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Jews & Crime

As any historian will tell you, one of the ways we discover Jews in far-flung places is through accounts of criminal activity both perpetrated by and against Jews. This series proposes to reflect on the relationship between Jews and issues of crime and criminality, opening up the hidden worlds of Jewish criminals and criminal behaviour. […]

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On “Jewface”

Daniel Livingstone criticizes the current complaining over so-called Jewface. It almost pains me to engage with a debate as silly as this, but folk are having a right broigus over “Jewface”. Arguing about non-Jewish actors playing Jewish parts and questioning why people don’t react the same as for, say, “Yellowface”, where a non-Asian actor takes […]

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Seinfeld Yomi

Jarrod Tanny introduces us to Seinfeld Yomi, a Facebook group devoted to watching and discussing the series day by day in the tradition of our greatest sages. Welcome to Seinfeld Yomi! Are there degrees of coincidence? Is it permissible to parallel park headfirst? Is it poor hygiene to “double dip” a chip? How long must […]

Rodney Dangerfield, Mensch featured

Rodney Dangerfield, Mensch

Steve Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan pay a little overdue respect to the late comedian, who recently would have celebrated his 100th birthday. Rodney Dangerfield was a living contradiction: a successful failure. Fame is the closest thing American culture has to royalty, and America made Dangerfield famous, curiously, precisely because he failed to embody the virtues […]

The Rabbi's Revenge Jewishness

The Rabbi’s Revenge

A short story by Elliot B. Gertel.                                                      The young rabbi looked forward to the class. Fresh out of the seminary, in his first congregation, he anticipated, more than anything else, the opportunity to teach the children. After all, “And thou shalt teach them unto thy children,” is a cardinal commandment in Judaism. The teacher of […]

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Can Your Canine Keep Kosher?

Nathan Abrams reviews a new short film about the relationship between frum Jews and their dogs. They may be man’s best friend, but they are not a Jew’s best friend. As the saying goes, “A Jew with a dog? It’s either not a Jew or it’s not a dog.” A new documentary, currently screening as […]

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Ridley Road

Joseph Finlay reviews the history and politics of Ridley Road and prays there is not a second series. Before September 2021 I didn’t know I needed a BBC drama about British Jews fighting fascists in 1960s London. And having seen all four parts of Ridley Road — I’m still not sure I do. As a […]

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Solomon and Rabbi Simon

Barbara Borts tells us how Simon and Garfunkel explain Kohelet. Paul Simon has just celebrated his 80th birthday, keyn eyn hore, and Art Garfunkel has his coming up soon. All the celebrations have sent me with nostalgia back to their music, which formed a significant part of my teenage playlist of folk and singer-songwriter melodies. […]

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Jews & Brews

Martin Elliot Jaffe discusses the history and joys of Jewish coffee house culture. ‘One cannot attain presence of mind without the aid of coffee’. These words of Italian Rabbi Hezekiah Da Silva from the early 1600s fueled my immersion into the rich Jewish role in the rise of European coffeehouses and the cultural, political and […]

Television & Film

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A Musical Epic: West Side Story

Nathan Abrams reviews a new book about the classic musical, West Side Story. In this new book on the classic movie, West Side Story. The Jets, the Sharks, and the making of a classic, Richard Barrios describes West Side Story as ‘a musical epic’ that took a big approach like other movies of its time […]

face featured

On “Jewface”

Daniel Livingstone criticizes the current complaining over so-called Jewface. It almost pains me to engage with a debate as silly as this, but folk are having a right broigus over “Jewface”. Arguing about non-Jewish actors playing Jewish parts and questioning why people don’t react the same as for, say, “Yellowface”, where a non-Asian actor takes […]

four featured

Seinfeld Yomi

Jarrod Tanny introduces us to Seinfeld Yomi, a Facebook group devoted to watching and discussing the series day by day in the tradition of our greatest sages. Welcome to Seinfeld Yomi! Are there degrees of coincidence? Is it permissible to parallel park headfirst? Is it poor hygiene to “double dip” a chip? How long must […]

fogs feature

Can Your Canine Keep Kosher?

Nathan Abrams reviews a new short film about the relationship between frum Jews and their dogs. They may be man’s best friend, but they are not a Jew’s best friend. As the saying goes, “A Jew with a dog? It’s either not a Jew or it’s not a dog.” A new documentary, currently screening as […]

ridley featured

Ridley Road

Joseph Finlay reviews the history and politics of Ridley Road and prays there is not a second series. Before September 2021 I didn’t know I needed a BBC drama about British Jews fighting fascists in 1960s London. And having seen all four parts of Ridley Road — I’m still not sure I do. As a […]

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Challenging TV Stereotypes

Barbara Borts discusses Jews on recent television. We are the stars of this past couple of weeks. Everywhere you look, there we are. There is Ridley Road, Paris Police 1900, Scenes from a Marriage, and, on Shabbat past, Yentl. There was even more, but let’s stop there. Ridley Road and Paris Police 1900 concern themselves […]

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The Hidden Jews of ‘Dune’

As the film opens in the UK today, Nathan Abrams explores the Jewishness of the famous novel and its film adaptations. Dune opens in the UK today and while its secret Jewish history has been explored here, the full story has not been told. Much of Frank Herbert’s original 1965 science-fiction novel is explicitly influenced […]

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A Talmudic Director

Nathan Abrams reflects on the Jewishness of Mike Leigh’s work. Although he hasn’t made a film since 2018, Mike Leigh is back on the radar. Today, a new edition of Faber’s Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh edited by Amy Raphael is released. The BFI is celebrating his work with a major retrospective at its Southbank […]

Life after Covid

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Are our Jewish nightmares paling into insignificance?

Gloria Tessler asks has the pandemic deepened society’s consciousness and so we Jews have to worry less? Does it seem strange that during the pandemic so many important topics of conversation have suddenly assumed even greater magnitude? Racism in society, gender issues, women’s rights, everything is laid bare before us in terms that were muted […]

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Masks, Jews and the Holocaust

Nathan Abrams explores the similarities between rightwing Americans and orthodox Jews over their refusal to wear masks. The wearing of masks has evoked contradictory emotions and reactions. Some see it as an important means to halt the spread of Covid-19, as well as a sign of social consideration and altruism. Others have politicised the issue, […]

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If I am not for myself, who will be for me? A Profile of Yehudis Fletcher

Karen Skinazi profiles Yehudis Fletcher, a Haredi political and social activist who helped to found Nahamu, an organisation dedicated to fighting extremism. ‘What would you do if, say, a transwoman who used to be part of the Haredi community lost the right to see her children in the civil courts?’ I asked (admittedly, it was […]

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Lockdown and Motherhood

Miki Shaw, an artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in London, reflects on parenthood during lockdown. Lockdown, when it first came, felt oddly familiar to me. Not the large-scale and tragic backdrop of it, but the personal-scale isolation, and being stuck at home. I’ve been locked down in some ways since I first became a […]

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Streaming Rosh Hashanah

Nathan Abrams talks to Dr. Joshua Edelman about his new research project into how best to conduct religion online. As Rosh Hashanah looms, how do we conduct online religious services in the age of Covid? This is an essential question, as we prepare for what is, unquestionably, the most important period in the Jewish calendar. […]

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How Will This Rosh HaShanah Be Different From Every Other? It Won’t

Nathan Abrams reflects on how there will be little change to his Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. There is a great deal of talk about how Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be different this year for many people but for me it won’t. In fact, it will be better. I live in Bangor, in […]

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The Enduring Relevance of Avrom Radutski’s Poetry

Phil Alexander finds contemporary echoes in the poetry of Avrom Radutski. At the beginning of 2020, recently embarked upon a British Academy fellowship exploring Scottish-Jewish musical encounters, I was looking forward to days spent leisurely mining the Garnethill Synagogue Archives, the National Library of Scotland, the British Library, and so many other physical treasure chests.  […]

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Sourdough is Goyish, Challah is Jewish

If there was one thing that characterised my social media feeds during the early days of lockdown, it was the sudden appearance of endless photographs of homemade bread. It seems that, stuck at home, even in the face of a national shortage of flour and yeast, most people’s first reaction was to bake a loaf. […]

Politics

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A left response to left antisemitism: Is it too late for education?

Two recently-published books try and educate the left against antisemitism. Will they succeed?

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The Hard Work of Racial Inclusivity in the British-Jewish Community Starts Here

Lara Monroe, a Black-British Jew, responds to the publication of the report by the Board of Deputies Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community.

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It’s Time to Celebrate Jewish Power

Loolwa Khazzoom celebrates the Jews in the new Biden administration. I watched inauguration day with great emotion, for numerous reasons, including the fact that a Black Indian woman is in the White House, for the first time in history. I was equally excited not only about the corollary fact that there is a second gentleman […]

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We need better ways to speak to each other about campus antisemitism and Israel

Ken Stern argues that efforts to oppose campus antisemitism must be consistent with academic freedom and free speech, and this means rejection of hate speech codes such as IHRA.

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Corbynites prepare to reject EHRC findings

Dan Jacobs considers the likely reaction to the EHRC report by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. The report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into Labour antisemitism is due to be released to the public within weeks, possibly days.   The report is unlikely to call for the removal of individuals and Jeremy Corbyn himself then […]

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A Letter from Portland

On the day I write this, we have witnessed 60 days of daily demonstrations in the streets of downtown Portland Oregon. After the murder of George Floyd by police, it was awe-inspiring to see myriads of thousands rise up across the US. Horrified by the blatant injustice, peaceful crowds in Portland Oregon, masked, observing safe […]

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Dang!

Artist and filmmaker Ruth Novaczek reflects on social media’s determination of hate speech — and the real hate it occludes. Dang, banned again! Yes, first it was 24 hours, ok not so bad, next it was 48, hmm, then finally 3 days. The worst aspect of this stupid Facebook algorithmic witch-hunting was the fact that […]

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The problem of love in Corbyn’s Labour Party: Reflections on Left Out

How Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire’s ‘Left Out’ shows how love was always a greater problem than hate in Corbyn’s Labour Party

As We Are

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Time To Heal

Emma Franks, a practising visual artist describes how her brother’s increased religiosity and Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox inspired her commitment to producing work that explores the female narrative and perspective. In the middle of the global pandemic last year, when we noticed birdsong and the joys of being at one with nature people also discovered the […]

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