This week marks a century since suffragette Emily Davison was killed during an act of protest at the Epsom Derby. Her legacy is being discussed at length across the media, so I decided to take a different approach and look at how the campaign to win votes for women played out in the Jewish community of the time.
As I’d anticipated, I found great material – stories of protests in the synagogue, philosophical gestures and plenty of pompous letters rallying against the cause. Overall, it was pleasing to discover that this vital movement did not pass the community by.
Sticking with the history theme, I spent a day at the National Archives, digging thoroughly newly released Foreign office files from the 1930s and 1940s. In one, I found details of how officials intercepted the personal papers of David Ben-Gurion, then circulated the contents as they attempted to resolve the situation in Mandate Palestine. In another, I found a fascinating insight into post-war establishment attitudes to fascist leader Mosley as he attempted to conquer America.
I interviewed the father of Hollywood star Rachel Weisz, not about his famous daughter, but about his own filmmaking efforts; he is a producer of a documentary about the first woman ordained as a rabbi. I also spoke to some British teenagers working with Greece’s Jewish community and covered plans to disrupt the Uefa conference over the decision to have Israel host next month’s youth tournament.
In books, I reviewed Hadley Freeman’s new feminist manifesto Be Awesome, deeming it enjoyable and astute, if not necessarily radical. And I reviewed the British Library’s fascinating new exhibition on propaganda and poster art.