His name was Hugo. It was one of those that never really needed a surname. Everybody knew him, it seemed. And everybody called him Hugo. And now, 20 years after his death and after a special service earlier this month in his old synagogue, it still resonates.
Individuality, singularity, our unique personhood is something most people take for granted. It is the psychological underpinning of our ideas of freedom and liberty. It is the basis for our understanding of responsibility and ethical and moral behaviour.
Q I’m 22. My family life has always revolved around food. It goes beyond Friday-night dinners and Shabbat lunches; all meals are a big thing in my house — especially since my mum is such an excellent cook. She takes genuine offence when I eat out. But while my mum likes to feed me, she also expects me to stay super slim, as she is, to fit into size 10 jeans (size 8 preferably).
Mum, it’s Oma on the phone,” called my 10-year-old son Alex.
“Is Oma your grandmother?” Trinny asked him, and without waiting for a reply, she charged up to the phone: “Hello Oma. This is Trinny,” she announced boldly. “I’m styling Nadine. She can’t speak. Bye.”
Wow, so direct. What was she going to make of my dull clothes?
This time last year Melissa Shooter was just a busy mum. Cook, cleaner, chauffeur to her four boys and little girl, she spent the day running around in her tracksuit and trainers, trying to complete her extensive “to-do” list.
When I was 21, I was cycling down the street in Cambridge when I got my skirt tangled up in my bicycle.
I'd never really bonded with the whole bicycle idea, being a profoundly uncoordinated person. But riding a bike in Cambridge was definitely the thing to do, so I'd reluctantly bought myself an antiquated model with a wicker basket on the front and three gears.
"#Refugees Welcome," reads the sign as you enter New North London Synagogue. Far from being a meaningless slogan, it's a core philosophy for Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who has led the UK's leading Masorti community for nearly 30 years and is at the forefront of those calling for Britain and Europe to do more to help people fleeing Syria.