in the garden

 

Continental Friends

There follow reports from recent get-togethers.

For information about meetings email Susan Harrod - susan@ajr.org.uk

Southern Groups

AJR Book Club

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Popular Choice
Meeting at Joseph’s Bookstore in London’s Temple Fortune district, we discussed the novel Butterfly’s Shadow by Lee Langley, which was enjoyed by all. Our next book is Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, which has had very good reviews and is very different from our usual choice.

Birmingham (West Midlands)

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Wonderful Trip to Blenheim Palace
Our trip to Blenheim Palace was wonderful! We were impressed by the scale of the Vanbrugh building and admired Capability Brown's gardens. On an excellent tour, we learned about the Dukes of Marlborough and the Churchill family. After admiring the splendid Meissen china, paintings, furniture and tapestries, we enjoyed a convivial lunch on the terrace and took the train to the Pleasure Gardens.

Brighton and Hove (Sarid)

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Special Treat
Richard Stanton gave us a special treat with his own version of the Last Night of the Proms. His arrangement of the classical favourites, the sing-along and the flag-waving transported us spiritually to the Albert Hall. It was an enjoyable morning. Well done!

Bristol and Bath

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Beyond Right and Wrong
Due to building works our venue was changed to our speaker’s house, with Lisa Saffron kindly offering her home to our small gathering. Following a delicious lunch we watched an excerpt from the documentary Beyond Right and Wrong, which provoked a lively discussion.

Bromley Continental Friends

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

An Afternoon of Companionship and Lively Discussion
First and Second Generation members enjoyed an afternoon of companionship and lively discussion, encompassing a broad range of topics - from the merits of Ocado deliveries to cultural and leisure events. Exhibitions, film music and books were recalled and reviewed. Hazel told us about future visits and provided a delicious lunch at Liane’s home.

Cambridge

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

Life as an Officer in the Royal Marines
Simon Granham, Deputy Head at Dovercourt/Harwich High School, has been very involved in relating the events of the Kindertransport to his pupils. On this occasion, he gave us a most interesting talk about his time as an officer in the Royal Marines, including many amusing anecdotes, and stimulated a wide discussion of life in the Services.

Cardiff

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Residents of Ostrawa
Members enjoyed a delicious deli lunch with rye bread, salmon and other goodies. David Lawson presented his fascinating talk about residents of Ostrawa. He had done detailed research and it was especially interesting to see how descendants of the original individuals had fared, and particularly gratifying to note how large the families had become and how much they had achieved.

Child Survivors Association

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

'Why is Hebrew Written Backwards?'
Dr Martin Stern answered the question ‘Why do you write Hebrew backwards?’ and was assisted by members of the audience. Diversions led also to the roots of a number of English-language words - neither Latin nor Greek but Phoenician/Hebrew. Dorothy’s cakes were a delight for the palate.

Ealing

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

One of the Most Influential Jews of All Time
David Barnett gave a most interesting talk on the life of Daniel Mendoza, who rose from humble beginnings to become the most famous and successful boxer of the turn of the 18th-19th centuries. The book The 100 Most Influential Jews of All Time ranks Mendoza no. 82, the highest-rated athlete on the list.

Edgware

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

The Truly Indomitable Judith Montefiore
Judith Montefiore, David Barnett told us, was one of 10 children and home-schooled. She was fluent in several languages and an accomplished singer and musician. She and her husband travelled extensively, including a 4-month journey to Jerusalem. In her later years she wrote the first Jewish cookery book.

Essex

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

From Obscurity to Lord Chief Justice
We had a very intimate meeting with the very knowledgeable Godfrey Gould on the life of Rufus Isaacs. Rufus, born in 1860, was a Sephardi of Dutch descent who rose from obscurity to the position of Lord Chief Justice, which aroused anti-Semitic feelings.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

An Extraordinary Woman
A woman who spoke several languages, was proficient as a musician and a singer, was a seasoned traveller, and wrote the first Jewish cookery book: the life of Judith Montefiore is unlike any other of her time or even by today’s standards. One wonders why a movie has not been made about her. Once again David Barnett gave us a fascinating life story he has researched.

Ilford

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

In a Merry Mood
We all found Debbie Pearson’s talk on wine very interesting. Debbie is the chair of a local wine society as well as a City of Westminster Guide and therefore the samples of red and white wine handed out at the end of her talk were a fitting conclusion. We all left in a merry mood.

Imperial Cafe War Veterans

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Lunch Washed Down with Many Memories
We met for a celebratory lunch to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Union Jacks bought by Peter Wayne in 1945 were waved enthusiastically. A delicious lunch washed down with many, many memories. Thank you, Peter Eden, for suggesting we meet.

Kensington & Notting Hill

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

New Group Formed
Among those present at our new group were two Second-Generation members, one of them with her First-Generation mother, and two First-Generation brothers. Having been invited by Hazel to introduce ourselves and share our histories since arriving in Britain, we broke up into informal chat. The allotted two hours passed very quickly and we didn’t manage to discuss the possible format of future meetings – such discussion will have to wait for the next gathering.

Kent

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Dealing with Local Criminals
Police Community Support Officers Claire and Dave, based in Tunbridge Wells, reassured us there was not so much crime locally - they mainly deal with shoplifting - but gave us useful tips on dealing with bogus callers.

Kingston Continental Friends

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

Another Very Entertaining Get-together
A delicious lunch at Edmee’s lovely home and garden, which was in full bloom, was enjoyed by members of both Surrey and Kingston Groups. Another very entertaining get-together.

Marlow Continental Friends

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

Many Topics of Interest Discussed
We are fortunate in having a fixed venue for our meetings: the beautiful home of Alan Kaye, whom we thank for his hospitality. During the delicious lunch Hazel had prepared for us, we discussed many topics of interest, including the general election, the recent Israeli election, and the ‘Mediterranean boat people’.

Nightingale House

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

Small World
Two members of our group who had been living on the same floor at Nightingale hadn't previously realised that they both came to this country at the age of 15 and are both of the same age. Small world. Also, we talked about careers we have had.

North London

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Flowers and Fables
Nick Dobson, using some beautiful slides, shared with us his extensive knowledge of flowers and their association with fables and various countries. Interesting to note that the earliest fossilised rose - from 35 million years ago - was found in Colorado!

North West London

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Holistic Treatment
Lesley Woolfe, AJR Dementia Befriending Co-ordinator and a Reflexologist in private practice, told us about Reflexology, which originated thousands of years ago but came into general use again after being rediscovered in 1890 in the USA. It is a holistic treatment which concentrates on the feet and hands to treat the whole body. Following a Q&A session, Lesley did a hand massage for some of us.

Norwich (Norfolk)

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Another Meeting with All the Right Ingredients
Another successful lunchtime meeting with all the right ingredients – from herring salad and rye bread to cheesecake. Frank gave the second instalment of his early life, from arriving in the Friedland slave-labour camp to returning to Prague after 22 eventful months. Many thanks to Kathryn and the ‘local ladies’ of the Synagogue for their help.

Nottingham (East Midlands)

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Social Meeting over a Simple Lunch
We missed Esther, who was ill, and sent her our good wishes for a speedy recovery. We met as usual for a social meeting over one of Gerry’s simple lunches at the Nortons’ home. AJR social worker Kathryn Williams sorted out a few problems some members had.

Oxford

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Amusing Stories
Meeting at Richmond Road Synagogue, we enjoyed coffee and cake and then listened to Chris Moncrieff, former Political Editor of the Press Association, who regaled us with amusing stories from his interesting career.

Pinner

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Six Point Foundation
Six Point Foundation (SPF), clearly explained by Susan Cohen, was set up in 2011 from disposal of assets to support needy Holocaust survivors. Working closely with the AJR, SPF helps individuals in major or minor ways by funding, e.g. stair lifts, roof repairs, dementia care. There is also an SPF net technology project which introduces survivors to computers and connects them with family and friends.

Radlett

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

In Hungary after the Holocaust
The end of the Second World War ended the catastrophe of the Holocaust in Europe but sadly it was not the end of all troubles for the remaining Jewish communities. Andrew Roth gave a very interesting talk on his experience as a child of the Hungarian revolution in a small town and of his journey to England.

St John's Wood

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

‘The Kaiser's Jewish Soldiers’
Dr Toby Simpson, Learning and Engagement Manager at the Wiener Library, gave a very interesting talk entitled ‘The Kaiser’s Jewish Soldiers’. We also heard about the history of the Library, where this story is well documented, and about its founder, Dr Alfred Wiener.

Surrey

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Another Very Entertaining Get-together
A delicious lunch at Edmee’s lovely home and garden, which was in full bloom, was enjoyed by members of both Surrey and Kingston Groups. Another very entertaining get-together.

Welwyn Garden City

for further information, contact hazel@ajr.org.uk

A Man of Principle?
Lesley Urbach spoke to us about the political and personal life of Herbert Morrison, on whom she has just completed her Masters degree. Morrison, whose father was a policeman and who lost an eye in an accident as a child, was responsible for the evacuation of children from London during the Blitz. One of his daughters married Peter Mandelson. Morrison was described as a man of principle but, as we learned, his principles changed like the wind!

Wembley

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

London and the Wine Trade
A small but very ‘select’ group met for a most interesting talk on the joint subject of ‘London and Wine’. Debbie Pearson, our speaker, an official guide in the City of London and Westminster, drew a fascinating parallel between the connections of her subjects. This was followed by the usual refreshments and a good chit-chat among us.

Wessex (Bournemouth)

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Outing to Water Gardens
We were joined by members of the Bournemouth Reform Congregation for an outing to Bennett’s Water Gardens at Weymouth. This houses the national collection of water lilies in a group of large ponds connected by broad grass walkways. At the centre is a charming replica of the Japanese bridge in Monet’s garden at Givenchy. We admired the many water lilies of various colours and enjoyed a fine cream tea.