Our colour blind slave traders

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 6, 2011

I was recently invited to hear the writer Andrea Levy give a small informal talk about her Booker Prize nominated The Long Song, which follows the life of July, a slave girl on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the uncertain last years of slavery and the process of freedom that had to be negotiated after abolition.

As her inspiration, Ms Levy very movingly described a conference she attended when a young girl stood up and admitted she felt shame at coming from a lineage of slaves and how could she reclaim some pride in her humble ancestry.


Expose this ignorant bigotry

By David Conway, January 6, 2011

This September will mark not only the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but also that of another event no less portentous in what it presaged for Israel, although this escaped notice at the time.

This was the (first) United Nations Conference on Racism, held in Durban days before the attack on the Twin Towers.


The tightrope awaiting the next Chief Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2010

When Jonathan Sacks was appointed Chief Rabbi in 1989, he was so firm a favourite, it would have been astonishing had he not got the job. Not only was he widely viewed as the heir-apparent to Lord Jakobovits, but he also had a powerful patron in Lord Kalms, who was chairman of Jews' College when Rabbi Sacks was its principal (though the good lord subsequently lost faith in his protégé).


Wild views on sorting Jews

By Martin Bright, December 30, 2010

I recently came across a curious little volume of essays on "the Jewish Question" in a second-hand bookshop in London.

Gentile and Jew: A Symposium was published just before the end of the Second World War. It contains around 100 articles, all from non-Jews, collected by the book's editor Chaim Newman.


Face the interfaith elephant

By Angela Levin, December 29, 2010

If anyone had asked me 10 or even five years ago if relationships between Christians and Jews could exist outside the Israel-Palestinian conflict my answer would have been "of course. It's barely relevant."

I am now nowhere near as sure. Whether we like it or not, Jews have become inextricably bound up with how our Israeli brothers and sisters treat Palestinians and how their plight is perceived.


Cold? Roll out the barrels

By Simon Round, December 29, 2010

Currently, I do not have a cold. I am, however, one of the few. Throughout the JC newsroom, journalists are coughing, spluttering and rasping. Tissues are piling up, Lemsip is being taken by the bucketful and occasionally a nurse will walk across the editorial floor to check blood pressure and change drips.

You may not have read in the newspapers about the current sniffles pandemic but you have only to look around you to see the huge number of victims who have been tragically afflicted with a runny nose and tickly throat.


Sharing more than Abraham

By Fiyaz Mughal, December 24, 2010

I have just returned from Berlin where I attended a conference with the Council of Christians and Jews to look at the possibility of trilateral discussions involving Muslims, Christians and Jews and historical narratives.

The common theme for the future seemed to be what Abraham means to the three faiths, and two fascinating days were spent discussing how this great prophet could be a bridge for interfaith discussions between the three faiths.


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.


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?


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."