Tel Aviv was founded on the second day of Passover, 1909. A crowd famously gathered on the dunes on April 11 and dreamed of the rise of an ir metropolinit — a modern Hebrew metropolis.
The new white city, inhabited by “the new Jew”, was established to be as far removed from the religiosity and squalor of Jerusalem as possible. It will therefore come as a surprise that one of its founders was Zerach Barnett, a strictly Orthodox Jew from London’s East End.
When Adam Ganz was a boy growing up in Oxford, all his friends would speak of what their dads had done in the war. It occurred to Ganz that he had no idea what his own father had done.
It was only many years later that he discovered his father, Peter, had been involved in a remarkable, top-secret operation in which hidden listening devices were used to eavesdrop on the conversations of the captured German generals housed in a mansion at Trent Park in Cockfosters, north London.
A rabbi in Gaza is not a common sight. The last time, to my knowledge, was in the 17th century. His name was Nathan of Gaza and he was waiting for the messiah.
On the Palestinian side of the improvised border checkpoint, the man wearing a kippah is causing a bit of a sensation. The Hamas police officers, five men crammed in a booth made of corrugated iron, are confused. They call their commander on the telephone, and he arrives an hour later. Four cars teeming with armed men stop in a cacophony of honking horns and screeching tyres.
Celebrity chefs are fervent in the belief that anyone — even the most culinary illiterate — can be taught to cook and serve food to a high standard. This week’s episode of The Apprentice proved that the gastronomes may have got that one wrong.
The task was to prepare meals for corporate clients. It sounded like the programme had suddenly morphed into MasterChef, but there were two fundamental aspects of business being tested here — the ability to provide impeccable customer service, and the ability to keep control over costs.
In 1996, Michael Greenberg’s 15-year-old daughter was, as he puts it, “struck mad”. “All the time Sally was hospitalised I could only sleep in 45 minute catnaps,” he recalls. “My hair went grey that summer.” Doctors diagnosed Sally’s condition as bi-polar 1, but Greenberg, a novelist from New York, expressly uses the word “madness” to describe her condition.
After a long career in the media spotlight of Premiership football, one would imagine that spending a quiet Sunday morning watching your son play a junior game in the park would be the perfect antidote to the intense pressure of the professional game. This is not the case, however, for former internationals Chris Sutton and Graeme Souness, who have both, in the past week, made headlines for using foul language to abuse referees at junior games involving their sons.
When 18-year-old Jilla Youseffi said goodbye to her parents one morning in early 1979, she had no idea whether she would ever see them again. Youseffi was leaving her home in a well-heeled suburb of Tehran for the last time, heading for a new life in Britain where she would be safe from persecution by Islamic fundamentalists.
If ever a man had the ability to polarise opinion in the Jewish world, it is Abraham Foxman, the instantly identifiable and famously histrionic director of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, who has a justifiably fiery reputation. There is only one Foxman. Those who know him, even only slightly, nod knowingly when they hear I am to speak to him.
He was a New York gangster, a “goodfella” who spent his life dodging the law. But Louis Ferrante — aka Big Lou — is pleased he wound up in a maximum security prison.
Because that is how he found Judaism.
The 39-year-old Italian-American, whose thick accent irresistibly brings to mind Tony Soprano, was a member of the Gambino organisation, working for one of America’s most ruthless crime families. He was heavily involved in racketeering and fraud, activities that from time to time required brutal violence.
We sometimes take oranges for granted. They sit in the fruit bowl neglected in favour of a juicy peach or a bunch of grapes, and yet, now, like all citrus, they are at their seasonal best and good value.
The orange (Citrus Sinensis) probably originated in China and evidence of its existence dates from 2500 BCE. But it was a wild plant and its fruits would have been very sour. For thousands of years, oranges seem to have been enjoyed solely by the Chinese.