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Speaking Yiddish in Acapulco

By Venetia Thompson, December 23, 2010

A strange thing about Jews is that we pop up all over the world, often in the most unexpected places, and seem to gravitate towards each other. I always seem to end up sat next to another Jew on flights, at dinner parties, or on trains, and a couple of days ago was no exception.

I found myself at a dinner party high in the hills above Acapulco, Mexico, trying to make sense of the somewhat eccentric barefooted man with a strange accent and impressive white tufts of hair, sat next to me.

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Stand up to extremists, especially our own

By Orlando Radice, December 23, 2010

First, Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Mick Davis argues that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state. Communal uproar follows. Then along comes the news that 39 Israeli rabbis signed an edict forbidding Jews from renting property to non-Jews. Did anyone else detect a touch of irony here?

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Let's recognise our friends

By Richard Benson, December 22, 2010

On 8 December, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, wrote to me, announcing government funding for the security guards at 39 voluntary aided Jewish schools. He said the funding, "should fully meet the parental costs of the guarding... parents of Jewish pupils in VA schools in England should not have to pay for counter-terrorism measures, over and above mainstream security costs. Any responsible government should meet those additional costs on its citizens."

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Murder can never be a cause for celebration

By Sharon Segel, December 20, 2010

Osama bin Laden, Carlos the Jackal and Abu Nidal are just some of the names in the terrorist pantheon who have been feted as "glorious heroes". Fortunately, however, western governments do not in general subscribe to the notion that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

In western democracies, the phenomenon - recently manifested on the streets of Stockholm - of a person carrying a bomb or strapping on a suicide belt in order to murder innocent civilians, or ordering others to do so - is not merely alien, it is repellent.

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I stand by my criticisms

By Isi Leibler, December 17, 2010

In these pages last week, Jonathan Freedland accused me of indulging in a "viciously personal" attack on, and misrepresenting the views of, Mick Davis.

Let me begin with a clarification. My source was the Jewish Chronicle itself, which summarised Davis's remarks by stating: "One of British Jewry's most senior leaders this week shattered a long-standing taboo by publicly criticising Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the peace process, voicing moral reservations about some of Israel's policies and calling for criticism of Israel to be voiced freely throughout the community."

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Christian voices wanted

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2010

The Western Wall is not, and never has been, Jewish. So says the western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Last month, the Palestinian Ministry of Information published an Arabic-language document on its website supposedly proving that Jewish attachment to the Western Wall is a new phenomenon, that the site is owned by a Muslim family, and that it is actually part of the Al-Aksa Mosque.

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I caught a cold from a cheese

By Peter Rosengard, December 17, 2010

Thirty years ago, I was working on a kibbutz, looking after the cows, and one day I had an idea.

I suggested they market a brand of cheese and call it 'Cheeses of Nazareth'. For some reason they didn't go for it.

I like cheese, but only if it's really stinky. So when a friend took me to La Fromagerie in Marylebone and I entered the cheese humidor, I was in cheese heaven. It was like a cigar humidor, only bigger and freezing - even colder than outside on the street.

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Best stick to bishoping, Nigel

By Stephen Pollard, December 10, 2010

I have discovered an unexpected pleasure since entering the world of religious media - the special delight in spotting the many bizarre religious comments which emerge from unlikely sources.

You know the sort of thing: TV presenters who think that having an expensive haircut and a botoxed forehead qualifies them to adjudicate on the schisms within Judaism; or self-appointed Muslim spokesmen who claim to have unearthed the anti-Muslim agenda of the JC.

But last month I came across a comment which makes all the others look like models of rational thought.

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Kosher television takeover

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, December 10, 2010

The end of the year is upon us. The secular year that is. Now is a time to sit back with a glass of sherry, look into the fire and reflect upon the eternal question: "How was it for the Jews?"

We know that there has been a rise in antisemitic attacks and that university campuses are rife with hostility to all things Israeli and that some people confuse their virulent loathing of Israel with a seeming dislike of Jews in general. We know all that. It's the same every year.

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Hero's 'enough already' peak

By Alan Montague, December 10, 2010

The recent news that the National Trust is planning to fence off part of Kinder Scout brought Benny Rothman to mind.

You may have heard of Kinder Scout - it is the highest point of the Peak District, and a popular destination for tourists. But Benny Rothman? Some heroes are unsung. This one appears to have dropped out of the charts completely.

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