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Ritual Textiles

Women's View, edition 12

What a busy and successful month September has been for sports.  Starting off with the Paralympics and ending with a nail-biting finale in The Ryder Cup golf tournament held in Chicago with the European team narrowly beating the Americans in the final stages.  We can be justly proud of our sportsmen and women and enjoy the patriotism and sense of unity that still abounds.

Yet for the Jewish community September was much more than sport as we celebrated the Yomim Noraim, in shul and at home.  We were blessed with good weather for Rosh Hashanah so that those of us who had bought new outfits could wear them with panache, and the cooler temperatures of Yom Kippur gave the majority of us an easier fast. 

Now the summer weather seems to have disappeared completely.  As we celebrate Succot and Simchat Torah autumn/winter clothes are brought out from the backs of the wardrobes and we check that the heating is working.  Early evening walks become a thing of the past as the evenings become dark much earlier.

Perhaps, then, this is the time to look for ways to use this extra time to educate ourselves further for the benefit of others and for the benefit of Judaism as a whole.  As Anne Godfrey relates in her article, The International Council of Jewish Women, the Council’s quadrennial education seminar in Jerusalem next May will tackle the issues its representatives at the UN debate from a Jewish perspective.  Moreover, after the AGM in November US Women is proposing to set up a sub-committee to make sure US women will be able to take their rightful place in World, National and Jewish Organisations, knowing what Judaism has to say on the topics under discussion.  If you are interested in joining this sub-committee, or indeed playing your part within US Women in any of the 6 divisions with individual chairs that make its continuing work more structured, please contact USWomen@theus.org.uk.

Our second feature, Women in the Workplace, is primarily aimed at women seeking to return to work and women business owners starting or already running businesses.  A conference, run by TrainE-TraidE in conjunction with Wizo UK, will take place on 21 November and will include numerous workshops, one-to-one advice clinics to discuss CVs, Career Advice, Business Planning and Employment Advice etc., as well as opportunities for networking.  Read the article to see if this conference can assist you in your career and, if so, book early to reserve your place.

Have you ever wondered what a Jewish woman prison visitor does and how she can help Jewish inmates?  Whether she can choose where she goes or whether she is allocated a prison – open, closed, immigration removal centre etc.  Find out as Sharon Carr interviews one of these visitors (who work under the auspices of the Jewish Prison Chaplaincy/Visitor service led and coordinated by Rev Michael Binstock, Faith Advisor to H M Prison Service) as she explains how she became involved and how she goes about assisting the Jewish prison community.

Broadcast on BBC 1 Wales on 13 August 2011 as part of the New Nations set of programmes, ‘The Kosher Comedian’ (relating to Bennett Arron a Welsh-Jewish comedian) was originally going to be called ‘The Only Jew in the Village’.  Luckily for us the BBC changed the title, so we now offer you Diane Marcus’ view of childhood as she grew up in Llanhilleth, a small village in South Wales, where her family were indeed The Only Jews in the Village.

For our final feature Dawn Freedman reviews That Woman by Anne Sebba.  Relating to the late Duchess of Windsor it reminds us what a fascinating life she led as she moved from one man to another, receiving numerous expensive gifts along the route, marrying the heir to the British throne and being treated royally by the Nazi hierarchy.  (Interestingly, her second husband, Ernest Simpson, was the grandson of Leon Solomon – a Jewish Polish immigrant who married a Jewish girl from Penzance.  He prospered and made substantial contributions to the synagogue in Plymouth.)  Read the book to find out more.

With winter approaching now is the time to make sure all your insurances are in order – household, plumbing, boiler, car etc., as no-one wants to be caught out should the worst happen.  Therefore this month we offer our readers Top Tips When Looking For And Using An Insurance Broker so that you can decide whether or not you are getting the advice that is right for you and your insurance needs.

This month we also offer a wide variety in our Events Diary section – from conferences to elections, from study to zumba – so make sure to take a look and make a note of any that interest you.  In addition, do let us know of any upcoming events for women that you feel would be of interest to others as we are happy to publicise them in our pages.

We also welcome articles/book reviews in the region of 700 words with a view to publishing.  If you enjoy writing and have something interesting to write about please contact us at USWomen@theus.org.uk.

We wish all our readers a Chag Sameach and a wonderful year ahead.

Ida Dyan (editor)