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Solidarity born of shared horrors

By Noam Schimmel, May 21, 2009

Collective tragedies become a part of the consciousness of a people. So it is with Jews and the Shoah.

From a young age, I learned that however much the Jewish people suffered and were persecuted, they remained fundamentally resilient and unbowed, a people, a religion and a civilization that revelled in community, learning and doing the right thing. I found much joy in Judaism, never finding it weighed down by the sadness and pains of the past, however enormous and overwhelming.

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Just mamaloshen? Have I got views for you…

By David Crystal, May 21, 2009

In his 1965 composition, A Yiddish Poet, Menke Katz wrote: “My mother tongue is as unpolished as a wound, a laughter, a love-starved kiss...”

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Prague’s declaration of disgrace

By Dovid Katz, May 21, 2009

Not many have heard about the Prague Declaration, which is currently making the rounds at the European Parliament. Proclaimed last June in Prague (but cooked up in the Baltics), its innocuous theme is “European Conscience and Communism”. Now who would oppose that? The heinous crimes of Communist regimes clearly merit full exposure. Victims deserve recognition. When the grand jamboree of freedom, fun and prosperity got under way for us lucky westerners in 1945, entire nations ceded to Stalin were condemned to totalitarian rule.

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When the Middle East really means just ‘Arab’

By Jan Shure, May 14, 2009

In case you need reminding, we are almost half way through 2009. It is 31 years since the Camp David agreement, 20 years since the formal Arab boycott of Israel ended and 16 years since Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, leading, supposedly, to the normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

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Sleepless? Not if I move to Smolensk

By Simon Round, May 14, 2009

Lots of people have asked me over the years how easy it is to come up with ideas for columns. Does it keep me awake at night, they ask. The answer is that I usually manage to find something pretty interesting to write about without too much of a problem and, failing that, I can usually rustle up something boring. And, no, the challenge of producing a column doesn’t keep me awake at night — other stuff keeps me awake, which is good, really, because that’s when I get my best ideas for columns.

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Where War on Want is itself found wanting

By Dan Kosky, May 14, 2009

Foreign Minister David Miliband’s recent announcement of a review of UK weapons exports to Israel in the wake of the Gaza conflict is unlikely to dent Israel’s military capability, given that the UK supplies less than one per cent of Israel’s arms imports. Nevertheless, it was seen as a significant victory by anti-Israel campaigners, a step towards a full-blown Israel boycott.

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Work is essential to human dignity

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, May 14, 2009

It was one of Maimonides’ most penetrating insights. Listing the eight rungs of the ladder of tzedakah, he places highest of all one “who provides someone with a gift or a loan or a business partnership or in some other way helps him find employment”. The highest degree of tzedakah, exceeded by none, he writes, is to help someone start a business or find a job.

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God botherers needed in newsrooms

By Tim Marshall, May 7, 2009

In the heart of most newsrooms is a God-shaped hole. Most journalists are not grounded in even basic theology, which means we risk misunderstanding the impact of religion on a raft of stories from Bosnia to Baghdad to Beeston. The global growth of Christianity, the rise of Hindu nationalism and the theology of revolutionary movements are often overlooked.

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Living the dream in my desert b&b

By John Krivine, May 7, 2009

I made aliyah from London in 1986. It was a disaster. My immersion into Israel was totally unplanned. One inexplicable blunder followed another and I fetched up in Midreshet Ben Gurion — part pioneer township, part kibbutz — living in a tent within a largish concrete shell I’d put up using my immigrant loan. I was alone and broke.

On the bright side, I was living on the edge of Zin Nature Reserve and there was a cracking view of the desert landscape.

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And then they came for my Osem soup

By Stephanie Brickman, May 7, 2009

Leaving my wild-eyed, pre-Shabbat, mummy persona behind, along with the smell of burnt kugel and a detailed list for my husband, I strode out.

Shabbat wasn’t until 8.30 and in the intervening three hours I would be covering a talk by Palestinian union official, Manawel Abdellal, invited guest of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

The event was timed to crow about the STUC’s decision to back a boycott of Israel. It just felt like it was timed to thwart me on a Shabbat when we had guests, no time and a very large chicken.

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