At a glance, it could have been any other Passover Seder. We guzzled wine and grape juice, dipped lettuce in salt water, sang Dayenu with out-of-tune gusto, and made incessant inquiries about when the food was coming out (that last one was possibly just me). But, despite all the traditional elements, this Seder night was different from all other Seder nights.
It is hard to know what to expect when you meet a spiritual healer. I envisaged rainbow-coloured robes and an odd hat. Suffice to say: someone a bit batty. So I was taken aback by the normal, affable-looking man in chinos and a blazer who greeted me at High Barnet tube station.
On Yom Hashoah, communities across the world remember the six million Jewish lives lost at the hands of Hitler's Nazi regime. Here, Zigi Shipper tells the JC why it took him more than 50 years to share his own experiences, while his daughter Michelle Richman and grandson Darren Richman explain the effect his story has had on their family.
Q When I separated after a long marriage, everyone told me how hard it would be as a divorced Jewish dad, but I didn’t believe them. I should have known better! I’ve lost touch with people I’ve been friends with for 20 years. I rarely get invited out for Shabbat meals as it’s always the women who arrange the diaries.
When Gena Turgel was liberated from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945, I am sure that she would have found it hard to believe that she would get married, have children and make a life for herself here in Britain.
One of the most shocking documents on display at Yad Vashem is a typed list prepared by Adolf Eichmann for the Wannsee conference held in January 1942. That meeting sealed the fate of Europe's Jews, and Eichmann's research gave a breakdown, country-by-country, of the estimated 11 million Jews on the continent.
The pews were filled to the gunnels and the galleries full of women in fine, wide brimmed hats. The temporary benches in front of the exquisitely carved wooden Aron Kodesh were crowded with youngsters, the awkwardly attired, once-a-year shul-goers, and the bookies and hucksters in loud, checked suits - characters straight out of Graham Greene.
Q I am worried about my only daughter. She is funny, outgoing and has always had lots of friends. I never doubted that she would get married and have children, but she's now in her 40s and this hasn't happened. In fact, she hasn't had a serious relationship since her 20s. I would really like to talk to her about this but don't want to come across as a typical Jewish mother.
Lloyd Dorfman never had a long-term plan. By his own admission, he "just did" and things came through. Now worth an estimated £550 million, it is an attitude that obviously paid off for the self-made businessman and philanthropist.