Through the centuries, in spite of their meagre numbers, Italian Jews have had a huge impact on Italian life and on Judaism as a whole. Currently, Italian Judaism is undergoing a transformation, fuelled partly by the influx of Jews from Arab countries over the past decades and a revival in the South where it had been virtually absent for hundreds of years.
If certain people had their way, Oliver Cromwell would be toppled à la the Baghdad statue of Saddam Hussein, Arthur "Bomber" Harris would be pushed off his pedestal and, if the new Rhodes Must Fall campaign launched by Oxford University students is successful, Cecil Rhodes will soon be chiselled off his perch at Oxford University's Oriel College.
It is slightly unnerving when beginning an interview to have the interviewee attempt to reverse the situation by suggesting it would be more interesting if he asked you questions instead. Perhaps I should have accepted the offer from self-styled "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach. It would at least have meant I got a word in edgeways.
I was born in London the year before the War broke out, and learned as a child that I was living through ''history''. My father helped put out the fires as the city was ''blitzkrieged'' and was later an anti-aircraft gunner on the coast.
… the unholy smell of bacon fills the air
At school it was always the returning day
after the December break, as those “what did
you get for Christmas” questions were bandied
round the upper deck of a schoolboy-crowded bus.
I’d respond as best I could, but Chanucah
could never hold a candle to all this.
Wladyslaw Anders was not dubbed ''The Polish Moses'' lightly. In 1941, the Polish general led his people out of slavery in Stalin's gulags to the "Promised Land" of Mandate Palestine. Catholic Poles celebrated Christmas 1942 in Bethlehem and 5,000 Polish Jews travelled with the army from the frozen wastes of the Arctic to the wartime streets of Tel Aviv.
How does a book come into being for a writer? My first book, an account of a mysterious death in a wildlife park in Kenya, was commissioned after I had covered the story as a journalist. My second novel, based on the history of my father's family, was inspired by the discovery of a manuscript written by my great uncle, though the way to write it came to me on a walk on Hampstead Heath.
'The festival will always reflect the taste of its director," Lucy Silver boldly asserts. Now in her second year of directing Jewish Book Week - the 2016 programme for which has just been released - she can draw on a breadth of interests that offers a clue to JBW's continuing success.