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.


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.


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.


The radical cure for the ills of Jewish football

By Peter Moss, May 7, 2009

Fifty years this year --- that is how long I have been playing Jewish football. Hard to believe. It feels longer. My first team was Bar Kochba FC, named after a Jewish revolutionary who not only was leader of a gloriously futile insurrection against the Emperor Hadrian 2,000 years ago, but was also rumoured to be the first biblical character to wear moulded studs.


Why money does not bring wealth

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, May 7, 2009

There was a moment on the brink of the financial collapse last summer so symbolic that it could almost be a commentary on our times. At the end of July 2008, Damien Hirst put a sculpture for sale at Sotheby’s. It sold for 10-and-a-half million pounds, one of the highest prices ever paid for the work of a living artist. Hirst called it “the Golden Calf”.


Don’t knock foreign workers

By Zaki Cooper, May 7, 2009

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the European Union’s most extensive and significant enlargement. On 1 May 2004, ten new member states from central and Eastern Europe joined the EU club.


Holocaust denial is Iran’s deadly weapon

By Stephen Smith, April 30, 2009

Let us be clear. There is no such thing as “anti-Zionism”. What masquerades as anti-Zionism is antisemitism, because its proponents set standards and ask questions of Israel which they never apply to any other nation state.

Last week in Geneva we saw the ferocity of this form of antisemitism. President Ahmadinejad may have taken centre stage with his denouncements of Israel but he was not alone. There was a lot of support. While the rhetoric is largely empty, the attitudes which underpin Ahmadinejad’s world view can also be found closer to home.


Darling, you’ve driven me away

By Joe Joseph, April 30, 2009

Who would have thought it! Me! Here! In Switzerland! Visiting estate agents! But then who would have thought that Alistair Darling would hike up top rates of taxes and turn Britain from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of tax-avoiders, all of them packing their bags for their nearest tax haven.


How Jewish and Muslim kids can get together

By Simon Rocker, April 30, 2009

For all the passions aroused by Israel’s incursion into Gaza at the beginning of the year, joint Muslim-Jewish initiatives have been progressing.

In February, the Spiro Ark co-hosted a concert on London’s South Bank by Berakah, an interfaith band of Muslim, Jewish and Christian musicians. Its partner was the Vigo Group, a company owned by the Muslim Shah family, who came on board when they happened to buy the building next door to the Spiro’s headquarters and got chatting.


A very rocky road to spirituality

By Naftali Brawer, April 30, 2009

A study conducted by researchers at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati Ohio has concluded that young American Jews are increasingly replacing ethnic identification with identification through spirituality. That is to say that, in the past, young Jews identified with Judaism on an ethnic level through such aspects as food, language, ritual practice and a sense of shared kinship with other Jews. Today, however, it seems this is being replaced by a quest for a sense of purpose and meaning, manifested in the growing interest in Kabbalah and such phenomena as Jewish healing.