Fireworks? I'd prefer honey cake

By Cari Rosen, December 29, 2011

I hate New Year's Eve. There, I've said it.

Call me a party pooper, an old fogey, whatever you like. But there's nothing guaranteed to get me more "bah humbug" than a chorus of Auld Lang Syne.


Young blood flows well in UK

By Joel Braunold, December 29, 2011

As a community, we are often very down on ourselves. There is nothing we like more than complaining over Friday-night dinner about how various parts of the UK Jewish communal structures are outdated, failing, awful or irrelevant.


Farewell to 2011, a year of farewells

By Gerald Jacobs, December 29, 2011

It's that time again, the candle-maker's moment, when rival faiths strike festive lights to ward off winter. When an assemblage of "old" dates in the diary gives way to a fresh "new year". A secular, inverted Yom Kippur, a stocktaking accompanied by feasting instead of fasting, replenishing rather than repentance.

On this occasion, though, for me it carries some weight.


Uplifted by a message of hope

By Marc Saperstein, December 23, 2011

There has been some debate in recent weeks about the rights and wrongs of Lord Sacks's assertion that he felt "uplifted" by the sound of Christmas carols at this time of year. I can't see what all the fuss is about.


Could Mel Gibson give Gilad a Hollywood homecoming?

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

Several months ago, various Jewish groups got rather exercised that Mel Gibson was planning to make a film about the Maccabees. The Chanucah story, in the hands of an actor we wouldn't even trust to look after our chocolate money or dreidel winnings?


All humans have human rights

By Nick Cohen, December 22, 2011

The Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour's Nation Estate is not as worthless as most agitprop. She does not scream at the audience but imagines the tiny homeland on offer to the Palestinians as a claustrophobic, concrete, tower-block. Her people are crammed inside, but you never see them.


Lowering of higher education

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 22, 2011

Last month, Israel's Council for Higher Education (CHE) endorsed the findings of an independent study that it had commissioned to evaluate the quality of departments of political science at eight of Israel's institutions of higher education. Overall, the study had much to say that was approving and complimentary.


Stormy weather ahead for Hizbollah

By Benedetta Berti, December 21, 2011

To some observers in the West, the process of massive social and political unrest initiated by the so-called "Arab Spring" spells trouble: specifically, they see the rise of Islamist political parties across the Middle East - from Tunisia to Egypt - as a worrisome trend.


For sale: Hitler's desk and duvet, no questions asked

By Karen Pollock, December 19, 2011

For the thousands of students who visit Auschwitz-Birkenau every year with the Holocaust Educational Trust, approaching the gates and setting eyes on those infamous words, "Arbeit macht frei", is invariably a moment of solemn reflection. The wrought iron sign has become a symbol of evil, grim shorthand for the sadism of the camp.


Without right, nothing is left

By James Inverne, December 16, 2011

They say that opposites attract, in physics as in our emotional life. So when I, who had always been a gentleman of the arts (no, that isn't any kind of euphemism), married a lady of the sciences (my wife is a hospital pharmacist) it seemed to be the perfect match. Which is to say, as some people did, we had little in common and so would have plenty to learn from each other.