Who, What & Where with Scarlett Johansson, fake survivor and 102-year-old magician

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Who, What & Where with Scarlett Johansson, fake survivor and 102-year-old magician

Included in this week's entertainment roundup is Storyville’s Misha And The Wolves, kosher cards for Valentine's Day and this month's snippet of Jewish history!

Big Bad Wolf

There’s a fine line between fiction and downright lies. Author Misha Defonseca discovered this when she wrote a Holocaust memoir that took the world by storm – until a fallout with her publisher revealed a darker truth.Misha’s audacious deception in the early 1990s is the subject of Storyville’s Misha And The Wolves this Sunday and it will fascinate and offend.

The Massachusetts Jewish community was certainly fascinated when Misha told them her compelling story of survival during the Holocaust, as she spent it ‘hidden’ in the house of a Catholic family, before running away to search for her deported parents. Walking east across Europe, befriending wolves, evading the Nazis – Misha’s story ran the full gamut, and local publisher Jane Daniel implored her to write the tale. Once it was complete, Misha became the celeb du jour as even Oprah came calling, but she suddenly became uncooperative and refused to go on TV.

The resulting court feud between Misha and her publisher spurred Jane into delving deeper and the gripping documentary reveals the truth, lies, history and imagination, asking how and why we believe the stories we’re told. Director Sam Hobkinson says: “Although I didn’t set out to make a Holocaust documentary, as it progressed, I realised that I was, in fact, making a Holocaust documentary.

I was just making a different kind – a postmodern one, which is less about the terrible events themselves than it is about the cultural shadow they cast in journalism, the memoirs, the documentary films and everything that goes with it.”

Misha and The Wolves is on BBC Four on Sunday 2 February, at 10pm

Misha and the Wolves

Be My Valentine

The date February 14 started out as a Christian holiday with some attachment to a saint, but then Hallmark took it over. You’re unlikely to find a synagogue decorated in red hearts and Cupid’s arrows any time soon, but don’t let communal reluctance stand in the way of love.

Your partner will be expecting something on the day assigned for lovebirds, so why not blend the sentiment with some old-fashioned chutzpah to tell your dolly chops how much they mean to you? These are from Etsy and you’d better order now – you know there’ll be a broigus if the post doesn’t arrive in time.

Cards by OnceUponATeaCup, www.etsy.com

It’s Magic

Mazeltov to magician Henry Lewis who this week received an MBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace for services to fundraising and charitable causes. Aged 102, Henry is honorary vice president of the Magic Circle and the oldest person to receive an honour in this year’s list. He was born in Hackney, one of eight children. Henry has perfomed magic all over the world, and these days entertains fellow residents at the Jewish Care home where he lives. He says: “It was very nice to receive the honour. When I was eight years old, I found a magic book in a pile of rubbish and that’s what got me interested in magic.”

Sing Out Scarlett

Still cute even when animated, Scarlett Johansson – the actress most favoured by Jewish men – is back as teen porcupine Ash in Sing 2. Koala Buster Moon has got another big show to put on and Ash is part of a line up that should include reluctant lion rock star Clay Calloway, voiced by less reluctant rocker Bono. A new take on U2’s hit song Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, performed by Cab and Ash (Scarlett sings, Bono does too), is worth the ticket price alone. You’ll enjoy it more than the kids.


This Month in Jewish History, with Jewish News’ historian Derek Taylor!

The Domus Conversorum was a house in Chancery Lane where Jews who converted to Christianity could live and enjoy free maintenance. It was
needed because, until 1280, all Jews who converted to Christianity forfeited their possessions to the Crown.

Henry III founded it in January 1232 on a site that later became home to the Public Record Office. In 1280 there were 97 inhabitants. A number of the converts achieved offices of state and the organisation was only abolished in 1891. The keeper of the Domus Conversorum was known as the Master of the Rolls – a royal title rather than a legal one. The home had two chaplains and the crown paid all the costs, which included pensions for the converts.


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: