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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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Metal and the Holocaust: Feeling the ‘Gut-Punch’ of History

Dominic Williams considers whether and how metal music can help us ‘feel’ the Holocaust.

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Revisiting Israel: From Bauhaus Tel Aviv to Trump’s Jerusalem

From Bauhaus Tel Aviv to Trump’s Jerusalem – Gloria Tessler wonders how far the character of the Jewish State has changed.

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A Musical Epic: West Side Story

Nathan Abrams reviews a new book about the classical 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 […]

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A Great Film but Strangely Washed of Jewishness

Jack Shamash reviews the new release The Trial of the Chicago 7. Last Friday, the film The Trial of The Chicago 7 was released in cinemas and on Netflix. It depicts the Chicago Conspiracy Trial that began in 1969 and ended in 1970. It stars, among others, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin and Sacha Baron […]

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Reviving a Personal Identity

Robert Katz reflects upon events that may not be precisely accurate but nevertheless reveal layers of meaning and the topography of his experiences. In the mid 1950s, my parents uprooted our family from the congested Bronx apartment building they moved into after World War II, to a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, where our neighbours […]

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Zoom Connections

Roma Cohen writes about organising services, via Zoom, for a small and aging regional congregation. On Sunday 26th July 2020, the 102nd Annual General Meeting of our small northern ‘friendly, warm and welcoming’ Harrogate synagogue took place for the first time through the medium of Zoom.  The much respected, dedicated Chair of fifty years plus […]

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Agent Sonya: Eshet Chayil

Nathan Abrams on Agent Sonya, a book about a remarkable Jewish spy. Not many non-fiction books open a paragraph with the sentence, ‘Ursula lay awake wondering whether to murder her nanny’. But then the subject of this book is unusual: a Jewish woman, housewife and spy, who spied for the Soviet Union and successfully escaped the clutches of Stalin, MI5 and […]

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RBG and the Jewish Tradition of Dressing with Intention

Of the many lessons Ruth Bader Ginsburg embodied – that our legal status should not be contingent on gender; that we can value people with whom we virulently disagree, and that disagreement can make us better; that choosing the right life partner can make all the difference – the one that most resonates with me […]

Television & Film

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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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A Musical Epic: West Side Story

Nathan Abrams reviews a new book about the classical 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 […]

6000

A Great Film but Strangely Washed of Jewishness

Jack Shamash reviews the new release The Trial of the Chicago 7. Last Friday, the film The Trial of The Chicago 7 was released in cinemas and on Netflix. It depicts the Chicago Conspiracy Trial that began in 1969 and ended in 1970. It stars, among others, Jeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin and Sacha Baron […]

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Churchill and Alexander Korda

Peter Lawson finds flaws in the fascinating documentary Churchill and the Movie Mogul A fascinating documentary about Hungarian-Jewish émigré director, Alexander Korda (1893-1956), was screened on 25 September on BBC4. (It is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Titled Churchill and the Movie Mogul, it relates the relationship between Korda and Churchill from the […]

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The Secret Jewish History of Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released 60 years ago last month, and it has a secret Jewish history.   The film was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch who was a Jewish author. Bloch based his story around the real-life serial killer, Ed Gein, who himself was influenced by Nazi atrocities. He had fashioned household items from the remains of his […]

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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 […]

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

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RBG and the Jewish Tradition of Dressing with Intention

Of the many lessons Ruth Bader Ginsburg embodied – that our legal status should not be contingent on gender; that we can value people with whom we virulently disagree, and that disagreement can make us better; that choosing the right life partner can make all the difference – the one that most resonates with me […]

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When Joe Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States, c1984

Louis Gordon recalls a career-defining speech from over two decades ago. Thirty-six years ago, during my senior year at Brandeis University, I attended Herut USA’s conference in New York City.  It was the first such event by Herut in many years and was well attended largely due to the featured speakers who included then former Israeli […]

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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

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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, […]

As We Are

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Reviving a Personal Identity

Robert Katz reflects upon events that may not be precisely accurate but nevertheless reveal layers of meaning and the topography of his experiences. In the mid 1950s, my parents uprooted our family from the congested Bronx apartment building they moved into after World War II, to a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, where our neighbours […]

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