Please accept my apologies for my absence from these columns these past two weeks or so, but it's been the Olympics here in London, and I've been glued to the tv or listening to the radio while out and about. And didn't the Brits do well? 3rd place overall, ahead of the Russians (and the Australians, but don't let my Oz cousin read this: lovely man, but a bit sensitive on the topic!). The crowds really did roar the GBR athletes on to medal places: we managed a couple of visits, and had sore throats as a result. We've also got tickets for some of the Paralympics events: now there are the real Olympians - overcoming their disabilities (and possibly the depression that goes with becoming disabled) and being prepared to perform in public.
BTW, there's a drama-doc on BBC2 this Thursday at 21.00 BST (and available here for a further 7 days) about Lewis Gutmann, the German-Jewish emigre neurologist who developed the programme that became the Paralympics. Also BTW, The Times (of London and also behind a pay wall - see below - so you'll have to take my word for it) reported last Saturday that (a) sportspeople from democracies have won more medals in total than those from dictatorships and tyrannies in the Modern Olympics - there's food for a PhD someone - and (b) the same is true of countries whose official language is English (so that's why Israel does so badly: nothing to do with world-beating technofreaks).
However, what this is really about is an article in The Tablet that reports on research that shows (as if we didn't know already: if we were less closely related, we wouldn't argue with each other all the time) that Jews are related to each other, even if the links are oddly skewed. Thus, those expelled from Spain and Portugal are relatively closely related to Ashkenazi Jews, and relatively distant from other, older established, North African Jewish communities. Also, most strangely, Syrian Jews are more closely related to Ashkenazis than to other Middle Eastern Jews. Go figure.
The article is here. Unfortunately, online Haaretz has hidden itself behind a pay wall while I wasn't looking, so the internal links won't work. Personally, I already spend enough on media links without adding to the total.
By Brian Goldfarb.