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Reflecting on Rosh Hashana: A Call for Contributions

JewThink would like to mark this extraordinary Rosh Hashanah by collating and publishing some reflections on other Jewish new years past and present. These can be brief, funny and irreverent or longer and more reflective. What was your most disastrous Rosh Hashanah? What was your most uplifting? What new possibilities does Rosh Hashanah in semi-lockdown […]

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Introducing JewTh!nk

JewThink is a project to set up a popular, not for profit service to allow diverse Jewish voices to be heard in Britain. Existing Jewish publications in the UK are struggling. The circulation of print-based media continues to dwindle and close, and websites fight to produce revenue. At the same time, newspapers are subject to […]

THE LEMON TREE INTRO

The Lemon Tree and the Garden of Friendship

Gloria Tessler recalls how a small act of reconciliation and friendship could reinforce a soft peace

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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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Rosh Hashana 5781

Nigel Grizzard reflects on the new and improved Rosh Hashana services this year. What were my abiding memories of Rosh Hashanah as a child growing up in Woodford Green, Essex? Full shuls and long services that finished around two o’clock in the afternoon. Fifty years on in Leeds, things have not improved much. Schlep it […]

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A ‘Modern’ Blood Libel

Dan Rickman reflects on controversial issues of halacha and the language of orthodox Judaism. It is 1966, and Rabbi Dr Immanuel Jakobovits is angry. I’d like to explain what caused this anger, and why this still matters today. The person responsible for his ire was Dr Israel Shahak, a professor of Chemistry at the Hebrew […]

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Being Jewish in Aberdeen, Rosh Hashanah 5781

Mark Taylor reflects on a strange year in Britain’s most northerly congregation. Looking back at this year, as you do during Rosh Hashanah, it has been a surreal year.   This is Aberdeen Synagogue’s 75th anniversary year, and plans were ongoing to have a celebratory party but all of this has been put on hold.   The weather is still beautiful. It has […]

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The Jewish Films of Michael Lonsdale

Nathan Abrams celebrates the Jewish films of legendary French actor, Michael Lonsdale. The French actor Michael Lonsdale, who has died, aged 89, may not have been Jewish, but he left behind some key films dealing with Jewish issues. Here are the top five.   The Trial (1962) The Trial was the attempt by legendary auteur Orson Welles to adpat the 1925 novel of the same name by the Jewish […]

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Heavy Metal and Renewal: Rosh Hashanah in the end times

How metal’s Christian apocalyptic sensibility can ground hope for a Jewish new year of renewal.

Television & Film

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The Jewish Films of Michael Lonsdale

Nathan Abrams celebrates the Jewish films of legendary French actor, Michael Lonsdale. The French actor Michael Lonsdale, who has died, aged 89, may not have been Jewish, but he left behind some key films dealing with Jewish issues. Here are the top five.   The Trial (1962) The Trial was the attempt by legendary auteur Orson Welles to adpat the 1925 novel of the same name by the Jewish […]

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Remembering Ronald Harwood, the Jewish Writer with a Strong Jewish Sensibility

Nathan Abrams remembers the work of Jewish playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood. Sir Ronald Harwood, who is perhaps best known for writing the screenplay to Roman Polanski’s Holocaust film, The Pianist, died yesterday of natural causes. He was born on 9 November 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa to Isobel (née Pepper) and Isaac Horwitz. […]

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A Golden Age of Jewish Television?

Nathan Abrams reflects on current Jewish television, wondering if we are now enjoying a golden age of Jews on the box. ‘When Did TV Get So Jewish?’ proclaimed Vanity Fair recently.   On almost every channel, we find Jews on television, both factual and fictional. We have also seen more and more Jews both as central and incidental characters and […]

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Antisemitism and Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

The Shining, which marks its fortieth anniversary this year, is probably the ur-horror film. Its template for pyschological horror has been much copied over subsequent decades. Given its director’s ethnicity, which has been established by various authors (including myself), we can also view The Shining through the lens of Jewishness and Judaism. In so doing, […]

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Watching Unorthodox in Broughton Park

Rachel Harris argues that problem with Orthodox Jewish women in popular cultural representation lies with audience shlock and salvation, not with Charedi society. I am an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor, supporting people who have experienced sexual violence. I am a writer and a campaigner against ideologically motivated harms. I live and work in the heart […]

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From Aliyah to ‘I’m A Celebrity’: Gwrych Castle’s Secret Jewish History

Nathan Abrams reveals the forgotten Jewish history of Gwrych Castle. One thing that has been missed in the excitement of the announcement that Gwrych Castle in Abergele, north Wales is hosting I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here is the location’s Jewish history. During the Second World War, Jewish refugee children were housed in […]

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David Cronenberg: Jewish King of the Venereal

While one famous Canadian Jew has been in the news recently, another has been overlooked: David Cronenberg. His first feature, Shivers, opened 45 years ago this October, soon making him the nascent new horror’s ‘Baron of Blood’ and ‘King of the Venereal’. It also established many of the Jewish themes and characteristics that would become staple elements of all his […]

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Jews and Cheese: An Ambivalent Relationship

Nathan Abrams explores the curious relationship between Jews and cheese. The issue of Stilton cheese, which is holding up any potential UK trade deal with Japan, got me thinking about the relationship between Jews and cheese.  Despite the modern Israeli’s love of all things to do with cottage cheese, one does not automatically associate Jews the stuff. Has Israel made a […]

Life after Covid

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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. […]

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COVID, Ducks and Balak the Crazy Dog

A dream-like state. Thousands of random flashing images gradually replaced by a piercing, high frequency sine-wave and my wife’s urgent pleas to ‘wake up! Wake up! Kirk, wake up!’ After initial confusion, I realised I had passed out in the lobby of our apartment block. I remembered exiting the lift and telling my wife I […]

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Jewish Art: Where Are You?

The UK is slowly emerging from lockdown and people can see art again. From last week, museums and galleries reopened for visitors. This may not be news for everyone, but art is my love, as well as my profession. Not being able to go to galleries has been a deprivation. I feel starved of the art of others.    There has been much art on the internet – […]

Politics

Left Out by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire

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

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Post-truth, QAnon and the Jewish response – a call for submissions

I’m not an absolutist. I’ve long understood that if you asked ten people to recall the same event they all witnessed, you will get ten different versions. Some of those versions will directly contradict each other. We understand this happens because everyone processes what they see through the lens of their own experience.   The concept […]

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Considering the antisemitism of Jeremy Corbyn

Extracts from the yet unpublished Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire are being published in The Times this week and include interesting tidbits about Jeremy Corbyn and his alleged antisemitism. The latest revelations are a quote from one of Corbyn’s right-hand men, Andrew Murray, saying that […]

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MRS AMERICA: Everything coming up Bagels

True story: About three weeks into a new job, my first in England, which had thus far included a lot of activities labelled ‘induction’ (a term unfamiliar to my North American brain, but which seemed to mean go drink coffee while having small talk about the weather and bad shows like The Great British Bake […]

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Labour is Cleaning House, the Tories Must, Too.

Barnaby Marder explains why if the Labour Party is tackling antisemitism, we have a right to expect the same from the Conservatives. In the Jewish Chronicle last week (August 12, 2020) Lee Harpin wrote a puzzling article about how leading Conservatives were ‘baffled over signs of Jewish support for Labour’.   Quite apart from the fact that the article seems suspiciously like a non-story, it implies […]

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Stop Bullying Seth Rogen

I hesitate to wade into this debate. It feels like it’s been done to death already (gesticulates). But there is something no one has said about the Maron/Rogen interview. Seth Rogen is being bullied. Some sections of the Jewish community are bullying him. Not because of his talent or some might say his lack of, […]

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Communal Consistency of Causes: a response to Dan Jacobs

Harry Marin responds to Dan Jacobs’ piece, ‘Leaders take a moral stand on the Uyghurs, why not on Palestine?’ On 22nd July, JewTh!nk published an article entitled: ‘Leaders take a moral stand on the Uyghurs, why not on Palestine?’ This article by Dan Jacobs raised a number of interesting questions (statement of conflict of interest: […]

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My Hero, Seth Rogen

I have long admired Seth Rogen and I still do. No amount of selective quotation from his hour-long interview with Marc Maron will change my mind. In fact, it has reinforced my appreciation for him. Rogen (whose surname must be mispelled as often as mine is) first came into my life as part of Judd […]

As We Are

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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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