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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-01-08

Michael Howard

Michael Howard, Tory leader

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: we get enthusiastic about Curb Your Enthusiasm, why Home is no good in Belsize Park, and Michael Howard’s timely ad.


1.Best reason to stay in and watch TV: if you haven’t yet caught US comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm on BBC Four, then it’s about time you did.  The show, in which Seinfeld creator Larry David takes an offbeat look at his life and lurches from one personal disaster to the next, has just begun its fourth series in the US, with cameos from Seinfeld, Mel Brooks and Ben Stiller all lined up. Meanwhile, the second series was re-shown in its entirety on BBC Four this week, meaning viewers once again had the opportunity to see the classic moment when David was pronounced a ‘self-loathing Jew’ for whistling a few bars of Wagner outside a cinema. Superb stuff.


2. Best way for Mel Brooks to make even more money: not content with bringing his Broadway hit The Producers to stages in Los Angeles, Toronto and London (opening later this year), Mel is now set to write and produce a film version of the musical, to star original cast members Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. In other words, it’s the film of the play of the film.


3. Best Jews on paper: a new fiction anthology, The Lost Tribe, features short stories from 25 of the best new Jewish writers around including Myla Goldberg, Nathan Englander and Jonathan Safran Foer. Too bad it hasn’t actually been published in the UK yet – but you can still get yourself a copy at Amazon and other online bookshops.


4. Best Jew in a paper: Conservative party leader Michael Howard outlined his hopes for the next election and his vision and values for Britain by taking out a two page advert in The Times at a cost of £57,000. Which is all very well, but given that Jews are supposed to own the media, couldn’t he have gotten the ad space for free? Or at the very least, negotiated a better deal?


5. Best self-promotion of the week: Jewish Comedy, a website from two people involved in SomethingJewish, has undergone an overhaul and now features the work-in-progress version of a stage play, Don’t Mention The J Word, a script about one man’s quest to get his own Jewish-themed TV comedy show. You can see it for yourself at:


6. Best not thinking out of the box: Israel Government. Zvi Hefetz, the man chosen to be the next Israeli ambassador to London, has admitted that he doesn’t actually speak much English. Which, in this age of good PR, will make things a bit uncomfortable should his position go through. At the moment, there is an investigation into his appointment.


7. Best reason not to live in Belsize Park: Green Estate Agents, also trading as Home. They are the focus of a new BBC2 docu-series Property People, which explores our love-hate relationship with estate agents. Sadly, this should only be a one-off, but the powers that be have deemed it a series. In the first show, we saw some obnoxious agents making a living by being obnoxious. Watching them for five minutes was more than enough, never mind a whole series.