Lighter Side! A shtisel snap and shielding with sparkle

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Lighter Side! A shtisel snap and shielding with sparkle

Brigit Grant's looks at nasty kids, holiday season happiness and celebs bucking charity trends

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Shulem and Nuchem
Shulem and Nuchem

Where there’s a will, there’s OY VEY!

During lockdown I had a particular loathing for mothers who bragged about how well their kids were handling virtual learning.

Beavering away in their bedrooms with barely a toilet break or a snack, their children messaged teachers for “more equations” or screen shared 3D models from CAD drawings in design and technology. “Well done,”
I seethed, pouring a G&T before Countdown and constructed my own word from the anagram KCUFUOY.

Don’t get me wrong, my child wasn’t screen switching from geography to Gilmore Girls or Zoom-bombing other lessons, but there was a lack of urgency towards learning that increased over the weeks, along with the Amazon deliveries.

Of course, being a parent is never easy (unless you are useless at it), but the March to September continuum had us all dealing with a helter skelter of emotions – think Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’s Veruca Salt meets Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm .

Is your child a nasty piece of work like Veruca Salt ?

I’m guessing even Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget, both experts in child development, would have struggled with issues raised from greeting grandparents by elbow or waving at them through a window – and now the Tier 2 rule stops them seeing at weekends the same friends they sit beside on the school bus.

With a situation more confusing and inflammatory than a game of Cards Against Humanity without the laughs, I’m trying to focus on the positives as this page is The Lighter Side.

Unfortunately, a horrible story about the child of a distant friend has to be told. 

Along with thousands of others, redundancy forced this north-west London family to rethink their finances, which meant removing their daughter from private education.

As their girl set off to a new state school in September, pupils from her alma mater kept sending anonymous Snapchat messages that said: “You’re too poor to go to our school.”

Intending to wound, the goal was achieved but, as Snapchat allows users to delete messages (a tool created for cruel cowards), any tracing was difficult. Of course, the girl guessed the offenders’ identities, but chose to move on and forget them. 

This is not an isolated incident, as her mother found other parents who had watched their child’s self-confidence shrivel because of vicious barbs sent by mean kids. Children you might even know but believe incapable of such behaviour. 

My friend sent me other examples of posts from distraught mothers with distressed teens, including one dealing with the aftermath of a false TikTok account set up to shame her daughter.

TIKTOK (Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash)

So hateful was the campaign that even the police were horrified, but TikTok’s concern for human rights stopped them naming the nasty account holders. That this girl changed schools to escape the nightmare shows how destructive social media can be in the hands of kids left literally to their own devices.

The young and misguided got a lot of time with those devices during lockdown and although we were with them, we weren’t with them as they played Kahoot! or Among Us online, or chatted until the early hours.

For some friendships, absence made hearts grow fonder, while others dissipated and we have all learnt lessons about who and what are essential going forward. 

Kindness is vital – just as it was before the pandemic – but with so many facing tumultuous change to their lives and livelihood, our children really need to think about the dark reality of their virtual behaviour. Hopefully months of confined parenting will have helped your child to blossom, but remember there is no age limit on being a nasty piece of work. Parents reluctant to accept they’re not raising angels have got more to learn than their kids. 

A Shtisel Snap

Just when I thought the postman was lost in the wilderness, a photo arrived of actor Sasson Gabai holding Jewish News’ New Year magazine.

Better known to us as Nuchem Shtisel in our favourite Israeli drama, Sasson received the issue (a celebration of the show) when he flew in to Tel Aviv after filming in Prague with Shtisel co-star Dov Glickman.

Sasson Gabai

While that production remains hush hush for now, Shitsel 3 will (baruch Hashem) be aired in December on Netflix.

There will also be more Shtisel exclusives in our December magazine, so be sure to grab it.


Santa with a mask….

It may not officially be our holiday, but many a Jewish household is partial to a fir tree and a figgy pudding.

Okay, so you call it a Chanukah bush but, as the lighting of the menorah doesn’t clash with that other holiday this year as it did in 2019, you might want to extend the cheer for your children.

Several nice Jewish boys Marc Jacobs, Barrie Gotch and Richard Jaye certainly think so, which is why they’ve come up with this idea of Santa’s Garden Grotto.

The boys, who will be sending the santa’s in their red suits and beards to you, will come through the side gate with a sackful of presents for a socially-distanced visit with a maximum of four children.

Father C will be waiting for you in your garden or drive, but as there is no mention of a reindeer roof landing, you’ll probably need to leave a space for their car. You won’t recognise one of the Santa’s, toastmaster Jamie Paskin, in disguise. 

To book either email, or call 07516 931 398


Shielding with Sparkle

Wearing a hat to shul may be a distant  memory for members of the Reform movement, but it’s a different story for United Synagogue congregants.

Shielding with a sparkle

Socially-distanced services do, however, require Covid-safe attire for all, which inspired Pop Fusion’s Natalie Davis to create face shields with smatterings of gems to bring a lift to essential mask wearing.

Complete the look with a hat in complimentary tones and impress the rabbi.

Hairdressers and fashion folk will also appreciate a bit of jazz and, for those planning simchas at home, she has the Bling Box filled with gifts and real flower edibles.

Friends who can’t be with you can also receive the identical box so they can celebrate with you. 

Call 07815 110 880 or visit


Big Buck the Trend

They may be dealing with a loon for a leader and who knows if that will end, but when it comes to fundraising online, Americans have the edge on the pledge.

Take the Holocaust Museum in LA, which last week held a livestream hosted by Melissa Rivers, daughter of Joan, who welcomed Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Gad and Gal Gadot.

There were others – Ben Platt, Lior Raz… and Marc Shaiman, but a Platinum sponsorship (two virtual tables of 10, pre-show cocktail reception, gourmet wine and cheese gift box) was $25,000 (£19,057).

A general ticket was $200 (£151), which seems excessive for a seat in your own lounge, but a cast of this many famous of the faith brings big dollars.

If more UK Jewish celebs were willing to own their identity and appear, our community charities would benefit.

Interestingly, Lord Daniel Finkelstein was part of the Hollywood event, so maybe he could start the ball rolling here.


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