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Eliyahu

This is a sad story. For obvious reasons, I am changing names and certain details to protect the memory of a brilliant, flawed person. Eliyahu was one of the most amazing and talented people I have ever met. It was in 1968. I was a young rabbi appointed to the largest synagogue in Scotland and something of a celebrity in…

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Fake News

Is the fuss over “fake news” in itself a fake issue? Who really believed in the objectivity of journalists? As students we used to debate which was preferable—the Western system of arbitrary rich men owning newspapers, motivated by self-interest and the flow of advertising in determining what sells and what is news, or the communist system of a group of…

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Just Do It

“Just do it” is, of course, the slogan of Nike, Inc. But I think we Jews should adopt it. Let me explain. Why is Pesah, Passover, so popular amongst so many Jews who have little interest in its religious life throughout the year? It is, after all, a festival that requires extensive preparation in clearing one’s house of all leavened…

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The Mortara Affair

The story of Edgardo Mortara is a scandalous example of Christian theological cruelty and arrogance towards Jews. In the mid-nineteenth century, six-year-old Edgardo Mortara was seized by the Church from a Jewish family in Bologna, Italy. Bologna’s inquisitor, Father Pier Feletti, had heard that Edgardo had been secretly baptized as a baby, by a Catholic woman working in his family’s home when she…

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Elliot Meadow

Glasgow born Elliot Meadow, who died recently, was very well known in jazz circles. He was a record producer, agent, journalist, broadcaster, impresario, manager, and expert who was obsessed with the world of jazz from an early age. He knew almost every major jazz musician during his lifetime on both sides of the Atlantic. He was an irascible loner. Some…

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Mazal

We have just celebrated Purim, a festival named after the lottery, the pur, that nearly decided the fate of the Jewish people. But the randomness of the lottery was defeated by God’s laws. You might have thought that this would have knocked luck or astrology on its head once for all. But it hasn’t. Quite the contrary. We wish each…

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