The Ever Given

The Suez Canal: from the 1967 war to the Ever Given

On 23 March, strong gusts of wind drove the giant Ever Given completely off course as it passed through the Suez Canal. A sandstorm created poor visibility, affecting navigation. The vessel ran aground, its vast bulk horizontally wedged across the narrow waterway. The 400-m long, 224,000-tonne Ever Given is one of the largest container ships …

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First beigel shop (Flickr)

A sense of community

I’ve recently discovered that some of my forefathers came from the shtetl of Sadowne, in Poland. A great-great aunt, Sarah Appelbaum, was apparently a midwife and teacher in Sadowne, helping to maintain the health and morals of the community. Jewish shtetl society was hierarchical. At the peak were a few wealthy estate managers and successful …

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The trauma of forced migration

Prominent in a white blouse and a protective hand on a relative’s knee is my great-grandmother Rosa Fischer. This family wedding photo probably dates to the 1930s. Originally from Russia, Rosa’s parents were Naphtali and Bella Fisher. I haven’t yet found out anything about her background or journey to the UK. Pogroms Whatever happened to …

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keep 2 m distance

The quietest English classes ever

It’s 11.30 on a weekday morning. In a large, airy community centre, the long, narrow tables are carefully spaced out with chairs at either side. It looks a bit like an examination hall and you could literally hear a pin drop. Across each table, a student and teacher quietly communicate from behind their visors. Recently, …

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Face to face with the pandemic

Relieved to finally reach sanctuary in a safe country, Ali arrived in a south-coast town at the end of 2019. Moving into a new home, he hoped to start learning English and rebuilding his life. Within three months, the UK was in lockdown, and all classes shut their doors. Life was on hold for Ali …

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Black Lives Matter protest, London, 2020

Why I want to thank Reni Eddo-Lodge for still talking about race

I’ve just read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. All white people should read Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book, even if they are anti-racists. Especially if they are anti-racists. For me, it is essential to learn what it is like to live as a black person in this country because …

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Davis and Fagah Senker, seated, with daughter Sophie and son Sender

Memories of Stamford Hill

Nowadays, Stamford Hill is associated with the Orthodox Haredi Jewish community. Back in the 1930s, it was a ‘leafy suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the East End.’ Property was cheap and there were lots of houses available. Many first-generation Jewish migrants moved out of the East End to Stamford Hill for a …

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