Life Magazine - 2022

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LI FE Rosh Hashanah 2022

Magazine Lord Levy

PLUS

How to fundraise £1billion

100 years of Disney Charlotte Mendelson

ISRAEL WONDER

10CC at 50

Life-changing technology and the new Eilat

Somebody Feed Phil Food, fashion, travel, books

Survivor or victim? A bereaved father’s truth

Shylock Unplugged Tracy-Ann Oberman and Howard Jacobson


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PAWS HERE!

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RESTAURANT ROUND-UP

LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

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FASHION FAST

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HE SAID ‘SHELOCK’: THE MERCHANT REVISITED

INSIDE

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10CC AT 50

ROSH HASHANAH 2022

SICILIAN DREAM

Editor’s letter As we planned this edition of Life Magazine, we never, never imagined that it would include a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. The enormity of her passing and the outpouring of grief, nationally and internationally, is impossible to reflect, but we hope our chosen photograph respectfully honours her history as monarch and mother of our King. Both roles conjure up huge emotion so soon after

her funeral, and also connect to Yizkor on Yom Kippur, when we remember loved ones. It is certainly a focus for me, since losing my mother, Carole, a year ago, and for bereaved father Mariano Janin, whose losses are indescribable. We are so grateful to him for sharing his tragic story. Phil Rosenthal, host of Somebody Feed Phil, also reflects on losing his parents, but Life is also about the joy of more frivolous things – fashion, food and travel. Theatre is a highlight, with cover stars Tracy-Ann Oberman and Howard Jacobson

analysing Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. And who could resist Lord Levy’s tips on raising £1 billion? Certainly not Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer. If we’ve learnt anything these past weeks it is that life – no matter how testing – goes on. May your own life be filled with good health and happiness. Chag sameach!

Brigit

Editor Brigit Grant brigit@jewishnews.co.uk Features Editor Louisa Walters

Designers Daniel Elias John Nicholls Sarah Rothberg

Art Director Diane Spender

Advertising Sales Marc Jacobs 020 8148 9701

Jewish News Editor Richard Ferrer

Beverley Sanford 020 8148 9709

Contributors Jenni Frazer Debbie Collins Francine Wolfisz Alex Galbinski Nicole Lampert

Yael Schlagman 020 8148 9705 sales@jewishnews.co.uk FRONT COVER Photograph by Adam Soller


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“The Queen pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government. As we now mark, with gratitude, a promise most faithfully fulfilled, I am determined, with God’s help and with yours, to follow that inspiring example." King Charles III




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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

IT’S ALL NEW COMING TO YOU A GLIMPSE OF WHAT YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT THIS NEW YEAR

FULL MARKS

Lauren Simon (Stone)

Paul and Dorit

Birdy Fly

So many of the women in the Real Housewives franchise are Jewish, including Cheshire’s Lauren Simon, who is in series 15 of the northern-based saga on ITVBe. Lauren left the show for a while during her divorce, but her online store, laurenstonecollections. com, has a pet shop and a human shop where her own name fragrance is sold. In Beverly Hills, Kyle Richards, who converted and is married to Mexican Jewish realtor Mauricio Umansky, closed her flagship Kyle by Alene Too boutique, but doesn’t appear to have suffered as she shows off her new Colorado home in the new season on Hayu. Then there’s Dorit Kemsley, also of Beverly Hills, who is married to London-born tycoon Paul aka PK, who is apparently about to appear in the Channel 4 show Selling Super Prime, which will pitch six wannabe brokers against one another in the cut-throat world of multimillion pound real estate. No date for that as yet, but Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season 3 starts on 29 September and has our favourite Chicago-drawl princess Meredith Marks, who is allegedly leaving friends-turned-foes in the past and focusing her energy on hosting a fashion show to raise awareness around mental health. Mazeltov!

Pottering on

Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky

Daniel Radcliffe (inset) plays the rebellious and unconventional ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in the singer’s own biopic, which – as yet – has no UK release. It’s a leap for the Harry Potter star but, having played a dead body in Swiss Army Man, the magic of the movies seems to have no logical limits for the Jewish star.

Perfect hospitality

Twenty minutes up the road with loads of parking – your guests will love you for making your function at Hatfield House. Set in stunning, tranquil grounds, this Meredith Marks

For as long as we can remember, Working Title has been delivering films that have become ‘Desert Island’ favourites. Four Weddings & A Funeral, Love Actually Actually, Bridget Jones, Atonement and on the list goes. Eric Fellner is the producer/co-chairman at the helm alongside Tim Bevan and their next release is directed by Girls’ creator Lena Dunham. Her film, Catherine Called Birdy, is set in 1290 and revolves around Lady Catherine, aka Birdy, who finds ingenious ways to see off potential suitors chosen by her financially destitute, greedy father, Sir Rollo ((Fleabag’s Andrew Scott). Dunham’s screenplay is adapted from the book by Karen Cushman, a Jewish American author. She researched medieval Jewry who feature in Birdy’s tale and stay at her home while dispelling the myth that Jews had horns and were devil’s workers. Birdy even disguises herself as a Jew and leaves with them, only to encounter an old Jewish women who tells her: “Remember, Little Bird, in the world to come, you will not be asked: ‘Why were you not George’ or ‘Why were you not Perkin?’, but ‘Why were you not Catherine?’” ‘Be yourself’ is the powerful life lesson that shapes Birdy’s life. If it is delivered by a Jewish character in the film, Dunham has done her job. Streaming on Amazon Prime from 7 October. Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman is published by Macmillan Children’s Books, priced £6.99.

famous Jacobean country house was built in 1485 and was the childhood home of Elizabeth I. It’s a beautiful Tudor palace with wonderful gardens and is absolutely perfect for intimate or large weddings (up to 250 guests). hatfieldhousehospitality.co.uk

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 9


Date for the diary

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The UK Je wish Film Festival 2 022 is 10 to 20 N on from www.ukje ovember wishfilm. org

Art From Your Heart

The pandemic changed the way we live and work, turning our homes into multifunctional spaces. Zoe Beaumont’s versatile art will bring an energising uplift to those spaces or, if you prefer, a sense of calm and peace. All requests are taken on board by Zoe, who creates bespoke art, her chosen career after working as a visual merchandiser in fashion and home retail for brands such as Topshop, Next, Miss Selfridge and M&S. No stranger to the customer journey, Zoe uses this experience to help and engage with clients over a commission. To create a bespoke work, Zoe meets clients, discusses ideas and creates a personalised design brief with mood board featuring colour palette, style and size and then photo updates as your art progresses. Making the art personal to each customer while informing them about what is en vogue and suits their home, Zoe also favours highly textured artwork that has depth and layers and uses a variety of methods to achieve it (mixing sand into paint, painting on top of glue or using multiple layers of colour that she scratches away to reveal different undercoats). Nature, urban landscapes, couture fashion and street style inspire her, as well as a spectrum of classical and contemporary artists but, while trending colours, metallic highlights and combinations of abstract artworks all play a part in her work, ultimately Zoe wants to give the customer

Brontë Beat

something personal and meaningful to them. zoebeaumontart.co.uk

What a carry on

Jason Isaacs barely has time to breathe, he is so busy. Still recognised as Lucius Malfoy by Potter fans, his real admirers are more acquainted with his more recent performances in The Death of Stalin and as the bereaved father of a boy killed in a school shooting in the award-worthy Fran Kranz’s Mass. See it on Sky Cinema Ever and catch the ever-moving Jason from 30 September in Mrs Harris Goes To Paris starring Lesley Manville. The big news about Isaacs is that he is about to play Cary Grant in Archie, a new drama about the Hollywood star (Archibald Leach was Grant’s real name). The jury (jewry?) has always been out as to whether Cary was or wasn’t Jewish, as he wasn’t raised by his real mother, Lilian, a Jewish seamstress who worked with his partly-Jewish father, Elias. The actor also donated money to Israel in the name of his “dead Jewish mother”, which is significant, and may be of interest to Jewish Liverpudlian actor Isaacs, who is very significant.

Netflix’s Stranger Things sparked a return to the charts for Kate Bush with Running Up That Hill, triggering memories of her Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte’s novel inspired Kate then and now director Frances O’Connor, who wrote the screenplay for Emily, which opens on 14 October. This is a controversial imagining of reclusive author Emily Brontë’s life, as it suggests she had a relationship with her father’s assistant. We can only surmise as to the truth, but the assistant, William Weightman, is portrayed by Oliver Mansour Jackson-Cohen (below), the actor son of designer Betty Jackson and her Egyptian Jewish husband, David Cohen, whose Orthodox family fled under the Nasser regime in the 1950s.One to watch, Oliver also stars in Prime Video’s Wilderness as an unfaithful husband, but as it isn’t released until 2023, get to know Oliver in Apple TV’s thriller Surface, in which he plays the spouse of a suicidal woman. Not cheery, but Oliver has been praised for his American accent.

Reel Bromance

Billed as the first gay romantic comedy (surely there have been others?) Bros is about a witty, cynical podcaster navigating a relationship with an earnest, handsome lawyer. Featuring an almost entirely LGBTQ cast, the film is written by and stars Billy Eichner (left, with Luke Macfarlane), who had a Madonna-themed barmitzvah (clue!). The director, Nicholas Stoller, whose debut was Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is also of the faith and he co-wrote The Muppets with Jason Segel. Sounds like the sort of crowd we’d like to hang with and, as the film also stars Harvey Fierstein,we’re in good and woke company. Bros opens on 28 October.

10 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

Oliver Mansour Jackson-Cohen, above, stars in Emily with Emma Mackey in the title role

Sigmun Anton W


Old to New

A young Steven Spielberg with his parents, Leah and Arnold

Close Encounter

Brace yourself. Steven Spielberg has made d a semi-autobiographical film about growing up in Arizona, post-Second World War. With his brilliant remake of West Side Story still fresh in our minds, we can now look forward to The Fabelmans, a coming-of-age drama film directed by Spielberg and co-written with Tony Kushner. The protagonist is Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring film-maker who discovers a shattering family secret, then explores how films can help him see the truth. Described by the auteur himself as being “immensely personal” and “very Jewish-centric”, the film also tackles the antisemitism Spielberg faced in school and has spoken about. “I was a nerd in those days. Outsider. Like the kid that played the clarinet in the band, which I did.” After the neighbourhood kids started chanting ‘The Spielbergs are dirty Jews”, Spielberg got his revenge by sneaking out of his room one night to smear peanut butter on their windows. The Fabelmans, which stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as Spielberg’s parents, Leah and Arnold, is also his love letter to cinema and looks at Hollywood’s Jewish film-makers, of which he is now the most famous. But the director revealed that he long denied his Judaism because of the antisemitism he suffered. “I often told people my last name was German, not Jewish. I’m sure my grandparents are rolling over in their graves right now, hearing me say that.” The Fabelmans opens in the US in November, but sadly we have to wait until January.

New year, new furniture? Not necessarily! Modern furniture is not for all and flat pack is only for the very brave and time-rich. If you have pieces in your home that look a bit tired, but you love or inherited them, you’ll be amazed at what professional furniture restorers can do. A J Brett in Archway is one of London’s leading antique furniture restorers particularly of 18th and 19th century, Art Deco and Biedermeier pieces. The company has been around since 1952 and has a client list that includes embassies, auction houses, antique dealers and interior designers as well as private customers. Highly skilled in all areas of furniture restoration, including French polishing, gilding, leather restoring, upholstery and cabinet making, if you do want something new, the craftspeople can also design and build bespoke for you.

Kerem School

It’s all shofars go at Kerem school with Year 6 pupil JoJo getting ahead with a practice at Norrice Lea Synagogue in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. A shofar workshop is just one of the activities occupying the children at Kerem, as they’ve also been learning about bees from a weekeeper. Not only important, it’s touching as the royal beekeepers knocked on each hive to inform them about the Queen’s passing, as is tradition.

SUITE LIFE

Running a business is enough of a challenge without having to run an office too. The Brentano Suite provides independently-run serviced offices and luxury meeting rooms in Elstree, Whetstone, Finchley and Hampstead Garden Suburb. These are great spaces with great facilities creating a fabulous working environment at superb value with excellent customer service and no hidden costs. There is no long-term ‘lease’ commitment, meaning this a really flexible set-up, which is great for start-ups as well as longer established companies. If your business grows, there are spaces for up to 30 people and all centres have meeting rooms. If you work from home or on the road there’s a virtual office service with London telephone numbers, mail forwarding, call forwarding and much more. Serviced offices are cost-effective because the tenant pays the monthly rental and The Brentano Suite deals with everything else. Plus, Brentano suites are maintained to a high standard so you don’t have to factor in the cost or hassle that goes with a refurb. Taking a suite in a serviced office building also provides a great networking opportunity! www.thebrentanosuite.co.uk

Freudian Slip

Sigmund Freud with grandsons Lucian Freud and Anton Walker pictured in 1938

To honour what would have been the artist Lucian Freud’s centenary year, an exhibition featuring family photographs, childhood drawings and illustrated letters is being displayed at the Freud Museum in Hampstead, the former home of his aunt Anna. Born in Berlin to Jewish parents Lucie and Ernst – Ernst was the fourth child of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud – Lucian’s career as an artist spanned six decades and he often used his family as a muse. A painting of his mother (right) is hung above the famous psychoanalyst’s couch in his grandfather’s Belsize Park study. Exhibition curator Martin Gayford told The Ham & High that the artist would not have approved of his work being shown in Sigmund’s former home. “He didn’t like emphasising the connection with his grandfather. When he was young and starting out, having a near relation who was world-famous was a bit of a handicap, lest people suspect he was trading on his connection.” Freud: The Painter And His Family runs until 29 January 2023. freud.org.uk

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT When in Need

Gotta Have Faith

If you haven’t heard George Michael on Desert Island Discs, you really should. Recorded in September 2007, it was on this episode that he unexpectedly revealed he was halachically Jewish. His maternal grandmother, who was of the faith, married out and kept her background hidden in fear during the Second World War. George’s mother, Lesley Angold, to whom he was exceptionally close, was unaware of this for years, but George delighted Jewish listeners when he ‘outed’ himself , which is another reason to watch George Michael: Portrait of An Artist(Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes, a documentary about the late performer and Grammy Award-winner featuring his manager Simon Napier-Bell, fellow luminaries Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright and Stephen Fry, as well as his long-time partner, Kenny Goss. Raised in Edgware, where his family had a Greek restaurant, he went on to sell 120 million records worldwide, donated his time and much of his wealth anonymously and was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. Sadly, it was George’s personal life, littered with legal battles and drug use, that made the headlines before he died at the age of 53, in December 2016. We will always regret the missed opportunity to talk to him about his bubbe when he released his debut album, Faith.

Needham House in Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire, is a beautiful boutique hotel. Small is very beautiful – and surprisingly large, as a permanent on-site marquee means that you can hold an event for 350 people and even bring in a kosher caterer. Samantha and Aron Brickman got married there last spring, having stayed there overnight while attending another wedding. “It is such a beautiful setting and the only one we looked at before booking,” says Samantha. “We love how rural it is. The outside areas are stunning and the outdoor marquee is exquisite, with fairy lights outside and colour-changing lighting inside. There are so many spaces at the venue that it was easy for us all to get ready and for Aron and I not to see each other before the ceremony! The team was amazing and all worked together with us and our families to make it truly magical.” needhamhouse.co.uk

RELEASE ME

The phrase ‘equity release’ often gets touted in discussions about borrowing money later in life, but hands up if you actually understand what it means. As the market increasingly embraces later-life lending, awareness of what equity release is becomes much more important. It’s historically had a bad press and been seen as a product of last resort but fortunately, says Maxim Cohen (inset), founder and CEO of UK Adviser, this is starting to change as the market grows and receives more coverage. “What we have certainly seen of late is a rise in the number of 55 to 60-year-olds utilising lifetime mortgages for home improvements, says Maxim. “More needs to be done to promote this new, more positive image among brokers and customers, so they understand the benefits of later-life lending. The growth potential is considerable, thanks to the UK’s ageing population and the rising popularity of the Bank of Mum and Dad or the Bank of Nan and Grandad. It’s certainly the case that lots of jargon is involved, and the market can be fast-moving and complicated. So be sure to choose an equity release adviser who is on top of all this, with the necessary skills to make it easily legible for their clients.” ukadviser.co.uk

Besties

One is a literary professor devoted to his wife and children and looking after his aged mother. The other is a Jewish psychiatrist. The men are best friends. But

Crowning Glory

There have been many touching social media posts about the Queen. Some have been photos with relatives meeting her, others of people expressing their emotional response to her death. Actress and singer Gina Murray posted about feeling blessed to have met her and proud that her sister, Mazz Murray, was one of the last people to sing live for Elizabeth II when she performed Mamma Mia! at the Jubilee concert on 4 June. Mazz is still in Mamma Mia! and Gina is about to star in Ben Goddard’s new musical, TRIO, and bring out a solo album, but both accompanied their father, songwriter Mitch, to Buckingham Palace to get his CBE from the then Prince of Wales. It was heartening to see the new monarch, King Charles III, who has had many more close encounters with the public, meeting other Jewish people, including a then eightyear-old Dylan Pena. Do send more. brigit@jewishnews.co.uk

12 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

this is Germany in 1933 and men can change. CP Taylor’s Good has been described as the definitive play about the Holocaust in the English-speaking theatre and it opens on 6 October at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Olivier awardwinner Elliot Levey (pictured, right) stars alongside David Tennant (left) in a play that both had scheduled before the pandemic. Not to be missed.

To sell or not to sell? The situations facing our country may not be what we would like, but over the 85 years that Harrow-based Blacklers estate agents have been selling and letting properties, they have encountered many scenarios. If you are selling your property or looking to buy one, the highly experienced Blacklers team, who have a great deal of knowledge and listen to your requirements, will guide you through the process and this situation, at least, will be a smooth one. With a trading philosophy of professionalism, honesty and integrity, much of the business the company gets is through recommendations from satisfied clients and their families so you will feel at home with them. blacklersestateagents.co.uk


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INTERVIEW

PLAYING UNHAPPY FAMILIES Alex Galbinski speaks to Charlotte Mendelson about her latest book on finding the strength to push back against a familial tyrant

T

he patriarch in Charlotte Mendelson’s latest book, The Exhibitionist, is a horrible character. An artist who had fleeting success years ago, Ray Hanrahan is now an odious and controlling narcissist who rules his long-suffering wife, Lucia, adult daughters Leah and Jess, and stepson Patrick, with not so much an iron fist but an acid tongue. “We’re famously happy, aren’t we. Aren’t we? And totally unique,” he says at a celebratory dinner ahead of a private view for his first solo show since the mid-nineties. They are certainly not happy. A successful sculptor in her own right, 54-year-old Lucia has been avoiding answering a call from a gallery owner about an amazing opportunity because she has learnt not to seek too much critical success to avoid incurring Ray’s artistic jealousy. She is being emotionally abused, as are the other members of the family, but apparently no one can see it. Jess has moved from London to Edinburgh to escape Ray. Unfortunately, she has become involved with Martyn, whom she isn’t sure she loves but who hangs off Ray’s every word. Leah is Ray’s “devotedly loyal” fan, who is at his beck and call, while Patrick has effectively been banished to the garden, browbeaten. “He’s not meant to be someone you love,” says Mendelson of Ray. “Narcissists don’t really care about the effect they have on others.” There are, however, glimpses of a different future for all of the characters; the reader hopes they will follow their own path and no longer be cowed. “We all know people who are in marriages or relationships where you think, ‘Why are you still with them?’ and it’s because he has so worn down Lucia’s confidence and courage. “And so the story of the novel is about the tipping point – what happens when there are enough reasons to not tolerate it anymore? He’s not hitting her, but the emotional abuse is there and strong.”

It’s the classic reason as to why Lucia, like any abused person, stays in a bad relationship. “However interesting, intelligent and potentially successful she is, that’s totally irrelevant,” continues Mendelson. “He has successfully made her think she isn’t. But then a combination of things makes her think, ‘hang on…’ In a small way, it’s about the felling of a tyrant.” Mendelson has said she most enjoys writing characters whose passionate and painful inner worlds clash with how they are expected to behave, and the characters in The Exhibitionist, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, are no exception. “What fascinates me is how people have secrets and fierce driving emotions,” explains Mendelson, who is a gardening correspondent for The New Yorker. She is also a former book editor who now teaches creative writing “I like writing about families, because they’re fascinating and weird. It’s a very strange idea that you’ve got to all get on because you’re in the [same] house. And families are such a pressure cooker, because everyone has different things going on that they have to conceal from the others, even if it’s just, ‘I’m miserable’, ‘I hate my job, but you all depend on me’, or ‘really I want to be a ballet dancer’. “And then I’m interested in how that happens in the wider world too, so in other communities; or in this instance, it’s just a family, but it’s also the art world.” Mendelson, now 49, doesn’t feel she herself had much to hide growing up, but says about her younger self: “I was dramatically nerdy and very anxious about everything, which I now realise was more a kind of temperament and epigenetic trauma than anything, but at the time I thought there was something wrong with me.” Her maternal grandparents were Czech Hungarian and came to the UK in 1939. We discuss the concept of

the suitcase metaphorically packed ‘just in case’. “Exactly!” she says. “And, of course, it explains why so many Jews, but also so many people of other minorities, have issues with anxiety. Because if half of your grandparents’ family was murdered, you’re not going to be that relaxed!” Mendelson, who grew up in Oxford and has two children from her former marriage to the writer Joanna Briscoe, went to a boarding school in Kent for “two miserable years” and then to Oxford University. She says she doesn’t feel English and doesn’t have a “drop of English blood” in her; her paternal grandfather was Polish and her paternal grandmother was “absolutely a Cockney who was born within the sound of Bow bells” whose own parents were Latvian. “I’m a complete mixture,” says Mendelson, describing herself as a secular Jew who likes the idea of being a member of a synagogue but isn’t sure “if I can quite make the commitment”. “I’m always telling people that, despite my accent, I’m not posh. And people don’t really believe me, but anyone Jewish immediately gets it. If you’re Jewish, you can’t feel posh because you’re always sort of on the edge of things. So I feel English compared to being from another country, but I grew up with foreigners. I feel Jewish-English.” Despite currently working on her sixth book, Mendelson says it never occurred to her that she could be a writer. But she acknowledges she is lucky: “I’ve had an incredibly good education and I grew up with lots of books, so I was always further on that journey than lots of people. It’s a cheesy thing that politicians say, but it is a privilege.”

• The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson is published by Mantle, priced £16.99 (hardback) and available now LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 15


BOOKS

BOOKS FOR YOUR SHELFIE ALEX GALBINSKI TAKES A LEAF THROUGH SOME COMPELLING NEW AND RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS PERMISSION by Jo Bloom Can your marriage survive if you’re both sleeping with other people? From Jo Bloom, the author of Ridley Road (which was made into a major BBC TV drama), comes a book exploring the idea (and practice) of an open marriage. After more than 20 years of marriage, Fay and Steve are happy enough, though life has become routine and lacks excitement. Fay believes an open relationship could reignite the spark they’ve lost. But can sex ever just be sex and can their marriage survive non-monogamy – even if they have permission? Published by Legend Press, £8.99 paperback, available now

NOT SAFE FOR WORK by Isabel Kaplan You are a young, ambitious, college-educated feminist. And you’ve just landed a job in television. To climb the ranks, you do whatever it takes: pull all-nighters, lean on your powerful mother’s contacts, stay in shape at cult-like fitness classes, secretly wear your boss’s Fitbit to improve his step count – and his temper. When rumours of an assault start to circle the office, and your close friend confesses her own disturbing experience, you know there is plenty to gain from staying silent. The compulsively readable novel about a young woman trying to succeed in Hollywood without selling her soul is the debut offering from Isabel Kaplan, a former Hollywood assistant, which targets the post-Weinstein #MeToo time. Published by Michael Joseph, £16.99 hardback, available now 16 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

MAROR BY Lavie Tidhar Set in Israel across four decades, Maror is a story of life and death, politics and history, and poses a central question – how do you build a nation? Cohen knows. It takes statesmen and soldiers, farmers and factory workers. But Cohen knows it also takes thieves, prostitutes and policemen. Cohen also knows nationbuilding demands sacrifice. And he knows where those bodies are buried. Lavie Tidhar draws on his own experience of growing up in Israel and on the nation’s turbulent history to tell an authentic story about creating your own identity. Published by Apollo, £20 hardback, available now

OLD TRUTHS AND NEW CLICHÉS by Isaac Bashevis Singer This new collection of 19 essays – most previously unpublished in English – by Isaac Bashevis Singer brings together topics that were central to his artistic vision. Expanding on themes reflected in his best-known work – including the literary arts, Yiddish and Jewish life, mysticism and philosophy – the book, edited by David Stromberg, illuminates Singer’s singular achievement as the first Yiddish-language author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Published by Princeton University Press, £20 hardback, available now

A BALLET OF LEPERS by Leonard Cohen Published posthumously, this is an uncovered novel offering a glimpse into the formation of the legendary talent of Leonard Cohen. Before the celebrated late-career world tours, before the Grammy awards, before Hallelujah and Famous Blue Raincoat, Cohen wrote poetry and fiction and yearned for literary stardom. The stories in A Ballet of Lepers – which was written between 1956 in Montreal, just as Cohen was publishing his first poetry collection, and 1961, when he’d settled on the Greek island of Hydra – offer insight into his imagination and creative process. Published by Canongate on 11 October, £20

THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM by Pnina Lahav In this ground-breaking new account of the life of Golda Meir (1898–1978), Pnina Lahav re-examines the life of Israel’s fourth and only female prime minister through a feminist lens, focusing on her recurring role as a woman standing alone among men. The Only Woman in the Room explores the tensions between her personal and political identities and is the first book to contend with Meir’s full identity as a woman, Jew, Zionist leader and one of the founders of the state of Israel. Published in the UK by Princeton University Press on 1 November 2022, £28

WHY NOT? by Mark Schiff From master comedian Mark Schiff, a long-time touring partner of Jerry Seinfeld – who writes the foreword to the book – comes a hilarious account of his 50-year career as a stand-up comic, actor and writer. In this honest collection of essays inducing both heart tugs and deep belly laughs, he recounts growing up Jewish in the outer boroughs of New York City and shares how he survived a harrowing childhood, health crises, ageing, marriage, parenting and career highs and lows. Published by Apollo on 22 December 2022, £19.99


KEREM SCHOOL Open Evening Tuesday 25th October 2022

KEREM SCHOOL Open Evening Tuesday 25th October 2022 Are you looking for a school place for your child? Come and meet staff and pupils to hear Are you looking for a school place for your child? all about Kerem has totooffer. Come and what meet staff and pupils hear Register yourKerem attendance at all about what has to offer. Register your attendance at www.keremschool.co.uk/admissions www.keremschool.co.uk/admissions

Co-educational Jewish Modern Orthodox Zionist Co-educational Jewish Modern Orthodox Zionist Independent School Nursery (Aged 3)6— Year 6 Independent School fromfrom Nursery (Aged 3) — Year 0208 4550909 www.keremschool.co.uk 0208 4550909 www.keremschool.co.uk RECEPTION PLACES ARE ARE NOT GUARANTEED. RECEPTION PLACES NOT GUARANTEED. Principal intake at Nursery. Principal intake at Nursery.

Kerem wishes all its families and the

Kerem wishes community a ׁ‫טובה‬all ‫שנה‬its families and the community a ׁ‫שנה טובה‬

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“Jewish Care meant everything to my mum, Bertie. That’s why I’m leaving them a gift in my Will”. Charity Reg No. 802559

Brian, Legacy Pledger

Brian’s mum Bertie loved being around people. That’s why she used to say that volunteering for Jewish Care was the happiest time of her later life. Before Bertie passed away, she never got a chance to amend her Will so she could leave something to Jewish Care. Brian has since told us that he has included Jewish Care in his Will on her behalf; “I don’t want to leave it until it’s too late, like Mum. I’m doing this for her”. With a gift in your Will to Jewish Care, you can make sure that future generations of our community get the care they need, when they need it most.

In the years following WW2, Orovida Pissarro’s work was largely focused on groups of individuals, with her paintings displaying a strong sense of humanity. This rare evocation of refugees of diverse ethnicity illustrates her empathy and desire to record the tragedy of displacement. Ben Uri’s 20year focus on the refugee experience in the visual arts remains as pertinent today as ever before. Orovida Pissarro, Refugees, 1947 | Oil on canvas, Ben Uri Collection Acquired with the support of the Stern Pissarro Gallery 2022 © Trustees of the Estate of Orovida Pissarro

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AT 50 AS HE CELEBRATES THE BAND’S GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY, GRAHAM GOULDMAN IS STILL ON TOUR. THE HITMAKER TALKS HISTORY AND NEW TUNES WITH JENNI FRAZER

H

anging in the hall of Graham Gouldman’s north-west London home is a painting of his late mother, Betty, done by his artist aunt. It’s not the sort of picture you might expect: she looks completely different from the capable Manchester housewife that she was. She’s glamorous – which she was in real life – but also faintly exotic in this rendering, with an added touch of mystery, as she is holding a guitar. The guitar, in fact, is Gouldman’s – his very first, bought for him in Spain when he was only 11, by his cousin Ronnie. He no longer has the guitar, but he passes the painting of his mother every day, reminding him of his extraordinary journey as a phenomenon of the pop world, first writing hit song after hit song for other performers, and then becoming one of the founder members of the definitive art rock group, 10CC. Unbelievably, it is 50 years since 10CC – Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme – first formed and released their unexpected

hit, Donna. Gouldman, Queen’s Bohemian who regularly Rhapsody, issued a tours with other few weeks after musicians as 10CC’s luminous the present I’m Not In incarnation Love, feature of 10CC, similar multifrequently layered voice performs tracks, but the two men have Donna on stage, known each and introduces it other for years. as though even he Gouldman leaps up can’t believe it’s half Graham to show a wonderful a century since the song Gouldman picture, a photograph of first went out on vinyl. a gathering convened by Paul But Gouldman continues to McCartney in 1974. Taken in Holland have musical adventures. His most recent Park, it shows all the movers and shakers collaboration is a new song, Floating in of the rock and pop world at the time, Heaven, written with Brian May, Queen’s from Gouldman to Eric Clapton and Elton legendary guitarist. It marks the historic John. And there, right at the back, is May’s first images from the new James Webb unmistakable curly mop, unchanged until Space Telescope (JWST) that launched the present day. in December 2021 and went into orbit “Our paths have crossed over the years”, in January of says Gouldman. “I remember the first this year. The time I was in Liverpool: we [10CC] were telescope is the headlining and Queen supported us. One most powerful of their road managers brought in their to be launched own personal mirror. And we thought, into space. ‘Why haven’t we got our own mirror? There We’re the headliners!’” is a nice Gouldman can barely recall a time synchronicity to when he was not passionate about music. the Gouldman/ “I’d been aware of music since I was seven, May partnership. but it was getting the guitar and the timing Not only did of it – we were in the era of Elvis, Bill Haley and His Comets, the skiffle era…” But getting a guitar wasn’t enough. He began writing songs, he says, “as a consequence of being in a band”, adding: Some of the albums and singles released by 10CC

10CC in 1974: Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme

“We wanted to make a record, but no one would give us a song. That inspired me to start writing. And the Beatles – they were writing and they were an inspiration, too.” The ‘gift’ of being able to write songs – and Gouldman has had no formal musical training – didn’t come out of nowhere. His paternal grandmother was “very musical and, in fact, the family had a little band and would get together; someone played piano, someone played violin, someone sang. So there was definitely a musical gene”. As for the lyrics, he may have inherited some of his fondness for wordplay from his father, Hymie Gouldman, known throughout 60s Manchester as a poet and amateur playwright. There was no chance that Graham Gouldman was going to have an academic career. He says he spent most of his time at North Salford Boys’ School “looking out of the window and dreaming about music”. At 17 he left school and went to work in a men’s outfitter’s for two years. “I used to take my guitar to work and write songs in the lunch hour when the shop was closed. I got the sack, eventually – best thing that ever happened to me.” In 1962, the year that the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, was released,

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 21


Above, right and inset: Graham Gouldman performs with Ringo Starr

Gouldman was in and out of a number of bands: there was the High Spots, the Crevattes, the Planets and the Whirlwinds. This last band used to rehearse at the north Manchester headquarters of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade (JLB), and effectively became the house band for JLB discos. One of the Whirlwinds’ guitarists was Stephen Jacobson, brother of future novelist Howard. After the Whirlwinds came the Mockingbirds, formed in 1965 – and this time there was a new bandmate, another Manchester Jewish friend, Kevin Godley. Gouldman, still only 19, wrote a new song: For Your Love, and the Mockingbirds recorded it. Nothing happened, until the publisher that Gouldman’s band shared with the Yardbirds gave them the song. With the unlikely addition of a studio harpsichord, it became a huge hit. “The Yardbirds were a well-known rhythm and blues band, but they wanted to sell records, and so went to outside songwriters. I remember my manager, Harvey Lisberg, came round to my house with a demo tape and played their version. I was blown away. I was a fan of theirs and I’d been to see them”. For Your Love kick-started Gouldman’s songwriting career. He was fortunate that at no point did his artistic parents ever tell him that he needed to go out and get a ‘proper’ job. “They were extremely encouraging and nurturing”, he says. He was on a roll. Between 1965 and 1967 he wrote Heart Full of Soul and Evil Hearted You for the Yardbirds; Look Through Any Window (with Charles

Silverman) and Bus Stop for The Hollies; and, famously after a conversation with his father, No Milk Today for Herman’s Hermits, as well as a slew of other bouncy, feel-good pop records. “For a while,” he says, “it looked like I was going to be a jobbing songwriter, and that was absolutely fine with me, I didn’t mind that all.” Every song sold to another band did well, but Gouldman’s own bands couldn’t break into the hit parade. Eventually he was headhunted to work in New York as a writer for hire, a process he found draining. Finally, in late 1969, Gouldman persuaded his American bosses that he’d be happier and more productive working in the UK. He, Godley, another Jewish musician long-time friend, Lol Creme, and the former member of the Mindbenders, Eric Stewart, began to work in Stockport, just near south Manchester, in Strawberry Studios. “Without the studio, we would never have formed 10CC. But we were able to be a house band, working for other musicians who wanted to record at Strawberry. I went back to America for a time and while I was away Kevin, Lol and Eric, calling themselves Hotlegs, released a single called Neanderthal Man – and it was a hit.” Soon musicians – including Neil Sedaka – began turning up at Strawberry, keen to work with Gouldman, Godley, Creme and Stewart, four still young but experienced people, who could turn their hands to anything. “We did everything. We did recordings of songs I’d written in America, we did football records (for Manchester City

Graham Gouldman, centre, with the other members of 10CC

22 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

and Everton) – anything, really, because it was good business for the studio.” When they weren’t working for others, the four would write and record songs among themselves. The usual set-up was Gouldman and Stewart writing together, mirrored by Godley and Creme, but it was fluid. Finally, in 1972, the four had a song called Waterfall (written by Gouldman and Stewart) in which Apple Records, the Beatles’ label, had expressed interest. “We didn’t have a B-side,” but Godley and Creme offered Donna, a sort of doo-wop pastiche, “and we played it to [the pop impresario] Jonathan King”. King came up from London to see the quartet at Strawberry Studios. “He liked the song. He asked us if we had a name and we said no, because we weren’t a touring band.” At this point, allegedly, King said he had had a dream the night before, that he was standing outside the Hammersmith Odeon, on whose facade there was a giant slogan: “10CC, the best band in the world”. They agreed and, in July 1972, the band was born. (The other explanation of the origin of the band’s name is unsuitable for family reading.) “We were only ever doing the music for ourselves,” says Gouldman. “We weren’t following any trend, and that’s why I think the songs haven’t dated.” He can say that again: the day after our interview, a 1978 song written by him and Stewart, Dreadlock Holiday, was blasting out through my local Tesco, with shoppers happily dancing in the aisles. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that it became the theme music for Sky Sports’ cricket coverage. The 10CC hits – original, quirky, and memorable – continued even after

Godley and Creme left the band in 1976 to work on other projects. There was a brief reforming for one album in 1991, but effectively Gouldman is now keeper of the flame, touring with other musicians under the name 10CC and also collaborating with different songwriters. He is admired as a writer, musician and producer by people throughout the industry, not least the legendary Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr. The latter has a rock supergroup called Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, every one of whom is a hitmaker in his or her own right. And so there was a lovely inevitability that there was an invitation to Gouldman, from Ringo, to play with the All-Stars, beginning in 2017. It produced a delicious Beatlesque ‘fan’ song, Standing Next To Me, by Gouldman, who confesses that he couldn’t quite believe he was on stage with Ringo. One of their tour dates was two nights in Tel Aviv, where Gouldman, extraordinarily, had never played – “the audiences were great. Everyone loves Ringo.” That includes Gouldman, who speaks with great enthusiasm about the warm atmosphere in the All-Starrs, and how well he got on with Starr. Perhaps some of the success of 10CC, Gouldman believes, lay in the fact that “three of us were Jewish and we had a sense of Jewish comedy”. The four guys, each multitalented, wound each other up, laughed and joked, drawing on their long history of friendship. Some of that, at least, is reflected in the songs, using subjects like American prisons (Rubber Bullets) or campus life (The Dean and I) rarely heard in pop music. He regrets the split with Godley and Creme and still says: “We could have sorted it.” But, just as he was once happy to be a jobbing songwriter, Gouldman continues to make the best of whatever his musical life throws at him, seeing no reason to stop writing and performing “as long as I’m enjoying it”. He spent much of lockdown in his home studio, trying out new ideas and crafting new songs. On my way out, we pass the painting of Betty Gouldman, holding her son’s first guitar. I could swear she winks.

Going solo: Play Nicely and Share (2017) and Modesty Forbids (2020)


Registered Charity No. 1113409

Everywhere you turn there’s In the growing Israeli Druze town of Julis, Magen David Adom UK is building a station that will house an ambulance together with a team of medics. More than that, MDA Julis will provide jobs and volunteering opportunities for a community living on Israel’s social and economic periphery. What started as a simple dispatch point is now something much, much bigger. In any community, building a Magen David Adom station not only saves lives, it changes them too. To support our work in Julis and across Israel call 020 8201 5900 or visit mdauk.org/build. With your help we will save more lives.

UP GROUND

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THE FROM

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Call 020 8420 6970 to make a donation today. Alternatively, visit norwood.org.uk/donate or scan the QR code using your smartphone.

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To find out how, please call 020 8809 8809 or visit norwood.org.uk/buckets Patron Her Majesty The Queen Reg Charity No. 1059050

13/09/2022 17:09


5783: A YEAR OF GENUINE

‫בס׳׳ד‬

CONNECTION A return to true connection - ‫ח בּו ּר‬ ִ - with self, with others, with God, with all…

HIGH HOLY DAYS

JEWISH FUTURES EDUCATORS WILL BE FACILITATING HIGH HOLY DAYS SERVICES AT: Bushey United

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For more info: info@jfutures.org Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the whole community for your support, generosity and partnership in all that we do.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and fulfilling year of connection. DIVERSE WAYS TO ENGAGE

MANY WAYS TO CONNECT Registered Charity no. 1151066


A CELEBRATION OF WHISKY 3.11.22 LAUDERDALE ROAD SYNAGOGUE 7PM - 9PM

50+ of the best drams from across Scotland Delicious food paired with the whisky Silent auction on the night All proceeds in aid of the restoration of Lauderdale Road Synagogue £50 pp Book by 31.10.22 https://celebrationofwhisky.eventbrite.co.uk For more info email orah@sephardi.org.uk Generously sponsored by

including

Although I had some form of Holocaust education all of my life, nothing came close to visiting Auschwitz. In primary school my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Unger, was a survivor. Here and there she shared anecdotes, stories, and experiences she had had in the camps. She did it with the greatest sensitivities to the eight-year-olds that were in her care, but she did it, nonetheless. My high school shared a building with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Holocaust remembrance was, for us, an every-day occurrence.

March of the Living UK

Margalit and I visited Auschwitz last year with March of the Living UK. Our host, Scott Saunders and our own Cassie Ozer planned and directed the entire trip of delegations from many synagogues and organizations. There was even an interfaith bus led by Rabbi Harvey Belovski. Being there and seeing it in front of our eyes was deeply impactful. Among the experience that impacted me most was how close the crematoria were to the gas chambers. All of it so systematic, so morbidly and grotesquely efficient. The staggering and complete devaluing of human life was starkly glaring in the very architecture. Unlike me, Margalit had never been to a Holocaust Museum; Auschwitz was her first. She was angry and I watched her turn the large pages of the immense books holding the names of those who perished to see if she might find a relative of hers from Thessaloniki. We were privileged to have survivors on the trip with us. These survivors, now in their nineties, were young children or teenagers during the war. The survivors who were adults in the camps, whom I used to listen to when I was in primary school, were no longer with us. There are no more living witnesses who were adults during the Holocaust. And sadly, soon there will be no eyewitnesses at all. With the rise of antisemitism in the world and with deniers of the Holocaust increasingly emboldened, it is our responsibility in addition to remembering what was done to our people, to witness it and speak of it. As Elie Weisel said, when you hear the testimony of a witness, you too become a witness. And for that reason, we would like to take an S&P delegation to March of the Living 2023. March of the Living UK’s programme is educational, poignant, and meaningful. It allows the evidence to speak for itself while supporting the difficult experience with sensitive and thoughtful insight. More important than simply seeing it, is to witness it. RABBI JOSEPH AND MARGALIT DWECK SENIOR RABBI OF THE SEPHARDI COMMUNITY

16-20 APRIL 2023

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Register your interest at marchoftheliving.org.uk or email admin@marchoftheliving.org.uk

Belzec Lancut


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ENJOY A SWEETER NEW YEAR AT NEW WEST END SYNAGOGUE At New West End we have the most beautiful synagogue where, every Shabbat, we enjoy the most wonderful singing by our Chazan, Marc Joseph and the truly memorable sound of our resident choir, Mosaic Voices. Why not make this Rosh Hashanah really special and share it with us in our historic Synagogue within our warm and welcoming community.

SHANA TOVA THIS YEAR, LET OUR MOSAIC VOICES UPLIFT YOUR ROSH HASHANAH For more information, contact Eli Ballon: eli@newwestend.org.uk 0207 229 2631

26/08/2022 14:31


INTERVIEW

THE

£1billion

LORD LEVY COULD TEACH FACEBOOK A THING OR TWO ABOUT

SOCIAL NETWORKING. RICHARD FERRER GOES HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH THE FUNDRAISER EXTRAORDINAIRE... ON AND OFF THE TENNIS COURT

L

ord Levy, it turns out, is a bit of a hoarder. His home office is an Aladdin’s cave of artefacts and antiques, accumulated over the course of half-a-century of handshakes. There are certificates, doctorates, newspapers and gold discs from his time as a record label boss. There’s a rare travel guide to Ottoman-era Palestine, dated 1852, a pair of swords – from the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and the late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, and pictures upon pictures upon pictures. There he is with Queen Elizabeth, King Charles, Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, Kofi Annan, Mahmoud Abbas, Gordon Brown and Rabbi Lord Sacks (not all together). There’s another of him shaking hands with Yasser

Arafat, looking slightly concerned he might not get his hand back. And, inevitably, with his old mate Tony Blair – the man he fundraised into Downing Street who, despite media reports of a falling out, remains a close friend. And sitting above them all, literally and lovingly, are two quite mesmerising portraits of his late parents, Samuel and Annie – who during our conversation the 78-year-old affectionately calls “mummy and daddy”. I arrive early and am led into Michael’s man cave by Gilda, or “Gill” as her husband of 55 years calls her. Michael soon enters with customary elan, impeccably turned out in a blue suit with matching pocket square and a pink tie. He gives me one of his signature warm pats on the cheek and takes a seat, not behind a desk strewn with family photos but the armchair opposite, so close our knees almost knock. We’d last spoken the previous month when I’d attempted to guess how much Michael has fundraised in 50 years.

“£100million?” I ventured, not wishing to offend with a modest total. It turns out I’d missed out a zero or two. Over half a century, Baron Michael Levy of Mill Hill has raised a boggling £1billion for causes close to his heart. So, let’s begin with the

MAN

obvious question. How do you go about raising the gross domestic product of a small nation state? It can’t all be down to a solid handshake and megawatt smile. “It’s about looking people in the eye,” says Michael, looking me in the eye. “It’s about calming concerns, giving straight answers and being honest and well informed. Asking for donations – for a charity or political party – is a matter of trust and respect. I try to never let people down.” Michael speaks in a soft, almost affectionate tone – as if confiding in a good friend rather than a journalist he’s met a handful of times. It’s an intoxicating talent. I almost reach for my debit card. “I started in my mid 20s, so I’ve been at it a very long time. You can’t fundraise for 50 years without being able to go back to the same people year after year, so you can’t be impatient. I’ve always been able to relate to people and like to think people relate to me. Not that I get on with everyone, but I try to be absolutely straight. When I shake hands, that’s it.” Michael says one of his proudest achievements is making Jewish charity executives’ salaries competitive across the sector. The highest paid employee at Jewish Care, where he is life president, earned more than £170,000 in 2019. “If you want the right people in responsible positions you have to pay them highly,” he says. “The community’s charities now attract the most talented people. It’s still not entirely competitive with some top commercial roles but it’s heading in the right direction.” Jewish charity bosses certainly earned their keep during Covid. “Those early days of lockdown were a time of deep confusion,” he recalls, rubbing his forehead, appearing fraught at the thought. “People were being sent back from hospital without tests and we didn’t have enough PPE to take care of staff. Our chief executive, Daniel Carmel Brown, and his care home teams were just remarkable – working around the clock. It soon became clear this emergency required extra funding, LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 27


Lord Levy and Richard Ferrer in conversation in the Labour peer’s home office

A selection of pictures hanging in Lord Levy’s home office: In conversation with the late Queen, former US President Bill Clinton and King Charles 28 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

not just for Jewish Care but other Jewish charities like Nightingale, which faced similar issues. So, we fundraised for them all. £5million in one-week, shared between the charities. The community rose to the challenge quite brilliantly. “At that time, in early 2020, I began our Zoom calls with a prayer for one of my closest friends, Michael Goldmeier, who had Covid. There he is,” Michael says, pointing to another of his framed pictures. “Michael was a dear friend for 50 years and a former chairman of Jewish Care. He was here in my home for Shabbat dinner in early March. One week later he became unwell. One week later he was in hospital and one week after that he passed away. His passing made the communal care campaign even more personal for me.” Does this joint effort in combating Covid point the way to communal organisations working as one in future? “Well,” he says, an eyebrow raised. “That’s easier said than done. We’re a small community with too many organisations so, yes, we should cut back on duplication and overheads to put more into the provision of services. But, making that a reality, well…” Michael uncharacteristically leaves that sentence hanging in the air. Regarding coordination, or even a merger, between the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, Michael is surprisingly blunt. “If Jewish Care, Nightingale or the Community Security Trust suddenly disappeared, it would have a devastating impact on the community. Do you honestly think if the Board of Deputies or Jewish Leadership Council vanished it would make such a difference? Look at the Board’s makeup. It claims to be democratic, but its representation barely changes year after year. I’m not criticising individuals at the Board or JLC. (Board president) Marie van der Zyl and (JLC chair) Keith Black are impressive, hardworking leaders. I respect what they do but I’m not sure much of it is relevant.” Tough talk from a man who helped launch the JLC in 2003. “Back then I didn’t imagine it would grow to its current size, with so many member branches,”

Michael admits. “It now duplicates a lot of the Board’s work and makes those outside the community wonder: who do I go to? To the Board, with its historic relationship with government going back centuries, or the JLC, which has impact and influence in a different way. It’s created a foggy situation which, in a small community like ours, is unhelpful. There needs to be clarity and transparency, so the government knows who it is dealing with.” Michael has also faced daunting challenges as president of JFS, Europe’s biggest Jewish comprehensive school, which was recently taken out of special measures following a tragic period in which three pupils took their own lives and more than 6,000 people signed a petition urging the school to prioritise mental health. At its lowest ebb, Ofsted identified “deep-rooted and widespread failings in the school’s safeguarding culture”. The transformation under new headteacher, Dr David Moody, has been swift and successful, with students last month celebrating superb GCSE and A-level results. “JFS has been through a tough time,” Michael reflects. “There were tragic days, wonderful young lives were lost, and this impacted us all deeply. We now have an excellent new headteacher and recent results have been outstanding. It’s taken a lot of time and energy, led by our chair of governors, governing body and me in the background as president, to put the school back on the right footing. I speak to the head teacher every week and from everything I’m hearing the parents are starting to have their belief and confidence in the school restored. JFS has an exciting future.” Before moving away from matters communal, Michael, unprompted, is scathing about the clandestine ownership of the Jewish Chronicle. In 2020, an anonymous £2.2million bid derailed a community-backed merger with Jewish News at the eleventh hour. Two years later and the owner’s identity remains closely guarded (even the newspaper’s editor claims he is in the dark). The motive for such a cloakand-dagger routine has also raised concerns (the only named shareholder and director is former Downing Street spin doctor Sir Robbie Gibb, who fronted the


Dancing to the Hava Nagila with Camilla, Queen Consort, at the Brenner Stepney Jewish Community Centre

bid). “We know who owns our national newspapers, but our community knows nothing about the ownership of a newspaper that is meant to serve us, not keep us in the dark,” Michael says. “Such lack of transparency is disturbing and, frankly, dangerous. “We all see what the newspaper’s politics now are. What its world view has become. It might as well be written at Tory Party HQ, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the Labour Party. Well, the Tories won’t be in power for ever, that’s for sure.” Indeed. Even staunch Conservatives concede the Opposition is now more electable than at any time since New Labour – an era Michael did so much to engineer. He first came to national prominence as Tony Blair’s chief fundraiser – cruelly dubbed “Lord Cashpoint” by the tabloids – and later served as his personal envoy to the Middle East. So, all eyes were on him during the darkest days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. How close did he get to quitting the party? Michael pauses. “Very close. Tony told me to stay in the party. He said things would turn around and I needed to hold my ground and see it through. My family said the same. But yes, it was an incredibly difficult time. Nobody was more vociferously critical of Corbyn than me and I paid a price in the party. My life was threatened.” Michael’s patience was rewarded at the 2019 general election when Corbynism collapsed under the weight of its own delusions. New leader Keir Starmer pledged from day one to make the party a home for Jews once more. Marks out of 10 so far? “I won’t give Keir a score. The key question is – did he set out with genuine sincerity to eradicate antisemitism? I have no doubt that’s precisely what he did. He was determined from the start to deal with the issue. He is a brave and honest man with an absolute moral compass. A man of dignity and principle. He could be making a fortune as a barrister but has given his career to his country. He will make an excellent prime minister. “There will always be elements of antisemitism in politics, but do I wake up in the morning thinking there’s an antisemite in my cupboard? No, I don’t. I

With Tony Blair at a Jewish Care event in the early days of New Labour

wear my identity with pride. I am a privileged guy and everything I’ve achieved in life has been as a proud Jew.” We meet the day Liz Truss became prime minister. Was Starmer happy to see the back of Boris Johnson, a consummate election winner and media performer? “Keir has every chance of becoming the next prime minister,” Michael predicts. “That makes him bad news for any Tory leader, be it Johnson or Truss. Keir is ready for an election before 2024, but I doubt that will happen – despite Liz Truss having no mandate.” He continues: “Keir will always have critics in our community; the same critics who don’t dare condemn the Tories. During the Conservative leadership campaign our new prime minister attacked the ‘woke civil service culture that strays into antisemitism’ and called Jews ‘business orientated’. The silence in the community to those words was deafening. Where was the criticism? Only the head of Union of Jewish Students had the gumption to take her to task.” Michael also has high regard for what he calls Starmer’s “government in waiting”. He says: “Rachel Reeves (shadow chancellor) has a fantastic financial mind, David Lammy (shadow foreign secretary) and Yvette Cooper (shadow home secretary) are honest and genuine people and I’m close to Wes Streeting (shadow health secretary), who is a first-class guy. We have a very good front bench. They are ready to assume power.” On the passing of the Queen, who died three days after we met, Michael later reflects: “She truly understood that there are differences between peoples, but that there is much more that unites us. That sense of harmony, which has served this nation well during some difficult times, most certainly radiated through every interaction with her.” Looking back on his career – Michael is 13 years beyond retirement age but shows no sign of slowing down – what does he consider his proudest achievements? “Helping create Jewish Care; seeing JFS go from a building site to what it is today – tantamount to a university campus; witnessing

With singer Craig David and London mayor Sadiq Khan at a Jewish Care dinner. He is life president of the charity

the growth of JLGB and how brilliantly it pivoted during the pandemic. These are highlights. I hope my contribution has helped make our community stronger.” After chatting for an hour, Michael gives me a tour of his north London home, past the swimming pool where he aims for 40 lengths each morning, beyond the idyllic koi fishpond and on to his beloved Astroturf tennis court, where he plays three times a week. Should Andy Murray follow Roger Federer and retire? “No, but his best days sadly are behind him.” Will Emma Raducanu win another Grand Slam? “Probably not. Let’s just say her determination on court hasn’t been matched by her determination off it.” I mention my half-decent forehand and Michael invites me back the following Sunday for a game. He wins 6-3. I phone Michael the next day. Not to request a rematch (I have no answer to his backhand slice) but to fact check a few of the items in his office. For a minute or two, all I hear is the clatter and thud of objects being picked up and moved about. Eventually, he pipes up: “Oh Lord, I didn’t realise we had so much bloody stuff. Gill, We need a tidy up!” LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 29


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BARD TALK

He said, SheLock:

The

MERCHANT REVISITED Tracy-Ann Oberman and Howard Jacobson have always been less than comfortable with The Merchant of Venice. With the actress and writer poised to play the first female Shylock next year, Life Magazine invited her to discuss the play, its problems and its prejudices with the eminent novelist and Shakespeare specialist. They met on a summer evening in a Soho loft PROLOGUE TO ACT ONE: Tracy-Ann Oberman (TAO) catches sight of Howard Jacobson’s (HJ) ring. TAO: What is that? HJ: It is the turquoise, it is Shylock’s turquoise ring. It is my favourite line in the whole play, when Shylock says, ‘It was my turquoise. I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys’ – this is when he learns that his daughter, Jessica, has stolen it, sold it and bought a monkey with the proceeds. My wife, Jenny, knew I loved this line and bought me the ring. ACT ONE, SCENE ONE: First Encounter Life Magazine (LM): Howard, this was a play you had never taught. And both of you have done very different takes on The Merchant of Venice. Can you share your experiences? TAO: I’m performing in The Merchant

of Venice 1936. I’ve been working with Brigid Larmour, artistic director of the Watford Palace, to cut it down and reframe it, still using the original text, but with other elements added in. LM: Let’s go back to first principles. What did you dislike about the play, for all those years before you started to write? HJ: That initial discomfort was a teenage boy’s discomfort. I was 14 and we were reading The Merchant of Venice in class, and the teacher said, ‘Jacobson, you’re Shylock.’ Right away, I thought, ‘I wonder why?’ I was not made uncomfortable because I thought it was antisemitic. I thought it was too philosemitic. It was the famous speech – ‘Hath not a Jew eyes?’ I was acting Shylock, and I did not want to hear myself, or him, making that plea for Jews. I thought, ‘Well, this is not the Shakespeare I’m interested in; this felt

like a special interest thing. It’s not what Shakespeare normally does. I didn’t like it. It was only when I was asked to write my own take on The Merchant [his 2016 novel, Shylock is My Name] that I remembered I’d not liked the play and had never taught it. But I said, ‘Okay, let me take a look,’ and the minute I did, it was not the play I remembered. It was entirely different. I started to get into its world of self-pitying gentiles, of loathsome, self-delighting, whingeing, moaning and whining, wheedling gentiles, who were also, very quickly, antisemites. I thought, ‘This is good stuff. This is fun.’ And this gives me an opportunity to say that anybody who says the play is antisemitic does not know how to read it! It’s not without its problems – there are always problems in Shakespeare, because he’s complex – but it was clear to me that this was a play about antisemitism as a subject. But it was no more promoting antisemitism than Macbeth promotes the murder of Scottish kids. TAO: My first experience with the play was very similar to Howard’s. We were reading it at school and I found it a really uncomfortable experience, mainly because of the laughter and the sort of baying at [Shylock’s words], ‘my ducats, my daughter’. I’ve never seen a production that sat easily with me, for many reasons. I don’t know whether the laughter, the hatred, or the pity, is worst. I find it a problematic play because, as Howard says,

it’s misunderstood. But I also think it ties in with antisemitic Jewish tropes in this country that go back to medieval times and carry on today. So when I approached it, I wanted to see how the play would change if you made Shylock a widowed single mother, with a daughter. I was thinking about the toughness of Shylock. I wondered what would happen if you set it in the ’30s, and I based it on my bubbeh, and the tough Jewish women who had come here from Belarus, or the Pale of Settlement, and were so alien in this English world. Back then, a Jewish woman had to be able to strap a cow across her back while ideally her husband was a Talmud scholar. She’d have 14 children, but made her hovel look like a palace on Shabbat. She could survive rapes, beheadings, Cossack attacks [and] her sons being taken into the Russian army. These women were survivors but, to the aristocratic British, these tough balabustas were seen as unfeminine. In my experience of standing up to antisemitism, I found a real intersectionality between misogyny and antisemitism, which also made me think, ‘What happens if you have a female Shylock? What if it is set in 1936, just before the Battle of Cable Street? What happens if you make Portia a sort of more intelligent Nancy Mitford? And what happens if these [Christians] are awful, Oswald Mosley acolytes, like the Bullingdon Boys, gone wrong?’ LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 33


INTERVIEW SCENE TWO: Shylock as a She HJ: So is your female Shylock having an even worse time? Because she’s not just a Jew, but a woman? TAO: Yes. But what I found quite liberating is that, whereas in other productions I’ve seen there’s a nobility to Shylock and a victim-like status, I’ve

they were tough-as-nails negotiators. They had to be tougher than the men. HJ: So is it you saying, ‘You want a monster and I’ll give you a monster’, or was it the Jewish women who said, ‘Okay, you want to see us as monsters? We’ll show you that’? Because I think Shylock does that. The Shylock that Shakespeare gives us is someone who says, ‘I will play up to this version of me. It does me no good to do this. But it gives me a satisfaction, because it allows me to deride you and to sneer at your incapacity to treat me as a human being. And I will prove that more, by being this less-than -human being.’ SCENE THREE: The psychology TAO: There’s a moment where my Shylock wants to befriend the Christian traders, Antonio and Bassanio. She tries to show them she is more than just this woman who may or may not lend money. It’s almost like she’s saying, ‘Look, I’m intellectual, I read, I understand the Talmud and I’m more than what you see here.’

managed to get rid of all of that. She’s tough and she’s horrible, because she has to be tough and she has to be horrible. People had assumed I’ve made her terribly noble and that Shylock is going to be the heroine. On the contrary, it’s made me embrace what makes somebody think– if you want a monster, I’ll give you a monster. So she is really difficult, and tough. I had a great-aunt, known as ‘Machine-Gun Molly’, and another in the East End called Sarah Portugal, who had bright red lipstick and smoked a pipe. These women were widows, and the men were absolutely terrified of them, because

34 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

HJ: [And actually, Shylock says] ‘I’m more than you, because you’ve read nothing, you know nothing.’ He dances rings around Antonio and Bassanio. They don’t know what to do with him. Maybe in making Shylock a woman, you might be able to give this another edge. He flirts, with that stuff about taking the pound of flesh ‘from... the part that pleases me most’. TAO: And she flirts with Bassanio. But when he brings Antonio [to see Shylock], he’s playing two different games, which is sort of okay with a Jew, but deeply uncomfortable for his aristocratic friends. But it turns for me, in the Leah ring

moment – when I say ‘my husband gave it to me’. And then she comes back and finds her daughter gone. She finds it was all b******t. They [the Christians] have taken everything. HJ: Well, that’s the moment when the deal ‘the taking of the pound of flesh’ – which was some kind of a joke, and we don’t quite know what kind – suddenly becomes serious. You suddenly know the problems that Shylock has bringing up his daughter as a single father. This is what Shakespeare does, in one line. This man’s past is given to you, the degree of feeling is given to you. That’s why for me, it can’t be an antisemitic play, because antisemites do not see the human being in the person they are rude to. TAO: I do think it’s an antisemitic play. Jews hate blood. It is not in our culture. The blood libel is so offensive because we don’t eat meat with blood. So this idea of Shylock taking the flesh and being told, ‘Thou shall not take a single drop of Christian blood’ carries on the blood libel.

been broken. They’ve tried to destroy her – but Jews have faced worse and they do survive. HJ: I think ‘I am content’ is mystifying. I never want to say Shakespeare got it wrong. I always want to say he got everything right. But I don’t get ‘I am content’. I get that he may have decided Shylock will leave, completely broken by what these heartless swines, who dare to talk of mercy, have done to him. But who gav e them the idea of mercy anyway? They got it from Jesus and Jesus got it from the Jewish religion. I can see a defeated Shylock, but why he would say ‘I am content’ – I don’t know how to explain that. In my book, I wanted something else. My Shylock is not content. My Shylock is alive now, in the present, and boiling with rage; he isn’t capable of contentment. He has nothing but contempt for the Christian world and its treatment of him.

LM: What do you think becomes of Shylock? In the play, Shakespeare gives him the line, ‘I am content’. In other words, he accepts the verdict and is ready to become Christian.

SCENE FIVE: The obsession with Jews TAO: I looked into Mosley, and he had big rallies, including one at the Royal Albert Hall. All the aristocracy came and heard Mosley’s ideas about Jews – they bloody loved it. But when he got to Earls Court, he cocked up. Mosley had these trained boxers, called the ‘Biff Boys’, but some Jews had infiltrated and, before Mosley could speak for more than three seconds, they kept putting up their hands to ask questions. Mosley couldn’t contain his anger and gave the nod to the Biff Boys to beat up the Jews. And that’s when the aristocracy said, ‘Gosh, he’s right about the Jews, but we don’t like this violence.’ This is the world my Shylock exists in...When I heard my bubbeh and greatuncles talking about what they did at the Battle of Cable Street, those were fighting, surviving, Jews. I wanted to remind people of that.

TAO: Well, we don’t know what happens to Shylock, we just know that he/she has

HJ: The world you’re describing is worse than the world of Merchant of Venice.

SCENE FOUR: The money-lender’s future Stage directions: Everything is taken from Shylock when he loses the court case because he is unable to take Antonio’s flesh without drawing blood. As a result, he has to forfeit half his wealth to Antonio and the rest to the Venetian state. But there is one more turn of the screw when Antonio insists that Shylock should also convert to Christianity.


not to be trusted and close to power just took over. And then to have Shylock, Fagin and the Jew of Malta as the three archetypes in literature – it’s so unpleasant, so shameful. People don’t understand antisemitism. It is absolutely alive and kicking. The only thing is, these days, it has an acceptable form because they call it anti-Zionism.

TAO: But there was a ghetto in Venice in which Jews had to live, where their rights were inhibited. HJ: But there’s no ghetto in Shakespeare’s Venice. Remember, he knew almost nothing about Jews. There were none in Elizabethan England. The mystery is why the Elizabethans were so interested in Jews and in plays that traduced Jews, such as Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, when there are no Jews there. TAO: It was ever thus. We are a tiny community, and yet we fill headspace and column inches and social media feeds. People are obsessed. Why are they so obsessed? ACT TWO, SCENE ONE: The meaning of the pound of flesh HJ: What did occur to me when I was writing this book was that the pound of flesh is actually a version of circumcision. I remember a TV programme I did about Shylock, and interviewing [Shakespeare scholar] James Shapiro. And I said to him, ‘I’ve got this idea. Do you think this is mad?’ Shakespeare isn’t saying Shylock is circumcising Antonio, but somewhere, [perhaps] in what he would have read, he would have come across misunderstandings of circumcision. LM: I think it might have been castration, rather than circumcision. HJ: They didn’t know the difference. The Christians thought circumcision was castration. The blood libel comes partly from the belief that Jewish men needed Christian blood to replenish their

own blood, because they bled all the time. Part of what terrified Christians about Jews was that if Jews circumcised themselves, what would they do to them? TAO: My Shylock has a history of [being the target of] misogyny, mistrust and hatred. So for her, when she says to Antonio, ‘You call me cut-throat, dog and cur’, it really has a resonance. It really ties into my own experience of misogyny and antisemitism and tropes about Jewish women. ACT TWO, SCENE TWO: Ingrained antisemitism HJ: I saw a production recently that wasn’t particularly sympathetic to Shylock. And the audience hissed at him. It was impossible to see what they were hissing at in the production. Quite a young audience, it was spontaneous, almost as if Shylock had come out of pantomime. But what the play shows is the depth of antisemitism. It’s just there. Shylock says to Antonio, ‘You called me dog before you knew me. Now I will show you my fangs.’ It reminds you of how ingrained antisemitism is in the Christian imagination. TAO: One of the things I hadn’t fully appreciated was how deep antisemitism goes in this country, though the British like to think of themselves as incredibly tolerant. The idea of the Jewish moneylender, of the Jew being obsessed with money, ‘my ducats, my daughter’, was an English construct. The Jews did lots of different things in medieval times, but this idea of them being greedy, shifty,

HJ: That’s antisemitism on the cheap. In Lithuania, they have a devil museum. I filmed it once. They’re all Jews. To the medieval mind, the Jew was terrifying because he was in cahoots with the devil. He smelled like the devil. Never forget there was a Jewish stench. It was the stench of hell-fire. In Lithuania, they also have this wonderful expression: if you put something on inside out, it’s called ‘going Jew’. It’s not even thought about. I know no antisemitism is meant, it’s just an expression. But what’s deeper in our culture than its language? Is the idea that anything that’s the inverse of the natural, and the inverse of the normal, is a Jew? How the hell do you get rid of that? Roots Schmoots was a three-part film I made with my wife Jenny. We had a very nice, non-Jewish cameraman, who went through Israel with us and then through Lithuania listening to it all. At the end when we had our final dinner, he said, ‘It’s been so interesting to learn and to understand the basis of antisemitism.’ And then he said: ‘There’s one question that keeps nagging at me, why are Jews so interested in money?’

is the object of prejudice, human is an extraordinary thing. TAO: For me, Shakespeare cannot help but be influenced by the antisemitism of the day that he was brought up with, like all Englishmen. But I would flip that and say he is writing a play about a loathsome Jew, but because he’s such a great writer, he gives that character humanity. HJ: But the minute you give a character humanity, you’ve rescued that character from the prejudice. TAO: And isn’t that because he’s such a great writer? Not because he’s doing it as pro-Jewish? HJ: Doesn’t matter. What makes a great writer is that imaginative leap into what it is to be somebody else. An absolute antisemite cannot make that leap, but if he/she did, they would cease to be an antisemite. LM: What are your hopes for the new year? TAO: That people buy tickets to my play. And health. I hope people can afford to heat their homes and eat, that sort of broader scale. I hope for better times to come.

EPILOGUE LM: With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approaching, doesThe Merchant of Venice teach us anything about atonement? HJ: Shylock does not atone, but then he hasn’t got anything to atone for. None of the gentile world in The Merchant of Venice is interested in atonement. They [also] don’t think they have anything to atone for. I think it’s an atonement-free play. You could say that, in the play, Shakespeare atones for the antisemitism of his age, because although there’s lots of ugly stuff about Shylock’s Jewishness, I also think Shakespeare, with the imagination of a supreme artist, becomes interested in Shylock as an individual. His natural instinct is to go towards the person whom ordinary mankind despises, because he is not, himself, ordinary mankind. Shakespeare makes him human, and to make a person, who

HJ: We do live in the most horrible world I’ve ever lived in. These are horrible, horrible times. And you would wish therefore for very simple things: you’d want Ukraine to win, for the cost of living to come down. I want inflation to be reduced. I want to finish my next novel. Discussion chaired and reported by Jenni Frazer The Merchant of Venice 1936: watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson, £9.99 from Waterstones LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 35


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INTERVIEW

Ninety-seven...

and acting

Sarah Miller meets a remarkable actress whose worth is far more than rubies

T

helma Ruby is both a marvel and a rarity. The veteran actress has not only enjoyed a career touching almost 80 years, featuring an enviable list of co-stars that reads like a Who’s Who, but remarkably she only just announced her retirement from stage and screen at the grand age of 97. Or so we had all thought. A beaming Thelma, whose fresh complexion belies her age, reveals during our Zoom chat that it may have been too early to close the curtains on her career just yet. And what notable moments there have been in that career. She played Golde opposite Topol’s iconic Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and she’s trodden the boards with Judi Dench in Cabaret, Michael Hordern in King Lear and Orson Welles in Chimes at Midnight. On screen she’s enjoyed stints in Dad’s Army and Coronation Street and only in recent weeks filmed a mockumentary alongside Kate Winslet. Three months ago, the Leeds-born Jewish actress announced that her one-woman show at The Pheasantry in West London would be her last, but it seems there might be an encore. “I did announce it would be my last, but one of the people there said, ‘If you’re feeling as well as you do now just before your 100th birthday, I think you should take a theatre and say you will do your one-woman show.’ So, I can’t honestly say I’ve retired!” Whether she’s formally taken a bow from acting or not, Thelma reveals she still finds herself being asked to regale endlessly interesting tales of a life spent in entertainment. Her fans even include the newly titled Queen Consort, Camilla. Only a few weeks ago, Thelma was invited by her broadcaster friend Gyles Brandreth and actress Joanna Lumley to

a special lunch they were hosting to mark Camilla’s 75th birthday. All the guests were “well-known people, all aged over 70, who have achieved something in their old age”. She recalls of that special day suddenly finding herself the centre of attention. “Giles stood up and gave a speech. He said: ‘Just a few weeks ago, I saw a lady give the most phenomenal performance. She made us laugh, she made us cry. She’s 97, she’s here today and her name is Thelma Ruby!’ I was asked to stand up and the audience burst into applause.” Thelma blushes again at the memory, letting slip she was not always someone who could bear the thought of being in the limelight. In fact, as a young child growing up in an Orthodox family in Leeds, Thelma Wigoder, as she was known, was painfully shy and never admitted to wanting to follow in the footsteps of her actress mother Paula. A child performer who matured into a leading lady, Paula was “gorgeous and had a beautiful voice – which I never had,” says Thelma modestly. Indeed, Thelma was likely destined to “do what my parents wished for me, which was to marry a nice Jewish doctor or lawyer from Leeds – or maybe even Manchester,” but history and fate had other ideas. The outbreak of war in 1939 resulted in Thelma, who was just a young teenager at the time, being evacuated to the United States with her mother. She subsequently landed a scholarship at Finch Junior College in New York. In 1944, Thelma returned to Britain with her newly-acquired education and she and Paula signed up to join ENSA. “This stood for Entertainments National Service Association, but the troops used

From left: with Kenneth Williams in The Buccaneer; as Golde, alongside Topol, in Fiddler on the Roof; with Judi Dench in Cabaret; as Golda Meir in Momma Golda by William Gibson

“The rest of me has gone to pot, but the legs are still sensational,” sh e says

to call it, ‘Every Night Something Awful’,” she laughs. She travelled to hospitals all over the country to bring cheer to convalescing soldiers. She remembers “one whole audience of boys who had been blinded, another audience of boys who had lost limbs”. On VE Day in 1945, Thelma was asked to sing for young pilots who had “been shot down in flames” and suffered serious burns. “Boys with no faces, no noses, no ears,” she tells me. “But what an audience they were. How they cheered!” Thelma looks back at those early days of her career with as much fondness as her later successes, which include starring alongside Topol in a 1984 production of Fiddler on the Roof. She says of her co-star: “There are a lot of actors and actresses that other people warn you that won’t like, that they’re very difficult. And that’s what some people said about Topol. I can only say we became good friends and I loved working with him.” She is equally admiring of Judy Dench, who she co-starred alongside in 1968 in Cabaret and remains a close friend. Thelma recalls: “There’s a part where I’m facing the audience and she has her back to the audience listening to me doing a monologue. Eight shows a week nobody

could see her face, but there were real tears pouring down her cheeks. Her face was suffused in sympathy. There’s one test of good acting and that is if you know how to listen. She was also just such a lovely person - there wasn’t anyone she didn’t know and care about.” Another personal highlight of her career was meeting Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir. She and her actor husband Peter Frye, who were married from 1970 until his death in 1991, adapted the play Momma Golda about the premier’s life. She says of visiting Golda Meir at her home: “If there hadn’t been a security man outside, you wouldn’t have known she was special. She lived in a simple bungalow and opened the door herself. She even made the tea! Golda, who was a known chain smoker, said to me: ‘I want you to do me a favour.’ I said of course, what is it Mrs Meir? She said, ‘I saw the original play, Golda, on Broadway and Anne Bancroft stooped. I don’t stoop!’ I told her, ‘I promise you I won’t stoop, but you are giving me another problem - I don’t smoke!’ We had a lovely afternoon.” Thelma blesses the “good luck I’ve had all my life.” She adds: “To have found such a happy career, to have found even at 45 a wonderful husband and have 21 wonderful years together and to be acting at the age of 97 – and still feel fine!” While she and Peter did not have children, she is close to Peter’s daughter from a previous marriage, and through her enjoys 10 grandchildren and 47 greatgrandchildren. Is happiness key to a long life, I ask? “Someone recently asked me this. I’ve never smoked, I’ve never been a drinker. I do try and let troubles slide off me and I don’t think I’ve ever lost my temper. Then they asked, ‘Are you Jewish?’ And I said yes! Maybe that’s the secret? It’s all in the genes, you know.”


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FILM

Disney celebrates its centenary in the new year. Debbie Collins reveals the chosen few who shaped the company and their relationship with its controversial founder

D

uring his lifetime, Mr Walt Disney was not considered particularly controversial but, after his death in 1966, the Disney magic began to unravel; he was accused of being sexist, racist and antisemitic, with much of the information quite compelling. While some figures in history are totally irredeemable, Walt Disney’s supposed flaws are probably overlooked because of the joy he brought (and still brings) to billions. Neal Gabler, author of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, carried out extensive research of the company’s archive and found no evidence of ill behaviour, “unless you count casual antisemitism that virtually every gentile at the time would have had”. Indeed, Gabler went on to comment on the many Jewish employees working there, so much so that Walt himself said the New York office had “more Jews than the Book of Leviticus”. Walt supported many Jewish foundations, including the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of the City of New York, so the very idea of him hating Jews becomes almost comedic, providing fodder for TV shows such as Family Guy and Saturday Night Live, often portraying Walt Disney as a paranoid antisemite. These

are hardly factual shows, and most audiences appreciate that. Meryl Streep certainly had something to say on the matter in 2014 while presenting the best actress award to Emma Thompson for her role in Saving Mr Banks. But her speech, peppered as it was with accusations of misogyny and bigotry, while applauded in some camps was considered by others to be a distortion of the truth about Disney. So, while Walt did indeed join the antisemitic, anti-communist Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, one of his most important messages was that good will always triumph over evil. He was very clear that the aim of joining was to work positively against communism and fascism in film and American culture, alongside many of the Hollywood elite who joined him, including Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne and future US president Ronald Reagan. Opinions aside, the Disney brand has brought happiness to many, and next year marks the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company and the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, so it’s a fitting time to look at the long and illustrious history of Disney’s cartoon studio, parks, cruises, franchises such David, Shlomo and Herschel Frenkel with a poster for a Mish Mish film

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Princess Rebecca in Elena of Avalor and Walt with Mickey Mouse characters

as Pixar, and everyone’s favourite lockdown purchase – Disney+. Born in 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, Walter Elias Disney loved to sketch from a young age and would sell his drawings to family and friends. In 1919, he moved to Kansas, seeking work as a newspaper cartoonist, but his brother Roy had bigger ideas for him, pushing him to gain employment at an art studio. It was there that Disney met Ub Iwerks, and the three of them eventually set up on their own. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, one of their first creations, was followed by the creation of Mickey Mouse and, while Disney had incredible drawing skills that brought to life the animation, it was chief animator Iwerks who made the Mouse mighty. The 1928

runaway success of Steamboat Willie was a landmark in animation history, the first of its kind to be released with synchronised sound. With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, in 1930s Egypt three young Jewish men – Herschel, Shlomo and David Frenkel – saw and loved what Disney had done with animation and, despite considerable political obstacles, pioneered cartoon animation. With the advent of Israeli independence in 1948, riots erupted against Egyptian Jews, and the Frenkels escaped to France. It was difficult to regain the level of success they’d had and their reels gathered dust. These films are now being restored in France, with their Egyptian homeland starting to recognise the significance of the brothers’ early work in the animated film industry. Israeli director Tal Michael covered the rise LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 41


Disney’s ‘Magic Kingdom’

and fall of the brothers in a 2019 documentary called Bukra fil Mish-Mish, highlighting character Mish-Mish Effendi, the Mickey Mouse of the Arab world. Returning to the Disney timeline, the 1937 Christmas release of Disney’s first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was

Art Babbitt developed the character of Goofy

the highest-grossing sound film at the time, earning Walt an honorary Oscar for the film. The studio grew in success and among the employees were many Jews, notably Art Babbitt, who received more than 80 awards, including those for developing the character of Goofy and animating the Wicked Queen in Snow White. However, the animators’ strike of 1941 left a feeling of resentment among staff over issues such as on-screen credit and inequalities over pay. Babbitt and David Hilberman (a fellow animator and Jew), joined the Screen Cartoonists Guild – a union – and Babbitt became a key member. While Babbitt was well remunerated, he was 42 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

led to the latter’s resignation. You’ll be glad to know he wasn’t unemployed for long, as he then co-founded DreamWorks Animation and made Shrek, which will have irked Disney. Walt favoured the movie message that good would always triumph over evil, which keeps us watching the films (with or without children), and singing Disney songs. The Jewish Sherman Brothers wrote many of them, including The Bare Necessities, but The Lion King by Elton John and Tim Rice is the most popular, and the 2018 remake from Jewish director Jon Favreau is now Disney’s highest-rated animated movie ever, grossing $1.3bn. As emotional people, we love Disney’s tear-jerking storylines – think Mary Poppins flying away. It was in this 1964 film that Walt cast Jewish actor Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert. Make of that what you will. Even with Jews at the helm, it took until 2016 for Disney to give us a Jewish princess, in the form of Rebecca in Elena of Avalor, a tribute to Sephardic culture that felt good. Just as singing It’s A Small World will do next time you’re on a ride, because the Sherman Brothers wrote the song.

a man of the people and saw unfair wages and lack of privileges among the more junior staff. The strike irritated Walt and, as a result, Babbitt and Hilberman deemed Walt’s reaction antisemitic. However, no matter what folk thought of Walt, he worked tirelessly, going from one project to another, each one just as magical: after Snow White came Bambi and Fantasia. After Mickey Mouse came Minnie, Donald and Pluto, continually building on the Disney name. As he put it: “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” After many a visit to theme parks with his family, Walt thought, ‘Why not a Disney themed one?’ and, in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, designed and built under Walt’s supervision and often referred to as ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’. Walt died in 1965, and Jewish businessmen have been involved ever since regardless of the founder’s alleged feelings. From 1984 to 2004 Michael Eisner (of affluent Jewish New York stock) was the CEO who made Disney a major film studio. He brought in Jeffrey Katzenberg as chairman and increased film production. It wasn’t all good, as their first computer-generated animated feature was the farkakte Black Cauldron, which cost $40m and bombed at the box office. This forced a move for the animation department from Burbank to Glendale, but the postcode downgrade led to the ‘Disney renaissance’ that began with The Little Mermaid, then Beauty and The Beast and Aladdin. Jewish CEOs also made a lot of deals, but the one with Pixar in 1991 delivered Toy Story and, after that, DIsney’s market value rose from $2bn to $22bn). A broiges was almost inevitable, but the one between Eisner and Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg (above) was behind Shrek, and Jon Favreau successfully remade The Lion King in 2018

DISNEY EXHIBITION

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at The Wallace Collection is a highly innovative take on the magic of Disney. This collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art displays shows how French 18th century rococo clocks, tea sets, carriages, furniture and paintings were transformed by 20th century American animation to be used in Disney films. Until 16 October 2022. wallacecollection.org


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Events

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- And we just love doing surprise birthday parties…. - All our food and events are under London Beth Din (KLBD) supervision. - Very popular are our KLBD Shabbat functions at our Sababa premises. When: Shabbat or weekday

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Locations: At Sababa, or synagogues, halls, communal buildings, schools or home… Occasions: Sheva Brachot, Birthdays, Bar-Mitzvahs,

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CAMPAIGN

Mariano with his wife Marisa, daughter Mia and dog Lola

Surviving sorrow:

A father’s fight MARIANO JANIN WILL BE ALONE AGAIN THIS YOM KIPPUR. IN FOUR MONTHS HE LOST THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE. SOME THINK THEY KNOW HIS STORY, HE TOLD BRIGIT GRANT. BUT NOW HE WANTS THEM TO KNOW THE TRUTH

M

ia Janin was a cheerleader. She also went to Sylvia Young Theatre School at weekends and to Camden with friends. And she loved music. All kinds of music, because she grew up to the sounds of opera, jazz and bossa nova that her South American parents enjoyed. She had her own favourites and memorably danced around the living room to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. An avid reader, Mia was captivated by Emily Bronte’s novel

48 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

that inspired the song and she saw two film adaptations. “She preferred the one made in 1939,” says her father, Mariano, and places Mia’s copy of Wuthering Heights on the table. He keeps it on a shelf by the window, should his daughter need it in a hurry. But that doesn’t happen any more. Mia Janin, aged 15, took her own life on Friday 12 March 2021 because she was being bullied. In person and online. Her absence fills the house. Sorrow reverberates in every space. Where she once stood, cuddled her beloved toy

poodle, Lola, or mused about the life she might lead. “She was curious about medicine, but I think, probably, she will study architecture.” Mariano slips unconsciously into the present tense as he talks about Mia, and it’s brutal. The hopes and dreams parents have for their children were stolen from him forever. Mariano could have spent the years ahead reminiscing about his only child with her mother, Marisa. Husband and wife went to the same school and university in Buenos Aires, studied architecture, worked together and enjoyed cultural trips to Europe with an ever-curious Mia. Those are the memories to which Mariano clings, but not Marisa, as she died four months after her daughter. Diagnosed suddenly with an aneurysm, doctors attempting to treat Marisa then discovered she had acute myeloid leukaemia, which complicated treatment. Nothing could be done for her. Mariano

attempts to explain the medical issues, but ultimately believes the stress of trying to find out what happened to Mia is the real reason he lost his wife. He battles with answers to that question every day, surrounded by files Marisa collated, but there have been no answers, not even at the many continuing inquests. But Mariano, 58, didn’t agree to speak to Life Magazine to simply reiterate the details of his daughter’s final decision. He knows the community was shocked and that he is now recognised by people whose names he doesn’t know. They may have seen him on TV, as there is lots of media interest, and he is working with the NSPCC with other bereaved parents fighting for government changes in the way social media operates and grants (or doesn’t) parental access. Mariano is convinced it will happen, and when it does, he will feel differently. But not about the way his family were


treated by the Jewish community. “I’m not talking about all of the UK or even all of London, but there are people in north-west London who are cliquey and self-entitled and who decide who their children should socialise with and if your postcode fits. This was my family’s experience when we arrived in London, and it continued. That’s why we preferred the acceptance of the Chabad congregation. For them, it doesn’t matter where you come from – you’re a Jew.” Mariano is still deeply troubled by the lack of support from those who retreated and stuck together and by Mia’s school. “No one phoned me from the school. Not one call. No one was forthcoming about what happened. Just silence.” Mariano will never be silent. “I have nothing to lose,” he says. “No one took accountability for what happened to Mia and nothing has changed. The same governors were at the school. It had happened before. If bullies get impunity, they don’t learn any lessons.” Without change, Mariano thinks, there will be more cases like Mia’s. “Something is missing – the transmission of basic Jewish values. The school is governmentfunded, but governed by a religious body. They can manage marriages and burials, but don’t know about educating children in today’s world. “Children’s lives are so different to when we were young. They are bullied and cyberbullied and they are much less resilient after spending two years being socially isolated through the pandemic.” Mariano’s muted anger is etched across his tired face. He has been diagnosed with giant cell arteritis, a serious vascular illness he has under control, but it’s exacerbated by stress. The kind of stress born out of being denied justice. Marisa Janin never went upstairs again after Mia died and her room is how she left it. Her father is not ready to face what needs to be done. “My wife used to say that if her father [Alexander Neumann] could see how his granddaughter was bullied in a Jewish school, he would turn in his grave. He survived four concentration camps and was the sole survivor of a huge Hungarian

family from the town of Pápa. He never talked of his experiences to Marisa, whose cousin is the Chief Rabbi in Russia, but she organised the testimony he gave to the Steven Spielberg Foundation and his German reparation payments.” Given the middle name Vera after her father’s youngest sister who died in the Holocaust, Marisa then honoured Roshi, the brother he lost, by giving Mia the Hebrew name of Rachel. Mariano’s Austrian grandparents sought safety in Argentina, but they and his parents are gone now. He has a sister in Mexico and another in Jerusalem as his support network; cousins around the globe and London friends who refused to leave him alone when Marisa died. “I’m glad my parents didn’t see what happened to me. When we lose our parents, it’s always painful, but it’s the natural order. We miss them, but we accept it, moving forward as an orphan. When I lost Marisa, I became a widower. Interestingly, there is no word in English, Spanish, Hebrew or possibly any language to define someone who loses a child. It’s just ‘tragedy’.” Solace eludes Mariano, who doesn’t believe in anything except God. When a friend gave him a copy of Dr Edith Eger’s The Choice: Embrace the Possible, which is described as ‘the key to freedom for those imprisoned within their own minds’, he liked it. He was also intrigued by the eminent psychologist author because she is an Auschwitz survivor, now aged 94, who worked with veterans and victims of physical and mental trauma. “The friend who gave me her book set up a Zoom with her for me. It was meant to be for 20 minutes but we spoke for two hours. She was amazing and told me that when you survive you are alone and see things in a different way because your perspective changes. You realise that life is a finite thing.” Mariano had another Zoom with the author, who sent him a copy of her book, The Gift: A Survivor’s Journey to Freedom, including her list that determines the difference between survivors and victims. That he is able to converse at all and occasionally smile suggests that Mariano is a survivor, but he is a long way from giving up a victim’s blame. How can he, when among his many happy family photos is the distressing image of two graves on Har HaZetim (The Mount of Olives). Marisa’s name is on one and the grave beside her is marked Mia. “Marisa didn’t want Mia to be buried in Bushey or Edgwarebury cemeteries,” says Mariano. “She wanted to take Mia out of this country to Israel. Everybody said it would be impossible, but we found space for her in the Chabad section of

Mia loved music, was curious about medicine and adored her dog, Lola, who stays at her father’s side

Har HaZetim. I have learned since that to get a place there is very hard. And one day that’s where...” His voice trails away and he gets up. He is crying. “Excuse me,” he apologises, needlessly, because I am crying too. “I don’t know if I will ever get any kind of closure. Friends say I should meet another woman, start another family. This will not give me closure. I will not replace my lovely wife and daughter with another... I don’t need to fall in love again because I knew real love.” Mariano is not religious but says: “I believe in us – the Jews and the codes and values of Judaism that allow us to

survive. But I also think when you pray, you need to understand the words and pray from your heart. You also need to teach your kids to be respectful. There are 613 mitzvot to follow.” I meet with Mariano a week after Marisa’s yahrzeit. He will spend another Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur without her and without Mia. Only Lola, who never leaves his side, will be there. “Last Yom Kippur I spent the whole day at home. I fast, but didn’t feel the need to go to shul. In this house I have Yizkor every day.” • Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service: 020 8951 3881 – jbcs.org.uk

The graves of Marisa and her daughter, Mia, in the Chabad section on the Mount of Olives LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 49


INTERVIEW

Somebody We enjoy watching Phil Rosenthal eat as much as he enjoys eating. But it’s about more than food, he tells Brigit Grant ahead of the fast

O

ne thing’s for sure. Phil Rosenthal will never go hungry. And he won’t ever have to wait for a table, because his face gets him to the front of a restaurant queue. “I will stand in line if I really want something, as not everyone has seen the show,” he concedes. “But the worst words in the world are – ‘Do you know who I am?’ I never want to be that guy.” Phil could never be ‘that guy’. Channelling boundless charm, he gets bestie hugs from chefs in the world’s best eateries. For five seasons – with a sixth due to air from 18 October – his Netflix hit show, Somebody Feed Phil, has made him the most wanted diner. Whether he’s eating gold egg in Lisbon’s 2 Michelin star Belcanto or kvelling over a herring sandwich at Tel Aviv’s Sherry Herring, as viewers we subliminally enjoy the food too. And he is so deliciously Jewish, with his “Oy” after each bite or impromptu hunt for rugelach in Zabar’s NYC. The most precious Jewish element is the inclusion of his parents, Helen and Max, on video calls, littered with misheard words and interruptions. “I still think they were the best part of the show,” says Phil. Holocaust survivor Max Rosenthal died last June at the age of 96, and Helen, 86,

TO LOVE

his wife of 60 years, died in 2019. That they were both a ‘good age’– as the cliché goes – rarely helps the bereaved and Phil is no exception. “It’s never enough. Not when you love them. I have friends now in their nineties who are passing away. If you see people often and love them, it’s never long enough.” That he catapulted his parents to stardom in their twilight years makes him happy. “My mother always claimed not to care, until she was recognised in the street. Then she lit up like a Christmas tree.” Having spent his early years in New York with little money, Phil wanted to take his parents to the restaurants he once saved up to visit. “They thought I was out of my mind spending $100 on a dinner, when I could barely afford rent. So when I could afford to take them to French restaurant Lutèce (now closed), they went just to humour me. My mother complained until she took a bite of the food, then said: ‘This happens to be very good.’”

Given Phil’s taste for ‘haute cuisine’, one might assume (wrongly) that his mother had honed his taste buds; she wasn’t a great cook. However, she did get a four-star rating for her matzo ball soup from Michelinstarred chef Daniel Boulud (episode 6/ season 2). “You’re either brought up with great food and appreciate it or you seek it out. My dad just wanted what he wanted and finished whatever was put in front of him. Give him fluffy scrambled eggs, and he was the happiest man in the world. ‘Are my eggs fluffy?’ is the inscription on his gravestone; on my mother’s, beside his, it says – ‘I’m listening to the opera.’ That’s what they cared about most.” And Phil, of course, who pays tribute to them in the final episode of season 6, which made him cry. His parents’ greatest hits also feature in his new book, a companion to the series, which contains the most requested recipes from the first four seasons. “There’s an audio version with behindthe-scenes dialogue too – it’s a multimedia experience,” adds Phil, who is donating

all book proceeds to the Rosenthal Family Foundation, which runs school arts projects led by his wife, actress Monica Horan, assisted by children Lily and Ben. “I’ve been blessed. Anything I can do to give back is a privilege and an honour.” That there will be more seasons of Somebody Feed Phil is surely a no-brainer for Netflix, as there is nothing more enjoyable than watching the gregarious fellow who co-wrote Everybody Loves Raymond fly somewhere to nosh. But there’s more to it than that for Phil. “It’s the response I get. I was just out driving, heard a honk, and saw a family in the next car waving wildly at me. So I rolled down the window and they told me how much they love the show. I would be crazy to want to give up the beautiful interaction I have with people.” And that’s what he gets wherever he goes, as well as acceptance from his Jewish fans, who look the other way when he salivates over prawns or goes lobster trawling – then eats them. Phil isn’t religious, but always fasts on Yom Kippur. “I do it because it ties me to my roots, to my parents, their parents and beyond. I feel it in a spiritual way, not a religious way, if that make sense? I see it as good for the soul. And what bigger sacrifice is there for a food fan than fasting?” www.philrosenthalworld.com

Phil’s late parents, Helen and Max; Phil, the first Jewish lobster trawler in Maine (season 5) and with his parents and Michelin star chef Daniel Boulud, who gave Helen’s matzo ball soup four stars


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SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

THE HUMAN Nicole Lampert discovers how ‘investment funding’ in people is restoring hope and changing lives WHEN ROBERTA SHEM TOV, who lives in the Negev, split from her husband, she didn’t know how she was going to manage the house and feed her five children while also looking after them. But then she heard about a new scheme that trained and gave work to women who could work as virtual PAs. On the other side of Israel, in the Carmel mountains near Haifa, Druze teacher Maisa Halaby-Elshiekh was pondering how women in her community could find satisfying work outside of the house while still abiding to rules that didn’t allow them to leave their village. Just a few years later, she has close to 100 women working for a hi-tech hub leading teams of coders all over the world – yet still remaining in their village. They are just a few of the beneficiaries of a relatively new form of giving called investment funding. The company Roberta works for and the one Maisa leads are both beneficiaries of vital start-up funding from British donors to the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA). The Si3 initiative (S for ‘social’ and three letter ‘i’s for Impact Investment in Israel) means that money donated doesn’t fall into an endless pit of need but, like a pebble being thrown into a pond, ripples out to

lshiekh

Maisa Halaby-E

others. While ‘renewable’ is a term most used when it comes to the environment, it is also apt here; the organisations funded by Si3, which are chosen carefully by a team of experts in London, are able to use and reuse that funding, changing their environment for the better. Altogether the organisation has 19 projects in its portfolio, ranging from a bank specifically for Ethiopian origin entrepreneurs and a company that uses gaming to break down barriers between different groups in Israel, to a child-run chocolate factory that gives struggling kids a wage and confidence. The chocolate factory scheme is called Gvanim Shel Matok, which is translated as ‘shades of sweetness’. It takes place in several sites in community centres for teenagers who are struggling with schooling to get them off the streets. Si3 has helped fund special kitchens where, in 40 minutes, teenagers can create something beautiful and delicious that is then sold. “We see it as a sort of incubation scheme – they learn so much on it and we hope that after they have been through it, they return to school or into the workforce,” says social worker Shlomi Forkosh. “At the centre we have all sorts of things to help our children, but this is one of our most successful because they get paid to do training, and by working they are empowered. “We don’t just train them and have them making chocolate. We give them life tools like how to open bank accounts and we show them

how important it is to be on time for things. They get involved with the running of the company and they make decisions. But they also have fantastic opportunities – recently they had a stand at a conference, and they got to meet the head of the Mossad. “They often come from dysfunctional and disadvantaged backgrounds but with this scheme they are learning skills for the future. We have so many happy stories from it but one of my favourites was a girl who had had a tough time at home and hadn’t been to school for two years. After being on the scheme, she went back to school and is flourishing.” A lot of the schemes are aimed at training people not only to help themselves but to help others. Living in Mitzpe Ramon, for Roberta work opportunities were slim; the only big employers were the two hotels and while

she worked as a receptionist, the shifts were impossible for a single mother of five. The organisation she works with, Desert19 – which had funding for an office from Si3 – allows women to work in a range of services such as marketing, graphic design and PA services remotely in their own hours. “When I first worked as a remote PA, it allowed me to meet my basic needs – I could work and feed my children. It was life changing,” says Roberta. “As time has moved on, I was promoted and am now head of the department and am doing a job I am proud of.” Mirroring the experience with Desert19, Maisa Halaby-Elshiekh, a religious Druze woman who wanted to help the women around her, started her company, Lotus, with funding from Si3 at the start of the pandemic. She started

‘We don’t just train them. We give them life tools’

Workers at one of chocolate maker Gvanim Shel Matok’s sites

with 14 women; they were taught to code and are now experts in the high-tech knowledge that is driving Israel’s economy. She now has more than 65 employees, with another 30 signed up for the next training, and the scheme has been endorsed by the Druze religious leadership. “For many of the women it is the first time they have had a salary and the first time they have independence; when you get that it changes your mindset and how you value yourself,” says Maisa. “I hear a lot from the women about how they appreciate themselves – they have powers they didn’t realise. “It has an impact on their husbands and even on their children, who are proud to see their mums work and want to learn more themselves about computer science. The women are now part of teams in Israel with people from other sections of society and even internationally – we are working a lot with people in India and everyone has become very friendly. This is true diversity in action, and I am so proud of what we do.” For more information and to help: si3.ujia.org LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 53



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TECHNOLOGY

LIFE,

but not as we know it Alan Aziz, CEO of Technion UK, highlights five life-changing inventions developed in Israel You may hear the Israeli Institute of Technology mentioned in conjunction with the level of innovations for which the country is known, but how exactly is the Technion changing lives? has successfully treated pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate and brain cancer in mice and is on track to begin clinical trials next year. NanoGhost has been acknowledged as one of Israel’s 60 most impactful developments and discoveries, according to its Ministry of Science and Technology.

1. PillCam Small but mighty, this tiny, wireless, capsule-encased camera is small enough to be swallowed in order to film tumours in the gut, supporting early detection of Crohn’s disease, bowel cancer, obscure bleeding or anaemia. Using breakthrough technology, such as advanced optics and imaging, a ‘TV studio’ is squeezed into a jelly bean-sized capsule, providing a video recording that can span the entire six metres of the small bowel and seven metres of the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum. Around 11,000 patients in England across 40 areas of the country took part in an initial trial in the hope that this would both replace more invasive methods of screening and save lives. This groundbreaking invention has since expanded, with the Royal Free London continuing to use each capsule type, which – along with the small bowel – also includes the upper gastrointestinal tract and colon. Around 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year.

2. Hominis Hysterectomy surgeries have been revolutionised by this flexible robotic ‘mini surgeon’. It is one of the most common elective surgical procedures worldwide –

a high proportion of women will need a hysterectomy at some point during their lifetime. Yet despite transvaginal surgery being recommended over abdominal owing to it being safer, less invasive and more cost-effective, very few have traditionally been carried out in this way. Thanks to the Hominis robotic surgery system, however, which features human-level dexterity and flexibility of 360 degrees with arms that successfully replicate a surgeon’s hand, shoulder, elbow and wrist joints – controlled by said surgeon from the Hominis Surgical System console – that is now changing. The smallest, farthest-reaching surgical system that is FDA-authorised for use during gynaecological procedures, it is hopefully only a matter of time before this, too, becomes available on the NHS, especially as the company behind it has said the system would be sold at a significantly lower price than its competitors.

3. VoiceItt Those with various speech difficulties, such as cerebral palsy, autism, ALS (a motor neurone disease) and Parkinson’s disease, are now able to make themselves understood through their smart devices

because of this innovative app. Designed by experts in algorithms and linguistics, VoiceItt uses personalised speech model technology that can learn the unique way a person speaks, be it slurred pronunciation, a heavy accent or a different language. It can be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, and users can even build a personal dictionary of words and phrases that the app can understand within five minutes! By making speech recognition accessible to everyone, this is an absolute game changer for those with disabilities, increasing their independence and quality of life.

4. NanoGhost This innovative drug delivery platform – based on a decade of discoveries – is making heavy strides in the treatment of cancer, owing to its groundbreaking way of transporting medicine. Loading the drugs in adult stem cells, they are then taken directly to the tumour site. This not only allows the reduction of the drug dosage by a factor of a million, but makes the treatment far more targeted and effective without – crucially – damaging healthy cells. Having already raised $5m (£4m), it

5. OncoHost This start-up is working on different trials to revolutionise the way cancer is treated. A simple blood test – the result of a decade’s research – could soon allow doctors to provide personalised treatment plans to cancer patients, following trials that have focused on patients diagnosed with advanced stages of melanoma or non-small cell lung cancer. It recently raised $35m in funding to launch the blood test that may rewrite the standard of care for precise cancer treatment. It joins the company’s diagnostic platform PROphet, which uses artificial intelligence to predict a patient’s response to immunotherapy before providing a personalised treatment plan that helps provide clinicians with potential combination strategies to overcome treatment resistance.

Obviously, in an ideal world, we would never need any of these things. But we can rest assured that, should the worst happen, Technion has got our back (and every other part of the body, too). LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 57


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CANDICE KRIEGER CHARTS THE RISE AND RISE OF ISRAELI INNOVATION IN FOODTECH

A

s the climate crisis poses a mounting threat to our planet and its people, an array of Israeli food technologies may hold the secret to secure the future. From fish made from plants to 3D printed meat, Israeli companies are creating astounding opportunities to tackle the food industry’s biggest challenges: feeding an escalating population with diminishing food supplies and creating foods without damaging the environment. Food tech is no longer a novelty; it’s a necessity. Food production contributes more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, much of it from dairy farming and meat production. According to the Good Food Institute (GFI) – a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote research and innovation in food technology – a transition away from animal protein “has the potential to deliver 14 to 20 percent of the emissions mitigation the world needs until 2050 to stay below 1.5°C.” The adoption of alternative proteins has the potential to “dramatically slow climate change,” McKinsey reports. Foodtech covers several areas, including nutrition, packaging, food safety, processing systems, cultured meat, novel ingredients, retail and restaurant tech, health and wellness and alternative proteins. Israel is leading the innovation, particularly in relation to the last one. Hadar Huberman,

Israel is at the forefront of meatless manufacture

challenges to solve, and fast. It is no surprise Israel can also be the country that will produce the technologies that would support the world’s adaptation and mitigation of the changing climate.” The country is home to more than 400 foodtech companies, more than 100 of which are in alternative proteins. More than 40 percent of these are considered start-ups whose breakthrough technology has the potential to help shape the future of our food. Exciting Israeli companies include Wilk (formerly BioMilk), MeaTech, Aleph Farms, Redefine Meat, Future Meat, and ChickP. There is also Remilk, Plantish, Mermade Seafoods and Maolac, to name just a few. What makes Israel so well-positioned to innovate in this area? Allie Feuerstein, director of new business and international investor relations at OurCrowd, one of Israel’s most active venture firms, says: “Foodtech combines Israel’s two strongest assets – agriculture and technology. Israel has advanced its agriculture sector immensely in the last half century, and this know-how is now driving innovation in food technology.” Marco Pierre White is a fan of Noga Sela Shalev is CEO of the Fresh Redefine Meat’s Start foodtech incubator in Kiryat Shmona, plant-based a government-backed incubator. She says: products

clean growth sector lead at the UK Israel Tech Hub, explains: “The ‘start up nation’ has been coping with challenges from the get-go. With the sword of survival hanging above its neck by the threats made (and executed) by its neighbouring countries, together with a very small territory, hot weather, lacking natural resources, swamps and huge deserts, the young nation had many

“Understanding the incredible negative impact our food system has on climate change and the planet, Israel is positioned at the forefront of this growing field of innovation. “When I’m asked what’s the ‘secret sauce’, I explain it’s a unique combination of a globally-aspiring entrepreneurial culture; a supportive R&D [research and development] and financial structure provided by the Israeli innovation authority and the private sector; and deep research and know-how in agriculture, biotech and data reliant software. “But it’s the strong Israeli foodtech community that differentiates it from all others. It is what allows the creativity and speed needed to bring breakthrough solutions, to disrupt the wasteful, polluting food industry” The market for alternative meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood products is forecast to reach at least $290bn (£248bn)by 2035, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corporation. Unsurprisingly, Israeli foodtech has become a tasty prospect for global investors, attracting money from some of the world’s largest food corporations such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Heineken and Unilever. LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 59


Alternative protein in Israel experienced its biggest investment year on record last year, according to GFI Israel, with startups in the space raising $623m. In total, just over one billion shekels (£275m) was raised during the first half of 2022 – a 160% increase from last year, with Israel coming second only to the US in raising investments in the field. Israeli cultivated meat companies raised $507m in 2021, led by Future Meat, which raised $347m for a production plant in the US, and Aleph Farms, which raised $105m. Redefine Meat, which counts Marco Pierre White among its fans, netted a further $135m this year to help with its expansion plans. “Reducing meat consumption is a growing cultural trend in Israel,” says Ari Ben Dror, assistant director at GFI Israel. “The nation has the highest percentage of vegans and vegetarians in the developed world. It’s safe to say Israelis are comparatively well-informed about the environmental harms of meat production. Yet, globally, Israel is number one in per capita poultry consumption and number four in per capita beef consumption. So, clearly, diet change is not the solution to this problem. “GFI’s number one goal is for governments to put resources into both open access R&D [research and development] in the field of alternative proteins, as well as promote private sector incentives for R&D and manufacturing. This is about producing the exact product people love and want to eat – but from plants and from cell cultivation. The whole climate community is advocating for decarbonising energy, but they are almost all completely asleep in the meat industry, beyond suggesting people should eat less meat.” There is also a trend away from dairy production. Remilk, a developer of animalfree dairy – which has raised $130m so far – secured the second-largest investment raised by an Israeli food tech start-up and the single largest in a cow-free dairy company. “The data around animal agriculture as a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is staggering,” says Aviv Wolff, Remilk CEO. “Imagine that cows were a country: a recent McKinsey report showed that such a country would be the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, second only to China! Today, foodtech is where Israeli innovation meets the global climate challenge. “Remilk takes up the gauntlet in the battle against climate change by producing identical dairy protein without using a single cow. The combination of a scalable dairy protein with the sheer impact that precision fermentation has on the carbon footprint is catching the attention of global corporates and policy makers, setting the stage for significant investments in the field and paving the way towards a better tomorrow.” 60 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

OurCrowd has been investing in Israeli foodtech since 2013. It recently launched a targeted $30m FoodTech Fund and will seek to invest in 15 to 20 foodtech companies. Eli Nir, a senior investment partner at the company, explains: “The planet has a rapidly rising population and there are already acute shortages of fresh water and food. People are starving and we have the solutions to save them. Through innovation, we can replace meat and dairy proteins in short supply with alternatives that don’t harm the environment. We can reduce land, water and fertiliser use while increasing food production. Israel is emerging as a world power in the new generation of food and agricultural technology.” OurCrowd currently has 10 foodtech start-ups in its portfolio, including Remilk, Mermade Seafoods, Plantish and Maolac. Mermade is on a mission to create seafood from cells, subsequently cutting production costs. This could be a game changer because growth media have made alternative proteins prohibitively expensive. Daniel Einhorn, CEO and co-founder, says: “I know for a fact it would lead to a huge calamity if we didn’t have these [food] technologies. Our future is definitely in the hands of Mermade and other food and climate tech companies. “It is now a scientific consensus that, if we keep going this way, by 2030 we will eliminate the ability to keep the planet sustainable for the medium term.” Israeli start-up Maolac identifies and separates proteins from bovine colostrum – the first milk produced by mammals for newborns, millions of gallons of which are dumped each year – to create protein-rich complexes and superfood ingredients. CEO and co-founder Maya Ashkenazi Otmazgin, says: “Though sustainability is essential, we must ensure that healthy and nutritious food is equally important. In order to fulfil both agendas, we have to use current technologies from the pharmaceutical world to establish relevant methods in the food industry. Only then will we create a difference.” Earlier this year, Rehovot-based Plantish unveiled the world’s first vegan, whole-cut ‘salmon’ fillet. It is made using a proprietary blend of plant proteins and patent-pending technology with all the nutritional value of real salmon. Ofek Ron, Plantish co-founder and CEO, says: “It’s really exciting to be a part of an ecosystem that pushes the boundaries of what is possible. At Plantish, our mission is to save our oceans by creating a delicious, safer and more sustainable source of seafood, made from plants.” The Israeli government recognises foodtech as a huge growth opportunity. In June, it earmarked more than $1m for an Alternative Protein Research Grant Programme with the ministries of agriculture, innovation, science and technology in partnership with GFI Israel,

Aviv Wolff, CEO of Remilk, and (top) Plantish’s whole-cut vegan ‘salmon’ fillet

putting together a budget to support researchers pursuing new food tech. Perhaps one of the country’s most significant and original incubators is The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, owned by the

Strauss Group and the Israel Innovation Authority, in collaboration with professor Shulamit Levenberg of Technion’s Biomedical Engineering faculty. Cultivated meat company Aleph Farms


Israeli start-up Maolac separates proteins from bovine colostrum to create ‘superfood’ ingredients

was co-founded and nurtured by The Kitchen Hub – a prime example of what can result from effective collaboration between government, industry and academics in Israel. Its co-founder and CEO, Didier Toubia, says: “Food security is a critical issue in

the Middle East, where the vast majority of the meat/beef is imported. As such, governments are especially interested in the benefits of cultivated meat. Beyond enabling us to better manage natural resources and increase food quality,

combining innovative production systems (like cultivated meat) with sustainable agriculture increases the overall resilience of food systems by diversifying our food supply – a key to bolstering resistance to shocks. These production systems would allow us to produce food anywhere, anytime, independent of water, land and climate, and with shorter, predictable and more resilient supply chains, making us less fragile in the face of future shocks. “The result would be a feedback loop in which sustainability strengthens resilience and vice versa. For innovation to support a transition of our food systems back into balance, business strategies and policy agendas need to align more firmly.” Earlier this year, GFI Israel published a report urging the government to put together a national strategy to support the country’s growing foodtech industry if it hopes to maintain a key role in the sector over the coming years. Part of this strategy would include building an infrastructure to support the local industry, in the form of multidisciplinary research centres, technology transfer programs, research grants and training, and specific innovation hubs for cultivated meat, ­ plant-based proteins, and fermentation tech start-ups. The GFI report suggested about NIS 1.4bn ($450m) will be required over the next 10 years to set out on this path, with the Israeli government supplying about 56 percent of this funding, with the rest drawn

from private investors. Jonathan Morris, a partner and coleader of the Israel Practice and the Food and Agribusiness Practice at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, says: “Israel’s burgeoning foodtech sector has a critical role to play in helping us meet the twin challenges of food security and sustainability. Both the Israel Innovation Authority and the private sector must continue to invest in new foodtech start-ups as they seek to bring innovative products to the market.” Huberman says: “Prior to COP26, Israel announced a target of net zero emissions by 2050, and the decision has started moving from strategy to operative mode. The combination of these facts provides a tremendous stimulation to the Israeli tech ecosystem to pivot and target the climate tech field. The governmental encouragement will join the already existing passion of Israeli entrepreneurs to generate impact and cultivate solutions for the world’s climate challenge, which will doubtlessly position Israel as a global powerhouse of climatetech.” Israel’s foodtech sector is intensifying. But so is climate change. It is clear that both private and public sector support is needed at all levels to foster alternative protein growth and innovation, ensuring that Israel becomes a superpower and continues to play a key role in securing its future, and that of the wider world. It is certainly in pole position to do so. LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 61


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FOOD

RESTAURANT OUR PICK OF RESTAURANTS TO VISIT THIS AUTUMN. BY LOUISA WALTERS AND ANGIE JACOBS

Cacao Bean Café

Cacao Bean Café

Cacao Bean Café 64 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

Bhageecha

LORD OF THE KITCHEN He has worked in hotels and restaurants, been to catering college, worked for a catering company, set up his own catering company, and now set up his own restaurant – is there any avenue that Kushan Marthelis won’t explore to bring his unique and exceptional cooking to the table? Cacao Bean Café opened in Leeming Road, Borehamwood, earlier this year, with a bi-monthly carousel of tapas menus. The first two were general tapas with some outstanding signature dishes, such as blackened cod and miso aubergine, and then Kushan started to specialise. In July, he opened up the bifold doors to welcome in the sunshine as he launched a Sri Lankan menu focusing on dishes from his home country. This month, as the evenings start to draw in, he is taking us to Japan with a longerthan-usual list of exotic dishes and twists on regular favourites. Kushan has a unique gift for putting flavours and textures together, so that the humble cauliflower comes to life with a five-spice coating, before being roasted to a succulent finish and crunched up with toasted peanuts. A best-end rack of lamb is elevated to meaty stardom with a miso glaze and shiso pesto. A beautifully refreshing and exceptionally pretty glass poke bowl is the perfect way to start a feast such as this, while a rich Japanese-style fish soup with chunks of salmon and creamy confit garlic combines sunny flavours with autumnal warmth. The blackened cod is here, with grilled bok choi, and a sweet and sour tofu with mixed veg and toasted sesame seeds. My husband was all over the yakitori beef short ribs with yuzu-buttered beans, but I held back to make room for a fudge-like miso crème brûlée with lime sorbet. When Kushan is not making foodie magic in Borehamwood, he is catering functions large and small from private dinners and barmitzvahs to weddings and launch parties for Amazon – yes, really. Last month, he catered an enchanted forest-themed dinner to celebrate the new series of Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power. Rather fitting really, as Kushan is definitely lord of the kitchen. LW www.cacaobeanrestaurant.co.uk

SPICE OF LIFE Indian is my favourite cuisine and I have carried out extensive ‘research’ to find the best restaurants. Bhageecha in Elstree numbers Bhageecha among them. What was once The Fishery pub and restaurant has been totally revamped and is now modern and spacious, with a floral theme running throughout its Passi Flora bar, Bloom and palm room. My companion was a friend who doesn’t do spicy and is a slow eater – her losses, my gains. Our waitress pointed out the milder dishes and she tried the kurkure bhindi – crispy fried okra (India’s answer to zucchini fritti), while I went for the pani puri – puffed wheat bubbles filled with potato and served alongside a teapot of tangy water. One takes the puri and fills it with the liquid, eating it in one go. They were very spicy and I had to take all six for the team. A vegetarian dum biriyani was tastier than it sounds, but I didn’t pay attention to my friend’s chicken dish, not being in my ‘no-meat-out’ radar. Neither did I look at the signature dishes, fish mains or appetiser platters. They will have to wait for next time. The desserts sounded amazing. We were full, but I heard myself asking for a kulfi with two spoons. Go to Bhageecha. Take a friend who doesn’t do spicy. Even better, take one who’ll drive you, as the cocktails looked amazing. AJ www.bhageecha.com

Bhageecha


Melissa TURKISH TREAT Melissa in Canons Park is a great venue for a good Turkish nosh-up. A spacious restaurant with beautiful chandeliers, colourful Byzantine murals and attentive staff makes for an extremely pleasant and relaxed dining experience. Two plasma screens showed reels of exotic holiday destinations and, more than once, my husband’s attention wandered to them from my scintillating conversation. Despite Melissa’s main attraction being meat (massive portions of delicious-looking charcoal-grilled skewers of lamb and chicken), we managed to find plenty to eat. We began with mixed starters of hummus, falafel, cacık (tsatsiki), tarama and patlıcan sosu (delicious peppers and aubergine in a tomato sauce) with never-ending offers of more pita bread. For mains, we had sea bream and sea bass. Mine was with rice, my husband’s with chips (which he wolfed down before I could get a look in). The fish was extremely fresh and tasty. Had I closed my eyes, I could have imagined I was eating it in a little family-run restaurant on the shores of the Mediterranean. There were vegetarian options too – everyone is catered for at Melissa. We were stuffed but tempted by the extensive dessert menu, Tony choosing baklava, which came with squirty cream and chocolate sauce and me a Tartufo Scuro – a coffee and egg cream bombe style ice cream. Owner Cetin shared that he is opening a second branch soon in Harrow. If it’s anything like Melissa in Canons Park, it will be well worth a visit. AJ www.melissarestaurant.co.uk

SOHO VEGGIE London-based teenagers in the eighties basically grew up in Soho and it may have changed almost beyond recognition, but I still love the cacophony of little streets and the vibe that prevails. Soho, to me, is the beating heart of the West End and home to some of the best and most innovative restaurants in our city. Here is where Marc

Summers and Helen Graham have opened their second branch of Middle Eastern vegetarian restaurant Bubala, whose original Spitalfields venue I went to last year when Covid restrictions were still in place, meaning we had to Eat Up and Get Out by 10pm. It is sacrilege to rush a meal with this level of innovation, this complexity of flavours, this standard of cooking. The Soho branch is larger than its sister venue, with an open kitchen at the back. There’s also a large Bubala high-stool counter seating area around the bar, rough hewn walls, industrial lights and plants hanging from the ceiling and it’s very lively. So far, so fun. The cocktail list is short but cute (a lemon and lavender spritz for my daughter); the wine list is fairly extensive with interesting-sounding wines, such as Uovo and Sketta (which is orange and delicious). We wanted everything on the menu. We had a tahini-based grapefruit ‘ezme’ into which we dipped soft and chewy laffa (other options are challah and pita), then a leek and amba (mango sauce) skewer and a charred oyster mushroom skewer, both of which were superb – one delightfully sweet, the other deeply savoury. Next was plate of fabulous falafel with sumac onions and halloumi baked in fennel honey, which was hands-down the best dish. There’s cauliflower, of course – a large quarter with leaves ‘n’ all, cooked to a crisp and served with tomato and yoghurt to dip it into. Confit potato latkes are unlike any latkes you’ve ever had and vesuvio tomatoes with mango and cumin are sunny and full of flavour – just divine. Naturally, there’s malabi for dessert and, naturally, it has a twist, in the form of a sour cherry purée and crushed peanut butter brittle on the top. We had little coconut and tahini fudge squares too. This was a stunning meal. Did I mention it’s a totally veggie restaurant? There’s absolutely no meat or fish. None. Did I miss them? Absolutely not! LW

HAMPSTEAD HAVEN It takes a brave man to open a restaurant these days... and a brilliant one to get it right. And brave, brilliant Mitch Tillman of The Summerhouse and The Waterway has got it absolutely right with his latest venture, Oak & Poppy in Hampstead, which opened last month. It’s a gorgeous blush pink and gold haven of prettiness, with a magnificent central tree climbing up to a stunning retractable glass roof (like being on Centre Court!) so it’s like being outside even when you’re inside... just like at The Summerhouse. The food is fabulous and well-priced. We started with fish tacos, duck bao buns, quesadillas and mac and cheese bites – thumbs-up all round. Then beautiful pan-fried lemon sole, lovely and thick. A half rotisserie chicken with so much flavour and so tender, and a burger that presented as two. We finished with a superb pecan pie – phenomenally good buttery pastry, crunchy caramelised pecans and salted caramel ice cream. There’s an easyreading wine list plus some interesting options I’d not seen before. The service is great, the atmosphere is terrific and, at long last, there’s somewhere decent to eat in Hampstead. LW

www.bubala.co.uk

www.oakandpoppy.co.uk

Bubala Oak & Poppy

Oak & Poppy LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 65


FOOD & DRINK

ON TREND before there was a trend Angie Jacobs dishes up the original kosher vegetarian brand Tivall

Israelis are no stranger to tasty food, the latest technology and being ahead of the trend. Therefore, it is no surprise that they created a vegetarian food brand that is kosher, tastes good and is accessible, versatile and easy to use. What’s more, it fits in perfectly with the trend to eat more healthily. And the kids love it, so everyone is a winner. Tivall was one of the first companies to recognise the growing market for meatfree products and was established in 1985 by Gazi Cohen and members of Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot. In its relatively short lifetime, it has become one of the world’s leading suppliers and innovators in the vegetarian sector. The kibbutz, home to survivors of the Holocaust and Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is still Tivall’s manufacturing base and continues to improve current products and research and develop new ones. We love Tivall here in the UK, but it is also sold throughout Europe and Israel in

supermarkets and health food stores as well as kosher shops. If you thought Tivall products already tasted good, you’ll be surprised that the new range tastes even better. UK diners are no longer yearning for meat, potatoes and two veg for our suppers, but rather are looking to have a higher percentage of our diet meat-free. It’s more healthy, it’s better for the environment and it saves money. In fact, by 2025, it is projected that vegans and vegetarians will account for a quarter of the population; already, more than a third of British households make a point of regularly having meat-free days. My own husband is a flexitarian, being of the

L’chaim!

Benjamin Gestetner suggests some kosher spirits to bring in the new year

L’chaim – to life – is the traditional toast, particularly when drinking spirits. Spirits were historically viewed to be life-imbuing and, indeed, many names for common types of liquor – whiskey, eau de vie, aquavit – mean ‘water of life’. As you celebrate the beginning of a New Year of life, toast l’chaim with one of the growing number of kosher spirits now available from Kedem.

COGNACS Cognac, the famous brandy of southwestern France, is made primarily from Ugni Blanc grapes, which are crushed and fermented, distilled twice in copper pot stills, and aged for two years in French oak barrels. Louis Royer’s Kosher VSOP Cognac (£59.99) has long been one of the best kosher cognacs on the market. Rich and heavy, this supple and sweet 12-year-old, dark walnut-coloured brandy has flavours and aromas of caramel, figs, baked apples, roasted hazelnuts, allspice and star anise. 66 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

Louis Royer’s more affordable VSOP Cognac is a smooth, medium-bodied blend of younger brandies, with flavours of caramel, mocha, figs, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice (£59.99).

WHISKIES Whiskey is distilled beer and is made in a variety of styles throughout the world. Boondocks American Whiskey is a creamy-smooth, sweet, 11-year-old tawny-coloured whiskey. The bouquet is redolent of honey, fennel and rye spice, while the taste is dominated by corn sweetness, with a touch of rye spice and a toffee note on the finish (£49.99). Ben Eideann Fionain Jerusalem Wine Cask is one of the most recent kosher bottlings to come out of Scotland. After years of ageing in American bourbon casks, this whisky has spent its final months in extra special Cabernet Sauvignon

view that there will be better results if everyone does something. Tivall is constantly moving with the times and is in good company with brands such as KFC and Pret A Manger, which recognise that vegetarianism is the new normal and veganism is the new vegetarian – and adapt their menus accordingly. Because the Tivall range is vegetarian or vegan, this also means it is parev, enabling us to make tasty dishes that come very close to their nonkosher counterparts. I’m talking about using Tivall veggie beefless ground mince to make a spaghetti bolognese with grated cheese on top, a korma curry using Tivall beef-style pieces or a good old delicious burger with a melted cheese slice. These meals are perfect for all family members, not just the veggie or vegan ones. Yes really, you don’t have to make different food for everyone!

red wine casks from vineyards in the Jerusalem mountains. This has crafted a remarkable dram with the muscovado sugar and vanilla notes of the bourbon casks intertwined with the robust forest fruits of the Jerusalem red (£54.99).

EAU DE VIES Eau de vies – un-aged fruit brandies – are made by fermenting crushed fresh fruit and double distilling the resulting fruit wine in a copper pot still. There are only a handful of kosher eau de vies on the market, and one of the very best is Bokobsa Boukha. Made from figs, this clear eau de vie has a rich, oily, mouthfeel, with a light flavour and aroma of dried figs with a hint of butterscotch (£32.99).

LIQUEURS Liqueurs are made by infusing a

spirit base with fruits or herbs, and then sweetening with sugar. Bicerin Pina Colada Liqueur is a product of the Vincenzi Distillery in Turin, the city in which the famous Bicerin espresso beverage was developed. Add it not just to a piña colada, but to any tropical cocktail (£16.99). Schmerling’s Chocolate Liqueur is a premium product from Switzerland. Imagine the velvety richness of Schmerling’s chocolate in a smooth liqueur (£25.99). Arak is made from a combination of grape distillate and aniseed. A traditional arak sourced from Israel and boasting a 40 percent strength, distilled with the same fine ingredients used for centuries by Joseph Gold and Sons distillers since 1824, the Elite Arak is a fine and delicate traditional example (£29.99). All prices are RRP. kedemeurope.com



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ai164339159711_Bhageecha_JN-Feb2022.pdf

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M OD E R N I N D I A N D I N I N G & B A R

It’s not just about the food, it’s about celebrating life! Bring your family and friends for an authentic Indian experience and choose from our extensive menu with delicious vegetarian & vegan dishes all made from the freshest ingredients. Browse our menu www.bhageecha.co.uk

TO MAKE A RESERVATION OR TO ORDER Call 020 8159 8159 Collection/delivery

[N]

We look forward to welcoming you. The Bhageecha Team @bhageecha @bhageecha_dining

TUES–FRI 12pm-3pm 6pm–11pm SAT 12 noon–11pm SUN 12 noon–10pm

BHAGEECHA Watford Road Elstree Borehamwood Herts WD6 3BE

MELISSA RESTAURANT

02089 515 252

www.melissarestaurant.co.uk

Whitchurch Ln, Edgware HA8 6RW


FOOD

SERVING UP Simanin. Not a herb or a spice, but something symbolic for your Rosh Hashanah cooking. Many of these 10 foods – carrots, leeks, fish, beets, gourds, pomegranate, dates, heads and black-eyed beans – feature in these recipes

CITRUS ROASTED STUFFED SEABASS

This zingy course has refreshing aniseed and citrus flavours, and features three simanim: fish, head and leek. We ask for God’s blessings that we be fruitful and multiply like fish; that we be like the head and not the tail; and that our enemies be cut down. (Leek in Aramaic is ‘karti’, and we make a play on the Hebrew word ‘karat’, meaning ‘cut down’.)

PREP TIME: 30 MINS | COOKING TIME: 2 HOURS AND 10 MINS | SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 1 whole seabass or seabream – deboned, with the head attached 1 fennel – thinly sliced 1 leek – thinly sliced 1 tbsp olive oil – plus a little extra 5 sprigs of thyme

METHOD 1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F) 2. Keep the head on the fish (for the siman) and remove the central bone. 3. In a frying pan, pour 1 tbsp of oil and warm over a medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel and leek. Fry until soft, moving regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn. 4. Add in 5 sprigs of thyme and 2 tbsp of chopped tarragon leaves and a generous amount of salt and pepper. 5. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and half an orange. Continue cooking for a further 10 mins, remove the thyme sprigs,

1 orange – half sliced in semicircles, half reserved for juicing 1 lemon – half sliced in semicircles, half reserved for juicing 2 tsp fresh tarragon – roughly chopped Salt and pepper – to taste set aside the mixture and allow to cool. 6. Cut a length of foil and a sheet of greaseproof paper each long enough to wrap the entire fish. Place the foil on a baking tray, then layer the greaseproof paper on top of the foil. 7. Using a little olive oil or spray oil, lightly coat both sides of the fish. Place fish on top of the greaseproof paper, in the centre of the tray. 8. Layer alternating slices of orange and lemon inside the fish in an overlapping pattern. 9. Top citrus slices with the leek, fennel and tarragon stuffing mixture. 10. Gently bring together the greaseproof paper and foil sheets around the fish and wrap into a loose parcel with sealed edges. 11. Place the tray into the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes. 12. Very carefully unwrap the top of the sealed parcel with the opening facing away from you, as scalding-hot steam will escape. Reveal the top of the fish, and place back into the oven for a further 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin. 13. Serve the fish whole.

HONEY-ROASTED JEWELLED CARROTS WITH TEHINA

The Hebrew for carrot, ‘gezer’, is close to the Hebrew for decree, ‘gezerah’. By eating carrots we ask that Hashem decrees only good for us in the year ahead. The Yiddish for carrot, ‘mehr’, also means ‘more’, and we hope for many merits and blessings, as we do when we eat the pomegranate seeds. You can use any carrots but if you can find rainbow heritage carrots, these will look fantastic.

PREP TIME: 15 MINS | COOKING TIME: 1 HOUR | SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 6+ carrots 4 dates roughly chopped 1 tbsp Honey 1-2 tbsp pistachios* (optional) or 2 tsp of za’atar

METHOD 1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F) 2. Place carrots in a roasting dish and coat with the olive oil and honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 3. Roast for 1 hour, mixing halfway through. They should be roasted but still retain some bite. 4. Remove carrots from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, prepare your tehina dressing by vigorously mixing

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds 1½ tsp olive oil 8 tbsp tahini paste Juice of half a lemon Salt and black pepper – to taste together the tahini paste, lemon juice and 100ml water and seasoning with a little salt and pepper. 6. Roughly chop the pitted dates and shelled pistachio kernels (if using). If you keep the custom of not eating nuts at Rosh Hashanah, you can substitute za’atar seasoning. 7. Plate your carrots, and drizzle with tehina dressing, pomegranate seeds, chopped dates and either chopped pistachios or za’atar.

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 71


FOOD SYRIAN-STYLE STUFFED COURGETTES The Aramaic for gourds (pumpkins and courgettes) is ‘karaa,’ which in Hebrew means either to rip apart or to announce. We ask for evil decrees against us be ripped up and for our good deeds to be announced to God.

PREP TIME: 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME: 2 HOURS | SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 10-12 large courgettes 1 onion – ribboned For the sauce: 1 onion – diced and lightly salted 3 cloves garlic 2 tsp dried mint Salt and pepper

METHOD 1. Soak the rice for the stuffing in cold water for at least 30 minutes. 2. Halve and core the courgettes, ideally keeping the ends intact. This is easiest with a specialist corer, but can be done with a grapefruit spoon, or an apple corer and a teaspoon. You want to create a hollow with a wall of around 5mm. 3. Layer ribbons of onion on the base of a deep, heavy-bottomed and lidded casserole dish big enough to hold all the courgettes. 4. Drain the rice.

1 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp dried parsley 1 tbsp oil 800g chopped tomatoes 400ml water For the Hashu stuffing: 1 brown onion – finely diced and salted 5. In a bowl, mix together the stuffing ingredients, then loosely fill each courgette and put in the casserole dish, on top of the onions. We placed ours upright, tightly packed together and open end up, creating a visually stunning way to serve them straight from the pot. A more traditional approach is to layer the courgettes flat and weigh them down with a heat-proof plate during cooking. 6. Cover the pan and refrigerate. 7. Into a saucepan add 1 tbsp oil and warm over medium heat. 8. Add diced, salted onion to the pan

½ cup long grain rice 450g minced beef or lamb 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp of each: ground coriander, turmeric, allspice ¼ tspof each: onion powder, garlic powder, ground cinnamon ¼ tsp black pepper and fry until translucent (3-5 mins). 9. Add garlic and dried herbs, stir together for 2-3 minutes, then add 800g chopped tomatoes and 400ml water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. 10. Remove the casserole dish from the fridge and top the courgettes with the sauce. 11. Cover the pan and cook on the stove for 1 hour. 12. Remove from the stove, then place in a preheated oven at 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F) for 30-40 minute, then serve. This dish can be frozen and reheated.

SPICED APPLE AND HONEY CAKE Many people start the Rosh Hashanah meal with the traditional apple dipped in honey as a blessing for a sweet new year. We have saved our ode to apple and honey for the end of the meal with this deliciously moist and warmly spiced cake.

PREP TIME: 30 MINS | COOKING TIME: 1 - 1½ HOURS | MAKES 2 CAKES INGREDIENTS 6 Granny Smith apples 225g honey 225g date syrup

250g golden caster sugar + 1 tbsp caster sugar 150ml sunflower oil 600g self-raising flour

METHOD

A member of the Jewish Futures family, Ta’amim is all about engaging Jews with their culture and heritage through food. For the High Holy Days it has created 10 dishes inspired by the traditional symbolic foods (simanim). The latest recipe booklet is available for free in print at Kosher stores in London and Manchester, and downloadable at wearetaamim.com. All images: Sophy Weiss Photography Follow @wearetaamim or visit wearetaamim. com for more recipe inspiration. cip es 10 gr eat re le m tov tab nim) for yo ur yosymb olic food s (sima

ition al inspi red by trad

1

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1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan (Gas Mark 5/375°F) 2. Grease the two cake tins. 3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger and ½ tsp mixed spice. 4. In another bowl pour the honey, date syrup, sugar and oil. 5. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 300ml hot water. Stir, then add

5 eggs 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger

the water to the honey mixture. 6. Whisk all the wet ingredient together. Add 5 eggs and beat in. 7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid ones whilst whisking. 8. Set aside the batter and mix 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp sugar in a bowl. 9. Peel and core the apples, and slice them into thin wedges. 10. Toss the apples in the cinnamon

½ tsp mixed spice 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarb of soda 2 tbsp margarine

and sugar, then layer in the tins. 12. Pour half the batter into each tin, and bake for 1-1½ hours. 13. After 45 mins, check the cake. If browning, you may loosely cover to prevent burning. 14. When a skewer comes out dry and the cake is firm to the touch, allow to cool on a wire rack. Wrap and store in a cool, dry place for up to 5 days.



COOKERY BOOKS

Plating up ALEX GALBINSKI DISHES UP HER PICK OF THE LATEST COOKBOOKS

Persiana Everyday is Sabrina Ghayour’s sixth cookbook, and its premise is to ensure “maximum flavour with the greatest of ease”. Iranian-born Ghayour certainly has a well-deserved reputation for sharing wonderful recipes that work, and this book, which includes no-cook, quick-prep, quick-cook and one-pot dishes, will be yet another one of hers to savour. Aster, £26 The award-winning, Ukrainian-born cookery writer Olia Hercules has, alongside others, been raising money under the hashtag #CookForUkraine for those most affected by Russia’s invasion and the ongoing conflict. Her latest cookbook, Home Food, which draws

on her childhood in Eastern Europe, her years in Cyprus and Italy and her simple, plant-centric family meals at home in London, is aimed at uniting us, no matter where we come from and where we end up. Bloomsbury Publishing, £26 The writer, broadcaster and food anthropologist Ghillie Basan was described by English celebrity cook Clarissa Dickson-Wright as one of the “finest writers on Middle Eastern food”. Her latest cookbook, The Levantine Table, is a collection of recipes inspired by the vibrant and diverse culture of the Levant, the region of the Middle East stretching along the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. Recipes include small plates, including popular dips, salads and small bites as well as less familiar recipes. Ryland Peters & Small, £25 As executive head chef of the restaurant group for more than 10 years, Gelf Alderson, author of River Cottage Great Salads, is used to serving up original, veg-centric meals. Divided into chapters such as quick, hearty, spicy and lunchbox, these recipes give suggestions for seasonal swaps and delicious alternatives to show how, with a bit of creativity and flair, simple ingredients can be combined to make truly great salads. Bloomsbury Publishing, £20 If you attempted sourdough in the UK in lockdown, you might well have heard about Elaine Boddy, founder of popular

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blog Foodbod Sourdough, who likes to keep her method simple. In The Sourdough Whisperer, Boddy shares her best tips, tricks and troubleshooting tools for show-stopping sourdough success to prove that everyone can bake beautiful, delicious sourdough with confidence. Page Street Publishing, £17.99 Meliz Berg grew up in London watching her mum and aunt cook delicious, traditional Turkish-Cypriot food and spent holidays visiting family in Cyprus, helping her to form a rooted connection to her heritage and a love of cooking from a young age. Her debut cookbook, Meliz’s Kitchen, is a celebration of the melting pot of spices and fresh flavours that make a Turkish-Cypriot kitchen – adapted for busy family lives – and comes on the back of the Meliz Cooks blog she launched in 2013. Ebury Press, £25

As the co-writer, with Yotam Ottolenghi, of bestselling cookbook Flavour, Ixta Belfrage, who worked at NOPI and the Test Kitchen, was always going to be one to watch. So it’s no surprise that Mezcla (meaning mix, blend or fusion in Spanish), her first solo cookbook that contains 100 bold, impactful recipes inspired by her roots in Italy, Brazil, Mexico and beyond, has been feted by culinary luminaries including Nigella Lawson, Diana Henry and the big YO himself. Ebury Press, £26



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FASHION

FASHION FAST BEING STUCK IN ECONOMIC DOLDRUMS DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO PASS ON PURCHASING NEW CLOTHES, SAYS BRIE BAILEY

N

o matter how high our heels, the cost of living is biting at them. At a time when a coat of armour, rather than a coat, feels like suitable attire to get through a winter of buckling down the heat hatches, knowing what’s on trend feels trite. But clothes will always be

a guilty pleasure and keeping the fashion business in business is part of our civic duty. Chances are you might already own some of autumn/winter 2022’s runway favourites as fashion rotates and style no longer has a sell-by date. In the 2020s, anything goes, which is why you always need another pair of Suzy D joggers. The frippery of fashion makes life fun and we all need some

BACK TO SCHOOL

of that right now. So here are some seasonal suggestions worth getting out of bed for.

So that’s pleated plaid kilts, PeterPan collars, half-undone neck ties and blazers.

FULL FRINGE

Bottega Veneta sets the street style for the season with fringe, but at £2,660 from Neta-Porter, you might want to look on the high street. Look dramatic in thigh high boots or bedecked brogues.

BACK TO SCHOOL

So that’s pleated plaid kilts, Peter Pan collars, half-undone neck ties and blazers.

Knit cardigan, Zara, £32.99

Skirt with fringe, Zara, £29.99

Bottega Veneta fringe skirt, from Net-a-Porter, £2,660

BURST OF BARBIE With Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling about to be Barbie and Ken on screen, the inevitable craze for the colour that fills Barbie’s world will follow. So keep any pink item you were planning to pass on.

Jacket, Zara, £49.99

Fringe jacket (skirt to match), ASOS, £66

Desert Dreams cosy cardigan, Joe Browns, £80

Pink tuxedo jacket, Jigsaw, £240

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Mini skirt with false flap pocket, Zara, £32.99 The Weekend Cardigan peacock blue, HopeFashion, £150

KNITWEAR

We’ve never needed a knit more, so think about sweater dressing. From coats to cardigans, two pieces and twin sets, anything goes if it fashionably keeps out the cold, which Cara and the Sky is so good at. caraandtheskycom

Chloe skirt, £58, Sienna cardigan £62, caraandthe sky.com


LOOK & LEARN BLUE IS THE COLOUR – or cerulean, to which designers have taken a shine and used in slinky trousers for dressing down or up for occasions.

Rhinestone bomber (matching skirt available), Zara, £119

Brown leather boots, Dune London, £195

Gravitate, Dune London, £90

PUNK AND GOTH

Vicious garb either way, it was all over the catwalks for AW22, but you can confine it to footwear. Look threatening in thigh high boots or bedecked brogues. Corset top, Zara, £29.99

Blue satin wide leg trousers, Mint Velvet, £89

CORSETS

Corset top, River Island, £49

We’ve been wearing them for centuries, why stop now?

ALL WHITE

Much like black, white or cream always looks expensive in winter.

What better time for new glasses than the New Year? Make Gavzey Lemtosh Opticians, in Hampstead Garden Suburb, the focus of your attention. frame Gavzey has more than 1,000 frames and sunglasses from £20 to £600 and is the only place you can get designer brand Moscot in north-west London. Timeless and iconic, the designs come in a wide range of colours and shapes, and Moscot’s bestselling Lemtosh frame is worn by Helena Bonham Carter, Lady Gaga and Cristiano Ronaldo. Prefer something more lightweight? Try a barely-there rimless style from Silhouette or Lindberg. Customised for colour, fit and lens shape, they’re a truly unique pair of glasses that are incredibly Silhouette frame comfortable. Tom Ford will never disappoint if you want classic and Gavzey has the designer’s signature 70s aesthetic, as worn by the man himself. The lightweight Moleskine collection in classic styles and colours has frames that fold so flat they come in a custom cut, streamlined case that is not too bulky in your pocket or handbag. Six models are available with a magnetic sunclip. Moleskine frame Swarovski frame

Teddy coat, John Lewis, £68

ALWAYS Behind You

B

ackless dresses are all the rage for autumn/ winter, so you will need to get behind the look at a simcha. Making any sort of stylish statement, be it as the hostess or a spectacular guest, is achievable at Debra of Chigwell. A proprietor whose fashion industry career began in 1976, Debra knows more than most when it comes to providing customers with the dress of their dreams. And, as Debra started out as a showroom model, she knows how to work the look. She also knows that shopping with children in tow can be painful (especially when female offspring need outfits too), so when she opened her store in Chigwell in the early 1980s, she made sure it catered for all ages and sizes. With her eye for buying and designing garments, she also stayed ahead of the game and very quickly gained a reputation that brought TV stars through her doors. Not content with just offering eveningwear, cocktail dresses and prom gowns, Debra also stocks daywear, and every item of stock is carefully selected, designed or manufactured by her. Customers are looked after by a team of stylists who are as honest as your closest friend, so you depart with a purchase knowing that it really suits you. The shop is also online, but better still Debra is also the ‘in-house’ milliner, so you won’t leave without your hat.

Love a little sparkle? Try classically-styled Swarovski frames with genuine Swarovski crystals, or stand out in a room with a funky and colourful British designed Wolf frame. Or try a Woow frame in beautiful acetates handcrafted in Italy. Within the new children’s range, there are on-trend brands Ray-Ban Junior, Wolf Cubs, Eyestuff and Rock Star. Ask about myopia management for your child to slow the progression of their short sightedness. Remember you can look chic while protecting your eyes. With or without your prescription, summer or winter, Maui Jim sunglasses with polarised lenses carry the seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Wolf Cubs for men Foundation. They can also be ordered with a discrete little magnifying segment so you can still read your phone without having to swap glasses. Genius! www.gavzeyopticians.com

www.debrachigwell.co.uk LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 79 Wolf Cubs


@debrachigwell www.debrachigwell.co.uk

8 Brook Parade Chigwell Essex IG7 6PE T: 020 8500 2913


BEAUTY AND HEALTH Brigit Grant dips into a honeypot of potions, fixes, solutions and smiles for the new year

I’VE NEVER LIKED SUPERMARKETS, so I definitely didn’t want my own set of barcodes. Just the sound of the cashier’s scanner over my kneidel mix made me bite my lip. My old lips! Crows’ feet I can live with, and a dash of botox fixes my forehead line, but verticals on the upper lip – no thank you. Too young with no grandkids to be a gurning granny, lipstick seeping into visible perioral lines required immediate action. So I called aesthetician Deborah Forsyth, who has been holding back my years since we met. A trusted expert in facial rejuvenation, Deb has been smoothing the wrinkles of royalty, A-listers and myself for more than 25 years and bar codes – aka ‘smoker’s mouth’ (yuck) doesn’t faze her. “It’s genetic,” she sighs. “But from the age of 30 to 35, you lose 30 percent of your natural collagen and 10 percent of your natural elastin. By the time you hit 60, you’ll have 10 percent collagen left.” A font of beauty wisdom, she never holds back on cheerless facts, so believe her when she says collagen supplements don’t make collagen. “Buy copper peptides instead. They are the amino acids that strengthen collagen fibres.” She also tells me that barcodes are caused by slackness in the puckering up muscle, shrinking gums, chewing, fluoride in the water (number one cause of low thyroid action ) low fat diets (starve the body of essential oils) and the menopause, which is her speciality. On with the fix, which required a drizzle of dermal filler being injected into my upper lip to hold it in place. “With age it has lost volume and this will act as a thread to refresh and lift it. Like an underwired bra,” she says. “By straightening the vermilion border between the pink of your lip and the skin, lipstick won’t feather.” With my lips numbed, Deb injected filler into the edges, Cupid’s bow and corners with a fine needle, then massaged it into place. Be assured this is not for plumping, so you won’t turn into a trout, but within minutes the barcodes were swiped and have got fainter every week. A smooth upper up with a more youthful curl is the result and thanks to Deb my lipstick stays on too, as she recommended Fenty Long wear Fluid Lip Colour (£22) by Rihanna. Told you Deb knows everything. Contact: deborah@ dfclinics.com, 0800 0887873

BEAUTY PUKKA ALTERNATIVES Dr Irena Eris Neometric Anti-Wrinkle Capsules (£70.00).This works lips and eyes, so it’s a double whammy. The high potency pure retinol concentrate comes in capsule form and applied 2-3 times per week makes the skin feel silky as it reduces the depth of fine lines by up to 1 mm. You’ll be delighted by the natural radiance it restores. debenhams.com

ANTIOXIDANT ANTIDOTE Can’t afford a face lift? You can with The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Duo (£120) The powerful pairing of revitalising, ultra-light gel in one bottle and nourishing oil serum in the other is a vitamin, antioxidant combo set to repair damage, salvage collagen and ignite a glow. Once you see a change keep going.

AUTUMN SHOWERS I love luxury shower gel, but seldom buy it, until my stock of complimentary hotel minis runs dry. Urtekram’s Rise and Shine Range (£5.00) is affordable and their hair and body was his full of autumnal orange blossom and warm spices thefragranceshop.co.uk

Body Verde Lip Perfect (£13.60) is anti-ageing lip therapy for vertical ‘pucker’ lines. Perfect for New Year it contains bees wax, plus berries to hydrate,stop dryness, smooth and bring up the natural lip colour. beautynaturals.com

BAZAAR

BANISH BARCODES

The PMD Kiss (£129) minimises pesky mouth lines, but also plumps lips in a sort of suck and grab way. A bit like kissing a fish, the effects last around 3-5 hours, but used daily, your top lip lifts and colour is boosted. It’s a real find. uk.pmdbeauty.com, feelunique.com, Selfridges and Harrods.

POMEGRANATE PERFECT Pomegranates are the star fruit of Rosh Hashanah and contain enzymes that brighten and even skin tone. That’s why Bloomeffects put them in its Black Tulip Facial Treatment (£90) along with 31 other extracts of which one is Orchid Stem Cells, to plump skin and smooth lines. It’s Dorian Gray in a tub.

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BEAUTY AND HEALTH IT’S GOOD TO TALK AT THERAPY 4 STRESS, qualified psychotherapist Renie

Price offers help with anxiety, stress, fears and phobias. Her answers to these questions will guide you to her How do you know when it’s time to seek help? When you can’t cope with the issue in question any longer.

Why is talking to a professional more helpful than a friend/family member? Family and friends could give suggestions based on their own experiences which can be unhelpful. Or possibly - subconsciously - they are the problem. Better to talk to someone who is not involved and listens without personal interest. How does talking help relieve stress? Often when mulling things over in your mind you just think of the negative. Talking out loud gives the brain time to think about alternatives, and the ability to consider what can be, instead of what is or was. How do you decide what type of therapy is right? After listening to clients and understanding the issues, I plan a course of therapy I think is suitable. If other issues come to light during subsequent sessions, I change the therapy accordingly. What is the ratio of men/women you see? At one time I saw very few men in my practice, but over the past few years it’s been 60% women 40% men. Why do men find it harder to talk about their feelings? Men often think they are weak if they admit they aren’t coping. But now that mental health is talked about more in the workplace, men are more at ease about getting help. Not as much as in America, but it’s getting better.

POP THE SHAMPERS Better known brands dominate the shelves, so the supreme Epiic hair range( from £26) deserves a shout out. In the age of #BeKind, its organic, vegan ingredients in recycled bottles that are melted down for other salon tool uses is a champion. There’s even a QR code on the bottles to show which ocean it was collected from! Pricey, but a little goes a long way, the products, full of herbs, flowers and aloe vera are light, but give volume and hold with no crunch or stiffness. Seek them out. www.epiichair.co.uk

HAIR IT IS Supplements are a minefield and so many are targeted at menopausal women. Why? Because it’s life-changing and different for each woman, but hair loss is common and for the ‘typical’ Jewish women, turns weekly salon appointments into a fixture of dread. Glowa Hair Food (£34.99 for 60 capsules)is a ‘mane’meal that will: balance hormones (Vitamin B6), protect hair follicles and prevent loss/shedding (L-Lysine & B12) replace organic sulphur to enhance growth(MSM) and maintain a healthy scalp(Zinc & Vitamin C). Your hair will never be hungry again. www.glowa.com

Is it better to meet a therapist in person or is online sufficient? When I started as a therapist, 12 years ago, I would never have worked online. Covid changed all that! The platforms available allow me to work as efficiently online as I do face to face, so I can help people anywhere in the country, not just those who are able to get to my office in Watford.

therapy4stress.com

APPLES ANYONE? With the spotlight on the fruit and it’s honey sidekick, why not switch the way you smell for the chagim and add some apple. Miss So? by Escentuals has a Love Potion that is an apple blend with an enticing base of jasmine and subtle layers of sandalwood and musk. And then there’s Candy which has notes of raspberry and peach , but just the right amount of candied apple. The capsule collection of six is in Boots, but also at sofragrance.com

THE NEW YEAR FRAGRANCE The latest fragrance from Miller Harris is Myrica Muse Eau de Parfum( £125). Having grown totally attached and remembered for their Lost in the City (my daughter too) moving to a fruity floral musk fragrance? Show us the way. millerharris.com

KEEP HOLD OF SPRING Like Le Labo, you want to immerse yourself in Ormond Jayne fragrance and Indus infused with blackcurrant and plum will keep spring around through Autumn. www.ormondejayne.com

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JUST WRAP IT Did you know that hair gets visibly longer and thicker if you wrap it in silk overnight? Bed head caused by cotton pillowcase friction and the absorption of oils leads to weak hair, breakage and poor regrowth. The Silk Overnight Hair Wrap: (£35.99)stops and you’ll notice your hair is shinier and smoother in the morning. Your blow-dry lasts longer too. They also do a night must. oil that’ my new must www.thisissilk.com


TOOTH FAIRY

IT’S NOT EASY FINDING A NEW DENTIST LOCALLY. So if you live in Edgware (or even if you don’t) Campos Dental should be on your radar. Owner Jacqueline Jacobs has over 30 years in private dentistry and has invested heavily in the latest dental technology at the ultramodern surgery. Informing patients about the cutting-edge treatments available is part of the service at this practice, which offers general family dentistry, emergency dentistry, dental care for nervous patients as well as implants, Invisalign, digital dentistry, hygiene services and facial aesthetics. And all at competitive prices. Exceptional customer service delivered by a smiling dentist is welcome wherever you live and at any time as Campos Dental offers evening and weekend appointments. camposdental.co.uk

WIN A CONSULTATION WITH THE BEAUTY EXPERTS AT VERYMAKEUPMAD

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY OR STRESS? Many people do, so you’re not alone ▶ Do you worry all the time? ▶ Lack in confidence or self-esteem? ▶ Maybe doubt yourself and your abilities ▶ Have a fear or a phobia ▶ Don’t know which way to turn ▶ Think no-one can help you

Want to stop panda eyes? Never found that perfect foundation match? Want to learn the Holy Grail of doing a smoky eye? A consultation with VeryMakeupMad is your chance to up your beauty game and solve any makeup issues. It’s a bespoke session, so you dictate the focus – whether it’s how to contour, brighten or just to get yourself out of a beauty rut. Learn how to become the master of your new makeup routine – one that suits your face, your lifestyle and your budget. Bringing their industry tips, tricks and

beauty know-how to your door, along with a host of products to rejuvenate and flatter, industry experts Vikki & Mala promise to leave you feeling your ‘beautiful best’. The prize includes a ‘skinterview’, a comprehensive email sent to you after the session detailing everything discussed, plus their sought-after personalised video tutorials. To enter visit jewishnews.co.uk/verymakeupmad. Closing date: 15 October 2022. More about VeryMakeupMad on p85

Let me show you how

Rebecca from Bushy sent this after I worked with her:“Before the session I was anxious and found it difficult to relax, anything new made me nervous. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to unwind and take it on board, but Renie helped me to understand how hypnotherapy and BWRT, can help. She made me feel at ease. It was great! With Renie’s guidance, I was able to feel relaxed and calm and understand the anxiety I had been feeling. It has helped to bring clarity to something that has bothered me for a long time, and allowed me feel more calm and positive.” My name is Renie – I’m not a magician, although some of my clients do tell me they think I am

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? Would you like to be able to go forward to a better future? Then I can help you to: ▶ Believe in yourself and your abilities ▶ Feel good enough ▶ Be calm and relaxed ▶ Enjoy social activity ▶ Able to stand up an talk in public ▶ Be relaxed and calm ▶ Feeling free and knowing that you are good enough to be and do anything you want

I work face to face in my office in Watford, but I also work with people online. So where-ever you are I can give you the help and support you need. So if you want to find out more about what I do and how I might be able to help. Please call or text me, on the number below, to book an appointment Renie Price Therapy 4 Stress Mob: 07956 002424 Renie@therapy4stress.com www.therapy4stress.com


Dr Silberstein Clinic Our Services • Tongue Tie Assessment and Division • Breastfeeding Support Groups • Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Classes • Paediatric First Aid Courses for Parents • Pregnancy Massage and Pampers • Postnatal Groups • Baby Massage Courses and much more

admin@drsilbersteinclinic.co.uk 020 3701 3382/07421223577 3 Market Place NW11 6LB www.breastfeedingdoctor.co.uk


PROMOTED CONTENT

A beauty and makeup routine created just for you

F

ormer Vogue beauty editor Vikki and YSL campaign makeup artist Mala are on a mission to get you using the right makeup and skincare for your skin. Using their unbridled knowledge and infectious personalities, the two 40-somethings launched their consultancy business VeryMakeUpMad in north-west London in 2018 and have created an impressive social media presence, too. They create bespoke beauty routines and help, support and inspire women to look their beautiful best, no matter their age. From teen breakout prevention routines and fostering a future of good skincare habits, to enthusing all women to embrace their faces, Vikki & Mala are all about ingredientled beauty. Their ethos is simple – less is more. Vikki and Mala believe that makeup should enhance and illuminate and that beauty is about celebrating your face and feeling good about yourself. Book a consultation with Vikki & Mala, and you’ll soon be loving the skin you’re in. The beauty routine they curate for you will be simple, effective and ‘no-nonsense’ and, most importantly, will bring you joy and a sense of wellbeing. It’s a beauty product minefield out there and it turns out that lots of us are applying the same makeup and

What a fabulous morning – the session left me glowing inside and out! Your approach is so refreshing; you are both complete experts in your field and so generous with your time and knowledge.” Tanya C

techniques we’ve been using since school. And as for skincare, it can be baffling, thanks to the plethora of products in today’s over-saturated market. It’s not easy to get great, impartial beauty advice and product recommendations; conversely it’s all too easy to feel bamboozled or intimidated in-store.

In a recent poll, 42 percent of women admitted to still using the same beauty routine they had used since their teens.

I’m loving my new skincare routine and products and even my friends said the other night on Zoom how my skin looks so much better! If you are thinking of investing in YOU and improving your skincare routine, I cannot recommend VeryMakeUpMad enough!” Gaby O

Vikki & Mala’s VeryMakeupMad journey was born out of their shared love of all things beauty, their years of industry experience, and their frequent trips to beauty halls. After answering so many of their friends’ beauty questions and forever recommending their own favourite products, they launched an expert beauty advice service that is bespoke, impartial and with no brand affiliations. VeryMakeupMad’s promise has always been to recommend honestly and across all price points. When you book an appointment, you’ll be sent the VeryMakeupMad ‘skinterview’, which allows Vikki and

Mala to find out about your skin and beauty needs. Then comes the fun part. They come to your house, armed with their signature pink boxes full of products that they’ve cherry-picked for you to sample, smell, feel and experience – with absolutely no hard sell. This is a totally personalised service and, because no two skins are exactly the same, no two consultations are either. Vikki & Mala spend time working out exactly what’s going to be right for you – that may be just a couple of key products to add to your existing routine, or a whole range. They’ll also leave you armed with more confidence and, ultimately, the master of your own makeup and skincare.

BOOK YOUR CONSULTATION Choose your focus: BEAUTY FIXES

• Say goodbye to panda eyes • No more foundation faux pas • Under-eye bags be gone • Heal, calm and soothe unhappy skin • Prevent and correct redness

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To book, visit www.verymakeupmad.com & use promo code JNVMM to get 10% off

To find out more about VeryMakeupMad, their beauty services and what they can do for you and your beauty routine, go to www.verymakeupmad.com or scan the QR code LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 85


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Myths and Legends of Hernia Repair in the 21st Century Mr Simon Marsh Consultant Surgeon and 108 Harley Street’s Surgical Director It is fair to say that there is still some discussion about the best way to repair an inguinal hernia. Different techniques flaunt their apparent superiority, with the popular perception that laparoscopic repair is dominant. But I begin with some words of caution. While we rely on peer-reviewed articles for information, things may not always be what they seem. Let me introduce you to the Newton-Bendavid First Law of statistics. Isaac Newton needs no explanation (I hope!). Robert Bendavid was most recently head of Canada’s Shouldice Hernia Clinic. It was my pleasure to know and to share platforms with him. He died in 2019. The ‘Law’ states: “For every statistic quoted in the surgical literature, there will be an equal and opposite statistic reported in the same literature.” In other words, you can choose your ‘facts’ to fit your opinion. With that in mind, let’s see if we can unravel some of the myths and legends of hernia repair. To work out why we are where we are, it’s worth considering how we got here. It is not possible to pay tribute to all those involved in the evolution of hernia repair, but there are a few developments that deserve recognition. With the emergence of general anaesthesia, Edoardo Bassini (1844-1924), an Italian surgeon, described a technique that relied on restoring the normal anatomy of the inguinal canal. Between 1883 and 1889, he reported a series of 262 operations with seven recurrences (2.7 percent). The establishment of the Shouldice Clinic brought hernia repair to the mass-

es. Edward Earle Shouldice (1890-1965) developed his technique (a modified Bassini repair) during the 1940s. Using specialist surgeons, and still relying on the anatomical Shouldice repair, they report a recurrence rate of less than one percent. This was the basic technique by which nearly all inguinal hernias were repaired until the mid-1990s. In 1987, Irving Lichtenstein (19202000) published his series of 6,321 patients in whom he used a polypropylene mesh and claimed a recurrence rate of 0.7 percent. He labelled his technique ‘tensionless’ and, by the mid-1990s, it had become the most common technique in the UK. Mesh repair was said to be easier to perform as no detailed anatomical knowledge was required. Some surgeons, including myself, had learnt the traditional Shouldice repair, before trying the Lichtenstein method; subsequently others have only learnt this technique. It claimed to offer lower discomfort and a lower recurrence rate, neither of which have been substantiated. Finally, it was supposed to be easy to teach, cheap and could be performed under local anaesthetic. With the rise of laparoscopic surgery, the plethora of possible techniques was complete. And here lies the controversy: a mesh or no-mesh hernia repair? How to decide?! Any laparoscopic (mesh) repair is vulnerable to concerns regarding chronic pain. Depending on the study, the incidence of persistent pain after a mesh repair varies from 3 percent to 78 per-

cent. Patients may seek mesh removal, which is a difficult procedure to perform, and almost impossible after a laparoscopic repair. Data from the Shouldice Clinic has highlighted mesh degradation, nerve growth into the mesh and erosion of anatomical structures as contributing factors. There are, of course, complications of each technique to consider. Compared with no-mesh repair, the list of mesh complications is longer, with many being potentially serious (although rare). Learning a non-mesh technique takes longer, requiring at least 200 cases and possibly up to 1,000. The surgery takes longer and often a unilateral laparoscopic hernia repair ends up being bilateral owing to the findings of a second small, asymptomatic hernia. With so much invested in laparoscopic equipment by large medical technology companies, is this all just marketing? Despite this, it is interesting that the proportion of primary hernias repaired laparoscopically in the UK remains around 15 percent, similar to other European countries (Sweden 12 percent, the Netherlands 16 percent). In all the clamour regarding chronic pain, the Royal College of

Surgeons announced that “there is a mesh-free alternative for patients with groin hernias, which some surgeons have called for the NHS to teach its staff, so patients can have a choice”. And so, we have come full circle. But, because the current generation of surgeons may only have learnt mesh techniques, the expertise to perform nonmesh anatomical repairs is being lost in the same way that no one alive now can reproduce a Stradivarius violin. Having said that, it should be remembered that most hernia repairs, by whatever technique, are uneventful, and perhaps it comes down to the experience and care of the surgeon after all.  For more information, or to book a consultation with Mr Marsh or 108 Harley Street’s Groin and Hernia Clinic, call 020 7563 1234, or visit 108harleystreet.co.uk

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 87



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Join one million women who have found a way to #pausethemenopause SASSY LA FEMME SPECIALISES IN MENOPAUSAL HEALTH AND OUR TWOPIECE MAGNETIC THERAPY PRODUCT LADYCARE DOES THE JOB BEAUTIFULLY. Let me tell you my story. Being 54 years young, I’m in the height of my menopause, and was feeling like I had been run over by a steam train! With the HRT weight gain and mood swings I felt that I had no control over my body. I started to wear my LadyCare magnet at the beginning of this year. Within a few weeks, I noticed a decrease in my hot flushes, smoother sleep patterns and many of my symptoms started to disappear. In my third month, by balancing my Autonomic Nervous System (ANS),

virtually all my symptoms had subsided! It’s truly amazing. After six months they had all gone. This really does work! LadyCare will help so many women who are struggling with the menopause. In fact, there are over one million women in the UK already wearing theirs! It’s a wonderful natural alternative with a two-year guarantee and I have introduced a 90-day money back guarantee – so long as you wear it every day, allowing your body to balance naturally. Your ANS may take up

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LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 89


SHANA TOVA FROM GIFT OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE AND ENABLE LIFELONG GIVING

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & EDUCATION 5782 56,000 SUPPORT PARCELS delivered to 400+ households

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TZEDAKAH

Kindertransport child Victor Garston with his extended family

Charity Box As we consider how to better ourselves in the new year, supporting charities is one of the ways we can do that. By Poppy Shulman 80 trees for 80 years BECOMING AN OCTOGENARIAN is something to celebrate and as it enters its ninth decade the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) has done just that by planting 80 oak trees in locations significant to Jewish refugees. Each tree acts as a platform for telling the story of Britain’s Jewish refugees. The majority of were planted along with a time capsule containing key facts about the Jewish refugee community and sharing the life story of one or more AJR members. 80 Trees for 80 Years project manager Jo Briggs says: “It’s been incredibly special to involve local communities with this initiative.” All tree locations are included in the new UK Holocaust Map, developed by the AJR in partnership with the UK government. This digital resource ukholocaustmap.org.uk helps communities to learn about their local connections to the worst crime ever committed. The social care of the refugees who fled Nazi persecution and the survivors who came to the UK after the Holocaust is the focus of the AJR. Today the majority of members are children and grandchildren who join to honour the memory of their parents and grandparents, to celebrate the heritage and culture of their ancestors and to connect with others from similar backgrounds. The AJR is the UK’s largest dedicated funder of programmes and projects to promote teaching and learning about the Holocaust. It has also produced several resources

of its own, such as the audio-visual testimony archive AJR Refugee Voices, which contains over 270-filmed testimonies. ajr.org.uk

Safety net of support ANASTASIA MOVED TO ISRAEL from Russia with her two children over 10 years ago. Forced to flee an abusive relationship with her two young girls, she found refuge in a WIZO shelter in Hadera. When it was time for her to leave the shelter, the WIZO Safety Net programme provided complete support, counselling, financial services and every possible assistance to begin a new life. The WIZO charity shop ‘bigudit’ was a resource for clothing and secondhand items to furnish her new home. “I was struck by the incredible amount of caring and support I received,” said Anastasia. Wanting to give back, she began volunteering at the shop, and when the manager retired, she offered the paid position to Anastasia. Today, Anastasia leads a team of over 20 volunteers, designs store displays, signs off on the final selection of clothing, plans vintage bazaars and other special events, and promotes the store in the community. From powerless to empowered, Anastasia’s story is a

powerful example of WIZO’s impact. The WIZO Safety Net programme is for women who have completed their stay in shelters for victims of domestic violence and face enormous challenges in rebuilding their lives. In 2021, 371 women and children took part in this programme in six locations around Israel. This is just one of the many programmes and initiatives highlighted in WIZOUK’s Women Leading the Way campaign, supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged young women and girls. wizouk.org

Anastasia, pictured with one of her daughters, was helped by WIZO

A new beginning JOHN’S WORLD WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN a few years ago. Having once been the life and soul of the party, he became quiet, withdrawn and increasingly more isolated. “I stopped socialising and then I felt lonely and had a lot of negative thoughts,” he says. “I thought no one cared about me and everyone hated me. It was torturous living through each day.” After attempting to take his own life, John realised he needed professional help to get better. He says: “Jami gave me hope. Hope for life, hope for the future and hope that I’ll be around for much longer.” John’s first interaction with Jami, the mental health service for the Jewish community, was at an event at its Head Room Café in Golders Green. Here he met people going through similar experiences to him and it convinced him that the charity’s other services could help him too. John’s weekly one-to-one sessions with two Jami support workers, who were there to listen and set goals to help him move forwards, gradually enabled him to go from rock bottom to feeling on top of the world. He says: “With Jami’s support, I began to make positive choices. Now I do a job I love and spend quality time with my wife and family. I’m happy. And that’s thanks to Jami.” jamiuk.org

John says: ‘I’m happy, and that’s thanks to Jami’

If the job fits FOR MANY, THE RISING COST OF LIVING is giving them cause to look for a new job with a higher salary. That’s where Work Avenue can help. The community’s leading employment and business support organisation has helped thousands of people into work, to change jobs, to start a business and to reskill for new careers. Danielle is one of those people, as she had a part-job and needed to utilise her skills to make more money. “I was given my own dedicated adviser, who was just wonderful. She helped guide and direct me confidentially towards the jobs I would suit and put my anxieties at ease over the recruitment process. “I also attended a couple of Work Avenue’s workshops, including one on transferable skills that made me appreciate how much of what I did in my current job – and how running a busy house – could be used elsewhere.” Everything Work Avenue offers is free – from one-to-one careers guidance with experienced and professional employment advisers to a range of workshops and events. And the good news is that the job market is more buoyant now than it has been in years and Work Avenue’s Jobs Board has more than 100 positions being advertised currently, with new ones being added every day.

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 91


COMMUNITY CARE

Gardener and TV presenter Rachel de Thame potting herbs at Loveday in Abbey Road

One of Jewish Blind & Disabled’s specially adapted mobility apartments for independent living

Home Comforts LOUISA WALTERS VISITS A PRIVATE CARE CLUB’S NEW HOME IN NORTH LONDON FOR OLDER RESIDENTS AND LOOKS AT OTHER OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH NEEDS Home is where the art is I clocked them as soon as I entered the beautiful new Loveday home on Abbey Road. Striking, brightly-coloured paintings on the walls, a mixture of abstracts and local scenes. The Loveday Arts curriculum, run by artist-in residence Grace Holliday, is one of a number of activities on a programme developed in conjunction with the University of West London, working alongside artists,

Loveday’s Abbey Road home – its third such home – has a sensory garden and an airy feel with plenty of seating 92 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

scientists, technology, hospitality and design staff. The programme draws on neuroscience and psychological evidence showing that stimulating activities involving art, music, language learning and storytelling improve interactions, mood and mobility for people living with dementia, Parkinson’s and other conditions. Improving life for people with complex nursing needs is at the core of what Loveday does. As London’s only private members’ club catering for seniors at every stage of the ageing journey, it combines individualised care with the very best in world-class hospitality. Would we really expect anything less from founder Laurence Geller CBE, chairman of the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Appeal? Geller has spent his life working in the world of hospitality, notably at one time owning Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton hotel groups, but watching both of his parents suffer with the effects of dementia spurred him to change direction. Working alongside his son, Guy, who has experience of running care homes, he established Loveday in 2015. The Abbey Road home is the third one to open after Kensington and Chelsea. Its location in St John’s Wood means that it is in the hub of Jewish north London. All dietary requirements can be catered for and activities will be geared around the various Jewish holidays. At Loveday homes, there are no set visiting times and pets are even allowed in to visit. As a former chef, Laurence’s philosophy is that if you eat better you live longer. Three-course meals worthy of a Michelin star, with wines to match, are served every night, plus there are themed evenings, lots of variety at lunch, and food and drink is available all day. An open kitchen gives the chef and the residents the opportunity to interact. A rigorous health assessment results in a personalised care plan, with one carer to every two people. The 26 large bedrooms are oases of calm, with hospital beds

upholstered in rich velvet and made up with beautiful sheets. Custom-made furniture has been carefully designed to suit the demographic; for example, older people use chair arms to leverage themselves up and down and they are sturdy enough and at the right height. There is a lounge on each floor so residents don’t need to stay in their rooms or receive visitors in them. The dining area opens on to a beautiful and safe sensory garden with lots of seating, a water feature and potting shed. It’s not all about the comfort and the aesthetics, though. Loveday pioneers many research projects and employs advanced technology to prevent falls, reduce sleep disturbance and improve care. “Loveday provides care without compare,” says Laurence. “It’s about being the best we can be.” lovedayandco.com

Making a care home feel like home Jewish Care’s Liz Linder, who heads up the Living with Jewish Care team, knows that it can be daunting moving to a care home. “We are here Ralph and Rachel Gemal to support, reassure, are living at Jewish Care’s guide and answer Stella & Harry Freedman questions for people House at The Betty and and their relatives Asher Loftus Centre who are considering moving into a


mal are’s man nd

One of the 26 spacious bedrooms at Loveday Abbey Road, a luxury home that combines individualised care with world-class hospitality

Jewish Care home,” she says. “We do everything we can to help to make what can be a difficult time as smooth a transition as possible.” A care assessor meets each person and their relatives to assess their needs. The Family Carers Team is on hand for relatives who, as carers, often benefit from additional support at this time. “We arrange for a visit and take prospective residents to view care homes that would suit their needs or, if the person isn’t able to visit themselves, we’ll invite their family to visit,” says Liz. “They’ll get a feel for the people and the place and find out more about life in the care home. They’ll meet the home’s manager and staff and gain an understanding of the care they’ll receive, who will be caring for them and the variety of activities available for them, depending on their interests, to promote wellbeing, stimulating both body and mind.” Residents are encouraged to bring in small pieces of furniture, framed photos, pictures for the walls, a TV, radio and anything else to make their new space personal to them. Visits from family, friends and even pets are encouraged. Rachel Jones, Jewish Care’s director of care, housing & hospitality, says: “Understanding the lives our residents lived before they came into care is key to ensuring that people are cared for in a meaningful way. We ask for the help of the wider family members to engage with us and tell us as many details as possible so we can understand as much as we can about a person. “ This open communication helps staff get to know a resident and their families and, in turn, can result in caring interactions and the forming of relationships.” Whenever possible, the aim is to accommodate couples together. Ralph Gemal, 88, and his wife Rachel live at Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House at The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in Friern Barnet. He says: “The care home is outstanding. The carers look after me and treat me with respect and we like to have a laugh and a joke. It felt like home very quickly and, when I arrived, I made friends

straight away during dinner. My wife is living on the first floor, which has specialist care for people living with dementia.” jewishcare.org

Enabling independence There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK, yet only a staggering seven percent of homes in England are accessible. More than half of those requiring an adaptation do not have the facilities they need. As a result, many people with disabilities are living in unsuitable housing and, not surprisingly, 38 percent of people who have a long-term physical condition also experience severe mental health problems. Jewish Blind & Disabled transforms the lives of Jewish adults who have a physical disability and/or vision impairment, through independent living and support in specially-adapted mobility apartments or within someone’s own home in the wider community. The developments are specially designed to enable people to do the everyday tasks that are key to living independently, in safety with their own front door, with house managers on-site 24/7. Work is under way on an eighth building, in Mill Hill East, which will provide 30 much-needed mobility apartments.

One of the seating areas at the Loveday home in Abbey Road

An Independent Living Advisory Service takes the expertise into people’s own homes for those who are not looking to make a move. The service both advises and funds the installation of vital aids and adaptations that can help transform someone’s home into a healthy home that supports their needs. jbd.org

Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House at The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in Friern Barnet LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 93


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Enabling independent living.

Israel today is resilient and prosperous; however, many Israelis sadly do not share in its prosperity. Without our intervention, the gaps in Israel’s society, between those that have and those that do not, are only going to widen. UJIA invests in support for young Israelis living in the social and geographical peripheries, where there are fewer high-quality educational and developmental opportunities, resulting in reduced life-chances. Additionally, through our initiatives, Israelis from minorities and disadvantaged communities are able to find quality employment opportunities, which in turn provides sustainability to their families, local communities and wider Israeli society. To support the work of UJIA in Israel this Kol Nidre and be part of building a home where every child has the opportunities we would want for our own, visit ujia.org/kn22

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Good Yom Tov For more information, please visit our website or call our office 020 8381 4901 | jliving.org.uk | #peaceofmind #jliving

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The Journey Home 13/09/2022 16:50


Wishing all our friends and supporters in the UK a happy and healthy Shana Tova

Israel Guide Dog Centre UK 020 8090 3455 www.israelguidedog.org.uk Registered charity no: 1188449


HERE’S

ROCCO

With TV’s favourite legal eagle Robert Rinder as his owner, French Bulldog Rocco is ready to unleash... Oy. It’s happening. No, not the Judge playing Cher’s Believe for the umpteenth time, but Rosh Hashanah. It could be worse. Passover is when the family laughingly tries to provoke me into searching for the afikomen. I do it to amuse and for the lamb shank after the seder, but there are limits to what I can do with apples and honey. When you’re the personal property of a legal eagle, remaining immaculate is essential – and honey puts me in a sticky predicament. I know it’s a favourite ingredient of the ‘zen’ bakers, who make those trendy organic dog biscuits but, in its natural form, it’s sticky on the paws. Yom Kippur is also sticky because of the fasting. Though there is nothing in the Torah about dogs abstaining, it just feels wrong to eat in front of the Judge and I know my place (at the end of his bed when I can). I have seen some dreadful hound behaviour on High Holy Days, such as the time a terrier made off with the shofar before it was blown. I get that it’s loud, but if it’s out of earshot, I’m respectful. With manners like mine, my atonement list is short, though the Judge thinks prolific use of the word b**** is a sin. He’s wrong, as what else does a stylish French Bulldog call a bossy Bichon Frisé? Suggestions on a New Year card please! Chag Sameach

Rocco

Canine Close-Ups Photographers are rarely smothered in kisses by their subjects but, for Emma Slade, it’s a perk of the job. Her subjects are dogs and the affectionate ones “prefer to cuddle or kiss me rather than pose”, explains Emma, who once had a sensible job in a bank. “For 16 years it was long hours and extreme stress,” says the pet snapper, who didn’t get a dog until January 2019, when Schlappohr, her cockapoo, was bought on a whim. “He changed my outlook and I realised there was more to life than earning a good wage,” says Emma, who quit her job with no next plan. “I had no idea what I would do, but as I obviously love dogs and enjoyed photography as a hobby, I combined them and became a dog photographer!” She also took courses, worked with mentors, learned the craft and swapped tailored dresses and high heels for lying on the ground in muddy parks. “I love it. I love meeting new dogs who have their own personalities, as do their owners. It can be sad sometimes as I’ve photographed a few dogs nearing the end of life, but that old adage about working with animals is not true for me, whether they are well-trained or puppies who aren’t. I’m not a patient person at all, but when I’m photographing dogs, I seem to have all the patience in the world.” Her canine rapport is evident in the stunning photos, but effort is required. “Some dogs go through many treats during the session while the owner tries to get them to sit, stand still or Luna achieve the pose they planned. There are also owners who get quite stressed and embarrassed if their dog isn’t doing what they want.” Emma’s solution is to get everyone to relax and, not surprisingly, dogs tend to obey quicker than their owners. Paws in Action Dog Photography pawsinaction.co.uk 07734 529710

Banksy

Wag it Pet owners have been taking their dogs to Waggingtons’ charming Mill Hill residence for day care since they could... well, walk, or were at least 10 weeks old. The puppy socialisation groups teach them how to interact with peers and elders, be confident and walk correctly on a lead. Fully licensed and insured, owner Tracie has 25 years’ experience and, as a dog behavioural therapist, is hands-on every day. And each day at Waggingtons is meticulously planned. “Our routine includes two daily one-hour walks in the woods along with supervised play and constant guidance inside the house

Buddy

Bentley

and the large garden. Each dog that joins us instantly becomes part of our family.” JN pet owners know this is true, having watched their own dogs bolting to the door to greet Tracie and her team, meet up with pals and snuffle through the toy box. Owners also get their dog back clean. The same constant supervision takes place when dogs board, some for longer stays, and are showered with affection. If their owners don’t book them into Waggingtons, they’ll get on the dog and bone themselves. 020 8906 4905 / 07869 153093 info@waggingtons.co.uk

LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 97


PETS Pet’icular People

Angela Laws with her Jewish ward, Stella Being asked to do a survey after a hotel stay is not uncommon, but it’s never offered to pets. If it were, Angela Laws would get five star ratings from pets she looks after. Head of community at Trusted Housesitters, the company is the one you need when the cost of minders and kennels gets scary, but

you still want a vacation. If the thought of inviting a stranger into your home to look after your animals is more alarming than an excessive boarding bill, think again. Trusted Housesitters was founded by animal lovers and provides verified sitters with references so you feel safe and in control. Sign up with them and you can scroll through a list of available pet lovers who enjoy living in different parts of the UK or the world for short or extended periods. Angela is one of those sitters who, with her husband John, has looked after animals across the globe. Her love for the wards in her temporary care is best illustrated by the photos she has of each one, many of whom she has minded multiple times. Ziggy was only five months old when the Laws first looked after him. Jewish and living with his family in north London, Ziggy redesigned a pair of shoes and prescription glasses under Angela’s watch, but – “it was my fault for leaving them where his teeth were”. Teasel the cat welcomes the Scotland-based Laws to her Barnes abode whenever her parents go to their other home in Massachusetts. “Teasel helps me when I’m working from home,” says Angela, who has looked after the obliging cat for the

past nine years. Meanwhile, in San Diego, Barclay eagerly awaits the Laws’ arrival, as they keep to the regimented timetable set by his owner, a retired Teasel naval commander. “We do go ‘at ease’ at times though,” admits Angela, who receives Mother’s Day cards from Barclay. “He goes for a drive every afternoon at 4pm in his Barclay Mobile – a Mercedes Benz, of course – to his favourite dog park and sits waiting inside the car in the garage at 3.30pm. He can tell the time.” Stella belonged to Brian and Eileen Cohen in Los Angeles but, even with her passing, ties were not broken with the genial Laws. “The first time we sat for Brian and Eileen, they went to Israel for three weeks. Stella was very foodorientated and John was about to share his sandwich when I said ‘No! You can’t give her that – she’s Jewish!’ It was a ham sandwich.” Ask Angela about Bruno the donkey from Dubai, Casey in California (also Jewish) or Coco the Sussex Burmese, and she’ll regale you with anecdotes about them or their siblings or the

Transforming Lives One Dog At A Time It would probably come as no surprise that the dogs trained by the Israel Guide Dog Centre have an incredible transformative impact on the lives of Israelis who are blind or severely visually impaired. However, it may be more of a surprise to know the impact that these amazing animals also have on IDF veterans suffering from the often paralysing effect of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of all they have been through for their country. PTSD can have the most terrible impact on someone’s life. Even the sound of a phone ringing can send them into shock, and the thought of venturing outside becomes impossible. Broken sleep, owing to recurring nightmares, can leave the sufferer too exhausted to think properly. But all this changes when they are partnered with one of the centre’s speciallytrained dogs. Their calming influence, ability to comfort when needed and unquestioning love and support turns lives around, enabling these brave veterans to retake their rightful place in Israeli society. The UK arm of the Israel Guide Dog Centre is proud and privileged to be bringing one such partnership to the UK in November for the organisation’s annual reception. This is the first time an IDF veteran has travelled to the UK with their service dog for such an occasion and the charity is looking forward to welcoming them. For more information about the work of the Israel Guide Dog Centre or about the visit in November, please contact martin@israelguidedog.org.uk 98 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

inevitable new pet after losing another. But the Laws aren’t unique (well, a bit) as Trusted Housesitters has others like them and signing up also gives the sitter use of a free 24/7 Vet Advice Line when you are away. Maybe you’ll be less wary now. trustedhousesitters.com 08081 785384

Drink Up

Barclay

Make it a happy and healthy New Year for your pets by investing in a PetSafe® Drinkwell® Butterfly Pet Fountain (£28.99) It encourages reluctant water drinkers, because it’s running and fresh, so they stay hydrated and the carbon and foam filters remove pet hair, debris and bad tastes from the water. PetSafe® also makes the Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder (£174.99), which allows owners to manage pet mealtimes from anywhere using their smartphone. Connect the feeder to your home’s Wi-Fi and enjoy convenient meal scheduling and smartphone alerts that update owners when a pet’s been fed, when food level is low, or the feeder is empty. petsafe.com/UK


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JOURNEY This year, Roy Collett celebrates his golden anniversary in travel. But he was always going places

RUNAROUND

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s familiar to us as Freddie Laker in his heyday, Roy Collett has been at the hub of our travel expectations forever. “You simply can’t recreate the type of knowledge, experience and passion that comes from a 50-year career like Roy’s,” says Jason Oshiokpekhai, managing director of Global Travel Collection UK. “His ongoing contribution to Colletts as brand ambassador and mentor to professionals across our organisation brings incredible value to Global Travel Collection, Intervova and all our clients. We’re proud to have him as part of our family.” And with such praise comes the need to know more about Roy.

First childhood holiday? With my parents to the Adriatic Riviera in Italy. One of my memories is of the glacé fruit and gelato they sold on the beach, where I also played

ROY

clients discussing holidays from the display brochures. As I loved travelling, it looked like a career I would enjoy.

football with Italians. We were even photographed for a 1964 holiday brochure on a tour boat. I must’ve been destined for the travel industry. Most memorable first holiday alone? When I was 17, with friends on a Thomson Package to Lloret de Mar. I loved the freedom of being alone. We felt very grown up and spent the day – or from when we eventually got up – at the beach and partied in nightclubs until the early hours. Why did you become a travel agent? After leaving school and not fulfilling my dream of joining Tottenham Hotspur! My late sister, Sandra, saw an advert for an office junior at Peltours in Wigmore Street. This involved delivering tickets to wealthy homes and offices around London. I used to listen to

The most daunting aspect of starting out as an agent? After various jobs in the industry, I opened Colletts Travel in Hendon in 1983. I applied for an ABTA licence – and it was a relief when we were accepted as we could then trade to sell package holidays. I had three desks, one junior staff member and a Prestel computer system, which was like the old Teletext booking service. I sent out

leaflets promoting our services with the headline: ‘For a better service than John McEnroe, and a better return for your money.’ With advertising, we slowly built a reputation in the area. How different was the business 50 years ago? Back then, retail travel agents booked holidays through tour

operator brochures. There were no low-cost airlines, hotel booking sites, social media or email. Today there are many independent contractors who are self-employed trading under our ABTA/ATOL/IATA licences, with various brand names. My stepson, Alex, for example trades as Seven Icons. What were the biggest hurdles? Over the years, we’ve been through the Gulf War, tsunamis, 9/11, ash clouds and various airline strikes. All hurdles can be overcome... To continue to grow the business, in 1986 we launched our own USA tour operation, Key to America, specialising in tailor-made holidays to the States. It was very successful and we sold bespoke holidays direct to clients and through travel agents all over the UK. LIFE LIFE jewishnews.co.uk jewishnews.co.uk 101 11


BOOK IT

When did Colletts start to garner a reputation? By 1986, after three years of trading. We had retained many repeat customers and some corporate travel accounts and decided to specialise in travel to the USA with Key to America. In 1997, my business partner Michael Berlin joined the business, which continued to thrive. We sold it in 2017. Before recommending a destination or a hotel, have you stayed there? Mainly yes, but you quickly learn the trends in travel, and in the early days the United States, Marbella and Eilat were very popular. What is the toughest part of being an agent now? The business has much more legislation and regulations to stay on top of and the pressure on travel agents to get it all right is immense, especially after two years of Covid with the various rules on testing and entry requirements. What has been the most enjoyable bit? The invitations I receive to countries around the world, as well as the many trade shows and events I’m able to attend. Do you bump into clients when you’re away? Yes, frequently. The worst experience was some time ago on a family holiday to Eilat, where many clients were on board the same flight. The plane landed and our luggage could not be retrieved from the aircraft because one of the luggage compartments would not open. It was Christmas Eve, the pilot couldn’t wait for the hold to be fixed, and flew home. We didn’t have our luggage and neither did many of our clients, who were very angry. Obviously, there wasn’t a lot I could do. The luggage followed four days later. It was terrible. What are your favourite places? Rosewood Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, Mexico; Mandarin Oriental in Marrakech; Four Seasons in Maui, Hawaitt; Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain; Regis Mardavall in Mallorca. There are too many! 102 LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

Bringing the h Travel agent Roy Collett trading in the 1980s

How has travel to Israel changed? The business is mainly the Jewish market and visiting family. It has had many ups and downs due to uncertainty in the region. The gastronomy has improved dramatically and there are now some incredible, restaurants. It’s also excellent for weddings – my wife and I have attended a few. Have you ever spent the High Holy Days in Israel? Only a trip to the Dead Sea over Passover. Everyone was praying in the lobby. Which countries have you not visited but want to visit? South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Colletts is now part of a bigger company – what are the advantages for clients? We sold the business in 2017 to Travel Leaders Group (now Internova Travel Group), one of the largest travel organisations in North America. Our business is part of its Global Travel Collection division. Colletts still trades in Hendon but, with a huge company behind us, we have combined purchasing power to offer clients preferential rates on hotels, flights and so much more. What are you doing to mark your 50 years? Global Travel Collection has arranged a huge celebration in October at a London hotel to which many hotel and travel suppliers, general managers and staff have been invited. I’m very proud to have been in the business for 50 years and I would still recommend the travel business as a career – and not just for those who don’t qualify for Spurs.

Travel is restored, but no one wants to risk getting it wrong. Or be stranded with no help. The perfect trip, without any worries, requires a specialist

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ew places, new people and new ideas is what travel is all about. There’s nothing like it to expand the mind and create lifechanging experiences. Yet, so often, today’s journeys are managed by bots and algorithms. We’re told that machines can build the perfect trip for us without ever really getting to know us. Colletts Travel is a company that understands the power of booking with a human instead of a robot. Modern travel sites might say they know everything about you. But bots can’t sit in your front room over a cup of tea and hear about what made your honeymoon special. They can’t take note of everything you didn’t like about travelling to your family reunion five years ago. And they don’t know your youngest is about to start university in the autumn, so you want to mark it with the perfect trip together. Artificial intelligence can’t negotiate room

upgrades or provide complimentary perks. Algorithms can’t direct you to secret spots or off-the-beaten-track places known to a select few.

BENEFITS OF BOOKING WITH AN ADVISER

Wherever you might dream of going, Colletts Travel advisers have been there. They can curate an experience tailor-made for you and your family, using their direct, personal relationships with travel suppliers around the world to secure exclusive amenities and premium benefits. With travel disruption a seemingly non-stop occurrence, it’s never been more important to get support before, during and when returning home from a trip. An adviser provides the personalised assistance you need, whether your flight gets cancelled, your bag gets lost or you need to rework your plans at the last minute. Travel restrictions and entry requirements are ever-shifting. Researching the latest guidance can take hours and still leave you confused. Colletts Travel advisers stay on top of the changes, plan your trip and keep you notified of everything you’ll need, so you’re never left with missing forms or the wrong entry visa.

LUXURY ISN’T ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL

Colletts Travel believes that truly high-end experiences come from a journey crafted just for you. Advisers create itineraries built around your interests and desires, delivering concierge services to plan every detail of your trip. Perhaps that’s why the company’s client rate of return is 95 percent year-on-year. There’s no limit


e human touch

to where you can travel with Colletts, whether you want to dine on congee in Hong Kong, hike Huayna Picchu in Peru, check into Borgo Egnazia in Italy, cruise along a Nordic fjord, or relax on the beach in Playa del Carmen. Building on a brand Roy Collett created in 1983, the company’s advisers are particularly strong in southern Europe and across the Mediterranean into Israel. Multi-generational travel and family holidays are a speciality, as well as bespoke tours, corporate trips, wellness travel and multi-segment itineraries across multiple destinations. Gain entry to exclusive perks and privileges at the world’s finest hotels, resorts, villas and tour providers when you book through your Colletts Travel adviser. The company also partners with elite cruise operators, including Silver Seas, Cunard and Regent Seven Seas. Your holiday is too important to be left in the hands of an algorithm. Book with Colletts Travel and experience the difference the human touch can make. www.collettstravel.com/020 8202 8101

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TRAVEL

BRIDGING THE

CARON BLUESTONE DISCOVERS THE EILAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING. REBUILT, REINVIGORATED AND FULL OF WINTER SUNSHINE, IT’S READY TO WELCOME YOU BACK

Louisa Walters heads to Marbella for some post-summer sun

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hile young mothers were packing their children’s backpacks for the first day of term, I was packing my suitcase for Spain. For me, the time to visit Marbella is after the summer season… once the crowds have left, the temperatures have dipped slightly below the ‘pass me the fan’ stage and the area takes on a more relaxed vibe. I have always wanted to go to Puente Romano. When I was a little girl it was a hotel my grandparents used to visit. They called it ‘The’ Puente Romano and it always sounded so grand and posh. It is neither of those things. Relaxed and informal, its contemporary design belies the fact that it opened in 1979. Arriving at the low-lying check-in area, you get the feeling of arriving at a club – which figures, as it is the under same

The beachfront pool at Puente Romano

pretty balcony, giant TV and fabulous walk-in wardrobe - we walked straight down to Chiringuito beach restaurant where there was a DJ playing and a palpable buzz. People were sitting at tables or on sofas directly on the sand. Cocktails at lunch time seems to be a thing here and when in ownership as The Marbella Club next Marbs… An extensive menu offers door. No formal reception area here: up healthy takes on pretty much sit down, have a drink, press a few anything you could imagine you’d buttons on an iPad and you’re in! want to eat by the beach for lunch It’s a large resort and we were and we tucked into tuna tartare with driven through it to our room in a avocado, smoky aubergine, Padron buggy with our luggage loaded on peppers and gazpacho. the back. Already I was in holiday Afternoons by the pool are my mode. Designed to look like a Spanish thing on holiday and there are a few village, whitewashed buildings awash to choose from. I settled for the one with rambling bougainvillea line a nearest the sea front to capture the mass of winding walkways, some breeze. Working out in the gym is my stretching down to the sea, planted husband’s idea of relaxation and he out on either side with lush gardens. was in the very best place for that. At the heart of the complex is the This is a mindblowing space with the authentic Roman bridge that gives latest TechnoGym equipment (curved the resort its name. This is a vestige running machines!) and a spin studio, of the old Roman road linking Rome a boxing studio plus lots of other and Cadiz. areas with equipment that looked The hotel has 185 bedrooms and scary to me but my husband was each has its own front door to the cooing over. There are classes and outside so it feels like your own home one-to-one training sessions from in Spain. Décor is cool, calm and professional athletes. Have you ever ‘natural’ with lots of bleached wood, seen a living wall in a gym before?! white paintwork, marble flooring and I was told this lifts the mood, and touches of blue. After checking out makes us train better. If you prefer the all our room’s features – sumptuous real outdoors, there is a new jungle bathroom with Natura Bisse toiletries, gym in the grounds. The gym is Sea Grill Restaurant has great views next to the Six Senses Spa, which focusses on natural healing Padron peppers

Above: bedroom at Puente Romano Right: a delicious dinner cooked on the Josper grill

and all rituals use oils, salts and herbs from southern Spain. There are more than 15 restaurants at Puente Romano, most of which are around La Plaza, a large central open-air lounge/bar area which comes alive as the sun goes down. Very much a place to meet, drink, and people-watch, the music gets louder as the night gets darker, until it’s full-on party vibes. It’s fabulous. Among the restaurants is Lena, chef Dani Garcia’s steak house which has been voted most beautiful restaurant in the world, Serafina for fantastic Italian food and Nobu, which needs no introduction. We chose to eat at Sea Grill overlooking the beach. A large restaurant (which also houses the spectacular breakfast buffet, complete with chocolate fondue), it specialises in grilled food. After a silkysmooth curried coconut soup and a beef tartare, we shared a spectacular glazed smoky lamb shoulder cooked on the Josper grill, together with fat juicy asparagus and confit tomatoes. Where possible, dishes are finished and plated up at the table so there’s a

bit of theatre going on, which elevates this to a really special experience If you do want to take your kids there is a Mini Club for 0-4s, Teen Spirit for 12-18s and the new La Casita for 5- 12-year-olds. This has been transformed from one of the resort’s spacious upscale villas, giving them their own home for a great programme of experiences plus a games room, indoor cinema and swimming pool. There’s even the option to go horseriding. Puente Romano prides itself on offering 100 experiences every day. My experience was 100 percent. Rooms at Puente Romano start at £351.50 per night B&B. puenteromano.com LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 105


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TRAVEL

Dream Louisa Walters uncovers the Jewish history of the island and the magic of its prettiest town

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have never seen so many restaurants in one town as I did in Taormina. They are on the streets, along the alleys, on the steps and in hidden courtyards. The pasta dishes they serve are caressed with sauces and ingredients we don’t see in other parts of Italy - tagliolini with red mullet ragout, wild fennel, raisins and pine nuts was notable and so too was linguini with pistachio and lemon. But it was the Sicilian-style carbonara that brought me the most joy – diced tuna tartare instead of guanciale means that it’s not forbidden for we Jews. Sicily was once home to a

Via-Meschita

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sizeable Jewish community, before they were forced to leave in 1493 when the Spanish Inquisition reached the island. Very few returned but in 1987 a mikveh was discovered in Syracuse and this sparked renewed interest in the island’s Jewish heritage. Rabbi Stefano Di Mauro, who was born in Sicily but emigrated to the US, discovered as his mother was dying that his family was Jewish. He converted and returned to the island in 2007 to re-establish Jewish life. He is the first orthodox rabbi in the region for more than 500 years. Following this the Italian Institute of Jewish Studies and other

Jews Lane

Xxxxxxxxxxx Taormina is full of pretty, winding streets

associations began to organise festivities, research and conferences in the capital, Palermo. The mayor replaced the street signs with ones featuring the names of the streets in Hebrew and Arabic letters as well as Latin, to pay homage to the island’s multicultural past. Since 2013 Palermo has hosted a public menorah lighting in the Palazzo Steri, the former headquarters of the Inquisition, where many Jews were detained, tortured and killed. The walls are still covered by the prisoners’ graffiti — among which are many Jewish names and some Hebrew inscriptions. In 2018, the Archdiocese of Palermo donated a building to the Jewish community to build a synagogue in Vicolo Meschita, the old Jewish quarter. Archbishop Corrado Lorefice was honoured with the Wallenberg Medal for having enabled the rebirth of the Jewish community of Palermo with this donation, as well as for his promotion of interreligious dialogue. Documents dating as far back as 1415 show that Taormina, too, had a very small Jewish community but the Dominican friars were hugely intolerant of them, twice forcing

them to displace the synagogue and the cemetery, saying they were disturbed by their loud prayers. The street names Vico Ebrei and Via Giudecca are pretty much the only indication that there were once Jews in the town. There may be very little Jewish interest in Taormina, arguably Italy’s prettiest town, but there is plenty else of interest to anyone who loves breathtaking views, exceptional food, fabulous shops and gorgeous hotels, and with warm sunshine right through to November it’s ideal for an autumn trip. With majestic Mount Etna as a backdrop and the ancient Greek amphitheatre as its

neighbour, Grand Hotel Timeo, a Belmond hotel, occupies an unparalleled position. Despite being in the centre of this small hilltop metropolis, it has six acres of gardens, a large pool area and a panoramic terrace that is very much the beating heart of the resort. Those who prefer to be by the sea can use the facilities or indeed stay at sister hotel Villa Sant’Andrea, which sits at the water’s edge in the secluded Bay of Mazzarò. There’s a shuttle to ferry you between the two. Grand Hotel Timeo is a beautiful, elegant, opulent hotel - the sort that one travels to Italy for. It has mod cons, of course (including a Dyson


Above: a Grand Hotel Timeo bedroom Left: the beach at Villa Sant’Andrea

hairdryer in the bedrooms), but this is a Grand Dame hotel, unaffected by today’s ‘less is more’ approach to decor. The main areas are filled with tapestries, oil paintings, chandeliers, antiques and polished parquet floors. The 70 bedrooms, most of which have a jaw- dropping view past the hotel’s manicured gardens down to the ancient town and the rugged coastline, are unapologetically luxurious with sumptuous, delightfully traditional furnishings, and open on to marble bathrooms with own-blend Acqua di Parma toiletries. Turndown service includes herbal tea being left on the bedside table in a delicate china cup. The story goes that Prussian baron Otto Geleng travelled to Taormina in 1863 and rented a

room from Don Francesco La Floresta at his home, Timeo. He depicted the captivating views in a series of watercolours, which gained a reputation (one is still in the hotel). More artists came, after which the house was developed into a smart hotel and Taormina became a stop on the Grand Tour undertaken by wealthy young men and women. In 1920, DH Lawrence famously penned Lady Chatterley’s Lover at the hotel, and over the next couple of decades much of Hollywood’s glamorous elite came to stay – Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren among them. In July 2022, I checked it out. Dinner on the terrace at Timeo Restaurant is up there with the most memorable dining experiences I have ever had. The stunning view, the attentive service and the wonderful ambience are matched

Right: Villa Comunale public gardens Below: dine outdoors at Villa Sant’Andrea

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in splendour by the food. The same can be said for dinner down at Villa Sant’ Andrea, where there is also the opportunity to have a table set up right by the sea for the ultimate romantic date. The tasting menu takes you through a roster of Sicily’s typical dishes, many of which are fish or vegetarian. The appropriately-named Otto Geleng restaurant is a 16-seater Michelin star offering, while the Pool Grill restaurant is informal for lunch or you can order dishes to your thick-cushioned deckbed. At breakfast there is a light buffet and hot dishes to order on the amazing terrace, but the bigger treat is having it delivered to your room to enjoy on your balcony. There are lots of activities available at the hotel including a Colouring the World art installation (until December) - a coloured path through the gardens, and Totem Cristal – various glass structures that represent the unity of different cultures around the world. If you can tear yourself away from the glorious hotel and the town with its cacophony of little boutiques, take a 10-minute taxi ride to medieval hilltop village Castelmola to see the magnificent views from even higher up. Once there we climbed

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up to the ruins of the castle, which was built as a lookout to prevent Taormina from attacks. The 5k walk back down is a popular activity but being north London Jews, we took another taxi down. Back at base, wander through the crumbling Victorian follies in the Villa Comunale public gardens, once owned by a Scottish noblewoman called Lady Florence Trevelyan. When in Rome, sorry Taormina, a visit to the opera is a must and we enjoyed a medley of arias. The ancient Greek amphitheatre is reminiscent of the Colosseum in Rome in size and majesty but with a much more picturesque backdrop, and is regularly used to stage concerts (Simple Minds were on while we were there). On our last day at Grand Hotel Timeo there was a wedding – not a Jewish one, although this is entirely possible here. I can see only one negative to getting married in such a uniquely special place. Nothing and nowhere will ever match up to it. It’s all downhill from here. Rooms at Grand Hotel Timeo start at £635 B&B. Rooms at Villa Sant’Andrea start at £790 B&B. belmond.com

The views from Grand Hotel Timeo are breathtaking

WHERE TO EAT I Giardini di Babilonia Secret garden under a canopy of lemon trees Rosmarino Elegant, superb food) Osteria Rosso Divino Romantic tucked-away courtyard La Botte Casual, inexpensive, very lively, be prepared to queue Metropole Hotel terrace Drinks with a view Trattoria Il Barcaiolo Down at sea level and down 122 steps which need to be climbed back up but it’s absolutely worth it!

WHERE TO STAY SUPER DELUXE Grand Hotel Timeo BEACHFRONT GLAMOUR Villa Sant’Andrea SICILIAN COMFORT Villa Belvedere BIJOU BOUTIQUE Villa Carlotta

partners, giving us great buying power. This means we can discount the prices of resorts, hotels, wine, and big brands by up to a third. We are linked to future-proof technology that scans the markets to find the best prices and then we discount further and/or add value to your buy. Sounds too good to be true! Yes, we agree, but it is! We’re growing exponentially and are adding major cruise companies and more partners within the next few months. So watch this space. LIFE jewishnews.co.uk 11



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TRAVEL

Eilat

LOVING

CARON BLUESTONE DISCOVERS THE EILAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING. REBUILT, REINVIGORATED AND FULL OF WINTER SUNSHINE, IT’S READY TO WELCOME YOU BACK

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ilat has well and truly reopened for business. Listed as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 World Destinations on the rise in its 2017 Travellers’ Choice Awards, the Red Sea resort city has well and truly risen. That it has luxurious hotels, clubs, restaurants and stunning beaches is known, notably by those who love the place. And anyone who has been diving, snorkelling or surfing there will vouch for it being one of the most beautiful sites in the world for such pursuits. With 10,000 fish, dolphin reef, corals and sponges, it’s a multicoloured adventure in the deep, but those who prefer to stay dry can experience this at the awe-inspiring Oceanarium. You may also recall the guaranteed sunshine – nine hours a day to be exact, 330 days of the year – but it’s a useful nudge with our utility bills rising, as natural heat has never been more appealing. The open-arm welcome to a once-familiar place where you can take a ride on a glass-bottomed boat, or drive your own, is now much more enticing because Eilat is booming – and with flair. Eli Lankri, the energetic mayor of Eilat, says: “We are currently in a tremendous development process of new luxury hotels alongside low-budget hotels, a new and spectacular promenade, tourist attractions and infrastructure.” The main hotel chains – Isrotel, Astral, Fattal and Dan – are all well-represented, and many with more than just one option, but one of the most interesting, scheduled to open in 2023, is the Dan’s new glamping complex on the beach. Guy Adiran, CEO of Dan Eilat, explained that its latest opening would be a focus on affordable luxury. A place to attract a younger, vibrant and sociable crowd – families and singles alike. Fans of Broitman Bakery will be able to get their daily fix, with a new tie-up between the brands. So, contrary to popular belief, Israel is becoming more affordable. Astral, the group with the three-star to five-star market covered, is focusing on a much-awaited, new low-cost hotel and it’s a game-changer. “With low-cost flights to Israel now available, low-cost accommodation is a natural next step,” Asher Gabay, CEO of Astral Hotels tells

Visitors can see and swim with dolphins in Eilat

me. Being built from scratch in the Lagoon Marina, just five minutes from the beach and set to open in 2024, this new lifestyle hotel will have 456 rooms costing no more than 300 shekels (just over £75) per night, per couple, on a room-only basis. There will be interconnecting rooms for families too. Add-ons, such as pool access or parking, will cost extra but will be reasonable, and there will be a milky restaurant on site. There is huge investment in, and development of, the coastline and the city, all to the benefit of us tourists. Meanwhile, Isrotel is enriching the uber-luxury end of the market – its newest addition will feature a floating pool on the roof – and there’s a Hotel W expected in 2024. Lior Mucznik, chairman of the Eilat Hotels Association and general manager of Fattal’s Herods Premium Collection brand, was keen to emphasise this upgrade and expansion Eilat is experiencing. With the addition of new brands also comes fabulous refurbishments, as with the beloved Leonardo and the unique U Splash Resort, which underwent a full renovation 18 months ago. Of course, it’s easy to simply sit on the pristine sand, under the shade of a palm or two, sipping a cocktail, perhaps getting up for a refreshing swim now and then in

the pleasant waters that lap the beach. I, however, need a bit more activity. It is under the water that I find added appeal. Coral Beach is a famed nature reserve, national park and conservation area and makes access to the reefs easy. On-site facilities – beach service, sun loungers, showers and a shop – make it easy to spend a day there. There are shallow wading pools in which children can paddle and even bridges and lookouts over the reef that provide visitors the opportunity to discover the rich and amazing diversity of the sea, without ever getting their feet wet, if that is their desire. The Gulf of Eilat is unique in that it is protected by mountains. The stability in the weather that this brings makes the coral reefs unique and teeming with endemic species. On Almog beach, you’ll also find Coral World, an underwater observatory that extends 100 metres from the shoreline, combined with an awe- inspiring Oceanarium and myriad entertaining activities from turtle and stingray pools to virtual reality cinema experiences. Winter is also the time for desert hiking in Timna Park. Whereas summer brings sweltering temperatures, it’s in the cooler months that the desert comes into its own. Kibbutzim such as Yotvata, Ketura and Elifaz each offer fascinating insights into their unique situations. At Hai Bar nature reserve, you can view rams, white antelope and ostriches in their natural habitat; in Ketura, the world’s first solar-powered field that is cleaned by robots! For the artists, a trip to Neot Semadar Arts Centre and Winery, with its fascinating workshops, is a must and, for budding ecologists, Kibbutz Lotan has turned the desert into a flourishing green paradise, complete with a children’s playground. The city itself leaves nothing to be desired. Nightlife and restaurants – which offer the food that has for a long time given Israel a reputation as a culinary world leader – are there to be enjoyed, while tax-free malls, along with Bazaar Eilat, will satisfy the most ardent shopper. The Eilat sunshine is ready and waiting this winter. There’s never been a more exciting time to visit and the options are there for one and all to enjoy; there’s truly something for every traveller.

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THE LAST WORD

Principal of honour

Patrick Moriarty’s imminent departure from JCoSS means these will be his last High Holy Days as the school’s headteacher. The reality of this, the changes we face, and the prospect of a new year provide the threads of his poetic epilogue for Life Magazine

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hose who work in schools, whether as staff or as students, are lucky that our annual opportunity for new starts and resolutions comes as the school year begins in September. It’s so much better than January: rather than trying to reinvent ourselves in the cold darkness of winter we get to do it in the warmth of late summer – after a six-week break. As well as resonating better with the harvest of the natural world it is, of course, ideal in Judaism – where it chimes with the religious rhythms of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It’s almost enough to make one think that Hashem planned the school year to start at this time (admittedly, four broken teaching weeks in the first half of term is possible counter-evidence...). This year’s apples-and-honey combination, as I mark my final Rosh Hashanah at JCoSS, was already likely to be a poignant mix of sharp and sweet, as I review the harvest of a 33-year teaching career so far, and contemplate something new and uncertain when I leave the school in December. Then, into this heady mixture, came news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen. The time since has been a complex swirl of emotions. At the proclamation of the new King less than two days later, flags were raised from half-mast to full-mast and then back again to half-mast. It was an apt visualisation of the national mood, trying to hold alongside each other grief and sorrow on the one hand as we look back, and excitement and joy on the other as we look forward. “The Queen is dead; long live the King” encapsulates this jarring combination, but mourning loss while affirming the continuity of life is precisely what is embodied in the Jewish response to those bereaved: ‘I wish you long life’. To the uninitiated (reader, that was me just a few years ago…) it may sound bracing, even callous, but it expresses a deep wisdom upon which the nation needs to draw in the weeks and months ahead. I am trying to draw upon it already as I contemplate change on a rather smaller scale. A planned departure from 13 years leading a school barely registers alongside what the Queen’s death means to the nation and the world. But a change of monarch and prime minister in the same week is certainly an intense backdrop as I enter this final term, and the conflicting feelings are familiar.

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I am already struck by having to inhabit, simultaneously, several different emotional biospheres: the ongoing stimulation and challenge of running a school; the need to plan practically for handover and departure; the excitement and apprehension of future projects; and the sheer uncertainty of what lies ahead – as much ‘who will I be?’ as ‘what will I do?’ Alongside these is a process of anticipatory grief as I prepare to take my leave from what has been a source of joy, friendship, pride and identity for me over 13 years. An excellent session run by the Pears Foundation introduced a helpful four-stage model (‘Endings for Beginnings’, proposed by Lizzie Bentley Bowers and Alison Lucas), which is proving a very helpful tool for navigating the journey. To begin the new well, they suggest, we need to end the old well. That means, first, that we name the ending, which in my case was something helped by the need to give a full year’s notice, and an announcement schedule and script planned months ahead. Second, we need to celebrate what has been accomplished, however small. In the case of JCoSS, there is plenty to look back on with satisfaction, especially given the apprehension of some in the community before we opened in 2010. JCoSS has taken its place alongside the other schools, adding much-needed capacity and bringing to the mix a new model that works for many. Thirdly, the model bids us to identify honestly the emotions brought up by the prospect of leaving. The flip side of love, as we know, is grief; whatever the relief, satisfaction, fear, gratitude, regret and insecurity, there is plenty of straightforward sadness, too, in leaving a place that I love. As with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Queen’s death looks likely to be an affordance for many other griefs and an intensifier of them. It is certainly proving so for me. Last, there is a need to devise some sort of ritual (whether with small or big ‘r’) to mark the end, and we are working creatively on that one. The ‘Endings for Beginnings’ model is a secular approach but, for anyone used to the religious dynamics of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or their counterparts in other traditions, its spiritual resonances are not hard to find in this landscape of reflection, preparation, celebration and change. The honey that so characterises Rosh Hashanah is

interesting in that it is a kosher substance even though the bee that makes it is non-kosher. The rabbis disagree (who knew?!) about how to explain this, but as this gentile and priest contemplates stepping down from JCoSS, it seems an eloquent and rich symbol. JCoSS has not, as some feared, created oversupply of school places or undermined Jewish education or community; rather, it has expanded the market, especially among those who might not otherwise choose a Jewish school. In creating a new ‘brand’ of Jewish schooling, recognised and trusted both for inclusion and for outcomes, we have also sought to widen and warm the embrace of the community. For all the theological and communal complexity in that aim, the application statistics say there is kosher honey in it. To have witnessed and helped to lead the journey from 143 students when we opened to nearly 1,400 today is a source of huge pride, and to be welcomed in doing so from beyond the community has been an experience of real sweetness. Others can decide whether JCoSS has made more Jews or made better Jews. What I can say is that – through countless conversations with colleagues, community leaders, students and parents – leading it has made me a better Christian and a better priest. Jewish communal discussions are sometimes beset by self-recrimination and anguish that things are not as they should be, or not as they were – and it has always been a source of comfort to me to see others wrestling just as desperately as the Church of England with the place of religion and identity in the modern age. But as these High Holy Days begin, with all their opportunities for reflection, renewal and repentance, and all the grief they stir up, I stand in unfailing admiration of what the Jewish community is and does, both in its learning and in its life, both in how it changes and in how it remains the same. Even before the death of Her Majesty, this nation was facing change on a huge scale. Losing its archetypal bedrock makes that more challenging, in ways we may not even realise yet. The contribution of Judaism to the nation’s spiritual life is incalculable, and a precious gift that I will forever cherish.

L’shana tova tikateivu v’teichateimu!


Shana Tova With your help this new year, together, we can continue to enable Livingness. For the last 30 years, Langdon has been working together in partnership with families, support workers, volunteers, trustees and donors to empower independence for hundreds of young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism across the UK. Please support our 36-hour crowdfunder campaign on Sunday 23rd to Monday 24th October when we can all come together to enable our Members to live their best lives and be their best true selves. Donate and find out more at langdonuk.org/30together

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