Fourteen years ago, on January 20 1998, Chaim Bermant — still the most celebrated of all JC writers — died suddenly, a month short of his 69th birthday. This was a death that not only brought grief to his family and close friends but one that delivered a blow to an entire community.
Saturday September 8 1962
“Today is my 10th birthday and Daddy and I drove to Coney Island together. It was just him and me and we went on all the scary rides. We rode the horses on the Steeplechase, did the parachute jump, went up on the Wonder Wheel and the rollercoaster, and we had Nathan’s hot dogs. We just had the greatest time ever.”
A lone with two small sons in Ramat Gan, after my husband was called up in the Lebanon war in 1982, I had never felt more isolated. The invasion, officially named Operation Peace for Galilee, had been triggered by the assassination attempt in London on the Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov.
If you feel like watching a feature film by a British Jewish film-maker there is plenty of choice — you could watch one of the many movies made by Mike Leigh, John Schlesinger, Michael Winner or several other directors of note. But should you wish to see films featuring British Jewish characters or with a Jewish theme, there is considerably less choice.
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.