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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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A Forgetting of Benjamin Franklin

Shai Afsai marks the passing of Ben Franklin on 17 April 1790. Rabbis and Jewish scholars have often been unaware of, confused about, or uncomfortable acknowledging American founding father Benjamin Franklin’s influence on Judaism. Franklin specialists have been largely oblivious to it. Though the mussar (practical Jewish ethical instruction) classic Sefer Heshbon Hanefesh (Book of […]

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British Jewish Horror

Molly Adams introduces six British-Jewish horror films. Since its birth as a genre, horror films have been preoccupied with religion and why not? The ritual, dramatic iconography, and terrifying promises of punishment in fiery pits for sinners to be found in Christianity are the perfect fuel for horror. However, if you’ve ever wondered where the […]

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Cronenberg’s Crime Films

Continuing our exploration into the link between Jews and crime, Sean Alexander looks at two David Cronenberg gangster films. You’d be forgiven for thinking that body horror director David Cronenberg’s canon of work is a world away from the crime thriller genre. Admittedly, Cronenberg’s halcyon period between Shivers (1975) and The Fly (1986) rarely crept any […]

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Britain’s Small Screen Jewish Gangsters

Contining with our series on Jews and Crime, Nathan Abrams explores British Jewish gangsters and criminals on the small screen. The image of the British Jewish gangster isn’t an obvious one but we’ve had two significant crime families on British television in recent years. McMafia (BBC, 2018) was an eight-part British crime drama television series […]

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The Philip Roth Minefield

Donald Weber offers his verdict on the new Philip Roth biography. Researching his richly-textured Philip Roth: The Biography, authorized by Roth himself in 2012, Blake Bailey recognized the challenge of narrating the story of one of the most celebrated, complex, and controversial figures in contemporary American literature. Roth, Bailey admits at the outset, is ‘too […]

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The Apotheosis of Consumer Culture and a Career

In his continuing exploration of David Cronenberg’s Jewishness, Sean Alexander appraises David Cronenberg’s only novel, Consumed. In 2014, the Baron of Blood and King of Venereal Horror, Canadian Jewish movie director, David Cronenberg, released his last movie to date, Maps to the Stars, and published his first novel Consumed. It brought the filmmaker’s career full […]

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An Uncanny Prophecy of Our Time

Donald Weber reviews Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz’s The Passenger. The publication of Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz’s harrowing novel, The Passenger, with a new translation from the original German by Philip Boehm, is a major literary event.  Written in the weeks following Kristallnacht, in early November 1938, when Boschwitz was just 23, The Passenger offers an intimate portrait […]

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Bone Woman

On Yom HaShoah, Gloria Tessler dedicates this poem to her grandmother Irma Kien, who was murdered in Riga. Bone woman, I am woman of bone. lone-woman, my eyes are stone. I break easily, small fissures have marbled me like cracked china. Do not expect me to sing for Old Zion under the sad willow The […]

Television & Film

horro featured

British Jewish Horror

Molly Adams introduces six British-Jewish horror films. Since its birth as a genre, horror films have been preoccupied with religion and why not? The ritual, dramatic iconography, and terrifying promises of punishment in fiery pits for sinners to be found in Christianity are the perfect fuel for horror. However, if you’ve ever wondered where the […]

cronenfdafdaffdaberg gansta featured

Cronenberg’s Crime Films

Continuing our exploration into the link between Jews and crime, Sean Alexander looks at two David Cronenberg gangster films. You’d be forgiven for thinking that body horror director David Cronenberg’s canon of work is a world away from the crime thriller genre. Admittedly, Cronenberg’s halcyon period between Shivers (1975) and The Fly (1986) rarely crept any […]

more gansta featured

Britain’s Small Screen Jewish Gangsters

Contining with our series on Jews and Crime, Nathan Abrams explores British Jewish gangsters and criminals on the small screen. The image of the British Jewish gangster isn’t an obvious one but we’ve had two significant crime families on British television in recent years. McMafia (BBC, 2018) was an eight-part British crime drama television series […]

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New Flesh for Old

In the second part of a two-part series, Sean Alexander explores the films of Brandon Cronenberg and the return of Jewish Body Horror. *Warning: this review contains spoilers Brandon Cronenberg’s second film, Possessor (2020), echoes much of the corporate themes of its predecessor, this time positing a technology that allows the cerebral transference of ‘agents’ […]

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WandaVision and the Spectre of the Jewish Nazi

Alana Vincent The latest episode of WandaVision has re-ignited a long-running point of discomfort among Jewish comics fans, as it reminds us that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the young Wanda Maximoff willingly joined Hydra—a shadowy successor organisation to the Third Reich—as a volunteer. Why is this an issue? Well, in the comic books, […]

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Borat is Back

Nathan Abrams looks forward to Borat sequel and how it will deal with contemporary antisemitism. It has been fourteen years since the release of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) but the trailer for the sequel has just dropped. In that initial installment, Sacha Baron Cohen treated us to […]

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The Return of Jewish Body Horror

In the first of two articles, Sean Alexander explores the films of Brandon Cronenberg. ‘Long Live the New Flesh’ has become a mantra for the underlying themes in the films of David Cronenberg, long since it was first uttered by Max Renn (James Woods) in the climactic scene of 1983’s Videodrome. Cronenberg’s tracking of humanity’s […]

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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, […]

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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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