- Naomi Bloomer
Oct 30, 2009
What on earth is going on? What happened to “JewCL”? The only Jewish Society things that are going on, as far as I can see from the sparse emails (the first of which was only to say “give us money”), are actually Hillel events. That’s no kind of Jewish Society at a university where a very high proportion of the students are Jewish.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met the JSoc leaders and they are absolutely lovely. They made a great impression on me at the Freshers’ Fayre (where all societies try to attract you to joining, with sparkly freebies including pens and badges). I was so excited to start life at a university where the JSoc seemed so interested in me, in looking after Jewish students.
But there has got to be something going wrong when I’ve got more emails coming in about something happening in Golders Green when UCL is in Camden! It’s been a month now, JSoc, get your act together and start some UCL stuff up! And not just pub crawls please, as when you don’t drink or you don’t like schlepping around from bar to bar when you’re clearly too inebriated to stand, let alone walk, is… well, it’s just not cricket.
- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Oct 27, 2009
This Shabbat, my nostrils are still full of the stench of the one who, in the words of J.K. Rowling and incidentally following many ancient traditions, ‘shall not be named!’ Like Noah, I am assaulted by the rancid attempt to corrupt society that directly confronted us on Thursday night. The Lord Voldemort of contemporary British society. Unlike Noah, we cannot hide ourselves away in an Ark to let flood waters cleanse our land. Rather, we are urged along with all humanity that professes to the simple decency of the Noahide Laws, to purge society of the ills that create the possibility for a poisonous snake to wriggle into cracks in the ground that can morph into rift valleys of festering sores.
Whilst it is not my place to tell you who to vote for, it is my place to urge us to join with the challenge to rid us of this malodorous flaw. By the time we read Noah again from our Torah, we will have had a General Election. As citizens it is our duty to use our vote but what of us as Liberal Jews?
Read more at http://www.npls.org.uk/Sermons/New/Noach%205770.html
- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Oct 25, 2009
It was just another 'ordinary' social evening at our Shul (never quite ordinary, raucous seems more appropriate!) a 60's rock 'n' roll evening with homegrown house band, the whole set of Hairspray in attendance (ok, my congregants and friends but they were deadringers), fab food complete with cheese & pineapple hedgehogs and babychams. Yet there I was sat next to Boy George and his protege, Coby Koehl chatting about stuff I would later find out Jonathan Ross had talked abotu the night before on telly. Yet Jonathan Ross didn't talk about how Boy George ended up at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St Johns Wood for Yom Kippur! I wonder who we will attract for the next Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue social evening!?
- Naomi Bloomer
Oct 23, 2009
In stark contrast to last week, this week I am quite a happy bunny.
I am now a proper full-on real-life grown-up student! I handed in my first essay. It was awful, and makes me want to cry thinking about it, but I did footnotes and EVERYTHING. A bibliography!
Having only done bibliographies for AS and A2 English coursework, and never having done footnotes, I discovered that doing them properly is my ‘Nam. The most horrendous experience. Worse than the essay itself. In fact, I think most of it was footnotes… I remember very little about the actual essay. The topic was a comparison between the biblical Flood story and the Babylonian Flood stories.
Oct 18, 2009
As a communally active Liberal Democrat, I have lived through more than the occasional Jewish political row. Letters from the Board of Deputies, front page headlines in the JC - I don't so much have that T-shirt, as a whole wardrobe full of them. The latest such row, about the Tories' new allies in the European Conservatives and Reformists group, is like a greatest hits compilation of this ever-expanding genre, prompting me to offer the Tories some entirely unsolicited tips on how to manage (and how not to manage) the fallout:
1. If lots of people are saying that the Tories' new allies might be antisemitic, there is little to be gained from accusing your critics of all being part of an anti-Tory conspiracy
2. If the Anglo-Jewish community's elected leadership expresses reservations about the Tories' new allies, don't shoot the messenger
- Naomi Bloomer
Oct 16, 2009
I’ve been ill all week. I warn you, here and now, that I’m going to be very complainy moany whingey this week.
I had Freshers’ Flu in, well, Freshers’ week. That got better. But on Saturday I went to Hampton Court with Mummy and Daddy (had a scone, lovely), and I started coughing slightly. I was so tired I went to sleep on the grass in one of the massive gardens (imagine Versailles with someone taking a nap in the fountain, that’s how weird it looked), and when I woke up I was hacking my guts out. It was quite unnerving, gripping my neck in pain, while about 200 meters away from where Henry VIII decided to lop off Anne Boleyn’s head. Oo-err missus. (I’d quite like to bring that phrase back into usage, if anybody would like to help me? No?)
Anyway, I went back to uni and slept. Sunday, I slept ALL DAY. I have never slept so much in my life.
- Naomi Bloomer
Oct 9, 2009
Buy this book. Buy that book. Photocopy this page. Learn that vocabulary sheet. Read such and such a page of such and such a book. In its original language. You don’t know what it means? Just read it out loud. How do I know I’m saying it right? Oh I see, you’ve not been listening to anything I’ve been teaching you, is that it? Get out of my class. You’re banned. You’re expelled.
And that’s how my most recent sobbing fit happened. Well, it didn’t even happen like that, actually. I imagined that entire conversation. I imagined it? No, I dreamt it. Yes, dear reader, I’m dreaming about having crying fits in lessons.
I also dreamt that someone stole my bag from me on the street, looked in it, threw my purse and phone back at me and ran off with my notes. I woke up in a cold sweat. And it’s only week two. What am I going to get like during exam period?
- Melchett Mike
Oct 5, 2009
With all the talk and speculation about a nuclear Iran, it is impossible, living in Israel – especially in the centre of Tel Aviv (the intersection of the lines forming the “X” on Ahmadinejad's map is widely believed to be Melchett) – not to ponder the possible, dreaded scenarios.
No one here appears to be any the wiser about the likelihood, or the timing, of an Israeli attack on Iran. And those who are certainly don't talk about it. What I did, however, hear about a year ago – from a journalist who claims to "know people" in "defence circles" – is the following:
The US State Department has resolved that it is not in America's interests to spearhead, participate in, or even to be seen to be behind, an attack on Iran. It prefers to leave the Israelis and Iranians to their own devices, to fight matters out – to the death, if necessary – between themselves (ironically, the quintessentially Jewish "don't get involved" approach).
- Naomi Bloomer
Oct 1, 2009
This week has been crazy.
I moved in on Saturday, and within twenty minutes was already talking to five different people as if we had known each-other for years. Within a few hours, I had met someone on my floor in halls who I had known two whole years ago from going out with his best friend. Then, someone from school last year. In the Union later, another friend from school had popped up and perhaps 20 new “Best Friends Forever” – BFFs – were made.
Everyone talked like we were BFFs and we would be together forever. You could go up to anyone and instantly talk genuinely and with more enthusiasm than I think I had for any other random person in my entire life. I said “I love you so much! You’re my best friend!” probably around 30 times in one evening.
- Melchett Mike
Sep 27, 2009
The talking point in Israel (and indeed the "Jewish world"), this past week, has been whether Judge Richard Goldstone – the head of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza War, whose report accuses Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity – is an example of yet another Jew too willing to sell out to our many enemies . . . or has merely been doing his job.
From what I have read about the man, I am not convinced that he is a Pinter, a Sayle, a Kaufman, or one of their repugnant ilk. But as a Jew who, apparently, "is a Zionist and loves Israel", it may have been more judicious for the Judge not to have accepted the mandate (however good for his CV) in the first place, especially since he knew (or ought to have known) that Israel would not cooperate with an investigation commissioned by a totally one-sided resolution (Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had already declined it, describing the UN Human Rights Council as "guided not by human rights, but by politics"). And, following his "shock as a Jew" to be offered it, Goldstone may have felt that he had to go out of his way to prove his objectivity. And "go out of his way" he did.
By most accounts, Judge Goldstone is a man of impeccable conviction. But the South African would also appear to be one of startling naivety. In an op-ed in last Thursday's New York Times, he wrote: "I am unaware of any case where a Hamas fighter was punished for deliberately shooting a rocket into a civilian area in Israel — on the contrary, Hamas leaders repeatedly praise such acts."