Gerald Jacobs

Nice warm side of stereotyping

By Gerald Jacobs, July 16, 2012

Are Jews more prone to generalisation than any other people? (Think about it, it's a trick question.) Even to consider this is to enter a minefield. "Typically Jewish", we say, fondly, of the man or woman who answers a question with another question.


Review: The Sunny Side of the Street - an ambitious tribute to Dorothy Fields

By Gerald Jacobs, June 28, 2012

Dorothy Fields, who died in 1974 at the age of 69, was one of the great Jewish contributors to the great American songbook. She collaborated with leading musical composers, most notably Jerome Kern on such creations as The Way You Look Tonight and A Fine Romance.


Chaim Bermant: a novelist at heart

By Gerald Jacobs, June 15, 2012

Fourteen years ago, on January 20 1998, Chaim Bermant — still the most celebrated of all JC writers — died suddenly, a month short of his 69th birthday. This was a death that not only brought grief to his family and close friends but one that delivered a blow to an entire community.


Why we should all be more like sorry Ken

By Gerald Jacobs, April 11, 2012

One of the most salutary effects of ageing is the realisation that the advancing years do not necessarily bring wisdom or emotional maturity. When something goes wrong, you still look for somebody else to blame. If you break a vase, you curse whoever left it in your way, and any motoring mishap is inevitably the other driver's fault.


Five Jewish women on prestigious book prize longlist

By Gerald Jacobs, March 8, 2012

Octogenarian author Cynthia Ozick is one of five American Jewish writers on this year's Orange Prize longlist, announced this week.


Book Week - electrifying, but please not electronic

By Gerald Jacobs, March 1, 2012

Will there come a time when the only readily available copies of new books, including all prayer books and even the Bible, will be electronic? Are the People of the Book destined to become the People of the eBook?

For many twitterati and "kindlelach", this is a cyber consummation devoutly to be wished - certainly outside the liturgical sphere.


The man still seeking justice a century after the Dreyfus Affair

By Gerald Jacobs, January 20, 2012

Writer, composer, art expert, educationist - George Whyte modestly concedes, when it is put to him, that he is a man of many parts, and adds: "All of them Jewish".


Farewell to 2011, a year of farewells

By Gerald Jacobs, December 29, 2011

It's that time again, the candle-maker's moment, when rival faiths strike festive lights to ward off winter. When an assemblage of "old" dates in the diary gives way to a fresh "new year". A secular, inverted Yom Kippur, a stocktaking accompanied by feasting instead of fasting, replenishing rather than repentance.

On this occasion, though, for me it carries some weight.


American literary heavyweights produce radical new haggadah

By Gerald Jacobs, December 16, 2011

A great many Seder tables next Pesach could feature an imaginative presentation of the Passover story in the form of the New American Haggadah, which will be published in the UK in February.


Football's foul play is a big problem

By Gerald Jacobs, November 24, 2011

It hardly needs stating in a Jewish newspaper that racism is one of the most odious aspects of so-called civilised society. And perhaps the saddest of racism's manifestations is that which occurs within sport - the activity devoted to harnessing human aggression to the concept of fair play.

Of course, racism in sport does not exist in isolation.


Artists shouldn't be passengers when it comes to the Holocaust

By Gerald Jacobs, November 14, 2011

In recent weeks, the JC has published three columns about Mieczyslaw Weinberg's The Passenger, which has just finished its run at the English National Opera. Each of the writers was exercised by the fact that Weinberg's opera is set in Auschwitz.


They call it body art but I find it tatty

By Gerald Jacobs, November 11, 2011

While, to the best of my knowledge, no Jew was involved in the rioting and looting that blighted our streets and our screens last month, it seems that police inquiries may have been directed at one or two Jewish households in connection with the destination of some looted items.


Interview: Barbara Taylor Bradford

By Gerald Jacobs, September 15, 2011

Three pm at the Dorchester. Outside, the afternoon sun burns flesh and metal the length and breadth of Park Lane. Inside, secretive businessmen and earnest tourists nibble pastries and crust-free sandwiches.

Seated at a table in the centre of the room is a comfortably elegant, blonde woman.


Israeli author wins prestigious Jewish literary award

By Gerald Jacobs, June 10, 2011

Israeli novelist David Grossman has won the 2011 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize, the UK's foremost Jewish literature award. Early this week, a packed audience in the Stern Pissarro Gallery, off Pall Mall, heard writer Lisa Appignanesi, this year's chair of the JQ-Wingate judges, announce the result of the most eagerly awaited contest for many years.


Why the Y word is my word

By Gerald Jacobs, April 22, 2011

A couple of rows in front of where I am sitting, a large man has leapt to his feet. His entire body is quivering with rage. I expect him to lose his voice at any moment. On the surface, he seems an affable, suburban type, a family man with children whom he has quite possibly reprimanded for outbursts far milder than the poisonous invective currently issuing from his own mouth.


Review: The Holy Rosenbergs

By Gerald Jacobs, March 18, 2011

Just when you might be recovering from the surfeit of Jews-under-the-microscope drama that has been served up on stage and screen over the past couple of years, along comes Ryan Craig with The Holy Rosenbergs. At the National Theatre - noch, as one of his characters would doubtless say.


Cozy Landmark get-away you can trust

By Gerald Jacobs, December 9, 2010

Is there anywhere in England more beautiful than the Cotswolds? And is there anywhere more Cotswoldish than Chipping Campden? Its very name has an irresistibly bucolic ring, evoking images of milkmaids and swains, village greens, and pubs serving foaming tankards of ale. And, while it can be relished for its own sake, Chipping Campden is encircled by such radiant villages as Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Shipston-on-Stour, not to mention such splendid, historic towns as Evesham, Cheltenham and Stratford-on-Avon.


A victory we can take pride in

By Gerald Jacobs, October 14, 2010

Is it good for the Jews? You bet. Howard Jacobson's triumph at the Man Booker awards this week should reassure those among us who have sensed of late a frisson directed towards Jews and things Jewish from the British cultural establishment.


Shouldn't rabbis be serious, for Pete's sake?

By Gerald Jacobs, September 28, 2010

The late, great comedy partners Peter Cook and Dudley Moore once performed a sketch on BBC TV in which the letter R had fallen off a sign, causing Cook in his "Pete" persona to remark on how very unfortunate it is if you "let your Rs fall off".


Interview: Howard Jacobson

By Gerald Jacobs, August 4, 2010

It is a sunny morning in Soho. On the hotel terrace where Howard Jacobson is eloquently considering what it means to be a Jew, the clinking of coffee cups and the odd Yiddish imprecation mingle with the sights and sounds of London’s most cosmopolitan strip of earth.

Thematically and literally, this is familiar territory. Many have been the discussions with this most articulate of writers trying to identify the elusive essentials of being Jewish. And, however much this feels like putting up a tent in a hurricane, it is always stimulating, always fruitful.