Jenni Frazer

Swift defeat sees Nazis in London

By Jenni Frazer, December 21, 2012

Recent literature has been full of “what-iffery” writing about the possible dystopian results of a German victory in the Second World War. From Martin Amis to Robert Harris, this is a well-trodden path, and, it has to be conceded, not one that wins universal applause.

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Kinloss shul is proud but sad to see its rabbi leave

By Jenni Frazer, December 20, 2012

He is known throughout his congregation as “Super Rabbi” and the gentle joke is that, under the dynamic Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s pristine white shirt, there is a large letter R for rabbi, or S for super, or even Spurs, his favourite team.

But, this week, members of Finchley Synagogue — or Kinloss, as it is widely known —were in a bitter-sweet mood.

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The people’s chief: Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis appointed as Sacks's successor

By Jenni Frazer, December 20, 2012

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who on Monday night was chosen as the successor to Lord Sacks, has said he wants to be an accessible chief rabbi and to have “warm… constructive” relations with “sister Jewish movements”.

He will use his office to act as “a catalyst for deepening commitment to Jewish identity, values and learning.”

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Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to be next UK chief rabbi

By Jenni Frazer, December 17, 2012

Britain's chief rabbi-designate is to be Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of Finchley Synagogue, the United Synagogue has announced.

He will be Anglo-Jewry's 11th chief rabbi. And, like most of his predecessors, Rabbi Mirvis is not British-born.

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Irish eyes unsmiling

By Jenni Frazer, December 14, 2012

During the Second World War, Ireland was officially neutral. But, shockingly, its proximity to the British mainland had made it an attractive pre-war base for Nazi Party officials, some of whom found a ready ear for hatred of the Jews among the priestocracy of the Irish Free State.

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The foreign correspondent who survived war, sexism and hate in Iraq

By Jenni Frazer, December 6, 2012

Ilene Prusher has come up with an interesting description of what it means to be a woman foreign correspondent, particularly in a war zone. They are, she offers, “a third gender”, not male, certainly not subservient female, and often regarded with exasperation and suspicion by male interviewees, particularly in the Arab world.

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Doom with a view

By Jenni Frazer, November 23, 2012

I imagine most Leonard Cohen devotees will approach this book with an equal mix of fear and loathing. I know I did. Or perhaps that should be fear and loving.

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High-flying ambassador who was our man in Israel... and Saudi Arabia

By Jenni Frazer, November 22, 2012

It may go down in diplomatic history as one of the swiftest love affairs on record. Sherard Cowper-Coles was Britain’s ambassador to Israel for just 22 months before he was whipped off to the most improbable successor appointment — as the UK’s man in Saudi Arabia.

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His People

By Jenni Frazer, November 16, 2012

Edward Sloman's delicious 1925 morality tale, made for Universal Studios, is a silent movie of the kind that must have launched the phrase "they don't make them like that any more." Rudolph Schildkraut, a renowned actor who had his own Jewish theatre in the Bronx, plays David Cominsky, a Jewish pedlar with a reverence for learning and not much ability to make money.

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Off White Lies

By Jenni Frazer, November 16, 2012

Maya Kenig's scratchy father and daughter comedy (and that's a bit of a push) is set in the opening days of the Lebanon war of 2006 and features a feckless Shaul, played with disturbing accuracy by Gur Bentvich, and his confused 13-year-old daughter Libby, played by Elya Inbar.

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British envoy warns that Hamas rockets have to stop

By Jenni Frazer, November 15, 2012

Britain's ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, returned today from a spontaneous visit to Kiryat Malachi, where three Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza, pledging solidarity with the people of southern Israel.

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Polished black Polish

By Jenni Frazer, November 9, 2012

After Scandinavian noir and Finnish noir, we now have Polish noir. Or, should I say, Polish-Jewish noir.
For Zygmunt Miloszewski’s terrific A Grain of Truth (Bitter Lemon Press, £8.99) examines the fraught relations between Poles and Jews, 70 years after the country’s Jews were destroyed by the Holocaust.

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Zaytoun

By Jenni Frazer, November 5, 2012

So, finally, the first fruit of the long-awaited Israel-British film co-production treaty has reached the UK. Zaytoun, a kind of improbable step-bromance-cum-road movie, between a shot-down Israeli air force pilot and a Palestinian child refugee, was one of the opening gala films at this year's UKJFF and received a rapturous audience reception.

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Israel’s envoy Daniel Taub deploys movies and high-tech to beat the boycott

By Jenni Frazer, October 25, 2012

In the year since his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub has barely drawn breath.

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Shock findings of ‘apartheid’ poll questioned

By Jenni Frazer, October 25, 2012

A controversial poll suggesting that Israeli Jews would “support apartheid” if the West Bank were annexedhas been strongly criticised.

The poll, whose results were reported in Ha’aretz on Monday, was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, an independent family foundation in the name of the former senior news editor of Kol Israel, who died in 2006.

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Gainsbourg by Gainsbourg, An Intimate Self-Portrait

By Jenni Frazer, October 23, 2012

One word for this 99-minute archive documentary chronicling the life and times of the writer and musician Serge Gainsbourg - smoking.

Narrated by the late, great (or should that be grate?) enfant terrible of the French avant-garde, this film, much of which is previously unseen footage, seems entirely viewed through a cloud of cigarette smoke.

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All In

By Jenni Frazer, October 23, 2012

We're in Jewish Buenos Aires for Daniel Burman's romantic comedy which won best screenplay at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

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Foreign Letters

By Jenni Frazer, October 23, 2012

Everyone remembers the agony of school friendships. You like someone, they don't like you, you don't know the reason; your best friend is suddenly no longer your best friend; girls huddle in corners, whispering, and lockers are interfered with.

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David Cameron lays it on the line about Iran and Israel

By Jenni Frazer, October 18, 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged on Monday that “nothing — and I mean nothing — is off the table if Iran makes the wrong choice.”

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Paris-Manhattan

By Jenni Frazer, October 18, 2012

This year's gala festival opening, Paris-Manhattan, is a frothy fairytale as light and inconsequential as your grandma's best spongecake - and it is all the better for that.

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