Jennifer Lipman

The unspoken Holocaust

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2016

On Yom Hashoah, Yossi Sucary watched with pride as two Libyan Holocaust survivors joined the ceremony at the Israeli presidential complex. It was a marked change from his childhood, when teachers would tell him he'd "made up" his Benghazi-born mother's experiences at the hands of the Nazis.


Moving east from the East End

By Jennifer Lipman, June 23, 2016

Each of the guests made the same comment, one by one. "You bought herring?" we asked our hostess, as nonplussed as if there had been a bacon butty or prawn cocktail beside the bagels.

Herring is one of the foods young British Jews just don't embrace.


Raw, crude, moving - So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

By Jennifer Lipman, May 20, 2016

A collection of essays by the American Jewish poet Melissa Broder, delving into her lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression - So Sad Today (Scribe, £12.99) - is at times hard to stomach. She writes graphically about her sex life and fantasies - in one essay, revealing a string of breathtakingly explicit "sexts" - and seems to delight in unsettling her readers.


Wartime letters of testimony

By Jennifer Lipman, May 19, 2016

"#Refugees Welcome," reads the sign as you enter New North London Synagogue. Far from being a meaningless slogan, it's a core philosophy for Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who has led the UK's leading Masorti community for nearly 30 years and is at the forefront of those calling for Britain and Europe to do more to help people fleeing Syria.


This paranoid stereotype is no joke

By Jennifer Lipman, April 14, 2016

Blame Woody Allen. Blame Sholem Aleichem. Blame Roth or Sorkin, or Seinfeld, or Larry David. Blame BT for Beattie. Blame them for sustaining the popular image of the Jew as someone who is neurotic, obsessive, a tad narcissistic. Someone who in the real world might well be grappling with a fairly serious mental health issue.


Giving wise advice: our new agony aunt

By Jennifer Lipman, April 7, 2016

I'm terrified at the thought of it," admits Hilary Freeman. "I'm sure every parent is. She's barely been out of my sight so far." Freeman, a journalist and the author of seven young adult novels, is discussing how she will handle it when her nine-month-old daughter becomes a teenager and faces the requisite pressures of that stage.


Pioneering and pain

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2016

The girl in Roger Cohen's The Girl from Human Street (Vintage, £9.99) is his charming, intelligent mother June, a South African Jew who emigrated to England as a young wife and never quite came to terms with her adoptive homeland.


Why must this year’s Yomtov be different from all other years?

By Jennifer Lipman, January 21, 2016

Pesach is late this year. It will still creep up on us, reducing us to panic-buying ground almonds and sleepless nights counting just how many hard-boiled eggs are needed for Seder, but it falls late in the calendar year, ending on the May Bank Holiday weekend.


Papers from the National Archives: UK concerned over US-Israel Beirut strike

By Jennifer Lipman, January 1, 2016

Margaret Thatcher believed a joint US-Israeli response to the Beirut barrack bombings during the Lebanon Civil War could be “very damaging”.


Three unlikeable characters, many irresistible twists

By Jennifer Lipman, January 1, 2016

The Age of ReinventionBy Karine Tuil
Scribner, £12.99

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. Karine Tuil's new novel is so deliciously chock full of implausible twists and turns but I still should have anticipated where the story was headed.


Papers from the National Archives: Forty years on and the Germans were feeling ‘less guilty’ about the Nazis

By Jennifer Lipman, January 1, 2016

The Holocaust was “no longer painful to contemplate” for the Germans a mere four decades later, observed the British ambassador to Germany in a letter to the Foreign Office in October 1984.


How Michael Winner helped direct Margaret Thatcher in tribute role

By Jennifer Lipman, December 31, 2015

Michael Winner persuaded Margaret Thatcher to unveil a memorial for a victim of terror against the wishes of her advisers, confidential papers released this week by the National Archives have revealed.


Why Aaron Sorkin is cinema's finest talent

By Jennifer Lipman, November 26, 2015

There's a West Wing episode that culminates in the presidential team deciding it's time to "let Bartlet be Bartlet". It's time for the great man to let his convictions shine through, never mind the consequences. It's a mantra by which you suspect the show's creator, Aaron Sorkin, aims to live.


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.