Who, What & Where: Grand National, kosher restaurants, anxiety play, Elliot Levey

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Who, What & Where: Grand National, kosher restaurants, anxiety play, Elliot Levey

Sam Waley-Cohen
Sam Waley-Cohen

SPORT: Miracle of Miracles

If you didn’t know better, last weekend’s Grand National could have been sponsored by Rakusens. Or Osem. Those who missed the race at Aintree (schpeiling on a Saturday?) missed the most Jewish Grand National of recent times. If not ever. For starters (orders) there was a horse called Fiddler on the Roof, a moniker that no Jewish punter could ignore, and though Tevye the milkman had to struggle with a lame horse this eight-year-old bay gelding came in fifth at 12-1 But the joy didn’t end there as the winner Noble Yeats was ridden by Jewish jockey Sam Waley-Cohen and it was his last ever race, in what was a fairytale ending to his career. He dedicated his win to his late brother Thomas, who died of cancer aged 20, and said: “I ride with his name in my saddle.” There were tears on the betting slips.

THEATRE: Feeling Anxious

Former BRIT school teacher Lucy Harris’ sell-out play Just Relax (above) returns to the stage next month at the Hope Theatre in Islington. The one-act play that explores the minds and lives of people experiencing anxiety and other mental health issues was inspired by Lucy’s own journey with anxiety and grief and that of other people’s. Serious and hard hitting with a splash of comedy to offer some light relief, Lucy says that by the end of the play audience members will hopefully relate to at least one thing and maybe not feel so alone, or at   least understand anxiety a little better. “I really want people to realise there is more to anxiety than just worrying. It’s so much bigger than that,” says Lucy.

Just Relax is at The Hope Theatre, Islington on 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th May

www. thehopetheatre.com

PASSOVER: Matzah Happens

Why limit your matzah to the afikomen when you can use it as a frisbee, turn it into Nachos (Machos) or do what the Israelis did and use it to promote the Paddington sequel when it premiered over Passover!

Eat yourself silly at Kasa

FOOD: Kosher Restaurants Open

You’ve shopped, prepped, cleaned and cooked and you can now bask in the glory of your homemade gefilte fish. When the novelty of putting together yet another chametz-free meal wears off (for us that’s round about day three) you’ll be pleased to know there are a few fully licensed kosher restaurants open. Sami’s in Golders Green (only this branch – not Hendon) is open for a meat fest, while middle eastern big bold flavours are on fire at Kasa in Hampstead Garden Suburb or get your glad rags on and head to Kensington to dine in style at Tony Page’s Island Grill. You’ll be wishing it was Yom Kippur after all that food.

Elliot Levey

AWARDS: Winner Takes All

This week Elliot Levey, who featured in Life magazine (available online), won Best Supporting Actor at the Olivier Awards for his role as the Jewish grocer in Cabaret. Making the traditional thank yous in his acceptance speech, the actor then went on to thank the British government. Not the current one, but the one who offered asylum to his Ukrainian grandfather, Elijah Zivatovsky, a privilege he hopes will now be granted to the new wave of Ukrainian refugees. Peppering his speech with jokes, including one about Elijah changing his name to Levey -“He didn’t want anyone to know he was Jewish”- the actor then wrote a piece about Passover for Monday’s Guardian, no less, which warranted a standing ovation (he’s used to those) as he explained how he would be thinking of his grandfather at the seder: “A man who listened to the ancestral warning of Passover and made the decision to flee his hometown of Kyiv after two of his brothers were killed because a new despot had arisen with a taste for violence, just like the Pharaoh.” Let’s hope Putin’s ears were burning. Be sure to see this gifted thesp and scribe in Cabaret at The Playhouse.

This month in Jewish History

By Jewish News historian Derek Taylor

We take seder night and Passover for granted as a high spot of the year, but the longevity of the festival is truly amazing. Exactly a thousand years before the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Jews were beginning their ill-fated revolt against the Roman occupiers of the Holy Land. We had, in fact, celebrated Passover on the first anniversary of our deliverance from Egypt, but not for another 39 years in the Wilderness. The Last Supper was, of course, seder night, though Leonardo de Vinci’s famous painting is a travesty of what would have actually occurred. Seder night is the oldest festival by far in the Western world and, presumably, Jesus would have said Manishtana when he was the youngest child. The continuance of the festival is a tribute to the determination of the Jews to keep the faith. It remains one of the occasions, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when even those who have given up the mitzvot still return to their roots.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: