Rod Kersh
Person-centred physician


Manchester's old Portuguese / Spanish synagogue. Photo by Rod Kersh 2024.
Manchester's old Portuguese / Spanish synagogue. Photo by Rod Kersh 2024.

Fauda is a representation of things going wrong. A cock-up.

In Scot’s the equivalent word is stramash. Although perhaps gentler and with more humorous connotations.

I was very sorry to hear about Idan Amedi’s injury this week.

Another representation of the wonder that is Israeli society.

There is no chance that an equivalent American or UK actor would find themselves on the frontline.

The same is true of the offspring of the rich, famous, and politically positioned as with the death of Gadi Eisenkot’s son Gal and his nephew Maor.

If you read the book Start-up Nation, you will gain an understanding of the broiling-pot that is Israeli society; with a citizen army that integrates in defence of their nation.

Sure, things go wrong, as with all complex systems (remember the numbers of Americans killed every day from Healthcare Associated Injury?)

On Monday I tried to explain my aetiology to Janice a small, friendly guide at Manchester’s Jewish Museum.

I say aetiology as I am a doctor. Origins might be more accurate.

A narrative of why I speak with a watered-down Glaswegian accent, why I know so much about Israel and Israeli historical and current events, why I live in Yorkshire. That kind of thing.

I gave the impression that I have a sophisticated past, rather than the reality which was a struggle to survive the financial ups and downs related to my parent’s peregrinations.

We are all a cocktail of our pasts and present.

Third generation Holocaust Survivor, you will hear.

Or, perhaps, 13th generation Jerusalemite.

Those two spring to mind.

My mother-in-law sometimes erroneously alludes to Wandering Jews, as in the plant.

Creepy climber, that is me.

The Middle East today is a Fauda/Stramash.

No one has an idea as to how it will end.

Good or bad.

Everything seems upside down.

This morning I considered we are perhaps experiencing the end of civilisation.

I imagine in the hundreds of years which witnessed the decline of the Roman Empire, an average citizen equally did not know where everything was heading although they had a sense it wasn’t good.

Whether Climate Change, rise of populism, Trump, Twitter/X, Antisemitism, The Hague, there seems to be more bad than good.

I don’t want to sound dark. There is brightness out there; we found an effective vaccine for Covid. Although again, Covid wasn’t that great. Ukraine, Iran, Houthis, Hezbollah, The GFC neither.

Yesterday I listened to an interview with the guru of Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn.

He talked about his 60-odd years of meditation practice, the foundation of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and the expansion of mindfulness practice across the world.

It seems a drop in the ocean.

One of Kabat-Zinn’s tropes is so long as you are breathing there is more going right than wrong with you. This can be hard to reconcile.

For the first two months of the war, I listened continuously to Galei Tzahal. It was both a reawakening of my Hebrew (lain dormant for 30 years) and a connection to Israel, a radio-wave umbilical.

On dog walks, drives to work, even bike rides around South Yorkshire I would tune-in to Yanir Kozin, Yael Dan and Reno Zror.

I stopped a couple of weeks ago when I realised that the harm I was doing myself was greatly outweighing any benefit.

I’ve switched to audio-free dog-walking.

It has become a mindful pursuit.

Walking meditation is a valid form of being in the moment. Step by step I pass the same houses and gardens in my twice-daily routine.

And what of my connection to the land?

This has become difficult.

Yes, the past 100 days have been hard. Impossible.

And yet, I wonder how many people are in a similar situation to me.

My wife is not Jewish.

In the time since October 7th my love of Israel, of the Jewish People has reawakened, as has occurred in many others.

Whether a decision to return to the religion or to celebrate Israeli life and culture.

This has however distanced me from friends and family in the UK.

People who find my connection difficult to calibrate.

Who do you love more, Israel or Me? Kind of self-reflection, perhaps not explicit.

Israel, its culture, its remoteness from the class structures of the UK, the Middle Eastern multiculturalism that embraces diversity (OK not always) and trumps British Ghettos.

Remember the song, Love will tear us apart?

Seems a cliché.


For the sake of peace at home I have sublimated many of my aspirations. It is just the way it is.

Who would have thought the reverberations from 10/7 would reach all the way to Yorkshire and Manchester?

In the Museum, which is a stunning representation of British Jewish heritage (six million pounds donation to its recent renovation) (I contemplate whether the sum was symbolic), you see the vestiges of a once vibrant society that is fraying.

‘The Jewish population in Manchester is growing,’ Janice tells me, ‘Although they are almost all Haredim,’ She counter-balances.

And it is true. As we drive through Prestwich, we see men in the long-black coats and Stetsons that would be more at home in Mea Shearim or Crown Heights.

I think on my own community back in Glasgow which has also dwindled, diminished to almost nothing.

My son, a university student in Bristol has experienced the full weight of British Woke-Leftism. The full-blown hatred of Israel, chanted on street corners.

As I drove him to the city on Wednesday he remarked on a glass-blowing shop. ‘Is that a Bristol thing?’ He asked, followed by a quick Google, ‘Blue Glass, introduced by Lazarus and Isaac Jacobs, two German Jewish immigrants in the 1770’s.’

Bristol, another place that is practically Judenrein.

What next, where to?

Let’s stay away from The Hague.

Remember that Dutch nursery, previously named for Anne Frank, now with a new name, something like, ‘World Explorers,’ their elimination of Anne’s name, a historical affront that infuriates.

The Jewish Museum, for all its architecture, seemed strangely artificial, perhaps a consequence of the money provided by the UK Government, which has aspired to make it un-Jewish, to dilute or disconnect its relationship with Israel.

The original Portuguese/Spanish Synagogue, adjoining the museum is an artistic testament to the now faded passion for religion and heritage.

Bit of a perversion.

What can you do.

The times they are a-changing.

Grow-old and die.

That’s the best we can hope for.

Shakshuka, photo by Rod Kersh 2024
About the Author
Dr Rod Kersh is a Consultant Physician working in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. He blogs at
Related Topics
Related Posts