Your blogs

  • The Fifth Question

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 12, 2011

    Is there no end to Jewish ingenuity (or the ability of some to see a way of making a dollar or two)? I ask because someone has sent me the ultimate in Pesach marketing. You will know, of course, that at the Seder table it is the custom to lean, in recognition of the fact that free men (and women), in contradistinction to slaves, can relax in the comfort of their homes and eat, as apparently did the aristocracy of Talmud times, tilted comfortably to the left, as on a chaise longue. Leaning left, it seems, is better for the digestion than leaning right. Ha! But, what if you live in the modern world, where the possiblity is that your chairs do not have sides which will support you when you lean? What then? Never fear! Our redoubtable friends of the hairy headgear have come up with an attachable arm which will fit (guaranteed to fit) on the left side of any chair at all. So there you are. No problem – except, of course, if you happen to have rather large goblets for your four cups of wine and, in your absolute freedom, you momentarily lean right......

  • Judge Goldstone and the small print

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 6, 2011

    For some, Judge Goldstone’s bizarre about-turn on his findings on Operation Cast Lead has vindicated Israel and wiped the slate clean. For others, his sudden crisis of faith on the Goldstone Report is merely personal opinion and doesn’t change a thing about what happened or didn’t happen in Gaza two years ago.

    Outside of Westminster Village or the Beltway (you get the idea), it makes little difference. Anyone who had a prior stance on Israel has simply had whatever they believe reinforced, yet again. For most people, though, the ins-and-outs of Goldstone’s backtrack are fish-and-chip wrapping or, in our multimedia world, a footnote in yesterday’s browsing history.

    If they read anything at all about Goldstone’s comments, confined as they were to the depths of the world news sections, the likelihood is that they gave only a cursory glance over yet-another Israel story.

  • A view from the Grill

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 1, 2011

    Is it just me or is there something that smells particularly unpleasant tucked into the middle of Alistair Horne's review (published in this week's Spectator luxury supplement) of a meal in the new Savoy Grill? I am not one of those who senses bigotry on every hand, or who goes looking for it, but...well, you read what troubled me: “Our conversation was beaten down by the nasal tones of Finchley Road entrepreneurs, boasting their latest high-powered deals” which carried him back to a party in the Savoy Grill in 1940 for a war-hero cousin who had brought his battalion out of Dunkirk. As they rose at the end of the meal, Horne relates, the cousin “looked around the room and asked scathingly:'Are these really the people we fought for?' He might possibly have posed the same question today,” adds Horne, “except that he was killed two years later at the head of his brigade in the desert.”

  • A view from the Grill

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 1, 2011

    Is it just me or is there something that smells particularly unpleasant tucked into the middle of Alistair Horne's review (published in this week's Spectator luxury supplement) of a meal in the new Savoy Grill? I am not one of those who senses bigotry on every hand, or who goes looking for it, but...well, you read what troubled me: “Our conversation was beaten down by the nasal tones of Finchley Road entrepreneurs, boasting their latest high-powered deals” which carried him back to a party in the Savoy Grill in 1940 for a war-hero cousin who had brought his battalion out of Dunkirk. As they rose at the end of the meal, Horne relates, the cousin “looked around the room and asked scathingly:'Are these really the people we fought for?' He might possibly have posed the same question today,” adds Horne, “except that he was killed two years later at the head of his brigade in the desert.”

  • Pick and choose journalism and the Fogel murders

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 25, 2011

    If you have a few spare hours, actually, make that days, you could fill them by reading the huge number of comments below MP Louise Bagshawe’s piece on the Fogel family massacre in Thursday’s Telegraph.

    The piece has attracted quite a reaction – 1955 responses at the time of writing – and as well as the usual stream of frankly antisemitic bile, there’s a few more reasoned queries about why this murder should be different.

    It’s a discussion I’ve had more than once since the murders. Yes, this was undoubtedly a tragedy (to refresh your memory, five members of the Fogel family including a three-month-old baby were slaughtered in the most gruesome way), but the world is a place where truly horrible things happen all the time.

  • On board the 74 bus in Jerusalem, tomorrow

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 23, 2011

    Just over five years ago, I was in Tel Aviv when a suicide bomber struck at the city’s old central bus station.

    In the attack, about fifteen people were injured; a few months later, during the festival of Passover, 11 people were killed and some 60 wounded when another terrorist struck a schwarma restaurant crowded with people having lunch.

    I was on my gap year then, when the intifada was winding down but bombs and blasts were still happening with a terrifying frequency.

  • Cool Rollings

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 15, 2011

    When it comes to films about sports and the triumph of the underdog, Cool Runnings has to be one of the top choices. The unlikely (but not untrue) story of the Jamaican bob sleigh team’s at the 1988 winter Olympics, directed by Jon Turteltaub, made for a comedy classic and a somewhat heartwarming tale.

    Israel actually does have a bobsled team, although judging by the website (latest news from 2004) it isn’t heading for Olympic glory any time soon. But, surprisingly for a country with a whole lot of desert, Israel also has an ice hockey team. And their story could well be that of a film too. According to JTA:

    “An Israeli ice hockey team of 10- to 13-year-olds…won the gold medal at a tournament in Canada.

  • 'It feels like we are all still shaking': message from Japan

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 14, 2011

    In the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, those with friends and family in the country understandably rushed to contact them and check if they had been affected.

    One couple, who have visited Japan on several occasions, contacted Tokyo-based Rabbi Antonio Di Gesù. They kindly offered to share his response with JC readers.


    “It has been quite a Shabbat: mostly quiet but with an underlying anxiety that made us all look at the cell-phones waiting for that earthquake alert message affecting Tokyo.

  • A fashion statement at the Galliano presentation

    Jennifer Lipman
    Mar 7, 2011

    Last week, Natalie Portman was my heroine. Not because she won the Oscar (although Mazel Tov Nats, sure the family is schlepping nachas) or because she looked radiant in that dress despite one helluva baby bump, but because she did what every public figure could do and so often doesn't.

    She used her - not inconsiderable - star power for good, telling a Galliano-plagued Dior "It's me or him, mate." Or some such.

    Within hours, Galliano was a goner. The fashion house might have fired him anyway - that Hitler video was a little unpalatable even for the most dedicated couture-lovers - but it's hard to argue that Natalie helped him along.