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

Letters: Boomers

Gagging of NHS doctors

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

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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
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