Tracy-Ann Oberman

Kosher television takeover

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, December 10, 2010

The end of the year is upon us. The secular year that is. Now is a time to sit back with a glass of sherry, look into the fire and reflect upon the eternal question: "How was it for the Jews?"

We know that there has been a rise in antisemitic attacks and that university campuses are rife with hostility to all things Israeli and that some people confuse their virulent loathing of Israel with a seeming dislike of Jews in general. We know all that. It's the same every year.


Girl Guiding suddenly grew up

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, October 14, 2010

When I was just a young schoolgirl, seven years of age,I signed up for the Brownies. In fact, I was not only a Brownie - I was a Sixer of the Leprechauns (which Brownie aficionados will know is akin to being the gansa macher on the shul board). My responsibility as a Brownie Sixer was to lead my pack in all the set duties to claim the much-coveted badges that were earned and then sewn onto the unforgiving yellow and brown uniform, and displayed with pride.

The more badges worn, the more seriously that Brownie had taken her oath of "good conduct and good deeds".


The two New Years are miles apart

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, September 16, 2010

Happy New Year, Dear Reader.

I hope it was a good one with mountains of honey cake and not too many family broiguses.

Yes, it's that time of "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" again.


Finally, we're no longer a niche

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, August 19, 2010

For those of you who have become familiar with me through these columns, or indeed are related to me and only get a chance to catch up with me via this hallowed newspaper because I don't answer the phone very often (sorry mum), then you'll know that I do take my charitable and civic responsibilities seriously.

I do try to do my bit, however small that bit may be. I've done a number of luncheon talks recently and been a host of charitable award


Why loving your kids is political

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, July 15, 2010

When I was at university, I remember very clearly a lecture given on how every action we carry out is political.

I have always applied this to my own actions, from the party I vote for to not dropping litter on the floor; from always giving money to a Big Issue seller and always smiling at the security man on the school gates. Every action has a reaction.


Jewish mothers: let's lead the way

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, June 10, 2010

I hate Jewish Mother jokes. I can't abide them. They are sexist and racist. Jokes like, "What's the difference between a Jewish mother and a rottweiler? The rottweiler lets go eventually." Oh yes, ha ha ,very ribald, very Bernard Manning. And besides being an overprotective, loving mother is what? Really BAD?


Jews are the Marmite of the world

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, April 8, 2010

Mr O and I have a regular tussle over the condiments that appear on the breakfast table. Stifle your yawn, reader, this is going somewhere. He cannot think of a morning piece of toast without thinly spreading a layer of butter and a layer of Marmite. For him this is breakfast heaven. It is my idea of breakfast hell. And don't even get my three-year-old on the subject. "Yuk, mummy. It's horrid and sticky and black."


Skiing? I’m more at home on Mars

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, March 4, 2010

Last week, my family was treated to a very interesting trip. An old friend invited us to join him and his wife and children on the skiing trip “of a lifetime” in the Swiss mountains.

Being a beachy sort of family normally seen face down on golden sands or prostrate near a pool watching daughter splashing around in the shallow end, and having shied away from anything colder than the fridge for most of my life, I tentatively said yes.


I know now I’m a non-Jewish male

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 7, 2010

Braving Brent Cross is not something I do often. The last time I was there, I was traumatized by being photographed by paparazzi in the knicker department of John Lewis, holding up a pair of giant tummy tuck knickers.

I was readying myself for the National TV Awards, and I had the vain hope that I could squeeze into the Vivienne Westwood dress I had been given.


A charity that’s my cup of Chai

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, December 10, 2009

I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac. It’s not just a cold it’s ’FLU; I haven’t just put on a few pounds in weight, it’s a THYROID problem; it’s not just a headache, it’s a pulsating, hideous MIGRAINE; no, worse than that, it’s a BRAIN TUMOUR.

Since having my daughter, I am worse than ever. I lie in bed at night in a cold sweat, panicking about what the first signs of CANCER of the leg/mouth/ breast/career might be. Just writing the word cancer makes me nervous. It is one of those words like Auschwitz and Nazi that is visceral.


Bitching is not what it used to be

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, November 19, 2009

I recently had my hair done for a TV presenting job. So while I was trapped in this West End salon in a small confined chair, hair tinted and trussed up in more tin foil than a turkey at Chanucah, I had nothing to do except read.

I cursed my luck when I realised that I had forgotten my book, then my phone battery went dead and thus I was left to leaf through the endless copies of “Celebrity” magazines.

One thing I noticed is that we love a good feud. For example, Posh Spice on Jordan: “Who let the dogs out?”

Cheryl Cole on Lily Allen: “You’re fat and ugly.”


Inspired by world-changing women

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, October 22, 2009

For those of you who are followers of my column you may remember that I’ve just returned from the “jolly’ of the century in Miami — presenting the Lifetime Achievement Awards to the International Women’s Forum.

Never mind the awards — as soon as my first-class ticket arrived it became all about the trip. Daughter packed off safely to Aunty Debs, work put on hold, phone switched off for the first time in months.


My dreams also have small print

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, September 10, 2009

I wake up every night having the same recurring nightmare. I’m covered in sweat, unable to speak and the bedclothes are a tangled heap on the floor.

Before I give you a graphic account of my night-time terror, let me tell you the back story. When I found myself catapulted from solid working-class actress into the public eye, courtesy of EastEnders, I suddenly became a “celebrity”.


Music can play key peace role

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, August 13, 2009

On our first date Husband and I established that we had lots in common: we had both taken the road less travelled, routes not normally associated with nice Jewish boys and girls; we were both artistic; both had lost our dads far too young. And we were both passionate about Israel, the peace process and supporting it in any way we could.

Over the last five years we have talked often about how to initiate an arts-based project that would combine Israeli and Palestinian young people in dialogue through creativity.


It’s no act, being Jewish is in my DNA

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, June 25, 2009

It’s been one of those weeks where synchronicity has brought three acting parts my way, each totally different and each filming in a different British city.

First, to Birmingham to play an innocent woman dubbed “The Black Widow” by her neighbours for allegedly murdering two husbands — and now seemingly attempting to murder her third.

Mid week I’m in Glasgow in the role of an aggressive, predatory female editor of a “Lads “ magazine who doesn’t know when enough is enough.


If you want to be happy, avoid news

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, May 28, 2009

I tried an experiment today. I picked up a broadsheet and looked for a positive news story. I got to page 11 without finding a single one. Susan Boyle doesn’t count.

I gave up. Looking for a good news story is a bit like trying to find an unbiased approach to reporting on Israel. Apart from Fox News, it doesn’t exist.


Young need hope, not judgment

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, March 19, 2009

Worryingly, I have recently found myself spiritually in tune with Daily Mail readers. I tut at the sight of young people on the streets. I sigh at the hopelessness of hoodies and their anti-social behaviour. I despair at 14-year-old fathers and even younger “baby mothers”. Oy, what sort of society is this when children have no respect for adults? This week I left my judgmental comfort zone and went to Pelton, County Durham, where my prejudices were severely challenged.


Outraged by the world? My tips…

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, February 12, 2009

Some things are just wrong in the world.

Last night I was struck by this thought when watching the Oscar-nominated film, Milk. Whatever your opinions on homosexuality, it is simply wrong to have a law that bans homosexuals — and their friends — from teaching in schools. This was what Proposition 6 intended to do in Southern California in the 1970s. Harvey Milk, a mild mannered, apolitical, in-the-closet gay man decided to stand up and be counted against the establishment.


So Israel isn’t trendy this year

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 8, 2009

I mark the passing of the years by the reaction of secular folk to news of my holidaying in Israel. In the mid-1970s, school friends would be wide eyed at the exotic holidays taken by my family. In those days, travelling further than Spain was unheard of in my neck of the woods, so to fly to a tiny country in  the Middle East was the equivalent of back-packing in the Himalayas today.

In the ’80s, when I said I was going to Israel, university acquaintances eyed me accusingly as if I was a war criminal for even contemplating such a holiday destination. Tut tut.