January 3, 2020 by  

In the summer of 1966, I was studying in the great Yeshiva of Mir in Jerusalem. One day, I received a call from Rabbi Professor Dr. Louis Rabinowitz, former Chief Rabbi of South Africa and then Vice Mayor of Jerusalem.

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Chanukah and Xmas

December 27, 2019 by  

To the memory of Dr. Daniel Cammerman, a good, brilliant person, and a much-admired and respected pediatrician, taken tragically too soon from us. May his memory be a blessing.

This week I was asked by a non-Jewish friend, whether atonement plays a part in Chanukah as it does in Xmas. At first, I did not understand the question. But then it got me thinking of the differences between the two festivals. Read more

Better angels

December 13, 2019 by  

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg said that “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Read more


December 6, 2019 by  

The popular narrative of the moment is that Capitalism has failed. Read more

Pompeo’s gift

November 22, 2019 by  

Good news. Bad news. Read more


November 15, 2019 by  

“What is truth?” is the question Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, asked two thousand years ago. Possibly the most famous question of all time! Read more


November 8, 2019 by  

It is a well-known saying that “ From Moses to Moses, there was no one as great as Moses.” The second Moses the saying refers to is the Moses known as “Rambam”. Which is an acronym of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon. Or, in secular usage, Maimonides. Read more

The Balfour Declaration

November 1, 2019 by  

The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, was the first recognition for two thousand years that Jews had as much right to a homeland of their own as any other nation or people. Read more


October 25, 2019 by  

In 1599, a group of London merchants got together to petition Queen Elizabeth 1st to grant a charter to “trade on wares, jewels or merchandise in the East Indies.” A year later, it was granted. And so began the life of the East India Company (EIC). Read more

Sin? Not such a big deal

October 18, 2019 by  

Next week we will restart the annual Torah reading cycle and that always reminds me of Sin! Adam and Eve and all that. Read more

Succot and the World

October 11, 2019 by  

Every Jewish festival has several different levels of significance. There are always personal, national, agricultural and universal themes. Read more

Why do bad things happen

October 4, 2019 by  

For thousands of years, we have been asking why God lets bad things happen to good people and good things happen to very bad ones. Read more


September 27, 2019 by  

The occasion that we now call Rosh Hashana, is referred to in the Bible only as Zihron Teruah – the Day of Remembering with Sound. One is bound to ask: “remembering what? And what does the sound of the Shofar have to do with it?” Read more

The Jews of Mashhad

September 20, 2019 by  

History is going out of fashion. It is declining as a subject taught at universities. It is seen as irrelevant to the great surge of technology and finance and out of favour with the politics of “me” and “now”. Read more


September 13, 2019 by  

In a recent article, Yale University computer science professor, David Gelernter, said that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has too many holes and is now too old to be a probable scientific theory. Read more

President Truman, George Marshal and Israel

September 6, 2019 by  

American Jewry is split over whether Donald Trump is the most pro-Israel or pro-Jewish president in the history of the USA. It illustrates how divided and antagonistic the different parts of the so-called United States and the Jewish community are. Read more

Adam Kirsch

August 30, 2019 by  

There are few contemporary Jewish writers in the USA I am interested in meeting. They invariably use what Jewish religion they have to rebel against it or to ridicule it. I have no common language with completely secular Jewish writers – although of course, I respect their freedom to choose and to be who they want. Read more

Toni Morrison

August 23, 2019 by  

Toni Morrison, the celebrated, black, American novelist and Nobel Prize winner for literature, died recently. She was a moving exponent of Black life and culture and chronicler and of the suffering of Black Americans. But she had a blind spot when it came to Jews and Israel. She was a holocaust revisionist and anti-Zionist. So I am re-blogging something I wrote concerning her in 2016. Read more

Religio Fascism

August 16, 2019 by  

I have often expressed my frustration with politics – in particular, Israeli politics Read more

Yemen & the 9th of Av

August 9, 2019 by  

Ever since I first visited a Yemenite community in Israel way back in 1958, I have had a soft spot for and a very strong affiliation to Yemeni Jews for their warmth and deep religious devotion. Read more

The Whitney again

August 2, 2019 by  

A month ago, I wrote a blog about the Whitney Biennial 2019 Exhibition that included a piece which, among other things, contained a distorted smear job against Israel over its use of tear gas to break up the Gaza protests. Read more

Rabbis who ban

July 26, 2019 by  

People have every right to decide what they will read and what not. Read more

The Seventeenth of Tammuz

July 19, 2019 by  

Five really bad things happened to the Jewish people on the Seventeenth of Tammuz. Which is why we fast from dawn to dusk. This year the seventeenth is on Shabbat, but we fast on Sunday. Shabbat is reserved for happy days. Read more

Paper in the Wall

July 12, 2019 by  

In 1974 when Henry Kissinger was pressurizing Golda Meir to make concessions in the interest of peace in the Middle East, Golda took him to the Western Wall. Read more

Whitney Triple Chaser Exhibit

July 7, 2019 by  

I accept that I am hypersensitive to criticisms of Israel. And I accept that a free world requires freedom of speech. But in the present climate of increasing and ever-present hatred of Israel coming from so many sectors of American and European intellectual and political life, if we honestly believe in free speech we ought to insist on the right of reply. We cannot sit back and ignore bias or dishonest reporting without reacting. Read more

Shaking Hands

June 28, 2019 by  

I was brought up in Britain at a time when civility and good manners were regarded as next to godliness. Read more

Israel and China

June 21, 2019 by  

For as long as I can recall I have been an idealist.  I have always tried my best to support the underdog, the oppressed and the poor. Yet I am also a pragmatist. Sometimes banging one’s head against a brick wall is not a very sensible option. Read more


June 14, 2019 by  

The fourth book of the Bible was called Numbers by early Christian scholars. I guess this is because it starts off with a national census. Read more


June 7, 2019 by  

Shavuot is the poor relative of the three pilgrim and harvest festivals mentioned in the Torah. Read more

Kill them!

May 31, 2019 by  

I have always been disturbed by the number of times the Bible declares “He, She or It, shall be put to death.” It doesn’t matter the severity of the crime. Being brought up in a liberal western society and having discovered how many innocent men and women have been wrongly put to death by judicial systems, I cannot accept the very idea of capital punishment. Let’s leave Nazis out of this. Death was too easy for them. Read more

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