Jenni Frazer

Chicken Little, the sky is falling

By Jenni Frazer, June 4, 2009

Today's Independent gives over the whole of page 2 to a somewhat baffling story, Chicken injected with beef waste sold in UK.

Its standfirst tells readers: Muslims and Jews conned into eating meat bulked out with cow and pig products.

I have read this article several times now and I cannot find any evidence to support this assertion. If one eats kosher chicken, sold in a supervised kosher butcher's shop, the food chain is directly traceable to the shochet with, as far as I understand, no opportunity for the alleged adulteration to occur.


Oh, good grief

By Jenni Frazer, June 3, 2009

Yesterday The Times ran a story asking if the Novogratz family were the coolest in the world. They are, for those who have not read the story, a photogenic Manhattan-based family in which the parents, Robert and Cortney (no, that is not a spelling mistake, but something like a clue as to what follows), have done rather well on property speculation and renovation. So well have they done, in fact, that they are about to be embraced by reality tv, whose various Tarquin execs seem to think that R & C and their adorable brood will make for unmissable viewing.


A mystery

By Jenni Frazer, May 27, 2009

I have just tried to find an Israeli residential phone number via international directory inquiries.

I was in the middle of spelling the town name when the (very nice) operator stopped me. "I'm sorry," she said, "but I can't look it up. It's all in Hebrew. Business numbers are in English, residential numbers are in Hebrew." And, she added, trying to be helpful, "Hebrew is a very difficult language."

Is this a new development? And if so, at whose instigation?
I'd like to be told.


Make mine a Gibson (please don't)

By Jenni Frazer, May 26, 2009

It seems only yesterday — in fact it was just over three years ago — that columnists and commentators were falling over themselves to badmouth Hollywood bad boy Mel Gibson. Gibson, it will be remembered, had fully illustrated the reality of "in vino veritas" by indulging in an antisemitic tirade when pulled over by the police for being drunk.

I recall at the time forecasting that it wouldn't take long before Hollywood would re-clasp Gibson to its bosom since he is, of course, fabulously wealthy.


Circus, circus...

By Jenni Frazer, May 20, 2009

A couple of months ago my niece got married. It was a beautiful and generous simcha; naturally enough, there were many people there I did not know, most of whom, I assumed, were from the bridegroom's side. Walking through the reception area's acres of carpet I all but stumbled on a strange woman in a powder-blue suit, a handbag at her feet. She was juggling.

No-one seemed to know who she was; eventually it emerged that she was a neighbour of the groom and that she, er, enjoyed simchas.


Demjanjuk: 29,000 murder charges

By Jenni Frazer, May 12, 2009

Accompanied by American federal agents, overseeing his deportation from the United States, 89-year-old John Demjanjuk arrived in Munich today to face 29,000 counts of murder as a guard in the Sobibor death camp during the Second World War.

Demjanjuk, a retired car worker, had repeatedly tried to block his deportation from Cleveland, Ohio, but just four days after the US Supreme Court refused to consider his latest request, he was in a wheelchair, being loaded onto the German-bound jet.


A Littlejohn

By Jenni Frazer, May 11, 2009

New readers start here. A favourite catchphrase of the columnist Richard Littlejohn is "You couldn't make it up."

Much the same thought flickered briefly this morning as I listened to the long litany of excuses trotted out by MPs caught in the Telegraph's relentless spotlight over the parliamentary expenses scandal.


Royal Court in squabble over new Gaza play

By Jenni Frazer, May 7, 2009

A new spat has broken out following the staging of controversial Royal Court play Seven Jewish Children, by Caryl Churchill.

A non-Jewish writer, Richard Stirling, wrote his own response, Seven Other Children, which opened this week at Hampstead’s New End Theatre.


To see ourselves as others see us

By Jenni Frazer, May 5, 2009

Hampstead Theatre is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and has chosen to mark it with the revival of its 1975 Michael Frayn hit, Alphabetical Order.

It's set in a newspaper library and though the new production has some starry names - Imogen Stubbs, Gawn Grainger, even ex-Coronation Street's Chloe Newsome - it has to be admitted that the play has not worn well.


On remote hills, two models of harmony

By Jenni Frazer, April 30, 2009

Up in the clear, green spaces of the Galilee, it is easy to forget the stress and backbiting of urban Israeli life.

Rather, what matters in the remote north of the country is harmony, education and economics. Each is inextricably linked. Without education and a decent economy, the already small Jewish population of the region will decrease and decamp to the big cities. And the opportunities for a good education facilitate better relationships between Jewish and Arab citizens — and, ultimately, help to improve investment and thus the economy.


Israeli and Arab kids team up — for cricket

By Jenni Frazer, April 30, 2009

Two weeks ago, if you had asked most children in southern Israel what they thought of cricket, the answer would have been a blank stare. But last week, thanks to a joint project by the Israel Cricket Association and the British charity, Cricket for Change, the response was overwhelming. As the old 10CC song had it: “I don’t like cricket. I LOVE it!”


The Blessed Leonard

By Jenni Frazer, April 24, 2009

It was only a matter of time before the mad professors of Bricup, the academic boycott group, turned their attention to the proposed visit of Leonard Cohen to Israel in September, and urged him not to stage a concert there.

According to a report in Ha'aretz, Haim Bresheeth, Mike Cushman, Hilary Rose and Jonathan Rosenhead, representing the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, sought to soften Mr C up by telling him "Your songs have been part of the soundtrack of our lives, like breathing, some of them."


In another part of the forest

By Jenni Frazer, April 21, 2009

The other great motif of Pesach in Israel is the repulsive "Pesach bread", made out of matza meal, which figures on kosher for Passover menus all over the country.

It seems to have been born out of a belief that Israelis will lose the will to live unless they can have bread - or at least, fake bread - with every single meal.


Brits expand Hong Kong’s Carmel school

By Jenni Frazer, April 7, 2009

It might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of Jewish education. But 460 Shau Kei Wan Road is a pivotal address for pupils at Hong Kong’s only Jewish school, Carmel School.

Two hundred and sixty children, aged up to 14, currently attend Carmel, four of whose hard-working executive board are British ex-pats. Now, steered by its newly-appointed British head teacher, Rachel Friedmann, formerly deputy head of Hasmonean in London, Carmel, founded in 1991, has big plans for expansion.


Not a pin-up

By Jenni Frazer, April 2, 2009

I see that actperson Liz Hurley is diversifying and opening a beachwear boutique in Bicester Village, the thinking person's discount outlet of choice on the road to Oxford.

In a breathlessly self-referential interview Hurley confides that she herself plans to work behind the till of this emporium, based on the skills honed when as a teenager she had a Saturday job.


Hell, what's in a name?

By Jenni Frazer, April 1, 2009

Flicking through the newly reincarnated London Evening Standard, with former Tatler editor Geordie Greig at the helm, my eye is caught by the by-line of its fairly well-known housing and architecture writer, Mira Bar-Hillel.


Review: The Samaritan’s Secret

By Jenni Frazer, March 26, 2009

By Matt Rees
Atlantic Books, £11.99

There is something slightly unsavoury about reading Matt Rees’s latest Palestinian thriller in the wake of the Gaza conflict. It is the third outing for his rather unappealing hero, Omar Yussef, whose base as a history teacher in Bethlehem is not what you might think of as the ideal background for a dogged detective.


Cambridge blues

By Jenni Frazer, March 24, 2009

Yesterday I was the guest of an Anglican ministry in Cambridge which invited me to participate in their programme of Lent lectures.

I was asked to speak on the, these days touchy, subject of Judaism and Israel in the media. My kind hosts were somewhat anxious that I was going to be given a hard time, though in fact, as it turned out, I probably got an easier ride than I might have done because term was effectively over and there were no Palestinian Soc students knocking around to harass and yell.


Iran uses fake CIA report to 'kill off' Israel

By Jenni Frazer, March 19, 2009

A claim that a secret CIA document exists that forecasts Israel would not survive for more than 20 years has been denounced as "a ludicrous hoax".

The report was broadcast by the Iranian-backed Press TV station last week and has subsequently been cited as fact on many websites and blogs. Press TV - a propaganda vehicle for the Iranian government - has been attacked for "disinformation".