Coping with the Golem

The result of the Israeli General Election was as uninspiring as the lacklustre campaign which preceded it. As many expected, it did not herald the *miraculous dawning of the Age of Reason. On the contrary, despite a soothing moderation emanating from some PLO leaders, the electoral outcome confirmed that the permafrost of suspicion and fear … Read more

Dmitri Shostakovitch

When the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich died in the summer of 1975, The Times labelled him “one of the greatest twentieth century composers and a committed believer in Communism and Soviet power”. This was far from the truth. Although he never made ringing declarations against Stalinist terrors, Shostakovich quietly attempted to retain his independence of … Read more

Suasso and the Glorious Revolution

It is not by chance that the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam has chosen this year, the tercentenary of the Glorious Revolution, to hold an exhibition on the Lopes Suasso family; for, without them, stadholder William of Orange would not have crossed the Channel from the Low Countries to become King William III of Britain. … Read more

Tomorrow’s World

Is a Jewish education for children the basis of a Jewish commitment for adults? Many would passionately argue that the complexities of Jewish life and experience can be communicated and registered only by teaching them to the young. This, indeed, was the raison d’être of the Jewish day school movement in Britain. At its core … Read more

Jewish Fascists

The recent exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Anschluss drew large crowds in London and Leeds. It reminded many a visitor that 1938 was a year filled with fateful events—Czechoslovakia, Kristallnacht, the Evian Conference. It was a year of foreboding and premonition—the last full year of peace before the Shoah. It was also the … Read more

Yiddish in Britain

In writing on the first meeting of the World Council (Veltrat) for Yiddish and Jewish Culture in Jerusalem in August 1976, Jacob Sonntag asked: “What about the outcome of the Conference? Will it have a lasting effect or will it remain an isolated episode in the history of Yiddish? It is difficult to say.” It … Read more

Magyar Zsido

Human Rights was a prominent and much trumpeted feature of the recent Reagan-Gorbachev summit. Many groups openly voiced their grievances in protests and demonstrations, the deposed Boris Yeltsin called for the removal of the conservative Ligachev and Yuli Kosharovsky, the veteran refusenik leader, spoke to millions of American viewers in a live broadcast from the … Read more


Tel Aviv University recently extended an invitation to Aluf Rehavam Ze’evi to lecture on “The freedom of speech and the exchange of populations”. The careful mention of “freedom of speech” in the title indicated the caution and nervousness of the organizers in broaching the long-forbidden subject of deporting the Palestinians en masse. Yet before Ze’evi, … Read more

Ghosts at the Feast for Israel’s Birthday Celebration

AT A TIME when British Jews are commemorating the considerable achievements of Israel’s first forty years, some are haunted by the frozen frames of warring children and burning barricades in the Gaza slums. There is the uneasy knowledge that the most advanced military force in the Middle East is using clubs. Truly, the age of … Read more