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About the Author

At school I discovered that I could write. But realised soon afterwards that I didn’t actually have anything to say!

So writing was put on hold as I went through university, graduating as a medical doctor, before entering Jewish
studies to become a rabbi in the UK Reform Jewish movement. En route I got hooked on the Hebrew Bible and
spent the next thirty years teaching it, as Principal of Leo Baeck College where I had trained.

If that seems a narrow world, the opposite is the case. For the modern rabbi is engaged with the complexity of life
for a minority community, still coping spiritually and intellectually with the Holocaust, challenged daily by everything
associated with the State of Israel, and trying to make a contribution to the wider society. My own response
included a commitment to interfaith dialogue with Christians and Muslims, a long-term engagement with German
society, and lecturing engagements in many parts of the world.

Meanwhile I found my voice: with scholarly but accessible books on the Bible, on interfaith dialogue, on Judaism;
the editing of prayer books for the Reform Jewish movement in the UK; the occasional poem; a number of songs that burst out of me in the sixties and seventies – and a series of popular religious writings together with my friend and colleague Rabbi Lionel Blue.

On retiring from the College I wanted to start a new language, stumbled upon Japanese, and ended up teaching Bible to Christian theology students in Japan. There I started a collection of ‘netsuke’, those small carved figures used to anchor a ‘purse’ to the belt of a kimono, and found myself writing stories from ‘within’ their world. Netsuke Nation: Tales from Another Japan is the fruit, my first venture into fiction.

So now I have my own website – and can lay all my ‘wares’ out on the stall. I wonder what’s next.

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