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!


What killed Topaz

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 27, 2009

One of the drawbacks of living in a young country is that it is difficult to age well. Few Israeli politicians, generals or rabbis know when it is time to leave the stage and depart graciously. And when they are finally forced off, too many of them remain sniping in the wings.


Germany, confront your antisemitism

By Benjamin Weinthal, August 27, 2009

The Federal Republic of Germany has named 10 members to its first-ever government commission to combat antisemitism.

The pressing question is whether the commission members will remain stuck in the past and devote their energies to fighting a largely obsolete form of Jew hatred: Nazi-style biological and racial antisemitism? Or will they address the gravest threats to Jews in Germany, which are Muslim antisemitism and that version dressed up as anti-Israel activity?


Don’t treat Bibi like the devil. He is just a realist

By Miriam Shaviv, August 20, 2009

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu arrives in London next week. When he does so, he will be feted by our local Jewish leaders. They will throw him a reception and compete for the photo opps. Behind the scenes, however, there is no doubt that there is a great deal of suspicion and even distaste regarding this particular Israeli Prime Minister.

A large proportion of Anglo-Jewry still regards him as a crazy right-winger, a cheerleader for the detested settlers. He is seen as dangerous for Israel and slimy, to boot. They are — let’s admit it — embarrassed by him.


Boo hoo, the bad times may be over

By Simon Round, August 20, 2009

Figures released this week show that the economies of Germany, Japan and France are no longer in recession. So if these nations are in an economic growth phase it could well be that Britain will follow.

But is the end of recession necessarily a good thing? I might be out on a limb here but I was just beginning to enjoy the global slowdown and will miss it when it has gone.


Are we giving up on British Jewish leadership?

By Alexander Bodin Saphir, August 20, 2009

Earlier this year, I spent 10 days on the shores of Lake Kinneret as a Nahum Goldmann Fellowship participant. The fellowship — which this year celebrates its 21st anniversary — is world renowned for nurturing the next generation of Jewish global communal leadership by bringing together diaspora community leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 to learn, live and share their diverse experiences.


What made Madoff do it? Revenge

By Adam Lebor, August 20, 2009

They called him “Uncle Bernie” or “The Jewish T-Bill”, after US Treasury Bills, the dullest and most secure investment. With his silver hair, Savile Row suits and avuncular manner, Bernard Madoff radiated solidity, security and honesty. He was a bastion of Wall Street, where he ran an enormously successful, legitimate, share-trading operation as well as his fraudulent investment scheme.


Testing time for a mum needing a big hat

By Keren David, August 13, 2009

It doesn’t take much to bring out the Jewish parent’s competitive side. The Chief Rabbi and the United Synagogue top brass think they are being reassuring when they talk about “inclusion” and “setting the bar low” when formulating the new admissions policy for Jewish schools.

But they ignore the frenzied panic which grips any parent — Jewish or not — when there is the possibility they may be denied a place at their chosen school.

If we have to pass a test, bring it on, spell it out. No one is going to outdo our efforts on behalf of our treasured children.


Gaza One, Miami Five: it just doesn’t add up

By Eric Lee, August 13, 2009

If you visit the website of Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, you’ll find a list of campaigns the union supports. Those campaigns are almost always the kinds of things you’d expect the giant manufacturing trade union to support, such as saving jobs at Vauxhall, building affordable housing, and protecting the NHS.

But in the middle of all these there’s one campaign that seems a bit out of place – a campaign in support of the Miami Five, who are Cuban spies jailed in the USA.