The reason why Jews became intellectuals

By Jonah Lehrer, February 10, 2011

In 1919, the sociologist Thorstein Veblen was commissioned by a popular magazine devoted to American Jewry to write an essay on how "Jewish productivity" would be changed if Jews were given a homeland.

Zionism was then becoming a potent political movement, and the magazine editor assumed Veblen would make the obvious argument: a Jewish state would lead to an intellectual boom, as Jews would no longer be held back by institutional antisemitism.


Grants won't help

By Shraga Zaltzman, February 10, 2011

This year, the government launches its expanded New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme, offering a package of up to £2,000 to unemployed people wanting to set up their own businesses. Through financial support, a business mentor and access to a start-up loan, the government hopes to create over 40,000 new businesses by 2013.


Is this Egypt’s Israel moment?

By Lawrence Joffe, February 4, 2011

"It's 1938", Benjamin Netanyahu is fond of intoning. The idea being that Iran is the new Germany, Ahmadinejad the new Hitler. But maybe events in the Middle East are more like 1958, when military officers overthrew the discredited Hashemite monarchy in Iraq; Egypt and Syria fused into a new pan-Arab entity, the United Arab Republic (UAR); Muslim nationalists threatened the fragile status quo of Lebanon; and nationalists demanded that the young King Hussein be toppled.


Alliance was social revolution

By Lyn Julius, February 4, 2011

A Jewish teacher journeys 1,000km from Paris to a remote community in southern Morocco. The boys whom he has come to teach sit on the floor in their djellabas, learning Torah.

This is how Jews were "educated" in Muslim countries until the Alliance Israelite Universelle (AIU), a schools' network founded in 1860 in France, transformed their lives.

In the early days of the AIU, teachers would sometimes build classrooms, provide meals and send for drugs to treat diseases.


A shameful Shoah whitewash

By Efraim Zuroff, February 4, 2011

A financially-strapped small Eastern European country is spending tens of thousands of pounds to sponsor an extraordinarily large number of political and cultural events - lectures, concerts, exhibitions and films - in London next week. Why? That is the obvious question for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, several Lithuanian cultural institutions, and local UK partners.


My love affair with the city of peace and conflict

By Simon Sebag Montefiore, February 3, 2011

In the recent leaked papers about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Jerusalem is central - always the universal city, the capital of David, Solomon, the Maccabees and Herod, the Holy one, Yerushalaim and al-Quds, the cradle of the three Abrahamic faiths, prize of empires, the setting for the Apocalypse, the heart of Judaism, centre of the world - and vital in 2011 more than ever.


Law exists to stop the bigots

By Winston Pickett, January 31, 2011

Reports of antisemitism in the UK are reminiscent of a certain vertigo that used to throw Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign into a state of heightened anticipation. Betsy Wright, Clinton's acerbic adviser and veteran lobbyist, dubbed it waiting for the next "bimbo eruption".


JLC’s ideas above its station

By Lord Levy, January 31, 2011

Last week's JC front page was most disturbing. We are an active community, with excellent organisations and vibrant Jewish life; yet we prompted the headline, What a State. Are we in a state? The biggest disconnect is between our grass roots of caring, committed Jews and our leadership. We have so many excellent, dedicated people - our major funders, our activists, our Rabbis, our teachers, our professionals - yet it is so difficult for them to work together and progress in the same direction. But it is vital and necessary.


This express threatens the Orient

By Bernard Josephs, January 31, 2011

It is crisis time at Leyton Orient FC (the Os). Chairman Barry Hearn has spelt it out. If West Ham or Tottenham Hotspur take over the Olympic Stadium in Stratford - situated barely a training run from the Os' Brisbane Road ground - grave times lie ahead. His remarks bring back memories of the 1950s and '60s, when the club was forced to beg fans to throw loose change into buckets so that the players could be paid.


Charedi dependency that brews resentment

By Mordechai Beck, January 27, 2011

Shoshana Chen is a charedi grandmother, living in Israel. She recently wrote an open letter to her grandchildren in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. In it, she expressed her difficulty in understanding why these grandchildren were the subject of such hatred by much of the Israeli population, "not only because you were born Jewish, but also because you were born charedim". What is really surprising about this is that Mrs Chen was surprised.