Jennifer Lipman

Review: The Marriage of Opposites

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2015

By Alice Hoffman
Simon & Schuster

Best-selling American author Alice Hoffman's latest novel, The Marriage of Opposites, is a fictionalised retelling of how the artist Camille Pissarro - born Jacob Abraham Camille on the Caribbean island of St Thomas - became one of the most influential Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.


Why must Israel be the focus of this election?

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2015

Can it really only be four months since the election? For anyone following the Labour leadership campaign, it seems light years since we were debating whether Ed could really win, or whether we were facing another hung parliament.


Review: Between Gods

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2015

Conversion is an emotive subject in Judaism, and rarely have I seen the complexity of joining our community better articulated than in Alison Pick's new memoir. Pick, a successful novelist here and in her native Canada, grew up without Judaism in her life and without any real hunger for it - or indeed for any organised religion.


Review: In The Unlikely Event

By Jennifer Lipman, May 28, 2015

I can't be alone in having Judy Blume to thank for introducing me to subjects including those as varied as racism, bra size, the Nazis, and underage sex. The bestselling American writer has authored nearly 30 novels for adults, teenagers and younger children since starting out in 1969, and her latest comes with an endorsement from Girls star Lena Dunham, no less.

From Are You There God?


Review: A Fifty-Year Silence

By Jennifer Lipman, April 23, 2015

By Miranda Richmond Mouillot
Text Publishing, £12.99

As a 15-year-old, Miranda Richmond Mouillot was taken by her contrary, eccentric grandfather to visit a dilapidated property in rural France.


I had to 'find Mike', the man who saved me

By Jennifer Lipman, April 23, 2015

What do you say to the stranger who saved your life? That's the question that Jonny Benjamin had to grapple with when he came face to face with the man who six years earlier had talked him down from a ledge, stopping him from plunging to a certain and intentional death in the Thames. "I was so nervous," recalls Benjamin. "At first I couldn't process it.


So am I speaking as simply 'a' Jew or 'the' Jew?

By Jennifer Lipman, April 2, 2015

There's nothing quite like a matzah sandwich to elicit questions from colleagues.


Sofitel Santa Clara

By Jennifer Lipman, March 19, 2015

When in Cartagena you are never far from music, colour and commotion. Yet staying at the Santa Clara in the city's San Diego district is the polar opposite; a calm, relaxed oasis.

Opened 20 years on the site of a former convent where confession boxes are dotted about, its Cloister restaurant serves considerably more lavish fare than the former inhabitants would have enjoyed.


Pining for the past

By Jennifer Lipman, March 12, 2015

There are better candidates for the role of a modern-day Job than Duncan Neville, but his luck isn't wonderful all the same. Duncan, the protagonist of Widows and Orphans (Arcadia, £14.99), Michael Arditti's ninth novel, is an earnest, good-hearted chap suffering largely for being out of kilter with his time and for never escaping his father's imposing shadow.


The Caribbean -done differently

By Jennifer Lipman, February 26, 2015

It didn't start brilliantly, when we missed our connecting flight from Bogota to the coastal city of Santa Marta, and ended up running around Colombia's main airport, frazzled and grappling with paltry information and appalling Spanish, to secure a later one.


Taking pride in displaying such split personalities

By Jennifer Lipman, December 18, 2014

At the Ajex parade last month, shivering in the morning wind and watching Jewish veterans from around the UK fall in line, as they've done for decades, my eye was immediately drawn to the poppy wreaths shaped as Stars of David.

Something to be very proud of, I thought. What a striking image; a visual reminder of our community's enduring presence at the heart of British society.


Interview: Adele Geras

By Jennifer Lipman, November 20, 2014

"Hunger," says novelist Adele Geras, evoking life in besieged Jerusalem in 1948. "That's my main memory." Just four then, she vividly remembers sitting in the shelter at night hearing the guns, and later the victory parade.

Recalling the shortage of food, she describes how her uncle once managed to get his hands on a tin of sardines and sat all the cousins around their grandmother's big table.


Don't forget that we were 'them' once upon a time

By Jennifer Lipman, November 6, 2014

In February 1899, John Lowles, MP for the East End seat of Shoreditch, Haggerston, queried the "large increase in the numbers of alien immigrants.

"In view of the grave evils arising therefrom," he asked the government to "check such immigration in the interests of our own struggling industrial population?"

Lowles's extraordinary-sounding hyperbole was hardly uncommon.


The outbreak of the First World War - as told in the pages of the JC

By Jennifer Lipman, August 1, 2014

Memories of the Russian pogroms and concern over whether war would provoke antisemitism in Britain were at the forefront of Anglo-Jewish minds when the First World War began a century ago this week.


Review: Ishmael's Oranges

By Jennifer Lipman, July 17, 2014

By Claire Hajaj
Oneworld, £16.99

Reading Claire Hajaj's novel took me back to when, last year, I spent Shavuot in Jerusalem, walking to the Old City at dawn against the cry of the Muslim call to prayer. This is the kind of book that Ishmael's Oranges is, one that conjures up the sights, smells and sounds of the Middle East as you turn the pages.


Benedict Cumberbatch and the case of the blood libel

By Jennifer Lipman, June 26, 2014

He is known for playing Sherlock Holmes - and it turns out that solving mysteries is a family tradition for Benedict Cumberbatch, whose great-great- grandfather helped thwart a 19th century blood libel.


TV review: Friday Night Dinner

By Jennifer Lipman, June 19, 2014

There were high hopes for Friday Night Dinner when it began in 2011. After all, here was subject matter rife with comic potential, a talented ensemble including the always excellent Tamsin Greig and, in Robert Popper, a writer who was working off his own experiences of Shabbat meal mayhem in Edgware. What was not to like?


Facebook at 10 - how much do we still 'like' what it does?

By Jennifer Lipman, April 3, 2014

When you think about it, it comes as little surprise that Facebook was invented by a Jew. A site that encourages gossip, dismisses the need for privacy, and enables faraway relatives to meddle in the lives of the younger generation from anywhere in the world. Who but a Jew could have come up with that?


Israel needs critical friends

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2014

Oh, for the conviction of those who would boycott Israel. Forget about nuance or anguished deliberation, and bring on kneejerk condemnation the minute anyone creative does anything that suggests they might, vaguely, not dislike Israel.


They were loyal British Jews and their graves should say it

By Jennifer Lipman, September 25, 2013

"Our loyalty and devotion – richly fully and completely deserved by this blessed land — impels us as Jewish citizens of this country to sacrifice ourselves in its aid at this hour of its need.”