The production of The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London is going to be a tense affair, and not just because Shylock is determined to get his pound of flesh. As Israel’s Habima theatre company prepares its contribution to the international Globe-to-Globe Shakespeare festival, anti-Israel protesters are preparing to stop the show.
As Londoners and West End tourists are all too aware, Leicester Square has been having a facelift. This week the hoardings will finally come down and the square, unveiled by London mayor Boris Johnson, will take on its new role as "the entertainment gateway to the West End".
In many ways, it was the trip I never thought I’d take. Like a lot of Jewish people, my knowledge of the Holocaust came from books, films and documentaries, as well as encounters with survivors. But the death of my mother Millie three years ago suddenly brought my family history to the fore and I found myself discussing it with my son Robert, who has always wanted to trace our heritage.
Since football is tribal our allegiance for the 1999 European Cup final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich was clear. I was an Arsenal fan and my Israeli friend supported Liverpool, so we were both cheering the Bavarians.
Only my friend's daughter was puzzled: "Daddy, why do we want the Germans to win?" He thought for a moment: "For Jewish reasons!"
Seldom do children grow up in the care of their parents while inside an orphanage. Such, however, was the unusual upbringing my elder brother Charles and I received when, in 1951, at the respective ages of six and four, we moved with our parents into an apartment in an imposing red-bricked Victorian building in south London that was home to 200 less fortunate Jewish children.
Jewish charity leaders will be keeping a close eye on Chancellor George Osborne. Even before a growing political backlash forced the government to reconsider its controversial proposal to cut tax relief for big donors, the Jewish Leadership Council had sounded the alarm.
At 8.15am on April 12 1942, Sergeant Maxwell Addess and his observer, Sergeant B.A.T. Lane took off from North Coates airfield in Lincolnshire on a reconnaissance mission over the coast of Holland. 236 Squadron, to which Max belonged, was tasked primarily with shipping reconnaissance and escort duties. In some ways, this was just a routine mission.
One of the most salutary effects of ageing is the realisation that the advancing years do not necessarily bring wisdom or emotional maturity. When something goes wrong, you still look for somebody else to blame. If you break a vase, you curse whoever left it in your way, and any motoring mishap is inevitably the other driver's fault.