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Chasidim, comedy and a chat

By David Robson, March 5, 2012

For someone like me, who never gets invited to simchas and doesn't always see enough of my fellow semites, this has been a month of plenty - plenty of Jews. In places unlikely and likely. One afternoon in London's Kensington High Street (not normally to be mistaken for a shtetl) there are maybe a hundred Chasidim protesting about the suppression of "religious freedom" in Israel.

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Wanted: more strong women

By Lynne Featherstone, March 5, 2012

If you're reading this in a café, take a quick look around. If you're at home near a busy street, glance out the window. Chances are you'll see a fairly even mix of men and women - but, once you get to the boardroom or walk the corridors of power, all that changes.

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Oligarchs and olim: Russian Jews today

By Lawrence Joffe, March 2, 2012

Peering from behind bars, his hair shorn to prison regulation length, Mikhail Khodorkovsky maintains a quiet dignity. Once the richest man in Russia and head of the Yukos oil conglomerate, he has become Russia's most famous political prisoner and a thorn in Vladimir Putin's side.

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Arkush was driven by passion, not cynicism

By Alex Brummer, March 1, 2012

First, a confession: I was not present when Jonathan Arkush delivered his excoriating critique of the JLC. After sitting through a couple of hours of procedural gobbledegook about votes for the under-35s, it seemed to me time to return to my day job.

But unlike other BoD members, I did have exclusive access to Mr Arkush as we sat next to each other on a flight to Israel.

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Israel advocacy is strong, but we need your help to carry on

By Lorna Fitzsimons, March 1, 2012

After five years at Bicom I have the chance to take stock. I believe Israel advocacy is now much stronger in the UK and better serves the community and Israel.

Before Bicom, my sole exposure to pro-Israel advocacy had been the Union of Jewish Students when I was at the National Union of Students, and Labour Friends of Israel when I was an MP. Both were, and are simply brilliant.

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Book Week - electrifying, but please not electronic

By Gerald Jacobs, March 1, 2012

Will there come a time when the only readily available copies of new books, including all prayer books and even the Bible, will be electronic? Are the People of the Book destined to become the People of the eBook?

For many twitterati and "kindlelach", this is a cyber consummation devoutly to be wished - certainly outside the liturgical sphere.

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Help us keep Herzl's dream alive

By Dan Levene and Dan Arenson, February 27, 2012

'I will not concede that the Jewish commonwealth I wish to found will be small, orthodox and illiberal", wrote Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, in a letter to Lord Rothschild. "After all, we don't want a Boer state, but a Venice".

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Yes, things really have got better

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, February 27, 2012

Nostalgia. The sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. My life at the moment is giving me pause for nostalgic thought but, as in the words of American writer Peter de Vries, "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

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When art makes light of reality

By Jennifer Lipman, February 27, 2012

When I was eight, I read Little Women. As one of four sisters, there was never a chance that I wouldn't fall in love with Louisa May Alcott's dynamic and passionate heroines. But after I'd shivered as Amy survived a near-death experience, felt the heartache when Jo's story went up in flames and cried when Beth died (in the sequel), I went to the encyclopedia.

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The morality tales behind this year's Oscar nominees

By Rabbi Marvin Hier, February 23, 2012

As a young boy growing up on New York's Lower East Side, my life was confined to a very small area. It consisted of the yeshivah I attended on Henry Street and the shul on Columbia Street where I prayed with my father. Just a few blocks away, there was another world, the New Delancey and Palestine theatres.

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