For Alice Shalvi

The mourners gathered round the body at Alice Shalvi’s funeral in Jerusalem last Tuesday and sang with great emotion and passion, Eshet Chayil – “a woman of worth”. Chanted each Friday night to welcome in Shabbat, it summed up a woman who was deeply loved and revered. Her family, friends, community, students and colleagues in their hundreds accompanied … Read more

Remember the Rosenbergs

Seventy years ago, in June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were electrocuted at Sing-Sing prison in New York — 15 minutes before Shabbat began out of respect for Jewish tradition. It is an anniversary that Jewish organisations in the Diaspora have chosen to ignore — and one that they may not wish to be reminded … Read more

Goodbye Eastern Europe

Review of Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land By Jacob Mikanowski, published by Oneworld, London 2023, pp.380   ‘The twentieth century will be the century of the Jews and revolutions’ — so wrote the Hungarian painter, Béla Zombory-Moldaván on hearing about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian … Read more

Israel: A History in 100 Cartoons

A visit to the Israel Cartoon Museum in Holon several years ago first gave me the idea of telling Israel’s history through cartoons. It was undoubtedly the hardest of all my books to write. Which episode in a year to highlight; which cartoon to select, which events to record? Clearly there could have been an … Read more

On Karl Marx

Karl Marx: Philosophy and Revolution by Shlomo Avineri Published by Yale University Press 2019, pp.221 Why should Karl Marx be included in Yale’s excellent Jewish Lives series when the subject of this fascinating book never referred to his Jewish origins? Shlomo Avineri, the eminent Israeli intellectual and academic, has attempted to unravel Marx’s connection to … Read more

The Liberation of Paris 1944

Seventy Five years ago, on 26 August 1944, General Charles de Gaulle walked triumphantly down the Champs-Elysées, engulfed by a sea of jubilant Parisians. The capital had been liberated from the Nazi oppressor, but France was yet to be free. The road from D-Day in June 1944 had been long and tortuous. The original plan … Read more

Jews and Leftist Politics

Review of Jews and Leftist Politics: Judaism, Israel, Anti-Semitism and Gender ed. Jack Jacobs (Cambridge 2017) pp.374 This important book is based on an international conference on Jews and the Left held in New York in 2012. As the subtitle denotes, the chapters explore questions of religion, Zionism, anti-Semitism, Marxism and Soviet Communism and contain some remarkable … Read more