‘Safe’ choice is probably the last

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 24, 2012

As a non-member of the United Synagogue, my interest in the process by which it has chosen a new chief rabbi is naturally limited. But, as a historian of Britain’s Jewish communities, my curiosity is intense.


Intrigue worthy of Shakespeare

By Jonathan Freedland, December 24, 2012

Some people love politics the way others love soap opera. They follow the plots and intrigue not out of a worthy interest in this or that policy but for the sheer human spectacle. For those so inclined, I often recommend an obsessive interest in the US: the outsized egos, the extravagant characters, the perennial culture wars are all reliably gripping.


Black hats turned upside down

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 18, 2012

While the Board of Deputies prepares to reflect on its future, while the Chief Rabbinate Trust ponders whether it can appoint a genuinely credible successor to Lord Sacks, and while the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation makes ready to resume its search for a new spiritual leader (hoping, no doubt, to do so without repeating the comprehensive hash that it made of this quest last time), a pe


Braw bricht lichts of Chanucah

By David Aaronovitch, December 13, 2012

So, readers, "Happy Hannukah!" That's what it says on the strange, giant, zinc candlestick near Jack Straw's Castle in Hampstead (for our more observant customers, I ought to explain that Hampstead is a shtetl about 2,500 miles west of Jerusalem and 10 miles south-east of Radlett).


We can’t ignore this sorry affair

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 11, 2012

At first glance, the story of the divorce of Beth Alexander and Michael Schlesinger is all too familiar. Two young people meet. They get married. Children come along — in this case, twin boys. Then things start to go wrong (or perhaps they started to go wrong much earlier). The couple split up.


A double-standard abstention

By Melanie Phillips, December 9, 2012

The double standard was breathtaking. The UN vote to give the Palestinians non-member, observer status has smashed the Middle East peace process to bits.

In bringing this to the General Assembly, Mahmoud Abbas was in unilateral breach of his obligation under the Oslo Accords to proceed by way of bilateral negotiations with Israel.


Open mouths but closed eyes

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 4, 2012

OK. I agree that the semi-hysterical revelries commissioned by Hamas once its cease-fire with Israel had been announced reflect a kind of madness. Much of the Hamas infrastructure is in ruins. A number of key Hamas operatives have succumbed to their wounds. Neither Iran nor Hizbollah came to Hamas's aid. Nor did its Egyptian godfathers of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Feeling at home in the Synod

By Daniel Finkelstein, December 2, 2012

It's an odd thing, when you are called Finkelstein, to find yourself commenting on the internal debates of the Church of England. But such was my fate - both on television and in print - when the Synod made its decision not to allow women to become Bishop.


Cold facts from a seat of learning

By Peter Rosengard, November 28, 2012

I'm starting my own Middle East diversionary tactic today in the hope that this might restore some sense of proportion to the newspapers' front pages. And here is Rosengard's Breaking News Headline: Saudi Arabia has dirty fridges.

In an international study of nine countries, 95 per cent of Saudi fridges failed the bacteriology test for E. coli.


Welcome addition to UK Jewry

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 27, 2012

For seasoned devotees of this column, this is a rare moment. I'm about to welcome the establishment of a new Anglo-Jewish communal organisation. What's more, I'm going to say that its establishment is long overdue.