Arts and Entertainment

As a study in the personal trials and tribulations of life in the office, John Van Druten’s 1931 play is a little closer in style and banality to Ricky Gervais than to the advertising agency in Mad Men.

Heard the one about the Orthodox Jewish woman suing Lancôme over fading Sabbath make-up?

There’s a fine line between curiosity and contempt; between offering people the opportunity to learn about a different culture and asking them to laugh about it.

True colours? Is Blue Labour the way forward for the left?

In the Westminster village, the talk is of 'Blue Labour'. But does this nascent ideology offer a real way forward for the left, asks Amol Rajan – or is it just another empty political buzz-phrase?

Last Night's TV: Wonderland: A Hasidic Guide to Love, Marriage and Finding a Bride/BBC2<br />Poms in Paradise/ITV1

Paddy Wivell's film about the Hasidic Jewish community of Stamford Hill began by indulging an outsider's prejudice. What would most viewers' working assumptions be, after all? A world of arcane religious prescription, with every detail of life dictated by ancient texts? So... no establishing shot of beaver-hatted Hasids in a London street but a close-up of a book of rules, one from which no detail of life appeared too negligible to be excluded: "Finger and toenails should not be cut on the same day," read the text, "nor should the nails and the hair be cut on Rosh Chodesh, even when it occurs on a Friday." An additional note, which I think was supposed to be optional, said that sequential cutting of the fingernails was avoided by some and offered a mnemonic for the correct order in which to do your clipping (I'm not making this up for comic effect). But then, just as your scorn was peaking, it was undercut by a winningly human detail. "I bite my nails, I don't cut them," admitted Gaby, who spends large parts of his days devotedly studying such absurdities. "It's disgusting," confirmed his chuckling wife, Tikwah, "He bites his nails." Which inevitably raised a question. What's the rule about that? It seemed implausible that it wouldn't be covered somewhere since – as Gaby explained – "everything is controlled... for instance... excuse my English... you're not allowed to fart with tefillin on your head." One would love to know the circumstances in which a relieving gust is regarded as entirely kosher, but Gaby didn't elaborate.

An unorthodox way to talk it over

How do you persuade an ultra-insular community to speak out? Jessica Elgot, this year's winner of the Wyn Harness prize, reports

Knifeman jailed for life over footballer's murder

A knifeman who stabbed to death a promising teenage footballer as he tried to help his friends was jailed for life today with a minimum term of 19 years.

DJ Taylor: Who's a real celebrity, Gracie or Katie? You decide...or maybe not

We venerate talent in sport and music beyond all else, we worship plastic idols and get confused when faced with a real choice. Perhaps we need to get a grip

Christina Patterson: We need to talk about integration

Never mind the deficit, multiculturalism is the biggest challenge we face. In a globalised world, what kind of society to be? This is not about race but culture

Letters: Boomers

Gagging of NHS doctors

Manners, multiculturalism, and the battle of Stamford Hill

An 'Independent' columnist's attack on the alleged rudeness of the London suburb's Jewish residents has provoked a fevered debate. Was she right? Jerome Taylor reports

Christina Patterson: The limits of multi-culturalism

When I first moved to Stamford Hill, I didn't realise that goyim were about as welcome in Hasidic Jewish shops as Martin Luther King at a Klu Klux Klan convention

Christina Patterson: Lessons from literature &ndash; and YouTube &ndash; in immigrant life

On the night that Obama was elected as President of the United States, I was reminded of the end of Sam Selvon's novel, The Lonely Londoners. Moses, one of the first wave of post-Windrush Jamaicans in London, is standing on the banks of the Thames, wondering "if he should save up his money and go back home". "Under the kiff-kaff laughter," he muses, "behind the ballad and the episode, the what-happening, the summer-is-hearts, he could see a great aimlessness, a great restless, swaying movement that leave you standing in the same spot. As if a forlorn shadow of doom fall on all the spades in the country."

Persecuted Yemeni Jews to be given sanctuary in Britain

Al-Qa'ida-inspired attacks prompt UK to offer refugee status to those with British links

Justice on London's streets, the Jewish way

With his dark-blue uniform, earpiece and walkie-talkie, Nochem Perlberger could pass for a police officer as he patrols the leafy streets of London’s Stamford Hill neighbourhood. Like an officer of the law, he responds to emergency calls, visits crime scenes and pursues suspects.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015