Monday, 15 September 2014

The future British isles?

Okay , so this  was a prank. But it's the  reality  of a yes  vote, isn't  it??

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Atheism, observance and orthodoxy


David here,

This is something written elsewhere, but as it is on my heart, I thought I'd reproduce it here, for my own readership to ponder. The context is about how atheist  Jews in the orthodox community continue to observe Judaism, for community and family reasons, but no longer believe in God (albeit the atheism isn't public).

 This was my response:

I don't feel I fit into the categories mentioned, but I would say I'm a Jew first and foremost, of the Sephardic tradition, who believes in God and specifically the God of the Tanakh. I do have theological issues with taking all of the bible literally, such as a talking donkey, a talking serpent, a flying and talking scroll,  a six day creation et al. I  have had personal issues from the past where I have often questioned the almighty and been somewhat estranged from him, but I do see this questioning as part of the Jewish tradition. 

 I've come to appreciate that one can never fully understand God,  I believe a rabbi one said "if I knew him, I would be him"(Judah ha Levi) and as it is written:

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how life enters the body being formed in the mother's womb, so you cannot understand the works of God, the maker of all things"(Ecclesiastes).

I also understand atheists who are observant for cultural or family reasons. That's a distinctive feature of Judaism, a nation and a community, fused into a religion which permeates every aspect of oneself and life. We are more than a group of religious believers, but a global family. And to me family and community are key aspects of Judaism. We don't turn our back on  family and therefore we shouldn't turn our backs or force them out, that those who struggle with God, with beliefs, but who wish to still be in the tent. I think one of the US presidents, Lyndon Johnson made a quip about tents and people shouting out, rather than into the tent.

A concluding thought to ponder. Does God prefer the most pious person, who observes the rituals and believes with dogmatic precision, but acts in a shameful fashion or the one who just tries with all of their heart?


Monday, 8 September 2014

Mazel Tov to the royal family!

Hi all

Hannah here!

Congratulations to the duke and duchess of Cambridge, who is preggers again!

I just love the royal family.Never do get why people  want to make Britain a republic. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thoughts on Gaza

David here,

So there is a cease-fire agreement in place between Israel and Hamas.  For Israel a lot has been achieved, such as destroying the terrorist tunnels and hitting the terrorist cells hard. But there has been a cost on lives and money: $2.5 billion, 70 Israeli dead and 2,000 Gazans, not all terrorists have lost their lives.

Then  there is the backlash against the Jewish diaspora community, the terrible relationship between Israel and the US... and seemingly most media outside of Israel was hostile to her. Bibi's popularity has slumped, despite overwhelming support for the war in Israel, his cabinet seems quite divided.

So no one comes out a clear winner. But for the various parties involved, my personal view is that Israel stopped too early, probably due to US and European pressures. However much  this has effected the political landscape, it won't alter the fact Hamas is still there.  Sooner or later, when they've rearmed they will start to attack Israel again. The cycle will continue until Hamas is gone or Israel. And it won't be Israel disappearing.

Thoughts on Iraq

David here,

Whilst I want to get back to some discussions on Judaism on this blog, I do feel I want to put this one up for discussion and debate.

Should Britain join America in intervention in Iraq to combat IS? And is it enough to carry out air strikes, will we need to face up to the fact we will have in send in ground troops? What is the strategy and how will we walk away?

I don't have a answer to these, at least not answers I like!

My heart says yes, but my brain says no. My head tells me it would be a bloody non winnable conflict. My heart sees the genocide and murder and wants to strike at this evil with all the might the Allies have.

Difficult choices, difficult decisions. But that is why we elect Parliaments and Presidents, to make difficult decisions, not to duck them.

What do readers think?

Double standards of The West

David here,

Right, let's get the double standards o meter out here. Two of the big topics at this NATO meeting will be:the situation in the Ukraine and the situation in Iraq. I'm focusing on Ukraine in this article.

The West has been furious for Russian intervention in the east of the country and the annexation of Crimea the intervention was on the grounds that these people consider themselves Russian and don't feel well treated by the rest of Ukraine. Now these rebels have apparently committed war crimes, yet there have been zero demonstrations in London about this or about Russian intervention in the region. Ah well, it's because it's not Israel is it?

Western governments have been sanctioning Russia as a result. But why? They expect Israel to forfeit a capital and a lot of land for peace, in order to create a Palestinian state, because of some idea of Palestinian self determination.  I get this and this post isn't really about whether or not one agrees with this or not. What is important is to note the double standards.If Palestine has to be created out of Israel, so the Palestinian people can have a state, then why can't eastern Ukraine have a stay in  be reunited with Russia? Why are we allowing a vote in Scotland for independence and denying this idea for the Russians of eastern Ukraine? Why shouldn't Israel rule what the west says is Palestine, when they are saying  the non Russian western Ukraine  should rule the Russian half?

Is it just me or is this whole idea of  national self determination,just an arbitrary concept, based upon however one feels about a particular country?? To my mind if we agree that Palestine should be a country and that Scotland has a right to decide its own fate, then let the people of eastern Ukraine do the same. Get rid of the cold war attitude. We've got other wars to fight. And a war with Russia isn't one of them.

Latest musings

Esther here,

New post up here

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bizarre conspiracy theory

David here,

This is one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories via the J Post -

Israel and the United States are responsible for creating the Islamic State phenomenon, former Cuban president Fidel Castro is quoted as saying on Wednesday.The 88-year-old former ruler also attacked McCain, Israel's "most unconditional ally."Castro alleged that[Senator John]McCain, “together with [Mossad, conspired] in the creation of the Islamic State, which today controls a considerable and vital portion of Iraq and reportedly one-third of Syria as well.”

What? Has the world just got even crazier or is it just me.

posted at my place


Esther here. I've put a post up to discuss the antisemitism rally held on Sunday, here

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Greetings all,

David here.

Well I'm finally back into the grove, after a long summer break, we had a fantastic time and I can't believe we are now in September and the start of the autumn months (that's fall to my American readers). Came back to 1,455 emails, which have taken a week to clear. The most annoying ones are those you get from " co workers"(guess which business partner of mine has been on one of those American management courses!)  Are those that give you a lot of useless information, that you simply don't need to know,  especially the routine maintenance of the building, by our outsourced facilities ' team',about every last detail that they are up to, sometimes one wonders when these office geniuses are going to start copying to everyone that they are just popping out to the toilet or a cigarette break. Such is the joy of office work and being one of the bosses, and of course I really do appreciate all of the staff :).

But enough about my tales of woe. I've got a few things I am going to write about on this blog, however, I always appreciate feedback. So what would the readership like me to address in forthcoming weeks? This doesn't have to be specific, it could be about a theme or subject. Of course I'm not going to turn the blog into one about knitting or anything like that, but I'm sure you all get where I am coming from here.

Well it is great to be back, any way.