Just a whisker’s dif­fer­ence

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - Si­mon Round

AS SUM­MERS go this hasn’t been the best one for the Jews. If you live in Is­rael you will have had rock­ets rain­ing down on you on a daily ba­sis. If you live out­side Is­rael you will have been the sub­ject of an­ti­semitic protests on a scale al­most un­par­al­leled in the past half-cen­tury. We have been pil­lo­ried, phys­i­cally at­tacked and abused. And if you hap­pen to live in the Hol­born area you might even have gone hun­gry for a while as Sains­burys de­cided to re­move all kosher food from the store just in case some­one de­cided to protest against it.

There are plenty of other writ­ers in this pa­per who will an­a­lyse the sit­u­a­tion se­ri­ously. It falls upon me to go out into a hos­tile world and at­tempt to find a sil­ver lin­ing. As col­umn-writ­ing as­sign­ments go, this has been tough, but even­tu­ally I stum­bled upon a good-news-for-the-Jews story, lit­er­ally un­der my nose.

We might have been get­ting a lot of neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity re­cently, but for the first time in ages Jews are bang on trend. Beards are back in fash­ion big time. And in fact the big­ger and bushier the beard, the more fash­ion­able the wearer.

Jews from Moses on­wards have sported fa­cial hair in abun­dance and for much of that time we have been wan­der­ing in the fash­ion wilder­ness. But now ev­ery­one is get­ting rab­bini­cal. If you hap­pen to be in Shored­itch at a trendy bar you will see so many hip­sters wear­ing a full set of whiskers you might think you had stum­bled into a Lubav­itch con­ven­tion.

So at a time when Jews are feel­ing a lit­tle unloved , es­pe­cially the masochis­tic ones who read the Guardian, we can now rest safe in the knowl­edge that our rab­bis and schol­ars are not only on trend but they were there be­fore ev­ery­one else. Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the rest just need some su­per tight jeans and beany hats to make them­selves the coolest dudes in Bri­tain.

Un­like most fash­ions, this is an easy one to join. Sim­ply ig­nore your ra­zors and shav­ing foams, leave your bad­ger brush in the bath­room cabi­net and let na­ture take its course. As you will see from my by­line photo this is not a trend that I have yet em­braced (al­though I have still to shave to­day, so tech­ni­cally I have the be­gin­nings of a bushy beard).

My ex­cuse used to be that it was un­cool. I would look at fa­mous beardies from Abra­ham Lin­coln to Theodor Herzl and imag­ine how much bet­ter they would look with­out the whiskers. I’m sure they felt pretty cool but was it the beard which helped Herzl find a girl­friend or did he rely heav­ily on the fact that he was the founder of mod­ern Zion­ism? I won­der.

Any­way, I won’t be join­ing in. While I am no self-hater I don’t want to look too Jewish. And even though I have no ob­jec­tion to ap­pear­ing trendy, I look silly in a beany hat and I can’t help think­ing that very tight jeans at my stage of life might be a mis­take.

Plus, beards are itchy and food gets caught in them. So I have de­cided to go against the fash­ion and re­main clean­shaven. Eight out of 10 cool cats might pre­fer whiskers but I’m go­ing to carry on shav­ing.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis is bang on trend

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