1993 Purim page
The Purim Awards for Excellence are designed to give Anglo-Jewry good news
about itself or, in the absence of good news, a good giggle, though, of course,
no news is also good news.
We have been overwhelmed by the response to the scheme. About 1,500,000 nominations
for the award flowed in from across the country, which was especially gratifying,
given the fact that there are only about 330,000 Jews in the United Kingdom
and that the scheme was only open to those could submit their mother's ketubah
and swear an oath of allegiance to the Chief Rabbi
Judaism teaches us that there are no winners and losers. "God does not
withhold the reward of any creatures." Neither do we and, accordingly,
all 1,500,000 nominees will receive a Certificate of Merit and a signed photograph
of the Chief Rabbi by second-class post.
However, if everyone is worthy of merit, some are more worthy than others. Our
panel of distinguished judges has decided that the following should receive
not only Certificates of Merit and a signed photograph of the Chief Rabbi (to
be delivered by second-class post) but a chunk of perspex large enough and heavy
enough to be used as a doorstop.
Winner - Dr Jonathan Sacks
Preacher, teacher, writer, broadcaster, philosopher, walk abouter, divine,
the son of one woman, and husband of another, Dr Sacks undertook to advance
the role of women in Jewish life and has done so to the point almost of excluding
them from it. He has also launched the community on a Decade of Renewal which
should take it back to the Middle Ages (or thereabouts) by the year. 2000, provided,
of course, that it lasts that long.
Runners-Up: Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu and Dayan Henoch Padwa.
Runner-Down: Chaim Bermant.
Also nominated: Genghis Khan
OUTSTANDING MAN OF AFFAIRS
Winner Bibi Netanyahu
In spite of his many public duties Mr Netanyahu has always found time for private
ones. He has also gone some way towards easing the plight of single women in
Israel by marrying early and marrying often.
Runners-Up: Mr David Mellor. Henry VIII.
Winner Finchley United
Consecrated in 1935, and desecrated on numerous occasions since, it has some
3,000 members, not a few of whom are still alive.
With its Rolls-Royce facade in Kinloss Gardens and its conservative leanings,
it was previously known as Mrs Thatcher's fan club, but in recent years Finchley
has provided a degree of excitement and drama not to be found in other synagogues,
or even outside them, though what is remarkable about the whole performance
is that not a word passes between the principal players.
Runner Up: Edgware Synagogue.
Winner The Lubavitch Movement, known also as Jews for the Rebbe or The
For a decade now, they have been spreading the good news that the Moshiach
The bad news is that he hasn't come. Their state of readiness, however remains
unaffected and their vehicles not only have headlights and rear headlights,
but roof-lights, in case the Moshiach should descend from On d High during the
hours of darkness. Given their persistence, there is more than a chance that
one day they'll get it right.
They have also brightened our towns on the approaches to Christmas with flaming
candelabra as a sign of goodwill to our gentile neighbours, and have thus become
"a Light Unto the Nations."
Runners-Up: Shabbetai Tzvi, Jews for Jesus, the Salvation Army.
Winner The Kedassia Kashrus Authority, the Federation Kashrus Board,
the Sephardi Kashrut Authority and the London Board for Shechitah.
For introducing cut-throat competition to the kosher meat trade.
Runners-Up: Sainsbury, Tesco, Safeway.
OUTSTANDING BUSINESS MANAGERS
Winner The Federation of Synagogues
While other synagogal organisations have been losing money, the Federation
has been finding it in out of-the-way places like Jersey.
It is unlikely to declare a dividend. Any members claiming their burial rights
within the next twelve months will be able to receive them at a discount.
Runners-Up: Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Robber Maxwell.
OUTSTANDING WELFARE PROGRAMME
Winner Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.
The Union has eased unemployment problems in Stamford Hill by extending the
size of its Beth Din whenever a son or a son-in-law of a dayan is in need of
Winner Bob Dylan
Mr Dylan, aka Robert Zimmerman, represents an entire ecumenical movement in
his own person and is Jewish now and then, Buddhist Zen and now, and Christian,
Muslim and Pagan at other times.
Winner Rabbi Shlomo Goren
Rabbi Goren has developed the convertible conversion, enabling newcomers to
Judaism to be Jewish in Israel and gentiles outside. He is now believed to be
working on a scheme enabling Jews to be Jewish on weekdays and gentiles on Shabbat,
which should solve the al problem of the eruv.