Friday, 28 May 2010

Tzniusfest - sponsored by HM Government

Little is known of the benevolence of Her Majesty's Government in our circles once Housing Benefit is taken out of the equation. Malchus shel chesed is a nice catchword for those who want us to repose our trust in them as the sole channel to the authorities who must be kept on side lest they herd us all on cattle wagons for transportation to the other side of the river lea. But in our day to day lives any beneficence of the authorities is wiped out by parking tickets, bailiffs and the nazis in the planning department. You could perhaps include the NHS though one could argue how benevolent it is to have to wait in a queue in the early morning cold to get an appointment with a doctor everyone knows to be a shlimazel. As to free education, as far as most Stamford Hillers are concerned it's like western civilisation to Ghandi: not a bad idea.

But Yesodey HaTorah was supposed to change all of that. Parents who've been dodging the school-fees collector all their child-rearing lives, and that lasts rather long round here, have woken up to spare funds in their pockets thanks to the free school in their midst. And whilst our North West cousins must pay for the Hebrew lessons, in our neck of the woods those too come for free. Mind you they're taxed when using the school wedding hall for those same children's betrothal party but for the moment the little ones are still at school and the shadchen has yet to call. Free schooling works best to put elbows on desks, especially when the more holier elements have tarnished the school for its national curriculum obligations, Heaven forfend. And though our dear kinderlech are the apple of our eyes even that can't beat a free lunch.

I digress for I have come to discuss the benevolence of HM Government and since hakoras hatov, gratitude to you and me (put it in Hebrew and it feels as if not only did we discover it but we remain its sole curators), is something that is drilled into us from the moment we know and appreciate the true meaning if not the value of an asken we should know of this particular act of governmental beneficence. It has not only saved us the price of an entry ticket or a donation to the latest Decree of the gedolei yisroel but according to the speakers at this great event we were bringing our redemption closer and all thanks to Alastair Darling for whom we didn't even vote. But that too is another matter.

So to the Tzniusfest. For the past few weeks parents privileged to have their children admitted to the YHS schools have been bombarded with invitations, flyers, phone calls, letter and not to mention pressure from the kids to attend an event that took place on the first Monday of May 2010. Bank Holiday to many people but as the late Rabbi Dunner would say in his characteristic non-existent yekishe humour, we're not banks so what's it got to do with us?

"An evening that you don't want to miss!' we were promised, or rather 'ALL YHS MOTHERS' were promised. And since you were made to sign in upon arrival you indeed wouldn't want to miss it because having succeeded in getting your kids in to the school you wouldn't want to risk it all by defying a summons of this nature. 'Links in our Legacy' was its original name which mutated (the kosher variety) to 'Golden Links' described as 'an opportunity to link with the school and to show your child you care'. A line up of a 'renowned' lecturer no one's heard of and a 'thought provoking' speaker from Lakewood, where thinking is famed for provoking the ire of its inhabitants, ignited intellectual curiosity, an elegant buffet whetted the appetite and audio visual and musical presentation broke down all resistance.

Besides, the Hill was agog with rumour. After the latest baby/shidduch/cheesecake recipe this was truly the number 1 preoccupation of the female denizens of the Hill (the male variety not requiring Golden Links or being unwilling to sign a register upon entry). Surely if we're talking of linking with the school and caring for our child it could only be the launch of a PTA with a question and answer session where questions haven't been pre-vetted. (In true Hill tradition and YHS sensibility questions could be submitted anonymously in advance.) Or perhaps, and here I'm really running away with myself, elections for a parent governor. Ultimately we knew this had to be a transmogrifying event in the annals of the Hill and the history of the school and as always trusted YHS not to let us down.

So turn up we did and why not for a ticketless entry. Since there was no sponsor, not even of the space filling 'anonymous' variety we can only but assume that it was Her Majesty and her loyal government to whom we were required to our sheitels to and doff our sheitels we did by the time they let us out. But for that I'm afraid I must leave you in suspense for the sequel.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Fanatics or Phonetics?

When you think the Tribune can't get any madder along they come with an article on the Book of Rus. Does than mean we'll soon be getting stories of King Tholomon or only of Nasan the Prophet and Josef and Potifar?

How Thackeray must be blessing his stars that he doesn't come to be mentioned in the Tribune.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

New Bournemouth hotel

Shh... not to be read if you're in Stamford Hill. Apparently it's only for the JC crowd though you did read it here first. We in Stamford Hill are only interested in what they're doing to some pagan bones in Israel and the Buffoon's witticisms week in week out. And as for what the AIHC is up to, you'll be told when they'll deign to let you through its doors and in the meantime please don't spoil the party.

Perhaps Pinter was right after all when he said "I think it's worth mentioning that the Hamodia is now the main newspaper read by the community and not the Jewish Tribune" though that didn't stop him sharing his views on PR in his guise as 'Voices of the People'. The trouble however is that the Hamodia didn't give us the Bournemouth news either, so they obviously have it from on high that it's something we're not meant to know. Since the last thing this blog wants to do is shed the innocence of the Hill's precious neshomes please ignore this and the previous blog and retreat to our Eden on the Hill.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What a Downfall...

We don't discriminate, do we?

A Shidduch indeed

Without wishing to labour the point, according to the BBC Clegg said at this morning's cabinet meeting that an Indian relative told him that arranged marriages work better. So there you are. What however he has to know is that while shiduchim may indeed last until death doth them part there's not always much love in them. Her domain is in the kitchen, his in the office or in shul, meet during the week for a gulped down meal and shabbos for a bit longer and so long that they don't get on each other's nerves too much why should they split up? The price for divorce must also be a high one, stigma for both sides and poor shiduchim for the kids.

But other than that it can go one forever. Fiddler on the Roof reaches Downing Street.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Con-Lib coalition: Is it good for the Jews?

So the shidduch has gone ahead and consummated almost the same day but is it good for us? Jenny Tonge may be unlikely to be appointed as a minister with responsibility for the middle east but how are the rest likely to fare. On school issue Michael Gove, who is generally favourable, is no longer education supremo but is still minister for schools. Will that be enough to get a change in the law on admissions? I doubt it, as the Lib-Dems are not sympathetic to faith schools and the Tories don't command a majority. It's not a priority for the Tories so it's unlikely to be addressed while these 2 are in bed.

As to Israel, Hague in the foreign office, Lib-Dems at the cabinet table and Gove outside the cabinet. Oy vey iz mir!

As for the economy, hospitals, transport and things that really matter, well yes but hardly the stuff to mull over in shul.

UPDATE: Gove is Education Secretary after all but it doesn't really affect matters as a majority is required for a change in the law. That goes for the law on schools as well as for universal jurisdiction which puts some senior Israeli visitors at risk of arrest. And consider this from the BBC: Mr Hague has said that as foreign secretary, he is determined to put in place a "distinctive British foreign policy". Well, you know what that means.

New kosher hotel in Bournemouth?

Apparently someone has bought The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth with the intention of setting up a new kosher hotel. More like a B&B at the moment but then you never know. The grapevine reports that Ita Symons of AIHA may have a part in it which could suggest a convalescence home of sorts. More to the point, will it have a minyen where the nearby flat owners can park their backsides on morns and eves? They should charge a prayer fee or it is bound to end up like the Normandy: the place you wouldn't be seen in other than to daven.

To his credit it is said the late Rav Padwa tolerated a relatively lax kashrus regime at the hotel in order to provide a respite for those needing a break. If only he had adopted a similarly humane policy to an Eiruv his son would not have been bound to his crazy legacy.

Mazel Tov!

What else can one say? They should see lots and lots of naches together un oyf simches by you.

Will David Davis be Home Secretary? It'll be moshiach times.

The first PMQs will be one of those weddings where one side just can't imagine they're having to share a simche with that lot but were forced together and you must come along for the sake of the family. All you can do is pray that no one does something really embarrassing and that it's all over quickly.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

If only this were a Shidduch

Meeting another suitor while making up your mind? Are you out of your mind? Which half respectable parent would allow their child to be put through such insults. I mean it's not as if we're talking about an alte bokhur or a girl from a divorced family. This is for God's sake a party that got almost an outright majority, which makes them like the second best bokhur in the yeshive or the ex-sem girl who teaches, knows how to cook and how to dress. With someone like that you don't stand for this kind of nonsense. And anyway do you really want to get into bed, sorry go under the chuppah, with someone who'll consider that lot. If the Libs want them you don't want the libs.

So David, tell Clegg the shidduch is off and let him drink Le'Chaim with the 'progressives' who follow you on every street corner, lock you up without trial and force you to carry an ID card even on Shabbos. Then sit back and watch it all fall apart and make a real effort, in the best interest of the nation, to hide your schadenfreude.

Monday, 10 May 2010

They're talking a shidduch in Westminster

It appears the party leaders are entering into classic shidduch mode. First dispatch a shadkhen, then the telephone call, followed by a secret meeting where everyone one arrives through the backdoor so that the neighbours don't notice. The meeting is just over an hour and since they seem to like each other they'll be meeting again tomorrow morning. Of course everyone wagging their tongues 'is it going ahead?' to which the answer is 'they must first sort out the finance', or the economy and the Euro in this case.

One can imagine the setting. David sitting down with Nick, which school did you go to? Eton, wow! my cousin went there. And what do you do now? Looking for a job, oh I see.

Boruch Ha'Shem the first bashau went well and they'll be meeting again. The boy's putting pressure that they've got something else lined up and they need an answer. She's agreed to wear a band so long that he doesn't put on vase zokn. Actually here it is, he can keep his blue tie so long that he doesn't wear a red one. It seems the lchaim will take place tonight though the boy's zeide is not sure since he knew the girl's grandfather and he's not sure it's suitable for him. The kaleh's aunt thinks a band is meshugaas but the boy's uncles say it's not enough and in their family they always wore a shpitzl.

The banana liqueur has already filled three quarters of the disposable bronfn glezlekh and her side (they definitely started it first) tried talking about first past the post or PR (whether one is enough or Pru u'Rvu like the bunny rabbits). The boy's father said he wants to think about it and they haven't called back. The shadchen is not taking calls, Sholem Meylekh has gone over and now she's saying she's not so sure either.

Stay by the phone; an announcement is due any time.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Springfield Ward Results

We Yiddishe kep are supposed to be renown for the content of our craniums. Nobel prizes, desert blooming, Einstein and all the rest. What we hear less of is of yiddishe foolhardiness which blessed be the Lord above has been concentrated in Hackney to a disproportionate degree.

Have a look at the local elections which took place in the shadow of the national elections. In the national contest Dianne Abbott's victory may have been a foregone conclusion irrespective of Satmar's canvassing on her behalf for her efforts to prevent Yemenites landing up on what she would probably deem Palestinian land irrespective whether they went to Gush Etzyon or Tel Aviv. The same goes for Jules Pipes who owes us nothing and does for us even less. Our representatives from the Buffoon onwards rubbed Labour's noses into it when it suited their agenda and now that we're on our backfoot it's payback time. Not at all fair especially when seeing his grovelling at the Muslim Centre but nonetheless rather difficult to complain.

Where the outcome was anything but certain was the local elections where the frum have significant numbers in some of the wards. Even if they aren't a majority, since people are persuaded to vote tribally rather than on any rational basis, and not voting for the heimishe is almost a betrayal a high heimishe turnout can be guaranteed to defeat the opponents. (Tessler may be an exception being unsuitable even for the local Tories which is saying something.)

In Springfield there were 3 Tories, Steinberger, Levy and Napier of which the first 2got in by a whisker, 1 of them apparently with a majority of 12, but the third lost. To achieve that loss there can be only 2 explanations. One is that Labour and Lib-Dem supporters went for the first 2 in large numbers because they're good looking or because the electors' philo-semitism led them to abandon their party affiliations for the sake of 2 frum guys. Another possible explanation could just be that heimishe voters sought out heimishe names and they don't come much more heimish than Steinberger and Levy. As for the others, well let them jump in the waterless pond.

I leave it to you which is the more plausible explanation. Perfectly legitimate of course but please don't then complain when we're accused of tribalism.
Isn't it ironic that to cast a vote for a Jewish candidate one must wait for a national or municipal election? I mean voting for a PTA? What does that stand for? School governors? That's not a Jewish idea I think, definitely not da'ath torah. Board of Deputies? Those goyim, are you crazy? Rabbis are inherited, that's quite normal, but what about communal positions, surely there must be a vote preceded by a debate with vetted questions? Ok, you obviously know little about our hallowed way of life but since the Buffoon has promised us his wisdom only next week you'll have to do with mine as second best for the mo.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

I went to vote and I felt empowered and part of something greater than myself. Let cynics scoff that my vote made not one iota of difference in this neck of the woods but still I voted. I voted for whom I decided to and not for whom the great and good ordained their flock should follow.

But it's of course a lot more than that. Living in a community where my views are never canvassed, my voice is never sought and my opinions not deemed legitimate, where others purport to represent me without consulting me and my very presence taken for granted and treated with contempt, it is with pride that once in 5 years I exercise my right to cast a vote that together with millions of my countrymen and women will decide who is to lead this country for the next 5 years. You local charlatans may be no worse than some of the crooks in Westminster but they put themselves up for election and can be voted in or out at the whim of the people. Let us see you do that even once in a lifetime.

Viva Democracy!

Election Day

Who will you be voting for? For the ones recommended by ex councillors, for the good-for- nothings simply because they're heimish, for she who rescued Yemenites or for someone of your own choosing?

Other than Michael Levy who has worked for the general good, and took flak for his efforts, I know of many reasons not to vote for any of the heimishe candidates. They have given us a terrible name over the years and Hackney's planning policy is due in no small part to them and their predecessors.

I do not know the wisdom of being represented by Tory councillors in a borough as red as ours and Haringey shows that the Labour councillors have achieved a lot more with a lot less fuss. So you guys continue to do what you do best and tarnish our name so that we will not be trusted municipally for generations to come. I however shall vote with my brains and not with the shape of your hats.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Here is the official invitation to come and take part in the 'debate' of the candidates who have deigned to talk to us. Questions submitted in advance to the address on the flyer; questions you want answered, don't bother. The rabonim and the askonim will ensure they don't get asked.