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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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The Sackler Cartel

Continuing our series exploring Jews & Crime, Nathan Abrams reviews a fascinating new book about how the Sackler family amassed its fortune.  Generally, when one thinks of drug pushers, one thinks of the illicit drug trade between Latin America and the United States. One might picture the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels in particular. Someone like Pablo Escobar. Or dealers pushing their products on […]

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Tempering Jewish Fear & Anger

Dan Jacobs argues that diaspora Jews are letting their fear and anger determine their reactions to recent events. During the recent Israel/Palestinian fighting, Jews have been targeted by antisemites around the world. In the UK Jews were verbally attacked by pro-Palestinian protestors waving flags and shouting ‘death to Jews’, ‘rape their daughters’.  These types of […]

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‘Shalom, Jackie’: The end of ‘Friday Night Dinner’

Sue Vice laments the end of an era. As confirmed by Channel Four’s anniversary documentary, Friday Night Dinner: 10 Years and a Lovely Bit of Squirrel, broadcast on, fittingly, Friday 28 May 2021, the series has now finished. There will be no more weekly visits by twenty-something Adam and Jonny to the suburban Jewish home […]

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Jews and Dogs

To mark the release of Cruella, Nathan Abrams reflects on the relationship between Jews and dogs. Even though I own two of them (or they own me), Jews and dogs are widely believed to be an oxymoron. Consider the Yiddish proverb, ‘A Jew with a dog? It’s either not a Jew or it’s not a […]

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‘The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man’

Shai Afsai writes on how The Independent’s Joe Sommerlad’s ‘A brief history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’ plagiarises Rawan Damen’s four-part Al Nakba documentary. Al Nakba — written and directed by Rawan Damen, produced and first run on Al Jazeera Arabic in 2008, and re-versioned by Al Jazeera World to English in 2013 — is precisely […]

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Bearing Witness to Genocide

Nathan Abrams reviews The Auschwitz Escape (AKA The Auschwitz Report). Slovakia’s Oscar submission for the best international film tells the true story of two Jewish prisoners Freddy (Noel Czuczor) and Valér Peter (Ondrejicka) who escaped Auschwitz to provide a rare first-hand account of the shocking genocide at the camp. It stars John Hannah (Four Weddings […]

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UnKosher Carnage and Controversy

Sean Alexander reflects on 25 years of David Cronenberg’s Crash. In the quarter-century since Crash first made significant waves at May’s traditional Cannes International Film Festival (where it merited a Special Jury Prize for ‘Audacity, Daring and Originality’), it’s easy to forget the tsunamic impact it soon made at the same year’s London Film Festival.  […]

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Keeping the show on the road

The May 2021 conflagration in Israel/Palestine has raised painful issues of resilience in the UK Jewish community.

Television & Film

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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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‘Shalom, Jackie’: The end of ‘Friday Night Dinner’

Sue Vice laments the end of an era. As confirmed by Channel Four’s anniversary documentary, Friday Night Dinner: 10 Years and a Lovely Bit of Squirrel, broadcast on, fittingly, Friday 28 May 2021, the series has now finished. There will be no more weekly visits by twenty-something Adam and Jonny to the suburban Jewish home […]

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Bearing Witness to Genocide

Nathan Abrams reviews The Auschwitz Escape (AKA The Auschwitz Report). Slovakia’s Oscar submission for the best international film tells the true story of two Jewish prisoners Freddy (Noel Czuczor) and Valér Peter (Ondrejicka) who escaped Auschwitz to provide a rare first-hand account of the shocking genocide at the camp. It stars John Hannah (Four Weddings […]

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UnKosher Carnage and Controversy

Sean Alexander reflects on 25 years of David Cronenberg’s Crash. In the quarter-century since Crash first made significant waves at May’s traditional Cannes International Film Festival (where it merited a Special Jury Prize for ‘Audacity, Daring and Originality’), it’s easy to forget the tsunamic impact it soon made at the same year’s London Film Festival.  […]

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Billion-Dollar Bullshit

Nathan Abrams reviews a new documentary film about Jewish entrepreneur Adam Neumann and his co-working startup, WeWork. The billion-dollar start-up, WeWork, founded by Jewish entrepreneur Adam Neumann, which I wrote about here has been inspiring some interest of late. First, there was a book, then a podcast and now there is a documentary film with another book and even a television series based on […]

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Jews and Cheese: An Ambivalent Relationship

As we celebrate Shavuot, Nathan Abrams explores the curious relationship between Jews and cheese. The issue of Stilton cheese, which held up any potential UK trade deal with Japan, got me thinking about the relationship between Jews and cheese. But as it’s Shavuot, it’s a good time to be thinking about it again. Despite the modern Israeli’s love of all things to […]

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Freud meets Shtisel

For those not lucky enough to have seen it, Shtisel is a Netflix drama about family life in a Haredi community set in Geula, Jerusalem. It offers a unique insight into what living in this close-knit community may be like from the point of view of the Shtisel family including patriarch Shulem, son Akiva, daughter […]

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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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

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 […]

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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