Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Foreskin Man: the movie

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 30, 2011

    The comic book into movie formula has become a tried and tested staple of summer cinema. But who would play the mohel-hunting superhero Foreskin Man in a big screen adaptation?

    That chiselled face, that blonde hair, those blue eyes. Perhaps Brad Pitt could take on the role of the ultimate American hero? Or Ryan Reynolds, after he hangs up his Green Lantern costume? Or what about Leo?

    But we're in luck. Foreskin Man creator Matthew Hess has revealed exactly who he'd choose to play his eponymous character.

  • Your message to Gilad Shalit

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 23, 2011

    To mark the five years of his captivity, the JC wants to give readers the opportunity to leave a message for Gilad Shalit.

    Please post your thoughts and feelings in the space below.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • The BBC, the shaggy dog story and the gas chambers

    Robyn Rosen
    Jun 23, 2011

    Yesterday, the BBC admitted it had “failed to make the right checks” after it irresponsibly posted a false story about a dog who was reportedly ordered to be stoned to death by a Jewish judge in Israel after a court believed it was the reincarnation of a disgruntled lawyer.

    The story, one which spread like wildfire throughout the international press, was not checked by one single reporter. It was, of course, utterly false.

    Yahoo ran the item as its top news story last week, attracting more than 1,900 comments, the majority of which contained antisemitic diatribe including: “Dirty Jews should be stoned instead” and “Should have let Hitler gas all of them, big noses small brains”.

  • A shout at the radio moment

    Jenni Frazer
    Jun 10, 2011

    From The Independent, September 2003: "The fugitive Asil Nadir will not apply for legal aid when he returns to Britain to face trial, his lawyer has insisted.

    Peter Krivinskas, Mr Nadir's long-standing solicitor, said that "rich friends" would fund his defence. "There has never been any question about legal aid. His friends will help him," said Mr Krivinskas.

    There had been reports that Mr Nadir wanted the taxpayer to finance his defence. Although he appears to live comfortably in Turkish Cyprus, where he fled in 1993, Mr Nadir is a declared bankrupt in the UK."

  • On Assad, Israel and external enemies

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 6, 2011

    In his 2004 book The Case for Democracy, Natan Sharansky says it better than I ever could:

    "Non-democratic regimes always need to mobilise their people against external enemies in order to maintain internal stability."

    It is undoubtedly terrible to think of the 20 people who were said to have been killed yesterday on the border between Syria and Israel.

  • Sarah Palin's Jerusalem Day fashion statement

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 2, 2011

    Israelis may not be overly fussed about Jerusalem Day, but at least there's one person out there who took yesterday's festivities seriously.

    Not that she's from Jerusalem of course. But Sarah Palin wanted to mark the date of the reunification of Jerusalem, so she decided to make a statement. A fashion statement.

    She was spotted in New York by her battle bus yesterday, sporting the glitziest of Magen David necklaces. When questioned on it, she explained: "Today is the 44th anniversary of Jerusalem being reunited," she said.

  • On the festival of cheese, a vegetarian's perspective

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 1, 2011

    This time next week, we will be celebrating the festival of Shavuot, the point in the Jewish calendar when we mark the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

    Obviously, this is a time of spiritual significance, and the week before should be one of Jewish learning and examination.

    But as a vegetarian, Shavuot isn't really about those things. For those of us who don't eat meat (yes, really, not every Jew enjoys chicken soup) this festival is like manna in heaven.

  • Another brick

    Jenni Frazer
    May 31, 2011

    Long ago and far away when I was studying English literature we were introduced to the concept of exegesis. I understood that it was to do with separating the personal feelings and beliefs of a writer or composer from their work, so that one could learn to value and judge the work objectively.
    Sadly, of course, it becomes well-nigh impossible, in many cases, to make such a separation. Thus Wagner is forever associated with antisemitism, Mel Gibson's films can never really be viewed in the same way, and there are certainly those in the public eye today for whom my grandmother's hissing epithet of "yiddenfeit" is a perfect fit.
    Thus I was somewhat discomfited to hear Desert Island Discs on Sunday when the guest was Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. Waters went on — and on and on — about his father, killed at Anzio when he, Waters, was just a few months old, and how that death had informed his political viewpoint right up to the present day. Waters' present version of Floyd's iconic "Another Brick in the Wall" is an overtly politicised presentation with rather too much emphasis, in my opinion, on attacking Israel.
    Imagine the aggravation to hear that Waters had chosen Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire" as one of his eight records. "I can't have you liking Leonard Cohen!" I snarled at the radio, and switched it off. I do realise this is a marginally insane response. But it's my marginally insane response — exegesis and all.

  • Jewish Schools and Israel

    Simon Rocker
    May 24, 2011

    Last year’s survey on the attitudes of British Jews towards Israel pose interesting questions for Jewish education, according to Jon Boyd, director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, which ran the survey.

    Let me quote from part of the synopsis of his presentation at last week’s UJIA education conference:

    “There is a clear relationship between hawkishness and religiosity and, similarly, dovishness and secularism…

  • The Synagogue and the Naked Lady

    Simon Rocker
    May 23, 2011

    On the way to shul last Shabbat, I mused upon a mystery: how is it that some synagogues come familiarly to be known by the roads in which they are located, while others do not.

    London’s North-Western Reform Synagogue is invariably known as Alyth Gardens. Think too of Lauderdale Road (the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Maida Vale), or Raleigh Close (Hendon United) or Kinloss (Finchley United, situated in Kinloss Gardens).

    But then Mill Hill Synagogue or St John’s Wood Synagogue are always referred to as Mill Hill or St John’s Wood, not by their streets.