The Simon Round interview

Interview: Bradley Reback

By Simon Round, November 11, 2010

We may be living through an era of savage cuts and austerity, but not everyone is tightening their belts. Millionaire former care-homeowner Bradley Reback has been busy putting money back into the community.

More..

Interview: Rabbi Lionel Blue

By Simon Round, November 4, 2010

There are not many rabbis whose transformative experience occurred at a gay sauna in Amsterdam. However, there are very few rabbis like Lionel Blue.

Blue, known as the gently avuncular voice of Radio 4's Thought For the Day, was the first British rabbi to come out publicly as gay. His gayness has presented him with religious and emotional challenges but also has enabled him to establish his own religious philosophy, which he has shared with Radio 4 listeners and now with readers in the form of a new book, The Godseeker's Guide.

More..

Interview: Joan Rivers

October 29, 2010

Joan Rivers stands on-stage in a concert hall in the wilds of Wisconsin, regaling a packed audience with her trademark brand of edgy humour. Suddenly a man complains in a loud voice about a gag she has made on the subject of deafness. He announces he is walking out. Rivers, visibly shaken, subjects him to a volley of invective as he leaves the auditorium.

More..

Interview: Yehuda Avner

By Simon Round, October 21, 2010

Among his many talents, Yehuda Avner was always good at taking notes. As adviser and speech-writer to five Israeli Prime Ministers there was a lot to take down - there were the discussions about policy, meetings with great statesmen and all those jocular off-the-record comments.

More..

Interview: James Inverne

By Simon Round, September 28, 2010

On the face of it, James Inverne would not seem to have a huge amount in common with Simon Cowell. Inverne is, after all, not a showbusiness impresario but rather a classical music journalist who is much more enthusiastic about Berlioz than boy bands.

More..

Interview: Sufian Abu Zaida

By Simon Round, September 21, 2010

The history of peace negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians does not inspire a huge amount of confidence that the present talks will lead to agreement. However, there are those on both sides who continue to hope, if not believe, that this time an agreement will be reached.

More..

Interview: Gideon Levy

By Simon Round, September 16, 2010

Gideon Levy has no illusions about how he is perceived in the mainstream Jewish world. The veteran Ha'aretz journalist is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza, and has been for 25 years. The fact that he has promoted his new book, The Punishment of Gaza, at a series of events organised by pro-Palestinian groups, has not endeared him to Zionist groups here, and he has been called "a propagandist for Hamas" by right wingers at home in Israel.

More..

Interview: Josef Levinson

By Simon Round, September 7, 2010

I am sitting in the Central Synagogue in London sipping tea, hoping that I will get a chance to speak to Josef Levinson. Levinson is 93 years old and exhausted after his flight from Vilnius. He has an ongoing high blood pressure problem and has apparently had a bad night. His son Alex, a tall, square-jawed man with a booming voice, tells me that his father has been having doubts about whether to talk to the newspapers.

More..

Interview: Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley

By Simon Round, July 28, 2010

Look at Britain's Jews from the outside and you will see a shining success story. An influx of poverty-stricken refugees a century ago has evolved into a middle-class community with superb educational facilities, vibrant cultural life and outstanding achievement in many fields.

More..

Interview: Tim Samuels

By Simon Round, July 15, 2010

Tim Samuels is famous for his stunts. The pensioner's choir that he assembled, named The Zimmers, topped the YouTube charts. He invaded Trafalgar Square with a platoon of disgruntled ex-soldiers, and organised a guerrilla clean-up of dirty hospitals by MRSA victims. He also drove a car bedecked with England football regalia through Scotland during the 2006 World Cup only to have it trashed outside the Celtic stadium.

More..