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The lives of Jewish MPs of the First World War

There were 56 Jews elected to Parliament who lived through the First World War. Lola will tell the stories of some of them. There were those who were heroes, like Robert Gee MP who won the Victoria Cross, Leo Amery who helped shape the Israel we know today but never openly acknowledged his Jewish heritage, or Jack Ben Brunel Cohen who served, and lost his legs, so that he later made it his life’s work to promote the cause of disabled servicemen, being instrumental in setting up the Royal British Legion. These and many other stories are recounted including the intriguing story of one MP who was actually a German Spy.

Lola Fraser is a retired teacher, having taught at a number of Jewish Primary schools in London. She has a degree in History. As someone who has a lifelong fascination with Anglo Jewish History she initially volunteered as a researcher and educator for the Jewish Military Museum, which housed the AJEX collection. Since 2013 she and her husband Dr Ronnie Fraser have been volunteering for the project British Jews in the First World War, We Were There Too, a Heritage Lottery Funded project which records, and researches the lives, and in many cases, the deaths of those who served in World War 1, along with digitally preserving any artefacts which people may have, putting the results of the research up online.

 


The Perfume Thief

The Perfume Thief, a novel, explores the culture of Paris, and the dynamics of resistance, in the winter months following the Nazi occupation. Told from the point of view of a 72-year-old American expatriate and career criminal, who has sometimes committed her crimes as a woman and sometimes as a man, the story follows an act of espionage hinging on the perfume accords of a noted Jewish perfumier.

The author of six novels Timothy Schaffert is the director of creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and he serves as co-editor of Zero Street, an LGBTQ+ fiction series of the University of Nebraska Press. He contributes the column “The Eccentricities of Gentlemen” to the popular lifestyle magazine Enchanted Living.

 

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Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero

SUPERMAN is the most famous character in the world. He’s the first superhero, an American icon—and he’s Jewish!

 

Introduced in June 1938, the Man of Steel was created by two Jewish teens, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of immigrants from Eastern Europe. They based their hero’s origin story on Moses, his strength on Samson, his mission on the golem and his nebbish secret identity on themselves. They made him a refugee fleeing catastrophe on the eve of World War II and sent him to tear Nazi tanks apart nearly two years before the US joined the war.In following decades Superman’s mostly Jewish writers, artists and editors continued to borrow Jewish motifs for their stories, basing Krypton’s past on Genesis and Exodus, its civilization on Jewish culture, the trial of Lex Luthor on Adolf Eichmann’s and a holiday celebrating Superman on Passover.Exploring these underlying themes of a beloved modern mythology, Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero is a fascinating and entertaining journey through comic book lore, American history and Jewish tradition, sure to give readers a newfound appreciation for the Mensch of Steel!

 

 

Roy Schwartz is the author of Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero and The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There. He writes about pop culture for various publications, including The ForwardNew York Daily News,  and CNN.com. Roy received his BA in English from the New School University and his interdisciplinary MA in English and social thought from NYU. He has taught English and writing at the City University of New York and is a former writer-in-residence fellow at the New York Public Library. He can be found at royschwartz.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @RealRoySchwartz.

 

 

 

 

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Funding, Falmouth and Fish&Chips: A brief look at Jewish lives in Georgian England

Simon Goulden is an education and management consultant, writer and international lecturer. Initially qualifying in civil engineering, Simon switched to education management, leading the Agency for Jewish Education for many years. He recently obtained his MA in Jewish Education from LSJS.

He has authored, edited and acted as consultant on Jewish prayer books and books about Judaism, Jewish history and Israel and lectures and leads museum tours at LSJS.


Antwerp - The Glory years

Before Amsterdam another North Sea city was the hub of the known world. Antwerp, writes Michael Pye, ‘rapidly became a world city, a centre of stories published across Europe, a sensation like nineteenthcentury Paris or twentieth-century New York, one of the first cities where anything could happen or at least be believed. Other cities showed the power of kings or dukes or empires, but Antwerp showed only itself: place of trade, where people wanted, needed to be, or couldn’t afford not to be. It was famous on its own terms.’

New trade routes into the city brought pepper and diamonds from India, silver from America and gold from Africa that tracked by cart and river to the Ottoman Empire in the East. Antwerp made possible escape routes to Istanbul for Jews facing the Inquisition in Portugal, including for the woman running the largest merchant banking house in Europe. And in just a few generations, in the city inspired Thomas More’s Utopia, taught Erasmus about money, modelled for Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel, protected William Tyndale and smuggled out copies of his bible in English.

Join acclaimed author Michael Pye, as discusses his new book, ANTWERP: The Glory Years.

Michael Pye’s twelve previous books have been translated into fifteen languages; three have been New York Times ‘Notable Books of the Year’, two were British bestsellers and one became Hollywood movie. He various prizes in Modern History at Oxford, and went on to be journalist, broadcaster and columnist in London and New York. He lives in Amsterdam.

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Two Hitlers and a Marilyn

Adam Andrusier spent his childhood in pursuit of autographs. After writing to every famous person he could think of, from Frank Sinatra to Colonel Gaddafi, he soon jostled with the paparazzi at stage doors and came faceto-face with the most famous people on the planet.

For young Adam, autographs were a backstage pass to a world beyond his chaotic family home in Pinner, and his Holocaust-obsessed father. They provided a special connection to a world of glamour and significance lying just beyond his reach.

But as Adam turned from collector to dealer, learning how to spot a fake from the real deal, he discovered that in life, as in autographs, not everything is as it first appears. When your obsession is a search for the authentic, what happens when you discover fraudulence in your own family?

Two Hitlers and a Marilyn is both a hilarious and moving account of discovering that idols are mortals. It’s a story of growing up, forgiveness and discovering a place in the world.

 

To buy the book click here


X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos Who Helped Defeat the Nazis

June 1942. The shadow of the Third Reich has fallen across the European continent. In desperation, Winston Churchill and his chief of staff form an unusual plan: a new commando unit made up of Jewish refugees who have escaped to Britain. The resulting volunteers are a motley group of intellectuals, artists, and athletes, most from Germany and Austria. Many have been interned as enemy aliens, and have lost their families, their homes-their whole worlds. They will stop at nothing to defeat the Nazis. Trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat, this top secret unit becomes known as X Troop. Some simply call them a suicide squad.

Drawing on extensive original research, including interviews with the last surviving members, Leah Garrett follows this unique band of brothers from Germany to England and back again, with stops at British internment camps, the beaches of Normandy, the battlefields of Italy and Holland, and the hellscape of Terezin concentration camp–the scene of one of the most dramatic, untold rescues of the war. For the first time, X Troop tells the astonishing story of these secret shock troops and their devastating blows against the Nazis.

“This tale of profoundly motivated and capable men of action on a noble mission, each profiled in condensed biographies, is a rousing and redefining portrait of an, until now, overlooked group of dedicated warriors who played an outsized role in defeating the Third Reich.”

 

To buy the book click here


Forgotten Cultural Jews

 

During the interwar period three Jews with strong Yorkshire connections helped distribute non-Jewish culture around the world. All were at the top of their respective sectors. Lord Duveen distributed Europe’s fine art to North American collections; Bert Feldman helped popularise wartime music including A Long Way to Tipperary and the White Cliffs of Dover; meanwhile Herman Darewski brought his BBC Band to Bridlington for several seasons during the 1930s. This illustrated talk asks what we can learn from these cultural entrepreneurs and why their connections with Yorkshire are often forgotten.


Ethel Rosenberg Cold War Tragedy

New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba’s moving biography of Ethel Rosenberg, the wife and mother whose execution for espionage-related crimes defined the Cold War and horrified the world.

In June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a couple with two young sons, were led separately from their prison cells on Death Row and electrocuted moments apart. Both had been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union, despite the fact that the US government was aware that the evidence against Ethel was shaky at best and based on the perjury of her own brother.

Anne Sebba returns to Milim to talk about her new  book which is the first in forty years to focus on one half of that couple. Ethel was a bright girl who might have fulfilled her personal dream of becoming an opera singer, but instead found herself struggling with the social mores of the 1950’s. She longed to be a good wife and perfect mother to her two small boys, while battling the political paranoia of the McCarthy era, anti-Semitism and misogyny. Because of her profound love for and loyalty to her husband, she refused to incriminate him, despite the government’s pressure to do so. Instead, she courageously faced the death penalty for a crime she hadn’t committed, orphaning her two young sons.

Seventy years after her trial, this is the first time Ethel’s story has been told with the full use of the dramatic and tragic prison letters she exchanged with her husband, her lawyer and her psychotherapist over a three-year period, two of them in solitary confinement. Hers is the resonant story of what happens when a government motivated by fear tramples on the rights of its citizens.

To purchase Anne’s book click here

Adam Sisman in the Literary Review wrote: ‘In Anne Sebba Ethel Rosenberg has found the ideal biographer, sympathetic without being blind to her flaws and with a sure grasp of the period.’

Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, journalist, former Reuters foreign correspondent and author of eleven books for adults. She rear History at King’s College London and her first job was at the BBC World Services in the Arabic Department. Her latest book will be Ethe Rosenberg: An American Tragedy and before that she wrote about Paris from 1939-49 through women’s eyes, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940’s published in 2016, a standout social history,’ according to the US trade journal, Booklist and winner of the Franco-British Society prize. Film rights have been sold, with a multi episode TV drama planned.


Inside Out - A Life in Stages

Actress and playwright Vanessa Rosenthal has been searching for her identity her whole life.

Is she Jewish or not? English or not?

This character, or that, on and off stage?

From her mother’s conversion to Judaism, and Vanessa’s resulting sense of being on the outside looking in, to life as an actress, working with some of theatre’s biggest names and juggling a full family life, this candid and compelling memoir unpicks many taboos on Jewishness to help her with her question. As an apparently insufficiently Jewish lew, what or who should she be?

To buy Vanessa’s book click here

Venessa has great supporter of and contributor to Milim and we are delighted to welcome her back to tlak about her new book  Inside Out – A Life in Stages


Lowering The Tone & Raising The Roof

Raymond Gubbay CBE brings to life his extraordinary 50-year career as one of the most experienced and respected impresarios in British music and entertainment. He retraces the musical legacy of his family, growing up in a liberal Jewish household in 1950s postwar London. Raymond Gubbay’s introduction to the entertainment industry commenced under the late Victor Hochhauser Britain’s foremost promoter of Russian ballet and classical music.

 

After setting up on his own, he started with a handful of performers touring modest venues and then progressed to working with some of the most prestigious classical and popular artists and orchestras of our time, from Yehudi Menuhin, Luciano Pavarotti, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English National Ballet to Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

To purchase a copy of Lowering The Tone & Raising The Roof click here


Around the World In 80 Plants

In this copiously illustrated talk, Jonathan Drori brings to life the science of plants by revealing how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish ‘moss’ of Louisiana, each story is full of surprises. And then of course, there’s the Jewish angle…

Jonathan Drori CBE is Trustee of The Eden Project, Ambassador for the WWF and previously a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The Woodland Trust. He was Executive Producer of more than fifty popular BBC TV series on science and technology; his TED talks have been viewed millions of times; and his previous book, Around the World in 80 Trees is a bestseller, now in 19 languages.

To purchase Around the World in 80 Trees click here

To purchase Around the World in 80 Plants click here


Litigation records and Jewish daily life in medieval English towns: a case from thirteenth-century Warwick

Litigation records are critically important and much-neglected source for the study of the Jews of medieval England. In this paper, rather than use the litigation records to illuminate Jewish legal action, I will explore ways in which the incidental detail of a plea entries may be used to shed light on the mundane and ‘everyday’ of Jewish life in medieval England. I will focus on a case from the town of Warwick in the 1240s.

Originally from Australia, Emma Cavall did her D.Phil at Oxford and then held posts at several universities (incl. the University of Leeds), before joining the History Dept at Swansea. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Swansea University with specialisms in women and gender, aristocratic society in the March of Wales, and law and litigation – in England and Wales between c. 1000 and 1300. Most recently Emma have been working on Jewish women litigants in thirteenth century England.

Here is a link to Emma’s paper   on Jewish women’s litigation. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/law-and-history-review/article/abs/measure-of-her-actions-a-quantitative-assessment-of-anglojewish-womens-litigation-at-the-exchequer-of-the-jews-121981/093AF25D44D797039D466CD799AFD8CD


The Taming of the Jew

Traveling through the four nations that make up the Kingdom — Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales — Tuvia visits many places and interviews people all around the United Kingdom. If you look for him, you can find him napping in Winston Churchill’s room, sleeping on Hillary Clinton’s bed, playing cat and mouse with Jeremy Corbyn, smoking forbidden tobacco with Nigel Farage, eating a monster, and stalking a she-ghost.

 

Tuvia Tenenbom, the author of three Spiegel bestsellers and four Israeli bestsellers, is a journalist, dramatist, and the founder of the Jewish Theater of New York. Tuvia studied for his doctorate in English literature at St. John’s University, earned his MFA in playwriting at CUNY-Brooklyn, BS in mathematics and computer science at Touro, and finished his rabbinical studies in Jerusalem. He also studied Christianity and Islam in Israel and New York as well as journalism, acting, theatre, and finance (at NYU)

To buy The Taming of the Jew click here


The Lost Café Schindler

When Meriel Schindler’s father Kurt died in 2017, she felt compelled to resolve her mixed feelings about him, and to solve the mysteries he had left behind.
Kurt Schindler was an impossible man. His daughter Meriel spent her adult life trying to keep him at bay. Kurt had made extravagant claims about their family history. Were they really related to Franz Kafka and Oscar Schindler, of Schindler’s List fame? Or Hitler’s Jewish doctor – Dr Bloch? Where exactly was Kurt on Kristallnacht, the night that Nazis beat his father half to death and ransacked the family home?
Starting with a tower of photos and papers found in Kurt’s isolated cottage, Meriel embarked on an epic journey of discovery that took her to Austria, Italy and the USA. She reconnected family members scattered by feuding and war. She pieced together a unique story taking in two centuries, two world wars and a family business: the famous Café Schindler. Launched in 1922 as an antidote to the horrors of the First World War, this grand café became the whirling social centre of Innsbruck. And then the Nazis arrived…
Meticulously researched and highly moving, The Lost Café Schindler uses the story of the Café Schindler and the threads that spool out from it to weave together memoir, family history and the untold story of the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

 

To purchase  The Lost Café Schindler  click here

 

PLEASE NOTE: This talk was a test event and there were some issues at the beginning. Unfortunately Jonathan’s introduction has had to be delted due to poor sound quality