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September 16, 2013 9:25 am
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The Story of the Jews on the BBC

avatar by Chas Newkey-Burden

Orthodox Jewish men and their children. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Have you been watching Simon Schama’s BBC series The Story of the Jews? I absolutely loved last weekend’s opener and I’m looking forward to tonight’s second episode.

This morning I started reading his semi-accompanying book, which is published next week. He had me within the first few sentences with his superb voice, which is at once authoritative and charming – and most of all utterly compelling.

I was taken aback when, just four paragraphs in, he mentioned Datchet, the village in Berkshire where I live. He was recounting his childhood boat trips on the River Thames, during which his father first taught him about Jewish history.

Forgive me my excitement: it’s rare for little Datchet to get a mention in any book, let alone one about the history of the Jewish people between 1000 BCE and 1492 CE. I was so surprised to see it my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I must have looked a bit like new Arsenal signing Mesut Özil.

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