Geoffrey Alderman

Bright is not necessarily right

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 24, 2011

On December 17 last, I devoted this column to a consideration of the academic accomplishments of Ms Jennifer Peto, who had submitted to the University of Toronto a Master's thesis entitled The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education.

In this thesis, and on the basis of what I considered its shallow consideration of two Holocaust education

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No new gay way to stay frum

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 17, 2011

On July 22 2010, a Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in our Community was issued over the names of around 170 mainly Israeli and American Orthodox rabbis and educators.

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Continually Spreading Trust

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 10, 2011

A month ago today, the second most senior police officer in the Metropolitan Police, Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin, chaired a meeting at New Scotland Yard.

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Council taxing our patience

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 3, 2011

The silly season has certainly come early this year.

Take Scotland. And, in particular, West Dunbartonshire. The elected councillors of West Dunbartonshire have reiterated their determination to enforce a policy (apparently first adopted in 2009) banning "the purchase of any goods… which were made or grown in Israel."

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Is the NUS 'difference' racist?

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 27, 2011

In my experience, May is rarely a happy time on university campuses. Students are gearing-up for their end-of-year exams. Teachers are putting the final touches to the assessments their students will face - the ominous lull before the inevitable storm.

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Seeing sense in City synagogue

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 19, 2011

One would not normally associate the ceremonial of a City livery company with the forging of a revolution in the Orthodox Jewish world.

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This was no 'peace activist'

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 13, 2011

Few events - not even the execution of Osama bin Laden - have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called "peace activist" Vittorio Arrigoni.

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Croydon's suspect treatment

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 6, 2011

On February 25, I commented here on the weird, not to say alarming, goings-on at the Croydon Synagogue that is a branch of the Federation of Synagogues.

The worthy congregants of Croydon (or at any rate some 28 of them) decided that they could no longer tolerate the presence in their synagogue of their minister, the Reverend David Gilinksy.

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Review: Broadening Jewish History

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 29, 2011

By Todd M Endelman
The Littman Library, £39.50

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How Quakers turned spiteful

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 27, 2011

I have - or rather had - a soft spot for the Quakers. British Jews and British Quakers have had a common experience of life as second-class citizens of the state in which they live. The claim that the Quaker architect Joseph Avis declined (in 1699) to accept a fee for the construction of the synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Bevis Marks is almost certainly a bubbe meiseh.

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Our unrepresentative security

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 18, 2011

In the JC of March 11, there was an article by Dr Gilbert Kahn, who teaches political science at Kean University, in the United States.

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The limits of academic debate

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 11, 2011

I spent last week indulging two of my dearest passions.

One is to be in Israel, to dwell in the land. The other is to teach, or rather to sit with, a group of interested individuals and explore with them common interests and common problems.

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Israeli history men lock hornsc

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 4, 2011

This week, I tell the tale of two historians. Professor Ilan Pappe holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford. Professor Benny Morris holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Morris currently teaches at Ben-Gurion University, Beersheva. Pappe used to teach at Haifa University but five years ago managed to arrange a transfer to the University of Exeter.

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TV murder of common sense

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 28, 2011

I am about to reveal a secret so shocking that I advise readers of a nervous disposition to cease reading this column and - better still - to screw up this entire copy of the JC and pop it without further ado into the nearest environmentally friendly, newspaper recycling container.

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Hypocrisy - the writer's spur

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 21, 2011

I never intended to become a journalist. I have never been trained as a journalist. I have no journalistic accreditation and I am not a member of the NUJ.

Had I told my parents that I had ambitions in the journalistic direction they would at best have given me "a good talking to" and might even have called in a shrink.

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Archive integrity matters

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 14, 2011

The growth of the internet has posed both challenges and opportunities for the academic historian. My own doctoral research was undertaken in the pre-internet age. I had to make handwritten records of every relevant document in every archive I consulted; accessing these archives required a great deal of letter-writing, phone-calling and sheer legwork.

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Shul that barred its minister

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 28, 2011

Over the past four months, I have been asked to interest myself in no less than three disputes between ministers and their congregations. Legal considerations prevent me from writing about two of them. But in neither case have I encountered anything approaching the venom that characterises events at the Croydon outpost of the Federation of Synagogues.

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Palestine Papers' real scoop

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 21, 2011

Many commentators far more erudite than I am on the subject of peace in the Middle East have given vent to their erudition in respect of the so-called "Palestine Papers"- the 1,600 or so documents leaked to Al Jazeera and then passed on to other media.

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Progressives' genuine progress

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 14, 2011

This year marks the centenary of the founding of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue. The LJS was established by - and owed its survival beyond a difficult birth to - a partnership between the gentleman scholar, Claude Goldsmid Montefiore, and the woman who wanted desperately to be his wife (but whose advances he rebuffed), Lily Montagu.

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Stop this shocking proposal

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 9, 2011

From time to time, the JC has been criticised - and so have I, personally - for reporting and commenting on events from a narrow ethnic or religious perspective.

Appearing at a charity fund-raising panel last year, I was asked whether it was really "a good thing" for me to use this column simply to air "Jewish" concerns.

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