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Want to Write for Us?

We are always looking for new contributors to tell us something we didn’t know; to find fresh angles and fresh ways of telling them.  If you feel you have something new and interesting to say, please consult our contributor guidelines and get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you. The JewThink Team.

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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 […]

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The Nazis’ British Blacklist

In advance of Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, Nathan Abrams reviews a new book about the Nazis’ British hitlist and who wasn’t on it. Around 1939, the Gestapo drew up a list. In the case of the Nazi occupation of the United Kingdom, some 2,600 named individuals were to be targeted for removal. They would have […]

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At the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

A new poem by Shai Afsai. There are flamingos   in the Flamingo Habitat  at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino –  eight pink birds,  each balancing itself  on one twig-like leg.   And there are   a few full-length mirrors  fastened to trees  in the Flamingo Habitat,  which the flamingos  gaze into attentively.    I ask the caretaker,  who is aggressively […]

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Derrida and the Jewish Question

Nathan Abrams reviews a new biography of French-Jewish philosopher Jacques Derrida. Like Marmite, the philosopher Jacques Derrida divides opinion. Where some see a genius, others perceive a charlatan and a fraud. The English philosophical tradition is particularly opposed to him. But how did this French-Algerian Jewish kid (I use the term deliberately which will become […]

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‘All poets are Jews’

Darragh O’Donoghue explores aspects of Jewishness in the work of Stephen Dwoskin. Stephen Dwoskin (1939-2012) was a Jewish American graphic designer, painter, illustrator, photographer, filmmaker, writer, teacher, photomonteur, and activist who arrived in Britain in 1964 on a Fulbright Scholarship, and remained based in London for the rest of his life. He was a founder member […]

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Dictatorships and Jewish Double Standards*

On Donald Trump’s last day in office, Nathan Abrams reflects on the curious relationship between Jews and so-called ‘strongmen’, the title of a new book. Jews have long kept ambivalent relationships with so-called strongmen, the subject of Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s new book. While Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, does […]

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Rabbi Zalman Schacter, My Career Counselling Mentor

Martin Elliot Jaffe reflects on work as a way of life or in the way of life as inspired by the writing of Rabbi Zalman Schachter. As a recently retired career counsellor with 35 years of expertise dealing with a diverse cross-section of Americans facing a turbulent era of career transition and the hollowing out […]

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Why Is There Resistance to A Working Definition of Antisemitism?

Günther Jikeli offers a defence of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

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The Jewishness of ‘Scanners’

Sean Alexander unpicks the Jewish undercurrents to the film Scanners which was released forty years ago on this day. Probably best known to David Cronenberg fans as ‘the one with the exploding head’, Scanners (1981) has proven to be one of the Canadian’s most remembered and entertaining of early studio features.  Following the parasitical excesses […]

Television & Film

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The Jewishness of ‘Scanners’

Sean Alexander unpicks the Jewish undercurrents to the film Scanners which was released forty years ago on this day. Probably best known to David Cronenberg fans as ‘the one with the exploding head’, Scanners (1981) has proven to be one of the Canadian’s most remembered and entertaining of early studio features.  Following the parasitical excesses […]

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Is The Mandalorian a Space Jew?

Nathan Abrams wonders if Disney’s creation is a member of the tribe. ‘Is There a Jew Under the Mandalorian’s Mask?’ Charlotte Gartenberg asked in The Tablet. She wrote this as the show debuted. There is certainly a great deal of mystery to the bounty hunter at the centre of Disney’s new Star Wars derived drama […]

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Flash Gordon, Moshiach of the Universe

Nathan Abrams tells the hidden Jewish history of a childhood favourite, Flash Gordon, which is 40 years old today. Imagine if the creators of Superman had read Susan Sontag’s ‘Notes on Camp’ and the result is Flash Gordon which celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its release today. In a nutshell, scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov, football […]

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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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Frum Fetish Shlock: Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’

The problem with Orthodox Jewish women in popular cultural representations lies with audience desires for shlock and salvation, not with Haredi society.  The Netflix series Unorthodox, appearing as it did at the heart of pandemic lockdown, caused a sensation in both the Jewish and non-Jewish world.   The four-episode drama offered a tantalizing look at a woman’s escape from her […]

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Four Jewish John le Carré Adaptations

To mark the passing of John le Carré, who died on 12 December, Nathan Abrams recommends four Jewish adaptations of his work.    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)  This was the first film adaptation of any le Carré novel. It was directed by Martin Ritt, who was Jewish. Oskar Werner plays the ‘brilliant and principled’ East German Jewish spy Fiedler. The name of the principal female character in the novel, the innocent […]

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Up Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek may not be The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, says Vince Brook, but It Is Marvellous and Very, Very Jewish! Let’s start with Eugene and Dan Levy, co-creators of the hugely popular, Emmy-monopolizing CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020). This actual Jewish father and son team also co-star in the series as the fictionally Jewish Johnny […]

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Mank the Mensch

Nathan Abrams offers another view on David Fincher’s latest movie that reveals the hidden Jewishness behind the film. Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) is widely regarded as a classic, if not the best movie ever made. It’s routinely taught at universities; indeed, I have taught it many times. Rarely, though, until now, has it been […]

Life after Covid

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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. […]

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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 […]

Politics

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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

A letter in support of Professor David Feldman and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism

While JewThink has no editorial ‘line’, it exists to be a platform for debate and discussion within and outside the UK Jewish community.  We were approached by the organisers of the following jointly-signed letter that was published in the Jewish Chronicle on 23 December 2020. They wished to ensure that the letter was more visible […]

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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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Bloated and Angry: Rudolph Giuliani

Sue Fox recalls meting and interviewing one-time New York City mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. Having seen far too much of Rudolph Giuliani – the bloated, angry looking  legal advisor to Trump – during this election fiasco, I decided to skim through his 2002 book Giuliani: Leadership.   Before the events of 9/11 changed the world, the then […]

As We Are

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The Secret History of Hava Nagila

The Secret History of Hava Nagila is an animated short story that could change everything you thought you knew about Jewish history.

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