Geoffrey Alderman

Yes, bury the absurd eulogy rule

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 21, 2008

The decision of the United Synagogue -- or rather the recommendation of its Rabbinical Council - to relax the rule that only rabbis or ministers be permitted to deliver funeral eulogies is a welcome triumph of common sense over common nonsense. What puzzles me is that the rule was ever introduced in the first place.


King David’s food policy is nuts

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 14, 2008

In defiance of any logic available, King David Primary is angrily defending its packed-lunch ban

Big trees from little acorns grow.


Fund intolerance? No thanks

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 7, 2008

Charedim in Israel can now opt out of teaching about democracy, but take public money


On July 23, a law was enacted in the Knesset more squalid in its conception than any passed by Israel's parliament since the state's re-establishment.


Iranians are in denial on Israel

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 31, 2008

The Islamic media insists that Ahmadinejad never called for the destruction of Israel. They are wrong


Addressing the Knesset last month, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a number of hard-hitting statements. Those of you who pay attention to the Islamic media will know that, of these, the ones that have caused most consternation pertained to Iran.


Our 150 years of wasted power

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 24, 2008

What have Jewish Parliamentarians ever done for the community?

This past week and next mark two important 150th anniversaries. It was on July 23 1858 that Parliament enacted legislation enabling professing Jews to sit in the House of Commons. Five days later, Lionel de Rothschild, at the climax of an 11-year campaign, was finally able to take his seat in that chamber as Liberal MP for the City of London.


The POW swap was a bad deal

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 17, 2008

Freeing the murderer Samir Kuntar has shown Hizbollah that kidnaps pay

In a deal brokered by Germany, the government of Ehud Olmert has turned over to the terrorist organisation Hizbollah the bodies of around 200 Lebanese killed during the 2006 war, plus four still living Hizbollah terrorists currently held in Israel, and the convicted murderer Samir Kuntar.


It all looks different from Israel

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 10, 2008

Our columnist pays his first visit to the Holy Land in 10 years, and is impressed

‘So, what do you make of all this political corruption? Why do politicians behave this way? They’re all in it for themselves — for what they can get out of the system, eh?”

These were the opening remarks of a fascinating conversation I had just a few days ago with an informed and talkative taxi-driver. But the journey I had booked was not in the UK. It was in Israel.


I too have a problem with The Jews

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 3, 2008

A documentary about Stamford Hill Chasidim took too many answers at face value

I was fascinated to learn of Chanoch Kesselman’s complaint to the BBC about the recently-screened documentary focusing on the life and ethos of the sectarian-Orthodox Jewish community of Stamford Hill.  Or rather, I was surprised to learn that his complaints addressed not so much the detailed content of the programme, as the fact that the documentary had been made without prior consultation with “community representatives”.


We must harass Jews for Jesus

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 27, 2008

The only way to defeat missionaries is to beat them at their own game

A funny thing happened to me on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line last week.


The conversion row: pure politics

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 19, 2008

Religion is not the prime reason for the recent spate of conversion annulments

Three weeks ago, in a Shabbat sermon about which he must have thought a great deal, Naftali Brawer, rabbi of the United Synagogue at Borehamwood, launched a ferocious attack against those of his colleagues — in Israel and elsewhere — who have proudly claimed responsibility for, and enthusiastically supported, one of the most malevolent rabbinical decisions of recent times.


Let them eat packed lunches

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 12, 2008

Why is a Jewish school stopping its students from bringing in food from home?

Next Friday I shall attend the formal opening of Yavneh College in Borehamwood. The ceremony will be graced by the presence of a host of Jewish and non-Jewish dignitaries, chief among whom will be the Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools, Ed Balls.


When blame hits history

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 5, 2008

Journey to Nowhere
By Eva Figes
Granta, £14.99


Donors’ wishes must be heard

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 5, 2008

Was the Hebrew University right to deduct 20 per cent of a recent legacy to fund the office of its British Friends?


A revisionist revises his views

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 29, 2008

Historian Benny Morris concedes that the Arab struggle against Zionism is about religion, not land

Over the past few weeks, the even tenor of my scholastic existence has been repeatedly interrupted by the demands of the media for “authoritative” answers to their many queries arising from the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence.


Police failed us over imam racism

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 22, 2008

The authorities’ reluctance to pursue Islamic radicals has been a boon to the BNP

The apologies given in the High Court last week by the West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service to the makers of an extraordinary documentary have thrown a welcome light upon that species of malign political correctness that is eating away at British tolerance and respect for minorities. 


Ken lost us, then lost London

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 16, 2008

The statistics indicate that if Livingstone had apologised to London’s Jews, he may have won

What part did the Jews of London play in the ousting of its former mayor, Ken Livingstone? The circumstantial evidence is compelling, and points to a vindication of Nicky Gavron’s claim (reported in last week’s JC) that a Jewish backlash made a significant contribution to his loss of office.


Let Lord Levy speak his mind

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 8, 2008

The attacks on Michael Levy’s new memoir are groundless


Israel should not fight polygamy

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 1, 2008

Many Bedouin have been killed while serving in the IDF. Time to show their culture some respect

The Israeli government has recently announced a programme to tackle the “problem” of polygamy amongst its Bedouin citizens.

There is no such “problem”.


Geoffrey Lewis

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 1, 2008

Born London, June 19, 1920.
Died Oxford, February 21, 2008, aged 87.

A pioneer of the study of Turkish language and literature in this country, Professor Geoffrey Lewis was almost single-handedly responsible for its introduction to the University of Oxford, writes Geoffrey Alderman.

After University College School, London, he read classics at Oxford, which sparked his interest in Turkish. In the Second World War he served in the RAF, in radar. Returning to Oxford, he gained a first in Arabic and Persian in 1947.


William Frankel

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 24, 2008

Born London, February 3, 1917.
Died Washington DC, April 18, 2008, aged 91.

A strong and effective editor, William Frankel was responsible for a revolution in the relationship between the Jewish Chronicle and the Anglo-Jewish establishment a half-century ago.

As general manager from 1955-58 and editor from 1958-77, Frankel dispensed with the niceties of a past in which Anglo-Jewry’s oldest and premier newspaper had tamely reported — or not reported — what the establishment wanted the rank-and-file to know, or not to know.