Monday, 11 May 2009

Pepys in Hackney

"Going out towards Hackney by coach for the ayre, the silly coachman carries us to Shoreditch, which was so pleasant a piece of simplicity in him and us, that made us mighty merry." Samuel Pepys's diary entry for 10 May 1666.

Silly indeed!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Press roundup

It's about time we holies of holy start holding an 'Idiot of the Week' competition. The contenders would be many and the competition strong. It could go under the name of Stamford Hill's Got Little Talent, though some may object on the grounds that buffoon yitzchok's weekly 'Overheard' epigram counts as originality of the first order. Anyhow, were such a contest to be held no doubt this week's prize would go to the one and only Judith Weil. While she has deserved an accolade many a time for her insightful reports into the even holier and thus madder in Israel, this week she has outshone even herself which is no mean feat.

In a headline piece on 'flu, apostrophe compliment of Ms Weil being as she must a kvetch in grammar as in chareidi mores and madness, Weil and her esteemed blockheads at the Jewish Tribune dedicated a significant part of the article on the 'flu (aka s*** flu) to why its proper description is verbum non grata in chareidi circles. This, she informs us is due to its association with 'daver acher' which, we are further told, is the chareidi euphemism for a, shhhh, careful, is no one looking? for a PIG. I can't believe what I've just said. I'm going to get the Ross/Brand treatment. My God, get me a Rabbi, quick, I've just said something that no Jew has uttered since 3 weeks ago when they read the very word in the Torah. Thank G*d, I was chatting outside at the time. Divine providence to avoid me hearing that forbidden word. Thank You Hashem!

But then turning over the paper, there in black and white, and in Yiddish letters, noch, were the very words 'swine flu', or, it being Yiddish, it was spelt more like, shvein flu. Now what is going on? Is swine permitted or forbidden? Could it possibly be that what is permitted when talking in Yiddish is forbidden in English when the goyim and that detestable organ, the JC, can hear? Or could it just be that in Yiddish we say chazer and everyone knows whom we mean, whereas the cow who wrote that piece is trying to defend the pigs who run the chareidi show in Israel with their noses so deep in the trough they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a swine flu and the human variety even it sneezed in their faces?

Mind you it could just be something to do with the piece in the JT impugning the Sephardi Kashrut Authority for its certification of Kingsmill bread. There have been suggestions that animal-derived enzymes, are used in the bread. The JT in its tireless determination to keep its readers informed of everything forbidden quoted an anonymous, (amazing how brave these chaps are), kashrus 'expert' being worried about a non Kedassia authority's position on enzymes that it may be contrary to halochoh (sticklers in transliteration this time). Hopefully not from dovor acher though.

Interesting though that this stickler for linguistic rectitude knew the outcome of a Japanese criminal trial involving 3 teenagers who either knowingly or innocently imported drugs to Japan and were caught. Weil knows to tell us that they were 'naive' and that it did not occur to any of them what the packages may have contained. You see it may be that the lads were told that they were carrying forbidden substances and they took it to mean dovor acher and since the JT impugns no one but the less holy they wouldn't have discovered that the swine, pig and every other name you can throw at the sender of these parcels was himself of the very chareidi variety.

So now that we have a winner we can move on to the runner up. None one other than the redoubtable Ita Symons quoted in the JC referring to 'some grotty street in Hackney'. And you know what? She wasn't even referring to Oldhill Street or Dunsmure Road, not even to the manicured lawns and trimmed privets of Schonfeld Square. Well, Mrs Symons, if you think Hackney is grotty you are welcome to piss off to Judith Weil's enclaves where you can concrete over all open spaces, assuming there are any left given that every spare inch must be used up for another synagogue for the 15 sons and 12 son in laws of yet another rebbe who's died so that each can smash the windows of the others. That'll give you a taste of what grotty looks like. And once you've tasted the probity and integrity of all the lovely people Judith Weil is in thrall of, and having experienced chazeirim at close range you may even hark back with nostalgia to the probity of the Hackney finance team.