Jenni Frazer

A doctor's life

By Jenni Frazer, January 6, 2009

It's always interesting to see how long it takes Mahmoud Zahar to pop up as the bloodthirsty voice of Hamas whenever there is a conflict with Israel.

Yesterday, according to The Times, in "a televised broadcast recorded at a secret location" (wonder why?) Zahar was at it again, promising that Hamas would kill Jews abroad in revenge for the attacks on Gaza.


Murder most Freudian

By Jenni Frazer, December 30, 2008

I think of my books as Trojan horses,” says Frank Tallis. “They are detective novels, and they are meant to be entertainment — but I like to drop some nuggets in which ought to leave the reader feeling enriched.”

Indeed, so enriching are Tallis’s books that reading them is almost like taking a university refresher course — on turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna. The four titles he has so far produced, forming the crime series, The Liebermann Papers, relate the adventures of Max Liebermann, a young Jewish psychologist, and his pastry-loving detective friend.


Analysis: It affects us, too

By Jenni Frazer, December 18, 2008

The more the news filters through from America as to the extent of the alleged Madoff swindle, the louder the sighs of unashamed relief from this side of the pond.

Phew, goes the thinking; thank heavens we're not affected. Thank goodness we haven’t entrusted our family foundation funds to the wily Mr Madoff, a man of such moral rectitude that even his own sons, poor dupes, refused to counter-sign his conditions of bail.


Review: Lyrics 1964-2008

By Jenni Frazer, December 4, 2008

By Paul Simon
Simon & Schuster, £20

For more than 40 years, a short, Jewish New Yorker has been steadily turning out some of the greatest lyrics and music of our age, painting sharp and pithy word-pictures in that most ephemeral of things, the perfect pop song.


Interview: Simon Astaire

By Jenni Frazer, November 20, 2008

You are a celebrity agent and media adviser. You spend most of your waking moments in the company of the kind of models, actresses and starlets at home in the pages of Hello! magazine. You have a string of glamorous girlfriends, from society girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson to television presenter Ulrika Jonsson. You fly first class between London and Los Angeles every month, and your clients include Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz and the Queen's cousin Lady Gabriella Windsor. You were best man at Sting's wedding to Trudi Styler.


Camp survivor is unsung hero

By Jenni Frazer, November 13, 2008

An elderly woman reduced an audience of business leaders to near tears on Monday as she accepted Jewish Care's Unsung Hero award.

Now living in Manchester, Eva Neumann, nee Birenbaum, was 15 when she was deported from Hungary to Auschwitz in 1944 with her parents, grandmother and two younger brothers. The following year, as news came of the Russian advance, the SS marched 1,000 prisoners out of the camp. Eva was one of only 13 survivors.


Sketch: The PM as ‘mensch’

By Jenni Frazer, October 10, 2008

Gordon Brown's long-dormant oratory skills certainly galvanised his UJIA audience at London's Hilton Hotel on Monday night.

He made them laugh: "I'm the man who had to tell Nelson Mandela who Amy Winehouse was," capping this with the possibly apocryphal story that Ms Winehouse sang "Free Blakey, he's my fella" to the tune of "Free Nelson Mandela" at the great man's 90th birthday concert this summer.


Jewish values will help us through crisis, says Brown

By Jenni Frazer, October 10, 2008

Gordon Brown told an 800-strong audience on Monday night that the Jewish community's ethic of "goodwill and moral purpose" and its "investment in hope" had a resonant message for getting through the financial crisis.

The Prime Minister told UJIA's annual dinner that "successful market economics need trust, which can only be built through shared values".


So who won the ‘Jewish Oscars’?

By Jenni Frazer, September 26, 2008

Acclaimed American pianist and entertainer Michael Feinstein was honoured in London as a Jewish "Cultural Ambassador" on Sunday in the 2008 Jewish Cultural Awards.

The awards, sponsored by the JC, celebrate contributions to Jewish culture by stars of stage, screen, music and television, and, for the first time, literature.


Review: Ivanov

By Jenni Frazer, September 26, 2008

Wyndhams Theatre, London WC2 

Anton Chekhov's Ivanov is generally written off as the young man's early scribblings before going on to the greatness of plays such as The Cherry Orchard and Three Sisters. But in the skilful hands of writer Tom Stoppard and director Michael Grandage, the Donmar's production of Ivanov is a revelation - a hugely intricate West End play which is both comic and tragic.


Review: Rain Man

By Jenni Frazer, September 26, 2008

Apollo Theatre, London W1


There is something deeply queasy about this production of Rain Man, which, though produced with the co-operation of the National Autistic Society, nevertheless seems to invite the audience to be complicit in laughing at autism.


Wiesel: Yes, we really did put God on trial

By Jenni Frazer, September 19, 2008

The story that rabbis in Auschwitz once decided to put God on trial - and found him guilty - has frequently been assumed to be apocryphal.

But on Monday night, the Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel startled his audience at a Holocaust Educational Trust appeal dinner in London when he declared: "I was there when God was put on trial."

This week rabbis and academics raised questions over whether such an event ever actually happened - although many agreed that it had a high degree of plausibility.


My missing son Gilad

By Jenni Frazer, September 12, 2008

Noam Shalit has not seen his son since his kidnap in 2006. Now, as he launches a new campaign for his release, he is pinning his one hope of contact on getting a letter to Hamas


Three weeks ago, Noam Shalit sat down to write a letter to his son, Gilad. It was not the normal kind of family letter -how could it be? Noam has not seen his son since Sunday June 25 2006, the day when Gilad, a soldier in the Israeli army, was taken captive by a group of Hamas militants raiding a border crossing with the Gaza Strip.


Warning that Israel risks 'secular flight'

By Jenni Frazer, September 8, 2008

An Israeli academic and former politician predicted this week that the twin demographic rises of the Muslim and Haredi communities in Israel "could lead to a secular flight from the country".

Professor Amnon Rubinstein, a former minister of education and of communications, and a professor of constitutional law, described himself as "full of anxieties" about the future of the Jewish state.


Kestenbaum: I’m not going with Miliband

By Jenni Frazer, September 4, 2008

A senior figure in business innovation has dismissed reports that he is to become Foreign Secretary David Miliband's chief of staff in a future leadership challenge.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, chief executive of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, said the story in PR Week was "complete fabrication".

The magazine reported that Mr Miliband would find a place "for Jonathan Kestenbaum, the well-connected chief executive of Nesta. Kestenbaum is said to have told friends he would take [the job of] chief of staff."


Interview: Esther Woolfson

By Jenni Frazer, August 22, 2008

We meet the Chinese-speaking author who writes brilliantly about her close - feathered - friends

‘On Friday evenings, she recognises... the sound of Kiddush, the lighting of candles, the recitation of blessings (my one enduring nod towards the life spiritual)... and will express eager, vocal anticipation of the coming of Shabbat... or the cutting of the challah... Such frummers! Who'd have imagined!"


Review: The Final Reckoning

By Jenni Frazer, August 8, 2008

By Sam Bourne
HarperCollins, £6.99

I wonder whether journalist Jonathan Freedland, in his alternative persona of thriller-writer Sam Bourne, winces when the Daily Mirror seeks to shower praise on him by calling him "the biggest challenger to Dan Brown's crown". It is a barbed compliment. Freedland, after all, can write, while the jury is still out as to whether Dan Brown has yet to acquire such a skill.


Review: Under The Blue Sky

By Jenni Frazer, August 1, 2008

Duke of York's Theatre, London WC2

More than 100 years ago, Arthur Schnitzler's play La Ronde explored the idea of interlinking the love lives of several couples in a series of connecting scenes.

Now David Eldridge has taken Schnitzler's format and brought it into the present day with Under the Blue Sky, in which we learn about new loves, no loves, and old loves, rather improbably linked together by the fact that the three couples involved are all teachers.


Miliband tells UJIA that Britain ‘won’t duck’ Iran’s nuclear threat

By Jenni Frazer, July 18, 2008

Foreign Secretary David Miliband paid a warm and emotional tribute to the Anglo-Jewish community on Wednesday, along with a trenchant warning that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were “a challenge that Britain will not duck” for the sake of stability for Israel and the whole of the Middle East.

The Foreign Secretary was the guest of honour at UJIA’s annual patrons’ dinner, held in the Foreign Office’s Locarno Rooms, where, he reminded guests, the seven Locarno Treaties had been signed in December 1925.


Review: The Saladin Murders

By Jenni Frazer, June 13, 2008

By Matt Rees
Atlantic, £11.99

Morse, Rebus... and now Yussef,” raved The Observer in its assessment of Matt Rees’s first foray into fiction, The Bethlehem Murders (now available as a £6.99 paperback). I can’t say I agreed with The Observer then, but on the basis of his second novel, The Saladin Murders, Rees’s hero, Omar Yussef, is becoming more and more likeable — even if no better as a detective.