- Simon Friend
Oct 10, 2008
The first University College London general meeting of this academic year, following the heated assembly in March when the union was twinned with two Palestinian universities, was held on Kol Nidre night.
UCL undergraduate Aryeh Lehrer said: "The decision to hold the AGM on the most observed High Holy-day demonstrates a clear lack of consideration for UCL's 800 Jewish students and disenfranchises a large number of otherwise active individuals."
Welfare officer Kate Rowley said: "This error was brought to our attention at short notice. In future, no general meeting will be scheduled against a religious festival."
- Paul Lester
Oct 10, 2008
Sorry to come over all Charles Dickens, but this for me is the best of times, the worst of times. No sooner have I achieved superstar status in the Jewish community following my appearance as a columnist in these pages - with, I'm presuming wildly and optimistically, hundreds of dates with hot Jewish ladies eager to cheer up this poor, miserable divorcee proceeding as a result - than I face a possible ban from driving. And so won't be able to go on any of said dates.
What do you mean, use public transport? Have you ever suggested to a North London Jewish woman - the genus, remember, that invented the notion of "bling" some time after the Second World War - that you take the bus to the cinema or the restaurant? Neither have I and, frankly, I don't intend to, because oddly I have an aversion to ritual castration.
My ex-wife is indirectly responsible for my impending driving ban. I was getting a lot of texts from family and friends congratulating me on my first Suddenly Single column, all with the same nervous enquiry at the end: "What does Selena think of it?"
- Paul Lester
Oct 8, 2008
It finally happened. It came late last night in the form of a text and an ominous bleep on my mobile phone. My very first stark warning, as a result of my Suddenly Single JC column, from a woman with whom I had the briefest of flings over a year ago. "I'd sincerely appreciate it," read the text, with the polite but firm air of a quietly grave teacher, "if you didn't discuss me or anything that went on between us." How strange. And not a little disturbing in its stern formality. I'm surprised she didn't go all the way and start the text, "Vis a via our association" and end it with a nice "yours faithfully". It was enough to send a chill up and down my spine - and I've got quite a long spine. The lady in question even looked a bit like Glenn Close. Actually, that's a fib - she looked more like Glenn Hoddle, but you can see where I'm going with this. Straight to the local pet shop to hand back my bunny.
As Rosh Hashanah fell midweek, J-Soc Freshers' Fair stalls in some universities have had to withdraw from the main union fairs.
Scores of other societies benefit from their presence at these events, which they use as the main function of the year to promote membership. Jewish Societies in both City and Westminster Universities, which both had fairs over the New Year, have arranged for stalls to be set up independently in high-profile spaces on campus, where they can push awareness of their facilities for Jewish students.
Rabbi Gavin Broder, chaplain of the London Region, said: "This is a big advantage since it allows the J-Socs to avoid the noise and disruption often created by other societies. This way, we have a smaller chance of going by unnoticed."
This week sees the launch of Jeneration Students - a range of projects which include the publication of the Ultimate Guide to Student Survival and a scheme that will offer activities on campuses across the UK.
eneration is backed by the Movement for Reform Judaism, but there are community-wide as well as Reform events.
Sheldon Mordsley, the Jeneration student fieldworker, this week began a week-long roadshow to freshers' fairs around the country, distributing survival guides and Jeneration USB sticks to Jewish students. Jeneration is also offering free High Holy-Days tickets to students and 18-30s at Reform
synagogues across the country.
The Coexistence Trust has begun work on a project at the London School of Economics in which it conducts interviews with Jewish students about their relationship with their Islamic peers.
The trust, a branch of Lord Janner's office, will be questioning students on all major campuses, starting at the LSE in light of the controversial motions put forward last year declaring Israel an "apartheid" state.
The interviews will form part of a short film to be shown at an interfaith conference scheduled for early November, to be presided over by four Jewish and Muslim MPs.
- Gideon Schneider
Oct 3, 2008
"Don't hug anyone for the next two days. Especially children", she said as she injected dye into my bloodstream. No, I wasn't in some seedy tattoo parlour in Soho, but a mile north in University College Hospital (UCH) being prepared with a radioactive liquid designed to show up in a PET scan.
"You're going to be toxic," the nurse added casually. I was seized with visions of Chernobyl and my young cousins spawning third eyes at my very touch.
My consultant had arranged a PET/CT scan for me. Until recently cancer patients only received CT scans which showed doctors where lumps are. But the PET scan gives a more accurate picture of the cancer's spread by showing where in the body too much energy is being used up, thereby indicating where cancerous cells exist.
- Paul Lester
Oct 2, 2008
Oh dear. Just when I thought my ex couldn't impact on my life any more, she goes and gets me banned from driving. In a way. And it's all because of my fab! new! JC column about life as a single dad. All will be revealed in next week's installment of Suddenly Single. Suffice to say that your relationship with your former spouse doesn't quite end with the decree absolute, the Get, or even the bit where you glare at each other across the kitchen table as removals men chuck all your worldly possessions into bin bags with all the finesse of a butcher in a slaughterhouse (non-kosher, natch). Not quite, no. Still, some good things have come out of my new-found north London notoriety and having my face plastered across the front cover of the world's foremost Jewish newspaper - everyone I know, and even people I don't know, have taken to stopping me in the street (which is quite impressive because I drive everywhere, although, like I say, not for much longer) to utter the immortal words: "Have I got a single Jewish girl for you!" A phrase to strike fear in even the hardest Jewish man's heart. Mind you, I'm not hard, not remotely, so actually I'm looking forward to six months, at least, of furious, relentless blind-dating. Maybe I should turn it into a regular feature in the JC. Oh, I already have.
- Paul Lester
Sep 29, 2008
Phew! That's a load off. I wrote my first column about the disintegration of my marriage in the single most widely read journal in the north London Jewish community, including references to all concerned, and the ex didn't want to have me tarred and feathered. Feathered, maybe, but then she always thought I looked good in soft fabrics. Not only did she not mind, she thought it was quite funny. Quite funny. Certainly not very funny. No, she made that abundantly clear. Actually, as though to prove that the JC is the single most widely read... etc, on Friday, after publication, I got a bigger response to something I'd written since the time I interviewed Snoop Doggy Dogg just after he'd been arrested for murder. To sum up, then: if you want to get the attention of a large group of Jews, write articles about divorce and homicidal American rappers.
- Simon Friend
Sep 26, 2008
As well as the much talked-about new state-of-the-art student centre in Euston, this week UJS moved its central offices from its longstanding base in Endsleigh Street to Camden Town. In addition to several stylish meeting rooms, a video-conferencing suite has been fitted for the umbrella organisation to be in touch with Jewish societies around the country, with the aim of “greater unity and integration when planning events and better communication when discussing issues”, according to UJS chair Adam Pike.