Today's cultural icon: the self-hating Jew

By David Herman, November 2, 2010

One of the best plays in London at the moment is Arthur Miller's Broken Glass, playing to packed houses at the Kilburn Tricycle. It is a play about a self-hating Jew in 1930s Brooklyn. At the same time, Howard Jacobson's novel, The Finkler Question, about a very different kind of self-hating Jew, has just won the Man Booker Prize and is the most talked-about book of the autumn.

What is it about Jewish identity, and self-hating Jews, in particular, that seems to strike a chord in Britain today?


When 'tradition' means 'bigotry'

By Paul Berger, November 1, 2010

New Yorkers opened their newspapers a couple of weekends ago to read of a brutal attack on three gay men in the Bronx who were kidnapped, beaten, tortured and sexually assaulted by a gang of nine men. In Belgrade, over the same weekend, about 100 people, mainly policemen, were injured after far-right demonstrators rioted because of a gay parade.


Dinner in Hanoi, petrol in Brum

By Peter Rosengard, October 29, 2010

Last Saturday I dropped in on my parents’ weekly coffee morning, ‘Sally’s salon.’ My mother opened the door. “Have some cheesecake,” she said.

“No thanks, Mum. I’m trying to lose weight.”

As I walked into the kitchen, the landline rang. “This is the Barclays Fraud Prevention Unit calling.”

“Good morning! How can I help you?” I asked.

“Please don’t hang up,” the woman said.

“ Relax. Why would I hang up? I’ve only just answered,” I said.


Winds of communal change

By Jenni Frazer, October 29, 2010

If a conference that took place in Berlin last weekend is anything to go by, Jewish leaders in the West need a rapid Russian language induction course — and an equally rapid re-think of how things get done.

Jonathan Joseph, the South African-born, British-based president of the European Council of Jewish Communities, may not have done the Russian Berlitz course yet but he has certainly got to grips with how things get done.


The north needs to attract more celebrities.

By Angela Epstein, October 29, 2010

It’s a gloomy midweek evening in north Manchester. A thin wind whips through the damp air and The Apprentice is on the telly. Who on earth would venture out on such a night?

It’s a question I ask myself as I pull into the car park of a local shul hall, where I’m star-billing as guest speaker at a small event for the local branch of the League of Jewish Women. Good job I had no Mariah Carey-esque dressing-room requests, such as fresh flowers or chilled pomegranate juice — though there is the promise of a plate of kichels after I’ve finished.


The age of heroes is over

By Amos Kollek, October 26, 2010

David Ben Gurion's birthday and Moshe Dayan's death fall on the same date, October 16. Both men ended their lives embittered, disillusioned, and with no fanfare.

They were utterly different personalities. Dayan was a daredevil, a man of danger and scandals. Both his courage in the battlefield and his skirt-chasing were legendary. He had no regard for the rules or conventions of his time, and he got away with it. Had he lived today, he could have sustained no political career and very likely he would have spent a few years in jail.


All Jews are Leonard Zelig at heart

By Venetia Thompson, October 26, 2010

After eight eventful years, I have decided to take a break from London. Our relationship just isn't working as it once was.


A dangerous continental drift

By Denis MacShane, October 22, 2010

The deepening of antisemitic discourse in Europe is now beginning to challenge the post-war democratic settlement. It is commonplace to report attacks on Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and upon Jews themselves. The 1930s slogan, Kauft nicht bei Juden (Don’t buy from Jews) has been taken up by a number of liberal-left institutions, including the British trade union movement. Other attempts to impose boycotts on Israel focus on universities, journalists and intellectuals — paradoxically, three areas of protest in Israel against continued occupation of Palestinian lands.


We must stand together on this

By Nick Lowles, October 14, 2010

Last weekend 2,000 supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) invaded Leicester. They claimed to stand up for Englishness against Islamic extremism, but in truth they came for trouble. Almost as soon as they arrived they began fighting with police, putting four in hospital, and in the process throwing army issue smoke grenades, fire crackers and ball bearings at police horses and dogs


Girl Guiding suddenly grew up

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, October 14, 2010

When I was just a young schoolgirl, seven years of age,I signed up for the Brownies. In fact, I was not only a Brownie - I was a Sixer of the Leprechauns (which Brownie aficionados will know is akin to being the gansa macher on the shul board). My responsibility as a Brownie Sixer was to lead my pack in all the set duties to claim the much-coveted badges that were earned and then sewn onto the unforgiving yellow and brown uniform, and displayed with pride.

The more badges worn, the more seriously that Brownie had taken her oath of "good conduct and good deeds".