Names are there to be changed

By Monica Porter, August 19, 2010

I have just been reading the most recent autobiography of nonagenarian movie star Kirk Douglas (his fourth). The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Douglas started life with the name Issur Danielovitch. It was Americanised for the sake of his film career.

In his book, Douglas remarks that sometimes he still mourns the passing of Issur, the erstwhile identity he was forced to "kill off". Particularly since the major stroke he suffered in 1996, which caused him to re-evaluate his life and embrace Judaism.


I'm on holiday, and so is my psyche

By Simon Round, August 12, 2010

Part of the reason I enjoy holidays so much is that they give me time out to reflect on what is really important in life – a respite to let my thoughts wander to subjects and places far removed from the normal workday existence, as the waves lap onto the shores of the Adriatic.

Therefore, like Byron, Hemingway and Greene before me, I have decided to share some thoughts and reflections from abroad in the hope that I may have distilled something of the true essence of the human experience. Here is a selection of my journal entries from Croatia's Dalmatian coast …


The Warburg should be saved, not strangled

By Anna Somers Cocks, August 12, 2010

In December 1933, two small steamers sailed from Hamburg, paid for by the textile magnate and collector, Samuel Courtauld, and the politically influential Lord Lee of Fareham.

They were loaded with the 80,000 books of one of the most extraordinary libraries created in modern times - by Aby Warburg, the scholar member of the Jewish banking family.


Let's hear it for… that place in Essex

By Jonathan Margolis, August 12, 2010

Oh my good gawd, that's Clayhall," squawked Sue, my wife, when the first exterior was shown of the suburban semi in Simon Amstell's brilliant new comedy, Grandma's House, on BBC2 on Monday.

"Don't be so daft," I said. "It'll be west London somewhere. It always is. You know Ilford doesn't exist to the creative classes."


Why ET goes the extra mile for me

By Bryony Gordon, August 5, 2010

Most early childhood memories involve learning to ride a bike without stabilisers, or that magic moment when you suddenly work out how to tie shoelaces. Perhaps it was finding 20 pence under your pillow in the morning, deposited there by the tooth fairy.

Or maybe it involved trying to stay awake in the hope of catching a glimpse of Father Christmas. A quick straw poll of the people in my office revealed that the most common recollection was a feeling of insane jealousy when their younger sibling was born.


Poverty is not the full picture

By Tim Marshall, August 5, 2010

The Israeli air strikes were down the Gaza City beach road, but I went shopping.

This was not a dereliction of journalistic duty, nor hedonism in a war zone. The bombed out Hamas building was taped off, the media prevented from getting there, and anyway, while air strikes are news, shopping malls are newer news.


Universal jurisdiction should not be fudged

By Daniel Greenberg, August 4, 2010

The proposed reform of the universal jurisdiction law relating to war crimes, advanced by Justice Minister Ken Clarke, is far from being the solution to the current, unsatisfactory state of affairs. Israeli politicians and soldiers have been wary of visiting the UK for the past couple of years as the result of a couple of near misses in the way of attempted arrests — notably when a warrant was obtained against Israel’s Opposition leader Tzipi Livni by Palestinian supporters last December.


University — the path to penury?

By Vernon Bogdanor, August 4, 2010

Education, education, education, Tony Blair’s favourite nostrum, has been a Jewish slogan throughout the ages. In Britain, the characteristic pattern has been for the son of an immigrant to become a self-made entrepreneur so that his son can go to university and become a professional — “my son the doctor” or “my son the lawyer”. And nowadays, “my daughter”, too.


This isn’t liberal, it’s bigotry

By Keren David, July 29, 2010

When I was growing up I was told that manners were particularly important for Jewish children. It was essential not to offend the ‘English’ people around us. This baffled me. Surely I was as English as anyone else?

I was reminded of this when I read Christina Patterson’s article, headlined The Limits of Multi-Culturalism in the Independent this week. Ms Patterson thinks her Charedi neighbours in Stamford Hill are bad mannered. And she doesn’t seem to think they are as British as she is.


Anti-Zionism - facts (and fictions)

By Howard Jacobson, July 28, 2010

Every other Wednesday, except for festivals and High Holy-days, an anti-Zionist group called ASHamed Jews meets in an upstairs room in the Groucho Club in Soho to dissociate itself from Israel, urge the boycotting of Israeli goods, and otherwise demonstrate a humanity in which they consider Jews who are not ASHamed to be deficient. ASHamed Jews came about as a consequence of the famous Jewish media philosopher Sam Finkler's avowal of his own shame on Desert Island Discs.