsers, because all but the tail end of the letter “E” was concealed. Meaning, the logo looked – scream – like a crescent.A crescent.

  • The West Bank version of the Twitter joke trial

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 12, 2010

    The Twittersphere is in uproar. Yesterday a man named Paul Chambers lost an appeal against a conviction for making a (very bad) joke on Twitter about blowing up Robin Hood airport.

    Former accountant Paul Chambers, 27, now owes a fine and costs totaling £3,600 (Stephen Fry has kindly offered to cover it), but Twitter isn’t done. At the time of blogging, the hashtag #IamSpartacus – a repeat of Mr Chambers’ original joke – is trending in Britain.

    It’s all very entertaining, but the wider issue is that of free speech – anyone can see that this was a joke, albeit a foolish one.

  • Epstein needs to clean up his act if he wants to be succesful

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 11, 2010

    Occasionally and with great subtlety Lord Sugar will display his conditional liking for a candidate. This happens so infrequently that if you blinked you would miss this rare showing of humility from the great man.

    Alex Epstein was a man not unlike me who I believe Lord Sugar had a fundamental liking for. However, unlike myself, what Mr Epstein did not realise quickly enough was that he could have used this brief rapport to his advantage.

    Alex was a nice guy. Nice guys rarely do very well in this process especially if this is coupled by the nice guy being somewhat incompetent.

  • Apprentice is now down to the business end.

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 10, 2010

    Week six has now come upon us and we have reached the half way stage of the competition.

    Paloma aside, the people who have been fired up and till now have deserved to be get the boot.

    Paloma was an example of a candidate who was incredibly able but perhaps too much hard work for Lord Sugar as she showed herself as a potential spanner in the works.

  • Jews fighting for Germany

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 8, 2010

    The New York Times had a lovely piece yesterday about the German army and a memorial event for the 467 German-Jewish soldiers who died fighting for their country in the First World War.

    According to the NYT: “It was organised by the Association of Jewish Soldiers, a small but growing group in the German military whose existence testifies to the feeling by at least some Jews that it is possible for them to be patriots again in the nation that once tried to wipe them out.”

    Visiting the German First World War cemeteries on a school history trip to Belgium, I remember being struck by how desolate, how bleak they were. The dilapidated sites, visitors few and far between, contrasted immensely with the well-maintained, sparkling white British and French ones.

  • Mid-terms: some silver linings

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 4, 2010

    So, the mid-terms have been and gone. As predicted, what was once blue is now stained red. The Democrats lost big and President Obama is no longer the messianic figure he once was.

    And as has been widely trumpeted, this is just about the worst result for the Democrats since 1948. But, looking back to the election of that year, it’s worth noting that people seem to have more confidence in Obama than they did in Harry Truman.

    Because despite having been president since 1945, it was considered so unlikely that Truman could win of his own accord that one paper actually went to press (before the results came in) touting a victory for his opponent.