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 Good Holiday Read
We discussed Joël Dicker’s The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, a long book considered a good holiday read and translated from the French even though the events it depicts took place in Maine, USA.

AJR Film Club

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

Nowhere in Africa
Meeting in Whetstone, 25 Film Club members enjoyed Nowhere in Africa, expertly introduced by Martin Aaron. The film is based on Stefanie Zweig’s autobiography, in which she recounts her family’s flight from Nazi Breslau to Kenya, where hankerings after the lost German life and marital tensions are set in beautiful landscapes.

Birmingham

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

An Enjoyable Lunch
Our Chanukah celebration included an enjoyable lunch, prepared by catering staff of Andrew Cohen House. Entertainment was provided by Ali Ince (violin), Lydia Handy (viola) and Miriam Taylor (cello) - a programme of mainly classical music, which was greatly appreciated.

Brighton and Hove

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

Miracle Baby
We were held spellbound by Eva Clarke – the daughter born to Anka Bergman just days before they were liberated from Auschwitz. Eva, this miracle baby whose story appears in Wendy Holden’s book Born Survivors, related her amazing story of bravery and love so beautifully.

Bristol and Bath

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

In Memory of Sir Nicholas
Barbara Winton gave a wonderful talk about her father. She was particularly proud to show everyone the Post Office stamps recently issued in his name. We had a particularly large attendance as details of the meeting had been circulated throughout the Bristol community.

Bromley Continental Friends

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

Lianne Better and Looking Forward to the Next Meeting
We met again in the lovely comfort of Lianne’s home but sadly Lianne was unable to be there due to illness. However, her daughter Laura was kind enough to host the afternoon, at which no less than four members of the second generation were present, allowing tea and conversation to flow. We wish Lianne better and look forward to the next meeting.

Cambridge

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

A Wonderful Jewish Lady
David Barnett spoke about Lady Judith Montefiore, a truly wonderful Jewish lady who was extremely well educated and multilingual. She and her financially successful husband had many benevolent achievements to their credit not only in the UK but also in other European countries and the Holy Land.

Card and Games Club

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

Enjoying the Fun Plus the Hospitality of AJR Staff
After a light lunch, including delicious Rinkoff cakes, we adjourned to do battle at Bridge, Scrabble and Backgammon. We would like to see more members at our next meeting so they can enjoy the fun and the usual great hospitality of the AJR staff.

Cardiff

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

Churchill’s Secret Army
We had another pleasant lunch followed by a screening of Churchill’s Secret Army, which depicts the eventual acceptance of German and Austrian Jewish refugees who wished to serve in the British Army after having been classified as ‘enemy aliens’. They served their country with great courage.

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

Computer Training
The AJR’s Computer Co-ordinator Claude Vecht-Wolf described the work of his team of volunteers and referred to a new, simple touch-screen computer which was being provided to members who might need it. Claude also talked about his background as a trainee rabbi and IT teacher. A most enjoyable afternoon.

Edgware

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

43 Years at the Home Office
Leslie Sommer entertained us with a fascinating history of his 43 years at the Home Office. He served in a variety of departments ranging from Prisons and Parole to Fires Service, Passport Office, Immigration, Coroners, and many more. A thoroughly enjoyable talk much appreciated by the large audience.

Essex

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

Christian Friend of Israel
Moira Dare-Edwards, who taught English in the 1970s in Germany, joined the Christian Friends of Israel soon after her return to the UK. She ended her very interesting talk about her personal life by showing a DVD about the Israeli coastal town of Atlit and received a very warm ovation from the Westcliff members.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

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

A Well Behaved Discussion
Eva facilitated an animated and well behaved discussion on the EU referendum. Hortense brought photos of her life from toddler to cook/maid, marriage, training as a nurse and ‘nurse of the year’. Details of forthcoming days out and other attractive events were circulated. Thank you, Eva.

Ilford

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

Quality If Not Quantity
Popular London Guide Elaine Wein gave us an extremely interesting armchair tour of the highlights of the City of London. It was a talk sadly missed by many of our members, who failed to turn up. We had quality if not quantity on this occasion.

Imperial Cafe War Veterans

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

Inspiring Meetings
We met probably for the last time in the format of monthly meetings, with the proposal to meet again at the end of the year. On this occasion, we discussed ‘Brexit’, with most of us still confused! These meetings have been inspiring over the years and I feel honoured to have heard all the different stories of wartime heroism recounted.

Kensington & Notting Hill

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

Visit to Israel Recounted in Glowing Terms
We met once again at Ruth and Peter Krauss’s lovely home. David De Haas told us about his and his wife Judy’s recent visit to Israel, describing the country and its achievements in glowing terms. Peter Wayne recommended the specially adapted easy-to-use computers supplied by SPF Connect.

Kent

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

The Right Note
Mike Piper from Kent Fire and Rescue Service struck just the right note in his very informative illustrated talk on home safety. We all resolved to be more careful with appliances, check our smoke alarms, and not leave mobile phones charging all night

Kingston & Surrey

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

Tea and Planning
Members met at the beautiful home of Susan Zisman, who put on a fabulous tea. We discussed plans for the rest of the year with a September date now in the diary. A huge thank you to Susan for being a great hostess.

Marlow Continental Friends

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

Refugees and Migrants
Meeting at the home of Alan Kaye, the main topic of conversation was the current refugee crisis. As Jews, we sympathise with the Syrian families and lone children who have fled the indescribable horror of the situation in their homeland. We feel less sympathetic, however, to the young men in their twenties and thirties, carrying mobile phones and relatively well dressed, among the refugees. We guess that these are mainly ‘economic’ migrants and that priority should be afforded the families with children and children travelling alone.

North London

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

Time-consuming Work of a Sofer
We were enthralled by a talk by Tony Jacobs, a sofer who repairs and restores Torah scrolls. Tony explained how his work is very time-consuming – to create a new Torah scroll can take 18 months.

North West London

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

‘The MP for Refugees’
Dr Susan Cohen spoke to us about the life of the humanitarian activist Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946). One of only 14 women MPs, she became known as ‘The MP for Refugees’, having set up the Parliamentary Committee for Refugees in 1938 and in 1939 travelling to Prague, where she met Sir Nicholas Winton. From 1918 onwards she argued for a system of family allowances to be paid directly to mothers. Her lasting legacy came in 1945 when she saw the Family Allowances Act passed into law.

Norwich (Norfolk)

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

Walking through Germany
Phyllida Scrivens, author of the recently published biography of our member Joe Stirling, told us about his walking through Germany and into Holland as a very young boy in the hope of ending up in England. Eventually he had to return home to start on his journey to these shores via the Kindertransport. Phyllida also told us about the people he met here who helped him towards a successful life.

Nottingham

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

A Nice Social Afternoon Meeting
Some 17 members from three counties came along and we had a nice social afternoon meeting. We very much missed Esther Rinkoff but welcomed Kathryn, our AJR Social Worker. The venue and a very nice lunch were generously provided by the son and daughter-in-law of a member.

Oxford

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

WWI Battlefields
Meeting at the home of Suzie and John Bates, I talked about my April trip to the WWI battlefields in France and Belgium, showing photos of the cemeteries and monuments I had seen. We discussed the bizarre fact that many members had relatives who had fought for Germany in WWI and had been honoured for bravery, yet had faced the horrors of WWII 20 years later.

Pinner

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

Trip to Ethiopia
Our members Henri and Dorothy Obstfeld gave us a fascinating illustrated talk about their Jewish Renaissance trip to Ethiopia. We were surprised to learn that there were still some 9,000 Jews remaining in the country after so many had made it to Israel.

Radlett

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

A Man of Controversial Opinions
Tim Pike’s previous talks have been intensely interesting but very controversial. This talk, on the EU referendum, was no exception. One of Tim’s conclusions: Donald Trump is a kind man and skilled politician who will make a good American president and has been much maligned by the media. Not surprisingly, this and similar opinions led to a good deal of discussion, which could have gone on all day!

Welwyn Garden City

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

Varied Subjects of Discussion
Though a bit depleted in numbers on this occasion, we enjoyed discussing topics ranging from the EU referendum and the London mayoral candidates to family matters and other varied subjects.

Wembley

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

Connect Programme Easy-to-Use
Michelle Mendall told members about how Six Point Foundation came into being and explained the Connect programme, showing members how simple and easy-to-use it is.

Wessex (Bournemouth)

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

‘The First Lady of British Jewry’
Lady Judith Montefiore (1784-1862), David Barnett told us, has been described as ‘the first lady of British Jewry’. She was unusually well educated in languages, music and the domestic arts and wrote the first Jewish cookery book – a sort of Jewish Mrs Beeton. After her marriage to the wealthy and influential Sir Moses Montefiore, she threw herself into his many philanthropic enterprises and travelled extensively with him to countries including Russia and the Holy Land.