Limmud never ceases to amaze and hearten. In spite of being transposed this year to a Birmingham Hilton, the spirit remains, as do the hierarchy-breaking conventions, eg all name badges equal, no Lord, Rabbi or other title allowed. People of all ages at erudite lectures as well as comedy and contemporary music shows – and happy to tell you about their experiences at dinner. Again the huge task of looking after 2,500 delegates was undertaken by a fresh team of volunteers (those working on the shuk where our stand was located were particularly delightful). Why was it in Britain that this incredible, now world-wide, phenomenon was founded, I wondered. Perhaps renowned British ‘amateurism’ gave more faith that teams of volunteers could be trusted to get things right. Anyway, it is certainly something British Jewry has to be proud of – and we were proud that one subscriber there described JR as “Limmud on paper”.
We were happy to meet many of you at Conference. Our badge worked well in bringing people to our stand. We had a record day in terms of new subscriptions. So thank you to the 50 who wore one and if you can keep it and wear it at other relevant occasions (Jewish Book Week, Limmud Days, synagogue functions, etc) it would help us enormously. There are still a lot of people who don’t know we exist.
JR’s arts editor Judi Herman joins Joanne Rosenthal, curator of the London Jewish Museum’s Blood exhibition, to take you on a guided audio tour. This cutting edge exhibition explores the provocative and complex subject of blood, featuring manuscripts, prints, Jewish ritual and ceremonial objects, art, film, literature and cultural ephemera to present a rich exploration of how blood can unite and divide, reflecting on over 2,000 years of history.
Blood testing and donation at the museum
Anyone interested in saving lives through blood donation is invited to attend a Know Your Group day at the Jewish Museum, to register and test likely blood groups, on Sunday 17 January ahead of donation in February (when donors will be invited to give blood). There is no need to register in advance for the Know Your Group days – simply turn up between 10am and 4pm.
Blood runs until 28 February at London Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert St, NW1 7NB; 020 7284 7384. www.jewishmuseum.org.uk
Henry Wryley-Birch and Ann Marcuson © Pamela Raith
Christmas time and it must be time for The Nutcracker, although Tchaikovsky’s ballet based on an adaptation of ETA Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by Alexandra Dumas père called The Tale of the Nutcracker, only enjoyed this success from the late 1960’s onwards. The music is now so well-known that it’s not surprising Nancy Holson, no slouch when it comes to taking on big imaginative projects (last year she and her daughter staged JFest, a Festival of new Jewish Theatre, in New York ) wanted to put words to it and turn it into a musical. The London production, directed by Ollie Fielding, follows a tryout production in upstate New York.
Emma Cunliffe and Natascha McElhone © Manuel Harlan/RSC
The British do love plays about their monarchs, especially when they show the Royals as real people and when there are resonances for now in the politics of the time. Helen Edmundson’s new play, Queen Anne, is a fine addition to the canon, exploring the reign of a Queen, perhaps known best for the furniture style named after her – and even that was after her death.