Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous

I've just emailed Jonathan Freedland and invited him to join my shul. How ridiculously impulsive is that? Well, I read an interview he gave to Jewish Renaissance - Magazine Of Jewish Culture in which he laments the fact that he and his wife don't go to shul, mainly because they can't find one that is both 'traditional' (i.e. sings the Hebrew prayers to tunes we remember from childhood) and 'progressive' (i.e. considers the participation of women in the synagogue to stretch to something slightly more demanding than cutting cake and spreading chopped herring).

So, armed with a bit of chutzpa, and the wonderful anonymity that comes with email, I dropped him a line. I begged him not to press shift+delete before he got to the end of the first paragraph, but kept it 'light and breezy'. I think I managed to tell him all about the wonderful Kol Nefesh Masorti , the only (can you believe that?) traditional egalitarian shul in the UK, without sounding too much like a cold-caller. After a couple of sentences liberally dosed with words such as 'egalitarian', 'welcoming' and 'challenging' I signed my name, and pressed send. So watch this space.

Actually, you might have to wait a while before the space is worth watching, because his auto-reply tells me "I'm away and unable to check emails until August 22nd, but I will get in touch once I get back. Best wishes, Jonathan Freedland". Firstly, that's a downright lie, because I heard him this morning on the Today programme. And secondly, just how long IS his summer holiday?? [£11.89 of which I paid for, courtesy of Jacob's Gift - A Journey into the Heart of Belonging].

Still, it's nice to rub shoulders with a celeb (kind-of). It must be the week for it. Last night, I was on the tube on my way home from work, frantically avoiding all eye contact with other commuters (in case they think that I think they're bombers) when I noticed that the chap sitting in front of me was Stephen Merchant. He's the goggly eyes chap from the Office and Extras. Ricky Gervais' side-kick. [Or, as Merchant puts it, 'writing partner']. Anyway, my immediate reaction on seeing his face was to burst out laughing. Well, you would, wouldn't you? He didn't seem to mind. I suppose it must be better than being asked 'What's Ricky really like?' by smitten groupies. But afterwards, once my giggles had subsided, I felt a bit disappointed. Here I am, dreaming of one day penning a comedy masterpiece as my stepping stone into the good life, and there's Stephen Merchant, co-creator of the biggest-selling British comedy EVER, and he's going home on the Jubilee Line. Reading a discarded Metro with the Su Doku already filled in. What's there to aspire to??


Blogger MC Aryeh said...

I also would have burst out laughing. But as I think you are wittier than anyone on The Office (though, technically I have never actually seen it), I await your comic masterpiece with much anticipation...

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