Anthea Gerrie

Do they love bagels in the country? Dough!

By Anthea Gerrie, July 30, 2009

She may be the only Jew in the village. But that hasn’t stopped Elizabeth Weisberg creating a voracious appetite for challah, bagels and hamantaschen in the very English rural hinterland of East Sussex.

Many merely buy the ethnic goodies made at the Lighthouse Bakery from local food shops in Lewes, Winchelsea and Rye, but others shlep to the tucked-away hamlet of Bodiam to bake the bread themselves. Hundreds of gentiles, as well as Jews, it seems, have been driven to discover why you need to boil a bagel to get the authentic shine and chew, and how to plait a Shabbat loaf.

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FILM NOT TO MISS THIS WEEKEND ABOUT HOW A JEWISH WOMAN TRANSFORMED DANCING SCENE FOR LONDONERS BITTEN BY THE STRICTLY BUG

By Anthea Gerrie, July 11, 2009

Jenni Kravitz, who knows what women want out of a dance class - a man who knows all the moves to take them round the floor - is being honoured this weekend at the Notting Hill Film Festival.

London Tango, the headline feature, was filmed at her Simply Dancing Partners class in the Upper Berkeley Street shul hall. It shows how dancing has transformed the lives of many Londoners who like Jenni were
trapped for years in a dance-free zone for lack of a partner.

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USA: Sweet home Alabama

By Anthea Gerrie, May 14, 2009

They tell an interesting story at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple about a mitzvah a poor congregant performed in the days of slavery.

Too poor to own slaves himself, the congregant was so horrified by the sight of an African family about to be split up at the local slave auction, that he somehow mustered the wherewithal to buy the lot — then dispersed them among friends and family. That was philanthropy, southern-style.

When I reached Alabama myself in 1965 the slaves were free, but equality still seemed light years away.

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Bali is beautiful even away from the beaches

By Anthea Gerrie, March 19, 2009

If there could be a greater treat for the spirit than swinging gently in a hammock taking in the fragrant scents and exotic sounds of a warm Balinese night, it could only be having a clutch of wellness gurus waiting in the wings to tend to mind and body when a new day dawns.

Rural Bali is a healer’s dream of peace, stillness and beauty — think shimmering rice paddies, silent stone temples and exquisite little offerings of carved fruit and flowers set in trays outside every doorway.

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Israel's maverick king of the grapes

By Anthea Gerrie, March 5, 2009

He never studied wine-making, he broke all the rules about where to plant his grapes and he never had any ambition to make more than a few hundred bottles for friends and family. Yet against all the odds, Eli ben Zaken has become Israel’s most acclaimed wine-maker, with fans ranging from heads of state to our own television taster, Oz Clarke.

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New Orleans: All that, and there’s jazz, too

By Anthea Gerrie, February 26, 2009

This week I have missed one of the world’s greatest parties when New Orleans celebrated its 152nd mardi gras — but for once I don’t feel too deprived. It’s not just because I’ve experienced this sensational float-fest twice, rather that there’s so much more to this fascinating city than mardi gras and its gaudy green, gold and purple glitter.

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Why The J-Word is a talking point for our times

By Anthea Gerrie, February 16, 2009

It may not yet have been reviewed in this country, but Waterstones has a good reason for putting Andrew Sanger's novel "The J-Word" on a table in one of its north-west London branches labelled "Books people are talking about".

This new book, whose protagonists are three generations of males from the same family struggling with their Jewish identity, has particular resonance in light of the recent rise in anti-semitic incidents.

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Why New York is doing the vodka-queen diet

By Anthea Gerrie, January 29, 2009

For a nice Jewish girl, she is shockingly down on bread, bagels and cheesecake. But Esther Blum does recommend butter and chocolate, even to dieters, and is happy to share her recipe for the best vodka martini.

Sarah Jessica Parker reputedly follows this new-age nutritionist’s unconventional advice — which thrills 38-year-old Blum. The enviably trim New York mum says Carrie Bradshaw was a big inspiration for her Sex and the City-style diet book, which is currently attracting more hype than the new Dr Who.

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England: Postcards from the North

By Anthea Gerrie, January 29, 2009

Given that Morecambe has the ring of a seaside postcard about it, the image of a forlorn British resort that has seen better days, it is the last place you would expect millions to have been invested in a spectacular hotel aimed squarely at sophisticates.

Yet against all odds, the Midland, which once played host to the cream of British entertainers and socialites, has been restored from derelict shell to its former art deco splendour, and is pulling houses as full as those George Formby, Joe Loss and Alma Cogan once played to in the town’s Winter Gardens.

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Irresistible homes in Italy

By Anthea Gerrie, January 23, 2009

Luscious new homes are now being created from old stones in Italian sites of specific Jewish interest.

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Santa Monica: Welcome to the playground

By Anthea Gerrie, January 22, 2009

Just 40 years ago it was a rather dull suburb of Los Angeles where the main attractions were the beach, a British pub and a shop selling Marmite to homesick expats.

But as LA’s creative types began moving in, in the 1970s — to join the Brits who always knew they were on to a good thing — Santa Monica’s shopping, dining and entertainment offerings improved dramatically.

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Australia: Flights, camera, action

By Anthea Gerrie, January 8, 2009

Far more potently than any travel brochure, the vast sweeping landscapes of Baz Luhrmann’s new movie, Australia, are bound to fuel mid-winter dreams of a trip to that majestic land Down Under.

Bush fever, rather than a longing to see Sydney’s iconic skyline, is what this epic inspires, and who can blame the director for making his country’s rugged and dramatic open spaces the stars of this homage to his homeland?

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Join Spain’s green party

By Anthea Gerrie, December 18, 2008

Five hundred years after the golden age for Spanish Jewry
was brought to a brutal end by the Inquisition, it is touching
to find at least one long-gone community immortalised, albeit in pastry.  

In fact, many kinds of pastries and desserts are still being faithfully turned out according to centuries-old Sephardic recipes at La Tafona de Herminia, a bakery in the tiny town of Ribadavia which proudly identifies itself with a Magen David.

Ribadavia is a jewel in the crown of Galicia, a relatively undiscovered province of Spain in the extreme north-west corner of the country.   

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Scotland: Go west for whisky galore

By Anthea Gerrie, November 27, 2008

As if the west coast of Scotland, with its dramatic Highlands and romantic islands, needed any added incentive for visitors beyond its grandeur and beauty, it has recently been officially named the Whisky Coast, presumably to entice aficionados of the wee dram for which the country is even more famous than its lochs.

Many of the finest single malts are made in esoteric spots such as Islay and Kintyre, and distilleries - taking their lead from European wineries - are now laying on informative and entertaining tours.

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Anthea Gerrie in Budapest

By Anthea Gerrie, November 20, 2008

Budapest seduces with its beauty - a fairytale castle, ornate fin-de-siecle cafes, a gorgeous stretch of riverfront. And what heartening signs of Jewish life: an 80,000-strong community with more than 20 shuls and an annual festival of Jewish culture.

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Israel tourist boom biggest for 60 years

By Anthea Gerrie, November 13, 2008

Israel has enjoyed unprecedented tourism success this year, with a staggering three million international arrivals.

The figure, the highest in the 60 years since independence, presages a lucrative new source of prosperity for a country which saw foreign tourism dwindle to a near-standstill during the intifada.

Low-cost flights, the return of cruise ships to Haifa and what Rafi Shalev, new director of tourism in UK and Ireland for the Israel Government Tourist Office, calls the "football factor" have all been leading reasons.

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Brilliant Brooklyn beckons

By Anthea Gerrie, October 30, 2008

Sitting in a mikveh house with a rabbi discussing the finer points of Orthodox matrimonial law may not be an obvious thing to do on a shopping trip to New York, but as of this year, it is an interesting option.

The Lubavitch - who else - have eagerly embraced the establishment of a Jewish heritage trail in the city. Their own contribution is a guided tour of the Chasidic community of Brooklyn's Crown Heights, location for their own world headquarters and home to many other strictly Orthodox groups.

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London draws the art lovers

By Anthea Gerrie, October 23, 2008

Two blockbuster shows of rarely seen work by major Jewish artists provide a compelling reason to travel to the heart of London between now and Chanucah. That's not the familiar and easy-to-reach West End, but the ancient heart of the city, including a significant stretch south of the river which remains a mystery to many North Londoners, let alone out-of-towners. 

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Why a 9/11 widow went graphic with her grief

By Anthea Gerrie, September 19, 2008

Alissa Torres has suffered humiliation and despair since she lost her husband in the attack on the Twin Towers seven years ago. Writing a graphic novel has eased her pain


A psychic once told Alissa Torres she would one day become a writer, "but not in the way you might expect".

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How De Niro helped take Nobu to Israel

By Anthea Gerrie, August 7, 2008
Update: Since this story was published, Nobu have changed their plans.

The global restaurant empire - and the first Nobu Hotel - will open in the Middle East's St Tropez in 2010. We talk to the businessmen making it happen

The restaurant chain Nobu launched a hospitality division to incorporate a luxury hotel and apartments in May. The first of them is to open at Israel's Herzliya marina.

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