CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

The Jewish Chronicle - - ASK HILARY | EXPERIENCE - BUSI­NESS

BUL­LET-PROOF CARS, crime-rid­den streets, the threat of kid­nap­ping at ev­ery turn. If you have seen the hit TV show Nar­cos, you will know that Colom­bia in the 1970s and 1980s was a bru­tal place to live.

But for Joel Perl­man, such was the re­al­ity of life. Born into a Jewish fam­ily in Bo­gotá, he lived in a per­ma­nent “hy­per-state”— aware that, at any mo­ment, vi­o­lence could flare up for the small­est of rea­sons.

Then, there was the added pres­sure of be­ing part of such a small mi­nor­ity in a Catholic coun­try. Not only did his Ju­daism set him apart from his class­mates in the Amer­i­can School he at­tended, but on the week­ends, it was even worse. As a Sephardi Jew, he was bul­lied by the Ashke­nazi chil­dren at Bo­gotá’s Jewish coun­try club, who beat him up and called him “Falasha”.

To­day, sit­ting in­side his state-ofthe-art of­fices in cen­tral Lon­don,

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