Of Mice and Menorah: the Channukah special

Doesn’t time fly when the country’s crumbling to bits and there’s no Big Ben to mark its passage. Already it’s Channukah once again, when we can play dreidel (but no fixed-odds games please), eat latkes (but not too brown please), and celebrate the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple (but not too much please).

But still, Channukah is a time for giving, so don’t waste any time in reviewing the topical gifts available in this year’s edition of Gabriel Festive Innovations!

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Antiochus suspends the whip (from his slaves) following allegations of misconduct

Stony-faced: Antiochus IV Epiphanes denies wrongdoing

Antiochus IV is facing questions following allegations of historic misconduct during his spell as King of the Sellucid Empire.

However, in a statement released today, the 2nd century BCE monarch and pig enthusiast told reporters: “Some things are unacceptable now which were acceptable many years ago, and I strenuously deny any allegations of wrongdoing.”

He added: “It is not clear why these allegations were not raised at the time of the supposed incident,” but declined to respond to follow-up questions which pointed out that the allegations have been publicly and repeatedly aired by the Jewish people every December for over 2,000 years.

In the Cabinet, the mighty Cabinet…

Hit the music!

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That’s enough music.

An exclusive interview with the Golders Green Mosque Martyrs

Following controversy over the establishment of an Islamic centre in Golders Green, our reporter Chani Straightwoman has managed to obtain an exclusive interview* with Sharon Shitpael, who is leading a campaign to prevent the development.

Reporter: So, Sharon, lovely to meet you. Why does the idea of a mosque in Golders Green bother you so much?

Shitpael: The Hippodrome is a historic, listed building, and it should be available for whole community, not confined to one religious group.

Reporter: But you didn’t raise these concerns during the last five years, which it spent as a church?

Shitpael: That’s completely different.

Reporter: Ah?

Shitpael: Yes: members of the chuch integrated into the life of the local community.

Reporter: Although – correct me if I’m wrong – the members of the new Islamic centre have already got involved in Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action?

Shitpael: Yes, and that’s actually a huge problem. Mitzvah Day’s not supposed to be about giving prominence to any one religion, yet here the Muslims are, being as showy and ostentatious as possible.

Reporter: But I thought you just said…

Shitpael: Additionally, we have serious doubts about how they managed to get their hands on the Hippodrome in the first place. We suspect that money may have changed hands.

Reporter: Is that not quite common when buildings are bought and sold?

Shitpael: Ah yes, but for all we know this could be Iranian or Kuwaiti money with links to terrorism!

Reporter: Oh my goodness! That’s awful. How did you find that out?

Shitpael: Well we’ve not found it out… because the mosque management haven’t responded to any of our demands for information about their funding! This example of outright hostility by the mosque towards local Jews doesn’t inspire confidence.

Reporter: But haven’t they invited all the local Jews to a Channukah candle-lighting this week? Surely that’s a positive sign?

Shitpael: A positive sign? Are you crazy? The Jewish community already has a public candle-lighting ceremony outside Golders Green station. This is just a petty attempt to upstage it and cause a drop in attendance. Plus, any Jew who sets foot inside is risking their safety.

Reporter: Ah yes, I wanted to ask you about this. You’ve consistently raised concerns about the safety of the local Jewish population if the mosque stays. But surely, if the mosque’s members were the sort of people who wanted to injure Jews, they would have done it already? They could do that without putting down roots in the area.

Shitpael: That’s just the sort of naïve thinking that led Jews to think they were safe inside Auschwitz…

Reporter: Safe inside Auschwitz?

Shitpael: …and we have a responsibility not to be lulled into a false sense of security – or indeed a real sense of security. If there’s one message to British Jews from the last 11,000 years of anti-Semitism, it’s this: never feel safe.

Reporter: We’re going to have to finish in a moment, so one final question: if you could make one request of your new Muslim neighbours, what would it be?

Shitpael: To open their building to the public more and less and to make greater efforts to integrate into the community and to keep their distance from the community and to tell us where their funding comes from and also not to tell us where it comes from in case it turns out it doesn’t come from where we want it to come from but also don’t it to come from.

Reporter: Sharon Shitpael: thank you very much.

*in Chani Straightwoman’s imagination

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Breaking news: Cabinet minister did something legal nine years ago

In an astonishing series of revelations, leaks from retired detectives have revealed that Damian Green, minister for the Today Programme, used his computer to conduct lawful activity at the time of a police raid 2008.

“I’m absolutely shocked,” said one pundit. “Even in these days of extreme news about politicians’ past lives, I wasn’t expecting to hear that one of them stayed on the right side of the law.”

“It’s unheard of,” commented another.

Damian Green has staunchly denied the allegations and accused those making them of engaging in “a witch hunt”. In a press statement, he said: “Any suggestion that I restricted my browsing to websites that weren’t banned under the Sexual Offences Act is totally untrue. And should anyone try to sack me over this, David Davis will seize on that as a face-saving opportunity to resign from the almighty mess he’s created over Brexit.”

Robert Mugabe reacts to allegations of misconduct

In a statement released today, Robert Mugabe, latterly President of Zimbabwe, told reporters: “Some things are unacceptable now which were acceptable many years ago, and I strenuously deny (You’ve done this one already. -Ed.)

Channukah sameach, a happy new year, and best wishes!
Gabriel

What a noisy place to be-leyn

I know I’ve taken a long break – turns out that Student Rabbi Gabriel Webber is (a) quite busy and (b) has, when blogging, to be conscious of the dignity of the rabbinate.

But, just to tide my beloved audience over until I have more time – and with full regard to the dignity of the rabbinate – I’ve decided to set that great epic poem On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan to leyning trop.

You can here it hear:


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NB the ta’amim are of course written ‘backwards’ as English runs in the opposite direction to Hebrew.

With thanks to the wonderful Chani Smith who’s been training me leyning since September; and with apologies to the wonderful Chani Smith for so flagrantly abusing the craft she’s taught me.