What is an Omer?

April 16, 2021 by  

No, not the town in the Negev! The Biblical Omer refers to the sheaf of barley that was brought to the Temple, the day after Pesach, to mark the beginning of the new agricultural year. Read more

Big and Little Lies

April 9, 2021 by  

The culture we live in nowadays is one of lies. The truth is that it has always been thus even if at certain stages, the lies have been more venal and destructive than others. Read more

Missing Children

April 2, 2021 by  

One of the darkest episodes in the history of Israel is the ghastly story of the missing children of poor immigrants from Arab lands, airlifted to Israel  (on the Wings of Eagles project) in the early years of the State. Read more

Freedom

March 26, 2021 by  

The New York Review of Books has recently devoted a lot of space to a review of “The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King” by Peniel E. Joseph. Read more

Who is a Jew?

March 19, 2021 by  

Why is there such a fuss over the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to allow converts to Judaism, as defined by the Reform and Conservative movements, to qualify for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return? Read more

Mr Cohen of Ballachulish Ferry

March 12, 2021 by  

A week ago, I gave a Zoom talk for the Scottish Jewish Archive centre. Read more

1848

March 5, 2021 by  

The course of human civilization, if one can use that term, has progressed and continues to, in a series of slow cycles.  Read more

The Lost Ark

February 26, 2021 by  

So many people love conspiracy theories, fantasies, and lost causes. Read more

Purim or Poor Them

February 19, 2021 by  

Purim is the happiest and craziest day in the Jewish calendar and the only festival that celebrates an event in the Diaspora. But is it really? Read more

Darkness

February 12, 2021 by  

It is almost a year since we first got an inclining of the disastrous Covid19. No one, not even the holy World Health Organization had any idea of how serious it was or how it would spread with it so much death, pain, and gloom. Read more

The greatest rabbi in the West

February 5, 2021 by  

In the latest edition of the Brooklyn Jewish journal  Hakirah, there is a fascinating article on Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik (1903 -1993) by David. P. Goldman entitled The Rav’s Uncompleted Grand Design. Read more

Louis Jacobs

January 29, 2021 by  

Any Anglo Jew from the 1960s will be familiar with the “Jacobs Affair” that divided the Jewish community more than any other religious debate in its history. Read more

Hard-hearted

January 22, 2021 by  

My last blog was intentionally controversial. The aim was to point out that people rarely seem capable of hearing, let alone absorbing another point of view. Read more

The cuckoo coup

January 15, 2021 by  

What a year America has had. To add to the scourge of Covid19, we have seen the self-destruction of a President and we are witnessing a serious degradation in the values of American society. There is no humility, no grace, no dignity, and no sense of humanity. Read more

Modesty

January 8, 2021 by  

Democracy is the best form of government we have because it tries to resolve issues through respectful debate and dialogue, not through violence or coercion. Which of course applies equally to the Left and to the Right. Read more

Twelfth Night

January 1, 2021 by  

As a child, I liked to feel how fortunate I was to have eight days of Chanukah, whereas the non-Jews only had one day. But then I learned that was not quite correct, they had twelve. In theory at least. Read more

Hasmonean Women

December 25, 2020 by  

I realize what a patriarchal society we, like the rest of the world, have been until very recently. Read more

The Zohar

December 18, 2020 by  

The Festival of Chanukah (however you spell it in English) in addition to its historical origins, is also a celebration of the long mystical tradition in Judaism. Read more

Obama and Israel

December 11, 2020 by  

Former President Obama is regarded as something of a saint. His voice is the gospel of the Democratic and academic constituency of the USA. Read more

The myths of Chanukah

December 4, 2020 by  

There are several myths about Chanukah. That Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus decisively and regained independence for the Judean state. That when Judah did regain control of the Temple, a miracle took place. Read more

A lesson from history

December 1, 2020 by  

I have been reading about The Hundred Years’ War between France and England by Jonathan Sumption the well-known and controversial barrister, former member of the Supreme Court of Great Britain. Read more

Napoleon and Macron

November 20, 2020 by  

I have always been fascinated by Napoleon Bonaparte (in French it is Napoléon). Read more

Kristallnacht

November 13, 2020 by  

The 9th of November was the anniversary of the Kristallnacht attack on the Jews of Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland in 1938. Read more

Abraham’s children

November 6, 2020 by  

Anyone familiar with the art of Cathedrals and Churches in Europe will know that someone called Melchizedek figures prominently. Who was he? Read more

The rainbow and Halloween

October 30, 2020 by  

After Noah’s flood, God gave the rainbow as a sign that never again would humanity be destroyed because of its failings. Read more

Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson

October 23, 2020 by  

In my youth, Angela Buxton was the darling of the Anglo Jewish sporting scene. Read more

Adam and Eve

October 16, 2020 by  

It is Adam and Eve time again in the annual Torah reading cycle. Read more

The error of piety

October 9, 2020 by  

One of the most disturbing features of the pandemic has been the behaviour of huge swathes of the Charedi community across the globe. Read more

Succot and the world

October 2, 2020 by  

Rituals, laws, and customs exist to reinforce the fact that ideas are all very well, but we need actions to bring about change within ourselves and the world at large. We are individual organisms that think and feel. But we are not alone. Read more

What’s the pointing of fasting?

September 25, 2020 by  

Here are some of my thoughts on the significance of Yom Kippur. Read more

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