Festival of lights is a festival-lite

By Hadley Freeman, December 18, 2008

With maturity comes the death of happy illusions — this is a truism most people older than five learn, usually after they’ve spotted a Santa Claus sneaking off to have a quiet fag in their local shopping mall. But I truly do believe, without any self-pity or self-centred grandstanding, that Jewish kids have it worse than most.


Why, as a wife, I still want to see other men

By Aliza Hausman, December 11, 2008

I had tea with my friend David the other day. And it was fun. But when I told my husband that I went to tea with a classmate — a male classmate — his face was less than sunny. It contorted with jealousy as he explained that it wasn’t appropriate for me to be having tea with another man. When I argued my case (“We were in Starbucks, for G-d’s sake!”), my husband eventually relented. But the whole experience left me thinking about the state of male-female friendships in the Orthodox world.


Let’s not sentimentalise the Shoah

By Eliane Glaser, December 11, 2008

In September this year, the best-selling crime novelist, Lynda La Plante, was accused of plagiarism after an Australian reader pointed out that passages in her 1993 novel Entwined appeared to have been lifted from a memoir written by the Auschwitz survivor Olga Lengyel in 1947. Stephen Smith, director of the Holocaust Centre, warned that “this is an example of how easy it is to use testimony purely because of its moral power”.


The financial turmoil may help Israel in 2009

By Daniella Peled, December 11, 2008

As the hangover fades on January 1, watchers of world affairs can look forward to a busy schedule over the following year with the inauguration of a new US president in January, Israeli elections in February and Iranian polls in June, not to mention the ongoing global financial turmoil and rogue nuclear programmes.

In Jerusalem, policy planners have been busy with their own forecast for 2009, and a quick look throws up some interesting predictions.


It’s my column, I’m sticking to it

By Joe Joseph, December 11, 2008

I was in the middle of mending a blue Japanese bowl with a tube of superglue when the phone call came. Aren’t these fast-acting superglues a real godsend when you’re in a rush and you really need to bond broken objects together “in seconds”. (Obviously I’m using the phrase “in seconds” in its strict superglue sense of “in roughly the same length of time that it takes to stage an American presidential election campaign”).


UK and Israel have a special relationship too

By Uri Dromi, December 4, 2008

I have just written the obituary of Binyamin Zironi for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. He was a former member of the vehemently anti-British Zionist underground movement, Irgun, and his death evoked for many in Israel the worst days of the British Mandate. Back then, Zironi had a price of £200 on his head and was captured — and tortured — by a CID officer, who, in turn, was killed by Zironi’s comrades.

But this is a relatively rare blemish. In general, the history of relations between Britain and the Jewish inhabitants of the region makes for happier reading.


Let all rabbis join a trade union

By Zvi Solomons, December 4, 2008

Imagine this: you have a job which provides you with a tied house. You are offered a good job elsewhere and, having accepted the offer, you give notice to your current employers. Then, your new employer’s governing body overrules the appointment. Your current employers inform you through their solicitors that you must leave the house within 24 hours, as they are changing the locks.

It is a Friday, you were relying on working your notice, and you have little in the way of savings. As of receiving the solicitors’ letter, you have no job.


Some common sense from the police, please

By Stephen Pollard, December 4, 2008

At first glance, there is little that Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting head of the Metropolitan Police; Bob Quick, Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations; and Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Tucker, the acting borough commander of Barnet police, have in common. They don’t even all have the word ‘acting’ in their title.


My dream jungle rumble — momma vs beck

By Alex Kasriel, November 27, 2008

Have you heard the one about the two Jews struggling for survival in the jungle? No? Well, they are called Esther Rantzen and Dani Behr, and they are going head to head in the ITV1's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The first is an archetypal Jewish mother figure who has been gracing our screens with her sympathetic ear and no-nonsense advice since wide ties and perms were in fashion. The second is the original TV beck, the girl who convinced thousands of her North London sisters that flicky hair and slightly large noses were cool.


Why Demjanjuk should not be tried

By Bernard Josephs, November 27, 2008

German investigators are urging the American authorities to extradite John Demjanjuk, an 88-year-old former Nazi death-camp guard, who was tried and sentenced to death in Israel for appalling war crimes, only to be freed five years later by the country's Supreme Court.

The Germans believe that new evidence, including hundreds of documents and eye-witness statements, prove that he was partly responsible for the massacre of thousands of Jews and that he should face a new trial.