In search of the lost - and last - Rebbitzen of Landau

By Aimee Birnbaum, September 3, 2009

Besides being the largest wine growing region in Germany, Landau is a town crazy about art. The Palatinate landscape with its Tuscan atmosphere has always inspired artists, and Landau homes are bursting with art of every description.

But during the Third Reich, Landau was the scene of ghastly crimes, so it was with mixed feelings that I accepted an offer to organize an exhibition of British artists to be hosted by Landau families. Would my hosts be anti-semites? How should I tell them I am Jewish?


Swine, bears, boys and other perils

By Peter Rosengard, September 3, 2009

In July, my 13-year-old daughter Lily flew to Camp George, a URJ summer camp on a lake near Toronto. Swine flu was at its peak. Naturally I was a little concerned: “Did I just hear you cough?.. You sweating Lily?”

“Dad, Stop being paranoid!”

It was her first unaccompanied flight. We’d packed all the essentials: flashlight, 20 bikinis, iPod, a course of Tamiflu.

In T5 departure lounge, I drained my 12th espresso. One more and I’d also be flying to Toronto.

The next morning I read a headline: “American camps hit by swine flu. Campers in quarantine.”


What a wonderful summer's bat mitzvah

By Zaki Cooper, September 3, 2009

Born in Johannesburg, he grew up in the UK and graduated from Durham University in 1998. Since then, he has settled in north London and forged a very successful career. His surname is Strauss. But, much as we’d like to claim young Andrew as a nice Jewish boy, don’t expect to see him in shul over Rosh Hashanah. The England cricket captain will be away basking in his team’s recent victory over Australia.


Mutual candour can bring peace

By Naomi Shepherd, September 3, 2009

The obstacles to the “two-state solution” to the Israel/Palestine conflict are well known. Can they be removed by international intervention?


A shameful day, but not as bad as it looks

By Uri Dromi, September 3, 2009

September 1, 2009, marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, a day for remembrance and reflection. In Israel, however, this was a day when people were only thinking about the present, asking themselves whether their country could go any lower.


I took on Colonel Gaddafi - and won

By Shmuley Boteach, September 3, 2009

This week’s David-and-Goliath struggle of a small New Jersey town evicting a Middle East dictator from its midst is a considerable victory of ordinary people over tyranny.

We have made our town a terrorist-free zone.

But Proverbs 24:17 cautions: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.”

The murdered of Pan Am 103, the maimed of the 1986 Libyan Berlin discothèque bombing and British constable Yvonne Fletcher, gunned down outside Libya’s London embassy in 1984, still cry out for justice.


Bibi missed big chance to make Israel’s case in UK

By Stephen Pollard, August 27, 2009

The story goes that when someone remarked of Herbert Morrison that he was his own worst enemy, Ernest Bevin responded, “Not while I’m alive he ain’t”.

I sometimes think that the reverse of that is true with Israel and the media. Those of us who battle to make Israel’s case over the cacophony of hostility which characterises coverage of the Middle East are sometimes — if I’m being honest, often — reduced to apoplexy at the self-defeating behaviour of the Israeli government.

Israel has many enemies in the media, but more often than not it is its own worst enemy.


Boules, Buddhists and chicken soup

By Joe Joseph, August 27, 2009

I read this week that the French have become so rowdy when playing pétanque that they have sought religious guidance from a Buddhist master on how to tame the alcohol-fuelled brawls that are disrupting the tranquility of France’s national pastime.

But how come they turned for guidance to a Buddhist master, rather than to a rabbi?

Naturally, it’s a shock to hear that the world of pétanque — or boules, as it’s also known — is becoming more boisterous in the first place.


My way, the Sinatra style of Judaism

By Jonathan Boyd, August 27, 2009

Recently, i received an invitation — via Facebook — to join “Grassroots Jews”, an initiative by a group of knowledge able, engaged thirtysomething Jews to put on High Holyday services in north-west London. Not within an existing synagogue, not even in partnership with one, but entirely independently. They are flying in an exceptional cantor/teacher from Israel and are going it alone.

They are raising funds by charging £45 (less where that is prohibitive), and are offering two services — traditional and alternative.


Try USA for a mature Israel debate

By Stephen Smith, August 27, 2009

From over here, things look so different. I moved to Los Angeles just a month ago, and the temperature is warmer — but that is not a remark about the weather. It is just simply easier to be Jewish here — and I am not even Jewish!