Miriam Shaviv

To learn Hebrew, just have fun

By Miriam Shaviv, August 26, 2010

Parallel universes exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. But this summer, I was privileged to enter my own alternative reality. For four weeks, I got to see a life I could have lived but don't, a child I could have had, but don't. I got as close as I will probably ever get to bringing up Israeli children.

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How (not) to explain an eruv

By Miriam Shaviv, August 26, 2010

The BBC is reporting on the planning application for an eruv in Bury, Manchester, prompting one friend of mine to ponder on Facebook why this might be of national interest.

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Most bizarre chuppah?

By Miriam Shaviv, August 24, 2010

The LA Times is running an amusing/horrifying story on the wild extravagance of Persian weddings in California, with many of the examples coming from the Jewish Persian community, which has a significant presence in Los Angeles.

I particularly liked the following detail:

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Some Lady

By Miriam Shaviv, August 23, 2010

While VS Naipaul is engrossed in a row over his portrayal of Africa, his wife's comments on Jews have gone unnoticed.

In the Times Magazine on Saturday (sorry no link - it's behind a paywall), Lady Naipaul casually comments:

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That's it, folks....

By Miriam Shaviv, July 30, 2010

I'm off to the Holy Land for the next three weeks and won't be blogging. See you back here on the week of August 23rd.
Enjoy your summer!
Miriam

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On Jewish racism

By Miriam Shaviv, July 29, 2010

A reader emails me, regarding Christina Patterson's piece:

 I agree about the jump from bad driving etc to Muslim circumcision... but isn't there something in that article for Stamford Hill to reflect on??????

Well, now that 24 hours have passed and we have all calmed down (?), let's consider that question.

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The limits of multi-culturalism

By Miriam Shaviv, July 28, 2010

I have just finished reading one of the ugliest, most vile pieces ever published in the British press. It is actually dripping with venom.

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Bad news on Cameron

By Miriam Shaviv, July 27, 2010

There has been quite a lot of comment today excusing, or at least trying to play down, David Cameron's line on Gaza - "a prison camp". He was just telling the Turks what they want to hear; he is trying to keep the Turks onside to stop them moving any further towards Iran and Syria; he has been spending too much time with Nick Clegg.

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Burka update

By Miriam Shaviv, July 27, 2010

We have spoken to the Edah Charedit, who have condemned the idea of Jewish women wearing burkas in the strongest possible terms (calling it an "abomination"), and say they will be issuing a statement banning their followers from wearing it.

Good for them.

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Rabbis refuse to ban the burka

By Miriam Shaviv, July 27, 2010

While the debate over banning the burka rages on in Europe, in Israel, the cult of strange Jewish women who have taken on a face-veil is slowly becoming a full-blown community.

The Bchadrei Charedim website is now reporting that 20 families in Beit Shemesh are taking their children out of the local strictly Orthodox school, because the teachers' wives do not cover their faces. They are presumably going to open up their own institution.

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Wikileaks shows international hypocrisy over Israel

By Miriam Shaviv, July 26, 2010

So, courtesy of Wikileaks, we once again have evidence of the enormous number of civilian casualties killed by US/Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The details are not pretty:

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They don't all hate Israel after all

By Miriam Shaviv, July 26, 2010

Shimon Peres looks on the bright side:

How do you explain the rise in the delegitimization of Israel in the world in recent years? Do you agree that this is happening?

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Eastenders has a new Jewish family

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2010

When I first read this I was sure it was a spoof, but here is a real summary of the plot of Eastenders next week:

Returning from the bathroom, Jodie's horrified as Darren's stood there in his boxer shorts. Jodie screams 'Oh My God!' before rushing out. Darren stares down at his nether regions, bemused by her reaction…

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From the mailbag

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2010

Re: my post on who gets to speak at funerals, a rabbi writes:

Listening carefully to some colleagues always gave me the impression that they thought it their God-given exclusive right to speak at funerals, as though this was, somehow, an indispensible rabbinical duty. They seemed to object to lay speakers on the grounds that it was depriving them of an important part of their job, something I found to be incomprehensible.

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Should non-rabbis speak at funerals?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 22, 2010

When, last year, the United Synagogue changed its rules barring laypeople from delivering eulogies at funerals, I was strongly behind it. I had been frequently shocked by the impersonal nature of funerals here, with rabbis who did not know the deceased, or who did not know them well, giving a few biographical details and saying little else of interest.

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Better than Brent Cross...

By Miriam Shaviv, July 19, 2010

Tom Gross has pictures of Gaza's sparkling new shopping mall, which opened this weekend to great fanfare. It was built somehow despite a ban on importing building materials, and has shelves fully stocked with clothes, toys, cosmetics and yes, food. 

A peculiar kind of humanitarian crisis.

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Yes, we still need to fast on Tisha b'Av

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2010

My colleague Anshel Pfeffer has written a thought-provoking piece in Haaretz, in which he argues that we no longer need to fast on Tisha b'Av (which falls next week) because we have returned from exile, and because - he says - it would be perfectly possible to re-build a temple nowdays, if only there was the political will and religious interest (which there isn't).

He concludes:

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An ancient Anglo-Jewry mystery

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2010

On the Main Line has posted a few pages from an 18th century book on Anglo-Jewry before the expulsion in 1290. It includes a picture of a bowl, found by a fisherman in a brook around 1700, with a Hebrew inscription (which seems - as far as I can tell - to dedicate it to one Joseph, son of Rabbi Yechiel from Poland / advisor to a Polish community). Jews at the time could not explain its usage; he suggests that it is an ancient version of a pushke, or tzedakah box.

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