85 episodes

JR's Arts Editor Judi Herman presents her series of podcasts, featuring interviews with leading playwrights, actors and other creatives, as well as guided audio tours of the latest exhibitions with a Jewish cultural interest.

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    • Arts

JR's Arts Editor Judi Herman presents her series of podcasts, featuring interviews with leading playwrights, actors and other creatives, as well as guided audio tours of the latest exhibitions with a Jewish cultural interest.

    Audio tour: Hebrew Manuscripts

    Audio tour: Hebrew Manuscripts

    "You see with manuscript illustration how much exchange there was between Jewish communities and their host communities"

























































































































































































































































    Ahead of the opening of the British Library's new exhibition, Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word, JR’s Arts Editor Judi Herman explored it via a virtual private view. There she met Cassy Sachar, librarian at Leo Baeck College, so the pair got together online later to share their thoughts on this stunning and deeply rewarding display of rarely-seen treasures from as far back as the 10th century. Pieces come from Europe and North Africa, through to the Middle East and China, taking viewers on a "journey beyond the Bible to discover the history, culture and traditions of Jewish people from all corners of the world through the ages". The collection spans science, religion, law, music, philosophy, magic, alchemy and Kabbalah, and explores the relationships between Jews and their neighbours in the communities in which they lived.
    Photos by David Jensen
    Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word runs Tuesday 1 September 2020 – Sunday 11 April 2021. British Library, NW1 2DB. www.bl.uk

    In conversation: The Matzoh Boys

    In conversation: The Matzoh Boys

    London-based simcha band The Matzoh Boys have created a “virtual simcha dance“, so people in the community can still enjoy a dance to their favourite simcha tunes at home during lockdown. JR’s Arts Editor Judi Herman found herself on her feet dancing as soon as she clicked on the link to their wonderfully life-affirming video. So she got in touch with vocalist Jonny (pictured centre) and trumpeter Jake (pictured fourth from right) to talk about the band, their music, how they made their video “in the safety of their homes” and how they were doing in lockdown.

    In conversation: Maisie & Thamar Barnett

    In conversation: Maisie & Thamar Barnett

    “We decided to actually go and try and find every footstep of Mary’s”



































    Maisie outside Mary’s home on Boterdiepstraat




















    When Maisie Barnett signed up for the Yad Vashem Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme, she and her mother Thamar went more than the extra mile to find out all they could about Maisie’s ‘twin’ Mary, a Dutch youngster murdered by the Nazis long before she could celebrate her bat mitzvah. They found Mary’s best friend Renate, who guided them around Amsterdam to where she and Mary had lived and played all those years ago. They made a moving short film of their journey and Renate was present as guest of honour as Maisie read from the Torah at her bat mitzvah at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue in July 2019. Here Maisie and Thamar talk to JR’s arts editor Judi Herman about their extraordinarily meaningful and memorable experiences and expand upon making their beautiful film.













































    Watch Maisie and Thamar’s film on Vimeo and read more about Maisie’s experience with the Twinning Programme in the July 2020 issue of JR.

    In conversation: Steve Waters

    In conversation: Steve Waters

    This week sees the start of Steve Waters’ Miriam & Youssef, a podcast and radio drama series for BBC World Service, charting the turbulent decades leading up to the founding of Israel. The playwright spoke to JR's Arts Editor Judi Herman about the ambitious project, which is told from the viewpoints of two former neighbours: Miriam, a Jewish refugee who emigrates to Palestine, and Youssef, a Palestinian Arab. Set between 1917 and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, their lives are intertwined with real historical characters and events.

    In conversation: Stephen Laughton

    In conversation: Stephen Laughton

    Stephen Laughton’s play One Jewish Boy, which enjoyed a sold-out run at Islington’s Old Red Lion Theatre, has now transferred to London’s West End. Laughton discusses with JR Arts Editor Judi Herman how he has welcomed the chance to develop this moving two-hander, which explores a young family’s struggle against fear, prejudice and the identity inheritances that haunt us. He also expands on how he's updated a play originally written from a place of genuine fear and as an urgent response to overt antisemitism – of which he himself has been the target – in light of the acceleration of hate crime incidents in the UK and elsewhere.

    In conversation: Peter Kavanagh

    In conversation: Peter Kavanagh

    In Paul Kember’s award-winning comedy drama Not Quite Jerusalem, four young Brits flee grim divided London of the late 1970s for Israel, in search of sun and fun on a kibbutz working holiday. Except it turns out to be more hard work than holiday under the blistering Middle East sun. There's conflict alienation and resolution, and at least one love story in store, as they get to know their kibbutznik hosts. The show broke box office records at the Royal Court Theatre, where it premiered in 1980 and revived in 1982. Now it’s the choice of Finborough Theatre to celebrate the 40th anniversary of both the theatre and the play. In a brief break from final rehearsals, director Peter Kavanagh spoke to JR’s Arts Editor Judi Herman about the play and about the UK and Israel – then and now.

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