NW Jew: This kosher-style trend is hard to swallow

By NWJew, November 30, 2012

Last weekend I was once again obliged to attend the barmitzvah of some child I had never met. Happily it was the great nephew of my dear friend Moshe, so at least I had someone to whom I could complain about the catering.


Intolerance begins at home

By NWJew, January 4, 2012

I’m not proud of the divisions in our community. It’s clear to me that we are happier arguing with each other than working together, and given the increased noise from those who would criticise Jews from without, this seems to me a terrible shame.


Passover is Finally Over

By NWJew, August 23, 2011

Passover is finally over. The more religiously observant amongst you may find this a rather unusual statement to make in the middle of August, but this week I finally found the pizza cutter languishing at the back of a kitchen drawer where we throw all those daft things and tape up for the week of affliction.


There must be a JAP for that.

By NWJew, May 31, 2011

I bought an iPhone although I have no need of one. The few emails I receive are rarely urgent and there’s never any pressing requirement to access the internet when I’m out and about. No, I bought the iPhone because my friend Moishe bought one and I knew I’d never hear the end of how marvellous it was until I also had one. Moishe loves to show off whatever he has that you don’t.


My Week at Limmud

By NWJew, January 4, 2011

Well, it's been a few days since Limmud ended and I've just managed to get my digestive system back to normal. Don't get me wrong - the catering team did a fantastic job making sure we were all well fed, it's just that, well, there's a lot of bread isn't there? Athletes preparing for a major championship could have done a lot worse that to come to Limmud for some carbon loading.


Schochet Horror! Yitzchak to attend Limmud?

By NWJew, November 29, 2010

Dear old Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet. He's so obsessed with his own importance that he can no longer stand the thought of thousands of Jews all being together just up the motorway from Mill Hill without him. His latest shul blog entry is entitled "The End of the Limmud Controversy" http://www.shul.co.uk/readArticle.php?article=83 and it reminds us of how he thinks he was at the centre of a storm about Orthodox Rabbis attending Limmud some years ago, but that he's willing to forgive Limmud now that it has returned to its original values of orthodox teaching.


Ed Miliband

By NWJew, September 27, 2010

When it comes to the next general election the right-wing press will no doubt, in their typically subtle way, ensure the nation is fully aware that there is a very real danger that a Jew will be running the country should Labour win. What a pity that his level of engagement is non-existent. At least if a Jewboy is to be vilified it might as well be a Jewboy who is OK being a Jew.


An obscure religion

By NWJew, September 26, 2010

An anthropologist friend of mine was telling me about an intriguing religious group that has been quietly performing its strange rituals for thousands of years, the most peculiar of which takes place during the autumn. It is a harvest related worship ceremony and my friend witnessed it here in London just a few days ago.

The first part of the ritual is a kind of journey where the people of the sect leave their homes and set up a temporary camp. This is not a long journey, in fact the camp is positioned no more than a few feet of their permanent home.


Why Israel Came 14th with 71 points in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010.

By NWJew, June 1, 2010

I realise I’ve chosen a somewhat geeky title for this piece. That’s because this is a somewhat geeky piece. The statistical nerd in me was let out for a rare opportunity to play around following Saturday night’s Eurovision Song Contest, the 55th such contest, in case you’re interested.


How Kosher are You?

By NWJew, May 2, 2010

Our rabbi and “teacher” ascended the pulpit to give his sermon last Shabbat. “Sermon”, in the singular, is the significant word here. It’s the same sermon week after week the message of which is “You don’t keep a kosher enough home”. As a teacher he’s certainly teaching us about kosher homes, that’s for sure.

I know he’s looking at me when he’s talking. I’m aware that stabbing a meaty knife five times into a plant pot does not necessarily render it clean after accidentally using it to spread butter, but at least I own separate sets of cutlery.


A Passover Story

By NWJew, March 31, 2010

Eventually the Pharaoh relented when he saw the lifeless body of his first-born son. “Go.” he ordered Moses, tears streaming down his face, “Take your people and leave this land”.

“Right,” said Moses, somewhat lost for words. “Thanks. Come on Aaron, we'd better tell them before the bugger changes his mind”.


Fame at last, without the fame

By NWJew, March 25, 2010

I received one of those annoying joke emails today. They’re usually more of an irritating distraction than an amusing diversion. This one had come from a very close friend and, unusually, I enjoyed reading it immensely. It looked as if it had come from America but it hadn’t.

It was one of my own JC pieces and it had been picked up somewhere, probably the JC website, and was now floating around in the internet ocean like a great big oil slick. No wonder I enjoyed reading it, I later mused.


The shameful divisions within Anglo-Jewry

By NWJew, March 23, 2010

Today I’d like to talk about what is without doubt the most bitter conflict to have arisen within our community in living memory. I refer of course to the case of Tottenham v Arsenal. This fundamental division has existed for almost as long as there have been Jews living in London although for much of that time the two managed to co-exist in an uneasy but stable truce.

This all changed recently, and I can reveal that my very own synagogue was in the eye of the storm.


A Guide to Orthodox Weddings.

By NWJew, February 23, 2010

I’ve attended a Hindu Annaprashan, a Catholic wake and even a Zoroastrian Navjote ceremony. However, none of these events left me feeling quite as much an outsider as the ultra-orthodox Jewish wedding I attended recently.

At a non-Jewish function I can get away with making mistakes. If I do I’ll be politely guided in the right direction, usually the bar, but with Jews I feel I should know better, and I don’t.

Here follows what advice I can offer based on my limited experience.


New Incentives announced for those making aliyah

By NWJew, February 18, 2010

The Israeli Government has announced a new scheme aimed at encouraging diaspora Jews to take up their "right to return" and emigrate to Israel.

Minister for Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, announced the incentives this week saying:


My wife has a drink problem.

By NWJew, February 7, 2010

She has a drink problem and I don't know what to do about it.


Doctor, I have a problem. You.

By NWJew, February 2, 2010

Like most middle-aged Jewish men I am forever worrying about illness and disease. Unlike the others, however, I really am dying of this stuff. Those lightweight kvetchers I have to listen to in shul with their aches and pains, oy gevulting every time they stand up or sit down, have no idea what it’s like to be under constant threat of falling off the twig the way I am.


Learn Yiddish with Amy Winehouse

By NWJew, January 31, 2010

You can't move in London for Jewish education these days. On every corner in the Jewish neighbourhoods shops have been turned into learning centres. Every shul runs evening study programmes and there's even a Friday morning chevruta in the bakery. Actually, that's not true, it's just the same man arguing with the proprietor about the price of challah week after week.


TV anti-semites.

By NWJew, December 14, 2009

Stacey Solomon fails to reach the final of ITV's X Factor and not a single Jew wins an award on BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.

Do they really think we haven't noticed?


At our AGM, we're making big decisions about biscuits

By NWJew, September 17, 2009

I’m not going to pretend that our synagogue annual general meetings are the friendly, supportive events that the rabbi hopes for, in vain, each year. However, he ought at least to be relieved that only a tiny fraction of the membership bother to turn up for this ancient and honoured ritual, often referred to as “bashing the lay leadership and taking a barely concealed sideswipe at the spiritual leader while you’re at it”.

I suspect that my shul is similar to yours and that the following portraits of AGM stalwarts will be familiar.