Jewish Speakers' Corner

Come down to our Jewish Speakers' Corner and find out something new about Jewish culture: from talks on Israeli dance, Jewish comedy or Yiddish theatre, through the history of Jewish Islington, to storytelling, inspiration, and Chassidic feminism.

Please note that we are still working on this year's programme. Below you can find our 2017 programme, so you can get a flavour of what to expect!


Big Jewish Summer Fete 2017 - PROGRAMME

12.10pm Lost Synagogues: A Tale of the three Synagogues of Islington

David Newman

Professor David Newman holds the Chair of Geopolitics at Ben Gurion University in Israel. He has published extensively on territorial and border issues in areas of ethnic conflict with particular focus on Israel/Palestine. In 2013 he received the OBE for promoting scientific links between Israel and the UK.

His childhood years were spent in Islington where his father was the Rabbi of the Poets Road synagogue in Newington Green during the 1960’s. He is presently completing a book on the area, entitled “Growing up in the 73 Bus”, and leads walking tours of the area when in London.


12.30pm Storytelling

Rachel Rose Reid

Rachel Rose Reid was raised in London on a hybrid of immigrant heritage and urban jungle.  Her tales for children are a feast of imaginative interaction and song, whilst her stories for adults bridge deftly between traditional storytelling and contemporary spoken word. She has created and performed stories for Billy Bragg, BBC Radio 3, the Southbank Centre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


12.50pm Being serious about Jewish comedy

Maureen Kendler

Maureen Kendler is a Jewish educator and Teaching Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies. She is a veteran Limmudnik  and teaches ancient and modern Jewish texts in the UK and internationally. She is a judge on the Wingate Prize panel for 2018.


1.10pm Stand-up comedy

Rabbi Mendy Korer

For any rabbi to be successful at sermons the first rule is joke telling and the second rule is don’t speak for too long. Join our very own Rabbi Mendy for a quick and fun stand-up comedy of some Chelm classics.


1.30pm Giving is Receiving. The surprising science behind the benefits of Kindness

Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson

Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson is the rabbi of Beit Baruch and executive director of Chabad of Belgravia, London, where he lives with his wife, Chana, and children.

Mendel was an editor at the Judaism Website—, and is also the author of the popular books Seeds of Wisdom and A Time to Heal.




Saida S. Hasanagic

Saida is an art historian based in London. She specialises in European 20th century art and European and African contemporary art. Her other research interests (bordering on obsession) are art crime and cultural heritage protection with particular focus on organised wartime destruction and plunder, illicit trade and restitution. Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saida is a proud adoptive British Londoner, an Islington local, who fuels her passions by living in this inspirational, multicultural and tolerant city of ours. 


2.50pm Scandal and Stardom: The Extraordinary Life of Fanny Epstein

David Mazower

David Mazower is a senior staff journalist with BBC News and editor of a daily discussion show on BBC World Service. He is the author of Yiddish Theatre in London, and curated a major exhibition on that subject for London’s Jewish Museum. His articles on Yiddish culture, Yiddish book publishing, British Jewish history and Jewish art have appeared in the BBC News Magazine, History Workshop Online, The Mendele Review, Pakn Treger, Jewish Socialist as well as the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project. He is the great-grandson of the Yiddish writer Sholem Asch, is closely involved with the Szalom Asz Festival in Kutno, Poland. He is a contributing editor to the Jewish Quarterly.


3.10pm Chassidic Feminism

Chana Kalmenson

Chana Kalmenson is a Chassidic Feminist, mother of four, and co-directs Chabad of Belgravia with her husband.


3.30pm 200 years ago: The Big Jewish Population of London - and Islington

Petra Laidlaw

Petra Laidlaw has been researching Britain's early-19th century Jewish community for several years. Her book on Islington's Jewish community came out in 2013.