Alex Kasriel



Hat last!

By Alex Kasriel, October 3, 2008

Until last year whenever I went to shul it always involved conducting a surreptitious hat contest amongst the women in the Ladies Gallery. One year, the jaunty bucket style always won, and in another, the more masculine trilby caught my attention. In the early noughties, women went even more casual with wooly hats adorned with sequins and I was loving the look.

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Review: Cherry Docs

By Alex Kasriel, September 26, 2008

Wyndhams Theatre, London WC2

 

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Let’s reclaim the mikveh, ladies

By Alex Kasriel, August 28, 2008

The ritual bath is a spiritual place. It's time non-Orthodox women experienced it for themselves.

When I told friends that I intended to visit the mikveh before getting married last month, reactions varied from raised eyebrows to horror stories involving women's naked bodies being scrutinised and their knickers being sent to rabbis for inspection. Then there were the complaints about women being deemed impure during menstruation.

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Iris Bahr: 'I morph, therefore I am'

By Alex Kasriel, July 11, 2008

Iris Bahr is a comedian who writes in intimate detail about her sex life, and plays 10 characters in her London stage show. Maybe she just wants to be accepted


She may have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm as the Orthodox Jewish daughter of a doctor, and spent her childhood in a religious New York primary school, but Iris Bahr is no prude.

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Our deadliest genes

By Alex Kasriel, July 11, 2008

Ashkenazi Jews run higher risks of developing eight life-threatening genetic illnesses. But a new website seeks to help


Rosalind Jacobs has a 17-year-old daughter, Natasha, who suffers from a rare genetic condition specific to Ashkenazi Jews. Familial dysautonomia (FD) causes a dysfunction of the nervous system and creates problems with breathing and swallowing.

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Joan Rivers: 'Of course I can swear'

By Alex Kasriel, July 4, 2008

Joan Rivers is back in the UK with a new show. She tells us about comedy, suicide... and getting thrown off British TV

Joan Rivers is talking about chocolate-covered matzah houses. “I was on Martha Stewart’s programme for Passover and we made a gingerbread matzah house,” she says in her distinctively husky New York accent. “It was so fabulous I got more calls on that programme than I ever got in my life. It had chocolate and nuts and dried fruit. I always use it as a centrepiece [for my Seder]. Your readers should go on her website and get the recipe.”

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Triplets’ joy as music comes to aid of barmitzvah boy

By Alex Kasriel, June 20, 2008

Being severely disabled would rule out many people from having a bar- or batmitzvah, but it didn’t stop 13-year-old Ben Dawson from celebrating his coming-of-age ceremony with his sisters at Finchley Progressive Synagogue, North-West London.

Ben, who has quadriplegia, cortical visual impairment, epilepsy and global development delay, joined his triplet sisters Josie and Rachel on the bimah last month.

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So you want to be 100?

By Alex Kasriel, June 13, 2008
Being Jewish helps. So does being active and adapting to change. We ask the centenarians and scientists for expert advice

Hannah Cripps, Miriam Shenker, Rose Carr, Dolly Phillips and Eva Lewis have plenty in common. They all consider themselves to have a positive outlook on life; they are fiercely independent; none smokes or drinks… and all have reached 100 years of age or more.

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And now for the good news: Jews do live longer

By Alex Kasriel, June 13, 2008

It is something we have suspected for years. But now the JC can reveal: Jewish people do live longer than their non-Jewish counterparts.

Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics suggest that there are nearly three times as many Jewish people who are 100 or older than there are in the general population. In the 2001 Census, twice the number of those in the Jewish community were 90 or more, compared to the rest of England and Wales.

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The baroness leading a grey-power rebellion

By Alex Kasriel, May 23, 2008

Julia Neuberger is fed up with the way society marginalises older people. It’s time they fought back, she tells Alex Kasriel

Julia Neuberger has a thing about loos. She wishes there were more public ones. Why? Because she feels that without them, old people are too scared to go out. 

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Biblical portions

By Alex Kasriel, May 23, 2008

Ever wondered what our ancestors ate in ancient times?

This week, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins spent a week eating only wartime food in a new series of The Supersizers Go… on BBC2. They will also be sampling a Restoration, Regency, Victorian and a 1970s diet during this series. The pair say they were unimpressed by most of the food they were served during this series; but how would they have got on eating the food of our ancestors, by going on a biblical diet?

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Review: Israel 60 Gala Show

By Alex Kasriel, May 16, 2008

Wembley Arena, London

The organisers sold the event using Jackie Mason’s name as a draw, but in reality the audience Israel 60 Gala Show got a lot more excited about a lesser known performer on the night.

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Israel 60 Gala rocked by protesters

By Alex Kasriel, May 16, 2008

Solidarity hardened among the 7,500-strong crowd at the Israel 60 Gala in Wembley Arena last week after a surreal incident occurred moments before the show began.

While they waited for the entertainment to start, a massive cheer rang out as around 30 police swarmed into the audience and wrestled a group of anti-Israel protesters to the ground.

Four men and one woman were led from the building where they were arrested for public order offences and released on bail.

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Kassam rocket kills TV star’s mother-in-law

By Alex Kasriel, May 16, 2008

The mother-in-law of comedian Paul Kaye has been killed in a rocket attack near the Gaza Strip.

Mrs Shuli Katz, a 69-year-old nurse, was visiting her sister-in-law, Leora, in Moshav Yesha when the missile fell within a yard of her on Monday.

Her son, Yariv, 40, had left her side momentarily and survived the blast. Neither had time to find cover when the siren sounded.

Mr Kaye, 42, whose alter ego Dennis Pennis hoodwinked celebrities on the red carpet, attacked Palestinians for celebrating successful terror attacks.

'My identity is divided'

By Alex Kasriel, May 9, 2008

Lacey Schwartz is dealing with her dual ethnicity by making a film about black Jews

When Lacey Schwartz was 18 years old, she discovered why she was black when her parents were both white and Jewish. It emerged that her birth was the result of an affair her mother had had with a black man. Now she is making a film called Outside The Box about her experience of looking black but being Jewish.

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‘Being a black Jew means ordered spontaneity’

By Alex Kasriel, May 9, 2008

Rebecca Walker, a leading feminist, tells Alex Kasriel how writing a book helped her heal her ‘fragmented’ identity as black-Jewish. Overleaf, another woman explains her own solution

The last time author Rebecca Walker met up with her friend Lenny Kravitz, the rock star, he jokingly suggested co-authoring a book entitled Barbecues and Barmitzvahs.

These normally unconnected events are related for the small tribe of America’s black Jews to which both Walker and Kravitz belong.

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How Hitler invaded the marketing world

By Alex Kasriel, April 25, 2008

A long-held taboo on using Nazi imagery to sell products appears to be weakening. Is it just ad-land’s love of shock value — or something bigger?

In a South Korean television commercial, a young woman in a military trenchcoat holds a soldier’s cap bearing a motif of what looks like an eagle gripping a swastika. The voiceover says: “Even Hitler could not take over the East and West at the same time.”

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Meet Israel’s Jamie

By Alex Kasriel, April 25, 2008

Gil Hovav is Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and JK Rowling all rolled into one. We talk to the multi-talented chef known by Israelis as ‘Captain Cook’

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Travels with my father the 'spy'

By Alex Kasriel, April 25, 2008

Stuart Urban’s film about his dad’s wartime adventures led to some welcome family bonding, he tells Alex Kasriel

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How Hitler invaded the marketing world

By Alex Kasriel, April 24, 2008

A long-held taboo on using Nazi imagery to sell products appears to be weakening. Is it just ad-land’s love of shock value — or something bigger?

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