The Summer programme

The list of the morning Summer Programme lectures this week is as follows; please note the changes from the original schedule regarding the lectures this Monday and Wednesday:

Mon 24th Aug
10:30 – 11:30 Anthony Sober: Do we live in a Democracy?

Tues 25th Aug
10:30 – 11:30 Stephen Barry: Charting changing times through 90 years of Hampstead Council records

Wed 26th Aug
10.30 – 11.30 Maisie Meyer: Welcome aboard the Shanghai Express: The epic tale of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews

Thurs 27th Aug
10:30 –11:30 Tony Dayan: Holy Plants or Botany in the Bible and Koran

Fri 28th Aug
10:30 –11:30 Christopher Dean: Neglected histories of small European countries and what we can learn from them: Switzerland

The New Website

It’s been a long time coming but – good news! Our new website is ready to go live and we hope this will be done on or before this Wednesday. We hope that you will explore it and let us know if you find any problems – we know that some information needs to be brought up to date.


We’ll shortly be adding a facility to pay your annual subscriptions online in the comfort of your own home, without the use of paper forms although these will still be available to those who don’t have access to the Internet. Of course, if you prefer renewing your membership in person, you will still be to do so when the office re-opens,which we all hope will not be too long coming! Our thanks go to Marie-Ange King, who has managed and co-ordinated this very intricate project.

From Mary Rossiter
I am a volunteer at “Singing for the Mind” at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue. This is designed for anyone with memory problems or in the early to moderate stage of dementia, regardless of background or religious affiliation. Up till lock-down it was held for those able to come to St John’s Wood with a companion. We are now on Zoom and wondered whether it would be of interest to U3A members or their friends and families. We meet every Thursday afternoon. We start at 2.00 with a welcome chat then there are singing activities from 2.15-3.15. Afterwards there is the opportunity for further socialising in small groups. For more information and to join email: sfm@ljs.org

From Steve Stephens
I enclose some of the art work done by the Wednesday art group over lock down. We are struggling on and it would give the students a boost if you could publish some. (Note from me – of course I’ll publish them – and there will be more next week).

From Chris Queen
U3A Weekly Walking Group Information – please read

This is a not an easy communication to write. During the last months I have received a fair number of emails expressing a hope that walks would restart at some point in the near future. In February, when I saw what was happening in China and in Hong Kong, I realised that the situation would get out of hand very quickly. Helped by bad weather, that was why I stopped the walks in the middle of February.

The U3A Weekly Walking group has become one of the countless casualties of the pandemic. Using the tfL network – even if people were to travel outside the rush hour, it would still result in many feeling too unhappy to do this. Venues regularly used both for food and toilet stops which have closed down. The Valiant Trooper in Aldbury (Tring area) appears to be such a casualty. In hindsight I should have been more explicit about the situation but I had concerns about doing that as it might increase the feelings of isolation.

So I am no longer the leader of a walking group.

However there is another secondary consideration for Kit, for myself and I am sure, for many others in the walking group. Fellow walkers have become friends – people whose companionship we valued and now miss very much.I alone hold all the contact details – mobiles, landlines and emails. Clearly I cannot give everyone a copy but I could help people that wanted to get in touch with someone else.

In addition to that, I have sent out group emails telling people that Kit and I will be in Hampstead Heath/Kenwood for a picnic and if by chance we ran into friends ………. It has proved very popular in this weirdly mixed weather.

To make you smile

Several centuries ago the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy.There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community so the Pope offered a deal.He would hold a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy. If the Pope won, they’d have to convert or leave.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, both sides agreed that it would be a “silent” debate. On the chosen day the Pope and rabbi sat opposite each other.

The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. The rabbi looked back and raised one finger and shook it at the Pope.Next the Pope waved his finger around his head. The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.The rabbi pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy. Later the cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened. The Pope said, “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger, shaking it to remind me there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God is all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God is also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He beat me at every move and I could not continue.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he’d won. “I haven’t a clue,” the rabbi said. “First, he told me that we had three days to get out of Italy so I shook my finger saying no. Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I told him that we were staying right here. And then?” asked a woman. “Who knows?” said the rabbi. “He took out his lunch so I took out mine.”

London Region of U3As Another repeat

Zoom in for the series of fortnightly Summer Talks on Monday afternoons from 17.00-18.00      
24th August: Dick and Lisa Robinson – ‘Edith Appleton: The Nurse at the Front’ Click here
7th September: Alistair Griffiths – ‘Gardening in a Changing Climate’ Click here
21st September: Jo Livingston – ‘Do you Want to Write your Life Story?’ Click here

London Region website: The above information is also available via our Website on the Events page.  Go to https://u3asites.org.uk/london-region  All recordings will be found in the Talks Archive which is accessible via the Events page.

Kind regards,
Catherine Ware