NWJew

Our family broiges — at least we’re talking

By NWJew, August 13, 2009

A wonderful thing happened. I recently re-established contact with a part of my family generations after a disputed will split three siblings forever. One went to Israel, another to America, and the third remained in the East End of London.

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Crumbs! I was banned from the bakery

By NWJew, July 16, 2009

I was once banned from the bread shop. It was a few years ago so my conviction is now spent and I can talk about it without risking my reputation as an upstanding member of the Jewish community.

When I was a teenager I would go to pubs with friends, some of whom may not have been Jewish. One was banned from the local where we liked to play pool. He had drunk a fair bit more than he needed and started a fight with someone about something insignificant.

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That Julie Burchill.

By NWJew, July 3, 2009

I know it's old news but I've been busy and it's been bugging me and I don't know why.

The JC editorial begging Julie Burchill not to convert provided some comfort with a plausible reason for JB not to go through with it. We need more non-Jews supporting us in public, so let's try to keep those mouthy Jew loving gentiles as they are - gentiles.

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The daily ritual that binds me to my faith

By NWJew, June 17, 2009

"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a frontlet between your eyes.”

Actually, I’ve never been totally convinced that the Almighty really did intend us to take a series of lines from the Torah, put them into funny little square boxes with long strips of leather attached, and then to put them on every morning to pray — but I’m glad I do it nonetheless. And what about winding the strap round your forearm seven times, but without counting?

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Please, not Miliband.

By NWJew, June 4, 2009

Well, it looks like there's a distinct possibility that there's a chance that maybe, just maybe, Gordon Brown will be forced to consider stepping down.

And if all those maybe, might, possiblies happen then who will take his place as the Leader of the Opposition Elect? Please let it not be the member for South Shields. If there's one thing more difficult to cope with that a Jew in a position of such political seniority, then it's a lapsed Jew.

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Simcha of the Week

By NWJew, May 25, 2009

I've been busy recently and haven't had time to write my blog. However I was round at my sister's recently and happened to see, lying open, my nephew Joel's diary. Here's what he wrote about his barmitzvah.

My b’mitzvuh was brill. I can’t tell you how many amazing presents I received, but it wasn’t just about the gifts, the parties were fantastic too.

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An Interview with Geoffrey Cohen of Jewdas

By NWJew, March 25, 2009

Some call him elusive while others, well others don’t call him anything really. It's true that Geoffrey Cohen is not an easy person to track down but that's mainly because he's not very good with email addresses.

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Building My Own Mishkan

By NWJew, March 1, 2009

So inspired was I by last week’s Torah portion that I decided to build my own tabernacle. Well, when I say inspired, what I really mean is confused. Reading the text, it is virtually impossible to understand the instructions to make, let’s face it, a few bits of simple furniture. For the first time I appreciated those wordless IKEA instructions that at least allow one to believe they are succeeding in building whatever useless object it is they have queued for 3 days to purchase.

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Israel Unconfounded As Nobody Wins Election.

By NWJew, February 13, 2009

Jerusalem

It was business as usual yesterday in Israel as people came to terms with the idea that once again, nobody had won the election.

Asher Bloch, who likes to fly powerkites on the beach in Netanya while wearing nothing but a deep tan and skimpy swimming trunks said “We prefer it when people lose elections, not win. If they win they can tell the rest of us what to do. Israeli’s don’t like to be told what to do by anyone so we try to make sure they all lose”.

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Choosing the type of Jew you don't want to be.

By NWJew, February 5, 2009

A friend was thinking about converting to Judaism so I decided to offer her some advice given how important such a step is. “After all”, I explained rather pompously, “we don’t make it difficult to convert for the sheer fun of it, we make it difficult in order to preserve the integrity of the faith.

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No cause for alarm

By NWJew, January 25, 2009

So what would you do? Your kid’s at a Jewish school. They, quite rightly, have regular emergency drill practices, often without prior notification, including lock-downs to simulate responding to an attempt to gain unauthorised entry to the building. Only this time they sent text messages the parents saying “we have an emergency situation at the school. Please don’t attempt to get to the school” (or words to that effect). The thing is, if such a thing happened for real, should they send such a message to parents?

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My Wedding Nightmare

By NWJew, January 11, 2009

I went to a non-Jewish wedding. It was a nightmare. If you’ve ever seen the Martin Scorsese movie “After Hours” you’ll have some idea of what I'm talking about.

This wedding was in a place called The Countryside. I don’t know exactly where that is. It doesn’t matter really. All I know is that there are no Jews there. It was midwinter, and we had been invited to the reception only, the church being too small to accommodate everyone. That suited us just fine. It’s cold enough in the winter, but even colder inside a church, strangely.

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Ken Livingstone the History Man

By NWJew, January 4, 2009

Reiterating a notion put forward by musician Brian Eno on Friday at the demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy, Ken Livingstone announced "This (Gaza) is a ghetto, in exactly the same way that the Warsaw Ghetto was and people are trapped in it. Under those conditions angry young men will take up arms".

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Limmud is soooooo nice.

By NWJew, December 28, 2008

And so we come once again to the highlight of the Jewish year; Limmud, or as I call it, camp for grown-ups. Well why not? Every summer the children go off at great expense to be with hundreds of other Jews, so why shouldn’t the adults do the same?

I’ve decided to stay away this year.

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Festive Puddings

By NWJew, December 19, 2008

Now I’ve seen it all. The bread shop, under Kedassia supervision no less, is selling “festive puddings”. “Festive puddings”! You know what?

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Look what they done to my song, Ma!

By NWJew, December 14, 2008

Before you read this piece, I want it to be known that I do not watch The X Factor. I watched the closing stages of it last night, but only because I had been told that one of my favourite songs was to be sung by the finalists. The song is Hallelujah, a Leonard Cohen composition. It is beautiful and moving. More than anything, it is imbued with Judaism.

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A Bluffer’s Guide to the Shul Service

By NWJew, November 23, 2008

Worried about looking like a lemon in shul?
Finding the shul service impossible to follow?

Many people suffer from what is known in religious circles as “Mainstream Judaism”. No need to worry, however. Our team of spiritual healers have devised a cure and we are making it available to you exclusively today. Please pass it on to anyone you know who may be suffering in silence.

“Shul Rules” is your ten step guide to synagogue confidence:

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The O2 Minyan

By NWJew, November 16, 2008

There comes a point in life when a Jew starts to like Leonard Cohen. It’s not the music, you understand, it’s the name. It’s the fact that there’s this Jewish guy who’s a successful singer, a pop singer, noch, (OK, borderline pop), who didn’t give himself a new name. If Leonard Cohen were Bob Dylan he’d be calling himself Robert Zimmerman. Not only that, he’d be OK with his Judaism. OK, so Cohen plays around with Buddhism but that doesn’t count does it? It’s not like he’s converted.

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Hagbah is the worst honour

By NWJew, November 9, 2008

I had it all worked out so nicely.

Having pledged to myself at Yom Kippur that I would go to shul every Shabbat from now on (except when I’m on holiday, obviously), this week I was faced with my first challenge; a 12.45 kick-off at the Emirates, and against Man United. Not a match to miss. The rest of the games I can usually take or leave, but since they generally start at 3pm, there’s no conflict with shul. In the winter, with a 5pm kick-off there isn’t even a conflict with Shabbat. Those anti-semites at the Sky TV knew exactly what they were doing when they set this fixture.

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