Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 71 items for

  • Author: Jonathan Magonet x
Clear All Modify Search
Free access

Jonathan Magonet

Any plans we had for this issue of European Judaism were put on hold after what happened on September 11, 2001. Certain events become both personal and public landmarks which freeze moments in our lives and memories. They are often the most tragic ones. We remember where we were, whom we were with, what we were doing at the precise moment when we heard about the assassination of President Kennedy or Yitzhak Rabin. Such an experience is clearly that moment on or around September 11, when we first heard about or saw the appalling events in New York and Washington, played and replayed on our television screens.

Restricted access

From Bible to Berlin (Irving)

The Message of Jewish Popular Song

Jonathan Magonet

In this paper I would like to explore, in a somewhat whimsical way, certain aspects of popular songs written by Jewish composers and lyricists. In some cases simply eliciting the title evokes memories of a particular singer or context. In all cases they have about them a quality that has stamped them on the popular mind, often to become ‘classics’ of the repertory. The whimsical aspect of this paper lies in the attempt to relate them to themes to be found in the Hebrew Bible, though without venturing to suggest there is a direct line of connection. Rather this suggests that there are common life experiences to be found universally, each generation finding a popular way of expressing them in their own particular medium

Free access

Jonathan Magonet

This is a shared editorial, but one written by both of us with a heavy heart. When the editorial board set about finding materials to mark the eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of Moses Maimonides, we invited Esther Seidel to oversee this project, and she contributes the second half of this editorial. But neither Esther nor I could have foreseen that we would also be commemorating the untimely death of my co-editor Rabbi Dr Albert Friedlander who, together with his wife, Evelyn, has been directly associated with European Judaism since the birth of the magazine.

Restricted access

Jonathan Magonet

There are two aspects of this proposition. The first one depends on our understanding of the pluralist nature of European Jewry. The Jewish community of Europe is de facto pluralist, as any attempt to define the basis of our identity makes clear. Jews consider themselves as Jewish on religious, cultural, intellectual, ethnic or political grounds, and any combination of the above. That very diversity seems to be the only uniting factor that can hold together such a disparate group of people. Moreover Jews are also deeply influenced by the different national and cultural characteristics of the societies to which they belong. The classic basis for Jewish unity in Halakhah, Jewish law, has been seriously undermined by the fact of emancipation. What was formerly a total system encompassing all aspects of life, has effectively been reduced to only two areas where power remains with religious authorities, matters of status, who is a Jew and who may marry whom, and the particular form of religious practice they adopt.

Restricted access

'To Give You a Future and a Hope' (Jeremiah 29:11)

Leo Baeck College, Centre for Jewish Education through the Retrospectoscope – David Goldstein Memorial Lecture, 16 June 2005

Jonathan Magonet

It is a great privilege to have been invited to give this lecture in memory of David Goldstein, zikhrono livrakha. He was one of the great scholars and teachers of our movement and he died tragically young. I recall in particular a series of lectures he gave at the College on the Golden Age of Spain. In one of the earlier ones he noted that while at school he had been taught about the so-called 'dark ages' in Europe when there was little in the way of cultural development. The only exception, he had been taught, was the single shining light provided by the Venerable Bede. It was only in later life that he discovered that at the same time when Christian Europe was 'in the dark', Islamic Spain was going through its 'golden age' with an extraordinary flourishing culture that nourishes us till today. That same kind of cultural narrowness and ignorance seems to be no less a problem today when considering the Muslim presence in Europe, and I am always pleased to use that illustration to challenge people to think more broadly.

Free access

Jonathan Magonet

We celebrate in this edition two closely related events. The fortieth anniversary of this journal is a remarkable landmark, particularly given the short-lived nature of intellectual journals within the British Jewish community. That it is still around is a tribute to the commitment of a few dedicated editors and supporters, in particular Albert and Evelyn Friedlander, who between them in earlier years did almost everything from editing, to maintaining mailing lists, to posting and packing to storing large quantities of back issues in the basement of Westminster Synagogue. One reason for the survival has been the readiness of our publishers, Polak and van Gennep (1966–87), Pergamon Press (1987–93) and Berghahn Books (1994–) to support a journal with a small but influential circulation. In each case it was a particular individual who made this possible: in the early years Johan Polak, who is recalled in a memoir by Jackie Senker, the widow of Michael Goulston, the first managing editor; Dr Elisabeth Maxwell who persuaded Pergamon, one of the publishing companies of her husband Robert Maxwell, to take it on; and Marion Berghahn, who accepted it in the early stages of her own publishing venture. (Further background is recorded in an editorial in the Spring 1994 issue.) Without their recognition of the significance of such a journal and generous support it would have long since joined the ranks of other short-lived experiments.

Free access

Jonathan Magonet

The desire to hear a ‘Jewish voice’ on a wide variety of topics in international forums explains the unexpected invitations that come the way of rabbis to offer insights from Jewish tradition. Conversely, the stimulation of speaking to issues outside the usual range on inner Jewish communal concerns offers a potential enrichment to our understanding of the depth and breadth of Jewish teachings.

Restricted access

Jonathan Magonet

That all happened many years ago. To my surprise, and regret, I am the one still here to tell the story. Ruth was younger than me by so many years, but the hand of God works in its own mysterious way. There are those who still say that her death was my punishment for marrying someone like her, from an enemy people and a godless society. So I feel it is up to me to set the record straight. To tell Ruth's story as she might have told it herself. I will do my best and I hope to do justice to an extraordinary woman., who in a brief moment changed my prejudice and fear into acceptance and love. Who gave me a new life. When Oved comes of age he can learn from her own words the story of his true mother.

Free access

Jonathan Magonet

Three subjects provide a focus for this edition. The centenary of the birth of Abraham Joshua Heschel was commemorated in London with a symposium at University College in November 2007 and we reproduce most of the papers delivered on that occasion. The current state of Jewish–Muslim relations is explored through a programme of mapping areas of cooperation in Europe conducted by CEJI – a Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe. We also include a selection of papers delivered at the annual Jewish Christian Muslim Student Conference (JCM). In our Documentation section we publish the ‘Open Letter’ to the Jewish community by Muslim scholars, launched in Cambridge in February 2008. Thirdly we publish two significant papers given at the opening of a travelling exhibition of the Memorial Scroll Trust, charged with caring for Torah Scrolls formerly in the State Jewish Museum in Prague.

Free access

Jonathan Magonet

Our policy of alternating themed issues with more general ones means that sometimes contributions that were delayed, or those sent in response to a particular theme, can be placed together in a subsequent issue. Here we have the opportunity to follow up on two significant subjects of recent issues, the ‘Children and Literature’ topic of Spring 2009 and the ‘State of Yiddish’ of Autumn 2009.