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The dead remind me to enjoy life

By Maureen Lipman, April 2, 2009

I tottered out of another memorial service recently, face streaked with mascara, shoulders braced against the inevitable biting wind, uplifted by laughter and strung out by memories.

My chief concern was whether anyone would give me and my flimsy coat a lift to the nearest place where the stiff drinks were housed.

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So what is really bugging European Jews?

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

Around 18 months ago, I was sitting at a charity dinner next to an Israeli visitor who had come to London especially for the occasion. We had barely swapped names when he asked me whether I had recently encountered any antisemitism. I almost felt that I was letting him down when I said I hadn’t. From what he had been reading of the anxieties of diaspora Jewry, he seemed to think that fear of abuse or attack would be weighing constantly on our minds.

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Charity must not end at home…

By Tony Blair, April 2, 2009

Last week, the first major collaboration between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) and World Jewish Relief (WJR), one of UK Jewry’s leading international agencies, took place. The event, Faith in Our World, aimed to highlight the importance of different faiths working together — a principal goal of TBFF. The two organisations focused on areas of mutual concern in Africa.

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City needs ethnic diversity

By Zaki Cooper, April 2, 2009

The recent appointment of Tidjane Thiam as the new chief executive of the insurance giant Prudential was a significant landmark in the history of the City. Mr Thiam, who comes from the Ivory Coast and once served as a government minister there, is the first black head of a FTSE 100 company. His appointment was welcomed not only by the business community but by long-time champions of equality. Brendan Barber, the head of the Trade Unions Congress, said Mr Thiam’s elevation was very encouraging, adding that we need more than one black CEO at the top of a FTSE 100 company.

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Let’s hear it for Moses and Jay

By Joe Joseph, March 26, 2009

You know how people say that if Shakespeare were living today he’d be writing scripts for EastEnders? Or that if Mozart had been born 30 years ago he’d be composing advertising jingles?

Well, maybe if Moses were being handed the Ten Commandments in 2009 and he was worried about how tough it might be to sell such a menu of self-discipline to the Israelites, he, too, might opt for a more contemporary way to reach his target audience. Maybe he would follow the example of Barack Obama.

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The blood libel is alive and well over Gaza

By Barry Rubin, March 26, 2009

A group of young Israeli soldiers met to evaluate their experiences in the Gaza war to see what could be learned from them. The next thing you know, there is a global news story about Israel committing war crimes.

Given the eagerness to find Israel evil and guilty, it falls into the category of a “blood libel”, the historic allegation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood for matzo.

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End this brutalised occupation

By Jonathan Freedland, March 26, 2009

Soon my favourite festival will be upon us, the season of freedom, where we celebrate the greatest liberation story in human history. I love everything about Pesach, from the ridiculous — kosher-for-Passover washing-up liquid, anyone? — to the sublime, including the glow that comes from a family sitting around a Seder table retelling a tale passed down the generations since the beginning of Jewish time.

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Shalit must be regarded as a prisoner of war

By Marian Lebor, March 26, 2009

It was very sad and frustrating to watch Gilad Shalit’s parents packing up their protest tent last Saturday night.

Although Noam and Aviva Shalit did not allow themselves to be too optimistic, a sense of expectation had built up that a breakthrough would be achieved by Saturday’s 1,000-day mark, which should have coincided with the end of Ehud Olmert’s premiership.

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Being ‘foreign’ in today’s Britain

By Amanda Craig, March 26, 2009

Unlike writer Rhoda Koenig’s friend, as described in her New Statesman article earlier this month, I have never been told at a dinner party that, “if you’re Jewish you can’t be British”. But I am all too aware of what it is like to feel foreign in today’s Britain. Having my father’s Scottish surname, and the Scottish red hair to boot, gives me the experience of being both insider and outsider — which is somehow crucial to the development of a great many writers in this country.

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Our charities are doing well. Give them a break

By Barry Frankfurt, March 19, 2009

It seemed all too familiar. A UK charity had promised a significant sum and then failed to deliver. The charity argued that the intended recipients had not given it the undertakings required. The would-be beneficiaries said they had been promised the cash and were in desperate need.

Sound familiar? No, it’s not JNF-UK, whose tribulations the JC has extensively reported, but Sentebale, the charity set up by Princes William and Harry, which had promised £30,000 to a children’s home in Lesotho.

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