I’m watching and loving The Story Of The Jews at the moment on the old BBC. I love this for lots of reasons. Firstly, Simon Schama. I think that he is the daddy of all this sort of thing. I loved his History of Britain and his book on The French Revolution – Citizens is one of the best things I have ever read on it. ( A not at all snobby or superior warning here. If you are not interested in The French Revolution or you don’t already know a bit about it, I wouldn’t start with Citizens. You may lose the will to live)
I love the Jewish depiction of God – passionate, loud, argumentative – ultimately always believing in his fatherhood.
Anyway – as he has got older he has got a bit more er… theatrical in his delivery but I love it. The word my kids use is fey but either way – I could watch him for hours. He is Jewish, un-apologetically Jewish and a Zionist. Not wholly uncritical but certainly partisan. And he is living this series. Lips a tremble, hand waving, head shaking sometimes quivering with indignation.
I have learnt loads too. I would not claim that this was a specialist subject and I am a bit embarrassed because I sort of thought that all Jewish men in the Old Testament dressed like Hassidic Jews. Whatever you think about the Jewish nation though and there is probably a good argument that says that modern Israel brings a lot of its trials down on itself; no-one could say that they have had an easy life.
For many hundreds of years they had no area to call home. They lodged in other countries – locked in at night, forced to wear clothes that made them easily identifiable (this is all pre-second world war – we haven’t got that far yet) and when the home nation got fed up, then they were expelled (if no one felt like massacring a few thousand of them)
I have struggled to get my head around not having a home country. I have my problems living here – I worry – Did we choose the right Millidee to lead Labour? What sort of government thinks it’s ok to tax disabled families more for having an extra bedroom where carers can get some sleep? Will X Factor eventually lead to lions running in and eating the unsuccessful candidates? Will Sherlock EVER come back? However, it is my country. The place that I was born in and, at least at this point in time, it is the place that I can call my own and anyone who says otherwise is actually an invading force and we would feel well within our rights to deal VERY severely with them.
I can’t imagine not having that. It gives me pause.