Is it safe to be American again?

By Hadley Freeman, January 22, 2009

To paraphrase the famous tagline for Jaws (and paraphrase it in a context of which director Steven Spielberg would surely approve): just when I thought it was safe for me to go back to dinner parties...


Slavery to freedom: Obama’s story is ours

By Dr Winston Pickett, January 22, 2009

As an American and as a Jew, I have many different reactions to Tuesday’s events in Washington. But they all, somehow, come together.

One of the core components of the Obama phenomenon is the way that America, and indeed much of the world, is caught up in the story of his personal ascent to the presidency. For me, Obama’s journey is compelling precisely because of the way it touches on a deeper narrative of redemption — not a specific, Christological redemption, but one that hearkens back to an earlier Biblical recension.


The Guardian just loves self-hating Jews

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, January 15, 2009

Last Saturday, the Guardian published a letter that compared Israel to the Nazis; described the Palestinian Authority as “Palestinian Quislings”; called on Britain to recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv; and supported a boycott of Israeli goods.

Before informing the readers that the images from Gaza “reminded” them “of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto”, the 78 signatories felt compelled to say: “We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin”, somehow establishing a connection between what they said (Israel = Nazi) and who they were (Jews).


Your new year bonus? Freedom

By Joe Joseph, January 15, 2009

You know that financial fiasco which hogged the headlines for much of last year, the one which involved various financial institutions pursuing investment strategies that were only a little more sophisticated than buying trillions of dollars’ worth of lottery tickets?


Will Obama’s inauguration respect all faiths?

By Marc Saperstein, January 14, 2009

Prayer plays an important role in American public life. Sessions of Congress begin with an invocation by a member of the clergy. Many graduation ceremonies of American universities are framed by an invocation and benediction — as are presidential inaugurations. The first inaugural invocations and benedictions were given by Protestant and Catholic clergy.


After justification we need justice

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, January 14, 2009

These past two weeks have been for me, and I imagine for most of us, among the most painful of our lives. We know what Israel is doing, and why. But the cost in human suffering has been immense. I believe we have all felt it. Israelis have felt it. This was not what any of us wanted. We weep that it has come to this.


It’s hard to be a Jew, especially in a recession

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2009

The harsh winds of recession have started to make an impact on the Jewish community. Donors have cut back pledges, synagogue bodies are laying off staff and one institution has already gone to the wall. MST College, in North-West London, which specialised in teacher training for strictly Orthodox schools, closed at the end of last month.

MST may not be the only casualty. Despite the falling Jewish population, the number of Jewish charities has been increasing at more than five per cent annually in the UK in recent years.


Don’t turn away — Jesus was ours

By Howard Jacobson, January 8, 2009

So Ahmadinejad — in his Christmas Day address to the British public — thinks Jesus would have been on his side. I have news for him. Jesus would no more have been on his side than the Holocaust never happened. Jesus was a patriotic Jew — not quite the freedom fighter Jews living under Roman occupation were hoping for but a prophet of the Jewish people, a devout believer in the Jewish God and stringent preacher of His law, a fierce ethical polemicist, a lover of peace but in so angry and ironic a spirit that it sometimes feels the opposite of peace.


Mason, Rotarian, Jew… Hamas wants you dead

By Denis MacShane, January 8, 2009

For all the coverage given by the media to events in Gaza, one crucial element has, mostly, been ignored: the Hamas Chater, adopted in 1988. To start at the beginning: it is one of the most antisemitic, Jew-hating political statements ever published.

It states: “Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by …the Arab and Islamic world.”


So Israel isn’t trendy this year

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 8, 2009

I mark the passing of the years by the reaction of secular folk to news of my holidaying in Israel. In the mid-1970s, school friends would be wide eyed at the exotic holidays taken by my family. In those days, travelling further than Spain was unheard of in my neck of the woods, so to fly to a tiny country in  the Middle East was the equivalent of back-packing in the Himalayas today.

In the ’80s, when I said I was going to Israel, university acquaintances eyed me accusingly as if I was a war criminal for even contemplating such a holiday destination. Tut tut.