With a show at the Tate this year, the Pre-Raphaelite painters are enjoying something of a renaissance. After being alerted to a lecture that was taking place in London revealing that William Holman Hunt – one of the movement’s founders – had lived in Jerusalem for several years and painted there, I decided to investigate further.
As I discovered, Holman Hunt built a home and a life in the Middle East; a daring feat that none of his fellow Pre-Raphaelites attempted. Not only that, but a look back in times revealed him to be on a par with Theodor Herzl in his passion for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the region. His letter on the subject, in which he offered to pay some money to3ward such a scheme, made for fascinating reading.
This week, I also followed up on the ongoing dispute over Jewish education at Calderwood Lodge in Glasgow, and received reassurances from several venues set to host Israeli dance company Batsheva next month that the tour would go ahead, despite the efforts of boycott supporters. And in another look back at the past, I learnt about the refugees from Nazi Europe who were able to stay in Britain by working as servants.
In Comment I discussed whether the British Jewish community should drop the tradition of observing two days of the festivals, and published two thought-provoking pieces on Ed Miliband and the disturbing trend of “Price Tag” attacks by extremists in the West Bank.
Away from the JC, I wrote for the Independent’s “Independent Voices” section on the embarrassing Jewish Mum of the Year programme on Channel 4, questioning the purpose of such television. In Optima magazine I discussed the growth in the use of sleeping pills and other remedies for insomnia.