Schools: we must face new reality

By Naftali Brawer and Michael Harris, January 14, 2010

The Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue (RCUS) last week issued a statement (published in the JC) in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding admission to Jewish day schools. That statement may reflect the view of some of our colleagues, but we believe it to be deeply misguided. On such an important communal issue as school admissions, it is crucial that an alternative voice is heard from within the rabbinate, and indeed from within the RCUS itself.


I'm on the daytime TV death watch

By Simon Round, January 14, 2010

This week I have been confined to quarters with a nasty bout of ’flu.

It has given me a valuable insight into what my life could be like in 40 years’ time — shivering under my tartan blanket with only my slippers for company, completely isolated in the frozen wastes of north London, save for the occasional team of huskies and a few cross-country skiers.


I know now I’m a non-Jewish male

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 7, 2010

Braving Brent Cross is not something I do often. The last time I was there, I was traumatized by being photographed by paparazzi in the knicker department of John Lewis, holding up a pair of giant tummy tuck knickers.

I was readying myself for the National TV Awards, and I had the vain hope that I could squeeze into the Vivienne Westwood dress I had been given.


Am I a neocon or appeaser?

By Martin Bright, January 7, 2010

How does the political editor of the Jewish Chronicle write about Gaza? I asked myself this question during the Christmas break as I read Joe Sacco’s extraordinary graphic novel, Footnotes in Gaza.


Red + Green = a Mid-East car crash

By Eran Shayshon, January 7, 2010

In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. In this regard, the UK — and especially London — acts as a prominent “hub” in moves to delegitimise Israel. This is due in part to London’s position as a media, cultural and academic centre and the UK’s impact as an English-speaking nation.


End this misguided criticism of 'Hitler's Pope'

By David Conway, January 7, 2010

Few familiar with John Cornwall’s book, Hitler’s Pope will ever forget the photograph on its cover. It shows the controversial, wartime Pope leaving a building in full clerical regalia. Majestically, he sweeps past saluting, steel-helmeted German soldiers to an awaiting car whose door is held open by a uniformed, saluting footman.


In the armrest war, I'm battle-ready

By Peter Rosengard, December 30, 2009

I’d just arrived at the theatre with Lily to see Thriller, the Michael Jackson tribute show. I put my arm on the armrest. There was another arm already there on my side of it. I glanced sideways at its owner, a man in his early 30s with a tiny, shaven head with heavily muscled shoulders and huge tattooed arms. Clearly he’d dressed up for an evening at the theatre — he was wearing a tank top.

But I think even the UN would agree I was clearly on my side of the armrest.


We all have views on Israel so let’s hear them

By Keith Kahn-Harris, December 29, 2009

In 2009, the long-running controversy over Jewish communal representation in relation to Israel took a new turn. The election of Vivian Wineman, a founder of British Peace Now, as president of the Board of Deputies was met with the criticism that his doveish views were inappropriate for the head of an organisation that should unequivocally support Israel.


Christmas is when secular Jews go crackers

By John Nathan, December 23, 2009

A question for secular Jews: Which festival makes you feel most Jewish? It is hard to beat the piety that comes with the abstinence of Yom Kippur. But piety, surely, is more a Christian concept.

What about Rosh Hashanah? For me, the elemental call of a ram’s horn ushering in the new year sends me at the speed of light back to Rosh Hashanahs of my past. And to one in particular.

I was in that period of ostentatious observance common among Jewish boys in the run-up to barmitzvah. I laid tefilin, I asked questions. In synagogue, I sang loudly. It didn’t last.


Israel-Arab dispute is a local affair

By Naomi Shepherd, December 23, 2009

The world seems to be obsessed with the Israel/Palestine conflict. It figures near the top of the pile of documents on the American President’s desk. Tempers rise in debates at the United Nations, which are punctuated by walk-outs. Diplomats and mediators shuttle wearily between Jerusalem and Ramallah, while vast media coverage has led to more complaints about partisan reporting than on any other news topic. All this for a struggle over a territory without oil or other significant reserves and with a total population, including Israelis and Palestinians, of around 10 million.