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LIFE Jewish News


Winter 2019



Albert Speer’s daughter talks tolerance SHTISEL: The Secret’s Out


PLUS Fashion, Food and Travel 1 JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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20 THIS IS YOUR LIFE 7 Who, What & When

30 The Show Goes On

Entertainment, well into 2020

Shtisel producer Dikla Barkai talks Season 3 with Brigit Grant

11 The Art of the Matter


Sculptor Jill Berelowitz and artist Beverley-Jane Stewart in profile

33 Perserverance, Persistence & Passion

15 The Man who Captures Women

37 ‘Oh, You’re a Woman, You Can Do Divorce’

Realist Yigal Ozeri’s female focus

Legal eagle Vanessa Lloyd Platt shares her story

17 One Love, One Heart

38 Women of Substance

Why Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella adores Israel

Female charity leaders define their roles in the future

19 Love’s Labour’s Lost

41 The Wise Cracker

Louise Ellman: why antisemitism led her to quit

Another NY Jewish drag queen is coming to town

20 ‘I Always Put Family First’

43 The Danish Girl

Discover what really matters to Facebook vice-president, Lady Nicola Mendelsohn

Scandinavian actress Lee Levi is breaking into fashion

23 Simply Wonderful

The Jewish women behind the need-to-know labels

Learn more about the life and loves of our cover girl, Israeli superhero Gal Gadot

27 A Positive Impact A Kindertransport refugee talks about its legacy


28 A Daughter With No Doubts Albert Speer’s daughter Hilde Schramm on the impact of the Shoah

Director Minkie Spiro is Hollywood’s new favourite

46 Putting Faith in Fashion 49 Just James James Lakeland shares his fashion know-how

51 Cue the Golden Oldies The clothes you love too much to throw away

55 Eye on the Future The best creams for removing wrinkles round peepers

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19/11/2019 13:39


Editor’s Letter



92 57 Goodbye to Glasses

79 The Simcha Superhero

Richard ‘Four Eyes’ Ferrer gets laser eye surgery

Danny Marx made Wonder Woman’s wedding, and now he can make yours

59 The Secret to Schluffing An insomniac’s advice to getting your head down

82 Magnificence Made-to-Measure

62 Sandwish Fulfilment

Mira Zwillinger’s mother and daughter have a new collection

A slice of salt beef history and servers

64 Where to Eat Restaurant Club founder Louisa Walters tells you where to eat now

66 Soup Dynamic Quick and easy vegetarian broths for the best central heating!

69 A Moveable Feast Toby Levy Celebration Catering calling

72 Getting the Max The man who puts on fabulous functions at a price you can afford

75 The Israeli Italian Job

84 Gotta Have a Galia She has dressed Beyoncé and Gal Gadot – Galia Lahav on Israel’s wedding culture

he theme of this issue of Life magazine is ‘wonder women’. It was chosen to tie in with the December release of Wonder Woman 1984 – the much-anticipated second feature starring Gal Gadot as DC’s comic superhero. Accordingly, we assembled women who are ‘wonders’ in their own right, among them former Labour MP Louise Ellman, campaigner Hilde Schramm, who is the daughter of Albert Speer, and Facebook vice-president Lady Nicola Mendelsohn. For creative excellence, we spoke to Shtisel producer Dikla Barkai, film director Minkie Spiro and Danish actress/designer Lee Levi. There are many other wonder women within this magazine who make their mark as philanthropists, educators and artists, but they only represent a small proportion of Jewish females making an invaluable contribution within our community and beyond. The men featured design and paint women or, in the case of Miz Cracker (Maxwell Heller), dress up as one. In this current climate of gender reversal and fluidity, dedicating a magazine to women (cis or otherwise) may be deemed controversial, but we hope you enjoy it. Warner Bros have since decided to release Wonder Woman 1984 in June, but why would we let that get in the way of putting a beautiful Israeli superhero on the cover?

Brigit Brigit Grant (with Shtisel ’s Michael Aloni)

86 Israel’s Elite Hotels Must-stay properties in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv

88 Holy Land Living

Home buying with the CEO of Daon Group Real Estate

91 The Best of Berlin Why the Ritz Carlton is the place to stay in the capital

92 Happiness on the Hillside A family resort in Turkey leaves Brigit Grant on cloud nine

The woman bringing ‘la dolce vita’ to Holy Land simchas

94 Heaven on Berth

76 Party Places

97 A Break Back in Time

Great venues for great parties

Carole Shaw lives like a ‘lady’ at Cliveden

Justin Cohen sets sail on the Silver Spirit

Editor Brigit Grant brigitg@thejngroup.com Art Director Diane Spender dianes@thejngroup.com

Designers John Nicholls Jodie Goldfinger Daniel Elias Jewish News Editor Richard Ferrer Advertising Sales Beverly Sanford Marc Jacobs Max Gittelmon Linda Joseph

Contributors Alex Galbinski Louisa Walters Deborah Cicurel Miranda Levy Jenni Frazer

sales@thejngroup.com 020 7692 6929

ON THE COVER Gal Gadot, see p23

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Royal Club Kosher has been organizing Kosher vacations since 2005. We have unparalleled experience with Pesach vacations all over the world . Celebrating Pesach with your family doesn’t have to be complicated. We take care of everything from the luxurious rooms, the fun activities for your kids, the gourmet Kosher meals and even the flower arrangements onyour beautiful Seder table. Make this Pesach an unforgettable family experience !

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19/11/2019 12:08


WHO,WHAT WHEN Coming your way…


Vienna Waltz Tom Stoppard has written his first Jewish themed play to be directed by fellow of the faith Patrick Marber. Leopoldstadt, which opens on 25 January, is an epic family tale set in the vibrant Vienna of 1900, when a tenth of the population were Jews with full civil rights. Half a century later, they discover what is means to be Jewish in the first half of the 20th century.


East End thriller

Popular with Hackney bubbes, Ridley Road is the title and setting of BBC One’s new drama, which is adapted by award-winning Jewish writer and actress Sarah Solemani from Jo Bloom’s acclaimed novel. Set in 1960s London, it shows the East End as far-right fascism is on the rise. Happy Valley producer Nicola Shindler is at the helm.


Puzzling Past In House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-century Jewish Family, journalist Hadley Freeman tells the story of her French grandmother who rarely talked about living through Hitler’s rise to power. Long after her grandmother’s death, a shoebox tucked in a closet revealed a collection of keepsakes – a signed Picasso drawing and cryptic note to the Red Cross – took Hadley on a voyage of discovery, piecing together the puzzle of her family’s past. Published by Blackstone, 3 March 2020. CINEMA

Gotta Have Friends

Chrismukkah, a time to party with old pals – cue timely 25th anniversary celebration with FRIENDS:: Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and siblings Ross and Monica Geller. The seasonal standout episode? The One With The Holiday Armadillo, with Ross dressed as an armoured mammal explaining Chanukah to his son Ben, while battling his rival Santa (Chandler). The Gellers were only half-Jewish according to the show’s creator, Marta Kauffman, who also revealed Rachel to be halachically Jewish (both parents), although calling her grandma bubbe and marrying a dentist was a big clue. To mark Friends’ silver jubilee, they are screening episodes at cinemas from 8-15 December with the Prince Charles in Leicester Square showing a mix of seasons. Hope the Armadillo makes the cut. Tickets (£13.30) from www.showcasecinemas.co.uk

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19/11/2019 14:24


75 years


The early May Day bank holiday will move back four days in 2020 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Victory in Europe Day will be Friday, 8 May with lots of street parties, the Nation’s Toast with more than 20,000 pubs encouraging patrons to raise a glass to the Heroes of World War II and other soon-to-be announced events.

NASA Natalie “I’d rather make something great for somebody than something good for everybody,” said American Jewish author Noah Hawley to unfavourable reviews of his directorial debut Lucy in the Sky starring Natalie Portman, which opens 6 December.. Loosely based on the real-life story of a disgraced former astronaut turned kidnapper, the topic of discussion around the film was whether Natalie wore a baby’s nappy for the role. Astronauts officially do wear them in space and with Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir (pictured) making history this year as half of the first all-female spacewalking team, it’s ok to moon over nappies.


The Seasonal Show Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is at the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, with Michael Brandon (formerly Feldman) of Dempsey and Makepeace PRIME TV


fame (pictured, left). If you want to see the 1954


Save those other streaming shows for later. New York’s most hysterical housewife returns to Amazon Prime on 6 December with snazzy stand-up Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie (Alex Borstein), her caustic capwearing manager, taking Mrs Maisel on a 1950s comedy tour of LA, Chicago, and Miami. “I am for the first time in my life taking charge of my own destiny,” says Mrs Maisel – and we’ll be cheering her on from the back of the bus.

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film with Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby lip-synching Sisters, you can catch it at the hotel One Aldwych on 8 December.

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TASTE OF HONEY Always controversial, Jewish actor Shia LaBeouf of Transformers

GRANDPARENTS ALERT See Oi Frog & Friends at The Lyric Theatre

fame, appeared at the Berlin Film Festival with a paper bag over his head stating: ‘I am not famous anymore’ and even endorsed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015. Honey Boy is his autobiographical film about the relationship with his alcoholic father, directed by Tel Aviv-born Alma Har’el, who is making waves with her campaign demanding one female director be in the running for every major creative job. Jewish actress Natasha Lyonne from Orange is The New Black is supporting her all the way.


Farewell Family


Let’s Talk About Jack Actress Maureen Lipman and her playwright daughter Amy Rosenthal are at JW3 on 8 December to talk about husband and father Jack Rosenthal. In Conversation: The Legacy of Jack Rosenthal will be full of anecdotes and memories about

ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END including Steve Levitan’s Modern Family. We’ve watched the Pritchetts, Dunphys, and Pritchett-Tuckers celebrate and commiserate since 2009, and season 11 will be the last. Guest appearances include David Beckham and Courtney Cox. Gay event planner Pepper Saltzman (Nathan Lane) was the only Jewish character, but the kvetching at most Modern Family meals made it feel like Friday night.

the life of the playwright and screenwriter


who made a huge contribution to


British-Jewish 20th century theatre, TV and film. BAFTAs for Bar Mitzvah Boy, The Evacuees and Spend, Spend, Spend and co-writer of Yentl with Barbra Streisand. Not one to miss!


The musical about a young man’s struggle to find purpose is cowritten by La La Land lyricist Benj Pasek, who thanked his mum for letting him quit Jewish football to be in the school musical in his Oscar acceptance speech. “This is to all the kids who sing in the rain and the moms who let them!”

Never in Doubt March sees the Broadway opening of Mrs Doubtfire, a musical derived from the late Robin Williams’ classic movie. Directed by four-time

Chanukah Gelt

“Chrismukkah won’t be Chrismukkah without any presents” is not the opening

Tony-award winner Jerry Zaks, the show also follows the story of a divorced dad losing custody

line of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel

of his children and creating

Little Women, but it works and marks

a Scottish nanny alter ego,

the release of Greta Gerwig’s new film

Euphegenia Doubtfire, in order to see

adaptation, which opens on the fifth night of Chanukah. Your gift? Young Jewish acting star Timothée Chalamet, who plays Laurie to Saoirse Ronan’s Jo March.

them. Zaks told Life: “The most exciting thing is guiding the writers, designers and actors into becoming a team. I think the great Robin Williams would approve. Maybe even give us a thumbs up.”

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19/11/2019 16:16

Louisa Walters explores the message and form of two admired female artists


f you’ve been to or walked past Charing Cross Hospital, you may have noticed two huge sculptures. One is Reclining Figure by Henry Moore, the other Core Femme by South African artist Jill Berelowitz (pictured, inset). The body is incomplete with rounded ends where the limbs and head should be – an organic composition reminiscent of a backbone where the individual torsos become vertebrae. “I do love the female form,” says Berelowitz, who is responsible for creating the most masculine of trophies – the bronze ball and tassel cap handed to international rugby players on the occasion of their 100th cap. But pigeon-holing an artist who receives such critical acclaim is impossible as she can move from His Mind’s Eye, a bronze tree and cosmic sphere commemorating 400 years of Shakespeare’s genius, after celebrating the female form with The Diving Girl, which was commissioned by the Olympic Village in 2012. Berelowitz studied sculpture with Finnish artist Karin Jaroszynska and later at the Johannesburg School of Art, where she learned the technically complex process of lost wax bronze casting. By the age of 23, with two young children,

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she had already opened her own studio in Durban and was doing lots of community art projects. While the female form continues to fascinate her, and tribal South African art is a source of inspiration, sometimes males and females unite in her work as in Moving Forward, which sits in the central

reservation on Park Lane opposite the hotel 45 Park Lane. It is at this hotel that Berelowitz has had a seasonal change of direction, with her 3.6m high bronze Christmas tree in the lobby from 8 December. Reassuringly, the star at the top is held by both male and female figures. Above: Jill Berelowitz’s Diving Girl. Below: Moving Forward

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orking from a tiny studio in a hidden passage in St John’s Wood, Beverley-Jane Stewart (pictured, inset) is an awardwinning artist whose work has been shown worldwide, including at two Jerusalem Biennales. Her latest work, From Kabbalah to Avoidance, in charcoal and black paint, was shown at this year’s Biennale and calls for tolerance and understanding in a divided world. A visual storyteller, Beverley-Jane expresses her fascination for Jewish social history through her work. She uses her creativity to document events and tell stories that span centuries, yet also highlight important issues that are relevant to the way we live today. From Kabbalah to Avoidance explores the themes of diversity, identity, inclusiveness and exclusiveness. The jigsaw shapes idealise the

theory that Jews of all denominations can fit together, but if we are too disjointed as a people, we will lose our strength. Individuals will feel rejected, identity will be lost and our power will be weakened. The jigsaw images have lost their cohesiveness and people begin to fall into the blank, dark abyss. It will be translated into a larger painting to be shown at a solo exhibition in Tel Aviv next year. “As Jews, we need to strive to understand and embrace each other’s differences,” says Beverley-Jane. “I am driven to get this message out there into the world.” One of her next projects is women in prayer. “I realised that whenever I paint the interior of a synagogue, the view is from above, as that is how I have always seen it,” she says. “I want to explore how it is to be a woman of faith – how we perceive and how we are perceived.” Beverley-Jane’s commissioned painting on 125 years of the United Synagogue hangs in its head office, and she has illustrated

numerous publications, including Lord (Jonathan) Sacks’ book Community of Faith, and The Jewish Community of Golders Green: A Social History by Pam Fox.

Clockwise from top: Beverley-Jane Stewart’s artwork adorns a book, her jigsaw images in Kaballah to Acceptance, A Wedding Scene, New West End Synagogue, St Petersburgh Place, London and the artist’s work in her studio


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19/11/2019 16:19

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19/11/2019 12:23

Louisa Walters talks technique with Yigal Ozeri


hen is a photograph of a woman not a photograph of a woman? When it is a painting by Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri. Now based in New York, Ozeri specialises in large-scale photo realism portraits of young women in ethereal landscapes. Romantic, sensual and inherently feminine, these paintings are mind-blowing in their accuracy and lack of any discernible brushstrokes. Shown extensively around the world with solo exhibits in China, France, Germany, Mexico and, this summer London,

Above: Cristal, oil on canvas Right: Olya Below: Territory

Ozeri’s paintings are also in permanent collections in New York, Tel Aviv and Vienna. He explains in his idiosyncratic way that “his photographs of women recreate a snapshot moment” and his subjects are often “caught in suspended motion, looking back at you”. He continues: “The background is abstract with lots of movement and, in sharp contrast, the figure at the front is an exact representation of reality. My work celebrates nature in all its glory and young women in search of their life path.” Particularly accomplished at painting hair, the artist believes he is in fact the best in the business. Standing next to his self-portrait with his curly hair strewn, I think he may be right. JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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One Love, One Heart Bob Marley gave his children a strong belief in Israel. His daughter Cedella explains why to Brie Bailey


HALOM TEL AVIV. Rastafari. OK let’s do this.” This was Ziggy Marley’s welcome to a packed crowd at the Barby Club in Israel’s party city in August 2018. It was the fourth appearance in the Holy Land of the son of reggae icon Bob Marley, and in October he received an artist’s award from LA’s ‘Creative Communit’ for Peace’ for his efforts and for refusing to culturally boycott the Jewish state. Passing up the opportunity to perform in the country Ziggy describes as “a storybook place for us” would be an affront to his father’s memory, for it was Bob who made all his children feel connected to Israel. As the second eldest of Bob Marley’s children, Cedella, 52, feels the same way. “When we first travelled to Israel, it was amazing, emotional and everything in between. We just could not believe we were on those grounds as we do hold them sacred.” Cedella talks about “touching Jerusalem’s wall” with the same veneration. “Our heritage is our heritage and we fully embrace and protect it.” For Cedella, like her siblings, heritage is a grab bag of faith and family with a Jewish thread. Her father’s Rastafarianism claims forefathers from the Old Testament, relates to Zion and has the Star of David as its symbol. Meanwhile Norval, the grandfather they never knew, was the son of Ellen Broomfield, a (white) Jewish Syrian Jamaican. “We have quite a history, and I am learning more day by day,” says Cedella, who has her grandmother’s name. “I always thought my grandpa’s side looked a lot like Abraham Lincoln and would joke about it from time to time.”

So there is an actual bloodline to Judaism, and growing up with songs about wandering Jews (Exodus) the promised land (Iron Lion Zion) and Joseph being sold into slavery (Redemption Song) would turn anyone’s head towards Israel. As it is, Cedella lives between Miami and Jamaica, and her working life is divided between fashion designing (https://tuffgong.com) writing childrens’ books – “My third children’s book Get Up Stand Up is all about our children standing up to bullies.This epidemic has to stop!” – and keeping her father’s legacy alive through The Bob Marley Foundation. “My dad has inspired me to inspire others,” says Cedella, who is married with three children. “I am honoured to further his message, which has blessed so many people around the world.” Jamaica remains an obvious focus. She was born in Kingston and it was there she and her siblings became Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers under dad’s leadership. “ It was fun because I was with my family, but it was also hard work as my father was a great producer and made sure we performed well. If one note from any of us was wrong, we all had to start from the beginning.”

Cedella and her book inspired by dad’s song

Above: Cedella with the Jamaica girls soccer team. Left: Cedella, on the right, with father Bob, mother Rita and siblings

The family travelled the world together and recorded seven albums, but music took Cedella into other creative arenas. Back in Jamaica in 2014, Cedella’s father was the inspiration for the launch of Marley Natural – part hemp seed apothecary, part cannabis shop. She was ahead of the game. “Attitudes and laws towards cannabis are changing,” she says. “My father would be so happy to see people understanding the unique properties of the herb. As he said: ‘Make way for the positive day.’ I think we’re seeing that positive day.” One such positive day occurred when Cedella’s youngest son brought home a flyer about the Reggae Girlz from his football coach. Prior to that she knew nothing of Jamaica’s female national football team, but research showed her the “awful disparity in support for women’s soccer compared to the Reggae Boyz (national team).” Of course she got involved and, as the team’s ambassador, now helps to raise awareness, encourages development and provides financially. The result? Jamaica qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time this year. “We should all have the right to use our talents and gifts to uplift ourselves and our culture, and nobody should be blocked from that based on gender, economic status or anything else,”says Cedell,a who was happy to send two Reggae Girlz to Israel - Nicole McClure for FC Ramat HaSharon and Sashana Campbell who is still a midfielder for Maccabi Kishronot Hadera FC. Later, Cedella sends an email about a big celebration planned for 2020. “My dad is turning 75 next year,” she writes. Touchingly, her sign off is, “One Love.” JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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19/11/2019 16:27


BRCA+1: Know your history


ictured below is Amy Kay being hugged by her older sister Esther Rosenblatt. Amy is a recruitment consultant who lives in Pinner with two young children, Arthur and Grace. Amy was on her way to see a friend, with Arthur in the backseat, when her mother rang to tell her Esther had been diagnosed with breast cancer. At Esther’s first appointment the oncologist decided that their family history did not warrant genetic testing, but Amy wasn’t so sure. She knew Ashkenazi Jews have a far greater risk of carrying BRCA gene mutations and went home to investigate their family history.

“Jewish family records can be a bit squiffy due to the displacement of our ancestors during the Second World War, which makes tracing blood lines a bit harder,” said Amy. “But a pattern revealed itself, which meant Esther qualified for testing.” Esther was found to carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. Amy went to her doctor and discovered that she carried it, too. “When I found out, my ovaries felt like ticking time bombs,” Amy said. “With breast cancer, it feels there is more to look out for, but ovarian cancer feels like a complete unknown. I knew immediately that I would have preventive surgery, but worried about the implications – I knew I wanted another child.” Amy, 38, and her husband met with a genetic counsellor to go through options, and decided to have another child straight away. “My second pregnancy was so different. With Arthur, as I felt my body changing it was exciting – the second time, I

was plagued by fear.” Amy stopped breastfeeding Grace prematurely in preparation for her mastectomy. She then had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed when Grace was 12 weeks old. This resulted in early-onset menopause, so Amy began HRT. “I’ve reduced my elevated risk of breast and ovarian cancer, but you do still worry,” she says. Women and men of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are 10 times more likely than the general population to inherit a genetic mutation that increases their risk of cancers. For those who carry a BRCA mutation, there’s a 50 percent chance they will pass it on to a son or daughter. A simple blood test can identify the faulty gene, and this knowledge gives you the power to potentially stop cancer in its tracks. It could impact your chances of early diagnosis, cancer treatment, preventing the disease, and even protecting your family for future generations. For more information, visit: ovarian.org.uk/jewish-brca or email info@ ovarian.org.uk; 020 7380 1730.

Ovarian Cancer Action Action: one third of our name and 100% of what we’re about. And while we’re talking numbers, here’s another: one woman dies in the UK from ovarian cancer every two hours. In fact, other cancers, such as breast cancer, had better survival rates two generations ago than ovarian cancer does today. We’re following two routes to achieve change: awareness raising and scientific research. We’re campaigning to improve understanding of symptoms among the public and the GPs. That’s where we can make the quickest impact. Our biggest impact, however, comes from our main area of focus: scientific research. Since 2006, we’ve funded £11.4million of research projects, opened the pioneering Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, and continued to run our HHMT International Forum on Ovarian Cancer, which brings together the world’s leading scientists to share knowledge and determine priorities. Now we’re taking action to fund the next generation of research. Take action with us now and transform the lives and prospects of women today and for generations to come.

“The gi� no father wants to give his daughter� “To be told you have one cancer is devastating - but imagine being told you have two. Then imagine how you would feel if you discovered that your cancers could and should have been prevented. “In 2014, I was given the heart-breaking diagnosis of late-stage breast and ovarian cancer, both triggered by the BRCA gene mutation. I had no idea I’d inherited this risk from my father, and that being Jewish meant I had a higher chance of being a carrier. I’d unknowingly passed the risk onto my daughter, but this knowledge allowed her to take preventive action. “Knowing your BRCA status gives you the choice to take steps to protect yourself and your family, to keep them safe - after all, what more does any Jewish mother or father want?” – Alison Dagul Men and women with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are ten times more likely than the general population to carry a genetic mutation that causes certain cancers. If you are a carrier there is a 50% chance you will pass it onto your child.

Could your family history of cancer be caused by a genetic mutation? Find out more at ovarian.org.uk/jewish-brca

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19/11/2019 12:33



Louise Ellman tells Jenni Frazer she never envisaged that antisemitism would lead her to quit the party she joined at 18


o hear Dame Louise Ellman talk about her lifelong involvement in politics is to meet a woman who virtually inhaled political discussions at the family dinner table. The former Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, Manchester-born and petite, describes her father as “an old-style socialist”. As for her mother, she laughs and says: “My mother always liked to challenge people. I used to think she was a Conservative, but she wasn’t. She was a Liberal/Labour person.” Louise Rosenberg, as she then was, attended one of the city’s top independent schools, Manchester High School for Girls. She had “mixed feelings” about going there, she says. “I was very political when I went there, and I rather disapproved of the type of school I was in. I thought it wasn’t fair and I didn’t like inequality. But nevertheless, after I left, I thought I had benefited from a school that was all about achievement and confidence-building”. Unlike today, when there are political societies at many schools, Louise was only able to express her desire “to make things better” outside school. In her case, it was with the Zionist youth movement, Habonim, although she admits she attended less for the Zionism than for the left-wing politics in which Habonim specialised. Aged 18, she joined her local Blackley Labour Party and went to Hull University, marrying the pharmacist Geoffrey Ellman in 1967, just after the Six-Day War. The young couple went to Israel on a postgraduate scheme,

which was supposed to be six months on an ulpan, learning Hebrew, and six months working, but Geoffrey was needed at a hospital in Tiberias and so they cut short their time studying. Ruefully, Louise says her Hebrew skills have never recovered. They returned to Britain and moved for a short time to Leeds, while Louise took a second degree at York University in social administration, and began volunteer work with Muslim teens in Roundhay, Leeds, where there had been race riots. It was, she says drily, “a very interesting time”. Before long, her husband took a job in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and the young family – they had a son and a daughter – moved there. “I’d never thought about putting my political activism into a specific role, but in 1970 a vacancy arose on Lancashire County Council and I was asked by the local Labour Party if I would put my name forward.” People who are only familiar with Louise through her 22 years as an MP might be astonished to learn of her meteoric career through council, where she served from 1970 until 1997, the last 16 years as leader of the Labour faction. She smiles, recalling being addressed as young woman”, but it’s clear that the drably-dressed councillors were no match for this fiery Jewish politician, determined to get things done. She was the first person to introduce halal meat into schools in Blackburn, and helped Muslims to secure same-day burials. “I understood their religious needs,” she says. An extraordinary keepsake on her office wall is an

axe, presented by members of the Fire Brigades Union. This dates from the 1988 Armenian earthquake, when a group of firefighters went to the council to ask for her support – they wanted to go to rescue people. As Louise recounts, obstacle after obstacle was put in their way, from insurance to vaccinations to transportation. But in a blizzard of phone calls, she and her team managed to overcome every objection and the firefighters went to Armenia to do what they could to help. They presented to her in appreciation of her efforts and it is, she says, one of the things of which she is proudest. “I loved local government,” she says, recalling that she got the council to set up an office in Brussels to channel EU money, some of which went to help the regeneration of seaside towns such as Blackpool and Morecambe. In 1997 she became – and she bites her lip at the memory – one of “Blair’s Babes”, the vast number of women who became MPs as Tony Blair led Labour to power. And she found a new challenge, chairing the Transport Select Committee and being mentored by her predecessor, Gwyneth Dunwoody. But every time there was a debate on Israel in Parliament, Louise Ellman could not prevent herself standing up to defend the country. “Most MPs don’t want to be labelled as Jewish, they want to fight for their constituents,” she says, but admits sadly: “I would never have envisaged that I would be in this position because of antisemitism.” Now, having resigned from the Labour Party two weeks before the general election was called, Louise has made the decision to stand down from Parliament, too. She says she is not sure what she will do next. But she is certain of one thing: “I won’t give up being political.” JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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19/11/2019 12:37

Miranda Levy discovers what really matters to a Facebook vice-president

Below: Women in Media event that Nicola hosts annually


icola Mendelsohn’s son was nine when he came home from school rather perplexed. “Mum,” said Zac, who is now 14. “Something really unusual happened today. I found out that one of my friend’s mums doesn’t work!” Nicola Mendelsohn – a Lady, a CBE, and ‘the most powerful British woman in the tech industry’ (Daily Telegraph) – burst out laughing. “It was a proud moment for me,” she recalls. If there is a definition of a wonder woman, Nicola, 49, comes close. As well as her extraordinary career - Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, nonexecutive director at Diageo and co-president with her husband Jonathan of Jewish charity Norwood – she is also a mother of four children aged between 14 and 22. All this as well as living with a slow-moving but still incurable cancer called follicular lymphoma (more on this below.) But first, Nicola has an issue with the wonder woman tag. “When a woman achieves something new or prominent in arts, business or education, it’s seen as a rare celestial event,” she says. “We are nowhere near parity with men, there is still an ‘unconscious bias’. I hate the question: ‘can you have it all?’ Because it sets you up for failure, and implies you have to choose. But on the other hand, however, I’m very happy to be called a wonder woman if it means that young women will see role models, that a girl can do special things.” Nicola’s role model was her indomitable mother Celia Clyne, who ran a catering company with her father Barry (brother Mark still runs the firm). “This taught me it was ‘normal’ to have a mum who went out to work,” she says. “My grandma Hilda ran a fabric stall on the Arndale market in Manchester with my grandpa Asher. They worked hard, they supported each other,

The Feminist Portfolio / Photography Tom Lindboe

‘ I always put family first ’ and they taught me that family came first. The two things can go together.” An alumnus of Manchester High School for Girls and Leeds University, Nicola is not impressed by questions about her work-life balance. “Most people ask how I do it,” she says. “But no one – to this day - has ever asked my husband how he has managed to balance his career and four children.” (Nicola’s husband Jonathan is Baron Mendelsohn of Finchley, partner in a corporate finance boutique and member of the House of Lords). A bit more on her awesome achievements: Nicola started out in advertising, rising high in the top agencies Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Grey London and Karmarama, where she was partner and executive chairman. During this time, she became industry chair of the UK Creative Industries Council, and the first female president of the IPA, the advertising trade industry body. At one point she also was the director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. So come on, surely she must have some secretsof-success tricks she can share? “People tell me I am incredibly organised,” she says. “I’m not afraid to ask for help, and am lucky to have support at home. But I always put my family first. I never miss a sports day, a parents’ evening, and I try to make all the children’s football matches.” But is she on her mobile at all hours of the night, especially with a boss in California? “I have a rule: all phones must be left in the hall, not by the bed,” she says. “Though I have to admit, my kids are better at this than I am.” Nicola has one non-negotiable, however: Shabbat. “I have always kept the Sabbath,” she says. “It’s restorative, quiet time, with absolutely no technology. I make Friday night dinner, and go to shul regularly on Saturdays.” She’s keen to emphasise her company’s family friendly

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The Feminist Portfolio / Photography Tom Lindboe

policies. “Take this conference call right now,” she says. “I am at home, you are in your study, my communications officer is at head office. Technology is an enabler. Remember those days when people left their coats on the back of their chairs to prove they were are still at work? Thankfully, it’s a thing of the past. At Facebook, people start work later if they have to, or finish earlier if they need to. We have a parents’ room and a meditation room. Women get six months’ maternity leave on full pay and men get four. I had to ask one of our male leaders recently to take his full paternity leave, to set an example to other fathers in the company.” Having worked four days a week for 16 years, Nicola is now full-time. “‘I decided to go back seven years ago, when my youngest started school,” she says. “This doesn’t work for every family, but it works for us.” The only thing she seems to compromise on is her travel, now

flying the night before a meeting, instead of early that morning. But this is not because of her family, but because of a serious health condition. In November 2016, Nicola was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a little-known blood cancer, after finding a lump in her groin. About 2,000 people a year are diagnosed with the disease, with 65 as the average age. Sixty percent of people with all lymphomas (there are several different strains) live for more than a decade. Nicola has a slow-moving form of the condition, which she has previously described as “a life sentence”. However, follicular lymphoma is currently incurable. This month, she presided over the launch of the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation. Its aim? “For the Foundation not to have to exist. We are looking for a cure. We want to help people to live well with the disease, and to get well.” The Foundation aims to raise money, and boasts a website (theflf.org) through which people can donate money, and patients can get

information and support. It will be run by a director, a scientific adviser and trustees. Until last year, Nicola’s doctors had advised a ‘watch and wait’ strategy. But in June 2018, she embarked on a course of chemotherapy and immunotherapy because she had tumours growing around her kidneys; left untreated, they could have led to kidney failure. The treatment was a success. Has her health affected her either as a boss, wife or mother? “I hope not,” she says. “The cancer itself has never made me feel ill, and while chemo is never pleasant, it didn’t hit me that hard. Apart from the days of my treatments, I never took any time off work. My company offered sick leave, but I preferred not to take it,” says Nicola. “That worked for me – which is not to say it’s right for everyone.” She now has ‘top up’ immunotherapy treatments every eight weeks. Now officially in remission, Nicola says she is “feeling good”. But for now, she has to dash. She has chicken soup to cook in her kosher kitchen (the family secret is turkey neck in the pan, apparently) for husband Jonathan, and Gabi, 22, Danny, 20, Sam, 17, and Zac – who was once so baffled when mothers didn’t work. “I’m lucky to be in remission, but it’s from a cancer that is still incurable,” she says. “I could live 20 years, or my illness could transform at any time. Which is why I’m grateful to live every day to its fullest. I feel blessed.”

Above: Nicola’s annual International Women’s Day breakfast where female-run small businesses are featured. Left: Nicola with her family

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19/11/2019 12:52

LOOKING TO PLAN YOUR NEXT EVENT IN ISRAEL AND NOT SURE WHERE TO START? Whether you want to plan a dream wedding at a unique location or interested in a corporate function, marking a special occasion for a loved one or creating an ongoing Bar Mitzvah celebration – we are here to assist you in creating your special event and make your dream come true. DANNY MARX event planner and producer in ISRAEL for more than 20 years

www.marx.co.il Danny@marx.co.il +972 50 8387020

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19/11/2019 13:09


She’s Israel’s most popular export since diamonds and hummus. Brie Bailey profiles the indomitable Gal Gadot



dmit it. There is something incredibly satisfying about an Israeli playing Wonder Woman. Forever ducking the slings and arrows of the Holy Land lambasters, it felt like an act of defiance or gesture of support for Warner Bros to cast an Ivrit-speaking, former IDF female to play the warrior princess of Themyscira. Of course, there were protests from

DC comic’s hard core fans as a newbie from the Middle East playing America’s star-spangled icon who, fittingly, fought Nazis when she first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941. But they switched the patriotic red, white and blue shorts for a shimmering armour basque and reminded critics the comic superhero, aka Diana Prince, was Hippolyta’s daughter, and therefore Greek. JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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As it turned out, the foreign accent and heritage weren’t a problem when Gal Gadot made her dazzling debut as the sultry Amazon in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, swiftly followed by a solo gig as Wonder Woman in 2017. The film, directed by Patty Jenkins, was the highest-grossing superhero story of all time and next June there will be another – Wonder Woman 1984. Originally slated for spring this year, then December, director Jenkins says the new film is not a sequel, but it propels Diana Prince forward 70 years to battle a new enemy – villain Cheetah, a British anthropologist from the comics, who has enhanced strength, speed and agility, plus night vision and heightened reflexes. Nothing a girl trained by the Israeli army can’t handle... and Gal even does her own stunts! “We just gave it everything we have,” says Gal. “We hope you guys will love it.” Warner Bros is banking on it as it’s now their 2020 summer blockbuster, but female audiences loved the first film so much that Wonder Woman became a UN mascot, with Gal calling out gender injustice. Gal Gadot – that’s with a “light t” not silent as in Gadoh, knew her moment had come when she stood in New York’s Times Square and saw it covered with posters. “I could not believe it,” says the actress. “I’d been there many times before and all of a sudden, to be on Times Square, that was a moment.” Israelis have been schlepping nachas for Gal (Hebrew Hebrew for wave wave) since she became Miss Israel in 2004 and then competed in Miss Universe, without the urge to win. “I wasn’t that type of girl. I rebelled. I showed up late to everything. They make you wear evening gowns for breakfast.

I didn’t wear evening gowns to breakfast.” This isn’t surprising as she was the tomboy child – “always with wounds and scratches on my knees”. Home-schooled with her sister Dana by her Israeli-born parents Irit, a teacher, and engineer father Michael, Gal was a talent on basketball and tennis courts and never stopped dancing. “I did it for 12 years – ballet, hip-hop, modern, jazz. I thought that I wanted to be a choreographer,” she told ESPN, so was clearly faking it in Wonder Woman when she told co-star Chris Pine she couldn’t dance. “Is this what people do when there are no wars to fight?” says WW in a scene that would have resonated with Gal as she served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the 2006 war with Lebanon. “I wish no country had the need for an army,” she has stated. “But in Israel serving is part of being an Israeli. You’ve got to give back to the state. You give two or three years and it’s not about you. You give your freedom away. You learn discipline and respect.” Unlike so many stars who choose not to go public with their faith, Gal, 34, has always waved the flag for Judaism and Israel, which gets a reaction - good or bad. Controversially, in 2014, she posted an Instagram picture of herself praying with her daughter supporting the IDF and condemning the “horrific acts conducted by Hamas”. The haters closed in and Wonder Woman was banned in Lebanon as boycott supporters put pressure on the government to block “the Israeli soldier film”. That she also posted on Yom Haatzmaut to

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honour her maternal grandfather Abraham Weiss who survived Auschwitz is tantamount to writing a love letter to world Jewry, but such public posts attract the bigots who hide among her two million Twitter and 31 million Instagram followers. Undeterred, Gal fights back.“I get so many antisemitic messages and reactions. It’s just – this is who I am. I believe we have no place to hide or lie.” She isn’t a pushover when it comes to politics either and condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s starement ‘Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and belongs to them alone’ ahead of recent elections. In defence of Arab Israeli voters, Gal urged her Israeli brethren to “get out and vote. Let’s increase the voting percentage once and for all. Because this is the land of us all”. Yaron, her Dutch-Israeli husband, sold his

Varsano Hotel in Tel Aviv to Roman Abramovich. The real estate developer is often lovingly seen at his superhero’s side, with their two daughters, Maya and Alma. The photogenic couple met at a yoga retreat in the Negev, and Danny Events (page 79) planned the wedding. Of late, the actress has just been at Longcross Studios in Surrey, shooting Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie film Death on The Nile, in which she plays Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, the heiress whose demise prompts Poirot’s investigation. Playing Jewish actress Hedy Lamarr in a TV mini-series follows next and, depending on which part of Hedy’s life is the focus, Gal will either be inventing a military torpedo guidance system for the US navy, or appearing nude in the film Ecstasy (1933). Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson are her

co-stars in the comedy Red Notice, which is still in pre-production, but the way Wonder Woman has moved about, it could still open first. Gal will be too famous or busy to care by then, as she has set up her own production company, Pilot Wave, with Yaron and they are making a film based on Polish war heroine Irena Sendler, who saved thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust. Wonder Woman plays wonder woman has a nice ring to it. Wonder Woman opens on 6 June 2020

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“My diagnosis of MS was like a hammer blow but I am happier now living here than I’ve ever been.” Neil has been living in a Jewish Blind & Disabled apartment for over five years.

ENABLED Registered Charity No. 259480

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To give the gift of independence or to apply for an apartment visit www.jbd.org or call 020 8371 6611 19/11/2019 13:45


A positive IMPACT Kindertransport refugee Vera Schaufeld MBE tells Alex Galbinski why she now speaks out for other stranded children


Y SON IS NINE and becoming more independent, but the thought of him taking the bus on his own fills me with dread. So imagine what it was like for the parents of nine-year-old Vera Schaufeld when they said goodbye to her at Prague station as she joined the Kindertransport. Stopped at barriers by Nazi soldiers, they had to watch as she boarded the train alone. It’s an image that tears at your heart, yet for years Vera felt her Kindertransport experience was of little consequence compared to that of her husband, Avram, who had survived Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other forced labour camps. As she speaks of her childhood, Vera, now 89, is matter of fact about the tragedies that changed her life and clings to the memories of her family life which included cruises to Norway and the North Pole. “We were well off, with a nanny and a cook,” she says, and talks proudly of her father, a successful lawyer and leader of the Jewish community and a mother who was the first female doctor in the town. That town was Klatervy, near the Sudetenland, in what was then Czechoslovakia, and by the time the Nazis invaded in 1938, Vera’s maternal grandmother was living with them too. She witnessed the arrest of her son-in-law, which as Vera recalls kept her home from school. It was at school that a teacher she had always liked said: “Whenever there is trouble, the Jews are always the first to run away.” It was a comment that still haunts her today. “For the first time in my life, I felt I wasn’t Vera, or a person, anymore, I’d become ‘the Jews’. I never felt safe again,” she says. Vera was one of the 669 children rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport and she remembers the ashen faces of her own, and other, parents behind barriers waving handkerchiefs. She was excited, believing the separation would not be for long and she had an autograph book that her friends, family and parents had signed. She had no idea she would never see them again. Vera doesn’t remember anything of the journey until reaching Liverpool Street. “I was completely

bewildered, sitting on a bench listening to announcements in a language I couldn’t understand and seeing other children collected and thinking no one was going to come for me.” But a Christian couple, Leonard and Nancy Faires, did come, along with their daughter, Betty, who became a lifelong friend. It was hard adjusting to life in another country without her family, and she was incredibly homesick but, she says, the Faires saved her life. Later she heard through the Red Cross that her parents, grandmother and other family members had perished. At 17, Vera who later taught English, moved to a kibbutz in Israel to reacquaint herself with her Judaism. There, she met Polish-born Avram. “He was so good-looking,” she chuckles. “There was a girl aged four in the house where he lived and he was really sweet with her. I thought ‘what a nice man.’” The couple married in 1953, had two children, and were founder members of both Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre – which provides social, therapeutic and practical support to survivors – and the National Holocaust Centre in Nottingham. They also worked with other organisations, speaking to children and adults about their experiences. “I felt by talking to children they would discuss it with their parents,” she says of her involvement, and feels very strongly about helping children in similar circumstances. “What happened to us wasn’t unique – there have been other genocides. We have to know about their experiences today. The children who are alone and stranded in Europe should have the opportunity to come to England as we had.” Sadly, Avram died in 2017, so he did not get to see Vera receiving an MBE this year for services to Holocaust education from Prince William, or an honorary degree from Roehampton University in recognition of her achievements in education. There’s no doubt he would have been very proud.

‘For the first time



in my life, I felt I had stopped being a person



5 1. Vera aged eight or nine. 2. Her family. 3. Vera on the way to England, 4. Vera and Avram in 1954. 5. Vera and Avram pictured for HMDT’s Moving Portraits project. Below: Vera with her MBE

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A daughter with no



Sharon Adler chairs the Zurückgeben foundation (the word means ‘give back’) Photo by Shlomit Lehavi

Speer with his children Albert and Hilde, front, and Margret, Arnold and Fritz, back Black and white photographs from Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth by Gitta Sereny, published by Picador

Her father Albert Speer’s role in the Holocaust has shadowed Hilde Schramm’s life. Here she tells Brigit Grant why forgiveness is not an option

am part of the generation born before or during the war. Growing up after it, many of us were very struck by what had happened and tried personally, professionally, and in politics to build another Germany; a Germany that’s tolerant, democratic and not antisemitic. I always feel I am just one of those people. The reason I’m more known is due to my father.” Hilde Schramm is talking about Albert Speer, Hitler’s personal architect in 1933, minister of armaments and munitions from 1943, and the father she barely knew when the war ended. With his intensive workload that included designing the Reich Chancellery and performing ‘armaments miracles’ with increased slave labour, Speer did not see much of his six children. As they played in the Alpine countryside, Hilde and her siblings were oblivious to the murderous machinations of the Third Reich and the decimation of the Jewish population. Ironically, ignorance of the Final Solution was Speer’s defence at Nuremburg. This later proved to be a lie, but the reality of being Albert Speer’s daughter has shaped Hilde’s life – curiously in the best possible way. Now 83, Hilde has dedicated herself to helping victims of Nazi atrocities and antisemitism. Already a recipient of the Moses Mendelssohn Award, in January this year she was given the Obermayer German Jewish History Award for her efforts in keeping alive the nation’s Jewish cultural past. It’s a hugely prestigious award established by an American Jewish philanthropist and although Hilde dislikes taking centre stage, public recognition for Zurückgeben, the foundation she started to support Jewish women in the arts and sciences, is essential to its survival. Zurückgeben, which translates as “return”, “give back” or “restitution”, began as an initiative at Hilde’s kitchen table. “I gathered a few female friends I trusted and admired… and they brought others,” she says, seated beside Jewish photographer Sharon

Adler, who is now chairman of the foundation. That Zurückgeben (www.stiftung-zurueckgeben. de) was initially funded with money Hilde got from selling paintings she inherited from her father is gratifying. As Berlin’s building inspector, Speer was responsible for dispossessing Jews of their homes, but once she determined his paintings were not Jewish property, she wanted others to benefit from their sale. “We chose the name ‘return’ to emphasise our aim of raising awareness about stolen Jewish belongings at a time when it was not talked about,” Hilde says, and the foundation’s website is filled with facts about the enormity of the theft and includes such shocking numbers as the 27,227 tons of furniture, furnishings and clothing transported to Germany just from Holland. That the expropriation, expulsion and murder of Jews in Europe benefited so many non-Jewish Germans directly or indirectly has become Hilde’s mantra. “They may not even realise what they have was taken from Jewish families, but returning it can be done literally or symbolically,” says Sharon, who recalls an elderly woman who inherited a set of five first editions by writer Heinrich Heine. “We traced the original owner’s great-nephew in London, and he gifted the books back to the German town of his family.” Hilde explains: “We don’t have the womanpower for lots of research, and if anyone comes to us with a house or paintings of value, we direct them to official restitution channels. If the object is from a Jewish family that can’t be found, we tell them to keep and treasure it, then symbolically give back to the community with a donation to support Jewish artists and scientists.” To date, the foundation has given more than €500,000 in grants to more than 100 Jewish women for projects. “It is not charity; I don’t like that word as that is not what we do,” insists Hilde. “So much was taken away from so many; we are trying to give

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back a little. A really little. The women apply for grants with their work, not because they are poor, even though many live in precarious situations because of where they have come from. It isn’t easy to get a foot on the ground in Berlin.” Shlomit Tulgan has her feet on the ground as director of Berlin’s Jewish Puppet Theatre. But she received a grant this year for her show, Isaac and the Elephant Abul Abbas, as it is about Syrian artists’ experiences of flight and is shown in refugee shelters and charitable organisations to promote a positive association with Jewish culture. Projects that address xenophobia greatly appeal to Hilde, who is committed to helping new immigrants, and hosts Syrian and other refugees at her home. “They stay with me while they decide what to do next,” she says, but she and Sharon aren’t numb to the backlash in Germany and the rise of nationalism across Europe. The recent shooting at the synagogue in nearby Halle and a Syrian with a knife trying to enter another in Mitte made everyone aware. “They kept him for a few hours and then let him go,” sighs Sharon in disbelief. “The official line was that there was no evidence of antisemitism in his background. As if….” “Dangerous acts happen in Berlin,” admits Hilde. “The general consensus here is to respect the Jewish community and the past. But there are some people who think differently and, as they grow up, they act upon it. With violence.” For Hilde, there is always another cause and, after our meeting, she is heading to Greece on another of her projects – supporting the ongoing claim for further reparations from Germany. In her mind, there is still much to do. “The crimes the army and SS committed in Poland and Russia are well-known, but very few people cared what happened in Greece, where they burnt villages, killed people and committed the sort of crimes I won’t dare to mention now.” Part of Hilde’s mission is to help Greek director Chrysanthos Konstantinidis get a wide release

of his film The Balcony: Memories of Occupation, which documents the Nazi crimes in his home village of Ligiades. “It’s the best film about the Greek Holocaust, but it’s hard to get any interest in Germany,” she explains. “The Germans don’t want to know about another story that blames their ancestors. Summer on the islands in tavernas is all they want to know about Greece.” For an octogenarian with such a history to have such determination is humbling, but she seeks no glory. “I don’t like to be thought of as an important person – just a decent one. I think I’m decent, but I am nothing special,” she murmurs. “You are very special,” says Sharon, squeezing her friend’s arm. All executive titles are honorary at the foundation and the work voluntary, so is it a need for forgiveness that drives this pensioner and former leader of the Green Party? Her eyes lower. “I can’t ask for forgiveness or offer excuses. What happened was so dreadful it cannot be excused. And in my opinion, it can never be forgiven.” After her father was spared the death penalty and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment at Spandau, Hilde – then a professor of education – tried to piece things together for closure. There was also a lengthy correspondence to try to understand the man she hardly knew. “Of course being his daughter affected my biography,” says Hilde. “But it affected relationships between mothers, fathers and grandfathers in many other fields. Had my father just been an actor or a functioner in the system and not so prominent, I wonder whether I would have acted the same way. I hope I would. But one never knows what would have been because you only have one life.” Which makes one want to ask – would Albert Speer be proud of the work she does supporting Jewish women now? Hilde pauses briefly. “Ja. Ja,” she says. “There is no doubt from me.” As the daughter who defied a legacy, only she can know.

Top left: Hitler with offspring of Albert Speer and Martin Bormann, 1939. Above: Hilde Schramm with the dictator’s hand on her shoulder

Albert Speer with his daughters Hilde, left, and Margret

Shlomit Tulgan, director of Berlin’s Jewish Puppet Theatre, received a grant for her show about Syrian artists’ experiences of flight

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19/11/2019 13:56

The Show

GOES ON With Shtisel season three confirmed, Brigit Grant asks producer Dikla Barkai what viewers can expect Location: Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv Interior : Office at Abot Barkai Productions. On the wall is a painting of a Charedi boy holding a goldfish in a plastic bag. At a desk sits Shtisel producer, Dikla Barkai Me: Can we play a game of ‘Hot and Cold’? Dikla: Excuse me? Me: It’s a kids’game. If I correctly guess a plot line in Shtisel season three, you say ‘hot’ Dikla: You can ask me anything. Me: Really? But I don’t want to ruin it for thousands of fans. They’re everywhere? Dikla: Yes, I’m amazed how many have watched it. I’ve heard from people in China. And Brazil. Me: So you really are doing it ? What about the cast labour dispute? Dikla: We solved that and we are good. We will shoot in the spring. Me: So we’ll see Shitsel three at the end of the year? Dikla: (laughing) Yes, we have started writing and it is really fun. More than fun. I feel very lucky. I have a meeting with the writers Ori (Elon) and Natan (Indursky) after this. Cut to:

The Conductor

When the producer of your favourite TV series announces that the next people in the room will be its creators, the urge to hide in a closet and eavesdrop is overwhelming. Torn between wanting to know and not, any reveals about the next chapter in the lives of the Shtisel family would be spoilers. It’s funny that Dikla, who has won a slew of Israeli awards for producing Srugim (religious singletons search for mates) and Shtisel (Charedi artist seeks shidduch) thinks of herself as lucky, because the audience feels that finding her shows. Srugim still ranks on Amazon Prime and the one glibly described as a “black-hat soap opera” is the cultural gift that keeps on giving. Thanks to Dikla. Raised in Petach Tikva, Dikla, 48, convinced an

executive at the Israeli television company Yes that Elon and Indursky’s script about Mea Shearim’s strictly-Orthodox community was brilliant, which was tricky in a country fraught with religious versus secular tension. But they bought it. With an Iraqi mother and Moroccan father, and grandparents who were new émigrés, Dikla was raised secular and knew little of the Charedi world. That world is currently the focus of her working life, so has it changed her? “I’ve always felt spiritual and my faith lives inside me, but am I closer to it?” she ponders. “I’m not sure. I’ve shed all my prejudices and feel a close connection to the society I never understood. I also think Shtisel has made us all a bit more tolerant. I just wish I could do more work that brings people closer together. Sometimes it’s hard to be a producer.” But she has managed it since 2002, producing numerous series, a film – A Summer Story – and documentaries while developing a sixth sense for scripts that touch souls. Take the Shtisel moment when Shulem (Dov Glickman) buries his face in the scent of his dead wife’s clothes or when his indignant brother Nuchem (Sasson Gabai) conducts an imaginary orchestra from the balcony as Mahler’s fifth plays in his head. To create such emotion with a single act brought Dikla to a story that has won hearts and minds internationally. “The new tech world is interesting to us, but eventually we look for a series about ourselves,” she surmises. In Elon’s The Conductor, Dikla’s most recent series, Lior Ashkenazi plays an acclaimed musician who leaves New York to return to Petach Tikva, where he resorts to conducting the local amateur choir to reconnect with his father. “It got the most emotional reaction in Israel – more than Shtisel,” Dikla volunteers. “People felt it was about them, particularly as it features songs from their past.” Once again, the themes of life, death and longing has made The Conductor ripe for

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Dikla Barkai with Dov Glickman, Neta Riskin, writers Ori Elon and Natan Indursky and Michael Aloni in off-set Shtisel images and, below right, Shira Haas as Ruchama

a remake and there is big interest across the pond. Dikla is already engaged in development for the American market, but is in the “I don’t know” phase about relocating. She has two sons, Tomer, 19, who is in the army and Ori, 17, both of whom are honest critics. “I show them versions of the edits and can tell from their faces if things are improving.” Modest about her contribution to Shtisel, she admits: “When I read the script in the very beginning, I said there were not enough women. From that Ruchama Weiss (Shira Haas) was born.” Dikla talks about Giti’s (Neta Riskin) daughter as though she were her own. “She is very special. So individual. She goes all the way with her dreams and desires, yet stays loyal to her community. It is amazing her character is written by two men. They know something about a woman’s soul.”

The creative process for her prize writers involves meet-ups, walks, talks and visiting museums. “I work very closely with them and also our brilliant script editor, Sayed Kashua, who has so much in common with Ori and Natan.” An Arab Israeli, Kashua has also created his own series for Israeli TV and as a Muslim provides unexpected joy in this very Jewish show. But Dikla is frightened about season three. “When you do something so good and get this reaction, there is an expectation. You get fearful.” Known as third album syndrome, musicians are familiar with the dread that follows big success. “You think you can’t do it,” says Dikla, but there is no doubt she can. I never reached “hot’ with my plotline guesses, so can only reveal: “There will be new characters”, and “Akiva

will still be painting” with ‘his work’ created by ‘goldfish boy’ artist Alex Tubis. “He doesn’t know it yet and I need to ask him,” says Dikla, who feels the Charedi boy in the painting looks at her differently every day. “I love it,” she adds. Ori and Natan are due soon and in our last few minutes, Dikla reflects on how different Shtisel is to other shows, notably its restraint – as not a hand is held or kiss exchanged. “Natan has taught us there are many ways to experience love. In the show, Shulem tells Akiva: ‘I never told your mother I loved her,’ but when he touches her hair in the painting, it’s a different way of saying I love you.” “So will there be love in season three?” I ask in haste. Dikla smiles. “What do you think, Brigit? What is Shtisel without love?” JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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Where there’s a Will, there’s a way for Camp Simcha to do so much more #campsimchalegacy #SOMUCHMORE We know that you want your legacy to provide for your family’s future generations. A gift in your Will to Camp Simcha would also allow us to provide essential support services for our extended family who are living with the fear, worry and upheaval of serious childhood illness. For further info about leaving us a legacy please contact Nicola on 020 8202 9297 or legacy@campsimcha.org.uk Charity Number: 1180646. A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England and Wales No. 11478657

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Perseverance, persistence

PASSION Director Minkie Spiro tells Deborah Cicurel about her reel life success


ownton Abbey, Better Call Saul and Holby City might sound like they don’t have much in common, but think again: they’ve all been directed by BAFTA nominee, Fulbright scholar, award-winner and all-round film and television sensation MINKIE SPIRO. Minkie, daughter of Nitza and Robin Spiro, who founded London’s Spiro Ark, has an impressive and varied list of film and television credits to her name. She directed episodes of everything from British teen drama Skins to Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, and working with such starry names as Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Williams and John Turturro. Minkie hadn’t set out to be a director, but everything changed after she graduated from Central Saint Martins and joined the

world of reportage photography. About a year into it, Minkie was commissioned by a UN charity based in New York to fly out to Bosnia Herzegovina to photograph child landmine victims of the ongoing war. “This was 1992 and at the height of the conflict – snipers were prevalent,” Minkie explains. “Once I arrived in Sarajevo, tension among the warring factions was rising and, along with many other journalists, we were forced to stay in the hotel for

Minkie with her parents, Nitza and Robin Spiro

Call The Midwife

Downton Abbey

days at a time. But you were still exposed to the sounds of the atrocities outside. “The gunfire and awful cries sent my imagination running wild. I began to write a diary to help keep me sane and grounded. When we were finally allowed out to do our job, I witnessed the aftermath of what I’d heard and made my way to photograph the injured children, both in the hospitals and in what was left of their homes. I witnessed a tragic senseless war.” When Minkie returned to the UK, she began to wonder about the best way of conveying what she had seen firsthand to those who had not.

John Turturro (The Plot Against America)

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Directing on Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Minkie with Zoe Kazan (The Plot Against America)

“I started to make little books to help me Minkie what it was like to work with icon process the Bosnian experience and, while Dame Maggie Smith – and in the case of this doing so, became acutely aware of the power legendary actress, the old adage about meeting of storytelling when you combine words your heroes does not apply. and images. I just knew I needed to study “Maggie was a dream come true,” Minkie this further.” enthuses. “A national treasure with a So Minkie applied to do a master’s in film phenomenal brain and such a sharp wit – directing at the Royal College of Art, where her so self-deprecating and so funny. I loved having career took an unexpected turn. coffee with her at the top of the day, in her “While studying, I applied to BBC2’s 10x10 trailer. I would talk through my plans and the series,” Minkie explains. “I was lucky enough to scenes at hand, but we always drifted away from get a commission and made a documentary work to talk about life. There was always a lot of called Rat Women.” laughter involved.” This documentary was a resounding success, Minkie’s strength, talent and positivity has won several awards and, on graduating, Minkie been helped by the influence of her parents, secured several long documentary specials who continue their inspirational work in the field for Channel 4 and that, as she says, “was the of Jewish education well into their eighties – beginning of it all”. A BBC drama and juggle the challenges of it alongside commissioner saw one of their eight grown-up children – her documentaries and and 16 grandchildren. invited her to direct an “It’s very hard to sum episode of Holby City. up just how influential The degree of her both my parents, talent was such Nitza and Robin, that the episode were and continue was nominated to be in all our for BAFTA’s Best lives,” Minkie New Director to remembers. Fiction, as Minkie “We are a very explains: “It was large family that pretty incredible is built on a to get spotted on my foundation of love first drama and from and respect. Minkie withRon Howard there it snowballed.” “This all came from our on Genius Petite and rarely without parents, who then enabled us her signature baseball cap, Minkie to explore and find our place in the is usually the smallest on a shoot, but makes world without judgement. They are remarkable a big impression. She has worked on some of individuals and a unique partnership who the most high-profile TV shows of recent times, have dedicated their lives to the greater good and is about to start directing an eight part of others and never gave up their goal of a psychological thriller for Netflix, Pieces of Her, visionary educational institute, even under based on Karin Slaughter’s bestseller. She has tremendously trying and adverse situations. also just finished directing a new HBO miniseries, “To have all these tremendous qualities Plot Against America, an adaptation of a Philip imbued in me from a young age is pretty Roth book. With such a varied roster behind her, special, and I would not have reached where how does she choose what to do next? I am today, without such inspirational parents to “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked guide me.” on so many wonderful shows,” she says with But how would she guide those with dreams genuine gratitude. “First and foremost, the story of entering the business now? Minkie’s advice is what draws me to a project. Does it resonate is practical, and unsurprisingly, inspirational. and is it a story I want to tell? Who is the talent “Don’t give up – it’s a long and sometimes I’ll have the privilege of working with? Will I be painful road,” she admits. “There will inevitably collaborating with wonderful producers? be setbacks and hurdles along the way, but “All these factors play a part in the decision hang in there. Don’t linger on the woes. process. And if I can find a story that makes me “It may sound cliched, but success consists of laugh and cry in the same breath, that’s the three Ps: perseverance, persistence (conducted icing on the cake.” with charm) and passion. Never lose it! Dreams As an avid Downton Abbey fan, I had to ask can, and do, come true.”

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This Shabbat, our synagogues are helping Jewish women and children to have Safe Todays and Strong Tomorrows

Affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence?

JWA is here to help

Domestic abuse helpline: 0808 801 0500

Domestic Abuse Service

Sexual violence support line: 0808 801 0656


Specialist Domestic Abuse support • Helpline Advocacy & Support • Access to safe housing Counselling & Children’s Therapy Education & Training • Safer Dating



Donate at www.jwa.org.uk/donate

Dina Service Specialist Sexual Violence support Specialist advocacy Support Line Counselling


Charity Number 1047045

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‘Oh, you’re a woman, you can do divorce’ Lawyer Vanessa Lloyd Platt talks break-ups and breaking through with Miranda Levy


N HER FIRST DAY as a trainee solicitor, Vanessa Lloyd Platt was sent out to buy cigars for her boss and put bets on a horse. A smart graduate from University College London, she was fuming. “Of course, it was deeply sexist,” she says. “But this was 1979. Now I talk smoking and spread betting with male clients.” Because she was female, Vanessa’s boss, Alan Lorenz, told her: “Oh, you’re a woman. You can do divorce.” Says Vanessa: “The irony is that more and more women lawyers have come into the profession and overtaken men – women are the forces to be reckoned with now.” On Lorenz’s instruction, Vanessa started specialising in family law, before moving to a firm in Finchley, where she worked until she decided to set up on her own, from a room in her thenhusband’s office building. “I printed off some headed paper and got a law society number,’ she says. “There was just me and a secretary. We put on different voices and pretended to be different departments. I was accounts.” For a while, Lloyd Platt and Company did both probate (wills) and divorce. “Until the day a Japanese client came in. I spent half an hour asking her about her sex life, until she said: ‘How long is my will going to take?’ It was then I realised I probably should specialise.” Vanessa won a regulars spot on breakfast TV, and acted for celebrities including Anne Diamond and Les Dennis. In 2000, she wrote a book: Secrets of a Relationship Success. While building her practice, Vanessa was also attending to her family: husband Charles and her two young boys, Michael and Gary, who were eight and 10 when she set up on her own. “I took them to school every morning then had to rely on

rotas and favours, but I always made sure I put them to bed. Then I worked late.” Vanessa’s first marriage ended in the late 1980s, “it just didn’t work”, before marrying her second husband, Daniel, on the rebound in 1991. “It was a mistake, but I had two young kids and didn’t want their lives disrupted,” she admits. There were some happy years, before the marriage imploded amid an extraordinary set of allegations. A divorce lawyer with two failed marriages? Far from worrying that this exposure undermines her credibility, Vanessa feels it has given her valuable insight. “I saw how women going through marital breakdowns don’t get a lot of support,” she says. “They are vulnerable and scared. So I started referring clients to counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. It’s not that common now, and it was definitely unusual back in the early 1990s. “I set up a special domestic violence unit. Not just for physical abuse, but emotional violence, too. There has been a massive surge in narcissistic behaviour by husbands.” While clearly a woman with a sense of social responsibility, Vanessa also has a healthy appreciation of the ludicrous side of her job. She laughs at her recollection of the wife who drove her husband’s new Mercedes to the edge of a cliff, and let it topple over. Then there was the woman whose husband had not spoken to her for 15 years, communicating only by Post-it note. “The other day, a woman got very upset and threatened to throw herself out of the window. I told her there was no point as we are on the ground floor. We never know quite who is going to walk into our office, or what is going

Legal eagle VLP with comedian Micky Flanagan, fellow campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen and Fiona Phillips

to happen.” Lloyd Platt and Co now has a staff of 21, including seven lawyers. Vanessa herself has a revived media career. “I was asked on a serious current affairs programme the other day: what is the main reason couples get divorced? The answer: they hate each other.” Meanwhile, she has not married for a third time. “I don’t need to,” she says. While she admits it’s “tough being a lawyer on the divorce scene as most of your clients are on Tinder and Jdate,” she has never needed social media to meet a partner. Vanessa “sort of ” has a partner and says she is very happy with the romantic part of her life. A committed member of the Jewish community near her home in Elstree, Vanessa has four grandchildren under the age of eight. This has led to her latest project: a campaign with Esther Rantzen to improve the rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren after divorce (they presently have none). “There are two million grandparents who aren’t able to see their grandkids,” she says. “This is as much about the well-being of the children as the adults.” While Esther is the public face, Vanessa is working on the legislation – the campaign launches in the next few months. On a personal level, Vanessa is happy and fulfilled. Now 64, she says she feels younger than ever, with well-paying Stateside clients and a house in West Palm Beach. “I’ve worked my guts out,” she says. “I have a fabulous life, lovely friends and amazing grandkids. I wouldn’t change a thing.” JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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‘No one has ever become poor by giving’ wrote Anne Frank, who realised the importance of philanthropy before her tragic death. Our community is blessed with people dedicated to a wide range of causes. In the spirit of our Wonder Women theme, we ask females who lead charities about their roles and the future Lisa Wimborne

Louise Jacobs

Chief Executive, Jewish Blind & Disabled

Chairman, UJIA

I joined the charity in July. It’s an exciting role for me but a wonder woman I am not, nor do I need to be. I realise how fortunate I am to have joined this great organisation. My initial focus is identifying what more we can do to improve the quality of our tenants’ lives and those struggling to cope in accommodation that is unsuitable to their needs, and then articulate this into an action plan. My approach from the outset has been to listen and learn and by talking to as many people as possible get a real feel for the charity in order to push both myself and this organisation forward. One of our greatest struggles is meeting current demand. We hope in 2020 to begin our eighth development of mobility apartments with state-of-the1 art features and technology, giving those with a physical disability or visual impairment their key to independence. In addition, our Independent Living Advisor visits people living in the community and, by constantly researching the latest means, helps them to maintain their much-prized independence.

I have been chairman of UJIA for nearly two years and there are many days that I certainly do not feel like a wonder woman! I do, however, feel a huge sense of responsibility for the task I have taken on. I feel passionately that we need to have an engaged and connected community with Israel, and how important Israel is as a part of our Jewish identity. This is especially challenging with the next generation, whose relationship with Israel is shaped differently from their parents and their grandparents. We need to constantly think through those challenges and adapt and respond as necessary. I feel it would be tragic if we failed in that connection; our community would be much poorer for it. Next year, UJIA will be 100 years old and we need to recognise this amazing achievement and celebrate all those who have played their part; while at the same time continue to ensure we look forward. For the first time in UJIA’s history, we will also have a woman CEO to lead us forward. I am excited we have two women thinking about the next 100 years.




Naomi Dickson Nicky Goldman

Chief Executive, Jewish Women’s Aid

Chief Executive, Jewish Volunteering Network I, together with Jewish Women’s Aid’s staff, am passionate about working towards ending violence against women and girls at a time when the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are adding momentum to our cause. JWA is on a mission to ensure all Jewish women affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence have the support they need and a safe space 3 and professional advice to help them take the steps to live a life free from fear. We will continue to work hard over the next year to ensure women know how to find us, through training professionals and also through our education programmes – speaking to young people about consent, healthy relationships and respect has never been more important. 4



I have worked professionally in the Jewish community for 35 years, but always volunteered. As a woman, I feel my contribution is to encourage and empower the team – staff and office volunteers – and others to play their part. Volunteering is good for your mind, body and soul, and JVN gets people volunteering. If we can inspire others to give their time for the benefit of others, we have done a good thing. JVN is 12 years old, so 2020 is the right time to review our purpose, vision and strategy to enable us to better promote volunteering, and to connect and deliver volunteers to opportunities that enable charities across the Jewish and wider communities to achieve more.

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Sue Cipin CEO of the Jewish Deaf Association Last month, we celebrated my 20th anniversary as CEO. When I joined the charity it was probably the toughest time of my life – a crash course in sign language and 5 an introduction to a world about which I knew little. I empower the JDA team by being supportive, adaptable, nurturing their talents and making them feel appreciated. I work hard, lead with total dedication and honesty, but admit when I make mistakes. The reward is a committed team of outstanding staff and volunteers who, in turn, support and empower deaf, deafblind and deafened people – often some of the most vulnerable members of society. We work here for love – love of what we do, love for our clients, and love for each other. In 2020, we will focus on raising more money to keep doing what we do best – supporting the people other charities don’t, and stepping in to change lives when nobody else can or will.

Ronit Ribak Madari WIZO UK Chairperson WIZO was founded in the UK in 1918 by such dynamic women as Rebecca Sieff, Vera Weitzman and Romana Goodman, and is now driven by women across the globe. All funds raised are for vital social welfare services throughout Israel at every stage of life, regardless of race, religion or gender. Involved for 27 years, I feel privileged to be taking this remarkable organisation forward to its next 100 years. Currently, we are working on a way to meet the challenges of a competitive charity market, to educate the community and demonstrate our understanding of the impact of today’s lifestyle on potential supporters we want involved. Naturally, it is harder to show people our work when our projects are in Israel, but the short visits we organise to introduce people to WIZO’s work offer opportunities to experience aspects not available to tourists, which reinforces our role and importance within Israeli society.



Joy Moss MBE and Anthea Jackson Executive Director, Jewish Child’s Day 6

JCD has a strong record of being led by women – even before female empowerment came to the fore! Over my 28 years’ tenure, I worked with no fewer than four women executive directors and a passionate female team. Together, we have grown the charity’s donor base and the number of Jewish children in need we support in Israel and around the world, as well as the growing number of disabled and disadvantaged children in the UK. Anthea came to us in August with 20 years’ experience in Jewish charities, and will help drive and grow the charity to ensure people from all generations connect and engage with our work. She has visited a handful of our many projects and is in awe of the commitment, drive and passion of the women who lead them. She is incredibly motivated to be part of what can be achieved through our support.

Ellisa Estrin Director, Jewish Care


Rachely Plancey Co-founder of Camp Simcha In 2020, it will be 25 years since we established Camp Simcha. Our vision was to create a charity that would offer bespoke practical and emotional support to Jewish families with a seriously ill child. With a young and growing family of my own in those early years of the charity, at times it did feel like there were not enough hours in the day, but seeing the difference Camp Simcha was making drove me on. Now the charity has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, among them 13 family liaison officers, all of whom go above and beyond to be there for families who need us, a whole team of wonder women.



I joined Jewish Care 10 years ago. I feel proud to work for an organisation where half of the directorate team are women and flexible working is fully embraced, so that those who are raising families and are care-givers are afforded the same opportunities as others. Even as we approach 2020, this still isn’t the case in so many industries, and for so many women. Every year Jewish Care, through its many services, touches the lives of 10,000 people. We remain committed to offering a service which is customer 9 centric and meets their needs. This past year, my focus has been on developing different ways to communicate with the community outside of traditional media and putting in place a new onboarding process to make the 400 clients and their families who come into our homes each year feel supported every step of the way. I am privileged to work alongside a fantastic team of talented men and women of different ages, faiths and nationalities, all committed to supporting one community – the Jewish community. 1. Lisa Wimborne 2. Louise Jacobs 3.Naomi Dickson 4. Nicky Goldman 5. Sue Cipin 6. Ronit Ribak Madari 7. Joy Moss and Anthea Jackson 8. Rachely Plancey 9. Ellisa Estrin


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Brigit Grant meets the unashamedly Jewish Drag Queen ahead of her Palladium debut The arrival in the UK of RuPaul’s Drag Race was the greatest gift BBC3 could bestow on the thousands of fans who have been glued to the US show forever. Adored predominantly by young girls – my daughter among them – the search for America’s next drag superstar hooked the fan base with 12 seasons of fantastical flouncy fashion, caustic wit and more Yiddishisms than even Mrs Maisel can muster. That the reality show’s eponymous host occasionally wears a Star of David, kept an English–Yiddish dictionary underneath his chair and told contestants “it’s beshert” was thrilling for viewers of the faith, but engaging with the Hebrews didn’t end there. In the resident judge Michelle Visage, who is currently owning the floor in Strictly Come Dancing, RuPaul found a flag-waving shayna maidel, who talked about her genius delivery of the Haftorah at her batmitzvah and refers to any Jewish drag queens as “mishpucha”. Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) and Sasha Velour (Alexander Steinberg) were Jewish winners, but there were others who were highly placed. Miz Cracker is “mishpucha”and came fifth place in Season 10, but it the wisecracks in her smart online show Review With A Jew (202K followers) that gives her the edge, and in February she will be one of the first drag queens to headline at The London Palladium since Danny La Rue. “I am so excited,” says Maxwell Heller, the ‘him’ behind his dazzling alter ego. “We were offered the opportunity by Holy Trannity (the home of drag queen entertainment) and we thought we would give it a whack. So I am bringing the sisters (other

drag queens) with me to perform, as without their help I wouldn’t be where I am now.” Born in Seattle, Maxwell now lives in Harlem, Upper Manhattan, where from behind a sewing machine he reflects on life postDrag Race. “Appearances across the US that afford me the right to work just four days a month” and “lots of travel – Lisbon is great, but the biggest welcome is in the UK”. Maxwell intended to adopt the name Brianna Cracker for his female self, but it proved too much of a mouthful and Miz was a pithy honorific that cut some ice in the fiercely competitive New York drag scene. “There are an unlimited number of girls, but limited clubs.” Before La Cracker, Maxwell taught English to Senegalese nationals in NYC and now speaks their native language, Wolof, fluently. He also earned his black belt in judo, but the only belts he wears these days are covered with sequins. His handling of a sewing machine is the result of his artist mother, Kristi, doing lots of craft challenges when he was a child; Miz Cracker has 100 dresses, not including the one he was stitching. The theme tune for Review With A Jew is Hava Nagila, and Maxwell says his family was devout when he was younger. “Now I’m just culturally Jewish,” he says, adding that his very public identity and affiliation is less about being brave and bold than having no sense. “Antisemitism is very present in the States, too.” Intending to enjoy Miz Cracker’s celebrity while it lasts, Maxwell believes she has a duty to support important causes such as #MeToo, and her ‘She’s A Woman’ sweatshirt is a good seller. “I feel drag queens are incredibly visible right now and should speak up for what is right,” he says, although determining what is and isn’t correct is a political correctness minefield. “I go by what my mother taught me – instinctively you know what is right.” Spoken like a true Jewish mother’s boy. Or girl. Miz Cracker will be at The Palladium on 23 Feb 2020. For tickets, go to www.eventbrite.co.uk JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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19/11/2019 14:42

The Danish

GIRL She survived the Amazon, made a Hollywood movie and dated a prime minister’s son. Now Lee Levi is moving into fashion


eaching the 5,000 friends limit on Facebook signals lionisation in the world of social media – so it’s no surprise that Lee Levi can’t accept any more requests. As a model, influencer and actress, this Danish 26-year-old only has to appear in a pair of Gucci sunglasses to have everyone slavering for them and a poster of her advertising a cosmetic brand creates a crowd. Yet she remains charmingly modest about her allure, possibly because she lives in Tel Aviv where beauty is in big supply or because she knows publicity can be double-edged. Dating Yair, the son of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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2015 certainly got her some attention and she was the girl everyone wanted to know more about for the few months they dated. “It’s not easy being the prime minister’s son,” says the actress discreetly and she broke up with Yair long before he emerged as a controversial figure renowned for his political tweets and misogynistic comments caught on camera. Fortunately politics isn’t Lee’s thing and getting along with people was an essential part of life growing up on the Danish island of Rømø, which is only 16km end to end with a population of just 700 . “It was very very small and insular. And yes everyone knew everything about everyone,” she says in response to the obvious. Her parents Arie and fashion designer Elisabeth had the only clothing store on the island, so Lee was introduced to style at an early age. But then she was sent to

Lilly Blazer in Rose, with matching trousers.Jacket £130, trousers £103

boarding school where she cried every day and only found happiness in dance classes. “My passion was ballet and hip hop,” she notes before she moved to Cambridge at the age of 15 to study performing arts. Like a lot of gorgeous women with a dream of movie stardom she then went to the Lee Strasberg theatre and film institute in Los Angeles, but before she had time to find her feet in the business, a failed love affair, no income and an expired visa took her back home. It wasn’t for long as a conversation with her brother got her thinking about where she was happiest.. “My father’s family are from Bulgaria, but he was raised in Israel, so we would visit my grandparents at least twice a year. I was always at peace there, because of my Jewish roots and the way the country made me feel.” Relocating to Israel wasn’t an instant fix – “I was a waitress in a café,” she says, but then she got signed by an agency and became the face of campaigns for Kenzo and an ambassador for Chopard and Tous jewellery. When she then added the Israeli PM’s son to the mix, waitressing was a thing of the past and she was whisked to the Amazon rain forest to be a contestant in Hamesima: Amazonas,, an Israeli reality show about celebrity survival. “I made it to the last few, but then in one of the final challenges I got caught in a rope and suffered second degree burns. They wouldn’t let me continue because of the risk of infection.” Lee’s reality has since taken an even more exciting turn as she will soon be seen in the neo noir film American Night alongside Jonathan Reyes Meyers and Jeremy Piven, but more importantly she has created her own fashion label – Ivel – a luxurious collection of suits, shirts and skirts pictured here that will be available at Selfridges before the end of the year. “I couldn’t be more excited,” says Lee who is chuffed to be following her parents lead. “ They have been the best role models in my life, so why wouldn’t I?”

IVEL Wrap Shirt in Black or White with puff sleeves and elevated collar £103 Marine short highwaisted skirt in boucle with gold buttons £103

Marine Shorts in White in fringe boucle with pearl buttons £103

For Lee’s clothes visit Smartech at Selfridges or www.ivelshop.com

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Victoria Pants in red with satin tape £103. Red belted blazer with a unique twist £138

IVEL Wrap Dress with ruffles in tobacco, £103

Maxi style 70s flower dress with bell shaped sleeves and flowing skirt £112

Silky smooth satin cargo pants £95 Stargirl Jacket in Black £112

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Putting faith in


Stylist Emma Samuels introduces the Jewish women behind the need-to-know labels

Cara and The Sky

One Vintage Before sustainable clothing was the hottest topic in the fashion world, one woman had already conquered the vintage clothing market with her fashion forward designs. Marcelle Symons, founder of One Vintage, has been making her mark in fashion circles for the past 30 years. Her journey began with a multiple brand boutique. With a passion for antique designs, textiles, embroidery and beading she began experimenting - embellishing vintage clothing to create one-off pieces which she would sell amongst other brands in her store. Her first order from Harrods in 2000 was swiftly followed with exclusivity on Net-a-Porter for six years with a personal request by Natalie Massaenet, founder of the site. One Vintage was a huge success with her designs a complete sell out. Marcelle explains: “Every product used in my designs are sustainable and only ‘dead stock’ is used in order to create one-off, individual items of sustainable clothing.” With 10,000 items of clothing in 18 years under her stylish belt, Marcelle’s success is still going from strength to strength, with her dedicated store on Portobello Road, a recent collaboration with Browns and pop-up stores in Geneva and Hong Kong. www.onevintagedesigns.com, www.brownsfashion. com and www.farfetch.com

Cara Melzack is the new broom in retail fashion, but she already has her colourful exclusive knitwear range in boutiques across the country, and the bloggers who matter came to the launch party at the Camden stables. An Edgware girl who has worked in the industry for more than ten years with Ted Baker and Lost Ink, founding her own label – Cara & The Sky – was a dream, but she identified a gap in the market for unique knitwear that doesn’t cost the earth and pushed ahead. Getting her range manufactured in the UK was key to production as she wanted it to be eco-friendly and long-lasting. The AW19 collection now at www. caraandthesky.com

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Deborah Lyons Deborah Lyons together with her business partner Kamelia Kamel are dressing the female leaders of tomorrow with tailored, fashion forward designs. Parsons graduate Deborah started out designing shoes and with the success of launching her collection in Harrods she and newly appointed business partner Kamelia branched out into womenswear. Deborah, who solely designs the collections, was inspired by her successful female friends who wanted to dress professionally while expressing themselves individually with timeless sustainable clothing. With a strong ethos for giving back, Deborah’s goal is to eventually donate a percentage of sales to the charity Women for Women, who give moral and practical support to female survivors of war. www.deborahlyons.co.uk

Sunuva When a member of royalty starts wearing your clothes, it’s a sure sign that you’re on the fashion map. The young ones are usually the trendsetters and they don’t start younger than Prince George, who channelled Sunuva in Kensington Palace’s official third and sixth birthday pictures. Sunuva, which boasts 370 stockists in 57 countries, is the brainchild of Sabrina Jaggar and Emily Cohen. During a chance meeting on holiday in Herzliya they found themselves chatting about the importance of protecting young skin and their joint inability to find fashionable and protective swimwear for their children. Fast forward 12 years and Sunuva is a world-leading, one-stop holiday shop brand with a strong ethos for fashionable clothing whist protecting your skin. Sunuva has gone from strength to strength with its unique and exclusive prints all designed and manufactured in house. Its vast collections includes children’s swimwear, vacation clothing, accessories and, more recently, women’s, men’s and teen collections. What better compliment than to have Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Gwyneth Paltrow dressing their children in your designs? www.sunuva.com

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Faux fur split pocket coat £295 Floral mandarin collar dress £200

Uniquely original in his approach to retail, James Lakeland likes his customers to know what to expect


Tailored star coat £269 Sequin neck tie blouse £135

ashion designers aren’t big on sharing. Hidden away in thread-strewn salons with their sketches and fabric samples, a designer only emerges when a new collection is runway ready and buyer prepared. James Lakeland is not that way inclined. Gregarious and ebullient, he refuses to succumb to the industry’s furtive ways and chooses to detail the journey of his collection on social media. It’s hard to imagine Stella McCartney posting a pic of a coat and asking: “Big stars or little stars?” or showing his followers a dress with the question? “Better as a skirt and top?”. That he even deigns to confer with his customers on social media reflects just how well he knows what they want and there aren’t many in the fashion world who can make the same claim. When he opened a tiny showroom in New Cavendish Street in 1992 with his late mother and started making cashmere sweaters for retailers all over the UK, James, 51, was always focused on designing for real but sophisticated women. Now those

very women are the clientele frequenting his eight shops and 18 concessions,which hold his main collection, but he also does a line of individual bespoke pieces for each store. James believes that shopping should be a fun escape, but his customers are serious about the Italian cut and tailoring of their clothes. Appearing online while visiting his manufacturers in Rome is entertaining, but what’s more impressive is that he is speaking fluent Italian. “e come sono orgoglioso di farvi vedere le nuove creazioni del autunno” he chimes, which means he’s proud to show his new autumn creations. “We also use social media to let our customers know of events and promotions we organise at our many locations,” says James, a former UCS pupil who is married to former JFS pupil Michelle, a constant presence at the St John’s Wood shop and an obliging model of a coat or three on her husband’s Facebook page and instagram. The family which includes two daughters, Alissia, 17, and Melodie, 10 live in Highgate, which is convenient for all the shops. The Lakeland vision for the future is to continue to grow as a brand internationally, while focusing on expansion in America and the Middle East. Hopefully he will be on camera all the way. www.jameslakeland.net

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Cue the

GOLDEN OLDIES In the age of disposable fashion, Brigit Grant struggles to let go of clothes – and isn’t alone


he world’s oldest known piece of clothing is a 5,000-year-old linen shirt. Excavated at Tarkhan, an ancient Egyptian cemetery dating back to 3,000 B.C, the shirt is still in pretty good nick. There’s no way of knowing whether it was a recent purchase for its Egyptian owner or a thing he had held on to it for years despite his wife’s protests –“Masudi, chuck out that schmatter!” Holding on to old clothes is not for everyone but it suits me. Choosing to ignore declutterer maven Marie Kondo (maven means no-itall in Yiddish, by the way) I refuse to throwout garments I haven’t worn for several years because a) they may pass muster teamed with new separates or b) can be worn for weeding. But there is another reason. Clothes conjure up memories in special places with special people. I still have a vest my late father wore on holiday more than 30 years ago. Also a scarf my Nana wrapped around my head when I had an earache and then there’s the beach skirt I borrowed in 1983 (when I was thinner) from a Swede in Greece and I still wear it. These clothes are the nostalgic equivalent of comfort blankets and as my nana always said “old is gold”. Even comedy writer Larry David hangs on to stuff such as the Seinfeld jacket in his closet. He may not wear it out, but he likes to know it’s there.

SUZANNE DOFFMAN Lives in Finchley and volunteers for Kisharon at the Equal shop

“I went all over London looking for a suitable synagogue dress for my son Adam’s barmitzvah. Eventually I ended up buying it at Genevieve which is literally round the corner from my house. The barmitzvah was at Woodside Park

continue to cover a multitude of naff outfits and take me through marriage, three kids and four countries. Pretty FCUKing cool if you ask me!

NEIL GOLD Sales executive


and lives in Arkley

Synagogue. I don’t keep any of my old clothes but loved the dress and kept it in a cupboard (not in my bedroom). I was tidying up and sorting out the spare rooms after my boys left home and found it. Adam is now 26 and living and working in Beijing. After finding the dress I wore it to a charity dinner a few months ago and then remarkably I chose to wear it to a barmitzvah party just a few weeks ago. I’m glad I kept it.”

DEBBIE COLTON Netball coach, lives in Mill Hill and has resided in India, Greece and Hong Kong

“I was never cool or stylish but my dad was a French Connection franchisee for many years and my dark denim jacket was one of the favourite items I was gifted (well helped myself too) over 20 years ago. At the time it felt pretty cool worn on top of my rolled up FCUK sweatshirt. What I never envisaged, is that while I was never going to be cool myself, my ‘cool’ jacket was going to

I’ve always collected T-shirts to remind me of places and events. The oldest tee is 31-years-old from a place called South Padre Island. Where? Exactly. It’s a large sand dune just off the coast of Texas where the oil baron ‘Ewings’ of Dallas fame would have vacationed if they were real. At least that’s what I was told by some Texans and off I went to South Padre with my mate Howard. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to much, and the only oil was black stuff and stuck to your feet on the beach. There was also an oil rig visible from the shore. We relocated to Acapulco, but not before I got the tee, which did actually fit me back then. My other all time clothing treasures include – a T-shirt featuring the entire Spurs squad in a recreation of the Beatles’ classic Sgt Pepper album cover. Gary Mabbutt and Darren Anderton are on there so you do the maths [1997].”

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the laundromat). She asked to wear my oh-so bohemian Mexican hooded poncho and gave me her perfumed LFI sweater in return. It seemed like a good deal. I certainly smelt better with it on. I’ve never been to Long Beach Island. I image it to be long, sandy and surrounded by water. But for me it will forever be synonymous with camp fire songs, learning to juggle and play guitar, tie-dye T-shirts, friendship bracelets, Shabbat services by the lake and employing my English accent to devastating Hugh Grant-effect on Karen, Simone… etc and casualwear queen Wendy. Oh, Wendy. I’ll always have your Champion sweater, you’ll always have my Mexican poncho (which, I’ll have you know, remained the height of fashion until late spring 1993)… and we’ll always have the boat shed.

MELANIE MARKS-NEWMAN Estate manager, lives in LA and hails from Hendon

“I have a pair of Andy Pandy looking trousers that I bought during a lunch break at Finchley Market in 1986. I moved them out here to LA, kept them, never wore them, had two kids and always kept them. I don’t know why really – maybe to see if I could still fit in them. They still fit! And due to their Andy Pandy qualities, I wore them this year to 4 July festivities!!”

RICHARD FERRER Editor, Jewish News, lives in Finchley

What to pick? My QPR FA Cup final tracksuit, sun cream-stained cricket hoodie or Level 42 tour t-shirt (now only held together by stains)? It’s a tough call, but for sheer sentimentality the item of clothing I put on a pedestal is my Long Beach Island Champion sweater – conjuring rose-tinted memories of the Wonder Years summer of 1992 spent as a councillor on an American summer camp. The week before the kids arrive is a blur of training and snogging. I only had eyes for Karen, Simone, Audrey, Natalie, Rachel, Lucy and Wendy (don’t recall surnames, but Wendy let me drive her orange 1970s Audi Quattro to

in South Molton Street! I rediscovered it recently when I was looking for an outfit to attend an award ceremony at Pinewood Studio, at which I was nominated and won) the award for best creativity as a director! It was a truly thrilling night and I was so pleased to be able to turn around to my husband to say, “See! If you keep things long enough they DO come back into fashion!”

AMANDA NOAR Producer, director actor who lives in


North Finchley

Journalist, author, well-known

and TV and film

This is an outfit I bought for my son’s barmitzvah, 17 years ago, from a boutique

Zionist, lives in Brighton

I’m not what you’d call clingy; not only do I find it pleasant to divest myself of things I’ve outgrown – metaphorically and literally – but I take a special pleasure in giving away things I’m fond of. For the past three years I’ve worked in my local MIND shop and this has given an extra ease to my long-term stream-lining project. But there’s a piece of clothing I never wear which I will never get rid of. It’s a cheap stripy top size 18 M&S top – but I wore it on my only Zionist Federation trip to Israel in 2013. It went everywhere – to the underground Haganah command centres, to hospitals, to a training school for seeing-eye puppies, to the Knesset and to the beautiful, brave Arab village of Abu Ghosh, where we were shown astonishing hospitality. So this humble garment will always remind me of a lovely time in the country I love best in all the world.

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FUTURE Jane Pena has ocular solutions

As we hurtle towards the next decade, it’s time to assess the damage of the past 10 years to our mind and body. The iPad (2010) Snapchat (2011) and Hoverboard (2013) have kept us sedentary or on crutches and we are fatter in spite of the rise of veganism and the sugar tax. Upcoming Chanukah donuts won’t help with that, but chubby faces look younger. Fortunately the decade has given us more age-defying products and, with more to come, by 2030 we will look even younger than we do now. Remember, age is most visible around the eyes, so invest in good creams to lift those windows of the soul.

Embryolisse Smoothing Eye Contour Care £17.84 When you get sent a sample and then buy it, there is no question it works. Declared a “high security” care product the mix of hyaluronic acid with vitamins A and E with soothing regenerating plants (sesame, cornflower and meristem) takes the edge off dark circles and wrinkles. Doesn’t cake under make-up either. www.lookfantastic.com

PRIORI® Tightening Eye Serum TTC fx330 £58 It is encouraging when the name incorporates your needs with bonuses. This contains a Triple Turmeric Complex as well as green tea, licorice and Gotu Kola Extract to counter loss of tone or sagging skin around the eyes. Easy to apply, it’s a master with puffiness and evens out ageing pigmentation.

Goldfaden MD’s Bright Eyes £48 After 40 years as a dermatologist Dr Gary Goldfaden knows about skincare solutions. This is the no1 best-selling eye cream at Space NK and talk of Instagram. The contents -Soy peptide, Vitamin K, Rice Bran Extract, Organic Red Tea and Jojoba Oil – reads like a stir-fry, but delivers intense hydration and firmness to make the eye area lovely, luminous and youthful. www.spacenk.com/uk

Elemental Herbology Eye Elixir £44 A collagen booster to reduce the appearance of dark circles and make the delicate skin around the eye look smoother. It does repair work too on fine lines and crow’s feet. www. elementalherbology. com


Revitalash Aquablur £55

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye

Renowned for growing lashes,

Concentrate Matrix £49

Revitalash is the eye expert and

As the Jewish woman behind the eponymous

this lightweight gel moisturises

cosmetic company Estée Lauder was still glam

the delicate eye area while

when she died aged 97. From such wisdom

smoothing skin, blurring

comes this nourishing, skin strengthening

imperfections and creating the

formula with’360° Matrix Technology to

perfect foundation for under eye

provide a cushion of plumping support for

makeup application. www.revitalash.co.uk

that eyes wide-open look. www.esteelauder.co.uk

Perricone MD Eyelid Lift Serum £89 Only Dr Perricone could come up with a wish list product like this. The secret to fixing droopy eyelids is the potent Essential Fx Acyl Glutathione which also reduces the lid lines that age eye shadow. Perricone’s Firming & Illuminating Under-Eye Cream £129 with its powerful Neuropeptides and Vitamin B3 is the jewel in the crown as it allows skin to retain moisture as it deals with wrinkles, saggy under eyes, dullness and discolouration. www.perriconemd.co.uk

Teoxane r [II] £54 Brightens the eye contour from the first application. Intensely hydrating for tired puffy peepers, the formula contains EPS Seafill, a wrinkle-filling marine ingredient and Escin, an antioxidant that holds collagen and elastin in the skin. The long bottle has wi a cryo metallic applicator for tapping, so no skin pulling. www.teoxane.com

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BEAUTY FLASH Happy Hair Desperate to recreate the smooth, silky finish of a hairdresser’s blowdry? If you can’t without straightening irons you’ll want a RevAir(£359). Created by a transatlantic team: Edgware-based Debra Isaacson, her brother Kip Cooper and friend Scott Thomason, this hefty but innovative piece of kit delivers a professional kink-free hair-do simply by sucking. Or is it blowing? “It really all began at my daughter’s batmitzvah as my brother who lives in the states was over and told us how he made my niece’s pony tails by using his hoover,” explains co-founder Debra who sends her children to JFS. From this odd confession, the idea for reverse-air technology was born which is essentially surface water being pulled away to allow heat to work more quickly and effectively. Discovering that suction, with a bit of heat could dry hair straight was a revelation for Debra, who struggled to achieve splendid with her thick, unruly hair. RevAir uses 50% less energy than conventional blow drying so it’s healthier for the hair too, but space is needed to store it as it takes up as much room as a Henry. There are women wielding the vacuum online and raving about the RevAir, so think of it as a tool of empowerment that took five years to develop and now makes the hirsute happy. Hairdressers won’t be, since it produces sleek and shiny without their help. The only drawback? You won’t be able to hide from your husband. www.myrevair.co.uk

Fragrance of Faith

If you want a perfume with a hint of parashah, check out TOLU which has ingredients mentioned in the Torah: “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices – gum resin, onycha and galbanum –and pure frankincense, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer.” The perfumer making it now is Linda Jayne who creates bespoke fragrance at her Bond Street workshop then sells it in her flagship store. The instructions Moses received required the perfume to be salted, pure and sacred, ground into powder and placed before the ark of the covenant law. You just have to take TOLU home and place it on your dressing table, but be mindful as Moses was told: “Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people” (Exodus 30:34-38). Linda’s extra orange blossom, clary sage with intense citrus notes to consolidate the harmony is unlikely to get you ostracised. www.ormondejayne.com 12 The Royal Arcade 28 Old Bond Street W1S 4SL

Lighten Up

THE BEST IN BEAUTY Who doesn’t want a salon-grade beauty device in the comfort of their own home? On the basis that everyone does, Israeli company Opatra creates devices for home-use that are potent skincare solutions. Opatra’s innovative technology includes the DermiSonic: an anti-ageing skin repairing device based on galvanic ultrasonic treatment, massage and LED light therapy. In plain speak that’s a nonsurgical facelift. The Dermieye reduces puffiness and wrinkles around the eye with a unique ION technology which works with your skin current to help absorb creams, while the vibration massage (200 pulses per second) stimulates blood circulation to the eye area. Unbelievably the DermiEye runs on AAA batteries as with Opatra devices there are no plugs or chargers – just a USB cable or battery. “People want that salon-finish in their own home and that is what our brand is about,” says Company Director Effy Salhov. “We’ve created fun, tactile products that actually work and give professional results.”With exceptional customer service and a lifetime warranty which reflects their confidence in the product.


It was 1947 when young Jewish New Yorker Evelyn Kossak created a product that would go on to be used by women of all ages globally. That product was Jolen Creme Bleach, one of the few top selling beauty brands to be created in a small kitchen. When Evelyn took her bleach to a Boston department store, the manager wasn’t convinced the product would sell, but he chanced it and by1964 the volume of sales was so large they had to open a factory - which still operates today. Fittingly the founder of the bleach company didn’t just fade away and retire, but continues at the age of 95 to consult on marketing and advertising. www.boots.com

Wow Wow Magic (240 shekels) is the Israeli Skin Serum developed by beautician Gail Schneider in Eilat where she sells it at her salon in the Dan Hotel and does the best brows. Worth popping by if you are there as it is fabulous under makeup and firms, lifts and improves radiance. www.wowbrows.net

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Goodbye to glasses

Richard ‘Four Eyes’ Ferrer now has better-than 20/20 vision thanks to the latest innovations in laser eye surgery


t wasn’t the countless mornings wishing I could find my glasses so I could find my glasses, or the countless nights I slept in contact lenses and woke up looking like I’d stumbled off the red eye from Rio. What finally convinced me to get laser eye surgery was my optician uttering the dreaded B-word. BIFOCALS! Getting your precious peepers zapped by lasers isn’t something to decide in the blink of an eye. I’d contemplated it since it became an option in the 1990s. Now, faced with wearing face furniture that is essentially half telescope, half magnifying glass, it was time to finally take the laser leap. I Googled people who’d had it done – Boris Johnson, Brad Pitt, Richard Branson, Tiger Woods, Christiano Ronaldo, Taylor Swift and, it turns out, some 30 million other who couldn’t see much beyond the giant E on the optician’s chart. I booked an appointment with Ophthalmic Consultants of London (OCL), a Harley Street surgery with 100 percent five-star reviews, opened in 2018 by top surgeons Romesh Angunawela, Ali Mearza and my guy, Allon Barsam. They have 55 years’ experience and 20,000 successful operations between them. Their spa-like white marble office is adorned with modern art, fresh cut flowers and giant eye-shaped light fittings staring down from the ceiling. As I excitedly helped myself to an OCL own-brand bottle of water my glasses could tell the game was up, sliding indignantly down the bridge of my nose as if to say: “You bastard.” For two hours my eyes (-3 left eye with astigmatism and -3.25 right) were given a Rockystyle work out with puffs of air, flicking letters and shapes and a dye that dilated my pupils, making it look like I’d popped something I shouldn’t. The thickness of my corneas were measured and Allon confirmed I was a suitable candidate for

Lasik (Laser assist in situ keratomileusis), the most popular procedure to fix near and far sightedness and astigmatisms. My dominant left eye would be corrected for distance and weaker right fixed for reading, giving me 20/20 blended monovision. Cue forensic research during my final out-offocus fortnight. I watched videos of the procedure and YouTube clips of countless people Top: Richard (left) with thrilled with the life-changing results Allon Barsam after surgery. – and, yes, one or two Above: the OCL team who weren’t. Op day arrived and I was given Valium and a bang-on-trend hair net and led into a neonblue theatre. I lay back, my eyes were taped open and doused in anaesthetic drops. I was handed a comforting pair of stress balls to squeeze and told to focus on the green target light above my head. The two-step 15-minute surgery began with the first laser creating a microscopically thin flap at the front of my cornea. Alon pulled back the flap and then used laser number two (which sounded like Fred Astaire tapdancing) to reshape my eye. All I could see was a foggy underwater light show – part rainy firework display, part Millennium Falcon zooming into hyperspace. Each eye took five minutes. I felt a little pressure and claustrophobia as the cornea flaps were made but the rest was a breeze. I’ve had worse hay fever. At the end I was asked if I could see the time on a white clock on a white wall I hadn’t spotted on

the way in. 3.24pm... the second hand just past the 20... the quartz crystal oscillating at precisely 32,000 times per second. What superhuman powers were these?! From this day forth I shall be know as Hawkman. Hawkman had a nice lie down and a cup of tea in the recovery room as Allon admired his handiwork. I was given four sets of eye drops for recovery and put in a cab home, where I went straight to bed in a pair of bang-on-trend eye guards (if nothing else it’s worth getting Lasik for the cool free fashion). Next day my vision was blurry and my eyes sore but I could comfortably read up close and watch the kids playing in the garden without face furniture. My 24-hour post-op check-up revealed I had 20/20 vision. Seven days later, when my eyes had settled down, I had crystal clear 20/10 vision! I could read the very last line of the chart. My sight was now better than it ever was with glasses. Eight weeks after the operation the dry eye had gone, along with occasional blurry evening vision that made me avoid driving after dark. I could see detail, texture, shade and shape that escaped me since childhood. Drops of dew on blades of grass; shades of orange on autumn leaves; my wife’s true beauty (her line). In 48 years, I’ve never looked so good.

• Richard’s eye surgery cost £4,400. Interest

free repayment plans available. Find out more about Ophthalmic Consultants of London and book an appointment at oclvision.com or call them on 0203 369 2020. Twitter: @oclvision JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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Schluffing Longtime insomniac Miranda Levy shares the expert advice and products that get her to sleep


o, 5779 is in full swing, the heating is on and we’re all getting ready to hibernate. Personally, I love this time of year: chunky boots, cosy evenings and misty, mellowly fruitfulmornings. But I didn’t always salute the early winter sun. Off and on for the past 15 years, I have suffered from severe, disabling insomnia. Right now, it’s not too bad – I get an average of five hours a night – but I always assumed the darker months would lead to more, and better sleep. Apparently not, according to ‘sleep evangelist’ and psychologist Dr Sophie Bostock, (www.thesleepscientist.com) ‘Because we have less exposure to light this time of year, we have a shorter ‘photo period’,’ she says. ‘Our circadian rhythm is affected and our body clock doesn’t wake up properly. This means we are less likely to sleep well the following night.’ For those of menopausal age lack of

sleep becomes a pressing issue. Deborah Forsythe is a consultant who runs clinics advising menopausal women on how to get through this time (dfclinics. com). ‘There are three main symptoms around the menopause,’ she says. ‘Inability to lose weight, especially around the middle, ‘brain fog’, and insomnia. Our bodies instinctively want to behave as they did when we were cave people – waking up at dawn, eating early evening. And menopause is a natural process. But we have 2019 lifestyles to negotiate.” In her clinic, Deborah treats her patients with bio-identical hormones. “They are synthesized from a plant chemical extracted from Wild Yams - and are a natural alternative to HRT. Women can benefit from bio-identical therapy because it can provide relief from a wide range of symptoms experienced during the menopause.”

Now for the SLEEP EXPERTS tips Get a ‘baby’ routine ‘Think back to when you were a child or had a baby of your own,” says Deborah.“The routine was early tea, slow play, bath, hot drink, bedtime story. Adult’s need their own version. Try listening to white noise, a gentle podcast or an app such as headspace. com. Dodow, (mydodow.com) is my favourite -a device which helps slow your breathing, in preparation for sleep.”

Miranda’s SLEEP STUFF L’Occitane Prestige Relaxing candle £59.99 Contemplating the gloomy afternoons gets easier if you have some Provençal sunshine and lavender waiting for you at home. The Coco de Sérénité candle is also infused with sweet orange, bergamot and mandarin. Lovely for the bath don’t set fire to your duvet! An expensive treat.

The Mela Comfort Weighted Blanket (£124.99) Weighted blankets have been a ‘Thing’ in the US for a while. Cover yourself with this 15lb quilt, and feel like a toddler cosily tucked in after a bath and a bedtime story. I like this product so much, I drape it over my knees during the evening (in fact, now!) to relax and decompress. Bit hot for overnight (for me), but others love it.

Eat for sleep Deborah recommends a low-carb, higher fat diet including cream in your coffee, but no caffeine after midday. “I also advise patients not to eat within two hours before bed. Other unrelated research suggests that foods rich in a substance called tryptophan can aid sleep by converting chemicals in the gut to serotonin, which is associated with healthy sleep. JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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Miranda’s SLEEP STUFF Puressential restful range include the Rest & Relax Bath- Shower (£9.99) and the Airspray (£16.99). Instructions tell you to spritz the latter into the four corners of your bedroom - then inhale 12 essential oils including rosewood, neroli, and sandlewood. It’s very calming: as is the bath and shower oil. More reasonably-priced than similar products. Tisserand Aromatherapy Sleep Better Massage & Body Oil (£9.95) The blurb says it’s rich in vitamins, antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Maybe so, but this luxurious, non-sticky oil leaves your skin feeling silky and smelling of sesame and jojoba. Great if you want to involve a partner in your wind-down routine. See other sleep products below.

Be mindful “Going back to basics helps prepare for a restful night’s sleep,” notes Deborah.“Talk to the people you live with. Read a book, not a Kindle or electronic device. Writing a journal can help empty the mind, and is a cathartic exercise. ‘You go to bed with an empty mind, having processed what you’ve done that day, and how you feel.”

Light up your life There isn’t much to be done about short days and long nights. But you can illuminate the subject by investing in a light ‘alarm clock’. “Waking up to a room bathed in light can go a long way in minimising the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression,’ says Sophie Bostock. Try the Philips Sleep and Wake-Up Light (£149.99 philips. co.uk), or the Lumie Body Clock Glow 150 Wake Up to Daylight SAS light (£71.99 johnlewis.com).

Add sunshine to your diet Deficiency in Vitamin D can affect sleep duration and quality. The latest advice from Public Health England suggests adults and children over the age of one year should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of a vitamin D supplement every day. Take exercise in the open air whenever you can.

Park your FitBit or sleep tracker At least during night-time hours. Guy Leschziner is the clinical lead at Guy’s hospital in London, and the author of The Nocturnal Brain (Simon and Schuster). ‘Anything that draws attention to sleep can make it worse, and cause anxiety even in ‘normal sleepers’, he says. ‘Most importantly, sleep trackers do not contribute to the treatment of insomnia. They may do significant harm.’

Embrace your hours of wakefulness Columnist and author Julie Burchill calls her insomnia ‘Extra life’ and says: While such celebration is a tough ask if you are exhausted and miserable, there’s something to be said for filling your time with something that makes you happy.

A little help from hemp CBD OIL THE CBD OIL (Cannabidiol) sold in the UK is derived from Hemp, a sister plant to Marijuana that has a high CBD composition. When the body is deficient in human cannabinoids, it can’t function properly which impairs many things including memory, mood, appetite and SLEEP. CBD is a supplement that is proven to restore the balance and used regularly will aid restful sleep. Be sure to buy from a reputable company such as HUGG or BUD AND TENDER which produces a fruity-tasting 100% pure CBD Cannabis oil for is restorative and aids sleep and anxiety. The company also makes personal recommendations, based on an individual’s needs and with two strengths 1000mg(£80)and 500mg(£45) as everybody is different. They advise starting with a few drops under the tongue and working the dosage up until you feel the benefits. www.budandtender.com, www.thehugshop.co.uk

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Ramon Lipton: 0208 732 5588, ramon@velenski.eu

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19/11/2019 15:48

SANDWISH Louisa Walters takes a rye look at the story behind salt beef

hen restaurant critic Jay Rayner’s father Des was in hospital, like all good Jews he complained about the food. He was pretty partial to a salt beef sandwich, so his dutiful son went to Monty’s Deli and picked one up for him. Sadly, Des had no appetite for it, but when he died, Jay took himself back to Monty’s to pick one up for himself. “It doesn’t cure me of grief. And it certainly doesn’t bring Des back,” said Jay. “But G-d knows, it helps.” What is it about the humble salt beef sandwich that makes it the ultimate ‘chalish’? Salt beef (corned beef in the US) is generally

considered to be an Ashkenazi Jewish food, but it was in fact the Irish who first started exporting it to the UK. To understand how it wound up on rye with mustard and a side of new green, you need the full history as it was actually the British who invented the term ‘corned beef’ in the 17th century to describe the size of the salt crystals used to cure meat – they were the size of corn kernels. Kashrut laws demand that tougher cuts are used and the curfew on koshering is 72 hours after the kill; without time to hang, meat cannot tenderise, so salting and slow-cooking are popular with Jews. The Irish Cattle Acts of the 1600s are too

involved to go into, but as salt was much cheaper in Ireland it became the hub for corned beef and it didn’t take long for Ireland to be supplying Europe and the Americas. Much like now, Americans weren’t prepared to wait in line and by the end of the 18th century they were making corned beef themselves in preparation for the influx of what turned out to be… the Irish. Imagine how the new immigrants felt after years of famine and poverty at home to arrive in New York City and discover that all they could afford was corned beef – the thing their great-grandparents were famous for. Oh, the irony

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Reubens today

and the confusion as the meat the Irish were buying came almost solely from kosher butchers. So, if you’ve followed all that, you’ll realise that what we think of as Irish corned beef is essentially Jewish salt beef with cabbage and potatoes. With such a meaty history, it was inevitable that salt beef bars and ‘kosher-style’ (ie not kosher) delis would eventually spring up all over New York. Carnegies, which opened in 1937 near Carnegie Hall, is probably the best known. Famous for surly waiters and skyscraper corned beef/turkey/pastrami sandwiches, its motto was: “If you can finish your meal, we’ve done something wrong.” It closed in 2016. In December 2018, for one week only, Amazon Prime worked with the owners to bring the restaurant back to life as a pop-up in celebration of the second season of their series of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. More than 6,000 reservations were taken. Servers were in period attire, food was offered at 1958 prices and all purchases were made as suggested donations to charity. The Irish may have played their part in salt beef history, but here in the UK the Greeks have, too. Bambos Georgiou was working in the salt beef trade in London’s West End in the 1950s when he was approached by Charles Clore, then owner of Selfridges, to open a salt beef bar in the store. This was the birth of The Brass Rail. A few years later, Bambos and his former apprentice Jerry Komisar opened Jerry’s, a kosher salt beef bar in Edgware. In 1978, Jerry sold the business to Bambos and B&K was born (K is for his wife, Katerina.) Their sons and grandchildren now run five sites – B&K in Edgware and Hatch End, and Tongue & Brisket in Leather Lane, Goodge Street and Wardour Street.

Reubens, the iconic kosher restaurant on Baker Street, proudly served the community with salt beef and other traditional Jewish fare for 46 years. It closed unexpectedly in May this year and was swiftly picked up by the S Group (which also owns Soyo, Pizaza, Delicatessen and Pita), refurbed

and reopened a few weeks ago. Originally the brainchild of businessman John Chesterman, who thought the West End was crying out for a decent kosher restaurant, Reubens was always lauded for its succulent salt beef. The late Michael Winner visited in 2007 and declared it “even better than Selfridges”.

Harry Morgan’s has an even longer history. Established on St John’s Wood High Street in 1948, it is a self-styled ‘slice of the Big Apple’. Tanya Gold at the Spectator said in 2016 that it served the best salt beef in London, before declaring it the restaurant she would want to be in during an apocalypse. Harry Morgans

Monty’s Deli would not have done well in apocalyptic storms as it began life as just a London market stall in 2012, but owner Mark Ogus was on a mission to refine the perfect pastrami and salt beef – food that his grandfather Monty introduced him to – and he now has branches in Spitalfields, Victoria and Seven Dials.

It would be remiss of me to write about salt beef without mentioning Blooms, which served its last sandwich in the East End in 1996 and in Golders Green in 2010. The Blooms sandwich experience was like no other because of the farbissener* waiters, who could clear a table at the speed of a cyclone. Yet we kept going back, if only to complain, which we love to do.

A poll on The Restaurant Club Facebook group, north-west London’s favourite foodie platform, declared B&K the best salt beef around today, but this is a big city and with Reubens back in Baker Street we’re never too far from a pikelfleisch**. *Yiddish for angry **Yiddish for beef preserved in salt

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19/11/2019 15:51

Where to EAT

Louisa Walters samples new restaurants offering truly mouthwatering dishes



Mango Cricklewood An Israeli, a Muslim and a Christian walked into a restaurant… this isn’t a joke, it’s the new team behind Mango Grill in Cricklewood. The restaurant, bar and shisha lounge has had a full refurb and Guy Ganish has waved his Israeli wand over the menu. Hummus, shawarma, roasted cauliflower and lamb filo cigars complement other Middle Eastern dishes such as babaganoush, fattoush salad, shish kebabs and one of the best malabis I’ve eaten outside of Israel. Guy is a big fan of Israeli chef Eyal Shani (North Abraxas in Tel Aviv) and his influence shows in the beautifully fresh, nicely presented, very tasty and good value food.

Caractère Notting Hill After seeing Emily Roux (daughter of Michel Jr) win best newcomer at Hardens Restaurant Awards, I couldn’t wait to visit her restaurant Caractère. Rustic Notting Hill meets sophisticated contemporary Parisian brasserie with painted brick walls and plush velvet banquettes with squishy cushions. Beautiful little canapes, such as a crisp filo pastry with smoked cod’s roe, are served with drinks. A risotto heavily laced with parmesan and dotted with girolle mushrooms and hazelnuts is creamy, tasty and tangy while roasted John Dory with grilled leeks

and buerre blanc is a wonderful combination of textures and flavours. Arlettes mille-feuille is thin layers of caramelised pastry holding together juicy blackberries and cream. Emily, 27 is often seen around the restaurant and her mother also helps out; Michel comes by to collect her. Alongside the unquestionable culinary expertise from the youngest generation of restaurant royalty, it’s this sense of a family mucking in together that makes Caractère so special.

Bite Me Sushi Camden

Well known for its mini burgers, aka sliders, Bite Me Burger has now launched Bite Me Sushi – a fantastic range of nigiri, sashimi, maki and ramen soups. Best of all is the sushi tea – a three-tiered stand with sushi rolls and delightful cupcakes – no sandwiches and scones required!

Circolo Popolare Fitzrovia This big, brash, bold Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia is fun, fabulous and affordable! Huge plates of pasta and pizza are served up in a vast, spectacular room with walls covered with paintings, flowers, posters and 20,000 spirit bottles while the ceiling is covered with hanging wisteria and twinkly lights. Outside is no less of a statement – the frontage is covered in a riot of foliage. But is it any good? I absolutely loved it! Six of us polished off two enormous platters of

Circolo Populare

pasta and a metre-long pizza, great gin cocktails and the creamiest of creamy tiramisu. Truffle Shuffle pizza, with fresh truffle and truffle sauce, is most definitely one of the best dishes in London right now.


East London What happens when a former manager of Berber & Q teams up with a former chef Bubala from The Palomar, The Barbary and The Good Egg? First they run a series of supper clubs and then they open a Middle Eastern veggie restaurant on Commercial Street. Fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup, cabbage braised in pomegranate with zaatar chimichurri, confit potato latkes… get the idea? There’s laffa and labneh and mejudra and medames and it’s all so exciting and tasty that even if you’re a confirmed carnivore you just don’t miss the meat.

Old Favourites Melissa in Canons Park (named after the owner’s daughter) never fails to feed fabulously! From the cacık, tarama and hummus with bottomless pita to marinated lamb or chicken and meat-free mains like Patlican Salata (grilled aubergines and peppers with yogurt and butter); falafel and vegetarian kebabs it’s a great place for date night or to go with friends or the family. No matter how much we order we are always hit with a reasonable bill. Hard to beat for a local meal.

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Winter warmers


For a scrumptious starter or a winter blues-busting meal in itself, try these quick and easy vegetarian broths, which brim with colour and taste – and provide the best form of central heating!

Hot or Cold Beet-Fennel Soup 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and cut into chunks 1 large red or sweet onion, cut into chunks 2 garlic cloves 3 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano (optional) Fine sea salt and freshly-ground pepper 6 cups (about 1 ½ litres) chicken or vegetable broth

Serves 6

5 medium red beetroot, trimmed, peeled and cut into chunks For serving (optional) Plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche with strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces Cucumber, preferably mini (Persian), peeled (or not) and cut into rounds or small dice Minced fresh herbs, for sprinkling Cracked ice cubes

The Soup 1. Pour one tablespoon of the oil into a large saucepan and warm over a low heat. Add the fennel, onion, garlic and herb, if you’re using it, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften (about 15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth and beetroot, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes. Don’t be impatient — the beetroot must be easily pierced with a knife. 2. To purée the soup, use a blender, either upright or handheld, or a food processor. Discard the spent herb sprigs when you come to them and blend the soup for a minute more than you might normally to ensure a silky texture. 3. You can serve the soup hot or let it cool a bit and then refrigerate until it’s thoroughly chilled. If you’ve refrigerated the soup, stir it before serving. Hot or cold, the soup is good with any of the suggested toppings; the strawberries are especially good when the soup is chilled. For the cold version, I like to put a couple of ice cubes in the bowls (or glasses) before I pour in the soup. Make-ahead tip: The soup can be made up to three days ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. If you want to reheat it, do so gently. Beet Soup from Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Pumpkin Soup 750g pumpkin 1 sweet potato Salt and pepper ½ red pepper, grilled and peeled


Serves 4-6

1 litre homemade vegetable stock 3 carrots 2 apples, peeled 2 cloves of garlic

The Soup 1. First peel the pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potato, and cut them all into large cubes. 2. Place them in a pot and cover with vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper and then add the garlic. Bring the contents to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. 3. Meanwhile cut the apples into quarters and remove the pips and cores. Add the apple and grilled pepper to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes. 4. When cooked, blend the soup with a stick or regular blender, then put back on a low heat and stir well.

If suitable for your par ticular condition, oats can be added to a soup about 15 min utes before it is cooked (ab out 45g per litre of liquid). This wor ks very well as a substitute for creamed soups, to give them richness and added sweetness.

From the Tasty & Healthy Cookbook published by Meze Publishing in association with Professor Dan Turner of the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.

Gingery Healing Broth With Mushrooms, Carrots, Leeks & Kale Serves 6-8

1 tbsp neutral oil (canola, avocado or rice bran) 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger 1 tbsp grated fresh garlic 2 cups (460g) thinly sliced mushrooms (including portobello, oyster, white button, baby bella, shiitake) 4 leeks, trimmed and sliced crosswise into thin rounds Salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 cups (2l) vegetable or chicken stock (if you don’t have stock handy, you may also use water) ⅓ cup (75ml) soy sauce 2 cups (360g) shredded cooked chicken (you may use leftover roast chicken or grilled chicken) 2 carrots, peeled and julienned Half of a 7oz (220g) package udon noodles 1 handful of washed & stored kale, torn into small pieces Drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional) Fresh red chilli, stemmed and very thinly sliced (also optional)

The Soup 1. In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, vegetable and mushrooms. 2. Use a wooden spoon to keep the ingredients moving in the hot oil. Sauté for three minutes, then add the leeks. Cover and cook until the leeks have softened – about four minutes longer. Taste and season generously with salt and black pepper. 3. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the soup is rapidly boiling, reduce the heat level to medium and add the chicken, carrots, and udon. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. 4. Remove the broth from the heat and stir in the kale. Season once more with salt and pepper. Before serving, I suggest drizzling each individual serving with a tiny (⅛ of a teaspoon) drizzle of sesame oil and topping with a few chilli slices.

From I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen by Kim Kushner. Photography by Kate Spears. Published by Weldon Owen

Make-ahead tip: Gingery healing broth can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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19/11/2019 16:03

A Moveable

Feast From barmitzvah banquets to House of Lords lunches, Beverley Bersch is the star caterer saluting her grandpa

WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, BEVERLEY BERSCH’S grandfather, Toby Levy, asked her whether she thought a rich man or a poor man felt more pride when making a party. She said she didn’t know, and he told her that they were equally proud – the love in the room is what counts. Fast forward to 1990. With a diploma in Le Cordon Bleu and a little business experience, Beverley launched her own kosher catering company and, with her grandpa’s words in mind, set out to provide first-class functions no matter how big or small the budget. She named it Toby Levy Catering. Based in Essex, Beverley goes where the work is. Over the past 30 years, she has fed a prestigious list of royals, MPs and celebrities, as well as the likes of you and me. From brit milahs to barmitzvahs and marriages to milestone birthdays, Beverley has catered for the full spectrum of life events. There are no industrial kitchens or preprepared dishes – all the food is prepared and cooked on the day. Hired to cater for 1,200 attendees at a Holocaust Memorial Day event hosted by Theresa May meant the team of 40-plus were in situ at Westminster Hall at 5am. Three hundred people for a wedding at The Langham – it’s all freshly prepared in the hotel’s kitchens. One hundred and fifty guests in a shul hall – all the food is made on site. Beverley is very proud of this. Alongside being the designated kosher

caterer at the House of Commons, the House of Lords, Clarence House, St James’s Palace and Lambeth Palace, Toby Levy works at most of London’s five-star hotels, and at all kinds of other venues. In 1996, the company was asked to cater a lunch for the then Prime Minister John Major, a dinner for HRH The Duke of Gloucester, and a reception for Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Naturally, this attracted the interest of the press and Toby Levy Catering was proud to be featured in glossy magazines. Two years later, the company was chosen to be the official kosher caterers for the Department of Trade and Industry. There’s been film and television work too, with a reception at the BBC, consultancy work for BAFTA-winning movie Veils and an interview on BBC4’s Sunday programme. The range of dishes and menus is vast, but it’s all authentic. “We don’t serve wonton soup that tastes like chicken soup – it’s a proper wonton soup,” says Beverley. “If you want authentic chicken soup, you can have that too.” She has in-house printing and lighting services and can source all the other elements needed for a function. Melanie used Toby Levy Catering for both her son’s barmitzvahs. “We liaised with Beverley directly and she was extremely helpful. My husband is gluten-free, and she made sure his and anyone else’s dietary requirements were satisfied. There was a problem with the ovens at the venue, but the food was still delivered on time. Beverley was wonderful to deal with and kept in touch after the event.” Toby Levy would be proud. www.tobylevy.com

Roll me up

Watch husband and wife team Jason and Oi make their exquisite ice cream rolls on their website and it will push you towards inviting them to your party. Your guests will thank you, as the creation of the rolls is fascinating – with a tasty grand finale. The couple were living in Thailand – where ice cream rolls are a street food tradition – and decided to bring them to the UK, after sourcing the essential hot plate machines on which to make them. With many years in hospitality, a quality product was the first thing they had to achieve and living in the Cotswolds gave them access to the best ice creams. After lots of chopping and tasting, they put their own slant on the Thai favourite and now Roll Me Up adds a unique and fascinating dimension to any event, no matter the weather. www.rollmeup.co.uk

Boothy Nights

Memories are made behind the Wacky Booth curtain in front of the camera. The company also creates the personalised book in which to keep the photos of your friends and family dressed in crazy attire, holding signs and props. Wacky Booths can also do keyrings for guests, light-up letters for the star of the show, and a silent disco for those who likes kids happy but quiet. The latest addition to their stable is a single fairground booth in which guests, once seated, put on virtual reality eyewear and experience all the sensations of a rollercoaster. www.wackybooth.co.uk JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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Boys with bite!

It’s great to see young guns making it work in the competitive world of kosher catering and that’s how it is for Stuart Bernstein and Benjy Levey. In no time, their company Eat Me Events has become one of the most sought-after in London for weddings, bar/batmitzvahs, charity events, engagements and birthday parties. Working with five-star hotels across the capital and into Essex and Hertfordshire, the entrepreneurs offer a bespoke service in fine dining, buffets and speciality food stations – and all of it certified by the London and Sephardi Beth Dins. www.eatmeevents.com


Adam Soller got his first camera when he was 11, growing up on a moshav in the north of Israel after his parents made aliyah. Photography was always a serious hobby, but he went into sales after leaving the Israeli army and eventually moved back to the UK. Five years ago, he became a London cabbie and, after he finished The Knowledge, he realised he missed studying, and poured his energy into learning about the latest photographic

digital technology. Then he took his camera out in the cab and captured some great street shots of London. Next, friends and family started asking him to do shoots for them and it grew from there. As his own daughter, Aimee, was batmitzvah three years ago, Adam understands what it is like to be the celebrating family, and goes to great lengths to keep things calm and relaxed. “Good planning and a hands-on approach can help achieve a successful shoot. You might find me driving the family to the venue in my taxi, moving or fixing table centres, on the floor or up a ladder to get that great shot. I always come home exhausted but buzzing!” www.adamsoller.com 07412 953953

Make It Reel

Fact. You will not be able to extricate phones from the hands of your guests. And not just the kids. Adults struggle at functions too and get in the way, so rather than fall out, make a virtue of it by getting them all to download the Event Capsule app. Once they have it, all photos and videos taken at the party is automatically uploaded by Event Capsule’s Nicholas Richmond, who turns it into a film no official videographer could get. But there is more! Included in the very reasonable price comes Nicholas with his camera, and he will be at your event to capture the speeches, dancing, magic moments... which he then combines with well wishers’ messages and guest photos. There is no keepsake like it and it’s cost friendly. www.eventcapsule.it 020 7157 9705

Chocim Chocolate

With more than 15 years as a head chef in some of the finest restaurants in London, Chocim Chocolate founder Kushan Marthelis now runs his own artisan chocolate manufacturing company. Sri Lankan-born with a Jewish wife, Kushan wanted to work in the community and his chocolate centrepieces are showstoppers. Everything is made by hand to ensure the best taste and quality, but with a low sugar content. At a function, Kushan can operate from a 6ft table and go up to 18ft for those who like a lot of truffles. Chocim Chocolate has been at a Lord Sugar party, but the starting price is negotiable. www.chocimchocolate.com

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Letizia Events is Israel’s premier boutique event planning and design production firm. With a full range of services that includes event concept and design, budgeting, venue selection, staging and guest management, Letizia creates customized weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday parties and corporate galas that make each client’s unique vision a reality. Catering to an international clientele, Letizia is available to plan and impeccably execute destination events in Israel and Italy.


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GETTING THE Everyone needs a bit of help to get through a big event, at a price they can afford


ax Hermet was going to be an accountant. Or an osteopath. Fortunately he chose neither, and is now the face and all-round fixer at WA Carr & Son, an event hire and management company that is young enough to care about its clients and do it at a price they can afford. As those who have made a bar mitzvah, wedding or big party know, it’s a tortuous business. Even the most confident hosts quake at the prospect of holding an event that requires lights, music, a stage, decorations and lots of plates and glasses. But it doesn’t have to be! The WA Carr & Son team alleviates the anxiety the moment they walk through the door. They are Hertfordshire’s local event specialists.with multiple storage locations who cover Oxford to London and everywhere in between. Providing all event hire services and planning alongside Marquees, WA Carr & Son work for some of the most well known companies in the local area and UK and pride themselves on a high standard and execution. You could say Max was born into the hosting business as his mother Frederique had a small crockery hire company in Croxley Green near Chorleywood for some

years before she approached caterers to grow the venture a little. Max was then studying osteopathy and planned to open a clinic. But it was all change when he started helping out his mum and got caught up in the party atmosphere. “We then bought two other companies – catering equipment and furniture hire – and it went from there,” says Max, who now has a team of more than 14 with whom he can create anything you desire, be it The Greatest Showman in a banqueting suite or a Hogwarts-themed barmitzvah in a hall. While still supplying all the caterers, Max saw the need for a company that could provide not just the table settings and furniture, but all the extras and he went for it. “We do every bit of furnishing, incorporate all the settings into the décor and we now make props as we have carpentry and welding machines on site.” In truth, with Max’s personable and anything-is-possible attitude, WA Carr and son has grown exponentially in the past 12 months. “Event management was a natural progression because we were asked for help from clients when we were just providing the marquees. They did not know what to ask their suppliers and

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E MAX we did. On-the-day management is so important at an event as we know everything from the layout of the room to what plugs and generators are needed for the DJ or the band. We don’t work on massive margins, but we are the first ones in and the last to leave.” And though they are now a one-stopshop for any event and can provide all the music, flowers, balloons and knives and forks, they are still doing a great line in marquees – including one with three metre legs. They can also do the crockery, but then they always could. www.wacarrandson.co.uk 01923 773611

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A true hidden gem, St Pancras by Searcys has the longest Champagne Bar in Europe, while the Brassiere can be transformed into a spectacular event space for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Birthdays, Weddings and all social occasions from 10 guests for up to 400 people. Quote ‘Jewish News’ when booking for an exclusive or dry hire of our Brasserie and receive a Free Glass of Fizz on us! (Ts and Cs apply)

T. 0207 870 9900 E. enquiries@stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk W. stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk Grand Terrace, Upper Concourse, St Pancras International Station, N1C 4QL

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ITALIAN JOB If you want to exude La Dolce Vita at your Promised Land simcha, Louisa Walters recommends Letizia Events


o you want to make a wedding in Israel but you like the way Italians do things? Meet Letizia Fargion Piattelli, an Italian event planner who made aliyah 22 years ago and has made functions in both countries, plus many others around the world. “I have been in this field since the beginning,” says Letizia. “When I made aliyah I brought my Italian taste and style. In Israel I learned to put them to use on large projects.” It would appear she has a lot more to offer too. Testimonials on Letizia’s website have a common theme – she is enthusiastic, fun, organised and ‘a joy to work with’. When I attended a chuppah in a graffiti adorned carpark in Tel Aviv this summer I thought I’d seen it all. Perhaps not: “From chuppahs with a sea view or in a cave to barmitzvahs in archaeological sites plus more traditional locations, there is a never-ending supply of event venues in Israel,” Letizia tells me. “Israelis are very versatile and we try to adapt new ideas and original concepts to each new project,” says Letizia.

Making your function in Israel definitely adds a unique value to it, she says. “Holding a simcha in a place that is significant to you makes it so much more meaningful. The history and traditions of Israel coupled with our unique locations and of course your family and friends being on holiday makes it very special.” Letizia can also arrange activities around the celebrations, which is particularly popular for bar mitzvahs. “The barmitzvah becomes an opportunity for the families and friends to be together to experience acts that are full of values, such as packing food for families in need or visiting soldiers in a military base,” she says. One thing is for sure – if you’re going to make a function in Israel you will need a professional to help you. From the venue, the catering and the entertainment to the photography, the lighting and the staging, Letizia will control everything, as well as the bureaucracy and contracts that differ to how it all works here in the UK. She can also sort accommodation, transport and tours for your guests. www.letizia-events.com

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PARTY P Louisa Walters highlights some truly fabulous venues for holding an event THE GLAM PARTY

THE COUNTRYSIDE PARTY It’s hard to think of anywhere as pretty to party as South Farm. Set on the Cambridgeshire borders in Royston (only 30-plus miles from north London) this picturebook venue is the quintessential backdrop for anyone’s big day, be it a bar or batmitzvah or a wedding. We are all eager to avoid the copycat culture of hiring the hall favoured by your friends and South Farm are experts at putting on functions. The farm house has movie magnetism and ceremonies can be held indoors in the Old Dairy, Tudor Barn or Drawing Room as well as outside in the Summerhouse. With formal seating for 146 and party capacity for 200, it also offers accommodation for 24-plus unlimited camping, or glamping in the Romany caravans. South Farm: 01223 207581, www.south-farm.co.uk

South Farm

When you were a teenager and wanted a sneaky burger and fries in a great venue you’d head to Maxwell’s. Now you’re all grown up and want to make a function in a great venue you can still head to Maxwell’s – although not exactly. Maxwell’s has a lot more to its name these days, including Café de Paris and Tropicana Beach Club, which are both superb venues for weddings, bar/batmitzvahs and milestone birthday parties. A big advantage of these venues is that there is no need for additional styling and theming – both are spectacular in their raw state. They also offer a huge range of entertainment options, in-house furniture and audio-visual equipment so you don’t need to juggle a whole list of suppliers. Housed in an iconic Grade II listed building in Piccadilly, Café de Paris is dazzling, opulent and large – it can seat 300 on round tables. Think glittering chandeliers and grand sweeping staircases and lots of magnificent original features from 1924 when it opened. Café de Paris has thrown some of the most extravagant events and parties London has ever seen, with the most exciting of guests and performers from a 21-year-old Princess Margaret to the legend that was the artist formerly known as Prince. Tropicana Beach Club in Covent Garden brings the tropics to London and a really great vibe

Café de Paris to a party. Lots of colour, lots of fun, state-of-the-art lighting, sound system and staging. Seats up to 220 for dinner or hosts a stand-up event for 600.

Tropicana Beach Club Café de Paris: 020 7734 7700 www.cafedeparis.com Tropicana Beach Club: 020 7242 8600 www.tropicanabeachclub.co.uk

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Y PLACES Whittlebury Orangery


THE STYLISH PARTY The London Edition is perhaps best known as the home of Jason Atherton’s Berner’s Tavern restaurant. The beautifully designed and furnished super-luxury hotel is in a great central location in Soho and has a range of different spaces for events from private dinners to cocktail receptions for 220. Everything from film premieres and product launches to board meetings and investors’ dinners has been held here, in one of the ‘studios’, the penthouse suite, the private dining room or the basement nightclub. The London Edition: 020 7781 0000 www.editionhotels.com

The private function room

Why limit your simcha to one night? Holding your wedding at a hotel a couple of hours outside of London means that you will be surrounded by your guests for two days, making the event that bit more special. Whittlebury Park is a lovely hotel in rural Northamptonshire, with 213 bedrooms and an award-winning spa. It has wonderful grounds for photographs and three lovely rooms for weddings. The Orangery is framed by two glorious oak trees either side of the main entrance. Orangeries became fashionable in the Georgian period and this one is very traditional with a flagstone floor, sweeping wrought iron staircase and a grand piano. It seats 120 people.

THE FUNKY PARTY Shoreditch is now well established as a creative hub, and The Curtain Hotel on Curtain Road is a choice destination for creatives seeking a place to eat, drink and dance. It’s chic, unpretentious and unstuffy, and is one of the few venues in London where visitors can enjoy late-night live music seven days a week. Recently refurbished, The Burbage Room is The Curtain’s largest and most versatile event space, marrying a five-star banqueting suite with an East London feel. Exposed brick and concrete are the backdrop for a really cool room that is fully adaptable with movable walls. It can accommodate 120 guests for dinner and dancing or 350 for a standing reception. The space boasts 14 Function-One speakers and ambient lighting. The Burbage Room at The Curtain

Whittlebury Terrace The Pavilion, adjacent to the hotel’s cricket pitch, has a marquee lining (white in summer/ starlight in winter). With seating for up to 200, the Pavilion has a classical fireplace, leather sofas and a large bar area. It also has a large terraced patio, lawn with woodland running along the side and a lovely balcony for photos. The Atrium has large balconies to two sides with spectacular views across the oak parkland. A large picture window frames the park and is often chosen as a stunning backdrop for a wedding ceremony. The space is adaptable and can accommodate up to 400 guests. 01327 850000 www.whittlebury.com

The Curtain Hotel: 020 3146 4545, www.thecurtain.com/private-events

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EXCLUSIVE BEAUTIFUL BE SPO KE Stunning gardens encircle a host of enchanting indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception spaces A diverse range of delicious menus with seasonal home-grown, locally sourced food Wildflower meadows and orchards create the perfect wedding backdrop and a haven for wildlife Impeccable service from our friendly, professional and experienced team www.south-farm.co.uk | info@south-farm.co.uk |

@south-farm1 | 01223 207581

020 8505 2725 / 07910 285115 www.tobylevy.com • tobylevy@talk21.com Glatt Kosher under the supervision of the Sephardi Beth Din

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The imcha


As the man who made Wonder Woman’s wedding, Danny Marx is one of Israel’s top event producers for a reason TO TRULY UNDERSTAND WHY YOU NEED DANNY MARX to create your event in Israel, you need to see him in action. Fortunately no plane ticket is required as there are short movies online that capture every stage of production from building platforms, awnings and chupahs to arranging flowers,food and music. That Marx’s team in action bears a striking similarity to a film set crew is no coincidence, as he is a graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem and brings a cinematic eye and limitless imagination to the job. Jerusalem-born to a family who left Germany just before WWII, Danny owned a successful photography company before venturing into event production. With his notable attributes – punctuality,integrity and precision - he quickly got a reputation in a competitive field and is currently ranked amongst the top producers in Israel. It’s no surprise that his talent and dramatic taste appealed to Wonder Woman herself who chose Danny to produce her wedding in 2007. Though Gal Gadot was not yet a superhero, she

was a rising star in Israel and needed security not to interfere with her big day. To deliver spectacular with discretion was not a problem for Danny Marx who offers a personal hands-on approach to every client and the top service providers in Israel (as well as from overseas if required). As a result with him you have access to the best catering companies, designers, florists, lighting, bands…and the list goes on. Mistakes don’t happen on Danny’s watch.“Clients from overseas are initially apprehensive, which is understandable as they are effectively working with a stranger,” says Danny. “But after the wedding or barmitzvah, they thank their lucky stars for choosing us.” Danny Marx’s strongest suit amongst many is producing upscale events within a reasonable budget. “We charge a fixed fee that is paid directly to us and handle all the accompanying sub-events such as beach parties, dinner parties and touring expeditions with meaningful content.” Weddings and other simcha related events for clients who come from the UK, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia, comprises over 60% of the company’s overall private client base.

Danny has also made a big impression locally and wowed guests at events for the Israel Museum, Weizmann Insitute and the Hebrew University. Danny likes to see visitors making the most of their visit to Israel, so if can organise a day in the desert followed by an exquisite dinner party in a secret location as part of the getaway – so much the better. Ask him why one should host a simcha in Israel and he gives the religious reason and the weather, but nails it with: “Whether an event is held at an outdoor seaside venue or by the old city of Jerusalem it is unparalleled. The intensity of Israel’s vibes resonates through and leaves an impact impossible to replicate in any other place.” Among Danny Marx’s many testimonials, one stands out: “We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the perfect production of Gal and Yaron’s wedding. The implementation was flawless, and precise, down to the minutest details. You demonstrated personal involvement and considerable caring, beyond the bounds of duty…” Michael and Irit Gadot

An endorsement from Wonder Woman’s parents is as good as it gets. www.marx.co.il JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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The Edit6 photography team specialises in Events and Portraits, providing a unique, professional, and creative insight, fully focused on your requirements. We love to help make important moments exciting and memorable, from weddings and Bar/Bat-Mitzvah to corporate events.

www.edit6.co.uk harrison@edit6.co.uk 07962 599154

1 December - 5 January

Get your tickets at the Box Office 020 7433 8955 or online at jw3.org.uk/icerink 341-351 Finchley Road, London, NW3 6ET

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Weddings & Bar / Bat Mitzvah’s at The Curtain

A Five-Star hotel, restaurants, live music venue & members club, The Curtain sits in the heart of Shoreditch, London’s most creative district. There is a rooftop pool, 24-hour gym, treatment rooms, co-working space & 6,000 square feet of event spaces.

Wedding Package Includes

Bar / Bat Mitzvah’s Package Includes

From £150 Per Person Includes VAT, minimum number of 70 guests

From £120 per person Includes VAT, minimum number of 70 guests

Arrival reception with 2 glasses of Prosecco per person Three-course non-offensive menu with coffee and petit fours Complimentary stay for the couple on the wedding night Discounted group room rate for guests Room Hire: The Burbage with DJ booth

Reception with mocktails and finger food Three-course non-offensive menu with soft drinks Dessert & fruit platters Room Hire: The Burbage with DJ booth and adjacent Screening Room with cinema & popcorn

For booking or more info, contact our events team: T: +44(0)20 3146 4545

E: events@thecurtain.com www.thecurtain.com

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45 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT

FB & Insta: @thecurtainldn

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M MADE-TO-MEASURE agnificence


t’s not unusual for brides to design their own wedding dress. But when Lihi Zwillinger did this it spawned a collection that is now sold worldwide. “I had never had a love of wedding dresses and certainly had no desire to start designing them,” she says.” But when it was my wedding and I designed my own I fell in love!” Lihi is the daughter of Mira Zwillinger, who founded an eveningwear atelier in Tel Aviv in 2010. Five years later, Lihi came on board and they expanded into international luxury evening and bridal wear. The dresses are designed and manufactured in Tel Aviv, by a 40-strong, all-female team. Lihi and her mother sign off every single piece before it leaves the studio. The designs are exquisitely ethereal and radiantly romantic, formed from fabrics sourced in Italy and Belgium, and others created in the atelier in Tel Aviv. Uniquely, an individual mannequin is handcarved for every client, which ensures the perfect fit. Does this work for all shapes and sizes? Absolutely. The technique enables the brand to create a gown that is custom fitted, even without the team physically meeting the bride. The bride is carefully measured, the measurements are sent to the studio and the mannequin is created. “We never settle for anything less than perfect, so each couture, madeto-measure gown is created meticulously, according to the bride’s measurements,” says Lihi. The Zwllingers have also developed a hightech 3D technology, which enables beautiful, intricate ornamentation to be hand-drawn directly on to the fabric and then brought to life. “We ventured into 3D printing technology to offer limitless textures and details that are carefully handcrafted and illustrated by freehand,” explains Lihi. “All of our gowns are designed with intricate detailing but remain light and airy. This, along with the made-to-measure technique, means that our dresses are always a comfortable fit.” The AW 2020 collection was unveiled at New York Bridal Fashion Week in October. It’s a capsule collection that is very much a continuation of the 2019 Make a Wish collection. “We have reinvented some of the styles using the intricate handwork details and fabrics,” says Lihi. “We always find inspiration in the gowns that customers love the most and expand the design to offer variety and versatility,” says Mira. Mira Zwillinger is available at Browns Bride Prices start at £8,500. mirazwillinger.com

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The mother-and-daughter gown planners at Mira Zwillinger show their new collection to Louisa Walters

MIRA’S TIPS FOR WEDDING DRESS HUNTING • Be yourself. A bride’s wedding gown should make her feel like the best version of herself, so she should tune into her inner goddess. • Find a balance. Every body type has an ideal silhouette that will accentuate a bride in the perfect way, so find the balance between what you love and what works best for your shape. • Keep an open mind. When looking for her dream gown a bride might find that what she ultimately falls in love with might surprise her. • Stay focused. There are so many beautiful gowns that is easy to veer off track when shopping for the perfect one. Stay centred and focused despite everyone’s opinion. This is your day and your gown – it’s important not to forget that. When you feel amazing in a dress, you will absolutely know that this is the one. • Feel confident. A bride should feel confident when she tries on her gown. The more confident she feels, the more beautiful she will appear.

LIHI’S TIPS FOR STYLING AND ACCESSORIES • We find that less is always more. A simple touch goes a long way. • Keep the make-up and hair elegant and natural. You want to look like the best version of yourself, so natural make-up and soft accents are always our favourite. • Be playful with your shoe choice. The shoes will be seen when you walk and dance so picking something a little less conventional is always fun.

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otta have a

The woman who dressed Beyoncé and Gal Gadot tells newlywed Sandy Rashty about the influence of Israel’s wedding culture GROWING UP IN A FORMER SOVIET REPUBLIC, international designer Galia Lahav always dreamed of making dresses. She would watch her mother, a traditional seamstress, craft clothes at their home in Belarus. Aged 12, she made her first piece – a hand-stitched beach kimono. By the time she was 18, she was regularly making clothes “for family and friends” – all by hand. “From a young age I dreamt of working in fashion,” she recalls. “My mother would always make our clothes. This really inspired me throughout my childhood and adulthood.” Now living in Israel, the 71-year-old is an international sensation – with Galia Lahav House of Couture designs among the most coveted across the globe. She has developed a reputation for creating luxurious evening gowns and wedding dresses, famous for their structured corsets, dramatic trains, and eye-catching luxurious embroidered fabrics. From the atelier in Tel Aviv, she has designed dresses for thousands of women – including celebrities from singers Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, to actresses Priyanka Chopra and Gal Gadot. But above all, it is clear she has played a key part in Beyoncé Israel’s bridal revolution. “The wedding industry in Israel is up-and-coming,” says Galia. “Weddings in Israel are a big part of the culture. I think this is where most designers feel influenced and inspired.” Beyoncé chose to wear a Galia Lahav gown for her renewal ceremony to husband Jay Z to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. The less traditional ‘Thelma’ gown, with off-the-shoulder sheer silk sleeves and a detachable bustle train, came from the designer’s ‘Victorian Affinity’ collection, launched at Paris Couture Fashion Week in 2017. “Beyoncé’s stylist approached our Los Angeles flagship store where the gown was purchased,” says Galia, explaining they are often invited to dress celebrities by their stylists.

GAGA from Galia Lahav Couture Spring 2020 bridal collection

Gal Gadot

Katie Perry

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Israel’s elite

HOTELS THE INBAL JERUSALEM There are lots of hotels in Jerusalem – some hidden away behind the tawny stone, others standing detached in their own glory. As good as many may be, few are as impressive and understated as The Inbal, which manages to meld the essence of a boutique property with the sophistication of a grand hotel. Fusing tradition and modernity in the same building is a skill The Inbal attributes to its architect, the gifted Yaakov Rechter, who applied huge sensitivity to the existing architecture of Rehavia when he came up with the design. Because of its bold three-dimensional form, The Inbal is hard to capture in a photograph, so its wise to see it up close or better still to stay there as many world leaders have done – and you know they only stay at the best places in town. And after a two-year renovation process of the guest rooms and public spaces at a cost of $90million, The Inbal has never been more tempting thanks to the vision of architect Michael Schwartz and designer Michael Azulay. Built entirely from traditional Jerusalem stone, The Inbal offers 331 deluxe rooms and suites you won’t want to leave, other than to visit the adjacent Liberty Bell Park or the sites of the historic city which are within walking distance. Awarded the five stars plus (superior luxury) by the Ministry of Tourism, The Inbal also provides a range of first-class amenities and personalised services, including gourmet restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness centre, a heated, semi-Olympic pool, artisan and designer shops, and a synagogue active on Shabbat and holidays. Reinventing Jerusalem cuisine is the mission of the hotel’s new restaurant 02 which is targeted at meat lovers with its menu of steak, meat skewers, and other delicacies all conceived by 02 chef Nimrod Norman. The 02 Bar is a welcome addition and there is an elegant and stylish private room for holding special events and business meetings for up to 10 guests. Now Winter in Jerusalem can be cold and rainy, so it is worth noting that The Inbal hosts its own Winter Soup Festival, during which a variety of rich, creamy soups are served at an all-you-can-eat buffet costing just 69 NIS per person. Served with delicious fresh breads, spices, The Inbal cheeses, and other toppings, the soups Photo by Oded Smadar are on from now until 28 February. If they don’t sort you out, get some extra TLC at the spa where massage therapies, body treatments, and facials are on tap with the bonus of therapists using AHAVA products. All of the above and there’s a lot results in The Inbal making your stay in the historical city a little more historic. www.inbalhotel.com


THE SETAI The Setai, Tel Aviv, belongs to the renowned Nakash brothers (Joe, Ralph and Avi) who have brought their good taste to this dynamite property in Old Jaffa by Clock Square. “Luxury Meets History” is how the brothers pitch The Setai, Tel Aviv, which was a fortress during the Crusades then a prison in the Ottoman period. Not that any of its previous residents would recognise it now with all the modern oak, leather furnishings and 120 rooms and suites with rainfall showers and 49-inch TVs. Add to this a spa, hand-crafted cocktail bar and the Jaya Chef Restaurant blending the culinary heritage of Jaffa with the Setai’s Turkish roots and nothing will keep you away. As one Trip Advisor reviewer enthusiastically wrote: It is the best hotel I have stayed in ever in Israel. What a pleasure to have this warm welcoming hotel in Israel. I have never wanted to return to any particular hotel in Israel in 40 years. I think that says it all. A particular mention to the wonderful friendly pool attendant and the lady welcoming us at breakfast. Cannot wait to stay there again. www.thesetaihotel.co.il

The Inbal

Photo by Asaf Pinchuk

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The Setai

The Setai

It sounds like an idea for a daytime television show: transform one of the world’s ugliest buildings into the fanciest luxury hotel. That was the challenge facing Turkish designer Sinan Kafadar who, back in 2000, turned Istanbul’s infamous Sağmalcılar jail, setting for the chilling 1978 movie Midnight Express, into Turkey’s swankiest Four Seasons. So when the Hilton Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s oldest and most adored luxury brands, wanted to turn167 rooms on its top five floors into an exclusive boutique hotel within a hotel, there was only one man to call. Today, three years after Kafadar put the finishing touches to Vista At The Hilton Tel Aviv, guests have the choice of booking into the regular five-star accommodation or the Vista experience. The splendour starts on arrival as you’re whisked past reception to the swanky Vista Lounge on the 17th floor for check-in. This grand glass-walled lounge, with epic Mediterranean views on three sides, is the epicentre of the Vista experience – a exclusive hideaway offering exquisite complimentary all-day kosher meals, snacks and drinks. “We wanted to turn the top floors into a hotel version of an Aston Martin or Patek Philippe watch,” head of PR for Hilton Hotels Israel Motti Verses tells me over an expresso in the lounge. “Luxury travel has changed in recent years. Those who can afford it are looking for more than a typical five-star experience. That’s where we come in.” The price difference isn’t vast. I stayed during August peak season in a 15th floor Vista room costing £570 a night, compared to a regular £400 room. The extra cost can be seen in the pristine Bauhaus-style décor, large and luxurious marble bathroom, giant king-sized double bed replete with pillow menu, luxuriously sheets and daily fruit, wine and chocolate gifts. The Vista package allows the Hilton to compete head-on with Tel Aviv’s ritziest boutique offerings like the Norman and Montefiore, while offering something they simply can’t – a picture postcard beachfront setting. Equally, none of the big-name hotels that also line the promenade (or tayelet as the locals call it) – The Dan, The Carlton, Royal Beach and so on – offer a five-star-plus product. All have executive floors and lounges, but nothing to compare to Vista’s x-factor. The Hilton is the promenade’s prime property, idyllically framed between Spiegel Park and Independence Park, set apart from all the other back-to-back hotels and literally on the beach – which means not having to dodge the bikes and e-scooters to reach the sand. The Hilton Tel Aviv has welcomed nine million guests over the last 54 years. Indeed, it boasts more returners than any hotel in the country, thanks to its warm welcome, prime location, vast terrace overlooking the Mediterranean (one of Tel Aviv’s most romantic sundown settings), Yakimono fine dining Japanese restaurant, Chloelys French gourmet bistro and famous Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool. Now, thanks to its sleek and unique Visa package, this iconic city’s most iconic hotel is primed to win the hearts and holidays plans of millions more for decades to come.

Hilton Tel Aviv

For The Vista at Hilton Tel Aviv call 00972 3-5202050 or visit www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/israel/ the-vista-at-hilton-tel-aviv-TLVVIHI/index.html JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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Holy Land Living Barry Frank talks home buying in Israel with the CEO of Daon Group Real Estate


T JUST 30, Barak Daon is a success by anyone’s standards. Married with daughters ages two and four and living in Tel Aviv, he’s the founder and hands-on CEO of one of Israel’s brightest young real estate groups in the city. So, what’s his secret? “About 80% of my clients are foreigners – born outside Israel – who are looking for somewhere perfect to live when they make aliyah or for that special holiday home to spend their precious time here!” he smiles. “My job – I think any agent’s job if they do it properly – is to understand their culture, listen to their needs, their wishes and dreams, and to find them the best possible property. But it doesn’t stop there. “We offer a very personal and professional service to take the stress out of buying a property here. We hold our clients’ hands through the whole process, a one-stopshop if you like, which starts when they see the place – often through WhatsApp video – find out what they like and don’t like about it – then sharpen our focus on exactly what they’re looking for.”

His method clearly works, too. Many of his clients are on personal recommendation and repeat business. Barak runs a tight ship from his offices on Rehov Dizengoff. Hardly surprising really, for a man who served seven years as a captain in the Israeli Defence Force with extensive leadership, strategic and logistical experience. More surprising is that he did a BA honours degree in physical chemistry and cognitive science in Cleveland, Ohio; his mother is American. “Understanding other cultures is the key here,” he says. “Whether it was in the army interacting with other foreign armies, or today dealing with Anglos, Europeans, Latin Americans, indeed people from over 70 countries in the world. First you have to understand what they want, then you have to have an understanding of the culture here, and fit them together like a jigsaw!” Barak says that an older couple living on a pension with grandchildren in Israel have different needs from a young couple with even younger kids. Location and facilities vary for different age groups.

“What we do is listen very carefully to what our clients don’t want,” says Barak. “And once we turn the dream into a reality, we help them in a practical way.” Barak’s strong interpersonal skills help him in his work. “Every situation is specific and unique. I develop individual strategies for all of them.” And his company devotes the same time and attention to small or large projects, from around two million shekels to 20 million and beyond. His company gives its commitment not to stop working until each client has reached the deal that they are looking for. Unlike many one-stop-shop services in Israel, Daon Group Real Estate gives you choices within choices. So when it’s time to choose your lawyer, mortgage broker, perhaps even builder or decorator, Barak is there with a selection of specialists to suit your needs. “We know what it takes to negotiate the best price in Israel’s real estate market,” says Barak. “We also understand how to successfully deliver the type of service Europeans and particularly British people expect. Contact me and let me see if I can help. I think you’ll be happy you did!” See: www.daonrealestate.com

Barak Daon

Thoughts from happy customers • When I decided to look for property in Israel, I was nervous: not only was I unfamiliar with the process but I didn’t know the market. I decided to reach out to Barak as he was a friend of a friend. After an initial call, it was clear he understood my worries. After discussing my budget and priorities, Barak and his team took me to a few proprieties and I decided to make an offer on the first one I had seen. The team was able to make recommendations for lawyers, mortgage advisers, cleaners and contractors. Lior • The team at Daon Group Real Estate was professional, knowledgeable and patient. They were also by my side throughout the process and I now have an apartment in (central!) Tel Aviv to call my own. Buying property abroad can be nerve-wracking. With their expertise and understanding, I was able to go through the process virtually unscathed. Highly recommend! Susan

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ne only has to look on Trip Advisor to see how much people enjoy Berlin. “The huge open green spaces of the Tiergarten.” “The painting collection in the Gemaldegalerie.” “The European sculpture collection in the Bode Museum.” The enthusiastic comments from returning visitors are endless. Many remark on its powerful history – and it is that very thing that stops some of us from visiting. It shouldn’t. Germany’s capital does carry its past visibly, but it doesn’t shy away from acknowledging it by letting visitors know what the Jewish community contributed before 1933. There are framed ‘this was once’ signs on a myriad of streets, a soulful kindertransport statue at

Ritz Carlton suite and lobby

Fredrichstrasse station and Peter Eisenman’s imposing holocaust memorial of claustrophobic concrete slabs

fills 19,000-square-metres of public space. As a must-see the Jewish museum’s zig-zag Libeskind Building named after its architect Daniel Libeskind is intentionally disorientating and delivers a powerful message with final letters and shabbat candlesticks set in a cold concrete void. For that and so many emotive reasons Berlin is a place to visit and the best place to stay and feel cosseted is the Ritz Carlton on Potsdamer Platz. Art Deco-décor, chic comfortable bedrooms and generous marble bathrooms with all amenities are selling points, but the primary reason is the staff who go above and beyond for guests. Whatever they can do to improve your visit is the rule from last minute additions to room service or meticulous directions to a landmark. A history discussion with the knowledgeable team at reception was a highlight and the sublime champagne afternoon tea, a valuable lesson in brews from around the world. The pastry chef has mastered delicious in miniature form and there is a stylish gym and pool if you over-indulge, which is just as easy to do at the tasty breakfast. Executive Chef Dieter Müller has brought a creative twist to German dishes at the Pots restaurant offering as an example lightly smoked fjord trout, cured mackerel with beetroot or banana soufflé. Not all together. If you stay or just pop by, be sure to have a nightcap at Fragrances bar where the mixologist invites guests to discover a signature drink by scent. Food and drink are a big part of Berlin and as the ‘vegan capital’ of Europe it will be hosting Veggie World 7-8 March 2020. Some 10,000 visitors are expected, so

reserving a table is wise, possibly at Feinberg in Schoneberg, which does great vegan dishes and lsraeli specialities. The photographs of rabbis on rollerblades and awardwinning hummus on the menu are the work of owner Yorai Feinberg, a former ballet dancer born in Jerusalem. After dancing at the Vienna Staatsballett, Yorai Feinberg then Paris, Tokyo, Leipzig, London, Tel Aviv and San Diego, Yorai decided to jete to Berlin and opened Feinbergs in 2013. There is no shomer and its open on Saturday, but meat and dairy are separated and there’s plenty of kosher Israeli wine and beer. Yorai talks to every customer and pours Arak shots for the brave. This year Bobbe Speisesalon, the first fully-certified kosher restaurant opened on Prager Platz which is another good sign. Taking its name from grandmother in Yiddish, the building back to 1903. A lot has happened since then, but Berlin makes no secret of that and extends a warm welcome . www.ritzcarlton.grandluxuryhotels.com www.feinbergs.de JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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ON THE HILLSIDE A resort offering peace for parents and full-on fun for children leaves Brigit Grant on cloud nine MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT HILLSIDE BEACH CLUB for years. Regardless of where we’ve been in the world nothing could overshadow his love for the Turkish five-star resort in Fethiye. When others talked about Hillside their eyes glazed over as they recalled the smell of pines, sublime service or the view from the balcony. A property that triggers this much adulation has to be seen and I can now confirm their assessment was correct. Hillside Beach Club really is a paradisiac ‘family’ resort which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true. With the spacious hotel rooms staggered down the densely wooded hills framing the secluded Kalemya Bay, Hillside manages to cater for adults seeking serenity and over-exuberant kids wanting fun. It does both brilliantly. The week we were there the British Film Institute was hosting a film-making course for children aged 14 and under. While the kids disappeared – under supervision – in the foliage-filled 300 acres to construct a plot, choose costumes and record their antics on iPads, the grownups were free to play tennis, sail, water-ski, visit the gym, join one of the many exercise classes or simply lie down on a sunbed

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equipped with an app to order cocktails. No prizes for guessing what I did. The joy of the BFI residency, which takes place in May half-term, is that we were also treated to nightly screenings of comedy classics under the stars on the beach and on a large yacht. You really had to be there to appreciate how brilliant it was to watch Buster Keaton’s 1924 masterpiece Sherlock Jr screened on a sea platform with live piano accompaniment – yes, they took a piano to the beach. There isn’t anything staff at Hillside won’t do. By day the talented entertainment team run the kids and juniors clubs doing pool games, water sports and traditional games, before donning costumes to appear in the themed stage shows in the amphitheatre. One performer, the handsome Asrin, caught my daughter’s eye, so she was in the front row every night. Then there’s the chefs who prepare a medley of global cuisines at the evening buffet along with a vast salad spread and dessert stations. Navigating the dining room is your only challenge as it seats 850, so the late, light breakfast served at the small white-washed Pasha on the Bay restaurant was our choice in the morning. And don’t be fooled by the word ‘light’ – the bread/yogurt and honey selection along with any a-la-carte choices is impressive. The Beach Bar, while tasty by day, transforms on certain nights into an Italian

restaurant with tables nestled by the floodlit sea so you can count the fish as you dine. The Sanda Nature Spa is on the adults-only Silent Beach, so everyone whispers, which can only improve a first-class Balinese massage. En route to that beach you will see a tiny library – just another of those little touches that make Hillside so special. There is a Turkish bath and sauna as you’d expect and time there can be followed by tea, which is served with local pastries at 4pm. The craft workshop is a tranquil place to escape from the sun and we were rather proud of our rock painting and tie-dye t-shirt. There is a shuttle to Fethiye, but you have to force yourself to leave Hillside even when you have a flight to catch. For the BFI closing ceremony we got to see the movie the children had made and each of them received a clapper-board trophy that will always remind us of Hillside Beach Club. But, as my husband rightly said, it’s not a place you can ever forget. From: £256 for two with full-board www.hillsidebeachclub. Flights with www.easyjet.com to Dalaman

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It’s heaven

ON BERTH! Left: Justin’s personal butler, Alain. Above: The ship docked in port

Justin Cohen on why Silversea is the cruise to choose


hat I’m about to write will shock those who know me best. I may have discovered the antidote to my mobile phone attachment. It’s not cheap, but it is affective and involves no therapy: it turns out I just need to be packed off on a cruise. The weaning process began by accident, with the intermittent Wi-Fi connection on board Silver Spirit as we departed Stockholm, but long before we’d reached the last of the four countries of our north European tour, I’d become adept at ignoring emails or checking Twitter. Why? I was busy eating my way through the eight on-board restaurants, or finding a spot to recline with a glass of one of 60+ wines from Silversea’s all-inclusive list. A taste of the six-star lifestyle ahead of 11 days in St Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen came when my father and I discovered we had a personal butler throughout our stay on the Spirit. Silversea is the only line that offers butler service in every suite, one of the many reasons it was named ultra-luxury cruise line at the luxury Travel Awards for 2019. Alain our butler gave us the suite tour: the TV that records dinner bookings, to the menu of nine pillows via the veranda. Alain offered to unpack, fill the minibar and even arrange in-suite family celebrations – a perk I took advantage of for my dad’s special birthday. At the main eaterie, Atlantide, waiter Ryan practically sang the contents of a beautifullybound Mediterranean menu that includes an

‘intermediary’ course for when three is simply not enough; enjoy countless varieties of pizza between 11am-11pm at Spaccanapoli; or be met by a delicious dark rum cocktail at Asian fusion-themed Indochine, where maÎtre d’ Racman personally ensured kosher chicken was ordered so I could enjoy a delicious curry dish. At La Terrazza, I’d recommend the tomato soup; and waiter Hermes, one of the many stars of the 411-strong crew for 608 passengers, seemed to quickly memorise names as well as food and drink preferences. Those with a kosher diet or other special requirements are invited on day one to a personal meeting with restaurant manager Sergiu, who proudly says: “We never want to say ‘no’. We always try to find a culinary solution.” While room service is 24 hours a day, those with a sweet tooth are assured of a sugar high in the Arts Café, where bulging shelves of cakes, scones and cookies make way after dark for an assortment of chocolates that would put Willy Wonka to shame. If you don’t work up a sweat moving from restaurant to restaurant, there are yoga classes, a well-equipped gym and the Zagara spa. A voyage with Silversea is not aimed at those looking for an 18-30s-style getaway, but a nightly flick through the Daily Chronicles newsletter offers plenty to do: browsing the plush boutiques, language classes, wine tastings and daily quizzes to name just a few. Cruise director Nolan is the man tasked with keeping guests entertained, from welcoming

the talented Voices of Silversea singing troupe to the Venetian theatre stage to performing his own stand-up comedy routine in the Panorama Lounge. He’s also the man with the task of ensuring Kiddush is laid out on Friday night and latkes provided for Chanukah – a task he relishes. The ship docks every day and we took at least six organised trips (not part of the cruise cost, but fairly priced for the benefit of not having to arrange tour tickets or transport yourself) . Those included a tour of the world’s oldest pharmacy still in operation in Tallinn and an exclusive after-hours concert at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. We opted for a ninehour tour that showcased the full beauty of the city with its hundreds of bridges, 221 museums and 4,000 outstanding monuments. Everything about the experience – on land and sea – lends itself to switching off not just your phone, but your brain too. Right down to the fact

One of the ship’s stunning lounges

one attentive member of reception staff took it upon themselves to send medicine to my room when I was under the weather. To make life easier, Silversea even arranged on-board customs checks ahead of the final stop at Greenwich. As the Spirit passed the Thames Barrier on the final leg, I made a last call to Alain. Soon I’d have to remember where to find food for myself.

• Silversea Cruises offers a 7-day cruise from

Stockholm to Copenhagen on Silver Spirit from 27 Aug – 3 Sep 2020 from £2,970 per person (10% early booking bonus). Price inc gratuities + return business class flights from UK + overseas transfers. Visit www.silversea.com or call 020 7340 0700

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back in time Carole Shaw spent a cosy night at Cliveden and left feeling like a lady WHEN DOWNTON ABBEY the film opened in September, we were reminded of a time when everyone was polite and dressed for dinner. Oh to be Lady Mary Crawley and stay in an English country house for a day. Well, you can. Just 40 minutes from central London, overlooking the Thames Cliveden in Maidenhead offers the privilege. The history of the house is as verdant as the 376 acres of National Trust gardens that surround it. Built in 1666 by the Duke of Buckingham to entertain friends and mistresses, it’s soiree appeal was cemented in 1893 when American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor gave it to his son as a wedding gift. His new bride Lady Nancy Astor became the socialite of the age with everyone seeking an invite to

her dinners and her visitors’ book signed by Charles Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw, etc, is still Cliveden’s star attraction. Only Churchill couldn’t eat at her over-crowded table. “Nancy Astor should invite less guests “ he blustered! Cliveden is imposing as you pass through the iron gates along the magnificent tree lined avenue, but entering the Grand Hall, front of house manager Duarte De Arez Cintra offers a warm and personal greeting to ease us in, along with Champagne in the Orkney suite with its elegantly decorated sitting room, large bedroom and marble bathroom en-suite which was all ours for the night. Half expecting to see Bates the ladies maid by the bath, we put on towelling robes to cross the court yard and enter the spa which was renovated in 2017.

In restful tones of beige and cream with an outside heated pool and two large hot tubs, the spa also has a gym, a sauna and classes. Lord Grantham would love it and I recommend a full 60-minute body massage. There’s much to see inside Cliveden with its 300 year old Belgian tapestries and Joshua Reynold paintings and amid the splendour there are lots of dogs. Lots. In keeping with the habits of the country set, Cliveden is dog friendly and they have full access to everywhere, except the dining rooms, but they do have their own doggie menu. The menu for humans created by head chef Paul O’Neil is outstanding and we had Black truffle risotto (the house speciality) followed by delicious stone sea bass with sides

of cabbage and chestnuts and potatoes Lyonnaise. To finish a soufflé and cheese trolley. Delish! There is a children’s club during school holidays supervised by a fully-trained nanny and with seasonal holidays approaching, the house’s two and three day packages are tempting – and you can bring the pooch. A break at this exquisite stately home is like travelling back in time minus the aristocractic title. To paraphrase the words of visitor George Bernard Shaw: “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated.” The joy of Cliveden is that everyone leaves feeling like a Lady Mary and I hope to again. www.clivedenhouse.co.uk Tel: 01628 668561

Get compensation for your flight cancellation with Claim’N Win It’s the moment we all dread. Arriving at the airport to find the flight has been cancelled. Take Jach Phillip. He was flying with a low-cost airline from Zurich Airport to London Gatwick. It was the cheapest flight home he could find after attending a trade show in Germany. With free shuttle buses to Zurich Airport, Jach planned to take the last flight

out, so he could have a full last day at the show. What he didn’t realise was the night-time curfew that bans flights from departing out of Zurich Airport between 23:30 and 06:00 due to noise pollution. So if a flight is late on arrival, the aircraft will be grounded until morning. Joshua was stuck and once back back in the UK, heard about flight delay laws. Jach real-

ised he was eligible for compensation, but the sum being offered – £120 voucher – did not cover the additional cost of an overnight stay. Jach had lost a day in total having to deal with everything, but when he emailed the airline to explain this, they replied, telling him the voucher should be enough to cover time lost. So he turned to Claim’N Win – the experts at

handling compensation when these situations happen. They offer a really easy and simple service to help you with your claim. All you have to do is sign up and they will look into your individual situation to see if you have a case and then assist with your claim. Find out more online at www.claimnwin.com JN LIFE jewishnews.co.uk

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The truth ABOUT YOUR ROOF LOOK AROUND YOUR HOUSE and think about how you’ve maximised the space. Do you have a cupboard under the stairs? An office in a shed in the garden? What most people don’t think about is the one very lucrative area of their home that is not being used at all: the roof. One rarely hears about the roof other than the problems it causes, from leaks to cracked tiles. However, one company is here to open your eyes to the surprising value your roof can provide. London Penthouse buys unused spaces above buildings and converts them into luxurious penthouses. It can either buy the space for a fee from the freeholder for the development rights, or work with the freeholder to build penthouses on the roof and share the profits. If freeholders don’t want to split the profits or give up the airspace, they can hire London Penthouse to manage the project for them, doing everything from organising the planning applications to managing the construction. Joe Griffin, managing director, says that as well as netting the freeholder a tidy sum of money, this approach can create value for the entire building and end up saving residents money in the long

Some of the stylish, luxury projects the airspace specialist London Penthouse has completed

term, for example by overhauling communal areas and reducing the service charges. “As well as a cash premium, we overhaul the common parts of an existing building, for example installing new windows, redecorating stairways, providing new entry phones for the existing flats, brick cleaning and more, which is all part of the deal for purchasing a bit of space that freeholders previously had no use for.” According to Griffin, most of the projects are with flat-roofed buildings, but the company does

work with pitched roofs too. The team are skilled at obtaining planning permission even in areas where there is no precedent, recently achieving a success story in the Highgate Conservation Area. “The freeholder does not put their hand in their pocket for anything,” Griffin adds. “It sounds like a cliche but it’s a win–win situation for all freeholders – we’re incredibly laid back and easy to deal with, and we pride ourselves on impeccable design.”

Dream Home, Dream Exchange Rate Does the gloomy weather make you long for a sandy beach in the sun? Winter is when we all start thinking about purchasing a holiday home – and it may even be somewhere in the UK. Here’s a few properties to tempt you and some sound currency advice to follow.

Platters of traditional trempó, paired with fine Mallorcan wines offer a true taste of the Mediterranean and a great way to cool down after the sizzling intensity of the summer heat and days spent swimming in crystal clear waters. In recent years locals have started to revamp traditional villas, townhouses and farmhouses, offering you a chance to own your own slice of this historic island. Mallorca is also a prime spot for the rental holiday market with attractive returns if you intend to let out your property when you’re not using it.

NETANYA, the ‘Israeli Riviera’ MALLORCA, a taste of the Mediterranean

Average temperature June-August - 25° Days of sunshine – 300 Approx. cost of a luxury three bedroom property €700,000 - €2,000,000 The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is often referred to as the star of the Mediterranean and is one of the most visited summer destinations in Europe. While much is made of Mallorca’s incredible beaches and azure seas, it might be argued that local cuisine is the real star of the show.

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Average temperature June-August - 25° Days of sunshine – 246 Approx. cost of a luxury three bedroom property $900,000 - $2,000,000 The city of Netanya, just 30km north of Tel Aviv, used to be one of Israel’s best kept secrets. Even though the city is now more popular, it still offers an ideal site for the ultimate getaway. With its spacious promenade, children’s parks, and rugged costal cliffs, Netanya has the feel of an ancient European seaside resort, so no surprise locals call their beautiful city the ‘Israeli Riviera’.

Offering several miles of the cleanest and most picturesque beaches in the region, the comparison is certainly an easy one to draw, with a distinctly Mediterranean flavour making Netanya a unique alternative to the usual summer hotspots. Don’t delay in snapping up a property in the city however as the secret of Netanya is out, with the world waking up to the capital of the Sharon plain and its many charms. If you’re planning to purchase a luxury holiday home, you’ll need to move money abroad to fund the purchase. With excellent exchange rates, no fees and expert guidance, Currencies Direct help make your money go further. Currencies Direct have helped more than 270,000 customers with their currency transfers since 1996 and have more than 20 offices across four continents. They employ more than 500 currency experts, including a dedicated Israel team, and they’re always on hand to provide invaluable support and insights.

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Profile for Jewish News

JN Life Magazine - Winter 2019  

The theme of this issue of Life magazine is ‘wonder women’. It was chosen to tie in with the December release of Wonder Woman 1984 – the muc...

JN Life Magazine - Winter 2019  

The theme of this issue of Life magazine is ‘wonder women’. It was chosen to tie in with the December release of Wonder Woman 1984 – the muc...