Royal Visit to Morocco: Charles and Camilla visit Fez Synagogue

My girlfriend Michelle Huberman has the Royal scoop in today’s Jerusalem Post, read it here


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Jewish News! Read all about it…. if you can find a copy.

Thursday night in Golders Green Road is like a Saturday afternoon in Brent Cross. The section between Hoop Lane and the Library is bustling like some Marrakesh street market. The food shops and restaurants are all open and drivers are double parking whilst someone runs in for a challah. Or they’re circling around looking for parking spaces. The amount of 3 point turns from these people-carriers in The Ridings is crazy. Does nobody know it’s a dead end street?And there’s rarely a parking space there. Gina once parked in this road, and came back to find a dent on the side of her car, obviously from a three-point-turner. Fortunately the man who’d dented it left a note and paid for the damages. There is still correct behaviour in Golders Green.

Gina’s quest tonight is to find the Jewish News. Dear reader there is an alternative to the JC. A much more heimeshe paper. It’s pro-Israel, it’s free and only available from those blue newspaper boxes. There are several straddled down Golders Green Road and also inside the kosher delis. It comes out on a Thursday evening and trying to get a copy after 9.30pm seems like an impossibility. It reminds me of those days of hunting from one toy shop to another to find a teletubbie for my toddler when everywhere had sold out. “Excuse me” I ask in the Kosher Deli – at 10pm “any Jewish News’s left?” No, no… last one went ages ago. What can I do? I have to get a copy because a friend of mine is in it.

Is this part of some marketing plan? Selling out early like on the QVC Shopping Channel? Or is it because my friend Michelle Huberman has told too many people about her first opinion editorial in the Jewish News? Has she made a rush on the papers?  I received her e-mail last night that she was in The Jerusalem Post and the Jewish News writing about her experience at SOAS.

I shlap from Carmelli’s to the station and back again on the other side. Well dear reader, I have come back empty handed. I know the Jewish News is available  online, but the format makes it really difficult to find the page. You have to keep clicking over the page flipper thing – and then when you find the page you want to read you have to magnify it, and then whoosh… it shrinks back just as you’re trying to read the 2nd half. If you have the patience to struggle through this – she’s on page 17 – it’s a great read, otherwise read it on the JPost.

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Anthony Julius defends Palestinian free ads in the Jewish Chronicle

There is something not quite right when you bring to the attention of the Chairman of the Jewish Chronicle – Anthony Julius – an abuse in the newspaper, that instead of a thank you, you are belittled and given a lecture on freedom of speech.

I don’t believe the Jewish Chronicle should be giving free space to the Palestinian Solidarity  Campaign to advertise their events  when Jewish charities have to pay. Take an ad in the newspaper and the current rate for charities to have their events listed is £12.46 for 10 words plus £1.04 for each additional word. Plus VAT.

This particular blog was about the unprovoked attack on an Israeli at an Israel apartheid event at SOAS. A Palestinian called Lukas used the comments thread to list more upcoming anti-Israel demonstrations.  I marked it as offensive on the comments thread of the Jewish Chronicle’s website. Nothing was done about it, so I sent an e-mail to the new chairman. He didn’t reply and the listings remained.

Last night I had the pleasure of being at the annual ZF dinner. Anthony Julius was there and gave a 3 minute speech about what a hard job we’re up against with the daily de-legitimisation of Israel in the media and on campuses. Mr Julius is a highly-regarded litigation lawyer specialising in media law and defamation. You may remember he was the divorce lawyer for the late Princess Diana and has written a book defining anti-Semitism – Trials of the Diaspora.

I went over to introduce myself and asked him if he’d received my e-mail. He wasn’t sure so I explained to him the contents. Instead of the reply I expected, I was subjected to a barrage of legal jargon on how the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign are entitled to post what they want on the JC blogs. “Mr Julius” I said “you may be right from a legal point of view, but as a Jew it doesn’t feel right seeing Palestinian propaganda on the website, after all the MPACUK Muslim website doesn’t tolerate me posting pro-Israel events”. He is a wizard with words, much more so than little Gina here, and he continued his legal talk to try to belittle me, and then accusingly asked me if I did any advocacy work. “Yes Mr Julius, I do. It certainly doesn’t help when those we expect to help us are aiding the other side”.

He is not a man you would want as your adversary. Dear reader, if you ever get yourself into legal trouble and Mr Julius is representing your opponent…. save yourself the battle and settle out of court!

Let’s hope that I don’t receive a lawsuit from the eminent Mr Julius.

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Purim, Persia & Mashadi Boys

Well it’s the time of year to celebrate Queen Esther. The Jewess who saved Persian Jews from death.

I’ve learned a lot of Jewish history through boyfriends. Having an attraction for dark men from warm Sephardi families, I have gained a lot of knowledge of their cultures. Take Alessandro (not his real name), who was a Mashadi Jew living in Milan. I’d met him on JDate and he kept EasyJet in business flying in on weekends to meet me. What was amazing that he was 45 and unmarried (I discovered why later, but that’s not for this blog). Most Mashadi Jews marry in their teens. If you’re single at 21, you are on the shelf! The matriarchs of these families are busy matchmaking their children from when they are infants.

This all stems back to the city of Mashad in Eastern Iran, and old habits are hard to break. The Jews were given 2 simple choices: conversion or death. The entire Jewish community of Mashad converted to Islam and started new lives as “Jadid-Al-Islam” or “New Moslems.” This new faith was only on the surface and for the eyes of their Moslem neighbors. They had to live double lives; on the surface they were Moslems, but in secret they continued to live their lives as true Jews. They had to adopt Islamic names for themselves and their children. Mohammad, Ali and Hassan are quite common among the older generation of the Mashadi Jews. Many made the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina which awarded them the title of Hadji. Their surnames mostly end with an -off!

They had to protect themselves from intermarriage, so would often marry off their children at very young ages, around nine or ten. If a Muslim suitor approached them for their daughter, they could claim that she was either married or had already been spoken for. This way they kept marriages among themselves.

Today most Mashadi Jews outside of Israel live in New York, Hamburg, London or Milan. They still marry amongst themselves, very often to cousins. They have a very distinctive look – which once you’ve met one, you’ll recognise the rest of the clan. Dark, hairy and quite stocky. Most of them are either rug dealers or diamond merchants.  Unlike the Jews from Tehran who are flashy and like the high life, Mashadi Jews are very down to earth and like just the basics. In Israeli there are loads of jokes about Iranian Jews, they’re stereotyped as very mean – like the Scots are here. When they were translated to me, they had me rolling on the floor in laughter. Feel free anyone to share some here.

Interestingly… I heard Alessandro had recently married a blonde, Ashkenaze girl he’d met on JDate. Obviously breaking the mould.

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Kiss n Tell: The Tchenguiz brothers

I see that another one of my ex-boyfriends has been arrested – Robbie Tchenguiz, caught up in some Icelandic bank fraud.  Not that he was a proper boyfriend, he wasn’t really interested in petite, brunette girls from North London when all the wispy, blondies lay themselves at his feet. In those days we’d describe them as shiksas, but Gina is very pc now and doesn’t use the ‘s’ word (unless she’s got a glass of champagne in one hand).

We used to hang out together in the 80’s in Morton’s and Tramp. Us north London gals had been programmed to date only Jewish boys. The fodder that was available to us were IDB’s (in daddy’s business). They were normally pale, plump and incapable of changing a plug. They may have had the money to wine and dine us, but they were dead boring. That’s when we discovered the Israelis. They were lean, sexy, could change the tyre on your car, and… they were Jewish! How could our Dads’ complain? (I will write more about this in future posts).

But the Tchenguiz brothers were different. They were Iranian Jews. Very closed. Most of their marriages arranged at a young age with other Iranian Jews. Marrying Ashkenaze like us would have been as bad as marrying out. But as these boys had money, too much, they could play around as much as they wanted. I remember when we used to be at Tramp, they’d just have champagne on tap for everybody, and drugs as well if you wanted them. And London was full of pretty opportunist  girls from Northern towns, just waiting to get their clutches on these guys. I remember Vince and Robbie having a different blonde for every night of the week. Robbie eventually married Heather Bird after she had his baby. Did she convert?

It comes as no surprise that they’ve ended up inside. They lived life dangerously. Always high on coke.  I wonder if they’d like a prison visit from an old friend from the past?

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Israeli checkpoints: a British view

My Facebook feed today is full of stories about the massacre of a religious family living in Itamar in the disputed Israeli territories. The Fogel family. Both parents and three children stabbed to death. 2 other children slept through this and a 3rd was out and came home to discover the bloodbath.  My thoughts and sympathies are with them, G-d knows how they will work through this. As I read through the story, I understood that recently the checkpoint at Itamar was removed. Would keeping it have prevented these brutal murders?

And then the fallout with my neighbour Helen (not her real name) resounded. It was only 3 weeks ago when I casually popped in after a walk to the shops to say hello. Helen is a bit of a macher at our local shul and is incredibly polite to everybody.  The Promise had just had its second airing and I started discussing it with her. “Well the Israeli soldiers are too hard at the checkpoints” she stated. A little taken back hearing this from her, I replied “well they have to be, they have to make sure no suicide bombers get through, no?”.

“Well they could just ask questions and be politer…” she replied. “It was an Israeli friend who told me how harsh they are”.

“Maybe they are harsh,” I replied, “but they have to be, what about that female suicide bomber who tried to get into Israel using medical authorization papers? She had an explosive belt strapped onto her to blow up in an Israeli hospital.”

“Well I still think they should be politer…..”

All I could think about was Jews politely queuing up to board those trains to Auschwitz. No bloody harsh IDF soldiers then.

I told Helen this (admittedly with feelings running high inside me) and how bloody grateful I was to our IDF boys. She simply couldn’t make the connection and stuck to her point that the IDF were too tough. It was impossible to stay in her company, I left feeling blown apart inside. Today, the flames of emotion have been awoken again and I want to go and stuff the story of the Fogels through her letterbox and see what her comment is now.

What is it with British Jews, why do they make excuses for our enemies? Do they need bombs in Golders Green to wake them up?

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Hello world

Ex-husband number 2 has just made Aliyah. We’re still great friends and he’s not missing London at all, other than his daughters. One with me and the other with wife number 1. I’m his connection with his old world and he loves hearing my view of life in north-west London.  He’s encouraged me to write this blog. It was probably my take on London life that made him want to return to Israel, the land of his birth, but fate brought him to London in his teens.

I’m not sure myself why I’m in London? I’m seriously thinking of making Aliyah too. Probably having a nice business and elderly parents here is what holds me. But the Jewish community in London is changing. So many of them seem to think that 2 weeks  in Herzylia makes them an expert on Israeli government policy.  They’ve all caught the same mantra – “there’s no peace because of the current Israeli government.”  Most of them haven’t a clue who’s even in the Israeli government.

They all love Israel, but most don’t like the Israelis… “well, they’re just not us”. I’m a bit of an odd ball round here, because I love the Israelis. The rougher the better!

In this blog I’m going to write about many of my personal experiences.

nb. Please bear with me as I’m new to blogging. I’m not a journalist just a streetwise, rag trade girl.

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