My Jewish Moments: Annabel Karmel

September 22, 2009
Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel is a food writer and author

Most significant Jewish moment?

I lost my first child Natasha at the age of 13 weeks. Although she was born healthy, she died from a viral infection that caused encephalitis and she died in my arms. It was devastating. Jonathan Sacks gave a speech at her funeral and he said that every year God takes a number of innocent souls to be at his side and that was where Natasha had gone. It was a bleak time for me having all the joys of motherhood and then losing my child, but this gave me some comfort. God was good to me as one year later I gave birth to a son.

Which biblical character would you like to meet, and why?

Miriam, who stands head and shoulders above most other biblical characters. Her role as a leader is more sharply delineated and mentioned equally with Moses and Aaron as leading the Israelites out of Egypt Even in her early life, she showed great faith and cunning when she launched her brother in the Nile. I would like to ask her how she devised such a plan, risking a dangerous outcome.

Favourite mitzvah?

I try to help children whenever I can. I think my favourite mitzvah was when I organised a concert where my children played to raise money for One Family— a charity supporting victims of suicide bombers and other atrocities.

Israel for me is…

I visited Auschwitz a few years ago and having seen where so many Jewish people lost their lives, Israel is important to me not only as a beautiful country that I am proud of but also as a refuge for Jews from all over the world.

Last time you went to synagogue?

My last visit to synagogue was for a family wedding. I don’t go to synagogue every Saturday, but I do go on High Holy Days.

Favourite Jewish book?

Art Spiegelman’s Maus which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. This is the epic story of Vladek Spiegelman a Polish, Jewish survivor of Auschwiz and Dachau depicted in cartoons by his son. The Jews are depicted as mice and the Nazis as cats. It shows how Vladek survived against all the odds, coming to terms with his first son’s death and his wife’s suicide.

Last updated: 3:45pm, September 22 2009