Launch of "Jewish Voices",
Brookfield Bowls & Social Club,
Kimberley Road, Leicester,
Wednesday 11 March 2009
For several months starting summer 2008, around 70 people who had been members of Leicester’s Jewish population in the 1940s and 50s contributed to a mixture of writing and photography workshops, oral recordings, emails, phone calls and letters. This provided raw material for a reminiscence writing project coordinated through Writing School Leicester, published as Jewish Voices. Having taught in the Writing School for the past five years or so, I was involved in the project, contributing editorial support. This launch event for book, touring exhibition and website brought this part of the project to a successful conclusion - and brought forth a great new set of resources at the same time. My work on this project was done in 2008 and my involvement in the launch was to sit at the back of the room, drink tea and eat cake. That might go some way to explaining why, as good as it was, this event didn't get into my top ten then.
Visit to Mosquée de Paris,
Monday 25 May 2009
The flavour of Islam on offer in this delightful mosque differs strongly from that with which we find in Leicester - or anywhere else in the UK for that matter: a clear and enjoyable illustration of the diversity of Islam. I know that's obvious to those who know this sort of thing, but it's still a point worth making. The Paris Mosque was built in 1922 to honour the North African countries that had helped France during World War I and closely resembles mosques to be found in Marrakesh, Morocco. A major renovation of the mosque was completed in 1992 (and there was considerable restoration work going on the day I was there). I spent a few hours at the mosque in a personal capacity on a very hot Monday morning. Being in the mosque was cool and soothing, as well as inspirational. This lovely experience left an impression on my mind and heart that remains strong and sweet - rather like the tea I had in the mosque's restaurant, where little birds with bejewelled anklets flitted around the tables.