Religion etc…


Lucky Cards
April 3, 2009, 10:54 am
Filed under: Religion | Tags: , , , ,

cardsSitting quietly at the back of a small shop in Camden I strained to hear my reader over the sound of meditation music and trickling, from the stone water feature. “Are you pregnant?” he repeated. “No, definitely not”, I replied slightly too loudly. “You will be in about 12 months,” my reader responded. This was not the fortune I was hoping to hear. “Are you sure?” I said, “It’s not me who is telling you, it’s the cards,” he smiled.

My tarot card reader, Steve, from Germany, also known as White Dove, fitted well into the modern stereotype of the mystical tarot reader. He was dressed in white floor length robes, which were slightly grubby around the bottom, had bare feet and long un-kept grey hair.

The card reading session was supposed to last 30 minutes but actually ended up lasting over an hour. White Dove only charged me for a 30 minute session, explaining the discount was due to creating good karma. At the start of the session no questions were asked, except for my date of birth. I was told to shuffle the pack of tarot cards before giving them back to White Dove. He then held the pack of cards in his hands, closed his eyes and silently muttered something under his breath. It was hard to work out if he was chanting my date of birth or some kind of prayer. At this point I began to feel quite nervous and wondered if the decision to let a stranger tell me my future was a big mistake.

Instructed by White Dove, I pulled 15 cards from the well-used pack, which he then positioned to make a four legged shape in the centre of the stone table. I was then talked through the cards and my future was revealed. In a nutshell, White Dote told me I would be going on a long journey overseas in July where I would meet my unconditional love and my career would flourish.

Awkwardly I questioned the meeting of my unconditional love and revealed that I was indeed planning on taking a trip abroad, but not to meet my unconditional love, with my unconditional love and that he had made a mistake.

At this point I was instructed to pull more cards from the pack. Examining the additional five cards, White Dove told me the man in my life was indeed my unconditional love and soul mate. He then started to make pregnancy accusations, followed by an unprompted lesson in what it means to have unconditional love.

It was slightly confusing how my cards were reinterpreted so drastically. The sudden change in the direction of my fortune left me feeling dubious towards the strength of White Dove’s tarot reading abilities.



Peace is Possible?
April 3, 2009, 9:13 am
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peaceNeve Shalom is a charity working to achieve peace in conflict ridden Israel. Gillian Gruder explains how:

Possible Peace



Religion: A bad excuse
April 2, 2009, 1:38 pm
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In the UK the Royal Family still do not have the right to a civil partnership. Read More



Safe Sex
April 1, 2009, 3:02 pm
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durexLast week Pope Paul VI re-asserted the Catholic intolerance to contraception of all kinds. Instead Catholic teenagers are instructed to use abstinence as  a form of birth control.

Unfortunately chastity can be a dangerous risk to the health and well being of teenagers. Medical research highlights that adoption of an abstinence only approach has a negative effect on teenage pregnancy rates and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

A study by Columbia University showed that belonging to an abstinence group delayed the start of sexual activity, but if the teenager gave into temptation, they were one third less likely to use a condom. Further research published in the British Medical Journal showed that the partners of boys in an abstinence programme were more likely to get pregnant.

The UK has the highest teen birth rate in Europe and one in ten British teenagers have had a sexually transmitted disease. Surely a more open and realistic approach is needed, and not one that is likely to make an already terrible situation worse.



Rabbi Janner-Klousner
March 25, 2009, 2:20 pm
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Jewish Day Schools: Enforced Segregation?
March 23, 2009, 11:51 am
Filed under: Religion | Tags: , ,

school2My friends come from a variety of different religious and racial backgrounds. This is regardless of the fact between the ages of three to twelve I went to an orthodox Jewish day school.

Jewish day schools, along with other religious schools, have recently been criticised for encouraging segregation amongst the UK’s children.It’s feared that segregated children will grow up to become segregated adults, which will result in creating a divided nation along racial and ethnic lines.

The motivation behind my parent’s decision to send me to a single faith school was not because of their orthodox religious views or because they didn’t want me to mix with non-Jewish children. The reason was because of Christmas carols. My mother felt that due her own church based schooling she knew all the words to all the Christmas carols but no Chanuka songs. My parents feared that they were too secularised and their children were at risk of losing their Jewish identity.

My parents are not alone in their ideas. The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks stated, “multiculturalism has run its course”, in the opening line of his book, The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society. The 1990s also witnessed an upsurge of Jewish day schools as third generation immigrants no longer felt pressured to assimilate, but instead feared losing their Jewish identities.

The statement “multiculturalism has run its course”, does not mean British Jews no longer want to be part of a multicultural nation, it is just that we are so good at it that now our own culture is under threat. The solution being we should remember our roots and educate our children about how to be Jewish.

The reality is not so simple, as once assimilated it’s impossible to backpedal. As soon as I left my Jewish school and went to an atheist secondary school it was only a matter of months before I was singing carols like everyone else. However, this did not mean I was no longer Jewish or lost my Jewish identity. Being in a single faith school did not inhibit by ability to mingle and make friends in a non-Jewish environment.

The Jewish fear of being too assimilated as well as the fear surrounding segregated faith schools is unfounded and extreme. There will always be division in society, but as long as it is peaceful and cooperative this should not be a problem. At the same time, Jews will always have a strong self-identity, and faith schools are not a necessity to maintain it.



Not a good time to be Jewish
March 14, 2009, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Religion | Tags: , , , ,

star2Today in the UK antisemitism often disguised as anti-Israeli feeling is running high.

The Israeli comedy actress and writer Iris Bahr has spoken about her fears in bringing her one-woman show Dai to London, even saying on her blog, “If you’re an Israeli Jew like me you’re screwed”.

British Jews are also facing hostility. At a recent lecture at City University the lecturer spoke with disgust about the massively powerful and controlling “Jewish lobby”, which scared the BBC into not running the hugely publicised Gaza appeal. The lecturer’s exaggerated reference to a “Jewish Lobby” reminded me of the well worn line used to create suspicion about the Jewish people throughout their troubled history.

In a wider European context, Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, attacked the fashionable Israel-hate in the EU Parliament. In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle Farage described, “almost a trendy new form of antisemitism creeping in”.