Your blogs

  • Isn't it quiet!

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 29, 2010

    There are few phone calls that matter. Almost no Spam e-mails. If you doin’t look out of the window, it’s great. There’s even time to read the stuff you would not bother with, like dear Julie Burchill in Prospect magazine. Having told the JC she has given up her column and announced that shul no longer has any appeal for her, she tells this improving journal that her New Year resolution is “Reach a reading age of 12 in Hebrew - so far, it’s five.” Why bother? The real fun was in an e-mail from a cruising brother deep into the penguins, whales and icebergs of Antarctica. His cruise ship was joined by a Lubavitch couple along the way in south America who, apart from all the other necessary supplies, brought their electric cholent pot with them. But, alas, alack and gevalt, the chief steward ruled it too serious a fire hazard to allow them to keep it puttering away in their cabin over Friday night into shabbat lunch time. Imagine, cold cholent……in the Antarctic! Next week, all will be back to normal, sadly….

  • What not to call a Holocaust survivor

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 23, 2010

    There are many ways of describing Holocaust survivors. Courageous. Inspirational. Defiant.

    But “winner” usually isn’t on the list.

    So the powers-that-be at Fox News in America must be rather red-faced right now, after inadvertently (one hopes) captioning Elie Wiesel as a “Holocaust winner”.

  • Read all about it - on the Herzliya-born Kindle

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 21, 2010

    I love my Kindle. Since Amazon’s version of an e-Reader came into my life two weeks ago, I have stared at it adoringly and fantasised about all the books I’m going to read on it.

    When I finally brought myself to unwrap it from its pristine box, it was a wonderful moment.

    An hour later, when I’d figured out how to turn the damn thing on, it was even better. Books downloaded in an instant, no need for a post-it note to keep my place, cheaper on screen (or so Amazon said) than in the shops. We’re going to be great friends, my Kindle and I.

  • Our man in the Lords

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 17, 2010

    Part of my argument for not appointing a new chief rabbi in 2013 (for which there was no room in the JC today) is that Lord Sacks’ retirement could open the way for an even larger communal role for him as Emeritus Chief Rabbi. Released from the shackles of the United Synagogue and the Beth Din and with a seat in the House of Lords, the way is open to him to become spokesman for the entire Anglo-Jewish community without regard to denomination.

  • WikiLeaks' in-house Holocaust denier

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 15, 2010

    Whether or not you think Julian “WikiLeaks” Assange is guilty of heinous crimes or the successor to Barack Obama’s saviour-of-mankind crown – in my view the jury is still out – it seems he’s been keeping some interesting company.

    As reported by Reason magazine, the author of the article that first suggested the CIA might have had something to do with the Swedish rape accusation against him, was none other than Israel Shamir – an activist who also uses the aliases Adam Ermash and Jöran Jermas.

    Michael C Moynihan, the magazine’s senior editor, writes “Israel Shamir, when he is not accusing Assange’s accusers of setting CIA honey traps, works with WikiLeaks in an official capacity.”

  • Westminster not OK?

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 13, 2010

    If demonstrations are to continue in the vicinity of Parliament, which is likely given the controversial complexion of current British politics, is there not a strong case for moving all but the ceremonial occasions - like the Queen’s opening of a new session - to some extremity of the city where the life of London will not be disrupted by protesters? At a whim, a few thousand demonstrators can now disorder the transport, entertainment or commercial arrangements of millions of Londoners and draw down the police resources of every Metropolitan district. This is getting beyond the patience of many of us. We do not want our city taken over by the disaffected, with the consequent charge to our rates for their policing and medical services. Which of our London boroughs will come up with a plan for rehousing parliament in an appropriate setting, with suitable areas for demonstrations, while allowing the citizenry to get on with its everyday life? Westminster does not have to rule,  OK?

  • Aaron Sorkin, Sarah Palin and a politically expedient moose

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 8, 2010

    Is there a wittier Jewish writer out there than Aaron “West Wing” Sorkin?

    Having managed to convince a fair proportion of Americans to vote for Jed Bartlet in the 2004 election, he’s now looking ahead to 2012.

    Writing on the Huffington Post, he lays in to Republican maybe-candidate Sarah Palin, and how.

  • A shark named Mossad?

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 7, 2010

    We Jews have been accused of a good few things in our time. Control of the media, killing the saviour of mankind, yada yada yada.

    But I think this one pushes the boat out. Possibly literally.

    The ever-so-rational sounding governor of South Sinai, Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, has a theory about the tragic deadly shark attack off the Sharm el-Sheikh coast.

  • So who's to blame?

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 5, 2010

    So who was to blame for the tragic Carmel fire? Why, God of course! You think this blasphemous? Well, on the basis of Israeli press reports, the Shas Chief Rabbi, Ovadiah Yosef, strongly implied in his shabbat sermon that the fire was God's punishment for desecrators of the sabbath. And it will not surprise those who see a horrible sort of symmetry between the religious outlook of Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists that the Hamas leader in Gaza also believed God had brought down divine punishment on Israelis. It is Rabbi Yosef. through his man in the Israeli Cabinet, Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, who has managed to extract millions of shekels from the Israeli taxpayer for yeshivot and their students. It is Mr Yishai, as the minister responsible for Israel’s firefighting services, who is going to have to explain why the force was under-equipped and under-manned. Which has just given me a glimmer of a good idea: how about requiring all those able-bodied young men and women excused service in the armed forces because of their religious studies to perform national service in the nation’s fire brigades? Mr Yishai might then be able to find some shekalim to equip Israel - a country of some dense forests and close-packed cities - with the minimal equipment needed to halt a major conflagration before it spreads. Would it be blasphemous to suggest that the Almighty would heartily approve of this?

  • A real Wikileak shocker

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 2, 2010

    Among the hundreds of thousands of classified US documents put into the public domain this week by Wikileaks, there is one I found particularly shocking. It is a long and comprehensive report on the alleged growth of organised crime in Israel, its increasing sophistication and its overseas connections. Sent last year from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, it lists names of what are claimed to be Israe’s leading crime families, their territories and their activities. Addressed not only to the State Department but also the immigration and homeland security authorities in Washington, it reports that the US consular authorities in Israel are working hard to prevent any of Israel’s gang members infiltrating into the US. It is the kind of document I might have expected to come out of some unpoliced, third world country. Not Israel. What underscores the shocking nature of the content is the title given by the US Embassy to its report: "Israel, a Promised Land for Organised Crime? " You can read it if you want to be disturbed at: