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Archive for January, 2012

I have a meeting at Penguin Books in the morning. Following that I will be lunching with my father at Deli West One. Regular readers may recall my Jewish News column about how much I enjoy pastrami sandwiches and other deli foods. This will be my first visit to Deli West One – I’m looking forward to it.

After that I will probably pop by Chabad Bloomsbury to say hi to my friend Rabbi Lew, who I wrote about in my Jewish Chronicle column.

It’s Monday tomorrow, so by custom I should be publishing a Rabbi Nachman quote. Given the culinary dimension of this post, here’s a gastronomic pearl from the great man: ‘Whenever possible, avoid eating in a hurry. Even at home, don’t gobble up your food. Eating is an act of holiness. It requires full presence of mind.’

The horrors of indigestion alone prove his point. Happy week everyone!

Update: I’ve added my thoughts on Deli West One and its close neighbour Reubens in the comments below.

Ronen Bergman has written a superb, lengthy article for the New York Times entitled: Will Israel attack Iran? During his in-depth research he has interviewed senior Israeli politicians including Ehud Barak, as well as chiefs of the military and intelligence.

His research sweeps back over the decades. It even includes a dramatic secret briefing from the Mossad. He considers every factor, dimension and perspective, and concludes: ‘I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012.’

If you’re at all interested in the Iranian nuclear issue, read Bergman’s article. I’d love to know what you think of it.

It is Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday. You can read more about this year’s theme here.

On days such as this I am reminded of the words of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who wrote the following:

‘What cannot help but astound us is that the Hasidim remained the Hasidim inside the ghetto walls, inside the death camps. In the shadow of the executioner, they celebrated life. Startled Germans whispered to each other of Jews dancing in the cattle cars rolling towards Birkenau; Hasidim ushering in Simchat Torah. And there were those who in Block 57 at Auschwitz tried to make me join in their fervent singing. Were these miracles?’

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I had a marvellous time giving my speech at Kenton Synagogue last night. Thanks to everyone who attended and for all your generous comments and blessings. Particular thanks to Sharna for driving out to Windsor to collect me and then drop me off afterwards.

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I will be speaking at Kenton Synagogue on Monday evening at 8.30pm. The theme of my talk will be ‘How I advocate for Israel – and why’.

Come along if you fancy!

‘Hitbodidut-meditation – inner-directed, unstructured, active self-expression before God is the highest path of all. Take it.’
(Rabbi Nachman of Breslov)

(I don’t know Violet, for whose birthday this video was made. I just thought it was a cool video. I hope she had a good birthday though.)

Happy week, everyone!

I just been perusing my blog statistics and I’m pleased that so many people come and read my thoughts.

As I expected, most visitors come from England, with Israel a close second and America just behind. I was pleasantly surprised that lots of people from Iran pop-by every day.  It was also interesting to see how much traffic the NaNach website sends my way.

So I’ll attempt an all-encompassing sign-off: shalom, have a nice day, از ملاقات شما خوشوقتم, jolly good show, and – of course – Na, Nach, Nachma, Nachman Me’Uman!

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Haha, this is funny. How many of these things have people said to you?

I’m interested and excited to learn that Noam Shalit – Gilad’s father – aims to stand as a Labor Party candidate in the next Knesset elections.  “Following years of a public struggle, during which I got to know Israeli society thoroughly – both its beautiful and ethical sides – I have decided to join public life,” he said.

More power to him. Some of the most significant politicians in Israel’s history have entered politics following extremely challenging experiences. Natan Sharansky and Menachem Begin had been held by the Soviets. So had Yuli Edelstein. Benjamin Netanyahu lost his brother Yoni during Operation Entebbe.

None of these examples exactly match Noam’s, but they each have their similarities and they show that people who have faced some of life’s harshest challenges can offer much on the political stage. Best of luck, Noam, and thanks again for the grapes.

Meanwhile, in 10 days the Zionist Federation will deliver messages to IDF soldiers as part of the ‘Make a soldier smile’ campaign, set-up by Keren Hajioff, an IDF soldier from Finchley. So, if you want to make an Israeli soldier smile, please write a suitable message and email it to: office@zfuk.org

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‘Lovers of this Middle Eastern delicacy take their shawarma very seriously,’ begins a recent Haaretz article. Damn right we do, as this passionate discussion on my blog showed.

The Haaretz article lists what it says are the top five shawarma outlets in Tel Aviv. I was pleased to see the inclusion my global favourite, Hakosem (The Magician). The others listed are Daboush, Kababa, Olei Tzion and Haj Kahil. I’ve not been to any of them – yet – and I’d love to hear from anyone who has. Also, does anyone have any further shawarma recommendations elsewhere in Israel? I’m particularly interested in Jerusalem.

Reading the Haaretz article has left me a) very hungry and b) all the keener to return to Israel soon. I’m thinking of April or May, actually. Meanwhile, myself and a shawarmaphile OyVaGoy reader from Berkshire are making the latest of our now regular road trips to Golders Green today. We have been known to eat two servings of shawarma during such pilgrimages. Oh me, oh my.

© Copyright Chas Newkey-Burden. All Rights Reserved. Thanks to Chris Morris.