Provocative but profound

By Norman Lebrecht, October 7, 2011

It is always a good sign when a new opera divides opinion straight down the middle. Opera is an inflammatory art, an assault on all the senses.


From antisemite to Zionist

By Kasim Hafeez, October 7, 2011

In 2003, Pakistan's then President Pervez Musharaff sought to re-examine his country's relationship, or lack thereof, with Israel. He asked: "Do we have to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves?"

With their new "Liberation" campaign, it seems that the Union Of Jewish Students has decided to answer that question with a resounding "yes".


The damaging oil in your kosher food

By Rabbi Neil Amswych, October 6, 2011

The palm is popular with Jews during Succot. Yet enviromentally-damaging palm oil is used in one-in-10 household products, from food to cosmetics. It is particularly evident in kosher foods.

While a weak case could be made that palm oil production fulfils the mitzvah of not being wasteful by being an incredibly efficient producer of oil, it is environmentally catastrophic.


Schools with no library for people of the book?

By Keren David, October 6, 2011

Mazaltov to King David High School in Liverpool as it settles into its new £25m building. Last week in the JC, the head and governors were showing off glossy classrooms, dazzling whiteboards and many, many computer screens.

However one sentence made me choke on my breakfast and - assuming my family were to move to Liverpool – vow that no child of mine would ever attend King David.


A tawdry Holocaust opera

By Stephen Pollard, October 3, 2011

I have good news for James Inverne.

On this page last week, James highlighted the regularity with which arts events of specific interest to Jews are scheduled for days when no remotely observant Jew can attend.

The latest example is The Passenger, the much-hyped opera set in Auschwitz, which lay unperformed on stage from its composition by Mieczyslaw Weinberg in 1967 until last year.


We have to work together

By Vivian Wineman, October 3, 2011

As the Jewish community in Britain takes stock before the New Year, we can say with Charles Dickens that these are the best of times and the worst of times. In some ways our community has never been so fortunate. Jews enjoy prominence in the media, business, academe, the law, medicine and the professions generally and do so while being openly Jewish.


The latest intellectual detail

By Denis MacShane, October 3, 2011

Kiev: The Sunday afternoon sun shines down on the ravine at Babi Yar. Seventy years ago on 29 September 1941, 33,000 Jews were killed in one day. 100,000 were shot at Babi Yar, the biggest single killing in what is known as the "Shoah by Bullets". Now MPs from different countries assemble to ensure that Babi Yar is not forgotten.


Can the Shoah ever be art?

By James Inverne, September 28, 2011

Sitting down to write my review for Gramophone of Weinberg's The Passenger at the English National Opera, I struggled. How should I start? What criteria should I adopt? Here was a Holocaust opera by a Jew who had escaped the Shoah only for its furnace to consume his parents and sister. Should I even presume to review it?


October's queue starts here

By Simon Round, September 28, 2011

In this country we are famous for a few things - our royal family, our dismal weather and some of the world's blandest food. But perhaps the thing which most characterises us in the eyes of the rest of the world is our proclivity to stand in line and wait for stuff.


Keep outrage in proportion

By Jennifer Lipman, September 28, 2011

At primary school I would occasionally fake some life-threatening illness or other to encourage my teachers to send me to the nurse. Usually, this was an attempt to avoid the dreaded weekly choir sessions where, as a tone-deaf eight-year-old, I would invariably be told to mime anyway.