Two weeks ago I went to my local synagogue for the first time in 33 years. This was surprisingly, because I have set foot in a lot of time apart from a couple of weddings and the odd bar mitzvah. In 2001, I had just gone as far as marrying a non-Jew. But I was thoroughly engaged.
This is because gradually, over the past few months, both my political sensibilities and my sense of cultural identity have radically changed.
You may have heard that the UK has a problem with anti- Semitism on the left. This was moved to the mainstream when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labor Party in September 2015. Corbyn described representatives of Hamas as "friends" when inviting them to a controversial meeting in Parliament in 2009. Just last year, footage emerged or says in 201
Now, in America, you have your very own Ilhan Omar, a Democratic congresswoman who tweeted in 2012 that "Israel has hypnotized the world." a DC audience, about Jews who support Israel: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
It's a frightening trend on both sides of the country. Atlantic. And, in the two-party system that Britain shares with the US, there is a realistic chance that Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister.
Under his leadership, the Labor Party has been splintering. In June, Luciana Berger, who is Jewish and a former shadow minister of public health, was hounded (while heavily pregnant) out of the party she called "institutionally racist." Louise Ellman, the politician I saw at the synagogue, has been called a "Jewish Labor Movement bitch."
American Jews have often seemed happier than we are British, with Brighton Beach and Yiddish snake and bagels (we used to call them beigels – the shtetl pronunciation). You had Woody Allen and Jackie Mason, we had Warren Mitchell (don’t ask). Stayed as Stein and Leibovitz, we quietly changed to Stone and Leigh.
But, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn and his cronies, British Jews started to mobilize.
I have a friend in the media who puts it thus: "Jeremy Corbyn has made a lot of people who didn't feel very Jewish, Jewish again." Member of Parliament Margaret Hodge agrees. "I remember my dad trying to make me Jewish and failed," she said recently. “The local rabbi tried to make me Jewish and failed. It took the leader of the Labor Party to do that. ”
Being Jewish, of course, she has no sense of irony.
At the end of last month, I wondered on Twitter whether others felt the same. "I had always felt Jewish, but British first," said @ Gilana25. “Now it’s Jewish first. Makes me a bit sad that it's come to this, but being Jewish is so enriching. ”
Laura Marcus, a charity worker friend told me: “I am fiercely pro-Israel now. Wasn't bothered before. ”
And I am among them. This past year I've been crazy for the Israeli Netflix shows "Shtisel" (about a Haredi family in Jerusalem) and "Fauda" (about undercover Israeli forces.) Not been to Israel since 1989, I want to return to the Start-up Nation, to sample the nightlife, the beaches and maybe even an Israeli soldier or two.
Newly single, I am enjoying an online flirtation with a Jewish novelist from Chicago I with on Twitter. I am proud of my Jewish surname (I haven't always been).
Right now I am listening to harmonious Simon and Garfunkel, which reminds me of guitars outside in the balmy air on a kibbutz in 1985. Until recently, me favorite musicians was the discordant Elvis Costello, who happens to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.
As I am writing this, a message from a Jewish friend pops up on Twitter. you in shul on Friday? ”
The answer, most emphatically, is yes.
Miranda Levy is an online columnist for the UK's Daily Telegraph.