Just a whisker's difference
As summers go this hasn't been the best one for the Jews. If you live in Israel you will have had rockets raining down on you on a daily basis. If you live outside Israel you will have been the subject of antisemitic protests on a scale almost unparalleled in the past half-century. We have been pilloried, physically attacked and abused. And if you happen to live in the Holborn area you might even have gone hungry for a while as Sainsburys decided to remove all kosher food from the store just in case someone decided to protest against it.
There are plenty of other writers in this paper who will analyse the situation seriously. It falls upon me to go out into a hostile world and attempt to find a silver lining. As column-writing assignments go, this has been tough, but eventually I stumbled upon a good-news-for-the-Jews story, literally under my nose.
We might have been getting a lot of negative publicity recently, but for the first time in ages Jews are bang on trend. Beards are back in fashion big time. And in fact the bigger and bushier the beard, the more fashionable the wearer.
Jews from Moses onwards have sported facial hair in abundance and for much of that time we have been wandering in the fashion wilderness. But now everyone is getting rabbinical. If you happen to be in Shoreditch at a trendy bar you will see so many hipsters wearing a full set of whiskers you might think you had stumbled into a Lubavitch convention.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis is bang on trend
So at a time when Jews are feeling a little unloved , especially the masochistic ones who read the Guardian, we can now rest safe in the knowledge that our rabbis and scholars are not only on trend but they were there before everyone else. Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the rest just need some super tight jeans and beany hats to make themselves the coolest dudes in Britain.
Unlike most fashions, this is an easy one to join. Simply ignore your razors and shaving foams, leave your badger brush in the bathroom cabinet and let nature take its course. As you will see from my byline photo this is not a trend that I have yet embraced (although I have still to shave today, so technically I have the beginnings of a bushy beard).
My excuse used to be that it was uncool. I would look at famous beardies from Abraham Lincoln to Theodor Herzl and imagine how much better they would look without the whiskers. I'm sure they felt pretty cool but was it the beard which helped Herzl find a girlfriend or did he rely heavily on the fact that he was the founder of modern Zionism? I wonder.
Anyway, I won't be joining in. While I am no self-hater I don't want to look too Jewish. And even though I have no objection to appearing trendy, I look silly in a beany hat and I can't help thinking that very tight jeans at my stage of life might be a mistake.
Plus, beards are itchy and food gets caught in them. So I have decided to go against the fashion and remain cleanshaven. Eight out of 10 cool cats might prefer whiskers but I'm going to carry on shaving.