Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.
- Charlotte Oliver
Oct 20, 2015
Every night, without fail, the bugles begin.
Come winter’s chill or summer’s balm, their notes play and echo around the Belgian town of Ypres. A town whose magnificent steeple and quaint, quiet streets of shops and cafes belie a war-torn history.
It was here, 100 years ago, that allied soldiers made their march towards the front line of battle. It was also here that artillery fire blazed high and wide from every side. By the end of the First World War, the town was almost completely laid to waste and erased from the modern map.
- Maryon Stewart
Oct 19, 2015
I took time out from my schedule to be my mum’s personal PR Officer for the last few weeks. She’s 84 and has terminal ovarian cancer. On the day they told her that she’s coming to the end of her life 2a>she decided to do a sky dive to raise funds for research 2b>so that women with ovarian cancer have a better chance of survival long after she is gone. At first I thought she was joking; but she was deadly serious, because she wanted to give back and felt she had nothing to lose.
She has been receiving treatment from the Royal Marsden Hospital in Fulham for nearly two years. First she had six sessions of chemo, followed by a huge operation, and then another six sessions of chemo. That controlled the cancer for a few months, but sadly it began growing again and none of the treatments tried since have managed to control it.
Essentially, she’s been presented with a really difficult challenge, both physically and mentally, and the way she has dealt with it has been completely inspirational.
In days gone by my mum would have perhaps been anxious and tearful, but instead she transformed into a zen-like Elder and has been an amazing example to us all. In the extra two years her doctor Professor Gore and his team at the Royal Marsden Hospital have given her, she has experienced so much personal joy through her family. She became a great-grandmother for the first time when my daughter Phoebe had baby Marnie. A few months later my eldest son Chesney married a wonderful young woman called Laura, who absolutely adores my mother. Her two grandchildren in Australia Emile and Chessca graduated from university and lastly - but by no means least in my world - I got engaged to a wonderful man.
- Jessica Weinstein
Oct 16, 2015
Today I helped man the JC’s Twitter takeover with the Chief Rabbi. As media partners of ShabbatUK, the theme of the takeover was Shabbat, and readers and Twitter users were encouraged to take part using the hashtag #weloveshabbat.
Before he arrived there was a lot of activity in the office – tidying stacks of paper, cleaning desks, setting up food (this is a Jewish office after all). Staff members were debating whether to wear kippot and how to address him. It’s a weird phenomenon that people in the public eye take on an almost other-worldly quality when you meet them – and the fact that the Chief Rabbi came with his own security convoy to scope out the building didn’t help to lessen this!
After a couple of weeks of our Twitter feed being unfortunately filled with harrowing and frankly scary headlines, it was nice to fill it with – as trite as this might sound – happy thoughts, messages of peace - and cholent recipes.
- Josh Jackman
Oct 7, 2015
Three months ago, Home Secretary Theresa May 2a>told 420 guests at Hasmonean High School’s annual fundraising dinner 2b> that Britain was better off for immigrants - in fact, that diversity was the very reason for our success as a nation.
Speaking with pride and certainty, she declared: “Britain is an amazing country, a thriving liberal country precisely because of the cooperation between peoples of different faiths and backgrounds.
“It is at the heart of what makes this country such a great place to live, and is something we must always work hard to protect.”
- Simon Rocker
Sep 18, 2015
Hampstead Synagogue’s new scholar-in-residence ought to prompt more than passing interest.
But her appointment might raise an eyebrow or two elsewhere among the US rabbinate.
- Danny Caro
Sep 17, 2015
It was a bit like watching the school bully in the playground.
Maccabi backed off and backed off until the bully hit them. Not once, but four times. And there were more than a few near misses too. In the end Chelsea were toying with them. And they didn’t need to break sweat.
After 11 years in the wilderness of Europe’s elite, this was embarrassingly easy for Chelsea. Men against boys.
- Josh Jackman
Sep 3, 2015
This could have been you. This could have been your family. In another time, during another war, while other people suffered this fate.
These are humans, escaping death, poverty and the destruction of their homelands, risking everything they have to search for safety.
Not for benefits, not for jobs or streets paved with gold. They come because the alternative is horrifying.
- Charlotte Oliver
Aug 18, 2015
Envelopes still make me anxious.
Eight years may have passed since I sat my A-Levels – but believe me, the foreboding still festers.
I feel it as summertime beckons and April showers slip into the month of May, bringing with it the haunting flashback of devising revision timetables and committing myself to life chez library.
- Josh Jackman
Aug 12, 2015
Not accepting money from a convicted paedophile sounds like a sensible idea,1a> particularly for a children’s charity1b>.
But beyond the initial gut reaction, which is understandable - what justification is there for denying the most vulnerable children across the UK the care they desperately need?
Barnardo’s works to banish the horrors of poverty, sexual exploitation, disability and domestic violence from the lives of children. For sure, it would be a PR disaster for the organisation to accept money from former Hasmonean pupil Miles Esterson, but cutting funding for these services cannot be the better option.
- Sandy Rashty
Aug 6, 2015
I have a confession to make.
I once dreamed of joining the Metropolitan Police. It sounded like a wonderful career opportunity, a chance to make a difference and help people more vulnerable than myself.
I thought of rescuing children who had been born into abusive homes, or women who were victims of domestic violence. I felt I had the strength of character and right demeanour to make a good officer. The danger the profession posed and the attacks officers face on a day to day basis, came, rightly or wrongly, as an afterthought.