My week in writing

My Schoolgate piece appeared on the homepage of The Times

The chief rabbi spoke in a Lords debate this week – a relatively rare occurrence – which prompted a follow-up story on his comments about single parents and the reaction to them.

I also wrote a piece about a fascinating project at Warwick University that is hoping to translate a huge catalogue of papers and documents written in Yiddish. The researchers there are convinced that the material will shed light on the history of the immigrant Jewish community, particularly to London’s East End at the turn of the last century. The only problem? They don’t speak Yiddish.

Within hours of the paper coming out, I had already been contacted by several Yiddish speakers asking for more information as to how they can help with the project. I hope they do so, and I look forward to learning what the material actually says.

In an unusual; showbiz interlude for me, I spent a morning at St Paul’s Cathedral for a memorial to renowned hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. Although I found the choice of venue surprising for a man who remained tied to his Jewish roots throughout his life, the service was a fitting tribute to someone who made his mark on fashion and culture. As expected, it was an immensely glamorous affair, with some gravity-defying hairstyles on display.

In less serious news, I wrote about a new Jewish dating app that takes a similar approach to Grindr, and reported on Gilad Shalit’s first interview, a year to the day after he was freed from being a Hamas captive.

In Arts, I wrote about the newest US television sensation to hit Britain; Lena Dunham’s series Girls, posing the question of whether she is a female, 21st century answer to Woody Allen? My review of Jake Simons’s Mosaad thriller Pure – conclusion, “making the character an ideologue is a step too far into unreality” – was published as well.

And outside of the JC, I wrote for Schoolgate on The Times website, arguing that art should not be marginalised as a “soft subject” by schools, universities and education ministers.


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