Back those who stand up for us

By Stephen Pollard, March 18, 2010

In the year and a half I have had the honour of editing the JC, I have been able to meet all sorts of fascinating and admirable people (not, of course, that fascinating always goes hand in hand with admirable). And in my trips to speak at various synagogues and organisations I have realised that pretty much everyone has an idea for improving the paper (such as getting a new editor); and many think that if only the Jewish community would behave as they want it to, all our problems would be over.


President Peres is turning against Bibi

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 11, 2010

Two or three times a day, Shimon Peres stands in the President's mansion, receiving groups of blushing beauty queens, farmers and international parliamentarians. Each group gets its share of smiles, joint photographs and the standard joke, always some reference to the great man's age.

In the absence of a royal family, only the 86-year-old mega-statesman can lend grandeur to the informality of Israeli official events.

But no one ever expected him to be just a figurehead. The man eternally branded by Yitzhak Rabin as "a tireless schemer" could not stop playing politics even if he tried.


The smart way to make cutbacks

By Simon Round, March 11, 2010

Both politicians and economists are currently wrestling with the problem of how to reduce Britain's enormous overdraft.

We have been getting nasty letters from global bank managers threatening to downgrade our credit rating and maybe even to repossess the Isle of Wight or Guernsey.

Labour reckons the best way to reduce the deficit is to carry on spending money that we don't have (which is also my instinct in times of crisis). The Conservatives boringly say we should make cuts and be prudent.


A Jewish lesson for Jon Venables

By Keren David, March 11, 2010

In all the thousands of words written and broadcast this week on the case of Jon Venables, one family has been conspicuously silent. I very much hope that the parents and sister of Sharona Joseph will not object to me writing about their loss, 22 years after her murder at the hands of an older child. I do so because I believe their wisdom and experience has much to offer the current rancourous debate.


Jews with the blues might benefit from booze

By Gerald Curzon, March 11, 2010

Melancholy, depression, misery - Jews have long been thought to be prone to the blues. An old story tells of a Jew who sighs: "We are born weeping. Tsores follows tsores. Body and mind fail. In the end, we die. Better not to have been born", to which his friend adds: "But who can be so lucky? One person in ten thousand…"


UK Jews and Muslims can co-exist

By Ed Husain, March 11, 2010

A few days ago, I listened to a speech by Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the historic Brick Lane Mosque. The mosque was once a thriving synagogue, and before that a Huguenot church. As a child, I remember seeing mezuzahs on door frames, and buying groceries from a Jewish shop with my father. And though it was widely, if erroneously, believed that the local MP, Peter Shore, was Jewish, he spoke regularly at the mosque. There was no animosity between Jews and Muslims in the East End of my childhood.


Skiing? I’m more at home on Mars

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, March 4, 2010

Last week, my family was treated to a very interesting trip. An old friend invited us to join him and his wife and children on the skiing trip “of a lifetime” in the Swiss mountains.

Being a beachy sort of family normally seen face down on golden sands or prostrate near a pool watching daughter splashing around in the shallow end, and having shied away from anything colder than the fridge for most of my life, I tentatively said yes.


Time for gay shul weddings

By Rabbi David Mitchell and Rabbi Judith Levitt, March 4, 2010

As part of the newest generation of lesbian and gay rabbis, we are delighted to learn after a successful debate in the House of Lords, Civil Partnerships can now take place within religious institutions.

Inevitably, this change in legislation will be most applicable to those synagogues, rabbis and movements who have already enabled same-sex couples to affirm their commitments to one another within a Jewish context. For example, in Liberal Judaism, the same-sex B'rit Ahavah (Covenant of Love) pre-dated the UK Civil Partnership Act.


On the outside looking in: a Jewish writer's lot

By Amanda Craig, March 4, 2010

A novelist in our society is an outsider, as is a Jew of course. Small wonder that so many novelists are Jewish. As a writer, I am interested in subjects that are universal - crime and punishment, love and family, the conflict between ambition and goodness and, of course, being an outsider and an exile. Yet they are also particular to Jews. Being both author and Jewish means you belong to everyone and to no one.


UK schools' system is out of step

By Paul Shaviv, March 4, 2010

The Jewish school system, both in Europe and in North America, currently faces a series of unprecedented challenges. Social and political attitudes towards faith-based schools are changing; the economic crisis has affected both public and (certainly) private Jewish schools; and attitudes within the Jewish community itself are changing, too.