Your blogs

  • Coexistence Trust starts work with LSE

    Simon Friend
    Oct 3, 2008

    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.

  • "Don't hug anyone for the next two days. Especially children"

    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.

  • Fear

    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.

  • Phew!

    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.

  • UJS moves its central offices to "bohemian" Camden Town

    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.

  • No longer "that guy with charisma" but "that guy with cancer"

    Gideon Schneider
    Sep 25, 2008

    Being named after the place of your conception may just work for Paris Hilton and Brooklyn Beckham, but ‘University College Hospital Fertility Laboratory' hardly has the same ring. Not even Bob Geldoff or Gwyneth Paltrow would entertain such a name.

    I am referring to the fact that the combination of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy I am likely to receive has a one in ten, to one in five chance of leaving me infertile. So this week the hospital arranged an appointment at the lab for me where my inchoate offspring could be frozen for future defrosting. The reality of my visit was a cold, clinical room where the footsteps of the lab technician could be clearly heard just outside the door. Hardly a candle-lit boudoir. I sympathised with couples who have to go through much worse when trying for children.

    In the past two months I have several times enjoyed the hospitality of various in-patient wards. While being prepared for my general anaesthetic for the biopsy on my neck, I was stripped and paraded before an assembly of doctors and nurses in a gown not even Primark would claim ownership of, before being spread out on a slab like a sirloin steak waiting for the surgical knife. (Actually I felt worse for the doctors than myself in this particular case.)Being hooked up to several drips as well as receiving a battery of blood tests has left me feeling like Obama's Palin-shaped voodoo doll. On occasion I've resembled the back of a computer with wires and tubes snaking away from my arms and chest. I have also been squeezed, prodded, pinched, poked and groped by various doctors, with the added pleasure of having it all witnessed by medical students. At first a person's inhibitions make such experiences an emotional ordeal. However, as anyone who has spent time in medical care will tell you, there comes a point where getting worked up about intrusive treatment feels like more of a hassle than just letting the doctors get on with it.

  • My wife ran off with the builder. And you think you’re neurotic?

    Paul Lester
    Sep 24, 2008

    Not that I want you to feel sorry for me or anything, but my wife left me last year for the chap who was doing up our house. So now I’ve got three things in common with Larry David — a neurotic dislike of most social situations, not a great deal of hair, and an ex with a predilection for Men Who Can.

    Don’t get me wrong — I would have felt just as humiliated if she’d run off with our dentist or even our mortgage adviser. But there was something doubly upsetting about the fact that she chose someone who can put up a shelf while juggling a spirit-level and a copy of The Sun when, frankly, I’m useless at either.

    Suddenly, after 14 years with an unusually practical Jewish woman, I was faced with the frightening prospect of doing everything myself — including the washing, working heavy machinery (my brand-new Indesit weighs a ton) and dusting my piles of pristine rock magazines. I’m an anally retentive freelance journalist who writes album and concert reviews and interviews musicians for a living.

  • Year of the Lame Duck

    Anshel Pfeffer
    Sep 23, 2008

    Gordon Brown will probably manage to ward off the latest Labour rebellion, for now, and depart from his party's conference for the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Effectively a lame-duck prime minister, just waiting for the moment in which one of his cabinet ministers plucks up courage to wield the knife.

    President Shimon Peres has also left for New York, after calling in Tzipi Livni last night, to entrust her with forming a new government. Ehud Olmert remains caretaker prime minister for at least a few more weeks, as Livni will not likely succeed in scraping a coalition together until the High Holy Days season is over. If she fails, then Israel goes for elections, with Olmert still standing uneasily at the helm.

    Peres and Brown will meet another lame duck in New York, George Bush, who has been reduced to irrelevancy in the White House. Real power will return to Washington only in January with the inauguration of the new president.

  • Schneider Vs Cancer

    Gideon Schneider
    Sep 19, 2008

    I've got cancer. Here's what to say if we meet

    A few days before my diagnosis, I had been sceptical about the accuracy of that advert that says one in three people in the UK will be "directly affected by cancer". Surely some advertising guru had sexed up the stats for dramatic effect.

    However, an unexpected phone call from my GP hit me with the news that the lump on my neck was in fact Hodgkin's lymphoma, and not the harmless cyst I was hoping for. Well-meaning nurses as well as the specialist were quick to reassure me that if you had to choose a cancer, this immune-system-attacking variety was the best one in terms of prognosis. I was glad everyone approved of my choice.

    Having been diagnosed, I was determined to be practical rather than emotional. I wasn't saddened, nor was I fearful; and after telling my family and some close friends, it transpired that my mortality was something others were concerned about, but not me.

    My parents and grandmother took the news badly, distressed by the injustice of it all. After the initial tears had been shed, my mother did what all good Jewish mothers do and asked me to move back to the family home so she could feed me well. I declined, because retaining some independence while weakened during the impending treatment felt empowering.