Geoffrey Alderman

How not to choose our leaders

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 5, 2012

I've said it before. I'll say it again. The Jewish communities of the UK are run by some of the best brains in the land: captains of industry; giants of commerce; leading lights of the learned professions; men and women who are at the tops of their respective trees.

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When background is a barrier

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 29, 2011

I have just finished updating my history of Hackney Downs school, first published 40 years ago. Founded by the Grocers' Company in 1876 it was, in its heyday, one of the finest boys' secondary schools in the land. In 1995, dubbed by the tabloids as the "worst" school in England, it was shut down.

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Lowering of higher education

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 22, 2011

Last month, Israel's Council for Higher Education (CHE) endorsed the findings of an independent study that it had commissioned to evaluate the quality of departments of political science at eight of Israel's institutions of higher education. Overall, the study had much to say that was approving and complimentary.

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Are US's leaders fit for offce?

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 15, 2011

Last week the United Synagogue made a particularly nasty attack on this newspaper. I have read more or less every edition of every Anglo-Jewish broadsheet since the beginning of time. But I have never before read an attack of such viciousness on any such newspaper, and I would never have expected such a mindset to be projected from within the portals of the US.

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Tis not our season to be jolly

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 8, 2011

An Open Letter to Lord Sacks of Aldgate
Dear Jonathan

I feel compelled to write to you, both as a Jew and as a Jewish husband and father, to express to you the deep unease that I felt on reading press reports of your homily delivered at the Scottish Parliament at the end of last month.

I refer in particular to certain declarations that you reportedly made during the course of your re

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Let us play Jewish guessing game

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 1, 2011

Last week, I was privileged to give a public address in Tredegar in south Wales as part of the commemorations there of the anti-Jewish riots that swept through the Western Valleys in August 1911. The audience was composed almost entirely of non-Jews.

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Peace of mind over loose talk

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 24, 2011

Have you been following the twists and turns of the crisis-laden fallout that has followed the revelation that Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy recently regaled each other with disparaging remarks about Bibi Netanyahu? Do you think Netanyahu was right to demand a public apology, failing which he would withdraw Israel's ambassadors from France and the USA?

You haven't?

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The Charedi custom of excise

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 23, 2011

On November 3, the Jewish Tribune could hardly contain itself. It reported that "A new Oxford English dictionary tailor-made for use in Charedi schools" had been launched through an initiative of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.

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Fiasco sheds light on New Order

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 14, 2011

On this page on July 29 I offered an analysis of the lecture given to the Board of Deputies by Mick Davis, UJIA chair and chief trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council. I explained that in his address Davis had mapped out the New Order that he and the JLC intended to impose upon British Jewry.

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A mystery of life and death

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 7, 2011

Today I'm going to tell you a story. It's a story you may well have heard before, at least in part, for it featured in the Jewish Chronicle some years ago as an anonymised "Ask the Rabbi" item.

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Freedom: the right to be unfair

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 28, 2011

A British newspaper recently ran a story focussed on the decision of the transport authorities in a certain capital city to introduce women-only buses. To which capital city did this story refer?

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Arab Spring turns to cruel winter

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 26, 2011

Did you, perchance, notice the Arab Spring? This singular phenomenon, like some deceptively beautiful carnivorous plant, lived but a very short time upon this earth, but then died a violent death, eagerly devouring many of its children in the process.

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Writer's historic Jewish words

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 18, 2011

Last month, in the district court of Tel Aviv, a blow was struck for common sense.

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Turkey should look to history

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 10, 2011

I've been reading the provocative history of the Crimean War published last year by Professor Orlando Figes. Subtitled The Last Crusade, the book retells a story in which fact and legend merged with astonishing rapidity, certainly in this country.

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The wrong LPO punishment

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 28, 2011

On September 1 a performance at the BBC Promenade Concerts was deliberately interrupted by persons who had bought tickets for that performance but whose real intention was not musical appreciation but musical disruption.

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Spying: a job for a Jewish boy?

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 23, 2011

As an Oxford undergraduate, required to be in residence for just three eight-week terms a year, I was reasonably well off. But as a research student I had to finance all my travel and other expenses, plus my year-round board and lodging, out of a modest quarterly subvention of £125 (around £600 per month at present values). My bank balance was never very healthy.

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Review: The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 19, 2011

I do not envy the task of any editor who agrees to produce a one-volume "dictionary" of Anglo-Jewish history.

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An elected Chief Rabbi? If only

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 9, 2011

If I thought there was a cat in hell's chance of our being able to elect the next Chief Rabbi of "the United Hebrew Congregations", believe me I would hurry to don my second-best streimel and dance with a Sefer through the streets of St John's Wood, declaring as I went that not only do we all want Moshiach Now but that I would wager what, if anything, remains of my reputation that the Moshiach ha

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It's anti-Zionism that is racist

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 2, 2011

Here's a question for you: what do the cities of New York, Durban and St Andrews (technically a royal burgh, but please indulge me just this once) have in common? Answer: they're all places where anti-Zionism and antisemitism coalesce.

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And now for some good news

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 30, 2011

From time to time I'm accused of ignoring 'good news.' 'You're preoccupied with dirty linen,' a caller recently bawled at me down the telephone line. 'There's so much that's good about British Jewry; but all you're interested in are its shortcomings.' Well, it so happens that over the past fortnight a number of good news stories have come my way. I propose now to share three of them with you.

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