Simon Round

Interview: Sara Shilo

By Simon Round, January 6, 2011

Sara Shilo came late to novel writing. The author of The Falafel King is Dead, which became a literary sensation when it was published in Israel in 2005, did not start writing until she was 40. But even more surprising is the fact that she did not even manage to read an entire novel from start to finish until she was the same age.


Cold? Roll out the barrels

By Simon Round, December 29, 2010

Currently, I do not have a cold. I am, however, one of the few. Throughout the JC newsroom, journalists are coughing, spluttering and rasping. Tissues are piling up, Lemsip is being taken by the bucketful and occasionally a nurse will walk across the editorial floor to check blood pressure and change drips.

You may not have read in the newspapers about the current sniffles pandemic but you have only to look around you to see the huge number of victims who have been tragically afflicted with a runny nose and tickly throat.


Money Talks: Gilts are complex but bear with me

By Simon Round, December 13, 2010

In these days of financial uncertainty, there has never been a better time to be well-informed about money.


Interview: Marc Dubois

By Simon Round, December 9, 2010

Whenever there is a humanitarian crisis, the international aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), needs to find the resources to provide emergency care for those in need. Currently the organisation is active in more than 60 countries around the world and its resources are stretched, so you would think that MSF's Jewish UK executive director, Marc DuBois, would be lobbying the government to provide more assistance in these countries. However the Philadelphia-born aid worker has found himself in the unusual position of opposing government-sponsored medical aid.


Surviving winter: pack soup

By Simon Round, December 3, 2010

This week has seen a return to the snow which plagued the country last winter.

It is widely accepted now that global warming could herald in a new ice age - so as the planet heats up we can expect much more in the way of sub-zero temperatures and arctic conditions.

In these temperatures it is essential to pay attention to safety when driving. This means observing a few basic precautions when you set out from your house.

A little maintenance will help to ensure that you are not stranded later. Before you go anywhere, open the bonnet.


Interview: Abraham Foxman

By Simon Round, December 2, 2010

Abraham Foxman has spent most of his adult life attempting to debunk racist stereotypes. As national director of the US-based Anti-Defamation League, his voice is regularly heard condemning antisemitism. Ironically, so strident has been that voice that some feel he has turned himself into a stereotype - that of the touchy Jew.


Her recipe for success slayed the dragons

By Simon Round, November 29, 2010

Two scraps of paper were all it took to change Carol Savage's life. On them were scrawled recipes that her husband had brought back from a visit to his mother in South Africa. The recipes gave Savage the germ of an idea for a recipe exchange website, which she turned into a thriving business, culminating in a successful appearance on the BBC programme Dragon's Den.


Interview: Daniel Mariaschin

By Simon Round, November 25, 2010

Jewish leaders do not come more much more influential than Daniel Mariaschin. As executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International and the director of the BBI Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy, the American has the ear of world leaders on matters of Jewish interest and much more.

B'nai B'rith has been accredited as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) by the United Nations since 1947 and as such plays a prominent role in campaigning and lobbying. So what does Mariaschin (pictured) plan to discuss with Foreign Office representatives - his next appointment after our interview?


Interview: Nigel Lawson

By Simon Round, November 18, 2010

When the Coalition government came to power in May it faced an unprecedented budget deficit of over more than £150 billion, at a time when Britain seemed to be on the verge of sinking back into recession.


Interview: Bradley Reback

By Simon Round, November 11, 2010

We may be living through an era of savage cuts and austerity, but not everyone is tightening their belts. Millionaire former care-homeowner Bradley Reback has been busy putting money back into the community.


Interview: Rabbi Lionel Blue

By Simon Round, November 4, 2010

There are not many rabbis whose transformative experience occurred at a gay sauna in Amsterdam. However, there are very few rabbis like Lionel Blue.

Blue, known as the gently avuncular voice of Radio 4's Thought For the Day, was the first British rabbi to come out publicly as gay. His gayness has presented him with religious and emotional challenges but also has enabled him to establish his own religious philosophy, which he has shared with Radio 4 listeners and now with readers in the form of a new book, The Godseeker's Guide.


Interview: Yehuda Avner

By Simon Round, October 21, 2010

Among his many talents, Yehuda Avner was always good at taking notes. As adviser and speech-writer to five Israeli Prime Ministers there was a lot to take down - there were the discussions about policy, meetings with great statesmen and all those jocular off-the-record comments.


Jazzing up Shabbat

By Simon Round, October 7, 2010

Back in the mid-1960s Jonathan Klein - then a high school student with a passion for jazz - was approached to compose something for his synagogue. Klein had the novel idea of setting Shabbat prayers to jazz.


Fussy ... but not that kind of fussy

By Simon Round, October 7, 2010

The term fussy eater could have been invented for my daughter Lucy. At five weeks she refused her first ever bottle of formula milk and she has been turning down food ever since.


Interview: James Inverne

By Simon Round, September 28, 2010

On the face of it, James Inverne would not seem to have a huge amount in common with Simon Cowell. Inverne is, after all, not a showbusiness impresario but rather a classical music journalist who is much more enthusiastic about Berlioz than boy bands.


Interview: Sufian Abu Zaida

By Simon Round, September 21, 2010

The history of peace negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians does not inspire a huge amount of confidence that the present talks will lead to agreement. However, there are those on both sides who continue to hope, if not believe, that this time an agreement will be reached.


Interview: Sarah Solemani

By Simon Round, September 16, 2010

Is it possible to write a comedy about a couple living on benefits without it being perceived as a commentary on Broken Britain?

Sarah Solemani thinks so. She plays Becky in Him & Her - a sitcom about Steve and Becky, a couple of happy benefit bums who never leave their bedsit. In some ways it is very BBC3 - featuring, as the continuity announcer might put it, strong language and frank discussion of sex. There is also quite a lot of going to the toilet (with sound effects) which leaves little to the imagination.


Interview: Gideon Levy

By Simon Round, September 16, 2010

Gideon Levy has no illusions about how he is perceived in the mainstream Jewish world. The veteran Ha'aretz journalist is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza, and has been for 25 years. The fact that he has promoted his new book, The Punishment of Gaza, at a series of events organised by pro-Palestinian groups, has not endeared him to Zionist groups here, and he has been called "a propagandist for Hamas" by right wingers at home in Israel.


Repent. Oh, and enjoy the party

By Simon Round, September 7, 2010

BarnsleyBob: "I've recently moved down to London and am now living in quite a Jewish area of North London. I hear that the Jewish New Year is coming up and I was wondering whether anyone could recommend any good parties.

KeepitKosher: Hi BarnsleyBob. You're right, the Jewish New Year is coming up soon but it's not really a party thing. This is the time of year that we have the family over and eat dinner. It lasts for two days.


Interview: Josef Levinson

By Simon Round, September 7, 2010

I am sitting in the Central Synagogue in London sipping tea, hoping that I will get a chance to speak to Josef Levinson. Levinson is 93 years old and exhausted after his flight from Vilnius. He has an ongoing high blood pressure problem and has apparently had a bad night. His son Alex, a tall, square-jawed man with a booming voice, tells me that his father has been having doubts about whether to talk to the newspapers.