Thursday, February 15, 2018

Rainbow Pilgrims Online Exhibition

It is LGBTQI+ History month & I've just returned from the launch of the Rainbow Pilgrims online exhibition at the Wiener Library. Am proud to have taken part in the Roundhouse Radio workshop and to have been photographed by the talented Susanne Hakuba for the project.

Please check out the links to learn more (the workshop link takes you to my bit :-)  ) and, if you are in London next week, come to the pop-up exhibition launch!

More details may be found here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Carter Cool

It was a lovely afternoon - a crisp chill in the air, intermittent sunshine, and a charming attempt at some hail that melted as soon as it landed on our puffa jackets. It's been a while since I've had a chance to take some football photos, and Arsenal Women, once they'd overcome the initial resistance of Yeovil Town Ladies FC, attacked in numbers that gave me a gentle refresher course in timing and focus. Danielle Carter kindly scored the first goal at a great angle for my little camera (see above). However, although her team-mates were rather pleased about this, she made nary a gesture of celebration (see below).

I have previous photographic evidence that Dan Carter will at least point to the sky with one finger in the traditional celebratory pose, but today she did not. It was disappointing from a camera point of view. Nevertheless, I set off home at the end of a 4-0 victory for AWFC in excellent spirits and looking forward to seeing what I'd got in my camera.

On the way back, I was checking social media, and read the sad news that an inspirational colleague has entered hospice care. Some years ago, she had survived a terrible car crash, and defied all prognoses, fighting her way back to life and work. She is someone who has changed the world in which she lives, and we celebrate her leadership and achievements. It is hard to accept that this time she probably will not defy her doctors' predictions. Now when I look again at Dan Carter after scoring her goal, I'm not quite sure why, but I'm glad she's not jumping for joy. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

UK Shopping Advice Needed: Underwear for Men

UK shopping advice needed for mens underwear:
Someone I know who is helping homeless men in Central London has suggested that I may provide some underwear. (Not a subject about which I know much.) Am looking to find the best balance between expense and ethical sourcing. Happy to support local, independent and artisanal suppliers. All suggestions received with gratitude!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rabbi Streep

The rabbi from the Bronx Home for the Aged gives a eulogy in Angels in America (I used to do Shabbat services for the Jewish Home for the Aged in the Bronx, and they were my first High Holiday pulpit during rabbi school!). This is taken from a 2003 TV performance of Tony Kushner's work - I have the DVD but somehow never watched it. Thus I was pleasantly surprised by an online article I read today once again demonstrating the magnificent versatility of Meryl Streep.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ursula K Le Guin R.I.P.

Ursula K Le Guin has died. One of my all-time favourite writers, and shaper of my teenage political conscience through her novel "The Dispossessed", I also loved her novels about a young man who discovers he is a wizard and goes to wizard school!

My condolences to her family and friends.

NY Times obituary
BBC obituary
The Guardian obit
Remembering UKLG at Wired
David Mitchell on Earthsea in the Guardian in 2015
Her website

& finally, what Neil Gaiman tweeted:

I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul. I miss her as a glorious funny prickly person, & I miss her as the deepest and smartest of the writers, too. Still honoured I got to do this:

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Deed of Lovingkindness

Monday is Mitzvah Night. I didn't realise it, but that is what it is. Just now in Fitzrovia, I met two young men, handing out food, socks, hats and pants to homeless men on the pavement this cold Monday night. 

I asked if I could help, and they invited me to join them for the next couple of hours. I couldn't tonight, but they said they'd be back next Monday, starting by the Tesco around 8:30 pm. They are not from an organisation, just two lads from Chesham quietly doing good deeds. They wouldn't take any money from me to help buy stuff. They said they would be happy to accept socks, hats and pants. 

O yes, if I had to, I think I might guess that they are Muslims. I mention that because the headlines on an evening paper I saw earlier were about the trial of the Finsbury Park Mosque attacker and his evil and irrational hatred. I hope I can find the guys again next Monday so I may give them some socks and hats and pants.

Fantastic News from Sydney, Australia

In 2000, the GLBTIQ Jews of Australia decided to come out as Jews. They planned to march at Mardi Gras in a group for the first time as Dayenu. It wasn't possible in those days for local rabbis to give public support to the group, and somehow I ended up being flown in from Virginia to pray and teach and march with this group. It was one of the great moments of my life so far. Eighteen years later, in the year Twenty-Chai, I'm thrilled to see that Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney has made history when two women stood under a chuppah in the shule to celebrate a legal, Jewish same-sex wedding, the first in Australia. Mazeltov to you all!

Here is the AJN article with more details.

Update:  the ceremony referred to here was a renewal of vows following a legal marriage in the United States twenty years previously. The first official marriage is scheduled to take place at Emanuel on 2nd May. More details here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

From Selma to Montgomery with Dr M L King

Tonight I had a thrilling surprise. A friend texted me a copy of this photo:

I consulted the Google and discovered that this photograph had been used to illustrate an article about why Dr King wore a Hawaiian lei at Selma. Here's the article if you're interested.

The thing is, well, look on the right-hand side of the photo. There is a man in a pale hat wearing dark glasses and a lei. Just above the hat is a face, well two-thirds of a face. The glasses and the shape of the head are quite familiar to me. Literally. This is the face of Rabbi Albert H Friedlander z"l. It is the face of my father.


I immediately forwarded the picture to my mother, who had also never seen it before. Having expressed her excitement, she and I had the same thought at the same moment: do you remember the photo in the US Holocaust museum?

A Jewish Sports Day in Berlin in 1937. Part of a face in the bottom-right corner, wearing glasses. It's Albert! It all seemed a bit Zelig to me, except that Albert was really there.

Anyway, a bit late for MLK Day in the USA, but I wanted to share this with you all.

19.1.18 Update
I did not see the movie "Selma", mostly because I was put off by advance notice via clips and photographs that Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel had been edited out of the story. I grew up with the notion that R. Heschel and Dr King were friends and the photo of them marching together at Selma symbolised that the black and Jewish communities worked together for civil rights. Here is a HuffPost article by Peter Dreier that examines this situation: "Selma's Missing Rabbi"