Hasmo Legends I: An Introduction to an Institution

badge3During the recent festival of Hanukkah, we Jews celebrated the Hasmonean legends. But there are other, more modern – and, many would argue, more relevant – legends of Hasmonean, who had a profound and enduring influence (though not always for reasons they would have wanted) on the lives of thousands of London’s Jewish males. A Google search, however, sheds little or no light on these characters (in every sense of the word), former teachers at Hasmonean High (previously Grammar) School, known to all merely as “Hasmo”.

Memories of these pedagogues have lingered with ex-“Hasmo boys” for even longer than the aftertaste of Mrs. Bannister’s meat loaf, and we celebrate them no end whenever we get together (much to the annoyance of wives, and other non-Hasmo alumni, who may be present). But documenting them for posterity, and having a central site for ex-pupils’ comments and stories (though see “NOTE” below!), seems a most worthwhile undertaking for melchett mike. And I am certain that even the non-Hasmo alumni among you will enjoy being taken into “one crazy yiddishe mamma” of an institution (I use the word advisedly) . . .

solomon-schonfeld-18Hasmonean, a voluntary aided comprehensive, was founded in 1944, in Golders Green, by Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld (left), who was still in the process of saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. It moved to its current site, in Hendon’s Holders Hill Road, three years later. To the best of my knowledge, it is still the largest Jewish boys’ school in the UK (perhaps even Europe).
Hasmonean, 1950

Hasmonean, 1950

Whenever I inform someone that I attended a religious boys’ school, I receive a look of pity. But anyone who attended Hasmonean should not be pitied (or, at least, not for that reason) . . . we had the time of our lives!
Hasmo Boys (date unknown)

Chutzpadik: Hasmo Boys (date unknown)

The “fun and games” were largely attributable to the Chutzpah, and uniquely Jewish sense of humour, of the boys, who felt they could get away with most things in such familiar, safe surroundings. When, on one occasion, English teacher Mr. Marks (back row, second from right, below) asked “Has anyone got any work for me?”, one boy (the son of a well-known local Rabbi) replied “Yes, sir, you can go and clean the playground!” Moreover, many pupils would see teachers out of the school environment, in their communities and synagogues, and that reinforced a “What is the worst that can happen?” attitude in already Chutzpadik Jewish boys.

The entrepreneurial Jewish spirit also contributed to the lively atmosphere of the place, with many an Adidas holdall stuffed not with textbooks but, rather, chocolate (and, in the summer, ice pops ) for resale. The dinner hall, too, saw a brisk trade in soya rolls and chocolate rice crispies; while, behind it, pocket money was frittered away playing “penny (or, rather, 10p) up the wall”. There were also the self-mocking “cha’penny bundles”, in which a half-penny piece would be thrown in the air, with boys scrummaging for it as if their lives depended on it.

Rabbi Dr Schonfeld’s belief in the principles of Torah im Derech Eretz (literally, “The five Books of Moses with the Way of the Land”), a fusion of traditional orthodoxy and the modern world, was undermined by the total lack of Derech Eretz (more commonly used to mean decent, polite and respectful behaviour) displayed by so many of the pupils.

But how could any but the most mature boys be expected to behave with Derech Eretz, when confronted by the incompetence, lack of professionalism, eccentricity, and/or (in one or two cases) borderline insanity exhibited by such a large percentage of the teaching staff?! Of the 32 teachers in the photograph below, there are three I don’t recognise. Of the remainder, the number who most parents would have embraced as positive role models for their sons would likely have been in single figures.

Hasmonean teaching staff, circa 1979

Hasmonean teaching staff, circa 1979

To my mind, the main problem that beset Hasmonean was over-familiarity, and the blurring of the professional and the personal. As aforementioned, many teachers and pupils lived in the same communities, often attending the same synagogues. Even if they didn’t, we would often see other teachers when visiting different synagogues (when staying with friends, for example, or for bar mitzvahs).

One story, in particular, comes to mind when I reflect on such “blurring”. During much of my time at Hasmonean, I was convinced that a certain Rabbi Abrahams (standing furthest right, above), known to us merely as “Abie”, was picking on me. And I told him so on numerous occasions. He ardently denied the accusation, even mockingly using it against me when I really did misbehave. At the end of what was supposed to be my final day at the school, before moving to Haberdashers’ Aske’s for the sixth form (I returned shortly afterwards), Rabbi Abrahams offered me a lift home (something he had never done during the previous five years). Once in his car, he confessed to having picked on me, because I – or, more accurately, my parents (who wouldn’t have known him from Adam) – hadn’t invited him to my bar mitzvah. I was flabbergasted.

Though not, I suppose, an exclusively Hasmonean phenomenon, boys with brothers at the school suffered from continual, damaging comparisons, and just couldn’t win – they were damned for having a naughtier sibling (“you are just like your brother”), and damned for a cleverer one (“you are nothing like your brother”).

My cousin, Daniel, had, by the time I got to the school some two years after him, built up quite a reputation for mischief. Soon after my arrival, I was dragged before the then acting headmaster, Rabbi Roberg (front row, fifth from right, above), by the same Rabbi Abrahams (to be fair to him, this was before my bar mitzvah!) Looking at Rabbi Roberg, Rabbi Abrahams uttered a mere two words: “Reiss’s cousin”. The two Rabbis exchanged knowing looks, and – no clean slate, no judging on merits – my fate, for the next seven years, had been sealed. (Incidentally, I have bumped into Rabbi Abrahams on numerous occasions since, and bear him no ill will. That was just Hasmonean! He was also the only teacher who ever got me even remotely interested in religious studies.)

Nor was sympathetic counselling Hasmo’s strong point. One boy, who was a large hamper “short of a picnic” (and who, these days, would have been referred for special needs education), was told by a teacher that he was “sick and need[ed] help” (the same boy used to look up skirts of girls from the local comprehensive on the 240 bus home . . . so, perhaps, we were the ones who “need[ed] help”!)

My late brother, Jonathan z”l, had also been a pupil at the school. It transpired that he had been exhibiting worrying behaviour, and playing truant, for some months before the then headmaster, Mr. Stanton (front row, fifth from left, above), decided to alert my parents to it . . . not by calling them to the school, mind, but by waiting for a chance meeting at a dinner party! On the day after Jonathan passed away (I was 12 at the time, and my parents wanted to shield me from the funeral), not a single member of staff approached me about it. I remember bursting into tears on that morning and, for all any of the teachers cared, I could have still been sobbing at 4:30.

A wonderful story that I heard recently shows that Hasmo still excels in the lack of professionalism stakes. A boy was hauled before an external psychologist for supposed behavioural problems, only for it to be discovered, some twenty minutes into the discussion, that they had really wanted his younger brother. To add insult to injury (and, perhaps, also to prove that Hasmo can always go one better), instead of a teaching professional summoning said brother, the boy was told to fetch him, which he proceeded to do by entering a packed classroom and announcing to his brother that “The psychiatrist wants to see you.” The boys’ father, a friend of mine, was none too pleased.

If not unprofessional, many other teachers at Hasmonean were simply incompetent, bearing testament to the saying that “Those who can’t do, teach”. The fact that Hasmonean was (and still is) never far from the top of the various school league tables was in spite, rather than because, of those teachers. If you were not a self-starter, or were more interested in the arts, you could be left to stew. But a combination of most parents’ ability to invest in private lessons – though, alas, not in sufficient chairs for pupils (lessons were interrupted an average of once every three and a half minutes by a boy bursting in and squawking “Sir, have you got a spare chair?”) – and the Jewish emphasis on the importance of education ensured that most “Hasmo boys” did not suffer, in the long term, from such incompetence.

That is not to say, however, that all teachers were incompetent. The first subject of my series on, and arguably the greatest of, Hasmo Legends – former French master, Mr. Bloomberg (front row, furthest left, above), known universally as “Cyril”  – was far from incompetent. But, what he lacked in incompetence, he made up for in eccentricity. Watch this space.

The next instalment, however, will conclude my introduction, by looking at other aspects of Hasmonean, especially its religious mix and attitude towards the State of Israel.

[NOTE: I have thought long and hard about whether or not to include actual names in this series of posts, not for fear of being defamatory (truth is an absolute defence), but because it is not my aim to be vindictive. With some reservations, I have decided to include them, because not to would detract from my purpose of “painting the full picture”. If you wish to comment on posts, kindly bear the defamation issue in mind, and don’t hide behind a veil of anonymity (please provide your full name and email address). As a general “rule of thumb”, if you stick to the facts (however extreme!) of your story , rather than resorting to opinion/name-calling, there should be no problem.]

Next on Hasmo Legends, Part II: Yids vs. Yoks – The Religious Mix

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640 responses to “Hasmo Legends I: An Introduction to an Institution

  1. Joey Freudmann

    Mike

    Absolutely brilliant. I could not stop laughing and it brought back so many memories from so many years ago. I left Hasmo 45 years ago

    Thanks for making my day

  2. Where did you get that staff picture?
    They look like such a motley crew! Just going through the faces made me burst out laughing.
    – Good times … even if we learned precious little.

    I am waiting for the Chichios post.

  3. Mickey Freudmann(Guy)

    very interestic but reflecting the Hasmo at a later period. As an almost founder member in the ” pioneering and “heroic ” period I think the staff were much more qualified and generally people you could learn from –with the gew oddities and nut cases !!many pupils were holocaust survivors and being with them was an education in itself

  4. Dear Mike,

    As a mother of 4 Handsome boys who all attended Hasmonean from 1973 the memory of your years at the school jogged my memory too, I have laughed so much while reading your letter, your stories are so very true and I can hear all my son`s calling out the name Cyril and imitating all the wonderful characters who were teachers there. You are quite right in saying that you enjoyed the years attending Hasmonean and I think like a lot of the Boys you disliked it at the time but on reflection you all seem to recall having a great laugh and stories to tell, It certainly did none of you any harm and I just wonder if the boys who attend their today are a more serious bunch of pupils , I hope not. I know that my son`s have all enjoyed the above too.

    Regards and Best Wishes

    Gloria Rodol

  5. Hi Gloria,

    Yes, I remember Mark. He was in the year above . . . and a character if I recall correctly (though Cyril would probably have preferred the word “lout”!) Whether he was “handsome” or not, I will leave to his mother!

    I am glad you enjoyed the post. There are more to come on Hasmo!

    Kind regards,

    Mike

  6. Mike,
    Great stuff! Made me laugh out long and loud. Well written too – must have been because you went to that other school you mentioned!!

    Regards

    Josh Haruni.

  7. you mad “puree” , you obviously have too much time on your hands , excellent reading and very entertaining , we really must have another reunion xxxxx

  8. Who taught “Crab” how to read?! 😉

  9. Mike, this is simply genius – unlike you I hasten to add !

    Having just finished pissing myself, I look forward to the next installment and please see me after school outside room 8.

    See, I’m 42 and it’s still in my system !

    Best

    G

  10. moshe shatzkes

    hi mike,

    great stuff, thanks so much. i have bored everyone i know with stories of those fabulous 7 years, only those who were there can truly understand. one thing i knew at the time was (and i don’t know how) that life can’t get better than this, and though happily married, 4 kids etc etc, it really is true. the sheer joy or coming to school on a tuesday morning and knowing that afternoon was to be filled with double steve, then double roger…………thanks regards moshe

  11. Naomi Conway (Finn)

    Having been to Hasmo Girls and married a Hasmo boy some 27 years ago, and having sent 2 boys and 3 girls to the school, I can tell you that a lot has changed since our day.
    It is far more professional and with a lot less eccentrics. BUT what has not changed is the comaraderie that we had then (and you are right…us wives ARE fed up with all the old boy’s school stories which were never matched in the girl’s school!)still exists and another generation of Hasmo stories are in the making!

    Best wishes,

    Naomi Conway (Finn)

  12. Nathan Azizoff

    Hi Mike, Great piece, it sure brings back good memories, youi forgot to mention Mr Ingram and the jam sandwich thrown at him by a certain (then) Hasmo Lout (I won’t say who as not to embarrass myself) during the lunch hour and when being asked “who threw that” to which this lout replied “I did sir ” his reply in typical Hasmo fashion was, I’m conficating this sandwich!!!

    The list of events are endless and I know that my wife is sick of hearing the sories when we EX Hasmo’s (and I say this with great pride) get together!!

    I look forward to the next instalment.

  13. Stephen Kopaloff

    Thanks for the memories good, bad but rarely indifferent. I was registered at Hasmo for 3 years and probably showed up for 2 of of them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and that’s how I look back at my time at the Hasmo Institution.

    So many characters who went through hell teaching and trying to teach what could be described as a massive flock of teenage delinquents.

    To all the “old” teachers reading this I want to apologise for the rudeness and despicable acts I carried out all those years ago. It has made me what I am today so I’m not too sure if there’s regret in the apology or simply remorse.

    Keep the memories flowing…. Thank you Mike

  14. I never went to Hasmo, but my kids do and this blog made me cry with laughter. I must admit to more than a tinge of jealousy at having attened an english public school, where i was educated but cannot remeber a single enjoyable moment!

    I am now responsible for setting up the new Hasmo Alumae Association (ironic, isn’t it!) and I would really encourage you all to join up. We will be holding reunions and entertaining evenings where ex-Hasmos can regale each other with thier recollections of fun times had at school and catch up with friends.

  15. Wonderful site! The photo alone is tremendous – 1978 we reckon.

    Hi Nathan! Enjoyed catching up with you the other year.

    Hi Stephen, we haven’t spoke since you disappeared, also 1978 I think? How’s Schnitzel?

    Hasmo had an exceptional talent for putdown responses to masters. My favourite was a response by a ‘Dayan’ as he was called by the master. It was in response to a request for his chemistry assignment. Dayan responded that it was in the latter stages of preparation. DJ was not satisfied with this and demanded clarification of the remark. Dayan replied that he meant that he had finally accepted the fact that he had to do the assignment.

    More please.

  16. Danny Turetsky

    Well done mike – mad dog would be truely proud!

    Abie hasnt come up in conversation for a few decades but it brought me back to having to take unusual steps to prevent being slapped across the face by this little tyrant. I spent quite some time standing on my desk and refusing to come down until he found some other poor sod to vent his frustrations on.
    My brother geoff was a rather tall and well built young man even in the olden days. When Abie told him ïn his callous tone and his smirky expression “Turetsky you only grow physically not mentally” he got the response he deserved “Sir, you dont grow physically or mentally” I assume my brother spent the rest of the lesson on his desk!

    Danny

  17. Mike the above article and the second in the series are fantastic. I had tears running down my face with laughter, because it’s all so true. please let me know which three teachers on the picture you couldn’t identify and I’ll try and help. the picture was taken of the teachers in hasmo when i was in the my fifth form,in fact i was standing behind the photographer when it was taken and we had a class picture taken at the same time. if you want some more hairaising funny stories just let me know
    benjy

  18. Jonathan Landau

    I remember when DJ spent a whole year speaking in a perfect American accent and after that year he reverted back to his normal English accent. I also recall he liked picking on boys whom he thought came from non religious homes and he would enjoy making their lives hell.

  19. Thanks, Benjy . . . certainly more interesting than the Tel Aviv Whites! I don’t recognise third and fourth from left in back row, and fourth from left in middle row. And, yes, please keep the great stories coming!

    Jonathan, funny you should say that, I do kind of recall that American accent thing. He liked saying “very inter-ESTing”. He also used to teach at the girls’ school, apparently, and made a friend of mine’s life hell because her father wasn’t a big enough “macher” in his shul. What a nob!

  20. moshe shatzkes

    on our 1st day in school we had the dubious pleasure of having dj for evening shiur in the chemistry lab. amongst his many faults, some of which are listed elsewhere on this page, was his tendency to exgagerate. he told us this ridiculous story (and i am not making this up, though cleary he did) about a young man who went to eretz yisroel by plane and moments after take off the pilot announced that the flight would be landing in 5 hours in saudi arabia, “boys, mamesh the young man davened to hashem with all his kavaneh, and boys, mamesh, the plane turned around and went to eretz yisroel”. What a nob!

  21. moshe shatzkes

    Another one of DJ’s annoying yet very amusing habits was not to use simple words when a difficult or long one would do. My favourite story that highlights this was when the school banned us from going to 7-11 which for those of you who can’t remember was a shop on Brent street that sold slurpees.(a horrible ice slushy drink in fluorescent colours) When you bought the cup you could fill up as many times as you wanted. This of course led to lots of hasmo kids hanging around and getting into fights with other schools etc

    DJ called an assembly for 4th and 5th formers after the final straw which was Terry Maslin deliberately walking past him with a 7-11 carrier bag and sporting a pony tail. (DJ particularly loathed boys who came from “frum” homes but who had rejected the frumness!)

    In this assembly he said and I quote verbatim because I remember it so well (translation in brackets for any hasmo boys reading this) “Boys who are currently studying for their preparatory examinations (mocks) for the summer’s Ordinary level certification (O levels) are forbidden from frequenting the retail outlet (shop) who hours of business are 0700 until 2300 hours (7-11).” The hall erupted with laughter. What a nob!

  22. Jonathan Landau

    I remember my first day in Hasmonean and Mr Lever or Noddy as he was affectionately known, was taking the register. When he reached Avi Levy he rudely said to Avi, ” I want your real name not your pet name , boy.” Avi innocently replied, ” But sir, my real name is Avi Levy”. Noddy then became furious and shouted at Avi, “Your name is Abraham Levy, boy and don’t you forget it !”

  23. Terry Maslin. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard for a while! Whatever happened to that legend? His brother, Laurence, was in my year, and – in a quieter way – could also be a right laugh. In fact, Laurence will feature prominently in my instalment on “Sid”. Watch this space!

  24. Jonathan 'Choirboy' Levene

    mike . great blog . Do you remember a teacher called Woody ‘baldy’ Harrison who used to drive a mini ? One of my earliest memories at Hasmo was looking idly out of a window during Lessers maths lesson and seeing the aforementioned Mini being carried out of the carpark by a crew of ‘Yoks’. Mad place but good memories.

    Don’t agree with your jaundiced memories of the JS teachers though. I don’t believe that they had the malignant intent ascribed to them by others on this blog.

  25. I remember Terry Maslin. Most classes that we took with Paley usually started like this;

    Paley: “Right sit down I said”! (waits whilst everyone settles down…and then continues) “Is Maslin in ‘Ere?”

    Maslin: “Yes Sir..”

    Paley: “Right, get outside I said!”

    A scuffle would then ensue as Paley shoves Maslin out of the classroom who, by the way, walks back in to class a few minutes later to catch the Callisthenics display.

  26. “Choirboy”, it was a long time ago . . . but how can you so easily forgive the “Bishops” who ‘violated’ us?! Having introduced to me Bob and Leonard, however, as the precocious sixth former that you were, I can forgive you for anything! 😉

    Yes, I vaguely remember Woody (he left shortly after we arrived). It was said that he always carried a bottle of Scotch in his bag.

  27. Jonathan Landau

    I remember Woody Harrison who taught Economics. He wore a bow tie and used to carry a little basket over his wrist. I believe he kept his sandwiches in this basket. He had a job in the City before he joined the Hasmonean and I remember he used to refer to his gentile friends.

  28. Simon Kosiner

    Sitting in my office pissing myself reading this as it all comes flooding back. Those were the days. Moshe Shatzkes is right, nobody can really understand the goings on unless you were there to experience the madness. I see Terry Maslin’s name quoted several times and for good reason however if we are talking legends of Hasmonean surely Jeremy Platt has to be top of the list.

  29. moshe shatzkes

    mitch “60 a day” taylor is sadly no longer with us, fondly remembered though. i did hear that they struggled to get a minyan for his levaya, though i reckon had we known we would have all shown up to sing ner leragli one last time in his honour!

  30. Interesting idea you’ve given me there, Simon . . . a “Top Ten Louts” list! Some suggestions . . . .

    Baz (Koffman)
    Shane? Rodol?
    Elbaz
    Maslin, T
    Platt
    And, with the exception of the “sell-out” swot Danny (who went on to the Bar), a Bazini surely?!

    Comments, please . . .

  31. moshe shatzkes

    didnt shane have a mate called “small” (not sure if that was his nickname) who together wrote f*** off on the beis hamedresh door and got expelled?

  32. Yes, Phillip Small, who went on to become quite a successful caterer, I think. Yes, from memory, definitely a lout!

  33. Jonathan Landau

    I meet Osher Baddiel sometimes when I visit Stamford Hill. He has wall to wall paper in his sukkah and he smokes a pipe in the sukkah. He was an inspiring teacher.

  34. Great stories – reminds me of the good old days – However, seeing as most of the teachers were useles – we still ended up ok.
    Some teachers that I would love to meet and talk with and have stories about –
    Joe Paley (hit me with a slipper for no reason)
    Steve Posen (red shirt on rosh chodesh)
    Flop. (nuff said)
    Mr Joughin (we once went to watch him play football for his club)
    Mr Lesser (always getting lines in his lessons)
    Rabbi Lewis
    Chichios
    etc.

  35. Jeremy Braude

    Jeremy Platt – a definite legend. Remember him on my 1st day of Hasmo picking me up and doing weightlifting with me (I was horizontal above his head!)

  36. Simon Kosiner

    One of the memories I have of Platt although very wrong was at davening one morning when he decided to use his tefillin as a lasso whipping some poor guy round the face several rows in front him. Can still picture the scene, I remember everyone apart from the unfortunate victim dying with laughter.

  37. I know it’s difficult(!) . . . but please hold your Cyril stories for comments on Hasmo Legends III. Ta.

  38. Great read laughing my head off.. I seem to remember in my first year that the upper six decided to race their cars in the back playground.. As for legends obviously chichios takes some beating…i wonder what happened to “my sun george”..we were constantly reminded how much better he was than any of us. Did anyone actually purchase a jock strap ??…I also remember Alan walters closing the window on Yehudi Gabai’s head in the art room annex during a politcs O level class.. He left him there head trapped for half the period

  39. Jonathan 'Choirboy' Levene

    Agree with Jonathan Landau . Osher Baddiel was an inspiring teacher if you ignored the zionist /anti zionist stuff.

    Will always remember when someone showed up to his JS lesson with a bible given out by christian missionaries in Golders Green. This was written entirely in Hebrew. He proceeded to rip it to shreads and asked us to give him a hand. We gladly agreed – turning the thick book into a pile of confetti which we left to his nemesis Mr Marks to clear up . He was livid!

    A perfect case of teaching by example . None of this wishy washy middle of the road stuff. Be zealous and uncompromoising in your beliefs even at the cost of popularity.

    (BTW mike you should treat those 2 greats with more respect – its REB Bob and REB Leonard to you mate)

  40. Hasmo.

    Best days of my life.

    Friends and stories will be with me forever.

    Shame I got a cr@p education, but you can’t have it all!!

    Left about 10 years ago, feels like a lifetime….

  41. I was only at Hasmo for three and a half years, but in that time I had the most amazing stories.

    I left 11 years ago, but last week someone who has just joined my company, who I recognized as someone a few years below me at Hasmo, came to me and said, “I remember you, your the Astro Belt guy.”

    I was the pioneer for the astro-belt market at Hasmo and I’m still proud that people recognise me for it.

    What a place.

    Mike, keep writing this blog, its brilliant.

  42. Jonathan Landau

    I remember the late Albert Myer from Munks shul who taught Modern Hebrew and German and was the choir master. Once a boy looked at his watch during Bert’s lesson and Bert exploded with fury asking the hapless boy if he was bored with his lesson. It was rumoured that Bert had pushed a boy through a glass panel.

  43. Did anyone other than Osher do a weekly finger nail inspection!? Why – what was that all about!?

    I had to copy out ‘If’ by Kipling because I had dirt under my thumb 2 days running. Then I missed out a comma or something and had to write the whole thing out again…

    Really enjoyed the book binding though.

  44. Mike
    Sadly you may be too young to remember the famous Chanukah assemblies with Rabbi Dr Schonfeld. He was truly a great man, rescuing Jewish children during the war and so on, but sadly in his latter years had lost his marbles somewhat.
    Chanukah assemblies were exciting for two reasons:
    a) the girls school actually visited our school for the occasion (although naturally were kept well separated, sitting in the library gallery upstairs) b) the Schonfeld speech!
    Who can forget such classics as “hasmonean boys and girls are not allowed to mix – like goulash”. Or “hasmonean boys and girls come together to create little hasmoneans” (or something like that).
    One year he did an “ask the audience” and asked if any boy (not girl!) knew the answer to a question he posed – some obscure Chanukah law, or something. No-one in his right mind would be daft enough to put their hand up to answer…except Englard, an earnest boy in the fifth year. He gets the answer right, of course and the WHOLE SCHOOL hisses – “ssssssssssssss”. I will never forget that noise. Brilliant.
    I think I was there in the vintage years, especially as a proud class member of the “1E neurotics” as Mr Marks called us. We even had a boy in our class called Mitchell Taylor, which did lead to confusion on occasion.
    We also had Noam Gottesman in our year; at that time distinguished for being the only boy who achieved above “BAGA 4” status in gymnastics. Now a multi-billionaire hedge fund manager – I wonder how much of that he attributes to Hasmo?
    And what other school can boast an English teacher (Mr Timothy Messum, I think) who ran away to join the circus as a ringmaster – presumably taming a class of Hasmo boys virtually guaranteed his aptitude for the job.

  45. Does anyone else remember that every lunch time Messum, Tarrant and Johnson (history teacher) used to go out to the local pub and come back totally off their heads. We had history immediately after lunch break and on many occasions chairs were thrown across the classroom by Mr Johnson if someone talked. Must have been pretty pissed coz he never actually hit anyone!!

  46. someone just mentioned Osher’s regular finger nail inspection – does any one remember Chishios’s underwear inspection?

  47. Daniel Epstein

    Mike,

    Lovely stories!

    You did forget the other fabulous story of “son of famous Rabbi” who, arrived late at another English lesson with the same Mr Marks.

    As young “son” walks in, Mr. Marks shouts: “WHY ARE YOU LATE?”, to which “son” retorts, at equal volume, “SHEER NEGLIGENCE, SIR!”.

    The other classic line from Cyril Blumberg was “Every time I open my mouth, the same idiot speaks!”

    Heard that one many a time in “Room 1″, especially when one of the panes of perspex was missing and another kid used to sneak out, come around the school building and walk in the classroom door saying,”SorryI’m late” and go and sit down.

    He did this about 5 times in the same lesson.

    The pain of not laughing was hysterical.

    Hoping to see you with the dogs on our street soon!

    Daniel Epstein
    (Hasmo (and Wentworth College!) from 1984 – 1991)

  48. Jonathan Landau

    Tony’s memories are interesting. I remember Englard from Golders Green. He never wasted a minute and was constantly learning from a sefer even at bus stops.

  49. Lawrence Hajioff

    Talking of the “hissing” during assembly, those Rosh Chodesh davening with the stale croissant and carton of “juice”…never really got the point of that.

    The menorah lightings at Chanukah with the entire school was great. A “yid” was appointed to make the brochos, but when all the boys responded with a really long “mmmmmmmmm” after the word “haolam” I always remembered cracking up…

    Someone told me to introduce myself to Jeremy Platt as a first year. He was drinking from the water fountain round the back when I went over to him and said “Hi, my name is Lawrence!” He looked straight up and proceeded to empty all the water in his mouth over my new shirt and tie (which had, that very day, been newly detagged).

    I never really understood the JS grading system. A1, A2, B1 B2 and then O1 and O2? What happened to C-M? Having spent my five years in O2 (“yok” class)…I am still a little confused about this….. please clarify…

  50. Tony . . . even though they stopped letting him speak in public fairly soon after I arrived at the school, I remember Dr Schonfeld making one long speech on the importance of boys not dressing up as girls on Purim. And an old Hasmo mate (who shall remain nameless) always used to impersonate him, going on about “Concorde and mash potatoes” . . . though I am not sure that Dr Schonfeld actually went on about such things!

    And Daniel (Epstein) . . . you mean Wentworth (formerly Albany), with “the College for Achievers” emblazoned on the front?! That must be the most hilarious misnomer ever, as it was a place for people who had failed first time around!

  51. pauly herszaft

    i always found it amazing that there were 550 pupils in the school yet there were only 510 chairs , at any given time you would always find at least 25 pupils running round the school knocking on doors( including my favourite “cyrils” door in room 1) asking that all important question DO YOU HAVE ANY SPARE CHAIRS SIR ? we would queue up outside cyrils door and spend the next 20 minutes winding him up with this constant barage …………. ahh the good old days

  52. moshe shatzkes

    i too went to albany college for the upper 6th not because i failed 1st time round but because i was on course to. because i loved hasmo so much and didnt want to miss the carnage, i managed to persuade the powers that be that i could stay on for shiur so that i had an excuse to be in school. one of the great “privileges” of being the the upper 6th was being able to call steve posen, steve. for this reasion whenever i wandered into school for shiur (not very often i admit) i would pop my head round the door of the biology lab whilst he was teaching and shout “morning steve”. one day as i did this, i noticed his red shirt, so i said “it’s not” (you will recall, he would somewhat bizzarly wear a red shirt on rosh chosesh) he shouted back at me “IT IS TODAY AND IT WAS YESTERDAY” and threw a board rubber at me. what a great character.

  53. Alex Goldwater

    M Shatskes on the subject of Steve P, reminds me that I once walked inncoently past the exit door of the Biology lab, in the direction of the the Bet Hamedrash, when the door burst open, and Norman Khaler of the third form, FLEW horizontally through the air, Pozen crouched just behind him with his boot outstretched, Pozens dusty footprint embossed on Khaler’s ample backside.

    I can still hear Norman bellowing back over his shoulder between sobs – D R O P D E A D MISTER POZEN!!

  54. While I was back in England for a while, a few years ago, I always used to see Norman K puffing away outside the Federation building (where I think he worked) on the Watford Way, in Hendon. He was hilarious at school.

  55. Jeremy 'Lun' Landau

    Had I not either been involved in many of the stories or done time at Hasmo, I would not now believe what went on. One of my fond memories was Chaim Ingram’s first day at Hasmo. He turned up with half a moustache and the sleeves of his blazer covered his hands. In the morning my mate, Baz, was flicking peas with a spoon at Chaim Ingram. In the afternoon Chaim Ingram returned from the lunch break with a pea still ridged between his nose and glasses. I thought it strange that none of the other teachers had pointed this out to him for at least an hour. In the afternoon Baz decided this this was another teacher to take advantage of, so he came up behind Chaim Ingram and tied him to his chair. Whilst he was tied to the chair a few of the boys started smoking and were planning to set fire to Chaim Ingram’s chair, so one of the better behaved boys panicked and set off the fire alarm. Afterwards we were all threatened with detention unless we owned up to who was responsible, but everyone was more scared of Baz than the teachers, so we all kept quiet. As it so happens, Chaim Ingram was a very nice chap.

  56. Hi Lun, long time. Great story! Baz was a tyrant! His brother, Jonny, was in my class, and a very gentle guy, who used to just shrug his shoulders at Baz’s antics. Apparently, on one occasion, Baz confronted my cousin, Marc, outside school and forced Jonny to hit him, which he really didn’t want to do . . . but who said “no” to Baz?!

  57. I was introduced to this blod today in NY by a non-Hasmo friend!
    I well remember Chaim Ingram’s first day as recounted by Lun (how are you?). That half-moustache finished him off before he even had a chance to get started. One other detail I remember from that great day was someone following him down the hallway painting Tipp-Ex on the back of his jacket.
    Baz was indeed one of the all time “greats”. I remember when he was finally “passed down” to our year and joined us in Room 8, the famed home of 5JO. JO of course was in a distinct minority amongst the “faculty” at Hasmo being both a gifted teacher as well as a normal, decent human being! I had the misfortune to be sitting next to an open window which “Uncle Jack” asked me to close. Baz turned to me and intimated sweetly that HE would prefer the window to be left open. This difference in opinion went on for another couple of rounds until I took the only option available to a clear thinking Hasmo boy and fled the classroom clutching my stomach.
    Who can forget the famous physics lesson with Flop, devoted to the planetary system. “Sir, how big is Uranus?”, “Sir, are there any recorded forms of life on Uranus?” etc, etc.
    I have so many great stories and memories which I will commit to this blog in due course. First I must obtain clearance from involved parties, some of whom are tragically reformed and leading responsible and productive lives. Some, I am reliably informed (and bear in mind I haven’t lived in England for almost 20 years) are now Hasmo parents and even Governers!!

  58. The Hamonean dynasty, whose true claim to fame was to be found in its eponymous institution two thousand years later, was noted for its hard-hitting zealots.

    Hasmonean School for boys was neither lacking in zeal, nor ever shy when it came to hard-hitting. In fact so over-generous was its brutality, too often did it run tantamount to unbridled sadism. If we could roll back the wheels of time that’s exactly what almost all the teaching staff of then would be serving today in a correctional facility for Child Abuse and Grievous Bodily Harm.

    Our first-day Hasmo induction in 1972-3 had us subjected to a barrage of unparalleled insult which still resonates in my head today. “You Jewish Pigs, You Jewish Pigs!”

    Profanities uttered not from the mouth of a goose-stepping Nazi skinhead, rather from a survivor himself, a certain Mr Meyer an orthodox Mosaic if not prosaic music teacher. His words were charged with contempt and disdain and dispatched in a shower of spittle over our spellbound perplexed youthful faces.
    Even the Nuremberg laws failed to make such a brazen comparison.
    The mind shudders at what could have induced that poor miserable man to lash out at us like that. What untold sufferings had he endured in his younger days to cause him to metamorphose into such a horrific beast? And why in God’s name was he ever allowed to be let loose to prey upon terror-stricken innocent first-formers who accepted this spectacle as normative behaviour by our master and better? What a damning first-impression to secondary schooling?
    How could his overt senility or schizophrenia go unnoticed by his peers?
    Anyway apart from the school anthem which I believe was about burning your foot with a candle, Mr. Meyer only ever taught us one song entitled “Oh How Lovely is the Evening” whose chilling melody I felt was not too dissimilar to the Hitler Youth’s hymn “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” Strange how I could have made such a contrast.

    Yet sadism and serious mental health issues were not limited to the music department. In this impenetrable den of iniquities sadism was rife, abuse was prevalent and compassion a commodity seldom seen. Sadly on those few occasions when compassion would be shown by an unwitting new teacher we would recognize it as a weakness, would pounce upon the hapless novice and unleash our burning pent-up aggression – no doubt driving him into retaliatory violent conduct.

    So who was Hasmo’s most sadistic ever teacher? Contenders for this ignoble title would span many generations and sport many an unkempt beard. Yet some might rightly argue that cruelty levels could be mitigated not by a claim of temporary insanity by the accused, rather on the grounds of permanent and irreversible psychosis.
    This could not be claimed by Rabbi Greenberg’s defense counsel. He was both sane and sadistic.

    When the death penalty was abolished in 1955 and out-of-work executioners sought alternative gainful employment, Rabbi Greenberg auditioned for the role of the Marquis De Sade in the West End stage production. Although a natural he failed to land the role primarily because he was over-qualified, was too fat, too ugly and preferred to wobble than to walk. Applying to ply his trade at Hasmonean he was welcomed with open arms, where sadism although not an absolute prerequisite for staff admission, was viewed favorably and conferred recognition and kudos in the teaching hierarchy.

    Equipped with an array of whips and other medieval-like devices of torture, Rabbi Greenberg went about his daily duties of promoting Orthodox Judaism.

    Mr Bloomberg. Mr. Allan Bloomberg, unaffectionately known as Cyril.
    Why did you make our lives so miserable? Why could you not hop over the Channel (or stop half-way) and teach English to some ill-fated French enfants and spare us the indignity of being taught by you and having to spend wasteful hours writing worthless essays on The Importance of Sensible and Decent Behaviour with zero educational value?
    Instead of flowing with the title, Yisrael Chalk wrote one of his many essays, which he thought would be binned upon submission, about how much he absolutely despised Mr. Bloomberg. When you actually read that essay and went totally ballistic with the poor sod, he claimed he was writing about another Mr. Bloomberg from Gateshead. Obviously you, he really liked, no doubt because of your charming personality and cute little butt.
    Never one to condone violence, why do I feel a depraved sense of satisfaction when I recall a bundle around your classroom table where an unnamed disgruntled kid was sticking the boot in from behind through a mass of bodies trying and succeeding to actually kick the shit out of you. In some closed circles he is still hailed today as a national hero.

    You can be granted some latitude because you were completely loopy.

    The only laws of perspective we learnt at art classes was that the further away we were from Rabbi Angel, (a misnomer if ever there was one), the less we would get slapped across the cheek.
    And so opting for Crafts rather than Arts we found ourselves flitting around the woodwork room under the watchful eye of Mr. Finkelstein.
    The more creative artisans amongst us would ultimately try to construct a keel or a hull, nautical terms I still pretend to understand, the less adventurous would try their hand at a toast rack, while Daniel Marks and my good self spent two whole years of woodwork tuition exploring the merits of making “a wooden golf course.” When castigated by the diligent Mr. Finkelstein, we settled upon pursuing the construction of “a tasty fly for a hungry elephant.” Today the alarming paucity in all our artistic skills can be directly attributed to Hasmo’s Arts and Craft studies.

    In educational philosophy there is a debate over what should be at the center of the learning process, the teacher, the subject matter, or the child. That was never an issue at Hasmonean, there was no learning process.
    Granted there was some learning but a process or a method – forget it. The learning was at best amorphous and coincidental yet the process would be vindicated each year with the release of the national “O” level and “A” level grade passes. Something was going right but not because of the process, rather in spite of it.
    At Hasmonean the child was only at the center of the learning process when he was called to the front to be the recipient of some kind of punitive beating administered with gusto by some sadistic barbarian who more often than I like to recall, shamefully held the title of Rabbi.

    My brother was one of the few who had never been whipped by Rabbi Greenberg. One classmate accused Rabbi Greenberg of favoritism in that Stephen K had never felt the wrath of his whip, so to dispel this myth he called Stephen K to the front, and administered an unforgettable beating.

    So much was corporal punishment a part of the school experience that we would invariably gleefully gloat at the ceremony and accompany the execution with chants of “Hit him sir, hit him!”

    Rather than be tainted with shame and dishonor the beating recipient would gain standing and prestige.
    In an effort to enhance our reputation, Daniel Marks and I, after having successfully bunked off games without being caught, decided we should own up, and demanded we receive six of the best from Mr. Stanton who bafflingly obliged with the enthusiastic help of Mr. Chishios. We were heroes with sore bums.

    Ellis Feigenbaum once went blind, or so he says – you never knew with him, after having been struck across the face for something or other by Rabbi Angel. He also once lost his memory after another beating. That was probably true because the next day he started arriving to school on a stolen motorbike which he failed to remember having stolen. He had his back broken too on one other occasion, or so he claimed. Illnesses and afflictions became contagious, and fainting became commonplace, because it would arouse concern rather than a slap, and a lot of laughs. I recall in Rabbi Kahn’s class a snapshot image of over half the class strewn on the floor having fainted off their chairs.

    When again arriving late for a Rabbi Abrahams lesson, he demanded an immediate explanation. We explained that we were late but that we had a witness. We brought in our witness who verified that we were indeed late. Rabbi Abrahams insisted he knew we were late but we were adamant that we had a witness.

    There was a cute way to reduce the stress levels of a Mr. Harrisson lesson, be it British Constitution, History or Politics, it did not really matter because he would only ever talk about the Queen’s coronation and the Gold Standard. Whoever was sitting by the door would secretly open it then slam it hard and we would all shout “Oh go away. Oh sir, how can we learn when they keep slamming the door from outside.” Eventually at his wits end he charged outside, lunged at the unknowing Sami Bazini who was walking to his next class, threw him inside where he proceeded to pull out tufts of his hair. We applauded the debacle and egged him on with ““Hit him sir, hit him!”

    Fond perverse memories.

  59. If this is to be the ex-Hasmo online support group, then so be it. I believe that any of my contemporaries will confirm that I was one the teachers’ most hated pupils and I too have many a tale to tell.
    I meet occasionally with old school-friends such as Nick Kopaloff, Michael Goldman and, of course, the legendary Ellis Feigenbaum. We tell stories that grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age does not weary them, nor the years contemn them. Drinking Israeli beer Cyril Harris is still calling us wretched creatures and Rabbi Schonfeld still believes that Hasmonean girls are pure. Osher Baddiel never ceases to amuse himself with the observation that a Reformed Jew is a Deformed Jew and Mr. Chisious is still peering into our gym shorts to check that we aren’t wearing pants.
    Somebody opens the Scotch and we remember other things too – things that as an adult and an educator myself I find it hard to laugh about while still totally sober. I remember the poor lad whose name I would never disclose who wrote what he thought to be a learned treatise about what he believed. It contained a fascinating attempt to synthesize the Diaspora Nationalism of Simon Dubnow with Orthodox Judaism. Somewhere in his paper the lad had written something to the effect that he did not consider masturbation to be a sin. I can just about excuse myself for labeling him “Wanker” from that day forth. I will never forgive the teacher who caned him.
    The scotch is half finished and the worst of all memories returns. It is a “Chumash Rashi” lesson. Another nameless bearded Gateshead graduate enters the class and asks somebody where we had reached the last lesson. The lad replies and we open there. In the 1970s it wasn’t hard to be a Chumash of Mishna teacher at Hasmonean. Basically, the lesson was a purposeless translation exercise from Old Hebrew to very old English. How the saintly Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler would have wept to see his students’ students turning the living breathing Torah into such a sure soporific. Eventually out of boredom the misbehavior begins. The Scotch is almost finished and somebody opens a bottle of wine. Our wives want to go home and our children, those who are still young enough to be unable to avoid such gatherings, have long ago lost interest, but the worst is still ahead.
    Sipping on something red I remember the stories we were told at this point in the Chmash Rashi lesson by our untrained Jewish studies teachers about the Holocaust. We were reminded of the young children, always younger than us, who had sat behind the crematoriums where their parents were being burned alive and recited verses of chumash by heart. “And you who have everything, and the chance to learn Torah what do you do?…” With the passing of years I’ll forget every teacher who tried to humiliate me and I’ve long forgotten the pain caused by those who beat me. But even as the last drops of alcohol further dilute my blood I will not absolve those who caused me to hate the learning of Torah for the most formative years of my life.

  60. Daniel and Nick,

    Thank you so much. Whilst your comments make for extremely uncomfortable reading, I am sure that there are many Hasmo alumni out there who will be most grateful that you have expressed what they, for whatever reason, can’t. (Can this be the same Rabbi Greenberg?!)

    Mike

    PS Did either of you know my brother, Jonny? I think he would have been a few years above you.

  61. Jonathan Landau

    I didn’t know Jonny personally but I remember your family belonged to Releigh Close shul and I recall Jonny always had a smile on his face.

  62. How old would he have been today?

  63. 50. He was part of a group which included Ronald Dombey, David Marx and Peter Waxman (with whom I am in touch). There was also a Jonathan Landesman and Jonathan Gertler. Ring any bells? Read my post on Jonny. It might trigger some memories!

  64. I read it and it’s beautiful. I guess he was three years above me and I wouldn’t have known him. – Kol Tuv – DM

  65. Nick, where on earth did you learn words like “eponymous” and “misanthrope” ?

    Daniel Marks, an educator ? What would the odds have been on that ever happening ? You should definitely make it onto that list of “Top Ten Louts”.

    Good to hear from you both.

  66. Okay a Danny Landau story:

    The back of the biology lab and steve Posen is explaining something. He turn to Landau and asks, “So Landau how what is your answer to the question?”
    Landau has no clue what the question was he turns desperately to his surrounding friends.
    “Tell him you agree.” I suggest.
    “Yes, sir. I agree.”
    “What?”
    “I agree.”
    “What boy!?”
    “I said that I agree, sir.”
    The rest is obvious but I refer you to koplaloff’s article anyway.

  67. moshe shatzkes

    It’s been mentioned elsewhere on this blog, the remarkable discrepancy between the total lack of education at hasmo and the amazing O and A level results that most boys achieved. This as we all know was down to lots of boys certainly for A levels having private lessons for most subjects.

    For those of you privileged enough to have had Jack Ordman for private maths lessons for O level, you knew it was a guaranteed pass at least, because quite simply, Jack wouldn’t teach you if he thought you would fail. His reputation wouldn’t stand for it.

    The mobile units in the playground, the newer ones nearest to North Hendon Adass acquired the rather grand title of the Maths Block and it was here that Jack had his A group Maths classroom and across the corridor, the B group we were entertained by the wonderful, and rather neglected on this blog at least, Rabbi “Eggy” Lebrecht. Jack very often would have to come across the corridor as the carnage got louder and restore order to Eggy’s lessons.

    There are many stories to tell of those great times with Eggy, but my favourite story is when one day I opened the bottom of a hole puncher and hundreds of the little white discs of paper spilled out all over the floor. Eggy went nuts and started shouting at me to pick them up. My old mate Bobby Davilla, ever resourceful, somehow appeared with a hoover and starts hovering around my feet where all the little discs were, I pretended that I was being sucked up by the hoover and started sliding under the desk as if being eaten by it, all this whilst everyone was roaring with laughter. As I re-appeared from under the desk I looked up to see Jack standing there, red faced.

    He clearly had the impression that I wasn’t taking maths seriously enough and refused to teach me privately anymore for fear of losing his 100% success rate. Just to spite him I managed to fluke it any way, only just mind.

  68. Having gone through the system as a student I have now been teaching at Hasmonean for 7 years and I have to say that alot has changed……. and besides for Dr Finkelstein who is still there full time……..there are no characters on the staff like those who were there in early 1980’s! They were a unique bunch!

  69. Nick Kopaloff

    Thank you Mike for your kind words and for tempering the vilification in my diatribe to just below the minimum litigation level.

    Thank you, my erudite colleague Daniel Marks for your insight and recollections, and not withstanding your dubious school reputation, for underlining the truth in the famous Boys Town adage “there are no bad boys – just bad environments.”

    Thank you Danny Landau for noting that some words in the English tongue are longer than four letters.

    Looking in the Guinness Book of Records for the World’s Least Successful Scientific Laboratory Experimenter I was expecting to find a reference to Mr. Posen, whose experiments would only ever work when he blatantly tampered with them himself, or calling a spade a spade, he would cheat.
    No Steve – you cannot hide behind the adage “there are no bad teachers – just bad environments.” It does not exist.

    However, in fairness, the fact that we would often illegally enter the lab and sabotage the place did not add to the success level of his experiments.

    On one occasion we broke into the lab, took out a locust, and suspended it in a hangman’s noose above the classroom table where Mr. Harrisson was about to make his entry and try to teach us about the inflationary decline of the Greek Drachma.

    Behind the dead swaying insect, and as a stern warning against all wrongdoers, we wrote on the blackboard:

    “And So Endeth All Evil!”

  70. Dovi Friedmann

    I commend you on this phenomenal blog. I havent laughed so hard in a long time. Here’s a classic…

    One afternoon in Modern Hebrew with Mrs Moore, Chaim put up his hand and asked to be excused. Mrs Moore refused to let him leave the classroom as we’d just returned from lunch. A few minutes later Chaim raised his hand again and said, “Miss! I really need to go!” To which she retorted, “if you need so badly then you can go in here.”

    So he did. In the dustbin at the front of the class.

  71. What a school. Reading the above, i’m amazed i even got the one CSE (grade one) with the amount of messing around i did.
    Not only were most the teachers completely useless, but in this day and age, some would be inside now for assault and some possibly for worse.
    Two things i need comfirmed. Is is true that someone once unscrewed the Bimmah in shul , and when Flop leaned on it, he fell down and broke his arm. Also , is it true that on an outing with Mr Paley, a group of students threw Mr Paley out of the minibus and drove off.

    I do remember DJ’s ridiculous story about the plane heading for the wrong destination until everyone on board started to pray, and then it amazingly got to Israel in time for Shabbat.
    I remember praying on top of a castle in France on an outing and on the train home. The sight of 90 kids shokkeling in a train carriage back to London must of been rather shocking to the general public.
    Other highlights were Jeremy Platt leading pupils into battle outside 7-Eleven in Brent Street.
    Losing a cross country run because Naty Nathans kippa blew off and he ran back to get it.
    DJ taking yet another assembly, where he claims “we know who did it, we just want you to own up”.
    Mr Tarrants growing wigs and sweat stained shirts.
    A supply teacher called Mr Smith finally cracking up and making a load of pupils sniff chlorine (or something) which made them pass out.
    Humming during any communal singing of a Bracha.
    Smoking behind the English block next to the gym with Platty, Adam Bergman and some bloke with glasses called Puff.
    Happy Days

  72. Jonathan Landau

    I remember “Woody ” Harrison telling our class that Hasmonean had the worst record for vandalised furniture in the Borough of Barnet and that when he told his Gentile friends about this fact, they were astonished.

  73. Referring to Jon Fishman’s Flop question…story was that every morning in Tefilla Assembly, he used to bang on the Rabbi’s lectern for silence every day…..so on the morning of the unscrewing sabotage, he did fall. It was incredibly funny but the broken arm is urban myth.

  74. Jon Fishman – not one & the same as BRUCE Fishman, (good mate of Keith “Keef” Feldman), who once let us tie you up and hide you behind the lockers in Cyril’s room 1, surely??

  75. Avromi Hirsch

    Jon Fishman is presumably the geezer with 80’s long hair and a blue Adidas bag with Luton Town tip-exed on it.

    Moving on Moishe Shatzkes mentioned the mobile units near the shul where eggy and Jack taught.

    Now if you remember there was a little hallway between the two classrooms and the electricians had kindly placed the light switches for the classrooms in said hallway. Cue lights going off the whole time in Eggy’s maths class in the winter months. I vividly remember Morris Golker turning off the lights and instead of doing a runner just stood there and when eggy opened the door in a rage telling him the culprits had ran off!

  76. I’m not Bruce or a relative of Bruce , but as Avromi Hirsch correctly points out, i am the geezer with 80’s long hair and a blue Adidas bag with Luton Town tip-exed on it.
    As for my long hair, DJ once told me i had a Hitler Youth haircut and maybe i should join St Marys instead.

  77. It is only after considerable contemplation and indeed soul-searching that I find myself taking issue with my friend Nick Kopaloff. I hope that Nick will excuse me this time if I go easy on the thesaurus as I think that the question of violence as it existed in Hasmonean in the 70s is a serious subject and worthy of real discussion.
    First, I will concede that everything Nick says, and worse, did in fact happen. If it sounds like exaggeration to youngsters reading it today, it is not. Many, perhaps most teachers did use violence; I shall not even call it corporal punishment as it never fitted the legal definition of corporal punishment even at that time. I probably was beaten in as many different ways and by as many different teachers as anyone and, as I said earlier, I have long forgiven the perpetrators. You’re right about the facts, Nick.
    I do, however, take issue with Nick portraying HGS of the 70s as what might appear to the reader as a scary place to be, it was not. There were many things that I enjoyed more, and I bunked off a lot but I was never scared to go to school and was basically very happy there, until my expulsion a fortnight before the end of the upper sixth for exposing publicly the fact that a faculty member had picked his nose in the playground.
    I contend that, if anything, it was many of the teachers who hated coming to school, and looking back I think that many of them were more afraid of us than us of them. I remember as a child that more than once large vicious looking dogs came close to me and there would often be some berk who would say, “Don’t worry, just stay still, he’s more afraid of you than you are of him.” It seemed strange to me as these hounds never seemed in the least bit scared and knew that they could easily have torn me apart. Again, and this is all with hindsight, I suspect that for all their canes and gym shoes and rulers our teachers were scared and the berks were right. Crazy as it sounds I think that an argument could be made for self defense on the part of the teachers. Furthermore, I would point out the obvious that those who did “stay still” and there were many of them, were rarely if ever beaten.
    I’m not arguing any of our teachers’ innocence but I am claiming on their behalf that mitigating circumstances should be taken into consideration, and when it comes to sentencing I would look into the sad eyes of any geriatric who had the misfortune to be my teacher three decades ago and simply say that he’s already suffered enough.

  78. Simon Kosiner

    To Jon Fishman. Do you remember in the first year when for some unknown reason I decided to throw a spoon across the dinner hall which unfortunately connected with your head. Am sure you do, was slippered by Roberg for my crimes. I remember Roberg chasing me round his office with a large dunlop trainer, the pain when he managed to connect I will never forget. Damn funny looking back though.

  79. Simon Kosiner – i dont remember the spoon incident , i do remember you on someones shoulders dancing because we were told Moshiach was coming during period 6. I seem to remember your head going through a lightbulb during the period of celebratory dancing. Needless to say, Moshiach failed to turn up.

  80. Simon Kosiner

    I do remember the light bulb incident, think that was during one of Rabbi ‘Eggy’ Lebrecht legendary maths lessons. Another classic just remembered was when we put someone in a dustbin and then lifted it on to Rabbi Kahn’s desk before he arrived for the lesson. All you could see coming out the bin was a head and two feet struggling to escape as we quicky ran to our desks. Rabbi Kahn walked into the class to find the boy in the bin on his desk and shouted ” how did you get up there” to which the boy replied “I dont know”. At this point we couldnt hold back anymore and the class roared with laughter at the boys response. Cant remember who the victim was but please identify yourself should you read this.

  81. it must of been someone like Albert Aminoff in the bin.
    I’m sure i remember Rabbi Kahn beating the living daylights out of Jonathan Cardash , only to realise he was punishing the wrong pupil. As Cardash cried, a guilty Rabbi Kahn cuddled and joked with Cardash in a cringing way to save his own skin. These days half the teachers would be behind bars for some of their actions.

  82. Raffy Wreschner

    Kosiner and Fishman – I dont recall the Rabbi Kahan bin pupil – I wasnt in JS with you yoks……but Mark Faber did find himself in one of the metal playground bins, without his shoes and socks, before every Flop lesson in the Physics lab. A big roar of “Shoes and Socks” would go up while we were waiting outside the lab for Flop to appear, no doubt from a quick molestation in the computer room, and Faber would get it.

  83. Jonny Cardash

    I don’t actually remember the beating from Rabbi Kahn – just the cuddling.
    I remember that guy called Mark Lee (supported Crystal palace – the only one in the school) was in competition with Kosiner for being the “Bin king”.
    And Kosi, you were on my shoulders when you smashed the lightbulb with your head and I remember Mrs Kaul (Cool) having a tough time picking the glass out of your “New Romantic” hair style.

  84. graham summers

    St Mary’s were regularly responsible for threatening behaviour towards our brave lads and lasses ( when the girls’ school was on Parson st.) and unfortunately in some cases causing ABH.
    one or two of the brighter members of the hasmo staff ( but there WERE only one or two !)came up with the brilliant idea that if we wore our Hasmo caps it would somehow render either us or our blazers,tzitzit ,puny frames or general ‘yiddishe’ look totally invisble and the yobbos would walk past us having been fooled by this cunning ploy.

    needless to say, it never worked – IDIOTS !!

    in fact Shmuli O and myself were once chased by Copthall Girls( oh,the indignity !) brandishing hockey sticks while we were out on a cross country run.
    I think it must have been the sight of us in our ‘commando’ state that got this reaction.

    How about the time that Willy OBM announced in an assembly that he had received a letter from a distraught mourner who, when driving past the ‘top bus stop’ in a funeral procession, had seen some Hasmo boys take off their caps and through them in the air.

    If he would have caught those boys….wow !!

    Keep them coming, lads…..

  85. graham summers

    yes that DID happen………!

  86. Jonathan Landau

    Re. Graham’s comments, I once met a pupil at St Mary’s at a bus stop and he told me their Headmaster had warned the pupils to leave Hasmo boys alone.

    I remember DJ once coming into our class with a policeman. DJ said that a woman had seen a boy in a red blazer climbing out of a window of a house and DJ wanted to now if we knew anything about this burglary !!

  87. Okay, I take full responsibilty for throwing my cap in the air in the incident Summers mentioned.

  88. graham summers

    OMG……. all these years, it was YOU all along.

    You wretched creature !!!!

  89. I was not alone but I shall not name names, not even today. Never!

  90. Its great how we all remember what nutters our teachers were!!!!

    Me and Sammy Normand got a slap round the face from Mr Chichios for calling Mrs Scheider a married woman and implying they were having an affair.

    Did I hear right the caretaker (Mr Thomkins I think) got sacked for stealing the money from the payphonne?????

    Nutty teachers included (to name but a few);

    Paley
    Soester
    Firstone
    Comrade Walters
    Flop Finklestein
    “Mitch” Taylor
    Smoker Baddiel
    Abrahams the midget
    Old Lesser
    Cyril
    Messom
    “Scredriver” Cooper
    Tarrant and his wig

    I wonder how many of them are still alive???

    i have two teenage kids and their teachers seem a lot younger than ours were!!!!!!!

    Keep up the good work

  91. Daniel Tarlow

    A classic Osher story! I dont remember if i read others about him beating up kids on this page or the other but i will add it here.

    One of the funniest moments I remember at school was one afternoon in the winter months when I had a double JS lesson with Abie last two lessons of the day. The lesson was over the bridge in room 9 or 10. It was about 15-20 minutes from the end of the school day, the lesson was getting really boring by now and all of a sudden there is a screaming sound coming down the corridor and the thudding sound of a running kid. We see this large body run past the classroom door and then a moment later the silhouetted figure of Osher Baddiel chasing after the pupil. A couple of minutes later the same thing happened again. The two of them screaming and chasing each other.
    It turned out that it was Platt who had been thrown out of Osher’s class and wanted to take his bag with him and leave school as it was close to the end of the day. Osher wouldn’t let him, Platt grabbed his bag and ran.
    The funniest and most Hasmo part of this story is that Osher then chased Platt around the school for almost 10 minutes.
    I dont know how the story ended but it was bloody funny to have seen and definitely relieved the boredom of a late winter’s JS class!!

  92. Jonny Horovitz

    Thanks for this – my kids are asking me whats so funny that I keep cracking up laughing.
    I don’t think I’ve got the time needed to go through all the stories but I will tell you that after several years together in yeshiva with a whole load of ex-Hasmos, one of my friends would happily tell hasmo stories and he never spent a day in Hasmo in his life!
    As you all say – its a legend!
    Jonny

  93. Henry Sperber

    Brilliant Blog

    Laughing out loud every couple of minutes, my kids are sure that there is something wrong with me.
    There are so many great memories that stick out. When you ask people from other schools there are no way the same amount of outstanding events that will be remembered by all in the same way.
    Just sitting here there are so many that are running through my head, from being de-tagged on the first day to “all the school against BAZ”. Scharansky visit when Rabbi Roberg told us that maybe we should take down the flag to which Scharansky replied this is what I have been dreaming of. The singing of the school anthem “ner leragli” instead of “Tzidekcha” the whole shul will shout out Sid Cooper!!
    The Yom Haatzmaut riots, last days of school the water bombs, driving around the playground in cars. The 7-11 riot agaisnt St Marys and so many more……
    Chichios endless excuses for not managing to make his “lay up shot”. He would then complain “do you think your Hashem could do it?? Go to Minki”!!!
    Having to stand up for 2 minutes silence in Comrade Walters lesson for Breshnev (i think that was him name) death. How did he get away with that???
    Flops ripple tank!

    and so many more

    Thanks for this blog

  94. Andrew Cohen – Mr. Tarrant wasn’t wearing a wig. It was just a bad hair cut. The reason I know this was because I once asked him. When he said it was real hair, I asked if I could pull it to check and I did so, hard. We were at least as bad as the teachers, though at the time we would probably have pointed out the difference was that we didn’t get paid.

  95. Nathan Azizoff

    Does anyone remeber Tony Pearce – He was a French teacher in the school for only about 3 years. He was a Jehova’s witness and I remember seeing him in Golders Green station every Saturday night giving out leaflets to covert you to Christianity. His famous saying was “Smile Jesus loves you!”

    Having seen him giving out leaflets in Golders Green I confronted him about it in school and lets just say after that I managed to turn my end of year grades from C minus to B plus!

    Let’s just say that was one of my first real lessons in the art of negotiation!!

  96. Dan Tarlow’s “Osher-Platt” story, reminds me of the time Danny Cohen packed up his bag early, before the end of double physics with the Flop-Meister.

    The man-mountain waddled itself over to Cohen’s seat, unzipped the bag, and shrieking “MISHTER COHE-E-E-N!” in the deranged tones of an elephant in heat, emptied the contents forcefully onto the floor. The last item to hit the ground with a dull thud, was a pair of tefillin.

    Under a barrage of protest from 25 outraged 4th-years, the best the great mammoth could manage, was something later deciphered (approximately), as “WELL-HE-SHOULDN’T-HAVE-PACKED-UP-EARLY-THEN, SHOULD HE-E-E-E-E-E???!!”

  97. Steven Graniewitz

    Thank you for this site. I almost wet myself reading some of these posts.

    Good to hear from Jon Fishman. I assume that Luton was tippexed on his bag over the part where Spurs used to be written. By the way, it definitely was Albert Aminoff in the bin. I remember it clearly.

    Is there any way to upload to this site. I have a recording of the school song introduced by Mitch Taylor from speech day around 1983.

  98. I think it was Anthony Katz who with his multicolored glitter Kippa unlawfully climbed onto the roof to retrieve a ball. Rabbi Kahn only managed to catch a glimpse of the culprit’s distinctive Yid-lid but that was enough damning evidence to convict the villain.
    And as “Ashray Yoshvai” heralded the start of Mincha, Rabbi Kahn, came to daven with us, where eyeing Katz he nodded as if to say: “Soon I am going to do some very nasty things to you.” Turning round to pray for divine inspiration he beseeched his Maker for the most suitable method of smiting the juvenile criminal.”
    With his back to us we had to work quickly to look after our own. Wasting no time we all switched Kippot between us. We were all Anthony Katz on that fateful day. “Ich bin ein colored Kippa!”
    When the venerable Rabbi glanced back at the identity parade to hone in on the recipient of his impending blows, he gave a look of disbelief at the most kavana-driven prayer session he had ever seen. The culprit had blended in with the masses, and we were giving Mincha some real welly. Our sincerity abounded and piety flowed through our veins. But like intermittent invasions of flying saucers, as Genghis Khan turned back round we all switched Kippot again.
    So in order to gain a more panoramic view of the unfolding events in the classroom he modified his shockelling style from the near-perpendicular bend at the waist variety which is ideal if you want to look up and down the wall, to the horizontal sway, far more conducive to wide-angle vision.
    Unfortunately, as if plagued by the dreaded lurgy, I was the last-wearer of the multicolored-kippa. As soon as “Ushmo Echad” was uttered I felt my cheeks get repeatedly pounded from multiple slaps. We were all sinners on that day but because I loved you I was prepared to die for you all. Repent Rabbi Kahn and I shall forgive you.

  99. Just to clarify this was nor Rabbi Kahan (affectionately known as Ghengis) but a gentleman of Indian descent with a similar name.

    I believe the kippa was yellow and it was the writer of these lines that noticed that the colorful kippa was the teacher’s way of identifying and hunting down his victim.

    Looking back it does seem that minchah was the scene of many a violent attack but that which remains most indelibly inscribed in my memory must be the time a pupil was slapped cruelly around the face during his divine communication with his maker and the perpetrator of the clout announced proudly, “That’s what will happen to anybody else I see davening without kavane!”. On that day the heavenly gates truly opened to my prayers.

  100. graham summers

    Who remembers Dr Cohen ? …a short Indian fellow who, in vain, attempted to teach us maths in the 1st year ?

    I recall, on our first introduction to algebra, being desperate for the loo and asking Dr C if i could be ‘x cubed’…..

    His stinging right hand across my unsuspecting cheek confirmed his lack of any humour …although I suspect that due to his origins and his native language being Hindustani he was denied the subtleties of my wonderful gag !!

    I had ( boy talking stand) Chadwick OBM in the second year having got 4% in my end of year exam. Dr Cohen was never seen again and my maths didn’t improve till I was taught by Joughin in the 5th year.

  101. Jonathan Landau

    Hi Graham

    I remember Charlie Chadwick from Edgware. They always gave him the C group to teach in Maths due to the poor quality of his teaching.

  102. One of my favourite moments was during a maths lesson with Rabbi Lebrecht.

    He noticed a rather too eager maths student following in his book which he had cunningly placed inside his opened brief case.

    After a tussle lasting for about 5 minutes the student managed to close and lock his briefcase but was then marched to the headmaster’s office.

    The boy was then forced to open his brief case revealing the latest edition of Escort. His excuse for this was that he had a desperate need to know about pro-creation and as he was walking past a building site he noticed the mag in a truck which he duly stole.

    Following a rather substantial donation from parents he was forgiven. He did lose the mag but, kol yisrael araivim zaeh lazeh, the class chipped in for a replacement.

  103. There was story about a pupil who was having a wank under the desk in a French lesson given byMrs Schneider.
    She repeatedly asked him what was in his hand.
    Can anyone confirm this, or is it another Hasmo Urban Myth.

  104. Michael Lebrett

    Fantastic stuff!! I was up till 1am reading all these stories with tears streaming down my face!
    Graham Summers mentioned a teacher called Dr Cohen. I believe he was known amongst the pupils as Allah. Could someone confirm this?

    Does anyone remember a chap we used to call ‘Grumpus Twitler’. His house backed onto the school playground. His back garden was the final resting place for hundreds of footballs, tennis balls,coke cans etc. Finally, after years of being bombarded with all these objects he lost his cool. One lunch break he climbed over the fence armed with an air rifle. Screaming anti-semitic abuse he threatened to shoot anyone that came near him. Does anybody recall this fine gentleman??

  105. Graham Summers

    Hello Michael, we referred to him as Abdul !

  106. Martin Goldberg

    Ah, memories memories,amazing that we all survived that madhouse, what a preperation for life! I think it is unfair to mention Cyrils register without mentioning the one of his competitor Osher Badill, a perfect register written in Stam with every boys name beautifully written in Lashon Hakodesh, after many years of wrangling with my parents I was finally allowed to leave Yeshiva Stream and joined Oshers class mid term for JS, when asked my name for his beloved register I was prepared, first came out Mordechai Menahem and shortly after Yoel Yehuda, his chagrin was undisguised as my name appeares in tiny letters on his otherwise uniform register, war was declared and a constant battle continued for the next three wars.
    Steve Posner, a good man with some strange ideas of teaching especially in 6 th form zoology when doing some experiments with urine he dips one finger in the fluid and then puts the adjacent in his mouth, he then encouraged us to do the same and of course one pupil didn’t realise what happened and enjoyed the flavour of his own excretions, we were all on the floor with laughter. And the experiments with saliva, we walked around the school for a whole day spitting into the beaker periodically, and when asked by other teachers to stop that disgusting habit claimed we were on a mission for Steve. the field trips with him and Joughin were a laugh a minute, setting traps and never catching anything until Sinclair put a plastic rat in one of the traps with his tail protruding, punishment was the dreaded double hand slap, and if anyone has forgotten what that was here is a reminder. Steve would grab both your wrists and then force the hands together in a clapping motion at high speed, he rarely stopped until the palms had reached a ripe tomato colour.
    What was the name of the shool secretary, that poor guy sent on a death mission at the end of every lunch break to open the window and ring the hand bell, occasionally to be greeted by 10-15 footballs flying in his direction?
    I see no-one has yet given a mention to Roger, our famed stockmaster!!, remember all the depleted excersise books handed in for new ones, and how he loved that little stockroom, perhaps the onlt semblance of order in the school were he would stay inside for hours on end with the door ajar, of course it was only a question of time until one student just finishing Yeshiva Stream on a thursday evening seized the opportunity of closig the door from the outside and replacing the padlock to its place. I never found out if Roger made it home that evening.
    Flop Finklestein, what a charachter, and how appropiate it was that the myth said he lived in Shenley ( close to the mental home) another case of good intentions gone way off course. I remember once having done well in a physics exam of his he summoned me after class. Straight out he asked me if the exam was all my own work. Indignant and innocent ( this time anyway) I replied ” Yes sir, why do you ask” to which the reply came ” Well your family hasn’t got a too good a reputation around this school”
    Dinner at home in the evening was a matter of great pride!! My dad and all 3 of his sons had all gone to Hasmonean and all been caned, Danny my eldest brother being the wuss, and only managed it once thereby lowering the family average accordingly.
    Anyone remember the episode of the C& A fishbar on bell lane, buying the traife 🙂 chips there ad being brought up at assembly in front of the whole school as a disgrace?
    As to the Fierstone myth that someone threw a compass at him, a small correction, the fanous compass actualy “fell” of a desk while he was marching up and down the classroom hitting but not penetrating his shoe. I have to do some searching, and if I find that hallowed detention slip will post it here for everyones delight.
    And then there was Mr Ingram, who has to be the only teacher in England to have an assigned body guard from the schoolboys, this dubious task was assigned by Roberg to my brother Andy.
    Ah and i almost forgot the lunatic Johnson, we had a dbl period with him for history, unfortunately this long lesson was interrupted by morning break, as we trundled back to our desks disscussin wether it was a goal or not, he enters the class, no-one pays much attention and the debate continues. After waiting for a couple of minutes getting progressivley redder, he turns to me ” goldberg, why are you still talking?” me, in total innocence ” because the lesson hasn’t started yet Sir”, the heat seemed to go up instantly by a few hundred degrees, I was instructed to stand and he strided over to me and unleashed a viscious slap at my face, by pure instinct I ducked, Johnson went sprawling over the desk under his own inertia, smashed his hand into the wall, and had to call an end to the class, since its a little difficult to teach when you have gto go to hospital to get a dislocated wrist treated. God knows what would have happened if I hadn’t ducked!
    DJ , Gerber, Greenberg were just evil people, as opposed to lunatics like Paley who was great fun, anyone else go with him on a field trip to box hill? The point of the trip seemed to be to climb this bloody great hill, then run down the steepest slope as fast as possible. Paley would give us a small start and anyone who he caught up with would be tripped and sent flying into the bushes or whatever was around. He got particularly upset when some-one got slightly injured complaining ” you are holding up the whole class. He was our form master in 3rd year and we would write on all our books 3KP ie. 3 King Paley!
    Charlie “boy talking stand” Chadwick was another one who I have no idea what he was doing at that school, especially since he invariably used to ask ” why are you standing boy”
    the list goes on and on

  107. Yitzchak Landau

    . . . not the “famous” Martin Goldberg who ran the marathon for that most wonderful of causes – the new multi-gym (or was it the mini-bus – I forget now)?

    Some of the teachers may have had it in for you but at least you were loved by Chishios!!

  108. Martin Goldberg

    I ran the marathon, and the school in true Jewish style piggybacked some shonerring. As for Chisios, does everyone remember the 12 aside basketball games, or the volleyball lessons, where the moment his back was turned all started playing football?
    And as far as the marathon was concerned, Jerry threatened me to run with a kappel on or else, I told him to stick it, and was hence marched to Robergs office, and believe me I didnt need anyone to show me the way.

  109. First of all thanks to Mike for a fantastic blog, there are some great anecdotes here, many of which have caused me to laugh out loud which is something I rarely do. It’s nice to see I’m remembered so fondly, I have no recollection of any of the incidents above that I was allegedly involved in, although I’m sure there’s at least some truth in all of them. The names of some of those posting them ring bells though. Josh Haruni, let me take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for the time when I spat in your face after you inadvertently threw a tennis ball that hit me in the eye. Moshe Shatzkes I remember you too, though not as vividly as your cousin Avi, who, with hindsight, was one of the most decent, empathetic people I encountered during my years at Hasmo. I hope he is well.

    Mike, you mention early on in this thread, having been victimized by abie (I thought a small ‘a’ would be apt) and then a few lines further down about how it was common at Hasmo to be tarred with the same brush as an elder sibling. I can relate to both as abie had it in for me from day one, on account of him not having got on with my brother. Incidentally you mention Laurence with regard to ‘sid’, who is always top of the list when he reminisces about Hasmo, in particular an occasion when ‘sid‘ was administering the infamous ‘screwdriver‘ technique on Leonard Melcer‘s cheek which subsequently got caught in his braces leaving him in considerable agony.

    Laurence’s reputation preceded me to an even greater extent when it came to a certain Roger Gothold. I have a theory that RG was teased relentlessly for having ginger hair during his childhood/youth and projected his hang-ups about this on to Laurence. When I came along Gothold brutalised me unmercilessly to the point where one day, about two months into my first term, I just snapped and fought back. The same scenario reoccurred on a further two occasions, the latter of which was the more memorable. We were having a lesson in the Beis Hamedrash which somewhat incongruously was furnished with a pre-wheelie bin style dustbin, a circular receptacle made of flexible rubber standing about 3ft high and 2ft wide. I punched Gothold as hard as I could in the stomach which winded him, causing him to fall backwards into the bin. His backside fitted so perfectly into the top of the bin that he had some difficulty getting out again. When he finally did, the colour of his cheeks (the ones on his face, that is) were a similar shade to his aforementioned barnet. The whole episode was just so slapstick that to an outsider it might have even appeared staged but it was what he said next that was the most amusing part …..Maslin! Come with me to get expelled! Of course I didn’t, probably on account of my parents ‘negotiating’ with Roberg – yes, it is likely we are talking blood money here or ‘a donation’ as was the euphemism of the day. Roger Gothold never laid a finger on me again after that but his comments in my report still provide me with a chuckle now and again – for one subject he simply wrote one word – ‘disgusting’. The above events set me on the road to notoriety and after that it was a slippery slope. I don’t believe I was a bad kid though, certainly not by today’s standards, just a victim of ineptitude at a rather shambolic institution.

    Roger Gothold was archetypal of many of the teachers at Hasmo. That is to say he wasn’t actually a teacher at all, just an otherwise unemployable individual, who by virtue of the fact that he was a member of a self-contained, rather nepotistic community, was eligible for inclusion on the Hasmo payroll. Given that the school was state-funded (officially, but not entirely – they liked to keep that secret) this was a slightly less ignominious alternative to joining the 80’s dole queue but to all intents and purposes, let’s face it, the two were one and the same. The vast majority of teachers at Hasmo were similarly inept charity cases riding the jobs-for-the-boys gravy train but two notable exceptions were Mr Lesser and Jack Ordman. The latter’s vocational talents are documented elsewhere on this blog so I won’t elaborate but Mr (yes that’s Mr) Lesser was a consummate professional. He once told me that throughout his career, he had not once laid a finger on a pupil (if anyone knows otherwise then feel free to correct me) which is remarkable as he was one of the only teachers capable of keeping order in class.

    That’s all for now. There’s lots more I could add but then I’m not sure where it would end. I hope to post again soon, best regards to all who remember me.

  110. Terry,

    Sincerely, no hard feelings. I don’t actually remember you spitting at me. Though I do remember watching Paley shove you out of class which was entirely harmless compared to the unjust and quite viscious beating you received from Clive Johnson one afternoon. I think that C.J was given a restraining order after that episode and didn’t go near you. Anyway I trust that you are well and have moved on to better things.

    Totally unrelated, does anyone know when Ghengis was nifter??

  111. That I don’t remember being on the receiving end of a pasting from CJ only serves to illustrate how commonplace these events were. Did this happen in the afternoon ? Someone else on here mentioned that he was rather partial to a few sherbets at The Mill during lunchtime. However bad it was it probably pales into insignificance when compared to Rabbi Angel throwing a chair at me with the legs out. The funny thing was that it was one of those rare occasions where I was actually innocent. Perhaps realising the unwarranted nature of his actions he then went on to qualify what he’d done with some pseudo-profound statement to the class, the content of which I can’t remember exactly but suffice to say that it made about as much sense as Eric Cantona’s comment about seagulls and trawlers.

  112. Terry mentioned Mr Lesser. I was in Mr Lesser’s class at Hasmonean Primary School and I remember him approaching me during a lesson and slapping my face and then he said “I missed”. He afterwards approached Jonathan Landsman and slapped his face. I assume we had both been daydreaming during his arithmetic lesson. On another occasion he called out a boy and told him to pick up a pencil and when the boy bent over to retrieve the pencil, Mr Lesser smacked him hard on his backside.

    Incidentally, Mr Lesser now lives in Israel .

  113. Are we talking about the same Mr Lesser? I don’t remember him being at the primary school when I went there – perhaps you’re older than me. If it is him I’m amazed he’s still alive as he must have been in his sixties if not older during my time at the secondary school which was from1980-85

  114. I can vouch that Mr Lesser lives on. I recently went to a Shul in Jerusalem and nearly jumped out my skin when I saw him as I was sure I’d heard he’d moved on to a better world!! But it was definitely him and he walked out at the end hand in hand with his wife. As for Hasmo Primary School – no idea.

  115. Clive Fierstone

    I was wondering whether I should say anything. I left Hasmo in 89 and continued in a completely different environment. I have of course met a number of you over the past 20 years – some at modules that I taught at uni.
    More important one of my 2CFs became a son-in-law (Simon Joseph) – I know that you must be sorry for him.

    I thought I could put Hasmo behind me. One of the bloggers is right – our maker will remind us.

    Your memories about me are funny now. I will not comment on the sad reflections of some very obviously sincere people.
    One of my ex-1CF’s saved the sight of my right eye – Eric Ezra – he is a conultant at Moorfields.

    Just a thought. I know for a fact that some of my ex-colleagues were so poorly paid that they were forced to moonlight – they hardly had time to live – they were caught in a system. And so were some of you. I remember the staff collecting money to avoid a colleague selling his wife’s rings.
    If I upset any one please forgive.

  116. Mr Lesser never taught at Hasmonean Primary –

    The teahers there were almost as bad.

    As for Mr boker, what a legend!!!

  117. Graham Summers

    sorry to contradict but mr lesser definitely taught at hasmo primary !!

  118. Terrence

    It was indeed a post-pub kicking that you received. I think even CJ was quite concerned as to the amount of physical violence he’d used because after you stormed out he spent the next few minutes, very visibly distracted. He was obviously doing the mental arithmetic to see how long it would take you to get to Roberg’s office to grass him up as you had threatened, and he then suddenly rushed out of the classroom. I am sure that his intention was to catch you up and convince you that you really ought to come back to class as you might miss a really exciting History lesson.

    As for Rabbi Angel, you may have been scarred by him throwing a chair at you but I remember being psychologically disfigured after the dear Rabbi explained to us (in the 2nd form for goodness sake!!) how, by observing a child’s conduct and general disposition, he could positively define the parents’ sexual behaviour during conception. His preoccupation with such esoteric thoughts must have contributed significantly to him being such a profoundly incapable teacher and borderline lunatic.

  119. Michael Lebrett

    Osher Baddiel was walking down the corridor one day when he caught a boy swearing. He dragged the poor kid to the kitchen, where he made him drink a cup of water mixed with fairy liquid in order to ”clean his mouth out”.
    Mad!!!

  120. Ellis Feigenbaum

    I was that boy- however to give Osher some credit what actually happened was this.
    We were playing cricket in the front playground
    and Osher walked across my line of bowling- not realising it was him I said” get out the bloody way” the rest is lost in bubbly history.

  121. El, I’ve missed you.
    Was it not you who coined the phrase, “Anything over a handful goes a waste”? I will leave the readers to guess what you were referring to.

  122. I was taught by Mr Simon Lesser at Hasmonean Primary School in 1967 and I was a pupil at Hsmonean Grammar School from 1968 to 1976. After teaching at Hasmo Primary he moved onto Hasmo Grammar where instead of slapping pupils he gave them hundreds of lines to do.

  123. The guy obviously had a selective memory then, since he once told me that “in thirty years of teaching I have never hit a student , but you just came very close to being the first”

    This is quite a revelation to me as, ever since then, I have repeatedly used his example as a blueprint whenever the smacking argument arises.

  124. Going back to Josh’s post above re Rabbi Angel, perhaps he should have considered becoming a marriage guidance counsellor to Madonna and Guy as I’m sure such a venture would have been far more lucrative than setting up a tuck shop at Hasmo.

  125. Talking about the tuck shop at Hasmo. Can anyone explain how in the lower 6th and in charge of the tuck shop we managed to smuggle a full sized TV into the tuck shop room. Its the smuggling in part I can’t quite remember. Once it was in, it was easily concealed……in the fridge (that obviously didn’t work!) Every lunchtime we bundled in for Neighbours and Going for Gold !!

  126. twitler, Lebby, had bad tastes in cardigans.
    by the way, i know it was you who put the drawing pin on david dwek’s chair!

  127. Ellis Feigenbaum

    I have just laughed so much I nearly chocked.
    Nick got it right Hasmo was a sadisdtic hell where we gleaned some education despite going to school.
    I remeber Marks being hit so viciously by Mr Roston that the latters wristwatch broke and so he whacked him some more – saying look what you made me do.
    The offence as I seem to recall was wearing a patch on his trousers which said
    ” Jesus saves Moses invests”
    I never actually went blind- And I never actually lost my memory, they were good ruses to offset beatings.
    I never broke my back, however I did smash my head open and as the blood poured from my head and the rushed me to hospital Nick feinted- though I think that was in prImary school.
    I was hit by almost every teacher in the school at least once,I hit back only once which is once more than most boys.
    Mr Taylor tried the doubled handed slap around both ears from behind outside Mr Kleins office , I turned round and hit him as hard as I could, he told me to go to Willies office.
    I told Willie what happened and he judicously decided against further punishment for propable fear of a court case.
    He did however come out with one of the greatest lines I ever heard at Hasmo
    Feigenbaum I have no idea what to do with you- maybe we should send you to the unmentionable school up the road- referring to St Mary`s.
    Rabbi Abrahams- a napoleonic creature with an obvious dislike for anyone that was taller than himself which was everyone from the third year up.
    Woody- his only real claim to fame was teaching us how to make gin in the bathtub.
    Mr Klein -who`s answer to everything that ailed you was an antacid tablet.
    Rabbi Goldberg known as the head character from planet of the apes- hit me with a Ruler, a wire flex, his hand and a chair.
    Rabbi Angel hit me with everything he had including a paint brush.
    Charli chadwick never hit me
    Mr Wagner hit me because his girlfriend miss( I cant even remeber her name but she taught english and was obesely overweight) was a Tennant in one of my Mothers properties, and was behind on her rent.
    Rabbi Roberg not only caned me and nick for chalking each others blazers he gave us 25p to go to the hardware shop to buy the cane.
    Chich hit me for wearing pants.
    Mr Messom hit me for existing- both before and after his stint as a circus ringmaster.
    Roger hit me because he wanted to
    Oh how lovely was the evening
    was actually sung to to tune of Deutschland uber alas.
    Richard Roston hit me for smoking and then asked me if he could borrow my lighter for his pipe.
    Jack never hit me
    neither did Sid
    Nachum hit me
    Steve hit me
    jaighin hit me
    DJ hit me
    Skelker tried to hit me but tripped over his shoelace on the way and decided to give up on the idea.
    Geoff hit .
    Education na but I learned how to take a beating like a quivering wreck.
    I was even whacked by Ellerman, Is it any wonder that I was in my own opinion A JUVENILE DELINQUENT.
    Hasmo didnt nurture us it let us go to ruin and yet by some quirck of fate , most of us ended up more or less ok.
    Well those of us that came to live in Israel are by definition slight nuts, but there you have it.

  128. Ellis Feigenbaum

    The one really great memory of the power of religion I have from Hasmo is the visit of the Holy Kaliver Rebbe.
    The Kaliver Rebbe for thos of you who dont know visited London in 1976 , amongsy other things he had been tortured by the nazis and had half his beard pulled out.
    However the aforementioned Rebbe gave 465 pennies to be distributed amangst the boys, well to prove the saintliness of the man, the pennies were invested by certain boys who shall remain nameless at Joe Corals in a certain horse at 3/1
    the horse actually won, which proves the saintliness of the man or at least the ability to read a form card of certain nameless Hasmo boys.

  129. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Does any one remember the famous umbrella assembly?
    WW called the forth and fifth forms in to the hall and announced, that he hadcomplaints that older boys were poking younger boys at the bus stop with there long umbreallas, therefore from now on we were only allwed short collapsible ones.
    at which point Andy Goldberg stood up and said ” it doesnt bother me sir I already have a short collapsable one”
    needless to stay we are still laughing 30 years later.

  130. Mike,

    Thanks for the blog…I find myself continuing to return to read up on long forgotten hilarity.

    The stories are too many to mention. The teachers and teaching in general were so bad that it’s nothing less than miraculous that any of us were able to earn a living afterwards.

    I’ll share a few of my fondest memories:-

    Rabbi Abrahams chasing me round the classroom. Does anyone remember how he used to slap your thighs, then only when you bent down to protect your legs was the little shit able to reach up and slap your face? Anyway, at some point i stopped running and fronted him up. I remember swearing at him and then going up to Willys office to complain. Willy sent me straight home, but my Mother immediately returned me to the school for an explanation. Willy said that he was concerned that if I remained on the premises that I would to paraphrase ‘kick the shit out of him’. He also admitted to my mother that in every year there was one or two boys that Abrahams would hate- because he had a chip on his shoulder. Although confidential, i made sure that this last part was revealed to all.

    Michael Kaye and Anthony Silber locking themselves in a cabin on the Ferry returning from the france day trip. Somehow flop was made aware that they had purchased porn and were locked in there perusing the said magazine. Flop parked himself outside and they refused to let him in. On deck we could see the porthole opening and pages of naked women fluttered into the sea.

    Calling DJ a fucking Nazi bastard – and watching every piece of his skin turn purple.

    Missing an entire year of JS with Rabbi Cooper because i had a ‘cough’ and he found it disruptive to the class. Strange it took a year to clear up.

    Neil Morgenstern losing it (for a change) in the History mock and jumping out the window and fleeing the school. boker then sent Johnny Koschland and me after him, and we returned 4 hours later – unable to find him.

    Jonathan Maurer convincing Rabbi Lewis that he was going to jump out the library window and kill himself. lewis burst into tears and tols him it was a terrible ‘Avaira’ to commit suicide.

    My adidas bag containing Koschlands girly magazine going missing and me frantically searching the school, only to find Koschland and Danny Reiss (my 2 partners in crime) had nicked it and left it in lost property. Fortunately I got it back before the contents were searched.

    Blackjack behind the 6th form block
    smoking behind the bike shed
    selling Dinner tickets, soya snacks and chocolate rice crispies.

    Being beaten and slapped by all the sad losers who were so frustrated at being at the bottom of the food chain.

    My biggest crime was to leave for a year and a half at the end of the 3rd year to go to Israel, and then return halfway through the 5th year. The triumph of Roberg was a joke. “I thee you have returned to uth beretht – you couldn’t thtay away”

    Clive Fierstone and his ‘Mr Fussy’ notebook. What a nutter. I almost didn’t send my daughter to Immanuel College when I went to the open day and saw he was a member of staff. Fortunately he left just before she joined.

    Funnily enough, a number of years after I left I was a part-time police officer. I was called to a disturbance in Hendon where a man alleged that his neighbour had driven a car at him and tried to run him over. When giving a description of the alleged assailant, he said that he was a thin orthodox Jew wearing a bright red shirt. It couldn’t be!! It was!
    Steve Posen was warned that if he tried that again, I would be arresting him for attempted murder. (All the time trying and succeeding to hold in my hilarity until i left the scene).
    He was completely speechless and was so devastated at being bollocked by an ex-pupil that he made a complaint about me – which led to him being given strong words of advice from my Inspector.

    Looking back, I just wonder how we survived the fact that the lunatics were running the asylum.

  131. Neil Morgenstern. Now there’s a character worthy of legend status. I’m amazed its taken till now for him to get a mention. A flawed genius if ever there was one.

    He got suspended for setting about my head with a guitar after I’d locked him out of the music room. Messrs Tarrant and Walters were party to the aftermath and were quite amused to see me on the receiving end for a change.

  132. I remember, despite my concussed state, DJ admonishing Neil for the above incident and mentioning that he’d scored 98% in his Super Applied Mathematics ‘A’ Level and that his paper was hanging on the wall at the offices of the examining board. He was also a gifted pianist.

  133. I am in my hotel room in Antigua – after a lovely afternoon on the beach (following the farcical abandonment of the cricket after all of ten balls!) – catching up with the last few days’ comments, which are hilarious, and have far overtaken my original posts. Thank you, in particular, to Terry, Ellis, Henri, and especially Clive Fierstone (it really is you, isn’t it?!), for your wonderful contributions. The Kaliver Rebbe story, however un-PC, had me laughing so loud I woke up my mate, who was taking a nap! A few comments of my own . . .

    Terry, Laurence (please pass on my best) won’t have long to wait . . . I’ll be posting on Chichios in the next few days, and “Sid” after that. Incidentally, I don’t entirely agree with your assessment of Lesser. He may not have been physically abusive, but he handed out lines like they were going out of fashion. He was also an absolutely shite teacher. I think he taught me maths every year until O level, but I never had a clue what he was on about and never got over 33% in an exam . . . until, that is, that I started having private lessons, 6 months before the O level, with a teacher from the girls’ school: Wendy Lederman (mother of David and Robert). I got an A. What does that tell you?!

    Right, off to shul . . . 😉 Good shabbos from Antigua!

    Mike

    PS At breakfast in the hotel this morning, a bloke (roughly the same age as me) at the next table was talking about his school . . . St. Mary’s! Talk about small world. All he remembers about Hasmo was a boy on the 240 with grey hair . . . Charlie Daniels?!

  134. Simon Lawrence

    I think Rabbi Greenberg was called Philip – so not part of the current hierarchy.

    First time I’ve thought of Jonathan Gertler in about 35 years – his brother David was in my year. Strange boy back then but, thinking back, who wasn’t? Had a touch of the Eric Morecambes about him.

    Rabbi Angel told me to stop masturbating once in the Art Room.

    Mr Ellman deserves a page of his own – I’m sure it was urban myth but he was reputed to have been a former bare-knuckle boxer. Remember his aversion to chalk? His shaking hand? The way he would punch a pupil in the face? Happy days.

    Knuut Saam – crazy name, crazy guy. Please discuss.

    Rabbi Kahan – more dandruff on one head than on the collective heads of teachers and pupils.

  135. Mike,

    Good to have you back. Lol says hi and hopes to post on here soon.

    Amazing how this page just shuts down over Shabbos. I can only surmise that people are too frightened to come on here, lest the religious police notice and deny their offspring entry to the hallowed halls of Hasmo.

    The only point I was (badly) trying to make about Lesser was that he managed to keep order without resorting to violence which is more than can be said for the majority of his dipshit colleagues. As for his teaching, I got a U in Maths and that was one of my better subjects.

    BTW thanks for truncating my earlier post – it’s probably for the best if you get my drift!

  136. Ellis Feigenbaum

    The 240 bus- driven by Mr Hitler.
    Talking of the 240 , it was once responsible for the only occasion DJhad anything nice to say to me.
    Standing at the bus stop, we were subjected to some verbal abuse and spitting from St Mary`s boys, not being one to suffer in silence i picked a stome and hurled it at the offenders- missing them by a fell ten feet but connecting squarely with a very large bus window, which duly had the temerity to shatter at the onslaught.
    after this DJ was quite enamoured of me and compared me to that biblical figure Pinchas, he was some what less enamoured when I told him unfortunately unlike Pinchas I didnt manage to kill the bastards.

  137. There was a strange ambiguity in the way some of the teachers related to our behavior which E Feigenbaum’s story illustrates well.
    I think it was in the lower sixth that a group of sixth formers including Nick Kopaloff myself and I apologize for having forgotten who else spent several days and nights demonstrating outside the Russian embassy. The embassy was opposite a gay pub and one night we were visited by Mr. Tom Robinson and his boyfriend, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Robinsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Robinson
    Naturally, all this was without permission and on our return we were summoned to Mr W W Stanton’s office where unsurprisingly the prospect of expulsion again raised its ugly head.
    Mr. Stanton explained that he sympathized with our motives, but it was not our responsibility to do such things and certainly not during school time. He then asked if we had anything to say.
    I rose to the challenge and agreed with him that we were school boys and that it was not our responsibility but then asked, rhetorically, whose responsibility it was. There had been nobody there besides us, no Jewish leaders, no rabbis, even no headmasters. Just us and a gay Christian rock star. It must have been someone’s responsibility.
    Then an amazing thing happened. Mr. Stanton half smiled and said, “You’re a rebel Marks.” He paused as if he was considering his words with care, “I used to be a rebel too. Now go back to your classes.”
    Yehi Zichro Baruch

  138. Graham Summers

    hello schnorrer…..!
    Did rabbi angel suggest a more suitable location ?

    And a question to Simon Berest- is it true that while on duty as a ‘special’, you nicked your dad for having a faulty rear brake light ?

  139. Shavua Tov

    Hi Graham!

  140. Graham Summers

    sorry that should have been Henri Berest, your honour.

  141. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Shavua Tov Daniel,
    good to see you wasting your time with this blog
    in what would in our younger days be termed as bittel toirah.
    I actually dont think we were rebels, what we were was bored. I remeber having a bet with Charlie for a fiver . a lot of money in 1977 that i wouldnt pass ivrit o level- because i never went to a lesson for the whole of the 5th year, I got an A , mostly on the back of what i had learned in primary school.
    Few if any of the teachers captured our imaginations, because they were not qualified to do the job, they tried to make us feel as if it was our fault for having no imagination, which we know was patently untrue because you are still imagining snogging at the top of bell lane. So we filled our time bunking off to demonstate outside embassies , in side embassies and planning demonstations in Compayne Gardens.
    Nicks memories of woodwork are somewhat lacking, I seem to remember at least 7 of us manufacturing nunchucks.
    Who can ever forget the famous line- where is the rubber mallet sir? ” In the box marked rubber mallets” in the box marked , was the answer to any question including where does your wife keep her underwear?
    Willie once asked me what I was going to do in Israel my answer to him was buggeral err bagrut sir, he told me i got it right the first time. A very sage man.
    Most of the boys had iq`s far in excess of anything the teachers could dream of and most of the teachers were scared of this fact.
    How can a teacher deal with a class that moves all the scaffolding from outside to inside and explains we cant have lessons because they are redocorating.
    how does a teacher deal with a class that hides in the cupboard under the stairs then exits one at a time saying sorry I am late sir, this particular teacher dealt with it by exiting the classromm directly into the cupboard under the stairs.
    Lebetkin went one better than taking a still of Cyril he got Charlie on cine camera.
    How could poor Mr Klein deal with the fact that we stole the clapper from his bell.. i think he had a nervous breakdown.
    How does the faculty as a whole deal with the fact that our year innaugurated what has become a hasmo tradition which I know still existed till 10 years ago and probably still exists today the ” third year fourth year bundle”
    Willie once taught our class as a subsitute in
    the 5th year, mid lesson he said I have only ever taught a class as badly behaved as you , come to think of it , it was you in the first year.
    How does a school deal with a boy that squirts sulphuric acid around the chemistry lab , the person who was expelled and shall be divulged in the interests of” our right to know” is now a doctor in Israel, Naimer.
    Looking back at school , with glasses tinted by rose time and large helpings of Balvenie Doublewood, I can honestly say ther is little I actually remeber learning, though I must have learned something, probably the art of the poor excuse.
    I was called a poor excuse for something so many times by Cyril that I actually became very good at them.

  142. Ellis Feigenbaum

    some one above spoke about blackjack behind the sixth form block, our year did it slightly better.
    W actually ran a card school under the stage for 3 months before we got caught.
    The collections for Mr Myers leaving present were legendary, probably because we were really hoping he would.
    I remeber praying for Heller to die in a car crash or at least suffucate in miss Cronic`s( Krollick`s) embrace.Now there is real kavana in davening for you.
    All in all we were quite brilliant kids and the school tried to suffucate this brilliance instead of nurturing it, The school as an establishement of higher education gets very low marks, but as our personal playground it was the tops.

  143. ‘Neil Morgenstern losing it (for a change) in the History mock and jumping out the window and fleeing the school. boker then sent Johnny Koschland and me after him, and we returned 4 hours later – unable to find him.’

    Berest, It was me who went with Koschland and I failed my History because of it! Greenberg sent Koich and I after him and when we got back we got in trouble as Rabbi PIG said he never sent us after him at all although the whole class had heard him!

  144. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Oh yes a belated apology for all those that never got paid out when I ran the book for the 1975/6 elections and to tunni reiss for upending my dinner all over him in the hall ( for the life of me i cant remeber why i did it but I am sure i had a very bad reason at the time )
    I also apologise on behalf of daniel for all those he never paid out on his clockroom ticket raffle /lottery.
    Our schol year was thefirst to have the concept of Yeshiva Stream , which basically seperated the school into 3, frummers not so frummers and yoks, this had a detrimental effect on all of us, by giving an elitist attitude to the school. Every one felt they were better than everyone else, this is not how a school shoul;d be run.
    Also a belated apology to Woddy for letting the air out of his tires,and stealing his copy of the times ( yes there was a bottle of scotch underneath it)
    i apologise to the guy whose moped i stole, and my sincerest apologies to the guy who owned the shop in edgware station for helping to convince him there relly was a product called tubochoc.

  145. Ellis Feigenbaum

    One of the strangest things that happened to me in Hasmo happened in the music room with Mr Roston.

    Shortly after the Christmas break ( chanuka for the frummers) We had some kind of shiur or detention in the music room , to cut a long story short Richard who up until that time I had hated with a vengeance turned round to me and said your 16 – if you want to smoke you can I am going to. And i actually smoked an embassy number10 ( i was a cheap bastard ) in school in the presence of a teacher.
    Now for the life of me I can not understand why he ever did that.

  146. Okay, sex and the Hasmonean.
    Rabbi Angel made a pile of boxes in art room and our art exercise was to draw these boxes.
    A friend, who has been mentioned on this blog, but whose name I shall not publicize, chose a surrealistic approach to this task and drew an extremely ugly, naked woman instead. We gave in our drawings, or just left them behind – I forget and for some reason the good rabbi came to the conclusion that the aforementioned sketch was my creation.
    I was called to the art room and was somewhat surprised by the question as to whether I “play with myself”. I was still in the first or second form and truthfully had no idea what Rabbi Angel was talking about. My mother often brought me a peg game called solitaire to play with when I was sick and I was also acquainted with the game patience but as the conversation progressed, I realized that it was neither of these games that was being discussed. Nor was my partner in this dialogue prepared to reveal exactly to what was on his mind.
    I left the art room and consulted with a friend who had already discovered the delights of autosexualgratification or wanking as it was called at the time. It is to him, and of course the good rabbi to whom I owe the only sex education that I recall receiving in my Hasmo years.

  147. Thanks to Mike, who I have never met, though had the pleasure to speak to, for this pandora’s box of mixed memories.
    I nearly died when I read about a certain Nissim Nissim who was punished by Cyril for his parent’s total lack of imagination.
    In Hasmonean you could be punished for anything and everything – for singing Hatikva, for espousing the theory of evolution, or for spitting at the teachers jacket when his back was turned to the class.

    Gary Rosen was repeatedly charged by Mr. Lever for being “a sly smirking boy”. Even this type of tepid verbal abuse is OTT and takes its toll on an impressionable juvenile. Although I have not seen him since our school days I would not be surprised if today he still carries the scars and has become a sly smirking man. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy we become what we are labeled.
    But that was not necessarily the case with Ellis Feigenbaum who was constantly told by about every member of staff that nothing good would ever come of him. Well they all had to eat their words when a couple of years down the line and after a series of altercations with the law, he had a third of his sentence commuted for good behaviour.

    Daniel Marks was the first of our peers to dispute Schonfeld’s edict “Hasmonean Girls are Pure”, by defiling a number of these maidens at strategic points along the 240 bus route. Sticking with the chastity theme, when we were called into Stanton’s office to explain about a disco we had been to with a number of Hasmonean Girls – he accused us with the exact words: “You made them dance for you.”
    We had become pimps :“Move Your Arse Bitch, start dancing then suck on my fat one.”
    Only in Hasmonean could irony and contradiction coalesce into one big lap-dance.
    The irony of having the deadest of languages Latin, taught by the most lifeless of teachers, Roberg.
    And the language of love, French, imparted by the loveable Mr. Bloomberg.
    And the only real thing I learnt from Mr. Meyer in music was that I, and indeed all my classmates were “Jewish Pigs.” No irony there – just sad dementia.
    Geography is widely considered to be the most boring subject on the school curriculum, so who better than to teach it than Cheerful Charlie Chadwick, who for those who did not know him was beyond belief just about as boring as they come. I once saw an episode of Father Ted which featured the most boring priest in the world who true to his reputation with his lengthy tails of the best boilers in Africa, would have found a serious challenger in Chadwick for the title had Cheerful decided to take up the priesthood.

    It was bad enough to be the target of Cyril’s venomous “Wretched Creature” onslaught, but worse when he invariably qualified it with “That you are.” I always burst into a gut laugh at the way that phrase pieces together and rolls off the tongue – especially the last bit: “Wretched Creature – that you are!”
    The reasons for his scorn were secondary and could have been for anything. You may have been guilty by association, having an older brother he did not like – he may have disliked your face, he may have been bothered by the fact that you had smeared UHU glue all over the table on which he was sitting, or for failing to hide your laughter when rhetorically questioned “Why is everything so sticky in here?”.

    After a new large school sign “Hasmonean Grammar School for Boys” was finally erected above the main entrance, I remember arriving the very next morning to see that some lout had embellished the sign with indelible black spray paint “Yoks Rule – OK!”

  148. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Nick of course played the total innocent througout our deformative years, the only time he bunked off we all got caught.
    He never actually sold anything, he was too cheap to buy anything and he always had his homework done on time.
    Marks, sold everything and everyone, mostly up the river.
    I beleive it was Katz who was first to lose his virginity.
    And I probably was the first to steal a car though I was careful to get nicks fingerprints all over it whilst wearing gloves myself.
    there were some real innocents in school that were never part of the looney gang, Brian Cohen , Stuart Gnessen ,Johnny Packer these guys never got into trouble unless we made them.
    Some people were just totoally unsuited to the enviroment and should have been in an educational establishment more suited to their particular needs. They probably suffered more than most at the hands of fringe and mainstream hasmo lunacy.
    And yet all these years later and no longer being on parole I find myself a reasonably succesful businessman, an international class bridge player and the father of 3 and granfather of 2 wonderful children neither of whom will set foot in hasmonean, because it isnt frum enough for their parents.

  149. Nick my own father?
    Sorry Graham….another urban legend.

  150. or should that be myth?

  151. Kovler!
    I think you’re right. He then sent me and someone else after you and Koschland. I remember spending hours in the park, messing about on that tyre on a rope swinging over the stream
    Greenberg (Weeble) was a sadistic thug. He fitted in perfectly.
    Does anyone remember Morgenstern playing in the chess club. I can still see him flapping his hands in rage every time he lost a game.

  152. On a serious note, I really think that when it comes to sexuality, names – especially of women should not be mentioned. Their children or grandchildren could be reading and I’m sure that would be the last thing they’d want to hear.

    As far as Ellis is concerned the risk is less, as I have no reason to believe that his most frequent romantic partner of the era – his left hand – has any acquaintances that surf.

  153. Another one for David Kovler:-
    Mr Paley re-naming you ‘Captain’ Kovler, and then spending the lessons drawing a picture of a space rocket, stars, moons etc on the board. He then made up this insane story of how Captain Kovler and stories about space missions. A certifiable head-case.
    Did anyone actually

  154. did anyone actually get a geography o-level?

  155. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Daniel the fact that you know it was my left hand
    leaves me scratching my head in bewilderment?

  156. I always remember the name of my friends’ romantic partners.

  157. Jeremy Cardash

    During the winter the mobile unit became our skating rink. With a extra slush it was possible to skid from one to the other (with a small run up).
    I remember Ari T taking skidding his way down passed the desks, caught his foot on a desk leg or could have been human and sailed through the window. The first thing he did was pick up the broken glass and threw it back in so it looked like it was broken from the outside.

    Q. Is the story about the bunker in Lebanon (from the first war), true, with a list of Hasmo boys and the instruction ‘Hasmo boys sign here’

  158. Back to sex.
    HJS did everything possible to convince us that females were purely sexual beings and good for only one thing. They were only mentioned when we were being warned to keep away from them, for reasons obvious.
    There came a time one Hanukah when Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld, who deserves a blog of his own for all the right reasons, looked up at the boys in the hall, and up at the girls who were in the library and explained enthusiastically, “….and when Hasmonean boys get together with Hasmonean girls, they make little Hasmoneans!” This was the secret that our Jewish studies teachers had been keeping from us and now the cat was out of the sack who could return it?
    We clapped and cheered at the good Rabbi’s seeming endorsement of casual, unprotected sexual intercourse, but more importantly when we looked at the faces of our teachers and understood that never in the field of human endeavor has one person humiliated so many, so quickly.

  159. Berest! I totally forgot the Captain Kovler story! Thanks for that!
    Do the 240 bus , Edgware branch remember the bell ringing stories where a certain boy had to ring the bell for his stop or would go mad!
    Or David Bernard getting suspended for saying we want ‘None of these seats’ with emphasis on the NONE to a load of nuns on the bus!

  160. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Dr Schonfeild once had the whole school point to their heads in Rosh Hashana to explain what a roash was.
    Being who we were, we made the usual twisting motion to denote lunacy, and then pointing at his own head said anyone that makes this motion is scwewy.
    The man was a legend in mutltiple ways, it was just a shame none of us will ever be able to attain the degree of humanity and purity with which this man acted.
    So failing that we just saw the hilarity and incongruity in a man that was a giant slightly passed his sell by date.

  161. Great to see some familiar names from the past,
    Kopaloff, Lawrence, Feigenbaum et al. Really enjoyed the blog so far.

    I had Roger as first year form teacher and also for science. During one practical chemistry lesson, Roger announced to the class that he was holding a springy rod in his hand, to which Richard Lewis retorted “Yes sir, aren’t we all”.

    Fond memories of the asylum indeed.

  162. Uneventful lessons could always be livened up by a game of hooping cough. The rules were simple which suited Feigenbaum. The game went thus: The first boy would emit a barely audible clear-the-throat type of cough arousing little if no suspicion. The next in line had to up the decibel level with a louder cough and so on and so on. Sometimes disputes would arise as to whether the ante had been raised and whether the cough-decibel ratio had followed an upward trend or had leveled off. The game would reach deafening proportions and would only fizzle out when the winner would receive the customary slap across the face for impertinence or impudence, never did know the difference between the two.
    I remember when the teacher would cast an accusatory eye in your direction after having bellowed an explosive cough and you always had to validate your imaginary affliction with a conciliatory after-cough and a somber sickly expression.
    But the game was at its most rewarding when someone in the class really did have a tickly cough and the aim of the game was then to raise the awareness level of the cough epidemic so that the teacher could get to slap the genuine sufferer while urged on by his supportive classmates: “Hit him sir, hit him.”
    I think it was Benjy Moore who once had a real cough and got the proverbial wrong end of the lollipop.
    Not renowned for his sporting prowess, I remember Martin Reich was a particularly good cougher. Marks of course was a legend in the field, and Maybaum, I recall could hold his own against the best. David Miller was a heavyweight while I myself, I concede, was a lowly rank outsider.

  163. Jonathan Mehdi

    This is my firts post.I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this site after the trauma of being schooled at Hasmo… I still bear the mental scars of those years (I still at 45 can’t look at a plimsole withought thinking of “Percy”) , but I have to admit that since Nathan Azizoff convinced me to do so, I have spent hours laughing my arse off at some of the memories chronicalled here.
    Here’s one, out of hundreds, of my favourite Hasmo moments.
    We were walking past the stock room where we saw Mr.Tompkins stacking up some cardboard boxes just before Mr.Sirelings English class. A small lightbulb appeared over my head. Anthony Hilton,Alan Tapper & I grabbed some & we arrived in the extention unit classroom a full 5 minuted before the lesson. There was a large plastic dustbin in the corner by the door behind the teachers desk, so I stood in it with my arms by my sides while Anthony & Alan punched the bottoms out of 2 of them & slid them over me, then put a large one on my head with the handle for an eye-hole. I leaned back against the wall & at first glance passed quite convincingly as an innocent & harmless stack of boxes.
    Sireling enters the room & starts taking the register.
    He gets to ” … Mehdi? Is Mehdi here?”
    pupil: “I think he is off sick Sir”
    “Oh good, none of his nonsense today” replied the corpulent one.
    The lesson began.
    I let a few minutes pass before I made a quiet whimpering noise.
    Sireling paused, looked around, shrugged & continued.
    A few more minutes passed & I made another, very slightly louder, whimper.
    Sireling: “What’s that noise”? ”
    pupils: “What noise sir”
    Sireling: “Never mind”
    Long story short, my whimpers slowly increased in volume during the 30 minutes I spent in those boxes, turning into little bleats of “help!” towards the end, by which time Sireling had checked under the desks, out of the windows, in the corridor, all the while oblivious to the suspiciously large stack of cardboard boxes bt the door. By now my thigh muscles had gone into spasm & I was beginning to wonder what out-of-date meat products had been stored in the boxes before we had found them, so I let out an almighty “HELP ME” & started to rattle the boxes about.
    Finally, Sireling has a moment of epiphany….
    “IT’S COMING FROM THOSE BOXES”! he says while wobbling towards me.
    I thought it would be a bit of an anti-climax for Sireling to simply pull the box off my head, so with a final plaintive “HELP” I bent my knees, turned back towards the advancing pudding-lover & fell to the ground.
    An accidental but entirely hilarious side effect of this lunge to the ground was that the thigh-height plastic dustbin was propelled through the air by my legs, catching Sireling squarely in the midriff.
    With both of us on the floor, he started to crawl towards me with a look of murder in his eyes, (Although he might have just been attraced by the smell of meat) while I tried to rip off my cardboard shackles.
    Just as he got within walloping range I looked at him with all the sincerity I could muster & said “why didn’t you help me earlier Sir?
    Sireling stopped in his tracks, either because my question had flummoxed him, or he was paralysed with rage.
    Either way, this was my moment to exit, so with a doleful look on my face I slowly crawed out of the classroom door & on to the freedom of the toilets.
    The really strange thing about all this is that neither Sireling or any other member of staff ever mentioned the incident to me. I simply turned up for his next lesson without a word being said.
    No, this sort of disruptive behaviour which today would probably result in punishment and/or months of counselling, was pretty much par for the course at Hasmo.
    Does anyone remember this happening?
    Loving this blog, please keep the stories coming.

  164. Henri, wouldnt put it past you.

    You locked me in handcuffs for an hour once and went to see your girlfriend

  165. Jonathan Mehdi

    Simon Kosiner . The boy in the dustbin in Kahans class was Grant Morgan. I know. I helped wedge him in there. Sorry Grant,

  166. Just for clarification the important issue of the boy in the bin in Rabbi Kahns class. It has previously been confirmed that the victim was infact Albert Aminoff. Jonathan Mehdi, from your comments above would seem you would have been several years above me however I am sure you will be pleased to have read the tradition of stuffing unfortunate pupils in the bin in Rabbi kahns class continued.

  167. I spent much of my Hasmo years wandering the playground. As Josh Haruni mentioned previously, this wasn’t so much down to being thrown out of classes as not being allowed into them in the first place. This was obviously counter-productive as I was left to be my malevolent self.

    On one such occasion I found an apple and threw it through the open window of room 12 where Clive Fierstone was taking a class, before slipping away down the tunnel by the gym changing rooms leaving an affable chap named Paul Keen, who was minding his own business and completely oblivious to what I‘d just done, alone in the playground. The apple hit Ari Cohen square on the back of the head and on hearing the nearby commotion, Paul looked up in the direction of the classroom at the exact moment CF, never one to understate things, appeared at the window bellowing “You boy! You have just given someone irreversible brain damage!”

    I bumped into Ari recently and we spent a while reminiscing. Thankfully, I couldn’t see any evidence to support the above statement. Paul Keen I believe, is now a travel agent. Clive Fierstone if you’re reading this, I hope you can see the funny side. For the record, I remember you as one of the more human teachers, a friendly bloke whose bark was far worse than its bite. I probably never learned anything in your lessons, but hey, at least you weren’t my English teacher:-) In your post you made reference to ‘the sad reflections of some’ If I am one of them I apologise for any offence but consider this: Hasmonean robbed me of an education, warped my development and made me cynical and contemptuous of a heritage and identity that should only have inspired me and filled me with pride. Is coming on here and making light of it all such a bad thing?

  168. Josh H,

    Just noticed your post about the ‘John’s not mad’ documentary, a fine and memorable example of quality journalism. You might be interested to know that it was released on DVD a few years back, for the purpose of research, rather than titillation you understand. Now if only that guy had attended our school…

  169. Too many Rosh Pina drop outs on this page…….

  170. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Coming from a boy who spent his formative pre grammar school days in Cambridge, that great hot bed of jewish culture and enlightenment.
    What up with hRosh Pinah?
    Hey Danny , long time? how goes?

  171. Hi Ellis all is well except for money etc. I should point out to anyone who bothers to read this that when Ellis was 12 and I 11 we went to see Spurs (who we both didn’t support) win the Uefa Cup at home and on the way out Ellis shout out “up the hammers” – why we’re still alive I’ve never understood. Wow, we were little kids going on our own to football matches – a different age. A week later we went to another Spurs match but with an adult and I nearly choked to the death on a “boiled sweet” on the way home. Conclusion – never go to see Spurs! So Ellis – back in 2009 – are you happy? You in Israel or Gerald Kaufman’s London?

  172. Jonathan Mehdi

    Apologies to Simon & Albert, you are right.It must have been an earlier event, one I’m sure practised by earlier & later generations of Hasmos!

  173. Jonathan Mehdi

    btw, was there both a Rabbi Kahan & a Rabbi Kahn, or are we both refering to the same short, fat, moon-faced, foul-breathed tyrant?

  174. Ellis Feigenbaum

    that was a grand time , err not quite sure where I am at the moment daniel
    I officially live in Israel but I spend well over 8 months a year out of the country so I suppose im officialy a citizen of the world.
    what land mass are you calling home these days?

  175. I live in Israel as I’ve done so for the last 31 years. Between 1995-2000 coz of my work I was travelling 4 times a year to the UK and Europe at 3 weeks a time – not anymore though. Haven’t been to London since 2002. Saw Mr.Lewis 4-5 years ago and he retold the story of “saving my life”. There were about 20 people listening and he was shaking as he told the story – it really bothered him – even then , the affect we had on people!

  176. Graham Summers

    Mod, think the springy rod gag was unintentionally made by Nachum but it was indeed Lewis with the great reply ….

    Is that ‘ faggot ‘ Ratner making an appearance ?

    And is it perhaps a touch of bias, or is my year that is the most represented on this blog albeit the most psychopathic, criminal minded and totally insane…

    Well done boys….1g,2p etc rules !!!!

  177. Graham Summers

    danny marks….
    Long time mate, should have personally said hi long before now !
    Hope you are well…have you still got that ‘kapel’ with ” boy , am I frum ! ” embroidered on it ?

  178. Ellis Feigenbaum

    I seem to remember Nachum trying to expalain the concept of a magnetic feild by poking his right index finger in and out of his left fist.
    that was about the closest we came to sex education in 5 years.
    I also have vague memories of Moishe Robinson asking jaughin what a hnus was . when jaughin wrote the word Anus on the board without closing the top of the A
    Practical science was an eye opener., or certainly a hnus opener.

  179. Hi Henry…thanks for bringing back all those memories. Hope you’re well. Anthony tells me that your story on the boat isn’t true and it wasnt him!….I remember when Mr Marks was late for an english lesson – I hid in a cupboard at the back of the classroom. When he finally walked in, he apologised for being late…I recall shouting out from the cupboard at the back, that he was late as he had gone to have a haircut….he then proceeded to stom to the back of the room, drag me out and pull my hair out! We all remember how long his hair was… He always told me how useless I was in English lit and how I’d fail miserably…got a B…the funny thing is? that I remember this episode as if it were yesterday!
    And Neil Morgenstern….boy o’ boy…what a scream. And Neil (Rabbi Naftali Schiff of course as he is known today) in Abie’s lesson in room 3 I think..there was this small hole in the floor and Neil used to balance the chair and stick one of the chairs down the hole….
    Graham – Mr Lesser taught in Pardes House primary, NOT hasmo prep…I remember him teaching me there.
    A few years back, we had Neil and Anthony for a meal on Friday night with our families….it took at least 20 minutes before we could start making kiddush as we started to bring out the old school stories…..our wives/kids thought we were nuts! There’s much more..much MUCH more…but thanks to you guys for getting this thing rolling.

  180. Simon Lawrence

    Schnorrer – hmmm, it must be around 30 years ago since anyone called me that.

    “Danny (Amini) – can I have a sip of your Coke?”

    I think that was my catchphrase.

  181. I seem to recall that the great Osher Baddiel fight which Dan Tarlow refers to back in 1983 or so actually pitted the great Lover of Zion against Norman Kahler. I think it was after one too many attempts NK to get Osher’s goat by showing him a bag of Bisli where it has printed “made in Israel” asking Osher to read “that word” please. OYB just lost it and the ensuing fight still reverberates. (I was only a first year at the time, but my brother was in NK’s class so we got the scoop.) I also recall it being during a Jewish History class with Clive Fierstone – one of the classes that actually got me interested!

  182. Hi All,

    This whole thing has been great, and sorry to get serious for a second . . . but please don’t forget that there are real people who could be extremely hurt by what is written here. Writing names of girls in relation to past sexual peccadillos, or of ex-pupils with emotional problems, is simply not acceptable, even to my relatively broad mind.

    Even when I am not on holiday (which I currently am), I cannot monitor every post as it comes in. Please use your common sense, and let’s carry on enjoying this in the right spririt. And if anyone does spot anything which they consider inappropriate, please let me know asap.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    (Please also see the “NOTE” at the bottom of my Hasmo Legends I post . . . full names and e-mail addresses when submitting comments!)

  183. Yup – there sure was a wall in S. Lebanon with: “if you went to Hasmo, sign here” written on it above a long list of names. I don’t recall now which mutzav it was on (it’s been a long time!) I suspect it was destroyed during the May 2000 pullout.

  184. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Having spent the last few days roled up in tears and mirthful laughter and on occasion real sadness and pain at the absolute horror which was HGS.
    I asked my mother why nothing was ever done by any of our parents about the school and its attrocities.She said they simply didnt believe us.In fact she said we probably deserved it.
    Maybe they came from a different world, one where physical abuse and punishment was a given in school, I have no idea. I know kids left to their own devices can be pretty cruel to each other. So I find myself reaching the conclusion that I spent 5 years in Hasmo being attrociously battered by the faculty , which was a lesser evil than being battered by ones peers.
    The fact remains that after going to live in Israel
    in 1977 I managed to finish bagrut in one year, including bagrut in gemmorrah,someone educated me somewhere or at least I picked stuff up by osmosis.
    It is true to say , that until I left Hasmo I had no idea of what i was capable of scholastically, and it is also true to say that my main reason for not continuing in Yeshiva was that school had made me beleive that the title Rabbi was not one I ever wanted to attain.
    Hasmo has a a lot to answer for but on the other hand I also know there is a group of people who went through the same hell as I did and ended up just as demented as me.there is safet in numbers.
    Just look at our school year,Marks, Koppaloff, Orenstein, Reich, Summers,Kovler. Look at how many are involved in some type of educational effort, be it Marks who is a real educator, Nick who teaches kids to play chess, myself who imparts knowledge of bridge for renumeration,
    and many others. Maybe we all just felt that we owed it to future generations to actually teach something in a way that was relevant to the people we impart our knowledge to, or maybe we all just felt that there must be a better way. than that shown to us by that untalented lot that tried to control the unruly disobedient louts that we were.

  185. Never was a truer word uttered from Ellis’s mouth and I echo his above sentiments. But to tell the absolute truth, never was any truthful word ever uttered from Ellis’s mouth.
    Just jesting El – and I genuinely really love your comments and writing style.

    Let’s chill with some snippets.

    Was it Marks or Feigenbaum (even money Marks, 2-1 Feigenbaum) who was berated by Stanton for being “A rogue, a liar, and a cheat,” only to retort, “I am not a rogue sir!”

    Having bunked off a school assembly which featured some kind of orchestra we were summoned to Stanton’s office where, lying through our teeth, we maintained our innocence and insisted we had attended the assembly. Stanton asked Feigenbaum what he thought of the drummer, and Feigenbaum emphatically answered with an “Oh excellent sir.”
    “Aaah, I got you,” said Stanton, “there was no drummer!”

    When Aaron Nejad and I decided we would like to start playing cricket in the park with Chern, Gertler, Lawrence, Josse, Wald et al, amazingly our request was initially rejected. If you could get turned down by that unrefined lot (sorry guys) then something had to be seriously wrong.
    So we confided our rebuff with our mate Andy, who having been expelled from Whitefields used to roam around aimlessly, doing drugs and saving stray dogs. Appalled at how his mates had fallen from grace and equipped with his steel-capped hobnail boots he stomped down to the park and totally kicked the shit out of the pitch transforming it into an undulation of divots, potholes and canyons. So, at the first break when Chern went down to conduct a pitch inspection, (yes, a meticulous umpire and officious to a T he would carry out a pre-match pitch inspection,), he had to declare, to his chagrin, that the game was abandoned. Served them bloody well right.

  186. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Yup that was daniel, I seem to recall that when you guys were all standing in Willie`s office I was at home bunking off, and he had the impudence, rooted in ultimate authority, to phone me up diturbing the reverie of England vs Windies on BBC2 IN ORDER TO ASK ME SOME NONSENSICAL QUESTION ABOUT A DRUMMER.
    He then had the audacity to declare I was not ill and if I did not get back to school immediately he would expell me.
    I ask you what kind of treatment is this to hand out to an otherwise innocent young man?

  187. Stephen Goldman

    Another example of the fine teachers we had
    – we had a free period and we were being looked after by one of the total nut case teachers (can’t actually remember which one!!) and one boy came in late wearing a duffelcoat. For some reason this offended the teacher who made the boy sit directly on one of the boiling hot convector heaters as punishment.
    The same teacher on another occasion took exception to a boy opening his briefcase during a lesson and decided to slam it shut on his arm – nothing like a broken arm for making a boy see sense!!

    On a brighter note one Yom Ha’atzmaut one boy decided to etch a magen david on osher’s car as revenge for his rabid anti zionism

    Who could also forget having to listen to flop’s dulcet tones during davenning on Yom Haatzmaut – classic!!

  188. It’s been so quiet on here today that I’ve been scanning through what little Yiddishkeit I can still remember to try and work out if it’s a fast day today.

    I thought I’d try and liven things up with another noteworthy recollection of mine which was the time myself and Jonny Atar (now a chasid, so I’m told) were lighting fireworks in the back playground having earlier ’confiscated’ these from a younger boy. One rocket went badly astray from its intended course, travelling in a horizontal rather than vertical fashion, first sailing through the top of a certain student’s afro-esque hair, before ricocheting dangerously off a tree and finally coming to a standstill with a loud bang.

    The chap with the ruffled hair was not amused and dragged poor Jonny off to Roberg who suspended him (how I wasn’t implicated is a miracle). I’ve deliberately avoided naming the victim of our foolhardy behaviour – but let’s just say that had that rocket been travelling just a couple of inches lower, the then future history of the Labour party might have been radically different.

  189. The unknown teachers are:
    Back row, 3rd left – Mr Salter (only lasted one term)
    Back row, 4th left – Dr Alex Fried (similarly short-lived German teacher)
    Middle row, 4th left – Mr Johnny Denham (geography).

    “Boy with grey hair” was Charlie Solomons (Charlie Daniels sang ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’!)

    Too many stories to mention, but I’m surprised that no-one has brought up perhaps the most unpleasant and psychotic teacher of them all – Barry Lent.

  190. This column is a great mix of hilarity, nostalgia and social comment.

    Another reminiscence is from my early days at hasmo in about 1977. We were waiting for Mr Lawrence to turn up for our history lesson. Mr Lawrence was actually not a bad fellow and could actually teach. Gentile of course. His usual lesson introduction involved setting the tone for the discipline he intended to pursue within the lesson.

    This involved taking a very large and flexible plimoll out of his case and whacking his desk very hard and very loudly with it. The implication was clear. The plimsoll was then left on his desk in sight of all and within easy reach.

    Anyway, back to my story, a young lad probably from the first year entered the room (Daniel? Vecht) searching for something in his desk that he’d left behind. For some reason, it seemed natural for us to mob him and tie him bent over the teachers desk. Luckily, we had our school ties availble for this task.

    So, he’s tied up in an inverted ‘L’ shape over the desk, going along with this older boys wheeze when Mr Lawrence walks in.

    He promptly slippered the poor sod in situ.

    I remember feeling a twinge of guilt for quite a long time after that. It’s largely gone now, I think.

    U.

  191. Simon Lawrence

    Nick

    I can only apologise for my behaviour many many years ago.

    However, I am sure that you’d agree that being the meat in a Chern, Gertler, Josse, Wald sandwich is punishment enough.

    If you ever find yourself at Lord’s on the day of a Test Match, let me know and I’ll gladly stand a round.

    Yours in sport.

  192. Back to sex,

    Girls were forbidden, being good for only one thing, which was also forbidden. If you tried to do that one thing on your own without girls you soon discovered that that was forbidden too.

    However, there came a time when an imaginary girl saved me from punishment.

    Steve Posner had called me to the staff-room annex to give me a detention for bunking off morning shiur. On a whim I said, “Actually sir, I have to thank you as I had a date this evening with a girl and I had no idea how to get out of it.”

    Steve paused and you could almost hear the levers of that great brain moving:

    “Mr Marks, I am not here to solve your social problems. The punishment is cancelled!”

  193. Moishee Robinson

    Would anybody like some light fixtures on the cheap ?
    If so please contact me

  194. allan….where have u been. You mean Larry Bent, surely?

  195. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Steve was better than abie for morning shiur, at least his translation of aramaic to english was understandable.
    I still remeber steve trying to explain what a Hava Amina was, he came out with this ridiculous english sentence of “come let us believe?”
    duh sir dont you mean a theory? mai salka datach?

  196. Richard Simmonds

    I still chuckle whenever I think of 3F (1980) in the mobile classroom in the corner of the playground and waiting for Mad Dog to arrive for English. He’d always do the same thing – walk down the passageway next to the gym changing rooms and then down to the mobile unit, whilst we all hid around the corner adjacent to the Beit Hamidrash. He’d always get to the room, see it empty and look around in confusion as to where all the boys were, when we’d rush him – 35 adolescent nutters screaming “BUNDLE” as if we were William Wallace, and knock him down. His humiliation probably never exceeded that of needing to be escorted to lessons by Roberg. Shame, really as he was one of the only broad-minded teachers there.

    To his credit, he allowed me to bring in typed up scripts of Monty Python sketches and read them aloud in class with other pupils in the second year. Up to the point, that is, when we did the Parrot sketch and I read out the infamous line “He f***ing snuffed it”. Fair’s fair, I’d crossed the line and I knew it. It was worth the slipper though, although quite how I avoided the cane and a suspension throughout seven years, I’ll never know. Of course I could have omitted the word and I cannot pretend that we had to keep the sketch to its artistic integrity, but aren’t boundaries there to be pushed? I’ve still got the school reports from those days and I quote from Mad Dog: “His performance as class clown has greatly improved but sadly the same cannot be said for his class work”.

  197. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Jonathan Silver`s History essay, read out loud in class.I cant remember the teacher may have been Messom.
    Ceaser was born at a very early age. He got no further than the first sentence.

  198. Yossi, as with most days at Hasmo, I was late.

  199. If the subject has become history essays, Noddy Lever had given his class a history essay in the first form about the Viking Invasions of England. The exact assignment was to write an entrance in your diary as if you were a Viking who had just arrived.
    A certain pupil who we shall call D had obviously spent more than one weekend in Bournemouth began (I paraphrase):
    “We arrived at the hotel a little late, put our cases in the rooms and went downstairs for a cup of tea..”
    Mr Lever never let him hear the end of this and he went on and on about D’s Viking hotel. I was not in D’s class but we were in the Yeshiva Stream together and Mr Lever taught us mishna in the evenings. He was gracious enough to bring D’s essay with him so that in the eventuality that any pupils had not yet seen him humiliated, they would get their chance too.
    In general Mr Lever had a low opinion of D’s intelligence, he may have been right, and he was never shy to share it with us. He made up names for him, I believe the Glomp was one of them, he drew sketches to illustrate his lack of knowledge and he would even sing short songs about his stupidity. Once in an effort to demonstrate just how dense D was, Mr Lever publicly asked him a series of questions culminating in, “What us the date of Tisha Ba’av?” Poor D was by now so mortified, his head must have been spinning that he mumbled, “Isn’t it on Tuesday sir?” It was a pity because the children that we were we all laughed together with Lever and I confess, G-d forgive me, that I might have adopted the funny nicknames on occasions too.
    I doubt that D is reading this as I last heard that he is considered to be a big Talmud Chocum from Gatesehead, but if he is, if you are, remember that all the insults were never a reflection on you, but on the individual who chose to waste valuable hours of time that he could have been spending teaching young children Torah, instead humiliating what I remember to be a very wonderful and a very pure soul.

  200. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Didnt noddy get deported to Australia after that?

  201. Anthony Silber

    Hallo all. Sorry to dissapoint Henri Berest. But his memory is somewhat in a state of malfunction. The trip to france where he remembers me and Michael kaye locked up in a toilet sounds awfully exciting. But if anyone was locked up in that toilet withMichael Kaye it certainly was not me; as i was unable to go on that ferry trip to Boulogne. I remember being upset that i could not go on that trip as i had flu and was in bed. So Henri please try and get that memory working. I am known to have a particularly good memory so how on earth Henri remembers me in that toilet i will never know. It is very true that for the three years that Kaye was in hasmo i was always with him , But those naked women were with him and someone else. We will have to ask Flop and kaye

  202. Ellis Feigenbaum

    At this juncture , I would like to give an honourable mention to a certain Rabbi Warsaw.
    although long since passed the aforementioned Rabbi incongruosly lived in Bacon Lane.
    If gratuitious violence to pupils alone were a qualification he surely would have become headmaster.
    This sorry excuse for a Rabbi once picked up a complete blackboard including eazel and threw it at Marks ,Koppalloff and myself.
    So I nominate the late Rabbi for a place of honour on the roll of unforgettable rabbis that have done violence to my person.

  203. Anthony,
    My apologies if youweren’t there and my memory is a little faulty after 30 years.
    It was a cabin on the ferry – not a toilet (don’t know where that came from) that Michael Kaye had hired for the return trip. I suppose that I automatically thought of you and Michael Kaye being together as you were with him practically all the time and were best mates with him. So if I misplaced you in that tale, sorry again. Would the person who WAS with Kaye like to own up?

  204. Simon Lawrence

    Re Daniel Marks’ story about D. I was in D’s class and I remember that incident.

    I believe that the same D read out an essay on Henry IV that started with “Pistol was a big shot”. Again, I don’t think that we ever heard the second sentence.

    This was in the 1st year – I’m pretty sure that Noddy left after that year.

    Our Form Teacher that year was the redoubtable Helen Krolik (“Double Melon Helen”). For some reason she insisted on calling Howard Cohen “Peregrine”. Anyone remember why?

  205. michael issacson: I put two and two together when you said Reiss was your cousin and you mentioned your brother who had passed away.

    Do you remember the evening on the Israel trip that you enticed me to take a photo of you using the last few frames of film on Marc’s camera?

    It’s wonderful to hear from you again.

    All the best,

    Regis

  206. Ellis, your memory is flagging as much as your south pole. Rabbi Warsaw, who would lick the palm of his hands and then smear the saliva across his shining bald forehead to prevent his black-silk kippa from slipping off, taught at Edgware Heder classes and not, I believe, in HGS. Also Jonathan Packer went to Orange Hill after Rosh Pinah .

    Anyway the passage of time seems to have a magical way of anthropomorphizing veritable monsters. A geriatric psychopath scores no nostalgia compassion points in my book. That his bamboo cane has been replaced by a walking stick or his slipper by a Zimmer does not mitigate his crimes.

    Jonny Kovler’s claim of being able to see the human side of Cyril on account of his humble admission to supporting Swansea City is like (careful of litigious analogies) granting clemency to a mass murderer because of his vegetarianism.
    “Forgive me lord for I have sinned, but to my credit I supported Swansea City.”

    And unlike Daniel Marks, who shows pity and claims they have suffered enough, I shall never forget nor forgive those beasts who paraded under the guise of educators. Marks recalls Mr. Lever’s 1st form insults which really were a barrage of unadulterated pornographic filth, humiliation and shameful belittling for the sake of sadism itself. And the most pathetic thing of all was that he genuinely thought himself to be a popular fun- loving teacher.

    Admittedly, there were a handful of honorable teachers in HGS. Jack Ordman juggled being both an authoritarian and a disciplinarian with a master at his noble profession. I also never had a bad word to say about Mr. Lawrence who seemed to bring history alive which is more than can be said for almost all religious studies teachers who made sure the wonders of Judaism remained dead as a dodo. The exception, as one contributor to this blog has pointed out, – was if you happened to be the owner of a pair of rampaging goring oxen in a public place, your gemorrah lessons would come in handy.

    Rabbi Lewis, who we disparagingly labeled “the worm”in his pre-hair pulling period, was in the main a kindly man, and probably the only Rabbi who scored above the sewage level. I remember a Mr. Warner in the 1st form who I really liked and apologies to the other good folk who for whatever reasons, I have failed to mention.

    Feigenbaum insists that many of us subsequently chose teaching as a psycho-corrective mechanism to redress our own childhood misfortunes. He is of course wrong again. The only reason we became teachers is because we were good at f all else.

    Ellis would also be advised not to attribute his custodial internments to the plethora of thrashings he suffered at HGS, rather to the fact that he got caught.

  207. Rabbi Warsaw – now there’s someone I completely forgot. Nice one Ellis. By the way do you still smoke Silk Cut No.3 -purple I believe? Hi Nick – feeling good? Enjoying this blog I see.

  208. Richard, thanks for the 79/80 3F memories. For the sake of accuracy I feel obliged to point out that we chanted (albeit extremely loudly) in pursuit of Mad Dog on the way down to the Mobile Unit and the words in fact were “Marksy bundle”. Does anyone remember the tune?
    That year Marksy was the second teacher (I don’t recall the first – help me out someone) to inform the venerable Rabbi Roberg that he was unwilling to teach our class any more. This led to an announcement that we were to produce all our excercise books for inspection by RMR first thing the next morning. Unfortunately, my partner-in-crime (Jeremy Shebson – a Hasmo school governor these days, I believe) was absent that day. The whole class spent that evening “koshering” exercise books – Bernie Madoff couldn’t have done a beter job! To my great discredit I forgot to mention this necessity to my friend. Upon his arrival in school and the ensuing inspection of his exercise books RMR was rather taken aback to see the following inscription on the front cover of one of them:
    Name: Jeremy Shebson
    Form: 3F
    Subject: English
    Teacher: Mr. Marks (Mad Dog)

    RMR asked JS for an explanation only to be told “well sir, that’s his name!”

    Tragically, this led to JS’s father being summoned to school for a tete a tete with RMR. During the course of this meeting an immortal line was uttered:
    “Mr. Shebthon; your thon and hith friend Hill, are FEARED by the teahing thtaff.”
    My relationship with Mr. Shebson Snr never really recovered from that debacle although his son & I continued to plague the “faculty” for many fine years.

  209. Daniel Marks. I remember you being ejected from North Hendon Adass one Sunday morning Yeshiva Stream for the heinous crime of…..wearing a sheepskin coat. It doesn’t get more evil than that.

  210. Michael Goldman

    OK So after monitoring the blog for a couple of weeks it’s about time I made an appearance.

    Hi to all my fellow Hasmoneans,Boys Girls,Pure and not so
    I’m sure there are more like me just watching from the sidelines.
    Might be nice if you said Hello
    Always nice to hear from old friends.
    Nick.
    Berating Ellis is always good , but it might be useful to use words he understands.

  211. Danny Nussbaum

    Bloody bloody marvelous!!! I cannot believe Terrence resurfaced…great to hear from you mate. Best to Toz. Still cabbing? We need some more inmates from the 80s to surface…I will never forget my first day at Hasmo in Yr 4 and entering Cyril’s class to find him grabbing a big yid’s hair, or lack thereof, to great big howls from the rest of the class… unforgettable while others snuck out to the playground. hoping this blog goes from strength to strength.
    Who remembers DJ’s rendition of Joshua’s Trumpet the famous star…

  212. Michael Goldman about time – help me out with “our” experiences at Hasmo instead of these weak stories from the year above us! They were a very tame bunch in comparison to us.

  213. Kopaloff has made much mileage of the fact that we used to “egg on” teachers to beat our schoolmates with cries of, “Hit him sir, hit him!” I know that these recollections haunt Koplaoff’s waking hours and neither does he sleep at night. The ever He even called me from Europe the first time this terrible memory came back to him.
    I believe this to be another excellent of how an innocent reading Koplaoff in 2009 could easily get the wrong impression, and think that we were some kind of horrible rabble of sadists. Of course, we were not.
    Kopaloff will remember that we often shouted, “Hit him” when the boy had done nothing wrong at all and he was simply approaching for some mundane reason such as to erase the board. This was our way of saying, “That’s (hitting) is all you know how to do, so you might as well do it.”
    Moreover, I believe that I was the first to shout “Hit him sir!” and that this was an, often very effective, example of reverse psychology, its intent being to confront the teacher with the dreadful dilemma of either being seen to be taking directives from yours truly or not hitting the lad at all. Without being able to cite specific cases, I believe that may a Hasmo was saved from being battered by our “Hit him sir, hit him!” and Johnny Kovler’s “Ooh sir! You vandal. You hooligan.” And I’m proud of them both.

  214. Talking of Mr Lawrence, a Tottenham fan unfotunately, but one of the few semi decent teachers.
    Commerce lessons in the room by the hall, every Monday 12.20-12.55.
    12.30, time the FA Cup draw.
    Warren Epstein would always have his little radio with him, and everybody would gather round as the numbers were pulled out of the hat. Just amazing.
    ‘Rockabilly’ Hen , Lun ,Yossi Klein how are you all doing?
    Who remembers that fight between Baz and Paul Alwin behind the bike shed and Rabbi Angel smashing up his sculpture because we decided to talk to it and call it Dean after Dean Abrams probably the quietest boy in our year if not the whole school.
    And when Yosef Mendelevitch visited not long out of a Soviet jail, we were instructed not to bring Israeli flags…..much to the the malign of Roberg and DJ the flags were in full display that day……

  215. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Mike good to hear from you, you wont be upset if i ignore you as usual 🙂
    Nick that is why Warsaw was given an honourable mention, if he had taught in the school it obviously would have been dihonourable.
    As to the my incarceration in one of her majesties one star institutions, I find hasmonean to be at no fault, though given how many ex hasmo boys have found themselves in this particular predicament you would have thought the school would have given some type of preparatory course.
    ps. while as one of your oldest friends ,something close to 45 years by now, I appreciate the self depracation in saying we are fit for F all else, I happen to know that at least in your case this is far from the truth.

  216. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Hi Mike,

    Let me start by saying how much I enjoy reading your blog.
    I have never participated in any group communication and could not see the point of these public personal diaries.
    That might sound strange since I work in a company of ~90,000 employees and spend a large amount of time at my keyboard writing to all corners of the planet.
    But that is work and I tend to shy away from personal exposé at this level.

    My brother David first alerted me to the blog and I have since been trying to explain to my wife and children why it is so funny.
    My Mum gets it since she had both David and me in Hasmo for a running period of 10 years and she loves to read the latest installments as much as any other ex-Holders Hill Road inmate.

    “The best memory is that which forgets nothing, but injuries. Write kindness in marble and write injuries in the dust.”

  217. Assuming for a moment and this is just an assumption, that there is more to be learnt from all the violence that was perpetrated against us and from all the idiotic behavior, then what is it? There must be more to life than taking the piss out of Ellis Feigenbaum!

    Firstly, beware of “diffusion of responsibility” in all its forms. Ellis ponders as to why our parents did nothing when grown men were illegally beating their children in all the ways Kopaloff so ably and often poignantly describes. I ponder not. Every parent took their lead from every other parent. Imagine you were one of a big circle of parents standing in a circle in Holders Hill Road and in the middle – a teacher hitting their children. Would you be the first one to jump in and protect your child? Or would you look at the others and say, “If they’re doing nothing, I guess it must be okay.” Would it be easier to say, “He probably deserves it” Or would you be the first one to confront the teacher?

    Therefore I say that rather than wallowing in self-pity, let us make sure that we do not revisit the sins of our parents.

    Many years ago I was called to my eldest son’s Yeshiva High School to discuss his behavior with his Rabbi and form teacher. Rabbi R is a fat lazy sod, who could have easily found employment in Hasmonean of the 70s, the kind of teacher who goes to school with an empty briefcase and an empty mind, to pick up a salary and shmooze with his friends.

    There was some absurd trumped-up charge, that Amichai had been seen in the middle of Bayit Vegan (Stamford Hill in Hebrew) in the company of two half naked women. It transpired that the aforementioned ladies were Bnei Akiva madrichot ,that Amichai volunteered with, both fully and modestly dressed, one was the daughter of a local rabbi.
    When I showed my displeasure at the way the matter had been handled Rabbi R groaned and said, “Once parents used to support the teachers, now some of them seem to prefer to support their sons. ”

    And yes, though grown men don’t cry, at that moment, on that day I allowed myself a single tear of joy.

  218. Hi Jeff Tibber…LONG time no see or hear. I remember that incident with the flags, well. I’m sure you have many more stories you could relate. Ahh.. the good ol’ days.

  219. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Does any one actually know if the legend /myth that the school building used to be a brewery is true?

  220. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Nick,

    Whilst most of us can look back and laugh or at least simply shake our heads and sigh aloud it seems that the passage of time has done little to diminish some very painful memories.
    I agree with you that the injustices that were committed within those supposed ‘halls of education’ should never be forgotten or forgiven.

    But that for me is the true essence of this blog.
    It is a celebration of the fact that in spite of Hasmo so many of us have been successful and achieved much in this world.
    To be able to look back and chuckle is a shout of victory over the hurt we all experienced at the hands of some very inadequate, vindictive and downright nasty people.

    Is it right to glorify and romanticize that place?
    Probably not but it is simply human nature to diminish and laugh at difficult periods that we survive.
    I guess that the phrase, “the good old days” relies on a selective memory.

  221. Hallo all,Michael Kaye here from Israel,Since 1979 i have been living in Netanya,and have a large home electrical appliance shop.
    Henry,maybe you have the wrong person in the wrong cabin.I think it was you and Dresner and when you were caught Dresner bit your ear off.
    Carefull he doesnt do it again

  222. Michael Kaye!
    How are you? We already covered the Dresner ear-bite earlier, but it was definately you in that cabin on the ferry. My memory may be going a little – but I have no doubt about that. I have no idea why you’d be so defensive about such a funny story, but perhaps it’s you that needs to have a memory check? Anyway, it’s nice to hear that you’re alive and well.

  223. Laurence Chester

    Really excellent blog! Now I can really explain to my kids why their school is soooo much better than anything I knew. The picture just brought so many things back ….. mainly eccentric in nature. Earlier there was a list of people who deserve honourable mention (in the face of adversity), I still remember as a lowly 1st year seeing 2 big (4th yr?) lads Jonny Deal & Mark Dessler (I think thats his name) in the corridor at the bottom of the back stairs in full flow with Cyril. Him giving 4 sides on the importance of obedience and Johnny saying it was not enough he wanted 8 etc etc up until about 50 sides (can anyone beat than?). I was awestruck and learnt EXACTLY the appropriate level of respect (chutzpah) to be shown to staff. I beleive there was a competition to see who could get the most. I got up to around 20 -25 on a regular basis 🙂

  224. graham summers

    Hello Laurence,
    We both go back as far as Hasmo primary on Shirehall Lane…
    Ungar, Cohen, Fordsham, Summers !Zahavy et al…
    what memories of THOSE times !!!
    Rgds, mate…

  225. Simon Lawrence

    Johnny Kovler – not sure if you received it but I sent you an email a couple of days ago. If you didn’t receive it, then post on to this blog and I’ll try again.

  226. Apologies that this entry makes no mention of Marks or Feigenbaum whose multiple references and the celebrity status they seem to enjoy on this blog may be causing them to become a tad over-sensitive.

    Hi Simon Lawrence,
    Sorry I forced you to languish between the jolly cricketers (Messrs. Churn, Gertler, Josse and Wald). To your credit you were one of the best left-hand fast bowlers who supported Hendon FC that the school ever produced.
    Nothing personal against you or MikeMelchett but I have a natural fascination and even distrust of cricket fans. Anyone who can get aroused by moisture in the air on a cloudy overcast day, or become excited by the fact that the bowler is wearing a short-sleeved sweater, should get examined.
    Nejad and I would look on in open-mouthed disbelief at the how the likeable eccentric David Gertler would take a peculiarly long run up to deliver his notorious underarm spin, but would come to a complete stop at the crease before arching his arm and tossing the ball. So what’s with the run-up? At the batsman’s end, to emulate the real pros, no less eccentric Mike Chern would fervently pat down the ground with the end of his bat, to prevent the ball from bouncing waywardly. We were playing on hard concrete!

    I mentioned Jack Ordman as a good and honorable teacher but then a close friend reminded me that Jack once beat the living daylights out of him for forgetting to wear a school blazer.

    My brother Stephen recalls how Rabbi Pyscho Angel once totally lost it with Howard Freedman, and clenching the hair at the back of his head, repeatedly smashed his face onto the tabletop until he was bleeding profusely. The poor boy could have been killed. Howard’s father, a short man, came to the school and grabbed the tall Rabbi by his collar, lifted him in the air so that his lanky legs were dangling like a puppet and warned him in front of the whole class “If you ever fucking lay another hand on my son and I will fucking kill you!”

    It was a funny thing with Rabbi Angel – he could come over as such a charming man when he wasn’t hitting you or discussing genitalia.

    Not only was Bert Meyers kept on the staff payroll years after he first enthused us with his inimitable “Jewish Pigs” routine, it transpires that he was still performing the very same repertoire to our younger siblings. He discovered that they too were “Jewish Pigs,” and he wasn’t shy to tell them so either. It must have been something genetic.

    Mr. Taylor chose to combine pantomime with brutality to add a little glamour to the proceedings. Never one to hit a man with glasses he would command you to remove your imaginary spectacles before administering his double-handed slap. It used to really hurt but for some reason I liked him.

    Jonny Kovler, whose current frumkeit level may even be marginally higher than mine, do you remember Mr. Parnell, a stout drunk chap with flush cheeks who so originally used to call you “a load of old cobblers?”

    Hi to Graham Summers, I love you but cannot forget that you once broke my arm at the Rosh Pina V Hasmonean football game at Hendon Park.

    And hi too to Daniel Ratner, the last two times I saw you were at shivas. We should meet more often!

  227. Ellis implies that I was a minor leaguer, but compared to him so was Jack the Ripper.
    There have been way too many postings on this blog about a mystery character in a cabin on a ferry. Most unsolved mysteries, and I am not ruling out Whitechapel, usually involved Ellis. Problem solved – next.

    And although D. Marks was arguably the most beaten ever pupil on record at HGS, I was proudly the first 1st former of our year to get whacked.
    On one of the first few days, we daringly hopped across to the park where we saw two older hippy-types approaching on the footpath. Simulating John Wayne from distance I entered into a gunfire dual and drew first to singlehandedly slay my adversaries only to find that I had shot Mr. Marks and Mr. Skelker. The former was not prepared to resort to fantasy firearms so in hand-to-hand combat he chose to administer a series of facial blows I shall never forget. He could have tried to claim self-defense but that would have literally fallen on deaf ears. On that day when I wished my gun had been real, he won my fear but not my respect.

  228. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    This blog seems to be turning into a Marques de Sade training manual.
    Strangely I cannot find any mention so far of Mr. Elman and his ‘flying fists of fury’.
    Perhaps it was only me that got shaken about or thumped by this seemingly harmless old man.
    There were stories told about his prize fighting past but who knows what was true or not.
    One incident stands out in my mind.
    In my first year at school and I was running from the Gym into the hallway next to the Zoology labs.
    I rounded the corner at high speed and collided with Elman, my head striking him in his mid-section (since I was about half his size).
    Whether or not it was true regarding his boxing past, no pugilist had ever reacted in a more perfect manner to my unintentional attack.
    The next second was a blur as his fist shot up in a perfect uppercut striking my lower lip and neatly splitting it in two.
    Blood was cascading down my shirt front and I stood shakily as Elman waved an admonishing finger at me,
    “Err, Kovler, err don’t let that happen again”
    Bubbles of blood formed and popped in a red haze through my smashed mouth as I managed to form the reply, “Sorry Sir”
    He turned on his heel and left me to contemplate the error of my ways!

  229. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    One more about Mr. Elman…
    I was sitting in a maths lesson next to Brian Cohen.
    Elman was not someone you messed around with and generally laughs were few and far between in his lessons.
    I was somewhat bored and I was being distracted by a fly that was buzzing around our desk.
    “You see that fly” I whispered to Brian.
    Brian nodded.
    I shot out my hand and caught the fly in mid flight.
    I was as surprised as Brian at this amazing feat of hand eye coordination and we both stared at my clenched fist that contained the trapped insect.
    Unfortunately for me Elman had also seen my hand movement and was now looking my way.
    “Err, Kovler. What have you got there?”
    “A fly Sir”
    “Err, come out to the front”
    I made my way to the front still clenching my airborne prize.
    As I approached him I raised and opened my hand to show Elman that I had in fact caught a fly.
    My head reeled from the force of his open handed slap and my glasses flew against the wall with sufficient force to crack the frame.
    This was followed by him violently shaking me just to make sure that I got the message.
    As quickly as his fury had erupted on me it also abated and he told me to go back to my seat.
    I sat through the rest of the lesson unable to see clearly since I was not going to ask for my glasses back in case it provoked another attack.
    Although I could not see it I could still hear that bloody fly buzzing around the room!

  230. Yeshar Koach to MICHAEL KAYE for the not so subliminal advertisement for his “large home electrical appliance shop in Netanya”.

  231. Simon and Nick,
    You have referred to a “David Gertler”. Did he have a brother (also at Hasmo), Jonathan? He and my late brother, Jonny, were good mates, I think. Are you in touch with David? Or know how I can be?
    Thanks,
    Mike

  232. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Hi Mike,

    I do believe that David had an elder brother and I reckon he must have been about 4 years my senior.
    In my first year I was invited to play playground football by Brian Cohen (also in the first year) with the 4th year boys.
    This was because Brian’s brother was in the 4th and had been told by his Mum to look out for his younger sibling and therefore to balance the sides both Brian and I would play on opposite teams as equal handicaps.
    I do remember a Jonny Gertler in these games, if I am not mistaken I think he was tall and lanky with a mop of curly hair.
    I could of course be totally wrong and my unreliable memory could be going into overdrive.

  233. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    In Defense Of My Parents.

    I have been reading a previous post by Daniel and totally agree that the beatings we suffered should never be repeated on our (or any other) children.
    The barbaric acts committed against us should serve as a lesson to ensure that future generations are not exposed to malicious individuals who abuse their positions as an excuse to exercise their pent up violence on impressionable, unprotected kids.

    I still feel the rage rising in my gut when I remember the electrical flex wire used by a Rabbi G..
    Please understand that I do not deny that my impudence in class was totally deserving of some form of punishment but who the hell decided that this was an acceptable tool of correction?
    Rabbi G. would strike repeatedly on the soft fleshy palm with the reinforced cables and rather than predetermining the amount of strokes would look you in the eyes waiting to see at what point the rising pain would force out the tears.
    I remember Phil Green (who was a real tough nut) who refused to give in to the pain to such an extent that the systematic infliction of pain continued until a large welt of flesh was raised on his hand that prevented it from closing for days.

    But here is the point where I beg to differ with Daniel.
    Daniel supposes that our parent must have known about the goings on in Hasmo and somehow mutely accepted this as proper and right.
    I can honestly say that in all the cases where I was smacked around or abused I just didn’t tell my Mum or Dad.
    Why? Well I guess I mistakenly assumed that they must know what was going on and that therefore it was OK, after all, I was no saint and therefore I deserved to get punished.
    In my parents’ generation it was understood that a certain level of corporal punishment was acceptable, but the level of sadistic thrashings in Hasmo were unknown to them.

    I have spoken with my Mum (>30 years on) and she has expressed shock and dismay at the stories that I now recount to her for the first time.
    Would that she had known she has assured me that she would have stepped forward and made an almighty stink!
    Good for you Mum!

  234. Jonny,

    The question as to whether our parents knew that we were being beaten, and again I refuse to call it corporal punishment as it never qualified as such by the legal definitions even of that period, seems something of a mute point.

    Furthermore, it seems reasonable that some parents knew more and some knew less.

    I believe that my parents knew that we were being beaten because Hasmonean stories which often culminated in some sort of violent end were frequent subjects of discussion. Obviously, they didn’t know every detail of every incident.
    It would, however, be as anachronistic for me to point the finger at them for not challenging the existing norms as it would be for me to blame an ancestor who lived centuries ago for not emancipating his slaves. We all live in the world into which we are born and by its standards.

    I wish your mother well and may she continue to derive nachas from her sons and their children.

  235. Terry

    I was just reading through some the later posts and saw your note about the Tourettes epidemic (courtesy of the BBC). I am sure that if young John were ever to go anywhere near Hasmonean it could only be as a member of staff …

  236. Jonny,

    Your description of Jonathan Gertler matches my memory of him (if anyone is in touch with him, or his brother, please do let me know).

    The stories of abuse (I think we can safely call it that) at Hasmo which have come out on melchett mike have shocked me . . . but should they have?

    I certainly experienced my fair share of indiscriminate slaps across the face from so-called “teachers”, painful raps on the knuckles, and the slipper. The funny (or, perhaps, sad) thing is that, until now, I never even questioned it.

    And, Jonny, your description of Greenberg is so vivid that it took me back there . . . he did used to look you in the eyes between hits to see if you were breaking. The c*nt.

    I have just written an awful lot more on the subject . . . and it spewed forth like therapy! But I have decided to save it, for a separate, future melchett mike post dedicated to the issue.

    I might have been wary about broaching it, a few weeks ago, but – judging by the volume of firsthand and eyewitness accounts on the subject, on melchett mike – I am no longer . . .

    Mike

  237. Howard Fertleman

    Jonny Kovler

    I was in your brother’s year below yours; the emotional abuse was just as bad as the physical abuse that was meeted out at that so called school.
    Both were barbaric. The name calling the ridicule by some of the teachers etc , the loss of self esteem, the public embarrassements by teachers who claimed to be knowledgable of the halachah and hypocritically followed the halachah,need I go on….. have scarred many people in ways that some dont even realise.
    I couldn’t agree more with your paragraph “the barbaric acts committed against us…….”
    What makes me angry is the community that these so called teachers lived in , especially the Hendon, GG, and Stamford Hill communities (and I dont mention any names) gave such respect to these misfits.
    I think that this blog has been very theraputic to a lot of people who were damaged in many ways, by that school . You can see this in their anger as they recount some of the more unsavoury stories well as the disrespect in the frivolaty that we have all had from reading all the stories.

  238. Cyril
    i remember sharpening a pencil whilst sitting next to Danny Ratner, tapping him on the shoulder and as he turned around stuck it up his nose
    blood pouring everywhere he rushes off to the toilet and Cyril says what happened Nevies
    i explained that Ratner was always picking his nose and this time picked too much!!!
    sorry Danny for that and also the nick-name!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    while i am saying sorry one apology to you Danny Turetsky for being the first to chuck a sports shoe to Jack Ordman to wallop you for coming in late every day–if i remember 90% of the class threw thir shoes to Jack Ordman so that you could get the slipper daily
    the time i got caught out was on a Friday when Turetsky, Simon Leigh and David Bloom would arrive in school on a Friday in time for Register than say they had to go home in order to get in before shabbat
    i went with them, left at the same time for many weeks till once being stopped by a teacher at the gate and after telling them i needed to get home before shabbat, was dragged by my ear to Willy’s office
    as my late father did willy/ Roberg/ Chichios/ and some of the other teacher’s teeth i was never punished as Willy said to me –i am sure your father can hurt me more with his dentist tools than i can with my stick

    good old days

  239. Simon Lawrence

    David Gertler was in my year (1972-1979). and definitely had a brother Jonathan (he also had a sister Frances). Originally from Neasden (living opposite the shul in Clifford Way), I knew David very well and my brother (who went to JFS) knew Jonathan well. The Gertlers moved to Hendon before 1972. I have a feeling that David emigrated – either to Israel or to the US. I’ve put some feelers out and I’ll let you know if I get anything back.

    Nick – I’ve heard of “damned by faint praise” but “one of the best left-hand fast bowlers who supported Hendon FC that the school ever produced” is up there with the best. Like many wannabe sportsmen, would be cricketers would try to emulate their heroes as closely as possible. That would be way Chern prodded the concrete and why Gertler insisted in a 30 yeard run-up. What used to annoy me was Josse’s insistence on having the non-existent sighscreen moved before each delivery.

    Elman – for me, the biggest and scariest beast in the jungle. Of all of them, he was the authentic psychopath. The others were pale imitations. He could turn in a second from genial to psychotic. His softly spoken question “Did you see me come in?” when a pupil dared to talk after his entrance into the classroom reminded me of Laurence Olivier’s “Is it safe?” in The Marathon Man while the tell-tale baleful look, purse of the lips and shake of the hand was an indication of the carnage to follow.

    Knuut Saam – any takers?

  240. Hi Simon,
    Great to hear from you.
    Josse and the sightscreen – classic – thanks for uncovering another veiled memory. While Josse though was jesting, Gertler and Chern I think were the real McCoy.
    You just like to say that name – Knuut Saam.
    Anyway – my brother Stephen’s school reports would always be written in binary code. His marks, no joke, would invariably range between 0% – 1%. Though in one of his better efforts he remarkably scored 1.5% in Knut Saam’s French exam, which, voici, hard to believe, even placed him in the top half of the class.
    But that wasn’t his greatest school achievement. For his sins and medical afflictions Stephen never once attended a single Chishios sports lesson. Conversely, his not quite Olympian classmates Nigel Lauer and Simon Figa would religiously give it their all. Stephen, however, would score a “C” on his report while they, not for their lack of trying, would get an “F”.
    So his finest hour and best ever grade of his entire school career was for a subject he never once attended.

  241. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    “Nitkalta……………….you are under attack!”
    The officer shouted and glared at Warren (an American Oleh Hadash) during the first field training session of our army service.
    Everyone else around him (including me) had hit the ground as the imaginary hail of bullets sailed over our prone forms.
    Not Warren though, due to his poor command of Hebrew he was now a virtual piece of Swiss cheese.
    For the rest of the day we were forced to carry him around on a stretcher since he was virtually dead and he was made to feel like crap by the NCOs since he did not know a rather basic but important bit of Ivrit.
    Warren had been working on the assumption that he would sort of pick up the language as he went along.

    Unlike Warren I had learnt my lesson from Hasmo that osmosis in not the most reliable form of learning and that sometimes you really do need to open a book and study.
    In school, foreign languages had always been a weak area for me.
    The little bit of German I can recall from 2 years of Joe Heller is the unimportant quote, “nach get einer arbeit ist gut ruhen” and “morgen, morgen – something, something”
    French was another white noise that would reverberate painfully in my ears for 5 years with almost nothing to show for it.
    I never passed a French test, even with ‘help’ from my mates when we marked each other’s notebooks.
    I realized some time ago that if I am interested in a subject I can easily pick it up, if not then watching paint dry is a more fruitful exercise.
    Being selective with my ‘On-Off’ interest switch combined with uninspiring teachers meant that I academically limped out of Hasmo with forgettable grades.

    Any educational success that Hasmo enjoyed had nothing to do with the teaching ability of the staff.
    The fact that so many children wanted to get in to so few places each year meant that the school could pick the best and the brightest.
    The Hasmo equation was therefore:- Crap Teachers x Clever Kids = medium to good results depending on the level of interest the kids had for any given subject.

    For example Steve Posen spent 2 out of the 5 possible terms in A level zoology talking about bio-chemistry. i.e. 40% of the available lesson time.
    This was in spite of the fact that the chances of getting an essay question related to bio-chemistry being 1 in 8 or 12.5%.
    I loved the subject but it still amazes me that not once during the two years were we asked to write essays for homework on the material we were studying. This was downright negligent since the exam at the time consisted of 2 sessions of 4 hours writing essays on zoological subjects!

    To conclude, before I joined the IDF I realized that I needed to improve my spoken Ivrit.
    I sat down with a book and studied hard and surprised myself by the fact that even I could pick up a language.
    It did make me wonder though, what would have happened if I had been more inspired to learn in school and had been taught by real educators…. Nitkalta!

  242. David Kornbluth

    Memories of Hasmo are not necessarily pleasant but reading these stories brings tears of joy, thank you all.

    Personally my fondest memories are of maths with Eggy, as in this class there were three themes that would be in play on a rotational basis due to Eggy’s propensity to spend at least 50% of the class writing on the board.

    Theme One: Class was in the mobile units and in the summer there was a permanent collection of wasps lingering near the lights, the theme of the class was to throw ones text book strait up and aim to kill a wasp. This meant that if one missed the wasp went more psycho then any teacher in Hasmo, to mass hysteria from the pupils who claimed all sorts of allergies etc. etc.

    Theme Two: Same location, winter months, being short of wasps boys wanted to practice their aim and the target was the vicinity of the teacher with a paper ball. This spectacle reached it’s peak when a fist fight ensured between (a young man to be expelled can’t remember his name, sorry no lokshon here) and Eggy who saw the evil act only to be hit full on by ball, a truly classic moment as Eggy told the boy to get out and on the way out he pushed him out of the door and then one punched the other in the face many shouts of” ill kill you” from said boy and to class “you all saw that he hit me” followed by much shoving of each other..Only to be broken up when a very irate Jack Ordman marched said lout to Roberg’s office.

    Theme Three: Boys were engaged in a remake of the wartime classic the great escape, whereby if they were small and nimble (not me) they would either jump out of the window or the back door and come back some time later either from same or the main entrance – this often lead to scenes of hilarity when Eggy a great man but sadly not a great disciplinarian would ask where the boy had been and be told the toilet – to response of who let you go, you sir you dont remember, ..etc.

    To conclude teachers in Hasmo were in the vast majority a JOKE but the boys did not make it easy on them.

  243. Jeremy Cardash

    I have to agree with the final point of the last post, kind of a chicken and egg situation. Hasmo boys are expected to carry on the legacy but the teachers, however bad, should never have declined into such violent maniacs. Seems the frummer they were the more violent they were. They truly were extremist religious fundamentalists. But were our actions reactive or proactive?

  244. Nevies – my nose still bloody hurts!…….nice to see you here, stick some decent pictures of yourself on facebook please. Have I really known you since I was 6 at a Sinai/Hebron camp? Come to think of it there are loads of blocks on this site who were there too! I remember in that same lesson when you stuck that pencil up my nose that Andy Goldberg was wearing bright red shorts OVER his regular trousers waiting for Cyril to notice. He did eventually just when the bell went etc etc

  245. David Kornbluth

    I think it is fair to say that the cause was the teaching in Hasmo. This is demonstrated by a story my father tells, he was in Hasmo for 6th form, apparently he was noisy so when he had left and someone was talking in the Library some teacher said “Kornbluth stop talking” and a boy said “Sir Kornbluth did his A levels last year”….
    This was in the early mid 60’s.

    The teachers bar a very select few did not have a clue, furthermore this story i believe indicates it was nothing to do with time served in Hasmo wearing them down, which some may claim.

    In the final analysis it is the teachers who should have had the moral high ground and the maturity to lead by good example. Never at Hasmo to much delight.

  246. Knut Saam, I remember him well. After having Cyril for first form french (and later as a form master), Knut provided light relief.

    Unless my middle-age memory is failing me, I recall one incident in my second year (80-81)when Ivor Braff spat a mouthful of water over him, prompting the unforgettable retort of “Braff, are you crazy??’

    I don’t have too many bad memories of Hasmo as I largely manged to avoid some of the treatment meted out to classmates, Marks, Kopaloff, Kovler, Feigenbaum and Summers, probably because I lacked the chutzpah and courage to test the temper of the likes of Rabbi Greenberg, Cyril, Rabbi Angel, etc.

    I did manage to infuriate Ivan Marks and Jeff Soester sufficiently to get myself temporarily suspended from English in the sixth form, but they were both essentially decent blokes and can’t be mentioned in the same breath as some of their slap happy contemporaries.

    Having lived directly opposite Hasmo for seven years, (and still frequently having my name taken for being late) it was impossible to get away from, even during summer holidays.

    Probably the worst (or best) thing spending seven years at Hasmo did for me was turn me into an agnostic!!

    Dear old Mr Stanton advised me to go into retailing as a career rather than pursue my dream of sports journalism. He put me off for a few years, but I now work for Australian Associated Press in Sydney, so I reckon Hasmo must have done something right.

  247. Adrian Warren – how are you?
    Are you still extremely thin? What ever happened to that extremely attractive sister of yours?

    You do yourself an injustice by leaving the reader to believe that there were no Adrian Warren tales to tell.

    What about the time when Roger Gothold explained to us about sexual intercourse in the first form and when he finally reached the point of penal penetration you released the disgusted cry of, “Yeeach!” Hope you’ve gotten used to it since.

    And what about the wondrous occasion when Steve Posen harbored suspicion that were chewing gum in the biology lab, but you vigorously denied this. He told you to open your mouth that he could ascertain whether or not you were guilty of the hideous crime and you indeed opened it , but only about wide enough to insert a finger. Steve persisted and told you to open wider. With a face which seemed to attest to great pain and effort you opened it a little wider, now perhaps wide enough to insert a thumb. Steve had a strange naivety about him and by now you were both pretty much sprawled over the table him trying to help you open your mouth, you still supposedly making enormous endeavors but totally unable to open your mouth to anywhere near the required amount that would enable him to peer in. He kept saying, “Open wider” and you unable to talk properly for fear of opening your mouth too wide mumbling, “It is open”. It was at this point in time that I decided never to become a midwife.

    Take care,

    danielmarks@walla.com

  248. Daniel, I am no longer thin, hovering dangerously close to 80 kgs. You truly have a voluminous and outstanding memory
    Thanks to your prompting, I now recall my reaction of disgust to the only piece of sex education Hasmo ever provided me with.
    I don’t immediately recall Steve Posen’s alleged digital intrusion into my upper orifice, but i have no reason to dispute your detailed account.
    My sister also migrated to Australia with the rest of our family in 1981.

  249. I dream of 80 kilos! I dream of 90 etc etc.

    Next time you’re in Israel drag your 80kg over to the Markses and we’ll add a gram or two.

    Daniel

  250. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Hi Adrian,

    I remember Rodger Gothold’s attempt to educate us on sex.
    Some of us better informed types saw this as a wonderful opportunity to see what shades of crimson we could produce from our reluctant sex teacher.
    Rodger seemed to be focusing on an imaginary spot on his desk about 20 inches from him which he scratched at with his index finger and would not move his eyes from during the whole discourse.
    At every contrived and supposedly innocent question that we asked the spot staring became more intense, the scratching more urgent and his face went a darker shade of embarrassment red.
    The climax (sorry for the pun) was the “Yeeach!” from Adrian.

    Good to hear from you cobber.

  251. Roger had made extensive use of the passive voice to divorce people from the “dirty deed” as much as possible and had portrayed the male sexual organ as almost having almost a mind of its own – going here and going there.

    Zvi Chaimovitz took the subject quite seriously and being a Talmudic scholar of some repute, asked a learned question: (I paraphrase)

    “But sir, you say it goes in there when you’re in bed at night. If both the man and the woman were sleeping at the time, how do they know in the morning whether it happened or not?”

  252. Samantha Green

    As this Blog and comments should be a reflection of Hasmo where Cheek and Chutzpah were standard one should be able to post what one wishes. You Sly Fox.

    Imagine if Politicians here werent allowed to lie what kind of boring place would it be.

    Said in a high pitched yell.

    “Get out you lout”

  253. Simon Lawrence

    “Unless my middle-age memory is failing me, I recall one incident in my second year (80-81)”.

    Talk about a gimme.

  254. Bomb Scare
    We once had an afternoon off school when someone with an Irish accent phoned in claiming there was a bomb in the school.
    Ellis Feigenbaum wasn’t in school that day – ‘off sick’ was the claim. So, naturally, Ellis was the chief suspect.
    Does anyone know whether it was Ellis Feigenbaum?

  255. Hi Gary,

    Of course it was Ellis.

    The story I remember was that he had a test (or exam) and arrived at school and told Rodeberg or Willy (I forget) that he had passed a phone box, the phone had rung, he had answered it and had heard a voice saying that there was a bomb in HGS.

    Willy said, “I don’t believe you Feigenbaum” But had had no choice but to empty out the school.

    A teacher had been sent to inspect the telephone box and found it to be out of order, as was Ellis.

    If the legend is reading this, I’d be appreciative of his correcting me if I’m wrong.

  256. Ellis Feigenbaum

    The Legend is sitting in a dingy hotel room in South Dakota, wishing that the ira or anyone would blow the place up.
    I plead ignorance , memory loss and general malais if I can?
    Ok it was me, guilty as charged.However I seem to remember it was Daniel that hadnt done his homework and he requested my assistance in solving his problem.

  257. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Thanks for reminding me od Rogers sex education lesson,Ihave no idea what I WOULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT IT.
    Poor guy,I dont remember ever seeing a deeper shade of red on a human being.

  258. A particularly fine point about the evergreen Roger Gothold sex education lesson was that our form teacher was at the time an extremely frum batchelor and thus I can only assune had read up about the facts of life the night before in order to prepare his lesson.

    In terms of practical experience I think it can be safely assumed his had been acquired in a less “hands on” manner than say the venerable Ellis Feigenbaum.

    In all events we are all indebted to Adrian Warren for that moment in history.

  259. This is amazing. How many of you could ever forget the institution.

    The most amazing days of my life, spent quite a few of them out of the school either bunking or ‘excluded’.

  260. Yes, I remember Roger’s sex education lesson. Only Hasmo would have a virgin teaching sex education. Perhaps Roberg thought it appropriate as his name was “Roger” !

    Hello Adrian Warren and Simon Lawrence.

  261. Ellis, although your legendary status needs no enhancing even in South Dakota, I think readers might appreciate the following.
    On our way to Edgware synagogue youth service one Shabbat morning in which Ellis was to deliver a dvar torah, we passed by a red letter box on Mowbray Parade.
    “Why not set fire to the letter box?” thought Ellis fearlessly. So he took out his shabbas lighter and set fire to some paper which he gently inserted through the slit to try to burn all the letters inside.
    The incident somehow became known to the synagogue warden ex-Hasmo Jonno Candler who introduced his guest speaker:
    “After having set fire to a letter box on his way to shul, Ellis Feigenbaum will now deliver a dvar torah on derech eretz!”

  262. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Sory nick I dont mind admitting to the true stuff but that one never happened.

  263. Immediate verification please, Daniel Marks, Michael Goldman, Jonno Candler, perhaps Anthony Katz.

  264. I think I may have omitted Marc Pollack from the list below.
    Reciprocal greetings to Jonny Kovler and Danny Landau.
    Please tell me i am not the only weirdo who 30 years after leaving Hasmo, tries to stave off the onset of senility by regularly fulfilling a compulsive urge to recite the old form register.
    Who needs to worry about the onset of memory loss when rattling off the names of….. Amini,Aminoff, Bamberg, Bernard, Braff, Chern, B Cohen, Dangoor, Engelman`Feigenbaum, Freedman, Gertler Gottesman Hoffman Katz Kopaloff, Kovler, Landau Marks, Maybaum Miller Myers, Namdar, Orenstein, Reich Sagal Spiers, Summers, Wald Warren Weller.
    I recall David David Josse joining us around 2nd or 3rd form. Apologies for any omissions or incorrect spellings.

  265. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Lewis, Chaimowitz till he moved to Israel.
    Nick really it never happened, I have put fireworks through a shop letterbox, I set fire with your help to a dustbin in Hendon Park. but I have never set fire to a letter box.Just part of the legend that you helped to create .

  266. Ellis Feigenbaum

    By the way Nick, if I passed a letterbox on the way to the youth service I would have had to walk 200 yards in the wrong direction in order to get there.
    The liklehood is you set fire to the aforementioned letterbox then in a state of fear and shock at your own criminality duly did what you do really well, grassed me up for it.

  267. Adrian, I’m impressed. Imagine if you’d known all your work as fluently

  268. Ellis, the location of the crime is unrelated to its proximity to the shul.
    We would all roam the streets in any direction where we could find trouble. If a vulnerable unlocked car was north of the shul or a motorbike to the south, then so be it. Or we would visit the telephone booths at Wolmer Gdns or Edgware Station on Shabbat for prank calls – because if God wouldn’t have wanted us to use them he wouldn’t have put them there in the first place.
    I remember one night Daniel, I and some others, dressed up in black balaclavas and cat suits like the Milk Tray burglar, shined torches into parked cars and tryed to act suspiciously so we could get arrested. We failed miserably – we did not have your flair Ellis.
    I hated going to shul and would walk to Edgware Park on Shabbat with my West Ham kit below my shabbas best, have a game, then run to shul, poke one foot inside, and then truthfully tell my mum I had been to shul.
    Can someone please corroborate Ellis and his Royal Mail Arson attempt?
    Adrian Warren, good to hear from another member of the jolly cricketers. Mark’s memory serves him well. You were caught red-tongued in the science lab by Mr. Posen who demanded to see the empirical evidence. “You are chewing gum. Open you mouth boy”
    Scared out of your wits, you opened your mouth to the size of a pinprick. “Wider,” shouted Posen.
    Grimacing, contorting your face and screwing your eyes, your mouth hole grew to the width of a toothpick. “Wider”. I cannot remember what happened after the third round of facial gymnastics but it was as real as our Royal Mail saboteur.

  269. Talking of violent nutters on the teaching staff, does anyone remember a Mancunian (I think) called Murray Schwalbe (aka Murraymints) whose particualar punishment consisted of an overhand smash with a wooden ruler on the knuckles after you had to make a fist first? I think he only lasted a few months.

    Someone mentioned a non-Jewish teacher called Parnell. He taught us Maths and woodwork in the 70’s. Very pleasant guy and even a bit of a joker.

    I’m amazed to hear of Ivan Marks’ violent tendencies. We were one of the first classes to be taught by him and he was then a really gentle soul. The worst thing he ever did then was to let go with a sarcastic comment. When did he change? In my time he was having a condtant battle with the Rabbonim over the A-level English Lit syllabus – he wanted Sons & Lovers in, they didn’t. We did study it in the end, but it must have been slightly “underground” because by some sort of unspoken convention if a Rabbi appeared (eg Gerry Gerber) into the classroom, we all immediately buried the book in our desks and pretended to be writing some sort of essay. At the time we felt quite subversive to be undermining the Rabonnim together with a teacher….

    When you get to the Ellman legend, I’ve got a couple of good stories I’m holding back for now.

    Why haven’t we heard of Curly Kohn (history, German, RK) ? When did he retire?

    Ellis, when are you next in PT? Regards to your Mum.

  270. Laurence Chester

    Hi Graham, Its good to hear from you. I remember the Prep well. I had a terrible time there but made good friends. Its amazing that so many people I remember have responded to this blog. Mark Nevies sent me the link so thanks Mark. Jonny, I know you were mates with my cousin Brian. I happened to see him last week at a cousins bar mitzvah after 20 years. He looked great (though older which somehow suprised me!) and is living in the States with wife and 4 kids.
    And Simon, your son is going out with one of my distant cousins! Small world. (Apparently he is a really good kid so that must be from his mum then).

  271. Chester,
    you remember Hasmo Prep and not Hasmo Grammer due to the fact that you were too young to skip school as a kid and only started when you got to Hasmo Boys!!!
    talking of Rabbi Lewis -he was a very decent teacher , polite, reserved, never shouted and always at 11.30am every Sunday morning kicked me out of shiur for something or other (possibly asking too many questions–none on the subject at hand) getting me to the playground just in time to be picked by the Lads (non- yeshiva stream) for a good hours football before going home
    Ratner,
    been stopped by the Police lately for crossing the road in Netanya while the Red man has been flashing– i remember once seeing you trying to explain to the nice Israeli policewoman in English that you did not realise one had to wait for the Green man to appear as you were only a tourist–having lived there for some 8 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  272. The daunting task of determining the truth regarding the Ellis Fegenbaum letter box fiasco has fallen upon my shoulders, I will not shirk neither shall I shun this tribulation.

    There are facts that I remember beyond doubt and there are those that I am not sure about.
    I defy anyone to contradict the unforgettable moment that Kopaloff cites when Jono kandler said, “And now Ellis after setting fire to letter boxes will give a dvar Torah (or drasha, I forget) on derech eretz.”

    I say to El’s credit that many a lesser man might have flinched but not Ellis. He was completely cool, gave a polite smile and said, “Thank you Jono.”, and began his dvar Torah. I don’t remember the speech itself but I remember that it wasn’t bad at all. Ellis did not deny or argue the point, but anyone who is acquainted with Fegenbaum will tell you that this meant nothing. Ellis has been the butt of many lies and false rumors, most of which I initiated, including a libidinous rendezvous with a certain shoat which has absolutely no basis in fact. Therefore, I cannot conclude that El’s unpreparedness to challenge Jono Kandler can necessarily be interpreted as an admission of guilt. It would have been wholly in keeping with the El of the 70s, that we all loved so deeply, to simply resolve not to “stoop that low” as to lock horns with Jono.

    Now we reach the crux of the matter. My recollection is that the mail burning incident took place on Friday night and not Shabbat morning. We were oft to wonder the streets of Edgware “up to no good” on Friday nights. This would both answer the question how El would have had the bottle to do such a thing and more importantly the geographical query raised by the legend himself.

    I do not remember whether I was there and saw the incident or whether I heard about it by way of another. If the latter is the case then it is not inconceivable that Ellis is, albeit uncharacteristically, telling the truth.

    A final unanswered question, which we may never know but could shed light on the whole conundrum is how Jono knew. If, in fact, the story was a disreputable fabrication, this could explain how both Jono and myself had heard the same story. I remember that I was not surprised by what Jono said, I just don’t remember if I had been there or not.

    Moreover, El’s saying that if he had done it, he would admit it does seem to ring true. Let me say that it was the kind of thing that on a weekday he, and I for that matter, was wholly capable of doing. I could not have done it on the Sabbath and I have no inkling as to El’s level of religious observance at this exact juncture in time.

    Finally, I wish both El, Nick and the aforementioned swine health, happiness and a long and productive life.

  273. Simon Lawrence

    Laurence

    You’re going to have to specify which Simon here – I could be in a lot of trouble here!

  274. MichaelGoldman

    Concerning the “Setting Fire To The Letterbox” saga I feel it only right and just to report that though I have heard the story told many times over the years I cannot in all honesty bear witness the the crime.

    I do however feel that this should in no way dampen Ellis’s enthusiasm for the illegal.
    Unless I am very much mistaken many a letterbox can be found in South Dakota.

  275. Michael Goldman

    I also heard that the L.B.S(LetterBox Saga) happened on Friday Night.
    I think the idea of believing El just because there is no reason for him to lie is ridiculous.

    Does anybody know what the statute of limitations is for destroying mail ?

  276. Shimon Maoz (Goldstein) and Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler have both changed their names. Yet for reasons of convenience or posterity, they bracket their former. No half measures Shimon, has undergone an overall surname transformation so understandably old peers may require a bracketed reminder. But even bona fide boneheads like myself, who have never frequented VIP lounges at airport terminals, cannot fail to work out the cryptic Jonathan – (Jonny) connection. Although not offended by them Jonathan, your brackets are redundant and I may ask MelchettMike to have them removed.

    A comedian once noted that those who abbreviate the month of July into “Jly” – must be in one hell of a rush.

    I was formerly Nicky, yet to cultivate a more macho image in my girl-pulling pubescent days at Hasmo, I dropped the “y” and became Nick. Later I found that a far easier way to pull was to curb crawl with a bottle of Scotch, a leaded pencil, and a wad of money.
    Ivor Braff got fed up with being dubbed “Ivor the Engine,” so he changed his name to “Clint”. But the erogenous ridicule of being called “Clit” Braff proved too much. Today I believe he is Mike.
    Unlike the forgiving Daniel Marks, for whom repentant piety seems to ooze from his every pore, (thanks for grassing on Ellis with your arson letter box confirmation), I “yes” admit to harboring malice towards the pedagogic sadists at school and there are many names, as well as a spit in the face and a punch in the eye, that I would like to call Mr. Bloomberg and Rabbi Greenberg.
    Mark Nevies Good day mate.

  277. Michael Goldman

    Dan
    I’m just a bit confused about something you wrote.
    It seems a little starnge to me that religious observance should apply to the Desanctification of the Sabbath but be totally oblivious to The Burning Of the Contents of Letterboxes.
    Hopefully all the letters belonged to Goyim.

  278. Michael Goldman

    Nick
    Good to hear from you
    I thought I was all alone for a minute there.

    I too would like to say hi to Mark Nevies , Simon

    Leigh and Danny Ratner (FAGGOT) brackets included just to make sure he knows to whom I am refering and anybody else around from my past.

  279. Readers should know that the above Michael Goldman is unquestionably the most religious and blind-faith believer I have ever met. He is also a damned good chap whom I feel proud to know.
    To oxygenize and aerate the letter box so that the letters would combust and the fire would take after the smoldering paper had been shoved in, did not Ellis blow through the slit to generate an oxygen flow cycle?

  280. Michael Goldman

    Nick

    Thanks for the words of praise , however I feel it would only be just to inform the good readers thet anybody who doesn’t pick his nose on Shabat (see Rav Ovadia Yossef’s Psak) is considered by Nick to be Really Really Frum.I try telling the lad that I don’t pick it duinng the week but I fear he knows me only too well.

    Sadly you seem to have totally forgotten the likes of Berel Hammer and the kid who used to walk very fast to avoid Bitul Torah.

  281. Goldman

    I’m sure you understand what I’m going to say but I’ll say it anyway.

    When I said that I was capable at the age of 12 of burning a letter box but not breaking shabbat, I was not making a moral case for the distinction, though from a point of view of the severity of the respective offenses in Jewish law it could be argued, but simply trying to put myself back into the shoes of what I (and maybe you) were then.

    You must feel very clever to find a moral inconsistency in the potential (but not actual) morality of a 13-year-old 35 years ago.

    If you cast your mind back to that period in time there were certain halachic matters that we adhered to strictly – shabbat, kashrut etc and others that we were much more lax about – maybe lashon hara, negiya etc. The truth is that even in 2009 as we near the age of 50 we are not totally consistent.

    Like I said, you knew it anyway but I guess it had to be said.

    Love you very much,

    Daniel

  282. hello Nick, Michael, Ellis and all the other three boys that went to Hasmonean

    i could have sworni had about 90 boys in my year but this is becoming a private blog for Nick, Michael, Ellis and the two Daniels– perhaps most of you have no stories due to suspensions, expelled or spent most your school days round at Simon Blitz’s house playing cards
    Graham Summers have you given up writing or have you run out of stories!!!!!
    Anthony Silber you have a photographic memory surely you can share a story with us and where are all the boys from my Year— i thought we were the best year the school had ever had!!
    being happily married now for over 17 years i can not talk about Mr Tompkin’s daughter but i think we all remember her some better than others
    anyone want to buy my Friday Dinner ticket for 50pence– best meal of the week– Meat Loaf and Crunchie!!

  283. Goldman,Nevies,Lawrence Chester and now Simon Leigh – we’re getting bigger but still along way to go to catching up with the “year above us” lads on this site. Funnily enough Nevies just the other day a policeman stopped me for crossing a red light, he looked at my Teudat Zehut card and said “you’d never do that in England” – so much for an Israeli policeman’s knowledge of jay-walking in the UK!

  284. Ellis Feigenbaum

    There are things which we know to be true and things which were rumoured to be true. Part of the legend was never letting the facts get in the way of the unfolding story.
    Of the things which I know to be true of myself, I have no real wish to repudiate, of the the things which I know to be true of my friends which may be embarrasing to them I have no wish to advertise.
    I shall , as is my way, continue to make no comment on various parts of the legend, and in general I shall continue to ignore Goldman.
    Nevies , good to se you finally made an appearance.
    Ellis

  285. Hi Mark. I’m trying to coax Anthony into whipping out stories of the past. I’ve spoken to many boys who are all reading this blog quite avidly and all seem to have heard about this, but havent yet taken up the gauntlet (spelt right? – what do I know, I went to Hasmo’) By the way, you’re still missed at harmony close..take care

  286. On a serious personal level, the many traumatic anti-semitic or gang-related assaults we suffered around Edgware Station, the Kenilworth estate or in West Hampstead were certainly a catalyst and a springboard for my Aliya. But reading this blog, my bemused Comrade Wife makes the very painful point that we were beaten far worse in frequency and in severity in school by Jewish teachers. Another sad fact is that one of the few teachers who I believe did not resort to whacking kids, or pulling their hair, (correct me if I am wrong) was ex-Monk, Mr. Pearce, who after disseminating missionary literature at Golders Green station had his school tenure promptly terminated.
    Having become an informal educator for a hard-core, heavy duty, educational establishment with many delinquents, I have not once allowed temptation or frustration to get the better of my moral obligations (or of my fear of a prison stretch), and I am reminded of Rabbi Lau’s tear jerking childhood holocaust memoirs “Do Not Raise Your Hand Against the Boy.”
    How I would love to present a copy to so many of our Hasmo teachers – and smash them over the head with it.

  287. An Open Letter to Nick (Nicky) Kopaloff

    I know where you’re coming from Nick and incidentally I defy you to find anywhere where I have displayed “repentant piety”. I have said, but I’ll repeat that in the 70s we were often illegally, violently attacked by untrained or very badly trained lazy “teachers”. That’s it.

    Whether they were truly sadists, I would have to say that for the most part I doubt it. I don’t think that most of them were gratifying themselves sexually by hitting us, I don’t recall any of them moaning or gasping while doing it.

    I don’t even think it was non-sexual sadism, for the most part. I don’t think that most of them particularly enjoyed doing it. I doubt that if one of them would beat nobody all day he would go home feeling frustrated and would beat his wife or his children instead. I may be wrong and I’m not saying this to excuse them, on the contrary. If they had been mentally ill or unable to control their sadistic impulses, that could be their defense.

    As I have said, when I shouted, “Hit him sir, hit him!” that was because we all knew that hitting in many cases the only thing many teachers showed any competence when doing.
    I too teach and am responsible for teachers in several institutions, most teachers have problems, some more some less but beating up our students is never considered as a pedagogic tool. I, like you Nick, never feel the urge. I want to believe that had I taught in Hasmonean of the 70s I would have been able to educate, even pupils like Marks, Nevies and Feigenbaum (I apologize if anyone feels he should have been included too) without resorting to violence.

    In the gemara Rav Ashi meets King Menashe in a dream and asks him if his generation was so clever how was it that they had worshipped idols and graven images. Menashe answers him, “If you had lived in my generation, not only would you have worshipped idols, but you would have lifted up the sides of your cloak so you could run after them.” It’s never simple when one generation judges another.

    Read everything I wrote Nick without just looking for a line to take out of context.

    I don’t forgive anyone for anything and worse still with the exception of Clive Fierston, who as far as I can recall hurt not a soul, nobody has asked for our forgiveness.

    I don’t romanticize about Hasmonean days nor do I profess love or affection for any of the monsters you have so poignantly described.
    I don’t have any open wounds and I don’t feel angry. Maybe I should but I don’t. I can’t control my feelings.

    As a teacher myself looking back, most of those who beat us just seem very sad and pathetic – wretched creatures in the truest sense of those words.

  288. A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry –
    As early as the 14th of January Joey Freudmann described this blog as “Absolutely brilliant.” And continued that he could not stop laughing. The next day Alex commented on the staff picture “Just going through the faces made me burst out laughing.” Not to be outdone on the 16th Josh Haruni claimed that the blog, “Made me laugh out long and loud.”

    It then took another ten days but on the 26th Daniel Baum explained that “I never went to Hasmo, but my kids do and this blog made me cry with laughter.” The theme was repeated the next day when Benjy Broder said, “I had tears running down my face with laughter”

    Two days later tears were not enough for Danny Hass who was the first to actually lose a body part, “Great read laughing my head off..” then Joey Freudmann was to return to an already used theme with “I could not stop laughing..”

    Dovi Friedmann on February 4, focused more on the time related elements to his laughter, “I havent laughed so hard in a long time.” And Jonny Horovitz mentioned family members with “…my kids are asking me whats so funny that I keep cracking up laughing.” Henry Sperber returned to the time theme but combined it with the family motif, “Laughing out loud every couple of minutes, my kids are sure that there is something wrong with me.”

    Terry M on February gave us a little more biographical perspective with “…which have caused me to laugh out loud which is something I rarely do.” Until on the 13th Ellis Feigenbaum raised serious concerns with his, “I have just laughed so much I nearly chocked.”

    As if concerns for the health of one ex-Hasmo was not enough, even more worrying was the fate of Jonathan Mehdi’s backside, “I have spent hours laughing my arse off ”
    What is wrong with all of us?

  289. I noticed somebody put up a list of all his classmates so here’s my list from 1973-78. As I was always the dinner monitor it actually return quite easily! Abrams, Adler, Baran, Bloom, Dwek, Gazal, Gerber, Gittlemon, Goldberg, Goldman, Heptner, Hoffert, Jackson, Jacobs, Jacobson, Kramar,Lebrett, Leigh, Lemon, Lerner, Miller, Nevies, Ratner, Schiff, Spitzer, Steinberg, Stern, Turetsky, Verstandig, and Wohlfarth. Weisz joined half way through the 3rd year and Groen joined in the 4th year.

  290. Ok so here’s all the teachers…I know boring…but its a slow day today. Willy, Roberg, Abraham, Angel, Sid Balin, Cyril, Chadwick, Chishios, Cooper, Denham, Fierstone, Gerber, Roger, Greenberg, Woody, DJ, Johnson, Joughin, Kahan, Lawrence, Lewis, Lent, Marks, Bert, Jack, Nachum, Payley, Steve, Rosten, Soester, Mitch, Joe Witriol, Hackett, Ellman, Osher, Finklestein. I also recall a Rabbi Golan, a Rabbi Kass (a favourite of mine in the 2nd year), the bloke in the office Mr. Klein and Willy’s secretary Mrs. Hepner.

  291. ….and I forgot Tim Messom who left to join a circus……

  292. Jonathan (Jonny) Kovler

    Mr. Klein stood in the doorway.
    The chair was already leaving my hand and was spearing across the classroom to join the pile of others which had been already been catapulted there.
    “Oh Shit, I’m in trouble again” – if I could just somehow have reminded myself of that awful sinking feeling just before I was about to do something stupid I would have saved myself years of pain.
    For some reason the school secretary failed to appreciate my display of athletic prowess that had laid waste to half the classroom seating.
    He did not even seem angry, rather a resigned look was etched on his face as if to say, “Boys will be louts”.
    I respected Mr. Klein more than many of the farcical excuses for teachers that stalked the halls of Hasmo and I felt sad that it had been him that had caught me.
    I followed him to the school office where I sat waiting for Stanton to pass judgment…….

    Speaking for myself my testosterone levels must have been pretty high during those years since I enjoyed a good bundle and I was not one to back down from a fight.
    There were school free-for-alls that I happily threw my body into which were rough and often bloody.
    I had fights in and out of school so the violence displayed by the teachers was no more physically damaging that a misplaced knee to the groin sustained in a Judo practice session.
    As mentioned above we also occasionally occupied ourselves with chair chucking during wet school breaks.
    I am not trying to be funny and I am not proud or otherwise about any of the above…..it is just the way it was.

    In retrospect I admit that I tried to wind up some of the slap happy staff just so they would react.
    It was a sort of victory to get these overgrown pompous pretenders to lose control and expose themselves for what they really were – bored bullies who could not teach.
    The pain they may have inflicted was more that balanced by getting them to demean themselves and any redness of cheek from a provoked slap was worn as a badge of pride.
    Yes, I stood there with Nicky, Daniel and others urging the Rabbi Gs of this world to “Hurt him, hurt him Sir” but that was my way of saying.
    “For all your airs and graces you are a joke and no better than me”.

    But that cannot be said for my relationship with all the staff.
    There were those that I truly respected and whilst I may still have messed around a bit to keep up apperances, I enjoyed their lessons and learned from the Rostens and Denhams of this world.
    I am sure someone will chime in with a “Oh but don’t you know that he thumped so and so, etc. etc ”. when I mention these names but I remember them as professionals who performed their jobs with dedication.
    They did not try to dominate or abuse, they simply wished to impart the love that they had for their chosen subjects and inspire us.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the women and men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea”. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands

  293. Mark Nevies I think you are wrong regarding Friday dinner-it was soya rolls and chocolate crunchies not meat loaf.
    Anthony, remember when you pushed me through a window during Latin with Mrs Shapiro

  294. Nevies is right – definitely meat loaf!

  295. Thursday – Meatloaf & Jelly square, which a certain M. Hakimian was wont to put in his pocket so he could eat it in the playground!

    Friday – Soyas & Cocoa Crispy squares. Much easier to put in the pocket, or rather take out of the pocket…

  296. Danny Ratner,
    you forgot Feld in the register

    when we were in school it was Meat Loaf on a Friday but we are little older than you Mr Tibber and perhaps the menus and days were changed after we left
    i can even remember having Meat Loaf on a Friday with the ChocolateCrunchie in Hasmo Primary and that was due to Mrs Artman O’ H cooked for both schools

  297. Mark,Feld? Maybe you’re thinking of Hasmo Primary? Don’t remember him but there again I barely remembered Hoffert – only remember him coz on the first day of the 4th year we had human biology with Joughin and he asked him him what sperm were. Reichmann from one of the other forms collapsed on the floor dying from laughter.

  298. avromi feld
    small blond haired guy

  299. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Having on most days managed to sell my dinner ticket for at least 3 times its culinary value, and on some occasions even managed to resell others dinner tickets at a small margin.
    I can honestly say that i dont actually remember what was on the menu on any given day.
    the only thing I do remember was a certain gentleman who helped to deliver the aforementioned meals, by the name of twinkletoes.
    Lunchbreak was normally a period for doing business or getting involved in varying degrees of trouble.

  300. Yeah that poor sod twinkletoes – perfectly suited along with all the other staff. Nevies – small and blonde – still no recollection even though I’ve known quite a few female small blondes over the years…..

  301. Wow Nevies and Feigenbaum one after the other…..

  302. Osher, book-binding & finger-nail inspections….

    As a result of Osher’s interest in other people’s fingers, it once decided to do something about it in one of our book-binding lessons.

    On a given day, in the middle of a book-binding lesson one of the guys in the class starts calling out…”Ow!!! My fingers!!!”. Osher comes over to inspect and finds a set of pinkies sticking out of a book-press…it took several moments for him to realise that they were nothing other then Tival vegi susages.

  303. Thanks for this Mike – the stories are great – but the underlying message also has to be heard.

    A few years back i had friday night dinner with a few ex-Hasmo mates and of course all the stories came out and had us in stithces – but then it got it a bit serious and we discussed whether we would send our kids to Hasmo. All of us, save Mike Turetsky, said no. Mike argued that while the education was so lousy we all came out ok, so how could he deny his kids such a laugh.

  304. many of us living here in London have had these talks with other Ex-Hasmo pupils about schools and even if one does not want to send their kids to Hasmo then i believe they should go to another jewish school and not a non-jewish school

    no excuse to send to a non- jewish school now days

    as one of the Head Teachers once said to a couple at a open evening — you have two choices — one send them to a non jewish school and have private teachers/ lessons in Kodesh or send them to a jewish school and give them private lessons in Chol subjects– it depends on your priorities!!
    i have two kids in Hasmo –one in Girl’s school and one in the boys and i can tell you that the schools are very different than when we were kids and they have become good– like any school they have things to improve on but in general we are very happy and the friends they are making in school i hope and believe will be friends for life just like we made

  305. Mark, with respect there are a plethora of reasons why not to send our children to non-Jewish schools (I have 4 in the system) and I am sorry to advise that we all do indeed have far more than two choices !

    That said, you make the most valid of points in that their happiness and friendships last as ours evidently have.

    Must dash, need to council a few battered wives and abused kids from ‘good’ Jewish homes in Stamford Hill !

    Best, Grant

  306. hi Grant,
    the word plethora that you use

    if i am correct (and would like to thank all our science department teachers for our education in this field) means a bodily condition characterized by an excessof blood and marked by turgescence (swelling) [the explanation of these words are for the majority of Hasmo boys myself included as words with more than four lettters are difficult to understand] and a florid complexion

    i think a lot of us had that condition while growing up with our school dinners and the extra nutrients that we received by the selling of other foods during the day at different locations around the school by some very kind boys who i am sure did it for our health and not for the few pennies they made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  307. Mark you say you have 2 choices but theres a 3rd – simply get out of London and come and live in Israel – why bother living in the Galuth? Reminds me of Willy, Roberg, Jack etc who had nothing to do with Israel, it was always for the good of British Jewry – load of rubbish. That school was so anti Israel. Teachers like Baddiel ,Cooper etc just like Gerald Kaufman. I remember only one teacher came to the badly named “Israel Society” and that was Finklestein.I just can’t believe that there are still Jews who don’t live in Israel.

  308. Daniel
    You may be interested to know that Rabbi Roberg has been living in Jerusalem for years.

  309. I never had to tackle the horrendous dilemma of either sending my children to a school like Hasmonean or to a non-Jewish school but I would like to think that, had I (G-d forbid) have chosen to lead my life in the filthy galut of London, I would have sent my children to a non-Jewish school.

    There they would have learned to love their country England and their fellow-countrymen. Their teachers would have been real Englishmen who would speak the Queen’s English without bastardizing it with awful Yiddish words and phrases like “yiddiskeit” and “When you go to shul on Shabbas daven with more kavane.”

    They would be proud of their heritage and their history, William the Conqueror, Cromwell, Winston Churchill, they would stand up erect when they chant, “God Save the Queen” and a tear would roll down their cheeks when they would hear “Rule Britannia” on the last night of the proms.

    One day they would grow up and find a similar nice English girl and bring me nice English grandchildren with names like Matthew, Paul and Jessica.

    This is what , I hope, I would have done had I chosen England over Israel and that is also why I chose Israel.

  310. Danny (R)
    Jack Ordman also went to live in Israel not so long ago (when his wife died)– he has two daughters there

    you are correct we should all be in Israel– we are lucky enough to have my Parents-In-Law and Sister in Law that lives in Jerusalem so we manage to go a couple of times a year and PG when the kids finish school or when the Muslims kick us out (probably within the next 10 years) [no offence Eli Baron–how are you mate] we will all be living there

    Flop– Finklestein is still teaching and my son next year will have him —
    the kids today in Hasmo think they are very bad/ naughty etc but after looking at this blog that Metchett Mike set up (hello Mike- great blog well done– why don’t you arrange a reunion somewhere in Jamaica or America– get one of the Hedge Fund Boys from Hasmo sponser it all) realise they have a long way to go to get close to our activities / behaviour before being considered a real Hasmo Yob

    Johnny Boker is also still in the school

  311. nevies….go and do some bloody work! That goes for the rest of you louts!!! Btw. No one has mentioned Rabbi Hool or a very nice man called Mr Warner. There was also a Rav who worked at the school for a few weeks before he was found out by the social security for working at the school and claiming benefits.

  312. wagels
    have not seen you since you walked out of that club last Tuesday night wearing your wife’s dress and boots!!!!!!

  313. I promised myself I would not get sucked into this blog as it appears to be like the Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave!Also, as I’m not from Edgware I wasn’t sure my post would be accepted.
    However, it was pointed out to me that Daniel Marks laid into someone calling themselves Jacob for writing that we all love Cyril, thus I felt compelled to clarify that it was not me who made that claim. Add to that Daniel Ratners continual bleating that not enough members of our class are on the blogg(I noticed Andy Goldberg on the Cyril blog Danny so that will make you feel better), so I have decided to take the plunge. Now Danny, this was a nice friendly blog, why did you have to introduce all that nasty Zionism, shame on you.I understand that as a gooner you feel you have nothing to go back to old blighty for!! Talking of the Israel society I was reminicing with Anthony Wagerman last shabbat about the Yom HaAtzmaut assembly that the school had one year that ended with the big boys (lead by Geoff Turetsky if I’m not mistaken)singing Hatikva. An horrified Rabbi Roberg did his utmost to stop the singing, but the more he tried the more people joined in until pretty much the whole school was singing. A glorius moment of victory against the dark forces of evil, a real tear jerker. Daniel Marks, are you going to claim it was you who led the singing?
    By the way, not only does Mark Nevies have family in Israel, but in his modesty he failed to mention that his nephew just married a certain miss Scharansky. This is closing a circle for Mark as he sees himself as personally responsible for Scharanskys release. Daniel, are you claiming that one too?

  314. Hershy Orenstein

    David Ebrahimoff kindly sent me a link – fantastic stuff. Here is a treal DJ story from 1966.
    Hershy Orenstein’s first day in school, minding his own business when Mr Stanton z”l asked me to carry a message over to the chemistry labs to DJ. Knocked timidly on the door, after sneaking a peak through the old crital windows to see if he was there, on hear him shout-out “come.” Siddled in my new school uniform and waited whilst he completed talking to a small group of black jacketed sixth formers over an experiment. After keeping me standing there for a while he looked up and bellowed “BOY … CAN’T YOU SEE I AM BUSY! and looking at the 6th formers bellowed “BOY … DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” I replied quite meakly “Yes sir, of course I know. You Mr Jacobsen, the one who went camping with Torah Ve’Avodah, my mother was there … she was single then.” The 6th formers jolted up-right and swivled as one to look me up and down and ever since then, when in Hasmo, DJ left me well alone.
    Despite being pressured by some of those 6th formers I feigned no further knowledge about how and what my mother knew of DJ.

    HO, Elazar 90942

    PS Anyone remember one of the teachers bringing a Lea Enfield rifle to school! I think itwas “Noddy” !

    PPS My Yorker/Jorka the gym teacher (emigrated to Australia) was pretty handy with the carpet duster – which he administered both in the gym and at the behest of Mr Stanton in his study.

  315. jacob,
    you are too kind–i would never have brought up the subject of Sharansky but now we are family (a just reward for all my efforts together with Uncle Lord Janner!!!!) you may be wondering why i joined a group started by and organised by Jeremy Graus together with Hasmo Girls led by Dina Racker handcuffing myself to a Podium while the Russian Violinist tried to do a solo, throwing jacks onto the stage while the Russian Ballet performed and why every Sunday we chained ourselves to the Airoflot building in town– it was because of you–i saw how you just 7 -9 years earlier were just an average kid in school till one day you appeared on TV in your own show called The Barmitzvah Boy- my name is Jacob Jackson– publicity was good and we figured bad publicity for the Russians would be good for the refusniks and together with others round the world finally did the trick-Sharansky and then other Refusniks were released– as for you Jacob from the day you became a film star for the next few years you were the King –poor Danny Turetsky the Rabbi’s son knocked off his perch– it was you Jacob the other Rabbi’s son now making the news–all of us having to make an appointment to talk to you,—the girls from BA and Sinai together with the boys from Ezra throwing themselves at you begging you to take them out
    this ofcourse lasted only a couple of years (Turetsky never really resurfacing– a blow that he never quite recovered from– only in later life with a bit of help and confidence building from me did D turetsky come back on the scene)— again you Jacob [or by then known as Jake] become just an average guy from Hasmo like the rest of us and i understand had to travel all the way to Australia so that you could finally find a wife– the Australians not knowing about Hasmo life agreed to marry you
    i do feel sorry for any Australians that marry Hasmo boys!!!!!

    Laurence Chester,
    i can beat your 25 sides from Cyril–
    together with Andy Goldberg we got 100 sides from Cyril
    Andy was leaving school so on his last day after Cyril dished out 2 sides each to Andy and myself for talking in class Andy asked for more-ofcourse Cyril said if he continued to be a little wretch he would double it and then the bartering begun till it reached 100
    ofcourse between everyone in the class we had 100’s of sides waiting to be purchased and not 5 mins after Cyril arrived in the staff room did we take the sides to him
    Roger Gothold got to watch Cyril throw the papers all over the floor and tell us that he wanted 200 by the beginning of the next term!!

  316. I am a present student in the school and I am the second son of Jeremy Salter. Myself and few other students with the help of the teachers are watching over purim this year!!!

    I know back in the days hasmo was purim all year round but now the school is a bit more school like! We have working doors, a new Gerber, an old finklestein and Jacobson, and many other things!

    A new initiative for this year was to make a purim video to show in school and sell for charity afterwards. The proceeds are going to Sderot relief to help residants of Sderot which is under constant threat from Hamas in Gaza and Camp Simcha which helps ill children try and live normal lives.

    WE ARE OFFERING THE DVD FOR £5 INCLUDING P+P!!! all you have to do is either
    email: daniel_salter456@hotmail.com / eitan@thefreilichs.co.uk
    web: http://www.hasmo-ohhappydays.webs.com

    This is only going to be on sale for around a month from now! It will give you a chance to see some new and old teachers, jokes, students and your fav school… HASMONEAN!!!

    DVD’s selling fast so act quick to catch a copy!

    Daniel Salter
    on behalf of the OH! HAPPY DAYS! – the purim show team.

  317. jeremy issacharoff

    I just received this link from David “EB” Ebrahimoff and can’t stop laughing. I know Hasmo may have been a major dump, the teachers severly eccentric and the pupils mentally challenged but it was a brilliant education for a lot of us and nothing on earth makes me laugh as much as old Hasmo stories. I was in hasmo from 66 to 73 with David EB Ebrahimoff, Andy Segal, Joe Wyse, Walter Reid, Jeremy Kohn (the first hasmo retailer), Martin Malin, David “Ammo” Aminoff, Melvin Brill, Leo Kauffman, David Cooper, Sammy Stein, Elkan Carr, Julian Shamroth, Jonny “Shaps” Shapiro, Alan Taub, Simon Bentley and other icons of the school. We have not been given our fair share of stories on the blog and I hope the record will be altered. We also have to give respect to some of the greatest teachers Noddy Lever (first lessons ever on the holocaust), Curly Kohn (taught me zionism), Mr Franks (two left shoes), Cyril, Bernie Winters, Mitch Taylor, Rabbi Gerber, Rabbi Rhoberg, “Grandpa” the art teacher, Ellman who bore “the white glove” as he was allergic to chalk and he caned me, Parnell woodwork, Woody Harrison who we once called on the phone at home and told him he was fired, Sid Bailin, the female french assistant, Willie and Joe Witriol who once wore a white jacket to school till Martin Malin sprayed his back with a fountain pen. I could go on but I am in the middle of a solemn diplomatic meeting on the iranian nuclear threat and am almost crapping myself laughing while writing this. Other distinct memories: being hit with JerK’s carpetbeater and I will never forget the Hasmo pupil that had a little blue disabled three wheeled car. He used to go out and buy fish and chips for his colleagues for a modest profit. He used to drive back into the playground with the windows totally steamed up and was then surrounded by starving hasmoneans killing eachother to get the first pack of greasy chips. Somehow he survived as did we all!!!
    Great blog!

  318. Jacob Jackson
    I didn’t understand everything you wrote but are you implying that I took the credit for something I never did?

    If so, please specify exactly what it was and I will publish a public apology. If not, then what exactly are you saying?

  319. Hershy Orenstein

    Jeremy : “Grandpa” the art teacher – was Mr. Rothschild, one of the “yekes” who came to UK before WWII. A superb artist in all media – but after watercolours he excelled in scraperboard (etching out white from a black surface) and lino-cuts.
    You also missed out : Johnny Denham (Geography) who later ran an art gallery in West Hampstead. Albert Myers (Classical Hebrew) now he really was a great character.

  320. Jake about time! Got my e-mail about this web site I see – nice one. I wasn’t knocking Nevies on a personal level – I couldn’t possibly ever do that – just the whole Hasmo attitude towards Israel etc . As for Jack and Roberg living in Israel today – well if I was to bump into either one of them I would give them a mouthfull about their anti-zionist attitudes they had or maybe still have regardless. As for your comment on the Arsenal……just lend me one of your dentist drills……

  321. jake and Danny,

    relax boys
    Danny is correct –the best option is to live in Israel but in my case i will be coming just a few years after the two of you and i know it was not aimed at me danny but at the whole of English Jewry — also Jake like yourself left due to the fact he supports Chelsea but i follow Man Utd and therefore there are some good reasons to stay!!!!!!!!!

  322. Can we please move swiftly on from childish Chelscum/Red Scum banter (you are both sad glory-hunters) and the burning of letter boxes to a far more interesting topic, raised by Mark Nevies earlier in the week (but left tantalisingly open) – Mr. Tompkins’ daughter . . . surely no one ever tried to slip anything into her ‘letter box’?

  323. well…..not quite Mike….but once we were playing cricket and Tomkins was watching and someone smashed the “cricket” ball (of course a tennis ball) over the fence at the back. So Tomkins told me to go upstairs to his flat and ask his wife for a tennis ball – he said he had collected tons of them. I knocked on the door of his flat but instead of his wife opening the door it was his daughter and she obviously was expecting someone else probally a boyfriend definitely not a 14 year old 3rd form boy because she was wearing, well, very little (over the years it gets less and less!).

  324. it Waggles nevies- not Wagles – Mr Tompkins daughter was a stunning girl and must have been 17 or 18 years old when I was at the school circa 78/79. She always wore tight skirts and always made her walk through the front playground as deliberately long and provocative as possible. Classes stopped and I recall Mr Lawrence once making a number of inappropriate remarks on the theme of ‘letter postage’ (see above). Anyway. 1F, 2BL, 3P, 4K, 5 JO. Come on lads – you know who you are!!

  325. In the event that my remarks made about the love of a certain “mysterious Jacob” towards Cyril Bloomberg were construed by anyone to be a reference to Jacob Jackson, I wish to make it clear that this was not the case.

    I wish to apologize for any embarrassment that may have been caused to him or his friends.

  326. Registration was often a voluntary thing in the 6th form. I was honoured to be in 6SP. Posen thought the actual register was voluntary as well.
    He would recite the names from memory. I never knew if he actually updated the register later. Seeing as it was always the same 6 or 7 boys that came, I doubt it was difficult.
    I also remember Gadi Meir (Israeli diplomats kids) demonstrating how he could get his leg behind his head. He is sitting on the table and achieves the aforementionned.
    In comes Posen, Gadi is on the table rolling around with his leg behind his head. Posen says nothing, as this is obviously normal behaviour for the asylum.
    Come on boys who went to hasmo in the 80’s!!! lets hear some stories

  327. Michael, with the greatest of respect, I don’t think any of us (froom or not) appreciate your double standards. You are more than happy to censor that which may or may not judge to be acceptable for your blog yet, your ‘letter-box’ euphemism when talking about Mr. Tompkins’ daughter is gratuitous, vulgar and unequivocally irreverent and even I, who am fairly liberal minded, am incensed by your errant and immature ways. That said, she did once **** my **** behind the mobile unit while Rabbi ***** took photos and ***** knocked *** out!

  328. I don’t know Grant Morgan, but in his own idiotic way he does raise a valid point.

    If we have decided not to mention the sex past of women, why should a non-Jewess be the exception?

  329. I would just like to clarify that nothing that I wrote yesterday should be understood as implying that Daniel Marks took the credit for something he never did?
    I would like to take this oppurtunuty to apologize to Daniel for any misrepresentation I may have been responsible for.

  330. i can see from these apologies and the fact some people stand corrected plus the way no one wants to hurt anyone elses feelings that Hasmo did teach us a lot==the way to treat each other–beautifullllllllllllllllll
    now enough about our characters and more about Mrs Tomkin’s daughter please!!

  331. jeremy issacharoff

    Hershey
    Your memory serves you well. “Grandpa” was of course Mr Rothschild an incredibly old and gentle man with a thick german accent, who indeed talked a lot about “skrabarbaber”. I think he once hit Mark Hochhauser with a ruler for misbehaviour and Mark only realized this after the lesson when I told him. I also forgot to include his excellency Mark Hochhauser in our rogues gallery yesterday. He definitely earned his place there. Yes and there was Albert Meyers, affectionally referred to as “Bert” by his closest pupils. I always remember him in the middle of a lesson suddenly slipping out his tuning fork, getting into the pitch and breaking into chazanut to relieve the tension. Every day was like an episode of “Fawltey Towers”.

  332. Hi Jeremy and Hershey
    Greetings from a pupil one year younger than yourselves. Jeremy, I think you and Martin Malin “dumped” me in the sandpit on Day One of the first form….
    Do you remember in Bert’s music lessons when he separated the boys into singers and non-singers, denoted in his words as on the one hand “Kvuyzher” boys and on the other hand “clear up the benches” boys?
    The educational message behind this “selection” was undoubtedly that if you were tone deaf, you were doomed to be no more than a shlepper in your future life.
    I remember so well his rendition of “Vezhe’esawzhoo” (aka ויאתיו) before Rosh HaShana, and us Munks boys were priveliged to hear the whole piece belted out in this fashion on the two days of YomTov, when we joined in enthusiastically in his accent, to the great amusement of our parents’ generation. To this day, even as a Ba’al Tefilla, I have to restrain myself from davening out loud in his accent!
    There was some concert once when we were all supposed to sing “When Israel was in Egypt’s Land” led by a solo sung by one Abraham (Abwaham) Stern. Bert used to suddenly burst out in song with this tune in the middle of absolutely nothing. Really weird and funny.

  333. Not a story about Mr T’s daughter I’m afraid – but Mr T himself.

    Who once walked into the chemistry lab during DJ’s chumash rashi “shiur” – just after a mouse had scuttled across the floor.

    “Er, quick, Mr Tomkins!” barked the Great One, “We just saw a 4-legged Moishe running across the room!”

    “Errm – yes Dr Jacobson, I suppose we should…….” muttered the poor, baffled caretaker.

    BTW, Nevies and Jackson – I’m also married to an Aussie, so can I be your friend? (Jacob, our wives are cousins, we sat in a sukkah together at Kimberley Hotel, Caulfield, a few years back, remember)?

  334. Does anyone remember a club at a house in Edgware held midweek in the evening in mid 70’s, where loads of Hasmo boys would do homework with Mitch Taylor, then play snooker all evening ?

    I think it was a Kolel, and there was a Fagin-like character called Rabbi Smith in charge. The Kolel “students” job was to teach us how to do trick-shots, and generally improve our snooker skills.

  335. Hershy Orenstein

    David Prager : Albert Meyer
    Thanks for the welcome David.

    I still humm the (supposed) Hasmo Anthem (composed, I believe, by AM) ‘modim anachnu loch.’ Imust try and speak to Emanuel (his son) and find what happened to his scores and compositions.

    If my memory serves me correctly, on one occasion to counter AM’s activities with a tuning fork – some of us slipped some metal combs between the desk lid and the frame of the desk and every so often, randomly around the class room, plucked a tooth (creating a single note) which created a great resonance using the accoustics of the desk – after which we slipped the comb back into the desk. AM kept on running to what he thought was the source muttering under his breath “vere iz zat noiz frum) AM never caught anyone and we never repeated this feeling lucky we got away with it.

    School Choir : I seem to remember that if you volunteered to AM for School Choir you got to eat lunch early or at least on the first shift. Cannot remember which “teacher” played the piano but it was good fun.

  336. Hershy Orenstein

    FOOTBALL BANS IN PLAYGROUND 1969 or 1970
    Hershy and ‘football’ definetly my name would not be linked to the ‘beautiful game’ by anyone in his year!
    However, on one occasion Mr W W Stanton, z”l, (“Willy”), after many complaints from neighbours, of balls coming over the (pathetic) fence and the noise – banned ball games in the playground.
    Some of us got together and decided to demonstrate – but how? I think it was myself who suggested to get everyone skipping on the playground – well, all I can still remember vividly is on the next assembly when ‘Willy’ called for the ‘ringleaders’ I readily came forward. Why can I remember this incident so well?- ‘Willy’ kept me outside his “tower” office for the rest of the day standing against the wall. Mr Katzenberg, z”l, the school secretary every so often came out of the neighbouring office – looked at me and TUT TUTTED. Finally, Mr Yorke/Jurke came down the corridor with his carpet duster and went in ahead of me. Then, after a few minutes opened the door and asked me to step inside. “Willy” looked up from his desk, his artheritic hands like claws lying on the blotting pad, and said “Orenstein you disappoint me … turn towards the door and bend over.” Mr Yorke then administered a single almighty wack and the carpet beater disintegrated and went flying in all directions. With tears welling up in my eyes I turned round to “Willy” and said “So what is wrong with skipping?” which totally flumoxed him and after a moment he yelled (his yells were more like a screech) “Get Out!”
    The next day football was allowed.

  337. Hershy Orenstein

    MR ELLMAN, z”l, (the one with the white gloves)
    Apart from being a real gentleman and pulling me through the rigours of pure and applied maths, I somehow remember him as a bridge (the card game) enthusiast, encouraging boys in the 6th form to play bridge. Cards were played – including but not exclusively bridge.
    When he retired from teaching hecould be found as the resident shomer and minister (ba’al koreh, etc.,) at the Green Park Hotel, Bournemouth.

  338. lanny (Danny Landau),
    i remember that club after school

    after playing snooker for about an hour we sat down for a 15 – 20 minute shiur by Rabbi Smith and the only reason we sat through it was due to the toffee nut bars
    playing snooker was not the fun thing to do but making holes in the wall and ceiling with the snooker cue was!!!

  339. Michael Goldman

    What I would really like to know and I’m sure there are others with the same question, is which of our illustrious teachers are secretly monitoring this blog.

    Are they sneaking out to internet cafes around Golders Green because they’re too frum to have internet in the house ?

    Do they wait till late at night to see what is being written about THEM , lest somebody in the family discover their sadistic past ?

    Where are all our heroes who at the drop of a hat would gladly physically abuse or courageously destroy the self confidence of an eleven year old child because his name wasn’t tasteful,because he wasn’t intelligent enough or just because he hadn’t beEN beaten recently ?

    Only one so far has had the guts to make a comment and I’m sure we all applaud him.

    Where are the rest of you ?

  340. Mr Stanton loved Hasmo and most of the boys in it
    he was proud of the school and even though he was humble and quite reserved his presence was felt around the school
    i believe he was respected by most the Parents that sent their kids there

    i am sure he is looking down and smiling at us all and enjoying the blog

  341. Talking of teahers and Israel. Both Finkelstein and Jonny Bokor have a daughter each in Ramat Bet Shemesh. Strange encounter: I delivered a book a couple of years to Bokor’s daughters apartment. A real surprise, he opened the door. Still in the doorway I said ‘MR BOKOR’ . He kissed me, on both cheeks I think, and then told me he didn’t know who he was. He was a good guy. I guess he was c0smically connecting with all his past students. Or maybe he was just lonely.

  342. Realising that filth is Morgan’s only means of expression (I will never forget what he whispered in my ear the first time he introduced me to his future missus), and not wanting to discourage him from posting to melchett mike, I have reinstated his offending post with asterisks (see above). But my initial enquiry – as to whether Mr. Tompkins’ daughter had taken delivery of packages in her ‘letter box’ from any ex-Hasmo boys – was entirely innocent, I assure you (I was in Yeshiva Stream, you know!)

    Moving swiftly on . . .

    Why are most of the comments to this series increasingly from old gits? What has happened to all the 80s boys?! Why no comments from some of the legendary Hasmo dynasties: the Foxes, Gittelmons, Grossmans, Hermans, Israels, Kenleys, Koffmans, Maurers, Reiss’s, Rubins, Shines? And what about some of the other characters: Shane, Rodol, Small, Elll-baz, Michaels, Tropp, to name but a few? And what about all those Persians? Don’t they have Internet in LA?!

    Feigenbaum is a feigeleh compared to some of our 80s boys, so . . . let’s hear ya!

    Mike

  343. Mention has been made of the Hafetz Haim, a short lived harede youth movement of the early 70s that was located in Edgware. As the vice-president of the aforementioned illustrious organization I shall briefly outline its history.

    Sometime in the first or maybe second year Rabbi Kahan (I understand Zazal) asked me what I usually do after school. I was wary of the question thinking that some kind of lecture about “Bitul Toyra” awaited me but was pleasantly surprised to discover that some philanthropist had established a place where young men, such as myself could play snooker. The main selling point of this worthy project was that we would be taxied around courtesy of Concorde Car Hire.

    It transpired that the genius behind the enterprise was a certain Reb Duvid Smith with large teeth. He was a very well-meaning fellow who someone correctly compared (by way of looks) to Fegin. Reb Duvid had a single Dvar torah, actually a story about a beautiful maiden who goes to an inn, and “the men” start up with her, I’m sorry but with the passing of years I forget the ending to the story. I think that some rabbi saved her and that the moral was to be good.

    A second no less interesting character was a certain HW (name withheld). He was a very young (maybe 16-year-old) chossid from Manchester who came from an anti-Zionist family and in today’s terms we could say that he was looking for himself. He could bend a small coin with his teeth and introduced me to the music of Strauss and to Drambuie, the latter of which I am grateful for.

    Finally, was none other than Mitch Taylor of Hasmonean fame. In my opinion, the only Hasmonean teacher to have a real sense of humor. He had been hired to help us with our homework, though I recall precious little being done. I did once play a game of snooker with him, he thrashed me squarely, a feat that has since been repeated many times by many others, but was gentleman enough to console me with the observation that the table, “was not very true”.

    This was the first and last time that I heard a table described as being “true” but I came to the immediate conclusion that if he had such an exact word usage, he must have been an expert in snooker, so losing was not so shameful after all.

    The club grew from about 5 to 10 in the first couple of weeks to a maximum of about 40 but then quickly declined. I had been a failure as a vice president and reached the only reasonable conclusion and resigned. I guess I had taken the wrong moral from Reb Duvid’s story and was just looking for the maiden.

  344. Ellis Feigenbaum

    HW, an interesting guy, amongst many attributes also had a left foot that could have graced old trafford and probably would have had he not come from the communitty he did.
    I met him many years later in jerusalem with wife and kids his charactar hadnt changed much, a good guy.

  345. Jonny "Kiri " Kitsberg

    I always find it amazing how muggles find it hard to believe that the incredulous Hasmo stories are indeed totally and utterly true.
    To illustrate the case in point, about a year ago I attended a debating evening to raise money for Keren Yosef ( an amazing charity run by Gina Kirsch dedicated to improving medical response in the Greater Bet Shemesh area).
    The subject under debate was whether school days were the best days of our lives.
    The boy Kirsh (who BTW recently became a grandfather for the 1st time – Mazal Tov Gina and Jonny) got up to speak about his school days complete with the famous Hasmo cap and old school tie. Jonny regaled the audience with unbelievable tales about his days as a Hasmonean. Suffice to say all the Brits in the audience were doubling up laughing. Funnily enough the largely American audience found it less funny (enough said). None of them could believe that these stories were actually true. One American remarked to me “the stories are so ridiculous they could not possibly be true”. Obviously it took some time to actually convince them. Jonny Gross’s signed affidavit did help somewhat.
    The strange thing was that Jonny forget to mention the famous incident involving CJ and Nigel Lauer. The story goes that CJ was teaching politics in the sixth form units. Jonny pushed Nigel, who was holding a brief case at the time, through the plasterboard walls of the classroom. Lauer went flying through the wall and right into the middle of CJ’s class. At that point Nigel lifts up his brief case triumphantly and pointing to it remarks “It’s the Budget sir, the Budget”
    CJ was totally gob smacked giving Nigel those extra few seconds to escape.
    I would like to thank R Rose and Jeff Tiber for reminding of the story a few weeks back and would appreciate a few eyewitness accounts to collaborate the story.

  346. jeremy issacharoff

    The Mobile Unit circa 1971 was in the corner of the playground by the sixth form. It soon became like a round the clock casino with continuous games of poker, bridge and other games of fortune. There was the time when Rabbi Rhoberg caught two boys playing strip poker (?) in the unit, which would not have usually raised any eyebrows but it was in the middle of winter and the two guys had a hard time explaining why they were smoking and half naked. The mobile unit was like a parallel bizarro world annexed to the school. Spiritually uplifting as these mobile unit activities were, they might have messed up a few promising Hasmo careers.

    David Prager – am sorry about the sand pit but I really don’t remember.

    Despite all this, I do not think it is accurate to merely say we were a bunch of louts having a great time. In my first year in law at LSE I remember being with three other hasmo boys which was a very high proportion. I prefer to say that the school bred a certain kind of british jewish gentleman with its own unique set of political and moral values. There was also the central paradox of being an orthodox jewish school with an anti zionist bent. I remember us also singing Hatikvah in defiance of the school despite the fact that “Curly” taught many of us about zionism in modern jewish history. We celebrated the day of liberation of jerusalem in 67 but not Israel’s independence. I’ll never forget the day we conquered the old city in 67 (forty years ago!!!!) and Bernie De Vries jumping with joy and hugging me almost till I was clinically in cardiac arrest. I am curious to have a sense oh how many guys stayed in England and how many made Aliyah in the end. I went to Israel and joined the IDF and then the Foreigh Ministry.

    BTW as I write this I remember other pupils from our year. Leo Grunwald a really fine person and mench, who now lives in Canada. Also there was Michael Green, Daniel Bernstein, Alan Goldin and Sammy Stockman. I remember another teacher we called “Teapot” because of the obvious and striking resemblance. I can’t recall anything else about him. Any recollections out there?

  347. Jeremy, apology accepted!
    I too live in Israel, in Petach Tikva.
    I remember Rabbi “Teapot@ Ballon. In our year he used to teach the D group non-Yeshiva Stream JS class, and they had so much fun mucking him up that a few of us used to bunk off Yeshiva Stream JS classes and join in the D group, and he never once asked why. However, once we were making so much noise that the Yeshiva Stream teacher, whoever he was (DJ? Gerry?) burst in to sort it out, saw us there and hauled us out by our ears.
    Was Elkan Carr in your year?

  348. Hershy Orenstein

    jeremy issacharoff :
    Whatever happened to Michael Abelson? He moved to Israel (with his parents) and the rumour was he was at one time in a crack unit of Commando Yami.
    Hershy, Elazar 90942

  349. Hershey
    I regret to tell you that Michael Abelson passed away some years ago after a long fight with leukemia. He was a colleague of mine at Bank Leumi where he was No 2 in the department managing their international banking relationships. A vey fine person and a terrible tragedy for his family. His father, Cyril, (no relation!) is alive and well.

  350. Hershy Orenstein

    MICHAEL ABELSON, Z”L : He was truly a very fine person. He had a sister, cannot remember the name, whom we hosted once when we were first married in our home in Green Walk. His dad, I could not remember his first name (Cyril) but he practiced as an architect in the UK, always entertained me with WWII stories in their home north of Finchley Road, Golders Green, (near Golders Hill Park). He used to ferry, if I remember correctly, either Supermarine Spitfires or Hawker Hurricanes to North America/Canada. I think he said that he actually crashed in one! If you know where they live I will try and find the time to visit (e-mail harry@6e.gg) – where in Michael’s keyver?

  351. Jeremy Issacharoff’s recollection of the effect of the ’67 war on Hasmo, and his resultant near-death experience at the hands of Bernie DeVries has prompted me to share with you a particular debt of gratitude that I owe to the IDF. They not only saved the Jewish nation from annihilation, but they saved me from a certain thrashing if not summary expulsion . Let me explain; during that tumultuous week , I (a second former ) had been caught red handed dragging on a contraband Woodbine by Rabbi Roberg, otherwise known as the Grand Vizier, aka the Prince of Darkness. I was frog marched into the Headmaster’s study,fully expecting the wrath of Willie to be visited upon me . As I was propelled into the inner sanctum, I was greeted by the unforgetable sight of the legendary Mr. Katzenberg (aka the Man with no Job, at least no perceivable function except for the drinking of endless cups of tea) and the late great W.W. Stanton poring over a large campaign map of the
    Near East and the Levant
    with the concern and concentration that one could easily imagine Montgomery and his aide-de-camp brought to bear during critical moments of the Battle of El Alamein.For a few endless seconds, time stood still. I took in the scene. The wood panelled study,the cap and gown on the ancient hat stand,the seldomely but fearsomely brandished willow cane in the corner, the Headmaster’s symbols of office. The oppressive June heat bore down on the dark, poorly ventilated room. The thick silence was only broken by the “murmuring of innumerable bees” (Cyril Bloomberg had been teaching us Tennyson that morning) around the flowerpots outside the grudgingly opened window. The battered “wireless” was crackling out a front line reports , possibly Michael Elkins.Willie looked up .The weariness of his years seemed to weigh down upon him (he was probably not much older than I am now) . Katzenberg moved a paper marker on the map.Roberg started to speak, but Willie up held his hand, and, suddenly rejuvenated with martial ardour, commanded in a high crisp voice “Begone with the pair of you ! Can’t you see Iv’e got a war on me hands!” The incident was never mentioned again.
    God Bless the IDF
    God Bless Willie
    God Bless one and all , masters and pupils alike, who were at Hasmo with me during those years. I bear goodwill to all, and a grudge to none.
    Of those who have left us, Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

    PS Thanks to Jeremy Issacharoff for alerting me to this amazing “alternative ” Hasmo site. the official one is too awful for words.

  352. Greetings Joe Wyse
    Where oh where is that fantastic goalie brother of yours, Len?
    Once we can get him on-line, the way will be open for anecdotes from Eli Joseph, Alan Goschalk, Simon Lazarus et al.

  353. Re: Rabbi Greenberg. His savagery has been mentioned a number of times here. A couple of anecdotes, one possibly surprising.
    1. During the Three Weeks the aforementioned Rabbi swotted a student. Alex ‘horse’ Ellinson (maybe he was the one struck) reminded him that we have Rabbinic sources advising against it during this unpropitious time (we have a religion that is mindful of accidental murder). Maybe Rabbi Greenberg took this under advisement – whilst at the same he beat him to a pulp.
    2. David Solomon ( not a tough guy), of my year , was hit by him once but hit him back. As I recall Greenberg was so flabbergasted he did nothing.

  354. Greetings to David Prager :

    Len ” they shall not pass” Wyse, bon vivant , raconteur and the greatest amateur goalkeeper of all time is alive and still very much kicking. He lives in Stanmore, and, at the age of 52, has not yet retired from the beautiful game! Although I left Blighty for Israel 27 years ago, I still run into people from all walks of life who have played with him and I take great pleasure in basking in his reflected glory. I will pass this priceless site on to him.

  355. David Prager

    Hi Joe
    Tel Len that iI remember fondly the school team of 1971-2 that won the Barnet League and was subsequently thrown out as the Goyim couldn’t stand losing to the yids.
    If I remember the line-up, it was: Len Wyse; Alan Goschalk, Simon Lazarus, yours truly, but I can’t remember who the left back was; Eli Joseph, Lloyd Green, Geoff Flashman; Ron Auerbach, David Rosenberg, Malcolm Cohen.
    The only team we didn’t beat was Edgware Spur Road, who had an extemely nifty forward called John Barnes who soon went on to play for Liverpool & England…..
    Oh, those were the days!

  356. Nick Kopaloff

    Mr. Stanton convened an emergency assembly. Among the pressing issues raised was his outrage at having just learnt that some boys were paying regular visits to the betting shop. The offenders, he promised, would be duly punished with the utmost severity. But not all pupils were in attendance to hear his stern warning. As irony would have it, some were out of the office for the day – at the bookie.

    W.G. Starky (or a derivative thereof) of Mill Hill East was more than a betting shop or a bookie. It was a turf accountant that would never resort to inquiring into the ages of young schoolchildren trying to affect a deep voice. But our racing knowledge belied our youthful exuberance. We soon knew all the form books, the jockey guides, the bloodlines of every three legged mule, the fillies and geldings, the in-form stables and trainers and the best type of ground for each horse. (Dr.) Aaron Nejad of oriental carpet fame, had an encyclopedic knowledge of every horse ever born, and held the great Sea Pigeon in far higher esteem than any of our teachers. When he landed a handsome win with “Precipolus”, to the tune of “I’ve just met a girl called Maria,” he would serenade his lucky mare in his non-Persian accent, with his original rendition of “I have just met a horse called Precipolous.”

    We expanded our betting operations and began to frequent Mecca in Edgware and Joe Coral in Golders Green. While Michael Goldman and I were placing mingy 5p each way Yankees, Daniel Marks was betting absolutely obscene sums of money. I think he put ₤100 on the head of Pink Tank and I could swear he lost that particular wager. But when he would win he would celebrate in style at the fashion boutique opposite Edgware Station where he would procure some real trendy shirts to make him look all nice and attractive for the girlies.

    In no time we were regulars at every betting shop along the 240 bus route. The locals would welcome us in with open arms. They would disclose secret tips that never amounted to anything and would seek our expert opinions on upcoming races. Of an evening we would go to Walthamstow dogs or to the White City and on special days we would visit race courses across the length and breadth of the country as far afield as York and Chepstow.

    But not limiting our vices just to gambling and to defiling pure Hasmonean girls, we also found a biblical endorsement for the use of soft recreational drugs in the quote:
    “And Lo, Moses smoked of the Herb.”

    Daniel recalled to me that when we announced our planned hash smuggling operation from Lebanon to Hasmonean, which for whatever reason never really took off, we had many cash deposit advance orders.

  357. Daniel Marks

    How well Koploff does in his magniloquent depiction of those long forgotten summer post meridians spent in Mill Hill East. The geographical location was ideal – far enough from Edgware to be unrecognized by an unlikely punters, who may have known our parents yet still a good way from Hasmonean to be able to leisurely nip over to the local grocer and enjoy a cheddar cheese roll of dubious kashrut without being apprehended by a zealous master.

    As to the assembly that Koplaloff describes I believe we are talking about one of those longish minchas in the North Hendon Adas.

    I am aware that it has become politically incorrect on this blog to denigrate our revered headmaster of that era, so I shall skip any words of description and go straight to the speech:

    “Well I thought I had heard everything, but I couldn’t believe my ears when a lady from Mill Hill East phoned me to say that some boys from this school have been seen at a bookmakers shop.”

    WWS went on and told us that any repetition would be punished severely. However, even as Mr. Stanton spoke the flaw in his threat became obvious to everyone. How would the matter be enforced? Surely frum gemara cops would not be staking out London bookies and how would the old dear in question identify us? Would there be identification parades in the “long room”?

    The little blue vein on Mr. Stanton’s forehead that became particularly pronounced when he mediated a difficult problem was laboring overtime. There was a brief pause, the slightest of smiles on the GOMs face and he continued:

    “I have further instructed the lady to bring a camera and photograph any Hasmonean boys seen at the establishment.” – A resolution had been found.

    Needless to say we returned albeit more vigilantly, ever punctilious. There was a course of action ready in the event of such a snap-shot being taken, but thankfully it was never either needed or executed. Suffice it to say that we were desperate men, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

  358. Yanki Schwartz

    Greetings to all fellow ex Hasmaniacs.
    What a wonderful blog, and even more interesting is the fact that the standard of writing and spelling denies the myth that we all “underachieved” in anything but sciences and maths.
    At the top of this blog there is a photograph of some “gentlemen” surrounding a piano with the footnote “Chutzpadik Hasmo Boys (date unknown)”. I immediately recognized the handsome young man in the middle as my father, a pupil of that great institution from 1949 – 1955 (not including various but short-lived temporary expulsions for going fishing in *Brent river during school hours). I thus find it my duty to come to his defense and to object the classification of my father (who by the way is T.G. well and enjoying life in Petach Tikva- Israel) and his classmates (one of whom was D.J. – unfortunately not in the photo) as “Chutzpadik” without proof or reason. As for “(date unknown)” this can now be documented as 1954 or ’55. My father is one of the children brought over from Europe during/after WWII by Dr. Schonfeld.
    *If you ever wondered why there are no fish in Brent river it is because my father and is friends excelled at fishing (during school hours).
    With that off my chest I thank all of you who have contributed to this incredible trip down memory lane. I have finally found written proof of the Hasmo stories that my children never believed.
    Before signing off I would like someone to verify a great story as follows :
    Mr. Lawrence taught history and British Constitution.
    He was not a bad looking fellow and while I was in the 2nd or 3rd year he got married to a lady who we, as students, felt was somewhat “esthetically challenged”. Every day at about 4:00 p.m. she would park her car outside school and wait to pick him up.
    Rumor has it that one day Johnno Kandler (6th form I think) was sitting upstairs next to a window in the gallery over the hall in Mr. Lawrence’s last lesson of the day and put up his hand.
    “Yes Kandler, what is it ?” said Mr. Lawrence.
    “Please Sir, is that Mrs. Lawrence that comes every day to pick you up from school?” asked the innocent Kandler while pointing to the little lady parked down in the street.
    “Yes Kandler, it is Mrs. Lawrence that comes to pick me up every day” answered Mr. Lawrence.
    Johnno replied’ “Oh Sir, you’re so lucky. I wish my mum would pick me up every day!!”

    So many stories, such little time.

    Yanki Schwartz, Karnei Shomron – Israel.
    Hasmonean Grammar School For Boys 1974-1981

  359. Thank you Hershy for the link!
    Bearing in mind the anti zionist but pro eretz hakodesh attitude of the rabbis it seems to me that not a few Hasmoneans made it to Israel.
    Twice I have been to B”Hd 1 (Israel’s Sandhurt) and have sung the HaTikva at both my sons graduation as combat officers with my own personal tribute to Gerry Gerber and the added value I got from having him to rebel against; lihyot am chofshi the first time and lihyot am kadosh on the repeat.
    I seem to remember a JS lesson once a week in the fifth form where we were able to “Ask the Rabbi”.
    Was it Simon Bentley who was arguing that mixed rikkudim were completely innocuous and it made no difference if you held a boy or a girls hand. Gerrys answer was swift; If it makes no difference to you , you don’t need a Rabbi you need a psychologist!
    Sid Balins lines don’t seem to have made an appearance;
    “You dolt, you have as much chance at passing your GCE as I have of climbing Everest in roller skates!”
    or the alternative version, “…you have as much chance at passing your GCE as a snowball in a furnace!”
    He was right I failed French.

  360. David Prager

    Greetings Elkan!
    I remember 3 more of Sid Bailin’s “jewels”:
    If you were as tall as you were stupid you’d have to bend down to kiss the moon.
    If all the brains in your head were dynamite, there wouldn’t be enough to blow your silly little koppel off.
    I was just in the staff room and the teachers were saying that this class didn’t have the manners of a pig. But I stuck up for you and said that you had!

    He also used to mix up his “yiddischisms”. A favourite sentence we once heard went something like this:
    “My great-grandfather, zecher leyetzias mitzrayim, was a great Talmud Torah.”
    There are more, but I can’t think of them now…..

  361. Daniel Marks

    On various occcasions the anti-Zionist beliefs of teachers such as Baddiel, Rodeberg, Gerber etc have been raised and people often rush to their defense pointing out that they or heir close family members live in Israel.

    To set the record straight I should point out that many anti-Zionists both Jews and non-Jews alike live in the State of Israel, from Achmud Tibbi to Rav Hirsch of Neturei Karte fame.

    The logical fallacy is that while all Zionists should live in Israel, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who lives in Israel is a Zionist.

    Quite simple really.

  362. Nick Kopaloff

    We would whimsically lament in unison at how it was always “the small minority” who would ruin the lessons for the rest of us. Whole lessons would be thrashed out with this ridiculous complaint. The entire class, from Amini thru to Weller, would join in the protests to have the offending minority ruthlessly dealt with.
    Latching onto the theme, Mr. Stanton coined the phrase “disruptive elements” in preference to “small minority” and in total agreement with our headmaster we would stop at nothing to have these elements periodically removed. It was a witch hunt with no witches in a school with no schooling.
    No surprise, at the forefront of the call to purge the class, were no other, than Marks and Feigenbaum, who were oblivious to, or just didn’t give a toss, to John Donne’s immortal words.
    “..Send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee!”

  363. Nick Kopaloff

    Let me regale readers with another Feigenbaum gem also on the much discussed smoldering embers letterbox theme.
    One of my first ever holiday jobs was “carding” car-hire leaflets through thousands of North London letterboxes for a leading company partly owned by Ellis’s late father Aharon z”l, a genuinely charming man. I am sure Ellis, in his self-deprecating way, would be the first to marvel at how the apple can end up so far from the tree.
    While I had blisters and a runny nose for my troubles, Ellis would complete his rounds in record time.
    But his carding method was as ingenious as it was illegal. He would pick up his cards, walk down the road, and incinerate them.

  364. Daniel Marks

    Yes, one of the best ways to distrupt a class and generally waste time was to complain about distruptions and time wasting.

    There were the more naive a well-meaning instructors like Reb Lewis who would paitently wait as we droned about the sin of bitul Torah:

    “I don’t think that they realize, sir, that every moment of Torah that they waste can never be replaced. When they reach heaven, or hell, they will have to give account not only for their own Torah time but also that of all their friends etc etc etc.

    Others, who had been round the block (Holders Hill) more times were more wary of such help. I once complained in Rabbi Abraham’s lesson, “Wagerman has become a constant source of disturbance, sir!” but the wise Rabbi slapped my legs not his. More power to him.

  365. Danny Landau

    Rabbi Lewis was among my favourite teachers. I remember our favourite part of the lesson was when he would rotate his skeletal little finger in many circular movements, then put his finger into the imaginary hole he had created, and pronounce, ” I’ll tell you a Maisseh !”

    When he gave us tests, in order to give us confidence, he would award no lower than 85%, so in fact if you only got 5%, you were given 90% !

  366. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Nick can you remember what school Mark Harr came from? I remember where he lived just not what school he went too?

  367. Nick Kopaloff

    Mark Haar (Dutch name) was at Holland House Primary I think, but then left Edgware.
    We are running dry of Ellis stories. Help us out with a nostalgic misdemeanor or two.
    When are you coming back to Israel for a beer with your old mucker?

  368. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Be home for Pesach , dont think beer will be apropriate, 777 brandy may have to cover it.

  369. Daniel Marks

    Mimothy Tessum, Little Mim – Does it ring a bell?

  370. Laurence Chester

    Jacob! Hi, just to show that our year were cultured, you were in Dave Dustbin & the dum dums? If so (with Dave Bloom) Do you remember the song about ‘cats floating down the drains’ or something?
    Simon, my cousin is going out with Leighs daughter! I assume from your concern that a) Up until know you had no knowledge that you had any children b) Your kids are already married either way, you can relax now.
    Danny R, good to see your memory still functioning fairly well (give or take a meatloaf).
    Mr Neveeees – whose your brothers keeper! I remember aeroflot sit ins and having fun at earls court (including my dad going to the Lada stand and asking questions about how they produced cars so cheap) …. the good ole days. Shame theres nothing to protest about anymore.

  371. MARK NEVIES

    talking of hasmo old boys–i spent yesterday travelling up to Oldham Football Club to watch them play Leeds United.
    i went up in a coach with Simon Blitz and Danny Gazal (the owners of the club) who flew in from New York, Andy Goldberg with his lovely daughter Mia – the Oldham Mascot for the night–who flew in from California, Dean Kurlander and myself who came all the way from Finchley –we were all in the same Year and spent most the journey there and back talking about our good old school days

    Simon Corney (also Hasmo boy– but one that spent more time out of school than in) another Oldham Director met us Boundary Park (Oldham’s Ground) but forgot to tell us that three school thugs [i say that since they are Leeds supporters] would be sharing our JS kosher dinner before the match — Danny Turetsky who flew in from Israel via Belgium who would not sit with us but prefered to stand with the Leeds hooligans/ supporters
    Alan Kenley with his son Michael (who is very much like his father as he made an excuse not to join in the half time competition of trying to hit the cross-bar by forgetting his boots back in London) and Shuli Meyers [my first cousin- a big disappointment to our family by not following Manchester United — he stayed on the train one or two stops too many when he was a kid and got out at Leeds station by mistake!!!!!!!!!- with his lovely son Raphael the Mascot for Leeds

    Saul Noah and Michael Gazal flew in from New York and Ellis Gemal flew in from Chicago. Adrian Daniels drove up from London together with Michael Gazal and they managed to catch the second half of the game

    there waere also a few kids still in Hasmo who shall remain nameless in case any of the teachers or Headmaster read this blog and might have had perhaps a letter written by their parents with a different explanation to why they missed school yesterday!!

    MR CHICHIOS YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF US ALL– it must have been your influence that has kept our interest and love for football!!

    after the 1-1 draw Danny Gazal who was and still is our religious adviser organised Ma’ariv outside in stands before returning back to London

    a great night spent with old mates

  372. An Open letter to the Oldham A FC directors.

    Why hasn’t the Chich been appointed as assistant manager yet – this should be your main priority as Ex HAsmos to get the club into the Premiership!

    Next surely Mr Hackett should also be the head scout and when will you appoint a Rabbi as hte club chaplain??

    We should be bringing the great traditions of Hasmo to the terraces of England!!!

    Do they have penny up the wall at half time?
    Does someone come around and sell outrageously priced food and snacks?

    All these points must be addressed to ensure success.
    Seriously a great achievement to you guys, all the best and see you in the Prem one day.
    C’mon Simon tell us a few stories from our great days in the school.

  373. I trust there was a rendition of: “Gimme a T . . . T. Gimme an I . . . I. Gimme a T . . . T. Gimme an S . . . S. What does it spell? Tits. What der you do? Old ’em! Old ’em! Old ’em!”

    As sophisticated as the place. Hope the (once) Mighty Whites stuff ’em at Wembley . . . though Sheridan is a legend.

  374. for now can I just say that this has been the most delicous walk down memory lane. So mant memories evoked, I think we were all lucky that we had absolutely no idea what a nut house it was at the time. I went through the picture from the 70s of the teachers and couldn’t find one that didn’t hate me….what does that say about the place and my schooling. Still, my memories are entirely happy….

  375. Daniel Ratner

    Skitz, watcha mate, good to see you’ve joined up. Funny looking at how much Nevies has written above, its the most he’s ever written in his life (except for maybe “sides” for Cyril).

  376. Daniel Ratner

    It’s the day after Yom Kippur 1976 and our second lesson of the morning 4th year is geography with Payley. As he walks in I make a loud noise to basically notify all that he has arrived but Payley didn’t realize that I was trying to help him so he comes over to me and starts to beat me up shouting that its the day after Yom Kippur etc. It was closest I ever came to punching a member of staff BUT 3 months later at West Hendon football fields Payley decides to join us (why?) and as he goes past me with the ball I go into to him really hard thinking “yes revenge is sweet” – he hobbled off.

  377. Daniel Marks

    Taliking of happy memories:

    The Hasmonean Grammar School choir of the mid 70s was not the most serious of affairs. It was usually put together a week before the school Hanukah party and died a natural death as the girls would be dismissed, and Mr. Stanton would make his “general announcements” waiting to be given the all clear that there were no more females in the vicinity.

    Pretty much anybody with vocal chords was good enough; alas, my voice was and indeed is much worse than any other I’ve ever heard, hence although I had initially been welcomed to the choir without a test, the first time the music teacher heard my voice I was unceremoniously asked to leave.

    Were I Nick Kopaloff, I might blame this trauma on all my future problems in life, using exceedingly elongated adjectives, but I was not embittered, just thankful for the lessons I had missed before being discovered. I did, however, on that day vow an awful vengeance.

    Calling together some of the greatest minds of my year, and Ellis, I determined to put together a rival choir that would sing, if not sweeter, then louder than the original choir. Who was it that said, “Don’t Get Mad – Get Even “?

    The celebrations began, as usual the girls above and the men below. What lesson for our future lives were we being subliminally taught?

    It came at last the turn of the choir. Mr. Heller, taking a one day break from his illustrious career of giving free lessons, was at the piano and the choir…choirs began Maotzur.

    The real choir began at its correct well rehearsed pace. We chimed in at double the speed, singing in a way that would not have shamed the worst of soccer hooligans, but much, much louder.

    The real choir singers were unsure whether to increase their pace or to continue as rehearsed.

    Mr. Heller, not yet fully aware of what was happening tried to step up the speed of his piano playing, the real choir took his lead, we increased the speed even more, Mr. Heller began to crack, nobody could play that fast!

    At this moment the venerable WW Stanton stood up, “No, no, no!” He patiently explained “You’re singing too fast. Mr. Heller is playing the piano and you must sing at Mr. Heller’s pace. Otherwise it is very difficult for him.” Mr. Heller half smiled but he knew that the headmaster’s well-meaning words had effectively buried him. With the best of intentions Willy had just explained the rules of the game to the whole school.

    The song began again but the ending was wholly foreseeable. Now, almost everyone joined in singing faster than a speeding bullet, Mr. Heller did what he could, he even banged out the occasional note, it was more like beating a dead dog, finally the song was over.

    The girls were dismissed and there were general announcements but it had truly been a great Hanukkah. Just for once there had been a victory for the many over the few.

  378. Daniel Ratner

    My claim to fame at those football fields was in the same year playing for Sharon against Jordan (yellows?) with Nevies being there only real player. I was playing badly so Shamash our captain tells me to get off the pitch. Andy Goldberg comes over to him and says that if Ratner goes off so will he (nice one Andy). We win a corner a Shamash shouts to me “go take it and make sure its good”. Well not only was it a good corner bit it went straight in – I scored directly from a corner!

  379. Robby Nussbaum

    Has to be one of my funniest Hasmo recollections……
    The infamous 6’3″ ‘Friedy the nutter Friedman’ sitting patiently on the library railing above the hall waiting for either Mr Firestone or the short fat fella with a pipe to walk past when he jumped on him….. Oh how we laughed!!!!
    Memories……

  380. MARK NEVIES

    Ratner,
    are you sure that i did not head it in!!
    i was the one that used to score directly from the corners–perhaps over time your memory has faded slightly–no i am sure it was you!!
    you are too kind to say that i was the only good player — we did have some others –the truth is Sharon in our year did not have many sportsmen –they all went into Jordan
    i do remember going to play for our school year and as soon as the match had finished Chichios would run off as he did not like the sight of blood—Our Blood having to fight against the school team we had just lost to –being the only jewish school in the league i think the other schools had their own league of how many jews could you beat up!!
    well it took us about two to three months to figure out that we were loosing the games anyway so we picked fighters not football players instead, so even though we lost most our games we certainly had some good honest (no knives/ guns ) knuckle fights and eventually won the respect of many of the rough schools in our league

  381. Daniel Marks

    A riddle. Which teacher is connected to this song and how?

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~msmiller/rlovelyeve.html

  382. David Friedman (Friedy)

    What a fantastic blog……..which is being spoken about and passed around via this infamous Hasmo network !
    Great story ……..Robby !
    Another great episode and the famous Clive Firestone………who at the end of term looking out of the staff window and seeing the the annual end of year 3rd and 4th year bundle decided to come down and try and stop things …………….suddenly out of that clean well kept , well lit passageway by the old gym……..he emerged with bucket of water in hand to try and put a stop to it ……………….at which point the bucket was snatched from him and poured over his head

    Another classic !!!!!!!!

  383. Harold Gittelmon (Skitz)

    Great memory stirring stuff, thank you to those who have emailed to direct me there. So many of the sentiments expressed on here feel familiar, it seems that most of us had a broadly similar experience but somehow ever expressed our views to each other at the time. It was our normality, I suppose, we had never experienced anything else. Two comments, firstly, the picture of the teachers…it is just so evocative, isn’t it. I went along each row trying to find one that didn’t hate me…a real struggle. Perhaps they didn’t and perhaps I derserved it. Secondly, I was an enforced (by home) member of yeshivah stream. The time I realised how out of kilter I was with school and home was when I binked one Sunday morning, a tennis game with a girl being the alternative which, after much soul searching I decided just had the edge. As luck would have it, Roberg saw me at the bus stop waiting for a bus going the other way (towards Golders Green) and in good old fashioned Hasmo style grassed me up to my Dad. My Dad and Roberg bollocked me on Monday morning at the school. “Are you telling me you would rather play tennis with a girl on a Sunday morning than be in Rabbi Greenberg’s gomorrah class? Roberg bellowed at me. I was startled by the question, and knew in my soul I was in the wrong school……

  384. Michael Goldman

    Hi Skitz Long Time

    I’m also sure Nevies headed it in !!

    Danny , your one claim to fame is slowly dissipating

  385. Fabulous blog. Chichios (sp?) was my hero!

  386. Simon Lawrence

    The riddle – an answer.

    It was Joe Witriol who used to make us sing it in German. It translates into something like “Oh vier voll ist mir im abends, mir in abends ….”.

    Ich erhalte meinen Mantel

  387. Jonathan Finn

    You are right, Mike, Abi did get upset if he wasn’t invited to simchos . . .

    When I handed him a note explaining my absence for my sister’s wedding (to which he wasn’t invited!), he simply tore it up without reading it . . . which is when I came up with my “You chutzpadik little man” comment to him (which many ex-Hasmos seem to remember!)

  388. Nick Kopaloff

    Hi Simon,
    I took a precocious moral stand against speaking German so I cannot vouch for Mr. Witriol as the answer to the above riddle.
    But I presume the Riddler to whom Marks was referring was Mr. A. Meyer, who, as I have inferred (and offended many in the process), was the biggest blot on our blotted past. When he was not castigating us for being “Jewish pigs,” or teaching (a term I use loosely) the school song about burning your foot with a candle, he had us foot tapping to that old classic: “Oh how lovely is the evening, when the bells are sweetly ringing, ding dong, ding dong.”

  389. Daniel Marks

    Well Done Kopaloff!

    Our next question is more difficult:

    What is the connection between Christian Felix White (1726-1804) and his book: “Little Songs for Children” (written in 1766) and Hasmonean Grammar School?

  390. Truly a trip down memory lane for a student from ’80-87!

  391. Nick Kopaloff

    Mr. Harrison told us that if we bought The Times newspaper every day we would be halfway towards passing our exams. So what the heck, we bought it.
    On one memorable occasion, Harrison entered class only to find each of us seated in our chairs and hidden behind our broadsheets.
    “Put those damned newspapers down!” he bawled impatiently.
    We would all “bray” in return. A bray was a noise he particularly disliked hence our persistent braying and his endless appeals to “stop braying” – which invariably would be answered by an invigorated bray.
    A bray was a disharmonious cacophony fusing a moronic mumble with a bad impersonation of an indignant donkey.
    “Stop braying and put those damned newspapers down!” he demanded.
    Lowering the papers revealed that we were all wearing Halloween party masks. He went berserk. I think he hit Miller.
    Hence the first two lines of the poem depicting that epic event.
    “Disguised intelligentsia behind the times
    Lie idle prey to a senile mind”

    And Mike – you do Harrison a disservice by not giving him his own dedicated page. He shouldn’t be playing second fiddle to Chishios and Cyril. Go on, give him his page and then argue with your mates whether or not he was Hasmo’s quintessential cult teacher.

  392. Daniel Ratner

    Dear Michael Goldman, Lets go back to my famous “moment” coz a few minutes after I scored directly from the corner, we “Sharon” got another corner and everybody shouted “go on Ratner – do it again” except ….you. You said “I want to have a go and score from a corner”. So you took the corner and guess what – it didn’t go in or anywhere for that matter. By the way Mike – how are you? Last time I saw you I was joining a particulat elite army unit and you were leaving it, which was quite recently, say March 1986? 23 years ago this week – a blink of an eye in our never boring existences.

  393. Michael Goldman

    Danny

    Try as you may you reveal your deceit with your own pen.
    As is well known nobody called you Ratner
    “Go on Faggott – do it again” would have at least been believable, but
    “Go on Ratner – do it again”… Impossible.

    Furthermore I never played for Jordan , Sharon or any other house.

    Life’s Good. How goes with you ?

  394. Daniel Marks

    Allow me to on the record with my support for Kopaloff’s call to give Harrison a page of his own.

    “Give Woody his Page! He won’t disappoint.”

  395. Simon Lawrence

    Woody’s middle name. Anyone remember or just another lost cause?

  396. Daniel Ratner

    I know that it begun with a “J” – any offers? Probally “John”. Oh and Goldman you were in Sharon whether you remember it or not because for example you came first in the high jump in the third year school sports day plus 2nd in the 100m and 200m representing Sharon house – shall I go on?. Life’s good thanks – you still in Israel? Where’s David Dwek? Avi Miller?

  397. David Prager

    Woodthorpe Jude Harrison!

  398. david dwek is still living in Israel in Male Adumim– he was in the army till last year and is now retired (on a pension from the army) and is at the moment helping different charities — doing lots of good work– i will give you his phone number on your face book page
    Avi Miller i believe went to America but have not been in touch with him for many years

  399. Jack Buechler

    So back to the stories: I apologise to Raphael Schiff for this one. I hope he will not sue me. This is another one of those bizarre one.

    So we are all in the block room – our form room – no hating except2 calor gas fires. Solid concrete walls – next to the hated yeshi stream luxury caravan in the playground.

    For some reason, Woody was taking us – It was on or very nearly the first day of school.

    He asked a question – Raphael put his hand up to answer. Woody asked “whats your name boy”. Raphael answers “raphael”. Coming form a primary school, that probably was the right answer. However, Woody attacks with a “Raphael what?”
    “Raphael Schiff”
    Woody: “Raphael Schiff WHAT??”
    Raphael: “Rahpael?”
    Woody: “Raphael what?”

    For those that did not work it out – the correct answer is “Schiff Sir”.

    Welocme to your new school…….Great introduction and welcome

  400. Jack Buechler

    Ok who remember s this one:

    We were all called into the assembly.

    “We have had a complaint from a neighbour that large numbers of pieces of the cultery have been found in their garden as well as plates and cultery is bring thrown over the fence. From now on no onw is allowed to eat outside.

    Pupils had been taking their meals outside – eating them, throwing them over the fence, not wanting to go back into the dining room to return them for fear of loss of football play time.

  401. Jack Buechler

    Who remember the dinner tickets and the selling of dinners?

    No wonder so many pupils landed up in the financial world.

    Everyone knew meat loaf was not worth as much as those buns with the icing on top.

    Monday viennas were unsaleable commodities.

    If I remember right- Shepherds pie was highly valued ( Thursdays).

    Probably still using the same tactics to sell BT shares today…..

  402. Daniel Ratner

    Thanks Nevies. Wow to be retired at 46, lucky David!

  403. Hi Nick and Daniel,

    I would love to dedicate a post to Woody. Sadly, however, he left Hasmo shortly after I arrived, and never taught me. All I recall is a rather angry looking alcy, walking around with one of those old leather briefcases. It was said he used to carry a bottle in it.

    All I can offer is this . . . if either of you, or anyone else (agree it between you), is willing to write a post on Woody, I will give it a ‘guest spot’ on melchett mike. I can’t be fairer than that!

    Lemme know,

    Mike

  404. MARK NEVIES

    Danny R,
    the reason Daid Dwek can be retired at 46 is because he still is happily single with less expenses than a lot of us!!
    Jack B–hello
    besides cutlery and plates a lot of our exercise books were thrown over the fence and not to mention any names –we had two boys in our class that would tell our teachers that the older boys beat them up and threw their homework over the fence–

    i still hold that Friday’s dinner was meat loaf with Chocolate Crispies –easier to sell than shepherds pie!

    what has happened to Ellis F– he has not written in for some days–surely not run out of stories!

  405. Daniel Marks

    Okay, Kopaloff and I shall rise to the challenge and build the post on Harrison.

    We’ll have one week to collect information, anecdotes etc. Please specify whether the information is first-hand or not and send it to:

    danielmarks@walla.com

    The post should PG be ready in about two weeks.

  406. Daniel Ratner

    Nevies, I’ll correct my previous comment: Wow to be retired at 46 AND SINGLE!

  407. Danny R,
    your previous comment was not on the blog when i wrote my comment however any way you describe it is okay with me!!

  408. Wonderful site…… well done!

    May I just make two historical comments…..

    Firstly, unless I have missed an entry n0-one has
    commented on that dreaded, depraved maniac Marcel Grossman, who I had the utter misfortune to be exposed to as both a form master and teacher during the period 1954 to 1958. Picture the scene, and we are talking only a few years since the end of the 2nd world war!
    A boy of 11 is whispering in class to the pupil
    behind him and the next thing he knows MG has ran at him from the front of the class and smashed his fist into his face, splitting his lip and loosening a front tooth and covering his face with blood…….
    Only one example of continuous, violent sequences of physical beatings a grown man inflicted on not only me but two other boys in my year!

    No, I was’nt the finest pupil in the class but I am furious to this day (old grandad to six) that the son of a bitch got away with it…we were all too terrified of him to tell our parents the truth and simply said that we were bullied in the playground! I wonder what the courts would have thought of his behaviour today if he had been brought to book for his dispicable actions!

    Secondly, I still chuckle to this day, when I recount the day Mr Stanton, the then head had me in his study on leaving day and told me that, “yes I was a very charming young man but academically thick and would never acheive anything in life”.

    Many years later when I parked my Jag XKR Supercharger in the playground to attend a Hasmo pupil reunion, having just retired from
    running a large international public company in the advertising industry, I did have a quiet chuckle to myself!

  409. Adam Hackenbroch

    Do you remember at the end of each summer term how all the footballs and tennis balls that had been confiscated by the teachers during the year were hurled out the staff window and there was always a mass bundle to get them below!

    Another funny experience was in a flop class

    He was taking the register and some joker burped really loudly so he got up in a temper and started shouting at the kid leaning on one of the metal lockers, it wasnt fixed to the wall and all you saw and heard was shtoooooooooooooop and saw flop collapse on the floor ! so funny

    does anyone remember bunking in the lost property room upstairs, it was hysterical, you used to hear teachers coming and try and hide under all the lost blazers !

    How about the crazy lunch breaks when you used to see apple cores and sandwiches flying across the playground and hit some poor kid in the face !

    Or the time we went to Paris with Osher and his wife – he made us daven everywhere even on the platform of the train station and because of the rush not to miss the train Russell Davidson was left behind on the platform ! – we only noticed half way back to London

    Or the time some boys tried to blow up the labs by lighting the gas taps at the end of a Posen lesson !

    and who could forget the ‘sellers’ the boys who used to sell literally everything in the playground from Mr Freeze to sterio’s – those were the days lol !

  410. Anthony "R" Rose

    BS”D
    How about a blog deciding on the sadist with the “hardest” slipper?
    My first memory of the slipper apart from the famous “stink bomb incident” in 1LE,Z”L which didn’t take place in front of the class, was during a “French” lesson with Barry Lent.Suddenly during this “lesson”,the air was filled with waves of the wonderful smell of Orange.Unfortunately for Davy G,sitting at the back,attempting to eat an orange under his desk,proved to be his call up to bat.He was brought to the front and with one step down the crease was dispatched over the boundary, way over the pavillion,out the ground as the crowd sat there in silence.The silence was only broken by the tears of the returning batsman,having been cleaned bowled, facing his first delivery.I believe Orange sales plummetted that day.My own first hand experience was during an “English” lesson with Geoff Soester when my fellow 125 /112 traveller and I were caught writng in some books.I still can’t understand to this day,why he asked us to bend down and then slippered our backs!.The next time I had the “pleasure” was during a “Chemistry” (aka Mexican teasers) lesson with Steve.One kid puts up his hand and says “Can I go and wash my leg,its bleeding?”.Steve asks how it happened.The response “Fighting with Rose”.The next thing we know we’re marched up to the executioners room and given 4 of the best by Flop.Got no idea why we it wasn’t from Steve himself.Must have been Rosh Chodesh.Got no idea why it was 4 either.Guess it just depended how frustrated the teacher was feeling that day about not having a proper job.

    PS Confirmation of a comment from Lun,Joughins Wembley- the nearest he ever got to playing there – were knocked out of the FA Cup,third round 3-0,good result really.I’ve actually still got the newspaper report and a picture of Joughin and if I recall he handled the ball to give away a penalty.

  411. Anthony "R" Rose

    BS”D
    First Year 1976
    D.Abrahams,D.Birkewitz ,D.Bernard,J.Broder,J.Benzakin,D.Cohen,M.Compton,P.Dayan,M.Delange,J.Engelstein,W.Epstein,H.Fertleman,H.Franklin,R.French,D.Garbacz,G.Graus,M.Hakimion,J.Hyman,L.Joseph,S.Kaye,F.Khalaschi,N.Kohn,R.Lederman,L.Melinek,E.Moses,S.Richman,C.Rubinstein,A.Samet,R.Schneiderman,R.Sulzbacher,Z.Tamari,D.Weiner,M.Zar,Jonny Broder,A.Platt,W.Land,Michael Rose,Marc Rose,Y.Gallandauer,Neufeld,Y.Ezra,A.Moses,D.Kitsberg,B.Kaufman,P.Herzschaft,D.Kovler,N.Schiff,J.Koschland,H.Weiner,I.Welka,S.Green,M.Green,L.Polak,D.Reiss,J.Tibber,T.Baxt,H.Berest,S.Fox,M.Orchant,R.Tammam,S.Sher,Y.Klein,D.Samson,T.Schneider,R.Adler,S.Cohen,S.Bekovitch.
    Where are they now and who have I forgotten?

  412. Alex Feigenbaum

    I was, alerted, to this blog, and i think that is the correct word to use, by a customer of mine, an alumni of you’r noble establishment, who bought his car to my garage for repairs{a small plug for my services} He alerted me to my brothers activities on this blog, i had no idea just how enterprising my little brother was in his youth.If this blog is anything to go by he should have been quite flush with money by about the 3rd year, i can attest this was never the case, as he was alwaya asking me for money. And you little ba****rd that motor bike you used to show up on was mine, i always wondered how the footrest got bent.
    Alex Feigenbaum sadly a JFS boy.

  413. Alex, judging by the number of asterisks you inserted in “bastard”, you and Ellis do at least have one thing in common!

  414. Jeremy 'Lun' Landau

    Anthony

    Thanks for the clarification regarding Joughin’s FA Cup 3rd round appearance.

    Meanwhile, do you still eat sardine sandwiches for lunch ?

  415. Anthony "R" Rose

    BS”D
    Lun,it seems that your memory is beginning to fade.It was tinned salmon-only gooners would eat sardines!

  416. Daniel Marks

    Anyone with information and/or anecdotes about Woodthorpe Harrison. Please send them to:

    danielmarks@walla.com

  417. Ah, OK, it’s the same guy. I never had a class with him so couldn’t remember his subject.

    As I recall he and Mr Parnell liked to nip out for a swift half (or two) at lunch time. When I was in the 1st form, once a week the whole form would have a singing lesson with Bert Myers 1st period after lunch.

    Myers would come to our class to collect us and take us off to the hall to gather round the piano. My friend Jeremy (sadly no longer with us) and I used to bunk off. We would hang around at the back of the queue of boys leaving the class and then when Myers was out of view, we’d jump out of the window. The class was on the ground floor, so it wasn’t much of a drop.

    One day we were so busy watching the door as we jumped, we didn’t spot Harrison coming round the corner and we practically fell on top of him.

    I think he was so ‘confused’ he just said, “Where are you two going?” “To our lesson sir” we said. “Well get a move on” said Harrison. And so we scarpered before he could work out that we’d just decended from the open window.

    Happy days!

  418. Martin Segal

    I just remembered that DJ always picked on me something to do with me slipping my kippah off the minute I left the school gates. But I have him to thank as I flunked Chemistry but got an A in “Conflict resolution”!! great to see so many names from the past 🙂

  419. Just looking through all the posts I get the impression that a large number of contributers here joined the school around ’74 , the year that I left, so no one has yet mentioned Mr Bard.

    Mr Bard was my 1st form teacher and left around ’70 or ’71. If anyone would like to get an impression of what he was like, watch this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiWJWLCoH2M

    It’s Rowan Atkinson doing his school teacher routine at the 1979 Secret Policeman’s Ball. His performance is so uncannily like Bard, that it’s almost as though he was at school with me.

    Everything – the voice, the looking down his nose at the class, the way he reads names from the register as though the mere mention of a boy’s name is painful – is spot on.

    There was one time when Bard gave me 500 lines for talking in class. Well I just assumed that he would forget, or maybe I forgot to do it, or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered.

    Anyway, the following day at registration when he called my name, he uttered the dreaded words, “And where are the lines I gave you to do yesterday?”

    I quickly rummaged around in my brief case playing for time.

    “Oh no sir, I seem to have left them at home.”
    “Oh really?” Said Bard, obviously not believing a word.
    “Yes sir.”
    “Right. You don’t live far from school. Come and see me at lunch break and I’ll drive you home and we will pick up your lines.”

    And that is why during the rest of the morning me and my late friend, Jeremy Beecham O”H, started frantically writing out those 500 lines whenever we could grab a minute between lessons and even during one lesson.

    By morning break we had hardly scratched the surface of the problem, so we roped in a couple of helpers whose identity, I’m ashamed to say, I no longer recall, but we managed to finish by the break.

    So after a quick lunch, I met Bard next to his car with the papers stuffed down my shirt. We drove the 2 miles to my house, I went upstairs to ‘find’ the papers, whilst Bard explained to my mum what was going on. Full credit to my mother, she thought the whole thing absurd.

    I then handed Bard the lines and we drove back to school. What he made of the different handwriting I don’t know; and I suspect he knew I’d pulled a fast one, but never mentioned it again.

    If there is anyone reading this who helped me that day and remembers the incident, thanks for your help and sorry for not remembering who you are.

  420. Nussi Feiner

    Great story Eli. But who was Jeremy Beecham? Was he in our year? I thought I remembered every name but his escapes me..
    I was in 1AB (Cyril) & I can happily rattle off the class register to this day quicker than my ‘modeh ani’…..

  421. Hi Nussi

    I think I may have joined the school the year above you, but half way through my 2nd year we went to live in Israel.

    When we came back after a year, Willy decided to keep me in the 2nd Form as he reckoned the schooling in Israel was of a lower standard than at Hasmo!!!

    That’s how I ended up in the same year as Ray, Bobby and Micky K; I think you were in that year as well?

    Jeremy’s family also made Aliyah, 3 months before we went out there, so he left after he had one term of the 2nd year. Not before he had led me astray, however (honest, officer).

    Having done a year of school in Israel it was an eye opener to see the education system there.

    The teachers didn’t have to be sadists to keep discipline. We were allowed to call them by their first names and they did likewise with the pupils.

    There was no capital punishment -or as Zahava the headmistress would say, “We don’t use the stick here.” Consequently there was a much friendlier atmosphere and although we got up to mischief occasionally, there didn’t seem much point in winding up teachers as they treated us with respect and in return, we respected them.

  422. I have been reading this blog and on occasion almost wetting myself with laughter. Great stuff. I was in Hasmo from 81-87 and what a great time I had. I was in the same class as the legendary Jeremy Platt. He gave me some serious sandpit treatment within my first few days in school; I guess simply because I was small.
    One particular event amongst the many I can recall is when Mad Mr Soester attempted to hit me in English as I must have driven him mad. I managed to duck out of the way. His hand came down hard on the desk and he smashed his brand new watch!
    I don’t see too many guys from the 80s. Where are you?

  423. Jonathan Wasserberg

    Mr Meyers class, 1973. Favourites, me, favourites? Spencer Lichtig, (the only boy he called by his first name) he pleaded, Spencer, do I have favourites. No sir, Spencer replied, dutifully for the tenth time.
    It was time for the ink blot trick. A ‘joke’plastic ink blot had been laid on the teachers table before Mr Meyers arrival. He had looked at it warily and avoided putting his books anywhere near it.
    After some minutes he carefully poked it with his pen, peeled it off the table and holding it triumphantly aloft hurled it at us. He was then distracted by a disturbance in the corridor, which was remarkably common. Leaving the class momentarily the boy facing his desk removed a bottle of Quink from his bag. Carefully pouring it onto the table to the same size as the previous’ joke’ ink blot we awaited Mr Meyers return with a feeling of fear and anticipation. He strode back into the class, took one look at the ink blot, exclaimed ‘Ha!’ and with the back of his hand swiped the real ink blot towards the class. Chaos! We were all covered in Quink, laughing maniaclly, while he screamed Spencer, Spencer! Can’t for the life of me remember what the subject was he was teaching.
    Coming up next……. DJ finds out I have joined the St John Ambulance Brigade!

  424. Talking of Bert Myers. I’ll post this story here minus any names, as my former colleague is having trouble recalling the incident.

    Just over 10 years ago I was at a family simcha when I bumped into two Hasmo alumni from my year. The following conversation took place:

    Me: “Have you heard Bert Myers died last week?”

    Mr X: “Good!”

    Mr Myers took us for music and German. For music, I just bunked off; and for German, I just kept schtum in class and then dropped the subject as soon as I could. Likewise Chemistry: DJ is the sole reason I dropped the subject.

  425. Michael Factor

    Another DJ story:

    Outside staircase being repaired, so the twerp announced to the assembled school that they should use the main staircase, going up on the left and down on the right.

    I found that rather amusing and must have smirked. “Factor, did I say something funny? Would you care to shave the joke with the rest of the school?”

    So I did.

  426. Factor! “Max”!! “Michael the Magician”!!!

    Now there is someone who is almost certainly an unsung Hasmo Legend all of his own.

    How are you doing old boy, and how, for that matter, is dear Murgatroyd, your pet hen (“Murgatroyd, Murgatroyd – hear me, I beg……..do me a favour, lay me an egg”)?

  427. Nick Kopaloff

    This blog reads like a violent version of Catholic Choir Boy confession time and exposes many skeletons who would otherwise prefer to remain closeted.

    How disturbing to read of the grandfather of 6 who as a young Hasmonean many moons ago, was punched bloody in the face by a teacher for the crime of whispering to a classmate, and equally sad that he feels the need to cite his Jaguar as confirmation that he went on to succeed in life.

    These horrific tales are a slight to, if not an indictment of, Orthodox Judaism. A belief system that claims a steadfast adherence to a pristine yet unswerving Halacha cannot conveniently borrow Conservative Jewish values of flexibility and adaptation.

    Nowadays the corporal punishment of minors is universally deplored, yet Halacha’s warning sirens were never sounded when the bestial carnage was commonplace in Hasmonean. That many of us accepted and often even encouraged the beatings does not diminish from their basic unlawfulness. But, instead of our Rabbis attributing an unreserved prohibition of child beating to Halachic sources, it was ultimately state legislation and fear of punitive enforcement that tipped the scales of reason to convince them that the beatings of defenseless children were unwise if not reprehensible.

    Some will no doubt rally to the defense of orthodoxy by claiming that Halacha’s ban of child abuse has always been crystal-clear, but was just sadly misinterpreted by many practitioners. Recognizing the logical inconsistency between scientific theory and their strict faith, they attempt to reconcile and resolve this cognitive dissonance by what is ostensibly a retroactive redefinition of Halacha.

    This pattern of Halachic reevaluation and reinvention was evident in Hasmonean Jewish studies lessons in connection with the denial of the existence of dinosaurs and the rejection of the theory of evolution. When these scientific theories became commonly accepted facts, there was an urgent need to accommodate them within mainstream Halacha which not so long before had simply rejected them (at least according to many of our leading Rabbis – yet not necessarily as Goldman points out, was this a view held by Maimonides). Scholars would then search the bible and suddenly find an abundance of subtle dinosauric references and cryptic fossilized hints, hitherto conspicuously hidden, which pointed to an age predating the Garden of Eden by millions of years. This same cognitive dissonance theme reverberated with the death of the Lubaviche Rebbe when his messianic followers, who had fervently dismissed any likelihood of his “passing”, had to try to come to terms with his absence within the framework of their messiah message.

  428. Jeremy Cardash

    So just to clarify, did dinosaurs exist?

    I think some of the teachers in Hasmo were proof of a missing link and I believe one or two didn’t have opposable thumbs.

    Hasmo was most certainly run according to the law of survival of the fittest (wonder if Osher studied Darwin in his spare time?)

  429. Excellent post, Nick.

    As I think was mentioned last Saturday evening, it is just amazing how many otherwise intelligent people ‘buy’ all that stuff. Ours is a great religion, with wonderful tradition, but many so-called “Orthodox” Jews just can’t see the wood for the trees.

    But one can’t blame Halacha, or even “Orthodox Judaism”, for the excesses of Hasmonean . . . just the recruitment of so many unbalanced, misanthropic fanatics who either turned a blind eye to, or wilfully misinterpreted, them . . . and who, instead of acting as mentors, relished their roles as tormentors.

    If the likes of Jonathan Sacks and the various Reverends and Rabbis I grew up with at Raleigh Close (Hendon United Synagogue) – Hardman z”l, Silberg, and Ginsbury – had taught at Hasmonean, I would have had nothing to write about . . . well, apart from Cyril, Chichios, etc.!

  430. Mitchell Orchant

    I was only at Hasmo till 3rd year and had some of the best laughs of my childhood whilst there.

    My saddest memory was when Flop whacked my classmate Tony Schneider so hard on his ears that I thought his head would fall off.

    What an odd man.

    Cyril was odd too, I remember when we put chewing gum on his chair as we just wanted him once in his life to have to wear different trousers! The next day… he did.

    Best

    Mitchell

  431. Shmuel Ansbacher

    The bundles in the corridors, getting pushed from one side to another, is a great memory. Cyril’s small pencil and little book, “lines for you”, Brush Strokes English teacher (can’t remember his name). Mr Beddle, “shabbat shaboogli”. It was fun! I married a Hasmo girl.

  432. Ben Wolinsky

    I was at Hasmo from 1989-1992.

    The teachers I got along with the best were Mr. Bedel (art), Stephaniki (English), O’Connor (chemistry), and Mr. Vassalo (the technician for CDT). I think we used to call him “Ed the Duck.” The teachers that I got along with had one thing in common; they weren’t Jewish!

    I think the Jewish studies teachers were failures at life. They put on airs, even though they’d never amounted to much. Some of them were trying to outdo each other on their “Englishness”. Maybe when you’re part of the country’s least favored minority, you tend to be a bit paranoid.

    Mr. O’Connor was a great teacher, but let’s look at it this way; he had an Irish surname, and he knew he couldn’t hide it. Rather than spend his time trying to keep his nose in the air, he acknowledged that whatever he did in life depended on what he made of it.

    The fact is, the teaching style at Hasmo was very punitive. You could expect a detention for the slightest misbehavior, but I rarely saw anyone getting rewarded for hard work.

  433. daniel baum

    It boggles the mind just what memories this brings back….sends a shiver right up my spine!

    Couldn’t be more true or funnier.

    The times I spent outside Roberg’s office, priceless.

  434. Laurence Mammon

    Dear Mike, great to hear youre alive and well and giving back so much for the school we all loved to hate. Great blog. Anyone remember the bog money we had to pay to use the toilets in 1st grade, and how the hatikvah was changed at the annual school gathering from ”liyot am chofshi” to ”liyot um kodshi” and Rabbi Baddiel etc walked out.

  435. Nick Kopaloff

    What Did You Learn at School Today?

    In Music we were Jewish pigs
    Our father then a swine
    English deplored any hint of “nice”
    But allowed “pleasant” and “fine”

    Talmud cited herds of oxen
    Who always seemed to gore
    Gore here, gore there, gore everywhere
    Then go and gore some more

    Geography was a barren show
    With an occasional theatre prop
    And Chadwick’s briefcase standing in
    As an impromptu mountain top

    A good white wine, Un bon vin blanc
    French nutshell of nasal diction
    Art demanded loose trousers be worn
    To minimize the friction

    The Gold Standard and Greek Drachma
    Were Constitutions only rants
    And the peak of sporting accomplishment?
    To pass the test you wore no pants

    In woodwork the mallet could be found
    By looking in the box marked mallets
    And chocolate crispies led the lunchtime trade
    For the most discerning palates

    Biology was about experiments
    That never seemed to work
    And when quizzed as to why they always failed
    He would hit us and go berserk

    Physics was about a prism
    Splitting light to a colorful tune
    In history the fall of the Roman Empire
    Occurred some time in June

  436. Sorry, but the staff picture must have been taken way before 1979, probably closer to 1970. I attended 1970-75, and I remember the people on the staff well. Still visit and speak to Osher Baddiel from time to time and also Jack Ordman, who lives in Israel. Problem with many teachers in my time is that they had no idea how to teach, for they had only studied the subjects they taught, but had not been to any teacher training course or studied pedagogy. They were utterly useless as teachers and we had to suffer!

  437. Sorry, Ravi, but you are mistaken. The photo was taken in either ’79 or ’80. They were all there when I was at Hasmo too (I joined in ’78).

    I dunno, they turn up here, six months after my original post . . . 😉

  438. Ravi Shahar

    Really, they were all there? I thought Willie Stanton had left by then. Strange, I don’t see any new faces in the photo, and I didn’t think all the teachers in my time would still be there in 1980. None of my classmates have added comments on your blog, but I could tell you some really juicy stories about Cyril etc. How did they ever allow DJ to teach? I once got suspended for refusing to listen to him, and to this day I know he was wrong. He used to hate the Stamford Hillies and picked on them whenever he could. But if you davened in Munks you were one of his favorites….

  439. Willie must have left very shortly after it was taken. He was there for my first year or two.

    Was Jonny Bokor there in 1975? I think he was only 19 when we joined!

    Perhaps they didn’t “allow DJ to teach” . . . so he took it upon himself to just torment instead.

    And get those Cyril stories coming (after the appropriate post) . . .

  440. Daniel Lange

    Willie took ill when we were in the middle of our 2nd year – c. early 1980, at which point Roberg became Acting HM, and DJ became acting deputy. DJ of course then went power crazy with his new found (even though “acting”) deputy headship, and set up a trusted network of select prefects (the SS) who had licence to give out impositions and detentions like confetti.

    BTW Ravi – Stuart Tarrant is in the piccie and he started the same time as we were 1st years – 1978

  441. Thanks for the update Daniel. I still have a few yearbooks from the early 70s, with my artwork in one of them. And all the O and A level results etc. Roberg, Jerry and Jack Ordman all live in Israel, as does Roger Gothold and some of my teachers are in the next world, such as Bert and Chadwick, and Rabbi Kahan.

  442. Robert Rader

    Ravi Shahar – if you haven’t yet done so, go into the brilliantly written Cyril post by melchette mike and there you will find (amongst the hundreds) a few comments written by guys from our year. BTW do you remember being packed into Mr Gati’s van with all of the other Stamford Hill boys (and the two Ilford pioneers) after yeshivah stream shiurim every evening in 1971?

  443. Robert, I just left a nice story on the Cyril post, which you have surely seen, but I didn’t notice any classmates besides you, Jonny Deal, Jonny Martin. Who else is there? Where are the likes of Abdullahi, Bandel, Beerman, Breskin, Briski, Bude (Nuchi is in GG), Chaimovitch, Cohen, Cymerman, Goldberg, Eli Gross, etc. etc. Halberstadt is a successful rabbi in the US, with 16 kids!!!

  444. Robert Rader

    Ravi, your’e taking me way, way back……I’ve been in Israel for the last thirty three years and haven’t had much contact with ex classmates. Maybe this blog will re-unite some of us after so many years apart…whats with your cousin Nati? Yes, you mentioned in your comment on the Cyril blog those who have contributed from our year, not enough though. Where are they? it seems that this blog is “contagious”.. so we’ll have to be patient. Great hearing from you again!

  445. Well I live in Neve Yaakov, Yerushalayim, and Nati is in Beit Shemesh, with 14 or 15 kids from 2 wives, and numerous grandchildren. Runs a keiruv organization called Belev Echad, specializing in outreach, shiurim and various programs for the non frum in the Beis Shemesh area, and often has to go shnorrering to keep it afloat. Seems he hasn’t hunted you down yet, or he will be knocking on your door for gelt. Calls himself Nosson Kohn, and does a lot of good workin outreach. Kudos to him. Where do you hang out these days ( I won’t tell him)? And if you don’t believe me, check him out on http://www.Belevechad.org where you will see nice pictures of him and a video to boot. Well worth a peek!

  446. samuel namdar

    Hi, this is Sammy Namdar. I was in Hasmo from 1972 – 1974 (moved abroad). After 35 years I decided to dig in to my past and have already hooked up with my good old friend Graham Summers.
    While there is no question that the teachers generally treated the students with considerable condescension which has left a bad taste by many, there were a couple of pleasant rare exceptions. Rabbi Badiel was a great teacher who could also be a friend to his students. ‘Cyrill’ besides being an an excellent teacher was also a gem because of the enormous amount of fun he involuntarily gave us in the classroom. I’m sure that some of the other teachers who were physical with students (twisting ears etc) later came to realize that they were dead wrong.

  447. What a find!! Fab stories, I was there between 1971-1977 and the rhythm of the class register up until the fifth form still goes round in my head over thirty years later…..

    abdullahi, apter, bandel, beerman, breskin, briski, bude, chaim, cohen, cymerman, doorman, goldberg, gross, halberstadt, hersh, joseph, kaufman, kramer, kreiger, lemon, lopian, lubinsky, marks, martin, pearl, quitak, roper, rotenberg, rubens, shahar, vitkofsky, winkler…..

    I do wish my memory for other things was as good

  448. Hi Bradley, haven’t heard from you since 1975! Where are you now, and what are you doing with yourself. Married? kids? etc.
    Would love to hear from you, as I always wondered what happened to the top boy in our class. I could update you on some boys if you wish. Your classmate, Ravi
    P.S. You forgot Feiner! My memory is better….

  449. Hey Ravi, Shalom to you.

    We both forgot Klarfeld so it’s 15 all in the first set.

    Brad

  450. Bradley, do you remember these guys…same years 1971-77 but different class register.

    Abrahams, Bamberger, Beigal, Blitz, Chesterman, Ciffer, Cohen, Conway, Diamant, Dolland, Englard, Feld, Fisch, Fordham, Glick, Hoffman, Horovitz, Jacobs, Kandler, Kestenbaum, Lewin, Lubert, Lunzer, Margolis, Marmorstein, Orenstein, Rabson, Rader, Shneiderman, Turetsky, Wynick…….

    That class register has been lodged deep in my memory for so many years…….and I cant remember what I had for lunch today.

  451. Robert, always wondered what happened to “Tich” Horovitz. Remember that he was brilliant. Any idea where he is now and what he is doing?
    Mr Lever in 3L used to start the retister of our class as follows: AAAAAbdullaaaahi.

  452. Robert and Ravi, do you remember we started off as three first year classes? Ravi and I were in 1BA, the teacher was Mr Ballon who taught history, I think you were in one of the other classes which is the list you are quoting but I can’t for the life of me remember them, they were given the initials of the form-master…

    Then when we got streamed in the second and third years we all kind of mingled together…….

    I will say that having read through most of the postings on this blog which does do justice to some of the monsters who were teaching us there is something missing and that is praise for those teachers who got it right…

    The one I remember as being the most together, sane and liked was John Denham who taught geography and do you remember Keith who was the lab technician who used to put on amazing scientific magic shows in the physics lab? And then to the other extreme there was George Parnell who taught maths who turned up one day with his pet boa constrictor and taught maths lessons with the thing wrapped around his neck?

    Could somebody please direct me to the official Hasmo blog site? I keep reading how bad it is but my search engine takes me back here all the time.

    Many thanks.

    BP

  453. Bradley, we were 1M…. and Mr. Ivan Marks’s first ever “roll call” at Hasmonean……the very first of many it seems….. (sounds a bit like Porridge, doesn’t it?)

  454. Some of the good teachers were goyim… The one we had for history in the 5th was really great. Forgotten his name but he was such a good teacher. I got an A for my History O level, and was very surprised. Some teachers could have done with training, others were naturally good teachers. The way to tell a good teacher is by how popular he is with his students.

    Robert Rader:
    Duvidel Abraham will get mad at you if he saw that you called him Abrahams. He hated being called Abrahams.

  455. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    I am so grateful for this blog, so all the stories iI`ve told my kids about my schooling can be backed up. The material is just hardcore in this time of political correctness. Why did our parents not complain at the time..or was it a case that we deserved it.
    There are so many stories that have come flooding back..no creative Python loving humourist would be capable of making it up.
    I`ll give you a real gem for now.
    I had left home the usual time on a normal Wednesday morning with the intention of bunking school and if memory serves me correctly to invest 25p in a Red Bus Rover and go up west, take in an arcade or two and generally leave the world of 4B behind. So I tuck my Levis jeans jacket into my blue Adidas bag…I cant be seen wearing the maroon of Hasmo in the dodgy world of Oxford St and the like. OK fast forward to 4.15 pm heading back home,t urn into the top of the street, my blazer back on OH MY GOD Roston´s little MG is parked outside my home. I freeze. Well I have no other option but to face the music. What had transpired was that my mother had noticed me acting suspiciously in the morning and could not find my treasured Levis jean jacket and had put one and one together and had won the Lottery. Roston had raced round (scenting the free tea and homely cakes) and couldn´t get out of his little shiny British sportster quick enough. The one point I remembered him suggesting was that I could be excused for the next 2 days due to the traumatic experience I had suffered. My mother was having none of that, I quote “Ivor will be back in school tomorrow and you have my permission to punish him.”
    Cyril really was a strange creature and my ears large that they may be took on another shape after a year in his form. I have been called the FA Cup! I`ll always remember the repetition of the Amidah. The drill was to look at Cyril on the completion and he would nod giving you the right to carry on. Well just ask Graham Summers, Daniel Marks et al the wretched creatures what happenned if you didn`t play the game Cyrils way.
    Does anybody remember Chich`s mantra White sox?
    Well I can rattle on, the stories are just hilarious.
    Why did Roston walk around with 2 suitcases through the corridors?
    Nick K, release all those demons and bad feelings towards Bert M.
    Wow I`m feeling nostalgic!

  456. Daniel Marks

    An Ivor (who the hell is Mike) Braff moment.

    It is the first French lesson of the first year, Cyril is our teacher and he has asked the question as to why it is important for us to learn French.

    The answers have so far been boring and predictable until young Braff raises his hand and after receiving permission suggests:

    “Well sir, let’s say, for example, you’ve been sent to spy in France.”

    Cyril considers the possibility momentarily and though it was not what he had in mind, he cannot refute the undeniable logic that any MI6 operative sent to gay Paris and posing as a Froggy would be well advised to have an O level French and a few lectures behind him.

    Begrudgingly, and with a contemptuous smirk that said he wishes he could find a reason against doing so, Cyril writes on the board:

    “Useful for Spying”.

  457. Nick Kopaloff

    Hi Mike Braff,

    Great to have you on board.
    Melchett Mike runs a tight ship but as a galley-master, he is as fair as they come.
    Thanks for those memorable recollections and for the advice about the demons, which in regard to them “Jewish Pigs” I cannot seem to lose. Perhaps you knew Bert somehow from your prep school days and so witnessed the sad mental demise of a once fine man. But we were exposed to him for the first time, as a deranged certifiable monster in serious need of a strong dose of medication.

    Your demon reference strikes a sensitive chord because once you become a regular contributor to this excellent blog you will discover the much-spoken about connection between demons and chicken feet; and so by suggesting I lose my demons you infer I have the feet of a chicken, which is simply not the case.

    Anyway the last time I saw you I think it was at an all-nighter at Bettina Tager’s house. We smoked like beagles, drank all Mr. T’s booze and no doubt tried to get off with someone. In fact the girl I woke up with, was blonde and about your height, so it makes you think.

    I had changed my name from Nicky to Nick to try to be cool. It has not worked yet, but hope springs eternal. You had done the same from Ivor to Mike, stopping briefly midway with Clint, but abandoning that after realizing that a life of being referred to as Clit was probably something you were not relishing.

    It was you Mike, who first introduced me to relativism. I was Rosh Pina’s football captain and dare I say, finest. But once we played Hasmo prep and got destroyed I realized you were good and I was crap. Then when we were classmates at Hasmo Grammar, you were my yardstick for football excellence but that yardstick seemed to keep getting shorter especially when we were up against non-Jewish opposition.

    Daniel Marks’s recount of your exposé of French espionage recruiting techniques was sublime, as was his highly original bikini-asterisk citation.

  458. For the first time Koplaoff has broken with character and abandoned his usual self-affacement in favor of ever so casually bragging that he successfully “got off” with a tall, blond, Ivor Braff look-alike all those years ago.

    I suspect his motivations may be connected to my linking him to a much more “do-it-yourself” version of the same activity and he now feels the need to convince readers of this excellent blog that he was not always alone when making love.

    While I was not present at the aforementioned festivities, I do remember the incident being realted to me real-time by Nick, in that era there were no cellulars so Kopaloff had to wait till he got home to phone everyone and tell us that he’d scored.

    If my memory serves me correctly the maiden in question had a name beginning with F and Kopaloff had long tired of classical chat-up and seduction techniques. Instead he wondered around the party making use of the highly sophisticated:

    “Do you want to get off with me?” to complete strangers.

    F was the lucky lady who swallowed the bait.

  459. Michael Goldman

    Did he F F or did she swallow the bait?

  460. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Did Bettina have any tall, long legged blondes as friends? Please tell me you do not recall seeing a Chelsea shirt by the scene.
    Hi Nick,
    Long old time. Thanks for your warm welcome and kind words. Great to be aboard HMS (Hasmo Memorable Stories).
    I´m all for name changing as long as you stay loyal to the root of the name or perhaps adopt your middle name as I did in my case. I fully agree with your dropping of the y, firstly a little too feminine and not portraying the image of coolness, no doubt you wanted through the 80`s. Did you ever consider adding an O, so becoming Nico, very avant garde and reminds me a little of an Andy Warhol muse.
    Anyhow you were a stylish midfielder if I remember correctly, brought up on all the old values of the west Ham academy. Why not pass, pass and pass,no need to break into a sweat. I remember occasionally guesting with the Jolly cricketers. They were quite a bunch. Your correct Mick Chern used the morning break to inspect the pitch and see if there was any turn in the air. Appropriately he used to bowl full tosses! I played Sunday morning football about 25 years ago with Shnorra as a marauding full back. Even then after the match in the pub, he was asking for a sip of my beer.
    Can you throw any light on whether Charlie Chadwick was a trainee taxi driver but not being able to pass the knowledge became a Hasmo Maths teacher. I can understand if you are not aware, as you were always a straight B student.
    Daniel Marks, I`ve always been suspicious of the French…Any nation that can produce such fine wine, women and art needs looking at closely.
    Yes I also heard that Ellman was a bare knuckle fighter in his earlier days. Would be interested to hear whatever happened to Timothy Messom?

  461. Bradley Pearl

    SOME FASCINATING BUT TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE HASMONEAN GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR BOYS AND ITS TEACHING STAFF FROM THE SEVENTIES . . .

    1. The school is in Holders Hill Road which was named after Noddy Holder (Google it if you need to). His brother Noddy Lever taught History and Economics. Thus the circle was completed.

    2. Alan Bloomberg had several other sidelines besides teaching French. He was adviser to the Microsoft Corporation when they were developing their word processing software. This explains why the default setting on Microsoft Word is always set to double spacing. He was also asked to give his opinion by the Chief Medical Officer when planning the UK’s response to the current swine flu pandemic. Sir Liam opened the window and influ…… (fill in the gap for ten housepoints).

    3. Chaim Potter used a curse (which must not be named) against dark arts teacher Rabbi Angel and was not allowed to play kiddish for the school’s first team for a period of three months. This explains why the school came last in the league and has continued performing so poorly. The curse has never been lifted and I believe was part of the reason Grodzinski’s the baker closed down but I do not have the precise details.

    I’m sure there are many more strange but true tales, if I dig any up I will be sure to let you know.

  462. Pupil from 1957 to 1964 during the days of the real Hasmonean when many of the teaching staff were psychologically damaged refugees from the War.

    I have a school photo from 1959. If there is anyone out there interested I could work out how to get it onto this blog. It is one of the old fashioned scrolling ones so I will have to work out how to scan it. I have a techy in my office so he should be able to help.

    Glad to see there are still some “liberal” ex Hasmos out there (religious wise I mean) – the school got a bit hijacked by the rabbonim after my time.

    Regards,

    Robert

  463. Bradley Pearl

    The Freedom of Information Act has allowed previously confidential files to be made available in the public domain.

    The curse which Chaim Potter used can now be named as the aveiro cadaver curse. It could only be used by sixth formers and was banned by the late headmaster Dumbledore Dumbledore Stanton when he realised how harmful it was. The effect was to turn a life model in the dark arts room into a corpse and the actual ritual involved was extremely complex. Attempts at revival of the corpse by Potter and Rabbi Angel failed because neither had attended the A/S level module on moshiach sciences when they would have been taught how to bring the dead back to life.

    There were three corpses in all which all found their way down to Stephen Posen’s lab for dissection and this explains why the whole class got grade A+ for human biology in 1975

  464. Bradley Pearl

    Enough of the fantasy and now back to reality…….there may be some of you who find this post offensive and it’s about sex so move on if you wish.

    In my second year at hasmo in 1972 we had a science teacher called Mr Becker, I think he only lasted two or three terms and then disappeared never to be heard of again. It was his unfortunate task to teach us what was euphemistically called the facts of life and indeed he started off telling us about the birds and bees. I think most of us knew what was coming next and the barely contained sniggers erupted into general mayhem when he finally got round to telling us how humans did it. My clearest memory of the lesson was his description of the mensuration that women have every month. Of course being the class swot I put my hand straight up and told him the correct term was menstruation which he grudgingly accepted and the rest of the lesson just disintegrated with about half the class having to stand outside the headmaster’s office with their hands on their heads as some kind of ritualistic punishment.

    So that was sex education in 1972 until a couple of years later when Gary Quitak (I’m sure it was you and if I’m wrong I do apologise) managed somehow to get two or three seriously hardcore porn mags from Scandinavia or Amsterdam and we all had a look at them around the back of the bikesheds. At that point I think his entrepreneurial skills set in and it was five pence for a quick look and ten pence if you wanted to take the mag into the bikeshed and practice your onanistic skills for five minutes or so. I think the contents would be as illegal now as they were then as they portrayed Hitler Youth type Aryans of both genders in various copulatory activities with no holes barred if you get my drift. I don’t think any teachers or prefects were ever aware of all this. I think if they had found him out poor Gary would have been buried alive in the sandpit a bit like David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr Laurence. I think the most titillating stuff any of us yoks had seen before this were the copies of Health and Efficiency magazine and the odd Penthouse at the barber’s shop or nicked from the top shelf at 7-11 with a decoy buying popsicles. I think that is the end of the story.

  465. Your porn mag recollections, Bradley, remind me of our 1982 Hasmo Israel Trip (the first of its kind, I believe) when a friend – who is now a massive yid and shall, therefore, remain nameless – and I purchased a copy of Men Only from a kiosk on Jerusalem’s Rechov Yaffo. I seem to recall that we each took long turns in the dorm loos, perusing the contents for “osser” material. Suffice it to say that, within a matter of hours, the magazine had been miraculously transformed into a hardback.

  466. Malcolm Darer

    Cannot remember any of you guys, anyone here know Micky Cohen, Mike Hindon, Clive Rayden, David Fox?
    Great blogs, great times, crap school.

  467. Jonathan Landau

    Hi Malcolm

    I remember all of them.

  468. Malcolm Darer

    Hi Jonathan,
    I’m still in contact with Micky & Mike, remind me were you in my class? I was never there so only remember the people that bunked school with me on a red rover bus pass.

  469. Hi Malcolm,

    I think that Michael Hindon was a friend of my late brother, Jonny (Isaacson). If he is one and the same, please ask him to get in touch.

    I met David Fox about four years ago, on a Norwood bike ride in Israel. You in touch with him at all?

    Welcome to melchett mike!

    Mike

  470. Malcolm Darer

    Hi Mike,
    I believe you are correct about Mike Hindon-I sent him the detail of the blog contact him on mike.hinden@wow-homes.co.uk. I bumped into David Fox in a dry cleaners in Stanmore a couple of years back, Mickey Cohen has seen him a number of times whilst he walks his dog somewhere around Henley’s Corner . Mike,thanks for the welcome!

  471. Thanks, Malcolm. I have already written to Mike. Did you know, and were you friends with, Jonny?

    I meet up with David Marx and Peter Waxman on my (increasingly infrequent) visits to London. Ron Dombey also joined us once (he is here, and I keep meaning to try and find him!) Any of those names ring a bell?

  472. Malcolm Darer

    I remember Jonny with fondness. Peter Waxman rings a bell so does Ron Dombey not sure if they were in the class below me.
    Whenever I see Micky C and his kids he comes out with the greatest stories of what we got up to at Hasmo-his kids think we were nutters!
    Regds.

  473. Hi Mike
    I’m in touch with Ron Dombeys nephew who also lives here in the holy land…..will be my pleasure to help you find Ron.
    Robert

  474. & when you meet/speak with David Marx and Peter Waxman and Ron Dombey – pass them my good wishes.

    Haven’t spoken to them for years but great memories…

    Sh. Shalom

  475. so glad I had a look at this blog. Memories of Johnny are wonderful and of course I remember David Marx, Peter Waxman and Ron Dombey. Next time u r in london and want to get together with them please let me know. I’d love to catch up on old times. Despite what Malcolm says it was a great school too. I have only wonderful memories of it. Where else could we have got up to the things we did and constantly get away with them, and still come out with a reasonably good education.
    The only sad thing about this blog is th lack of female participation and content. We all mixed with the girls up the road from Hasmo girls school. Where are they now. c’mon girls contribute

  476. ALAN (AGGIE) SCHWARTZ

    now lets get this straight how does a boy called alan get the name “aggie” which has by the way now stuck with me for 40 years and still being called that by many of the ex hasmo boys.
    well lest’s start with the legendary history teacher Noddie Lever (your shoes are dirty boy) who after a year with us decided to abscond to Australia and get away as far as he could from us.
    for some reason and untill still today i do not know why he gave a bunch of us in the first form new names. welcome to hasmo
    so try and figure this one out. how did he get from
    alan to “aggie” schwartz.
    robert to “gladys” nevis.
    alan to “hubert” kahan.
    anthony to “tiddles” davidson.
    paul to “pogle” ogus.
    perry “dont remember ” shapira.
    please all ex hasmos remind me of the ones i have forgotten.
    next post will be the famous “under the stage” poker game if anyone is interested.
    would love to hear from all 1969-1976ers.
    alan “aggie”schwartz
    jerusalem israel

    my email alan@jerusalem-of-gold.co.il

  477. “next post will be the famous “under the stage” poker game”

    After 30+ years I still get livid when I remember the (probably bunking double-Economics with Harrison) session when I had 4 x Kings, there was lotsa cash on the table in bets, and (I think it was) Jonny Gertler – who was about to lose a packet – decided to mitigate his losses, jumped to his feet creating a panic and screamed “Jerry Gerber’s coming” collecting all the cards and shoving all the bets into his blazer pocket!

    Jonny – wherever you are – you owe me! 😉

  478. ALAN (AGGIE) SCHWARTZ

    i seem to remember having 4 aces at the time so with inflation i think both of you owe me at least stg 100k

  479. Aggie. Mickey Cohen was I believe nicknamed “Twitt”.
    Nussi. Sounds like Johnny Gertler to do a thing like that. He always was a bad loser. I can remember him tipping up the card table if he was in real trouble.
    Great days, great memories

  480. Malcolm Darer

    Mike, did Noddy give you a nickname? mine (Morris Lockshen) has stuck with me all these years.
    Malcolm

  481. malcolm, I was never in class long enough to get a teacher to give me a nickname. I spent more time outside willie’s office than in class.!!

  482. Hi Mike,
    I remember one chanukah event where we were marched into the hall,the Hasmo girls , were already sitting upstairs, and left 15 minutes before
    we were allowed out G-d forbid we should mix. We used to hang out with the girls from Camden if you remember, they had what our sisters didn’t have…..shicks – appeal. And then we discovered most of them were jewish !

  483. Ron, How could anyone ever forget that. As I remember the Schonfeld was there giving one of his (in)famous speeches, and wittering on about the boys and girls, trying to make some point about us being kept apart, but as usual it came out all wrong, had totally the reverse effect of its intended meaning and had all of us in uproar, and as for the Camden Girls of course they were all Jewish, but with shiksa tendecies.!!!
    Hope you are well
    Mike

  484. At one Schonfield speech at Hasmo Boys in the early 80’s he almost caused a riot when he said that Jewish girls were “the core of the community”

  485. I’m sure there are many a story about PE & games at school re Chichios et al but there’s one that I still remember to this day.

    My attendances at Copthall Stadium for weekly games were few and far between. But one week I was walking along the Great North Way slip road to Copthall at a slow pace with Zvi Chaimovich when we were approached by two older boys from St Marys or some other local school. They threatened us, one had knuckle-dusters, and demanded money from us. We managed to find 1o pence which we gave to them and they went on their way. We later found out that they had continued along the road extorting money from more Hasmo boys.

    Anyhow, as Zvi and I continued to Copthall we saw one of the teachers driving towards us in his cream-coloured Beetle. We flagged him down and told him of the ‘mugging’. Unfortunately I don’t recall the teacher’s name (Dani Amini to the rescue?) but he was a tall non-jewish teacher. We went in his car to see if we could find the two culprits. As we drove into the driveway leading to the stadium, we spotted them. The teacher shot out of the car, sprinted across the grass till he caught up with one of the boys and grabbed him by the arm. He dragged him kicking and swearing back to the car. After a few attempts, he managed to get the boy into the back seat and drove off to the Police Station on Brent Street.

    To cut a long story short, the police kept him in a cell while we gave statements and some weeks later the case went to Court. A number of us were called to Hendon Magistrates Court, which for 12 year-olds was quite a daunting experience.

    We gave our evidence and both boys were given some punishment, although I don’t think we ever found out the details.

    Anyway, well done to our courageous teacher!

  486. Hi Martin,

    I remember hearing about the story at the time. He was our first form History teacher, his name eludes me too but Kopaloff has a positively encyclopedic memory for such trivia.

    Though I had bunked off that day the story was excitedly related to me, I forget by whom – perhaps by your excellent self.

    The added detail I might offer, albeit second-hand, would be that a “rugby tackle” was the tool of choice used by our hero to facilitate the apprehension of the aforementioned gentile latter day highway-man.

  487. HALLO RAVI AND BRADLEY.
    I ALSO REMEMBER ALL THE NAMES INCREDIBLE.
    Unfortunately lost my wife a year back, if you know of a shidduch please let me know.
    Absolutely desperate.

  488. no one has mentioned how many boys were had to make “”DONATIONS”” to be able to get into the school. would be interesting to know how many. I was one and i know of 2 others. I think the criterea was if you could afford it you would be turned down if you did not pay it. Great start in life for a secondary school.

  489. Malcolm Darer

    Ex Pupil ? – Your words ring true, from memory my rabbi arranged for my father to give a Donation as my frumness was not up to the mark.
    I too am curious as to how many others there were.

  490. Henri Berest

    I always wondered how widespread the ‘donation racket’ was for the school.
    I remember my late father-in-law telling the story of being interviewed by a Rabbi when my wife applied to go the girls school.
    My father in law was a shop-keeper who kept his shop open on Saturdays -(a quick plug for the ‘Hendon’ post Mike, as the shop was in Vivian Avenue).
    He heard through one of the Governors that the reason that my wife had been declined a place at the girls school because the shop was open on Saturdays. They were quite upset, as she had attended the prep school with no problems. The School Governor told them that he’d see what
    he could do for them.
    A Rabbi Freilich subsequently contacted them and arranged to come round.
    When he arrived, he agreed that the shop being open was the problem, but this could easily be solved by them giving all the days profits to charity….every week.
    He also told them that by failing to do this and send her to Hasmo girls would ‘jeopardise her future, as if she went to a non-Jewish school she risked getting pregnant’.
    My future mother-in law then asked him if any Hasmo girls had ever got pregnant – to which he replied that he couldn’t answer that question.
    Fortunately she ended up going to Copthall Girls – a far nicer uniform…..and No……she didn’t get pregnant.

  491. I remember wanting to make a few of those Copthall girls pregnant . . . turning up at the Hendon Library study (more accurately horny!) room in those tight blue jumpers and short skirts (the girls, I mean . . . not me!)

    And who would have wanted to make a Hasmo girl pregnant?!

    That must have been what Rabbi Freilich meant. 😉

  492. Keep ’em comin’ Henri!

  493. my old man also paid volutary compulsary “donations” to the school while I was there, i thought everyone did!!!!

    I was also clased as a yok

  494. melchettmike – dont know what the hasmo girls were like in your day, but 7 or 8 years earlier there were some crackers – shame your brother Johnny isn’t around to vouch for that too!!

  495. Mike, next to Copthall girls or those from Henrietta Barnett (who also used the Hendon study library), Hasmo girls were rank . . . though that could have had something to do with their matronly uniforms: from memory, baggy light grey jumpers and long skirts, compared to tight navy sweaters and short skirts. It was simply no contest.

    Also, by the Eighties, most Hasmo girls seemed to be prissy (cf. pretty) NW11 frummies. Non-religious, United Synagogue, and even modern Orthodox, girls attended non-Jewish schools or JFS.

    Click on the two group photos towards the bottom of this page (which I have just found via Google) to get an idea of what I am on about . . . and they were taken only 6-7 years ago!

  496. melchettmike – you were obviously born too late, but you’re probably right. In my day the majority of the girls were from all over NW London, not too frummy. As for the uniforms whilst they weren’t too attractive, they were certainly above knee level and worn by the right girl were ok. Still it was what was under the uniforms that counted!!

  497. Henri Berest

    “I remember wanting to make a few of those Copthall girls pregnant”

    and here I am Mike….living the dream?!?!?!?

  498. Howard Singer

    In the sixties, we had a saying that nine out of ten jewish girls are pretty – the tenth one goes to Hasmonean.

    However, there were exceptions. There was a decorative blonde that used to join the boys for an A level subject once or twice a week.

    A little bit of treif was allowed in Hasmo in those days.

  499. Most off-putting of all, however, is how:

    “one can always spot an ex-Hasmo girl by the elongated vowel sounds and incorrect grammar – “Whoo are you eating/daaavening byyyy?”” (Hasmo Legends XVIII: The Birds and the Mrs. B)

    I jest not. When was the last time you met an ex-Hasmo girl who didn’t sound like a refugee from the “Old Country”?

    PS What’s it like, Henri?!

  500. You guys really shouldn’t knock those ex hasmo girls. If you haven’t tasted the food how would you know its no good??!! Those girls of the early to mid 70’s were every bit as good – if not better – than the Copthall and Henrietta Barnett Girls, and were part of the sex drugs and rock n’ roll crowd. A multitude of sins can often be hidden under a facade of “frumkeit”.

  501. “Tasted the food”?!

    Don’t even wanna go there, Mike! By our time, the ‘menu’ had obviously changed!

  502. edward harris

    Dear Hasmos,
    For some time now I’ve been trying to find out exactly what organisation was responsible for educating me during the war when I was an evacuee in Shefford. I went to a school where all the pupils but me were German (I guess they were all Kindertransport kids). JFS certainly had sent German children to Shefford, where they were billeted, but it seems that they weren’t taught in the village & I’m sure that I was. I’ve been told that it might have been a precursor of HHS, & I’ve contacted the school to ask to be put in touch with the archivist, but it seems that there isn’t one. They’re going to try to help, but meanwhile, please does anyone know anything?

  503. moshe shatzkes

    hi edward

    i asked my mum who aside from (or maybe in spite of) being an ex hasmo girl is also an historian with an interest in this period as well. her response is below. hope it is useful.

    Has he read Judith Grunfeld’s book on Shefford? He might want to speak to Shmya (Grunfeld) – if one can ever get hold of him – he would know who to contact. I have his details if you want. What about Abba Dunner?

    Thanks for forwarding this – great stuff – so glad you had a great time at school!

    Love Mom

  504. edward harris

    Dear Moshe & Moshesmum,
    Thanks for the advice & the quick response. Ms Grunfeld’s book doesn’t help, because I’m sure that the school was in a shop in Shefford (& JFS wasn’t). Mr Peston, the archivist at JFS, has said that he was reliably informed that it was an embryonic Hasmo. Messers Grunfeld & Dunner would be useful to talk to, if I could reach ’em. What can you do for me? I’m grateful already. Thanks again & kind regards from Edward.

  505. David Prager

    Hi Edward,
    Re Hasmo and Shefford.
    My father, Oscar Prager (b.1929) writes that “Abba Dunner was never in Hasmo, and certainly not in Shefford. His family was
    evacuated to Leicester to the best of my memory.

    You might get in touch with Edith Herman (nee Friedman). She was definitely
    in Shefford. She lives in Haifa, her phone no. is 972-4-824-1708.”

    I hope that helps.

  506. edward harris

    Dear David,
    Thank you so much for what seemed like a very good lead. However, Mrs Herman wasn’t known at that number, so I’m no further forward. Is there any one else that you know of, or perhaps have you any way of finding out where Mrs Herman is now (& whether they have telephones there)?

  507. Hello, I live in Gateshead and know some former students of Hasmo. One of the students who was in school in the early 70’s was called Spencer Lichtig, but is now know better as R’ Yissochor Lichtig. He is currently a Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivas Baer Hatorah, Gateshead. He has been doing this for a number of years, so some of the bochurim at the yeshiva have decided to do something special as a surprise. If there is anyone there who remembers him and has got some good stories it would be greatly appreciated. He was also in Yigal Calek’s Choir and composed a song called Yekum Purkon. If there are any stories from then aswell it would be great. Thank You very much.

  508. Jeremy Cardash

    Just because Hasmo girls were all well developed by 14 doesnt make them hot, although to another 14 year old maybe.

    Who were the girls in the purple blazers, scared seven shades out us on the 125 bus through Finchley. I remember seeing one of them punching some small (non-hasmo kid) in the face just because he looked at her in the eye.

    We should have recruited those girls into the IDF, bloody hard as nails they were (only beaten on the UK tough scale by some girls I once saw in Doncaster beating up a store detective ).

    If Hamas had chosen purple blazers instead of green headbands I reckon they’d be taken more seriously.

  509. David Prager

    Purple blazers = Orange Hill (and don’t ask why!)

  510. Yekum Purkan. Wow, that takes me back!

    I was actually in the choir for a short time . . . a very short time!

    Yigal Calek appeared to find it difficult, if not impossible, to tell Jewish mothers that their bubelahs had no voice.

    I eventually got the hint, however, and broke the news to my mother myself . . . enabling me to get back to “jumpers for goalposts” in Princess Park!

  511. Yitzchak Landau

    When I saw this story, I couldn’t help but think how easily this could have been a “Hasmo Legend”!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/8643553.stm

  512. Indeed, Yitzchak! And Mr. Harvey’s barrister would be well advised to consult a certain resident of Stamford Hill before writing his closing speech for the jury:

    “All teachers start out with the best intentions. Sadly, the treatment that they receive from their pupils can sometimes make them regret deeply their chosen vocation, but if they have become embittered it is because the children, who can be clever, manipulative, nasty, cruel and quite vicious, have made them so . . . If their teachers were nasty to them, they probably brought it upon themselves by trying to make their teachers’ lives a misery. And even if they were completely innocent, so alright! The teacher made a mistake! Because the real culprit was clever, the teacher mistakenly picked on you and punished you!”

    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/hasmo-legends-xiii-a-legend-osher-strikes-back/

  513. Simon Spiro

    This was forwarded to me by a colleague. Who knew?!!!
    I look forward to re-living the horrors of my dysfunctional youth…
    Simon

  514. Norman Feiner

    @dysfunctional youth…

    Don’t remind me mate!
    I sat next to you in Biology I think & had to block my ears to drown out your Elvis impersonations…

    How you doing Simon? Good to see you online.

  515. Mike Hinden

    Simon Spiro, how are you. Funny was listening to a rendition of baavur david from an album of yours. well you may have missed out on opportunity knocks, but it looks like you did alright after all. You’re name came up in conversation at a party recently – an ex girlfriend Jane mentioned you. hope you are well
    Mike

  516. Simon Spiro

    Hiya Norman,

    Trust me, it was far more beneficial to your education to receive a superb rendition of “Suspicious Minds” than to dissect some poor frogs bollocks on a plate… You still in London – the Ir Hakodesh?

    Heya Mike,

    Are you the guy who lived in St John’s Wood for a while? If you are, it’s been along time! I don’t know which girl you are referring to. There were a few Janes, (and some Tarzans too unfortunately) but that’s what happens in a misspent youth. I have spent the last couple of days reading hundreds of blogs about Hasmo. I laughed so much I needed to change my gatkes three times yesterday. I will be delighted to post some of my recollections from that murky time in the 70’s. Cyril (ism’s) etc, and the way that Joe Witriol prefaced everything he said with “EEr – you’d better be keerfull!” I would really like to spend some space in this forum replying to Nick’s painful blogs (I’m sorry I never had the pleasure of knowing you, but I loved reading your sensitive, articulate and passionate entries). I would just like to say for now, that your observations and judgements of these sad individuals are totally accurate. I would happily throw all of them into the Bastille (bring back the good old days) and forget about parole. However you did omit one glaring fact, which is that the beatings, along with the physical and verbal abuse that was unleashed on young impressionable boys on a daily basis, were not restricted to the “so-called” Rabbis. No, the abuse came from observant and non -observant teachers alike. We’d like to think that Rabbis and frum guys (supposedly G-d fearing men) would and should know better. Unfortunately, so many good kids were ruined Jewishly through the antics of these psychopaths. If any of you are now governors of Hasmo and in a position to do good for future generations, rid the school faculty of all of the parasitical Rabbis and dysfunctional teachers who were a cancer throughout 30 plus years. Although on a brighter side, it has given me 3 decades of great cabaret material! People never ever believe this stuff went on.

    To be continued…

  517. Welcome, Simon!

    One of the things that I love about this blog (even I do say so myself!) is the habit it has, from time to time, of throwing up new characters.

    Asking an ex-Hasmo, over coffee this morning on Rothschild, whether he remembers you, the reply came: “Yes, I think he was a bit of a nutter.”

    So . . . you are in the right place! 😉

    Looking forward to reading your recollections.

    Mike

    PS What did you mean by “Who knew?!!!”?

  518. Simon Spiro

    Dear Mike,

    I meant “who knew” that this blog existed and that other ex hasmo people had the same experiences that I had.

    By the way, I read you were related to the late Jonathan Isaacson. When did he pass away? I remember him from Menorah Primary School.

    Best,

    Simon

  519. ALAN (AGGIE) SCHWARTZ

    hiiiiiiiii simon spiro
    you must be coming to israel soon . the geriatrics are coming to perform here as in
    Neil Sedaka and Cliff/ i think you must be talented and mature enough by now to join them
    yes you were a nutter but a funny one. but those impersonations for hours on end and the chasing around of mr ziff took me years to get over.
    please email me with your details would love to reconnect
    take care
    aggie

  520. Daniel Marks

    A wonderfully articulate posting by Aggie Schwartz!

    Thank you so much for further lighting up this, already sunny, Sunday morning.

  521. Mike I can’t stop laughing at your witticisms although I never suffered anything more severe than four sides from Cyril, gleefully doubled when I presented him with four midget-sized sheets of disorganized ramblings on obedience.
    I especially like your cricket references, such as describing an English teacher in Hasmo as akin to Derek Pringle bowling to Viv Richards with his shoe laces tied together – an apt description which would be understood by a closed clique even within the blog!

  522. There are classic Hasmo stories in the old boy yet! And this one sums up the calibre of our former teachers as well as any . . .

    I was chatting, this evening, with an old classmate (who asked to remain nameless).

    Joe related how his folks had attended a Sixth Form parents’ evening (circa 1984), the purpose of which was to enable parents to discuss with teachers their sons’ choice of undergraduate study.

    On informing the teacher in question (identity not recalled) that Joe might be interested in Computer Science, the Winers were met with an extremely cocksure:

    “No, he shouldn’t go for that . . . there’s no future in computers.”

    You couldn’t make it up!!

  523. Anthony Mammon

    Can anyone help put names to the faces in the picture of the teaching staff from 1979?

  524. I am in the 1959 picture and also David Stebbings, Martin Morris, Zarach, Arfin,

  525. Anthony Mammon

    I need help here. Hasmo staff picture from 1979.
    FFRONT ROW Left To Right: Cyril, Ordman, DJ, Taylor, Willy, Roberg, Rabbi ?, Rabbi ?, Rabbi? Watson, AB.
    MIDDLE ROW: No idea who the first 3 are, Denham, Archbishop Chichios, ?, ? Rabbi Greenberg, Rabbi Lewis, Rabbi ?, Rabbi ?
    BACK ROW: No idea who any one is, or I just can’t remember anymore.. I’m sure someone can fill in the blanks very easily

  526. Anthony Mammon

    Second row last from right is Dr Finkelstein, next to him is Osher Baddiel ( I should have remembered just from his kippa)

  527. I’ll put you out of your misery, Anthony . . .

    Back row: Hackett, Paley, Salter*, Fried*, Lesser, Tarrant, Joughin, Sireling, Marks, Gothold.

    Middle row: Bokor, Lawrence, Posen, Denham, Chichios, Soester, Ordman N, Greenberg, Lewis, Baddiel, Finkelstein, Abrahams.

    Front row: Bloomberg, Ordman J, Dybbuk, Taylor, Stanton, Roberg, Cooper, Gerber, Kahan, Johnson.

    Hope you’ll be able to sleep now, tonight, Anthony!

    *Source for Salter and Fried: Allan Engel . . . generally only reliable for cricket stats!

  528. Finchley 2010 ~ Fierstone walked past me. He hasnt changed… Amazingly I felt a tremor of fear go through my body, remembering the slaps on both cheeks from Mr Blobby lookalike Rabbi Greenberg, the ringing in my ears from Steve Posen having had my head knocked against another pupil’s for opening the gas valves in the science lab, Chichios looking down your shorts & suggesting we were white sox & jock straps, Rabbi’s Angel’s reminders that masturbation was a sin, … & so on. This lot made catholic priests resemble saints!
    Being a ‘yok’ from Golders Green of all places, I simply didnt get these sadistic perverted lunatics. Now happily married to a catholic girl from Italy… Living in Hadley Wood in Hertfordshire… Havent visited a synagogue in years… Despite all this I still have a fondness for my religion, but not my school. I hated Hasmonean & everything about it… Obviously the orthodox boys coped better!!!

  529. “A sin”, maybe, but a mighty enjoyable one . . . and, to quote Woody (not Harrison!), sex with someone I love. You should have told Angel to beat it!

    What years were you there, Rob?

  530. Mike ~ From 1973 – 1978!

  531. My boss called me “a complete idiot” today.

    “I am not an idiot,” I protested.

    “I didn’t say you are an idiot,” he replied. “I said you are a complete idiot.”

    Made me wonder why I ever bothered with law school . . . should have just stayed in Holders Hill Road!

    Anyway, I did consider the late 70s/early 80s Hasmo boy response to a teacher rebuke (which I believe may have originated in Menorah Primary*) – biting my bottom lip with my front teeth and moving my head back and forth like a demented penguin (any readers know/recall what I am referring to?) – but thought better of it!

    😉

    *apologies to Michael Kaye and Anthony Silber if my memory is playing tricks . . . but could they have started the trend?!

  532. spiro – your face is not fit to wipe my arse – bert meyers…or suchlike?
    nevies, you pulling your dick in the communal bath at llandudno or some other welsh, rainy hellhole camp thing- shouting “laddyo”.
    jacob jackson – hope you are enjoying dentistry – you failed to get into medicine and slummed it with us – i am the dumb one who should have gone into marine zoology as planned. by the way, alas, i knew you a-level results when i met you in yeshiva in jerusalem that shabbas, (before you did) and could not bring myself to tell you that you had not quite made the doctor thing- sorry.
    ratner- i beat you in tim messom’s serialised weekly story that we contested and i won a fking rubber spider on a string.
    but he was a good ringmaster.
    danny turetsky had this ridiculous tw0-foot shuffle in football. i think it may have worked once. they all do it now . how prescient.
    dwek getting his doobry out in detentions.
    and lebby, the snealky sh-t who put THAT drawing pin on dwek’s chair, but for which i got blamed and sent to coventry for by my peers for a hundred years.
    i have not forgotten, and if i see you doing a half-marathon on holders hill road (and can catch you) i will exact painful revenge.
    and a dehydrated jelly on BA camp in israel – rest in peace.
    thankfully, my mind had selective amnesia and it has usefully blocked out a lot of the things you folks remember as yesterday.
    enough neuroses in this world without hasmo-induced complexes.
    great to read it all. wish i could remember any of it. probably all that red wine.
    and , btw, roger gothold, you ginger-haired , useless “career-adviser”- who told you that physics o-level was unnecessary for dentistry and let me drop it? i had to have private lessons at home with flop and cram it in the lower sixth. that man had the worst halitosis after jack ordman and little did i know his apparent tendencies. My mum would surely have not given him those manky biscuits and tea if she had.
    do they still make you pay toilet money on your first day?

  533. Henri Berest

    Mike……the lip-biting!!!

    How TF did you remember that, let alone the two individuals who kicked it off? It was defo those two. They started the whole thing – although they will no doubt deny all knowledge.

    “Demented penguin” indeed! Was PMSL at the thought this evening!!

    LOL!!!

  534. I have emailed Anthony Silber, requesting that he confirm or deny!

  535. Jeremy Hill

    I absolutely remember the lip-biting, head-moving phenomenon which was most certainly instituted by Michael & Anthony in Menorah Primary School circa 1975/6. The only thing you have omitted is that it was accompanied by a sound which is quite difficult to transcribe! The best I can do is “buuhr” which has two syllables, the first of which went with the backward movement of the head and the second as it came forward.

  536. Rehearsing the idiocy in front of the mirror this morning – I really need to get a life! – helped me recall that raised eyebrows usually accompanied the forward jerk of the bonce.

    Also, the “demented penguin” movement was sometimes abandoned for a prolonged holding of the head in the forward position and a more emphasised biting of the lip!

    Anyway, I remember that it used to drive teachers to distraction, with them often screaming things like “Will you stop making that stupid face!”

    Silber and Kaye (now running an electrical appliance store in Netanya), maximum respect! 😉

  537. Yitzchak Landau

    I remember the “penguin” well but always thought it was an involuntary, nervous reaction. Then again, I was a couple of years below you Mike so probably did not appreciate the signifcance of this monumental contribution to Menorah folklore!

    When reading your comment, I was instantly taken back to the Menorah Primary hall, where I could see as if just yesterday, one Yossi Cohen (I think he was in your class), getting called out in assembly for some misdemeanour or other and, whilst being roundly scolded by Rabbi Berisch or Cohen z’l, doing the most exaggerated penguin impression you ever saw! Everyone was laughing (as did I, again, some 32 years or so later when you reminded us of this phenomenon / craze) but as he was literally in front of the whole school with the pressure that entailed, I think this must be why I thought it was involuntary – surely he would not have been brave enough to wind up the teachers in such a public setting?!

  538. I think it became almost involuntary!

    Yossi Cohen was in my class in Menorah, until I got pushed up a year – from Infants 1 to Junior 1 (i.e., missing Infants 2) – to balance class numbers. Menorah did that:

    “Don’t worry about Michael missing out on a whole year’s education, Mrs. Isaacson. He’ll be fine.”

    I will have to pen a Menorah Legends, I think . . . though it’ll probably be rather tamer than the other one!

  539. Henri Berest

    On the Menorah subject, I worked with ‘Ralph’ Berisch for about 10 years from 84-94 at Confed Life.
    Why he ever gave up teaching was a mystery to me as he was a brilliant teacher and all the kids absolutely loved him.

  540. Agreed, Henri (why “Ralph”?)

    And Rabbi Beaton . . . what a top bloke.

    No warning for all the nuts we were to encounter at out next “establishment”!

  541. Harold Gittelmon

    have you got an email address for Simon Spiro I would love to say hi

  542. Jeremy Platt

    Hi to everyone for my time at Hasmo and making it such an enjoyable time for all. I have a few stories of my own.

  543. Platt!!! We are not worthy!!

    From Hasmo Legends I . . .

    “. . . however if we are talking legends of Hasmonean surely Jeremy Platt has to be top of the list.”

    Simon Kosiner | January 29, 2009

    “Jeremy Platt – a definite legend. Remember him on my 1st day of Hasmo picking me up and doing weightlifting with me (I was horizontal above his head!)”

    Jeremy Braude | January 29, 2009

    “One of the memories I have of Platt although very wrong was at davening one morning when he decided to use his tefillin as a lasso whipping some poor guy round the face several rows in front him. Can still picture the scene, I remember everyone apart from the unfortunate victim dying with laughter.”

    Simon Kosiner | January 29, 2009

    “Someone told me to introduce myself to Jeremy Platt as a first year. He was drinking from the water fountain round the back when I went over to him and said “Hi, my name is Lawrence!” He looked straight up and proceeded to empty all the water in his mouth over my new shirt and tie (which had that very day been newly detagged).”

    Lawrence Hajioff | January 30, 2009

    “Other highlights were Jeremy Platt leading pupils into battle outside 7-Eleven in Brent Street . . . Smoking behind the English block next to the gym with Platty . . .”

    Jon Fishman | February 4, 2009

    “. . . all of a sudden there is a screaming sound coming down the corridor and the thudding sound of a running kid. We see this large body run past the classroom door and then a moment later the silhouetted figure of Osher Baddiel chasing after the pupil. A couple of minutes later the same thing happened again. The two of them screaming and chasing each other. It turned out that it was Platt who had been thrown out of Osher’s class and wanted to take his bag with him and leave school as it was close to the end of the day. Osher wouldn’t let him, Platt grabbed his bag and ran. The funniest and most Hasmo part of this story is that Osher then chased Platt around the school for almost 10 minutes. I dont know how the story ended but it was bloody funny to have seen and definitely relieved the boredom of a late winter’s JS class!!”

    Daniel Tarlow | February 6, 2009

    “I was in the same class as the legendary Jeremy Platt. He gave me some serious sandpit treatment within my first few days in school; I guess simply because I was small.”

    Zvi Kahn | March 30, 2009

    Hasmo Legends III . . .

    “An unforgettable confrontation or disappointing lack of one was when Master J. Platt was roaming the playground with a football during classes. It didn’t take him very long to start target practice against Cyril’s plastic, classroom windows. Like an artillery gunner he would get his sights in from a distance and gradually shorten his range until he was on the patio outside the classroom. You can imagine Platt pounding the windows with the football and screaming “Auugh Cyril! You lout! Auuugh! You wretched Creeeatchah! Auuugh!!” Cyril initially tried to continue the lesson, but the distraction was too great. The class went utterly silent waiting to see what Cyril would do. We tried our very best to encourage him to take on Platt but Cyril just stood there with his eyes narrowed, totally focused on Platt, eventually declaring: “Don’t worry boys…I’ll get him.” I’m sure he hijacked Platt later on that day such was the determination in his voice.”

    Josh Haruni | February 4, 2009

    “Elll-baz was bashing balls against Cyril’s windows when Platt was still in (XXL) nappies . . . So don’t talk to me about Platt . . . ”

    melchett mike | February 4, 2009

    Hasmo Legends IV . . .

    “Hi Moshe [Shatzkes] . . . Talking of Walters do you remember the time when the whole class was humming during his lesson and you suddenly got up and pretended to try and catch an imaginary bee? Jeremy Platt was at the other end of the classroom (for some reason) and I remember his shouting out “Moshe, I will help you catch the bee!” He then climbed on a table and leapfrogged from table to table and did a flying dive onto you. Walters just looked on as he was too frightened of Platt.”

    Solly Ezekiel | June 25, 2009

    “Hi Solly . . . I do remember it, Platt was a fascinating character, he was the biggest guy in our year and something of a bully. For some reason (maybe being quite big myself), he was always a bit scared of starting with me and we became quite good mates in school. We would sit at the back of Flop’s physics lessons eating Cadbury’s Dairy Milk miniatures (the stuff I remember, scary) and flicking the wrappers at everyone we could. The best story I remember with him was the day Shai Cohen’s Parker pen cartridge (the sticky ink ball point one not the fountain pen) rolled onto the floor during a Cyril lesson and Platt crushed it under his huge DMs and then wiped the soles with the ink. He then starts walking up and down the classroom leaving size 12 DM marks on Cyril’s floor. Cyril went mad when he saw these tread marks clearly and deliberately stamped into the floor and all leading to Platt’s desk. When the great man challenged him as to who was the lout, Platt flatly denied it. Cyril called Roberg down and inspected the evidence on Platt’s DMs. Platt told Roberg it was an accident. Not being a yid, but in the yid form, somehow he got away with it.”

    Moshe Shatzkes | June 25, 2009

    “I was quite friendly with him too. I used to sell the sandwiches that my mum made me and I had a couple of regular customers. Jeremy was one of them and he always paid up.”

    Solly Ezekiel | June 25, 2009

    Hasmo Legends XI . . .

    “Then there was the time that the great Platt had the whole class buzzing loudly in unison, then jumped up on his desk, and ran across the upper surface of every desk in the room, ending up on Al’s desk an inch from his nose, clapped his hands, and yelled “Got the little f***er!” And the buzzing immediately ended. Not to be outdone, Al responded with “Shullup, Platt!””

    Dan Gins | June 2, 2009

    Hasmo Legends XVIII . . .

    “Does anyone remember a fairly short-term American, or perhaps Canadian geography teacher called Mrs Palmer (circa 1981-2)? . . . She also repeatedly referred to Rabbi Roberg as “The Rabbi” – one consequence of which was that when she threw the lout Platt out of the class with instructions to report to “The Rabbi”, he burst in on a bemused Rabbi Angel’s art class, with most of the geography class in tow, all of us crying tears of mirth.”

    Dan Gins | January 10, 2010

    Does the Defendant have anything to say?! And why has it taken him so long?!

  544. I never knew that Abba doing all such naugty (funny) things!

    I will ask him make teshuva for all them.

    Love

    Eli Platt

  545. Jeremy Platt

    I think that bee is still flying around, ha ha.

    Hey Moshe, I feel hungry, anything for sale? Good to see your comments in all this. By the way, how is Bobby Davilla (Dav)?

    Hey Lawrence, who else was prepared to lead everyone “up-for-it” against those yoks from St Mary’s and Hendon County? They deserved it anyway for pay-back against our younger guys who couldn’t stick up for themselves. Thanks all of you who were up for it, boy those were the days…how things change…how we change.

    Guys, I can only apologise to you all for the GREAT TIMES had at Hasmo by all, well most of us anyway…..
    My Nashama now stands in the dock although may I say that I am a different person now as are many of the people mentioned throughout.

  546. Jeremy, I am humbled by your response. You been Aished?!

    Mischievously, in response to the comments I collated above, I had been hoping for something more along the lines of . . .

    Braude, you little shit, I’ll do some more “weightlifting with [you]” if you aren’t careful. And, next time, you’ll be “horizontal” not “above [my] head” . . . but on the floor.

    Kosiner, I’d “whip” you some more . . . if only you wouldn’t enjoy it.

    As for Hajioff, just ‘cos you’re a Rabbi now, think I still wouldn’t empty the contents of my mouth over you?

    And who you calling “Platty”, Fishman? The only type of fagging you did behind the English block had nothing to do with tobacco.

    Glad I amused you, Tarlow. You thought I was “funny”, eh? “Funny” how?

    Kahn, you were small . . . and frum.

    “We tried our very best to encourage [Cyril] to take on Platt.” Did you then, Haruni? Lucky for you, he never did. Otherwise, you’d be back on that boat . . .

    “Always a bit scared of starting with [you]”, eh, Shatzkes? You on drugs? Warning: I’ve still got those “huge DMs”.

    As for you, Ezekiel, I never touched – never mind “paid” for – your mum’s rancid “sandwiches”.

    And “the lout Platt”, eh, Dan Gins? Would you say that to my face? Thought not. You never did then! At least Hajioff is a Rabbi, not just the brother of one.

    Wishful thinking, I guess . . . 😉

  547. Jeremy Platt, blimey! Remember me?

    My abiding memory of you is being invited round to yours during school holidays and you introducing me to your buddies – a house full of skinheads somewhere in Palmers Green (Conway Road?). I must confess, I was absolutely petrified, so made my excuses and disappeared as fast as I could!

    Nicky Amini, vivid memories of you also, hope you’re well. Get in touch if you’re still playing – decent drummers are all too hard to find nowadays.

  548. Terry, I remember you very well but i can’t remember your surname. It was something like Maz……
    You lived near the hasmo kids school right?
    Are you still playing guitar? Or involved still in music?
    I still play drums when ever i can, but i dont have as much time for it as i used to. I am mostly writing and producing now.

  549. I was in Platt’s class; I was flipping terrified of him. Pity we can’t post pics of ourselves and see how everyone looks nearly 25 years on.

  550. Richard Rosenberg

    During a JS lesson circa 1977 we were being reliable informed of all the outlying London communities that were being served by visting Rabbis, Revs etc. As soon as Watford was mentioned a mate of mine stuck his hand up and said “Rose goes to Watford every Saturday, Sir.” A crime i still commit. I was then informed of the evils of football and particularly going on shabbos.

  551. While Hasmo Legends may have run its course as far as our former ‘teachers’ are concerned, meeting Mike in Jerusalem last week, we reminisced about some of the great characters in our year.

    One such, who had a penchant for magic – earning him the nickname “Tricky” (he performed at bar mitzvahs under the stage name “Paul Marvin”) – would often recite to us verbatim (so many times, obviously, would he replay them) the script of the previous evening’s blue video. And, making the recital even more amusing, Tricky – with his protruding buck-teeth – would come across like a male, pubescent version of Esther Rantzen.

    One such tale, of a milkman doing the rounds to settle his accounts, Tricky would recite as follows . . .

    “Ding-dong. [Providing his own commentary] That’s the bell, that is.”

    (Tricky had the habit of adding “he is,” “she was,” “I did,” etc, to the end of every sentence. So, for example, he would point out an attractive female in the street with a “Look at that . . . that’s lovely, that is.” And Tricky’s magic tricks would invariably conclude with his trademark, “That’s magic, that is!”)

    [With a thick northern accent] “Hello, loov. Is yer moom in?”

    [With an exaggeratedly high pitch voice] “Noo, I’m afraid she’s owt at the mooment.”

    “Ooh, look loov, yer’ve dropped yer change. Let me put m’book down, give yer hand, pick it ooop . . . [with further commentary] “not ‘up’ that is, but ‘ooop’!”

    And, as the milkman and girl simultaneously bent down to pick “ooop” the change, the tale – as you can no doubt imagine – went swiftly downhill.

    In spite of focusing more on pornos and magic, during his time at Hasmonean, than academia, Tricky went onto excel as a top-end carpenter –“French polishing, that is” – and now, I hear, runs an extremely successful haulage business in California. Abject failure at Hasmo, followed by great success thereafter . . . sound familiar?!

    Anyway, it would be good to hear from other ex-Hasmos about amusing characters from their years . . .

  552. Funny, I always thought his nickname was Magic, but Tricky probably fits his personality better, that is assuming that we are referring to the same person. Being in the same year I can’t imagine who else it might be, bucked teeth and all.

    Back in 1989/1990 I lived for a bit in LA and while there we became friendly. When I came back to the UK, he offered to sell my LA car for me and after taking a share of the money forward me the rest.

    Of course it didn’t happen according to plan. Both my car and my money disappeared. TRICKY MAGIC indeed.

  553. He “shouldn’t have done that,” Jonny!

    (An in-joke, for our year only.)

  554. Mike, I was hoping to use your site to puplicise 2 shiurim in memory of an old Hasmo boy, Paul Waterman z”l, who passed away in the lower 6th – 1991.

    It is nearly 20 years since Paul passed away and there are 2 shiurim in his memory.
    I know it is not till Feb 2011, but please put it in your diaries and help spread the word to old Hasmo boys, friends etc.

    Shiurim in memory of Paul Waterman z’’l

    London:
    Rabbi Pinchas Hackenbroch
    Will be giving a shiur
    At Edgware United Synagogue – Parnell Close Edgware
    On February 1st 2011
    Maariv at 8pm followed by the shiur

    Jerusalem:
    Rabbi Jason Moser
    Will be giving a shiur
    At Bet Knesset HaRamban – Rechov Amatzia 4, Jerusalem
    On February 1st 2011
    Maariv at 8pm followed by the shiur

  555. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/41499/technology-chief-jonathan-kestenbaum-set-lords

    Although the incompetents from the JC omit to mention the fact – confirmed in the “Factfile” here – are we about to witness our first Hasmo peer? Lord Kestenbaum of Holders?!

    Personally, I feel that the swot has brought shame on our former alma mater by – in spite of all of the great efforts of its former ‘teachers’ – doing something useful with his life. 😉

  556. Bumped into a true Hasmo Legend in Tel Aviv, this evening . . .

    To us Eighties Hasmos, Ze’ev Portner was as synonynous with an unfashionable football club – Watford – as school bully, “Baz” (Brentford). The lad couldn’t walk past you without a mention of Luther Blissett or Ross Jenkins (or both).

    Indeed, I was so startled to see Ze’ev – who has recently made aliyah – without his trademark yellow-and-black scarf and plastic “Hornets” holdall that I spilt red wine over his jacket!

    Good luck with life in Tel Aviv, Ze’ev . . . and, don’t forget, you’ve always got Bnei Yehuda!

  557. Can I blog about Jeremy Platt so late in the game?

    I was one of the kids who got to experience the two sides of JP. In my early days at Hasmo, when I was quite small compared to most in the class (I matured relatively late), JP would bully me on occasion. My tactic at the time was to refuse to back down or show fear, and it worked for two reasons. Firstly, despite all the posturing, JP was not the kind of boy to ever really hurt anyone physically. Secondly, it brought out from him, a grudging respect for me. Later on we became moderately friendly and I spend a couple of Shabbat afternoons at his house with Johnny Rose. On those occasions, JP was your average, friendly, well-humored companion, and you would never have guessed he had the propensity to bully anyone or to act tough in any way. I also remember his two sisters, who were very pretty (I think they were twins or at least close in age).

  558. I forgot all about Ze’ev Portner. I remember going to Watford v Luton with him in 1985. We got the 142 up from Edgware and I stood with him in the Watford end. Luton won 2-1 with a late Mitchell Thomas winner. I remember celebrating that winner surrounded by Watford fans.
    Quite a pleasant Shabbat afternoon out really.

  559. So great an impression did the subtle aromas of Mrs. B’s meat loaf (at least those which made their way through the thicket of black hair under his nose) leave on the Roberg senses, as they wafted gently up the main stairs . . .

    http://www.roberg.co.il/

    And it is remarkable how secular the mishpocho look now, after a mere 20 years or so in Eretz Yisroel . . .

    http://www.roberg.co.il/family.htm

    😉

  560. In view of the massive response 😉 to my last comment on the subject (immediately above this one) . . .

    Searching for a sofa at IKEA, I have just come across the following model: the Rörberg.

    Apparently, the material has a lovely nyap.

    I’ll get my coat . . .

  561. On a serious note for once, this Yom Hazikaron . . .

    Another ex-Hasmo and I were just reminiscing about Danny Frei, who was murdered – together with his unborn child – by an Arab terrorist who had broken into his home, in Ma’ale Michmas, on September 5, 1995.

    Having both been in Menorah Primary with Danny, too, and also Sinai (youth group), we recalled how – unlike most of the other boys in the year above, with whom there was always a certain rivalry/edge – with Danny there was never any of that: he was just the nicest guy.

    http://www.michmas.org/base.shtml?dannyfrei

    Boruch Dayan Emes.

  562. David Prager

    Baruch Dayan Emet – just heard that a former teacher at Hasmo, David Feist (before my time) was found drowned in the Kinneret – levaye today. Besorot Tovot.

  563. John Fisher

    The late Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits once said that the civilization of a state can be judged by the way it treats its dead. In the same vein, I came to think long ago that the quality of a school can be judged by its commitment to the teaching of music.

    At a delightful Hasmo wedding earlier this week I caught up with an old (but not as old as me) friend originally from Blighty whom I had not seen for several years. I got to asking him whether he followed the Blog and he reminded me that he had been saved from Hasmonean, passing the best years of his life at City of London.

    That, inexpicably, led us to start comparing the standard of teaching of various disciplines at the two schools. My Alma Mater was not doing too well until, having exhausted the three R’s, we got on to Music. I proudly told him of our indefatigable team of Albert Meyer and Martin Lawrence. He came back like a flash with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Well, Meyer and Lawrence went on to great things. I wonder what happened to the other two?

  564. Simon Spiro

    Having made a career in the music business, I have often wondered what Albert Myers esq did with all those residuals from his West End Blockbuster, “Wunning With Chawoses” – A dazzling homage to the easter bunny…
    How sad to think that miserable upright in the Assembly Hall never received a tuning – ever. Or the teachers (loose terminology) either for that matter…

  565. Of even more interest than Albert Meyer’s “residuals” is the rumour – to be confirmed or denied by you, I hope – that one such “teacher” is no less than your first cousin.

    Naturally, I wouldn’t dream of embarrassing you here by revealing his identity . . . though, out of interest, which way did you vote in the Poll?

  566. Poll? What poll?

  567. Simon, click on the link above – i.e., the underlined “Poll” in my previous comment – and then scroll down to the bottom of the post that it takes you to.

    So, is the rumour true?!

  568. A packet (small, of course) of pickled onion Monster Munch for the first reader to identify the legendary ex-Hasmo guitarist (“legendary” relates to “ex-Hasmo”!) in the vid below . . .

    Clue: his name appears in the above comments on no less than 24 occasions!

  569. Face and name very familiar . . .

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/15672636.stm

    And could Mr. Bassini have thought that he was talking to Cyril with: “I had an accident on holiday during October half-term . . .”?! 😉

  570. My Mother is seriously ill in hospital. If you could daven or say
    Tehilim for a refua shelaimer my mums name is:

    Alter Rivka Bas Miriam.
    Thank you,
    Aron.H.Black@gmail.com

  571. I have received a tip-off (don’t worry, Danny Kelly, I never reveal my sources) that my former Hasmo classmate, Jonathan “Choirboy” Levene, has been causing a bit of a stir in Blighty with his objection to Waterstone’s Christmas marketing of a certain well-known title.

    But before you all start screaming “Haredi censorship!” – Jonathan now goes by the name “Yoynoson”, which should tell you everything you need to know about him these days – said book was written by a certain A. Hitler . . .

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8975648/Waterstones-Mein-Kampf-is-perfect-Christmas-present.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/dec/23/mein-kampf-perfect-present-waterstones

    A frequent commenter to this blog (here, here, here, here and here) – before, like Shuli (if more intelligently!), tackling a subject that he perhaps shouldn’t have (search “Choirboy” in the comments here) – Jonny (as I’ll always know him) has even made quite a name for himself in neo-Nazi internet forurms . . .

    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t854559/

    If they start giving you any tzores, Jonny, there will always be a place for you in Eretz Yisroel – I hear house prices in Bet Shemesh are very reasonable these days! – where you know you should have been a long time ago. 😉

  572. Anthony Wagerman

    Mike,

    How are you? A belated kesivah vechasima tova for 2012.

    I have a question for you (and your readers). Why it has taken me until now to think of consulting with you, I really don’t know – you should have been my first and obvious point of reference.

    Here’s the thing. My sister, Katie Green, who lives in Bet Shemesh, is studying for a Masters. One of her assignments is to write about her early life, including her school years (at Hasmo Girls). She wanted to include something I told her a while back, which was my opinion on the ranking of the six schools most feared by Hasmo boys.

    This was my ranking (listed in fear order from 1 = “very frightening indeed” to 6 = “mildly alarming”).

    1. Copthall
    2. Whitefields
    3. St Mary’s
    4. Orange Hill
    5. Hendon County
    6. Christ College

    My question is: do you agree with the ranking? Are there any others I’ve forgotten? I consulted with Graham Summers, who actually (for once) agreed precisely with my order of ranking. Copthall scored a resounding “1” because he and Shmuli Orenstein once had to run away from a group of Copthall pupils who were girls. Surely the ultimate indignity. Intriguingly, Graham also felt JFS deserved a placing, and it is indeed true that on occasion there were some vaguely threatening instances with them. And, of course, to a Hasmo Boy back in the 70s, JFS was pretty much considered top-notch goyish anyway.

    Ricky Kahan, on the other hand, felt St Mary’s deserved top-ranking. I think he is wrong. He is confusing size/proximity (they were on the 240 route home) with quality of encounter. As a matter of interest, I once bumped into a kid from St Mary’s who spoke to me in Ivrit – reassuringly he still beat the crap out of me, I think.

    Anyway, your and your ex-Hasmo readers’ thoughts most welcomed.

    Best regards (and Danielle says hello to Stuey and Dexxy),

    Anthony

  573. Edgware Spur Road used to give us a lot of grief in the years 1971-74, especially after we had beaten them in football. They had a rather nifty young forward in those days, called John Barnes…..He was unstoppable, so we had to give him a good kicking, which probably partly accounted for the fights afterwards!

  574. I must concur with Ricky on this one, Anthony . . .

    Five of the schools on your list had Jewish pupils we knew, making them, psychologically at least, less intimidating. But I never met any Heebs who attended St. Mary’s – were there any? – and can recall, as if it were yesterday, getting pelted with eggs from the 240 as I wheezed my way up that horrible Parson Street hill on my Puch Pacemaker!

    Hope this helps Katie with her, clearly extremely taxing, Masters! 😉

  575. Anthony

    Wonderful to hear that, if you want to get a Masters these days, all you have to do is canvass your brother’s opinion. Is that because the lifting of essays straight out of the Encyclopedia Britannica can now be caught with anti-cribbing software, so it is all down to originality? Do you think I could get a PhD from your sister’s place for “Modifications to the lighting system of the London Transport Routemaster bus (internal and external) 1958 to 2006”. I still have a few Luncheon Vouchers from my working days in England if that would swing me a distinction.

    Anyway, for what it is worth my vote goes to St Mary’s C of E Secondary Modern. I went to the primary school and I distinctly remember, on the Monday following receipt of our secondary school acceptance letters, our A Stream Form Master, John Fuller (whose wife, I think, was Headteacher at the Other Place) asking who had been accepted to grammar schools. 41 out of 42 hands went up (well, technically out of 84 but you get the idea). Being the 1960s he proceeded to ask the one poor (in this case, tartei mashma) excluded girl where she was going. As she uttered the name of the Other Place, there was a collective drawing of breath and, to this day, when I remember the incident in my mind’s eye I see John Fuller with a black cap on his head pronouncing the ultimate sentence.

  576. Anthony Wagerman

    I repeat: you are confusing quantity and proximity with quality. I was once at copthall stadium and a pupil from whitefields managed to chase me, my classmates AND Johnny Bokor out of the stadium. incidentally do you remember in Gemara classes (of course you do) the concept of “teiku”? No, not a form of Kung-fu, but the idea that if an argument could not be settled amongst our chachomim it would be settled in olam habah? This may be one of them. But, intriguingly, as I type the word “copthall” on my iPad, the spell checker changes it to “cop that all”. I reckon that is a sign, min hashomayim, that I’m broadly right. Teiku.
    (and hello to John Fisher, my fellow City University student)

  577. I love the way you add “AND Johnny Bokor” . . . lovely bloke, but not exactly the adult you’d choose to be by your side when charged by a Jew-hating yobbo!!

    “do you remember in Gemara classes . . . ?”

    Hellooo, Anthony . . . it’s me . . . Mike! 😉

  578. Believe it or not, there was once a moderately serious ruck involving the passengers on Joe Paley (OBM)’s daily coach to Stamford Hill, and a number of pupils at Lubavitch, in that locality.

    To say that the proverbial was knocked out of the Hasmo boys would be a major understatement.

    Now for the sake of accuracy, completeness and historicity, will Ms Green be factoring that into the conclusions of her thesis?

  579. I remember hearing about that. I think it was because one of the Hasmo boys was wearing only knee-length shorts.

  580. Mindy Orenstein Ebb

    Anthony,
    I went to Copthall Grammar School. While I was in the 3rd or 4th year (don’t remember which) the new 1st year intake, and later the whole school, became known as Copthall Comprehensive i.e. a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude. That’s when all the trouble started. Instead of increasing the social mobility of the more disadvantaged kids – it created ferocious jealousy. I personally learned to fence with my tennis raquet (a sport which I still enjoy today….). Anyhow, Shmuli may have been short – but he was strong and brave. Are you sure he and Graham ran away from a bunch of Copthall girls….?

  581. Was Davina there too?

  582. Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but Dr. Bobby Lipman of Edgware (graduated 1973) passed away last night. I’m not sure that this is the appropriate forum, but there may well be old friends and/or class-mates who may wish to attend the levaye in Israel (details not yet available). Besorot Tovot, and may we meet in Smachot.

  583. Bobby Lipman z”l update: The levaya will take place tomorrow, Friday 3rd at 10.30 at the cemetary at Shikun Vatikim, Netanya. The family will be sitting shiva till Sunday morning in Netanya, then in Edgware. Besorot Tovot.

  584. Mike

    After listening to you go on endlessly about how happy you are when people comment on old posts and re-ignite them I decided to make you happy and go for the Mother-of-them-all, begetter-of-all-hasmo-blog – posts-and-comments (and don’t even go there – it IS the Hasmo Blog) – The Introduction.

    The picture up top “Chutzpadik Hasmo Boys (date unknown)” is of a rowdy section of the graduating class of 1966. Judging by the confidence with which they are ignoring the real threat of being busted by the Dynamic Duo of Dark Lords – Morry Ellman to rough them up and B Valier Grossman (fondly known as Adolf) to decapitate the pianist with the lid of the baby grand, I would say they were in the 5th Form circa 1964.

    However good the next lunch is, I will not reveal my source. Well, not immediately anyway.

  585. Yitzchak Landau

    To assist John Fisher’s attempt to “re-ignite” this post, I seem to recall my cousin Yanki Schwartz, confirming that the pianist was his late father Michael z.l. Mike’s search facilities should be able to confirm one way or another but if correct, this would date the picture to c. 1955. With such dodgy sources John, I’m not sure you should be protecting anyone’s identity!

  586. Only nine (circa) years out, John. And to think people put their tax bills in your hands! The only thing that needs igniting, it would seem, is your source. 😉

  587. My source (who is in the picture) stands by his story and has named another person there who was my next door neighbour. I knew Yanki’s dad and the pianist does not look a bit like him. Over to Yanki.

    And, if I am not mistaken, they all seem a bit short of headgear.

  588. Yanki Schwartz

    I take the bait…….
    Yes my late father is in the picture (1955 – good job Yitzchak) but he was not the pianist (he could not even play on the linolium!!). He was the young man at the front, to the immediate right of the maestro. So John where does that leave you and your “source”?
    Chag Kasher Vesameach to all
    Yanki Schwartz

  589. I shall raise this issue with my source which might take some time as we e-mail each other, on average, once every seven years. Mike, I think your cousin Bambi was in the Class of ’66. He could probably settle it one way or the other.

  590. The statistical probability that the young man to the right of the pianist was Yanki’s late dad as opposed to my old next door neighbour, has significantly increased since said next door neighbour has now stated categorically that it was not him.

    My source is now questioning who had the audacity to look like him in 1955.

    Yanki, it occurs to me that the last time we corresponded around midnight must have been a Madrichims’ meeting at Sherborne in 1979. We were mad then and we are, clearly, mad now. I still look the same. How about you?

  591. Yanki Schwartz

    A little greyer, a “little” heavier but just as mad as then.

  592. You were my madrich many moons ago, Yanki – same Sinai group as Danny Israel, Johny Finn, Marc Reiss, Shuli Meyers, etc. Anyway, I hope you haven’t taken any of the more risqué postings on this blog to be a reflection of your educational/leadership skills! 😉

    John, why does your “source” think that any of us give a toss about who he is?

  593. Why do any of us think that anybody cares what we write on this blog? It is part of the human condition.

    Were you at Sherborne? Bottom dorm?

    Come to think of it, why do I write on this blog?

    BTW Tossing is something one does to pancakes.

  594. Each to one’s own, I say, John: pancakes, apple pie . . .

    Wishing all readers of this “part of the human condition” a very happy and kosher Pesach.

  595. Sam Bamberger

    Reading the hundreds of entries,many very entertaining, i was hoping it would rekindle memories of my years in Hasmo,
    With the exception of a few teachers names, my memory was mostly a blank for that period of my life.i was an unremarkable student who passed through Hasmo in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
    Thank you to everyone who has helped to fill in some of those memories
    Sam Bamberger

  596. David Prager

    Hi Sam (Bamberger)
    How nice to see a sign of life from you after all these years (38 to be exact). Where are you living these days?
    Regards
    David Prager

  597. Welcome, Sam . . . and there is nothing “unremarkable” about “pass[ing] through Hasmo”! 😉

  598. sam bamberger

    Hi David (Prager)
    I’ve been living in Bangkok, Thailand for quite some time now.
    Kindest regards
    Sam Bamberger

  599. David Prager

    Hi Sam
    Well, that’s an interesting address, compared to mine in Petach Tikva! Care to elaborate on what’s gone on in your life since the 70’s, and how you ended up in the far East? I don’t suppose Sid’s French lessons or Curly’s German ones or even Bert’s Ivrit ones helped much :). There are quite a few of our class of 1967-74 living in Israel – do you ever get to come out here?. Do keep in touch.
    David

  600. sam bamberger

    Hi David (Prager)
    I originally moved to Hong Kong for business reasons in the 80’s, and found myself moving to Thailand in the early 90’s….i’ve been here in Bangkok since then.
    you are right , Sid’s French lessons ,Curly’s German ones and even Bert’s Ivrit ones didn’t help much , nevertheless, i succeeded in mastering both Chinese and Thai.
    The last time I was in Israel was for my cousins wedding , about 12 years ago, i bought a round trip ticket from Bangkok to Tel Aviv on Royal Jordanian with a stopover in Amman (inexpensive business class)
    Immigration in Israel on the inbound flight was curious as to why i travelled through Amman, however after about 5 minutes of questioning, i was free to pick up my baggage and leave. However on the outbound trip, leaving Israel, i was give the 3rd degree by Security?? at Ben Gurion airport , and they questioned me for one and a half hours, why i was in Israel , , where i had stayed, what i had done during my stay, , why i was travelling on Royal Jordanian to Amman , etc. etc, many of the same questions over and over,by different security staff……a most unpleasant experience, which left me little desire to maker Israel a destination of choice for future travels
    maybe i am oversensitive, and i do understand that Security are only doing their jobs, but ……..??
    If you come out to this part of the world, i will be pleased to extend my hospitality
    Sam

  601. John Fisher

    Mr Bamberger

    Please allow me to jump to the defense of Israel which, for me – like you, is never “a destination of choice for future travels” because it happens to be my home.

    Imagine for a moment that you are a Homeland Security Wallah at JFK Airport (who had not yet undergone the statutory lobotomy). You are faced with a passenger whose passport identifies him as George Franklin Lincoln who tells you he is travelling home to Malaysia via Kabul on Afghanistan Supersafe Airlines.

    Would you not wonder whether this All American Patriot is really a cleverly disguised alien working for some pathetically inefficient terrorist organization? What is more, in gently interrogating him (“Pass me the waterboard Franco”) might you not use the standard procedure of asking the same question several times to see whether you get the same answer?

    Do come back for another visit. These days you could fly El-Al direct.

  602. “…a most unpleasant experience”

    So, no lubricated latex finger? Oh well, Sam, perhaps one last visit! 😉

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  604. Yanki Schwartz

    END OF AN ERA
    Sorry to announce the passing today of Mr. Allan Bloomberg
    (Abba Chaim ben Moshe).
    Mr. Bloomberg taught in Hasmonean for many years 1970s 80s and 90s(?).
    Steve is now on his way to the UK where he will site Shiva for the week. He can be reached at +447536134205.
    Baruch Dayan HaEmet

  605. Uri Schurder

    join the brand new hasmo networker – http://www.HASMONEANnetworker.com

  606. mike hinden

    uri please do not make this site into a forum for a commercial enterprise. it has been going for a good few years now and it is meant to be a bit of fun for ex hasmo’s and not a medium for business. there are many other ways of doing this

  607. Uri Schurder

    Mike, I actually emailed Mike before posting this who gave his approval to post and I think that seeing as this is the official Hasmonean Networking site , it is hardly a random business post and is of interest to everyone who views this blog.

  608. John Fisher

    Earlier today I was on the way back to TA from a meeting in Jerusalem when, feeling peckish, I stopped off for a bite at the Mevasseret Mall.

    Arriving at the Fast Food Trough, I was intrigued to encounter a multitude of spotty teenagers conversing in English in distinct Goldersgrin dialect.

    Taking my place at table I observed the said gaggle for some time (for which I was fortunately not arrested) and managed to pick off several of them as dead ringers of their fathers, mothers or combination of the two.

    This was evidently a Sinai Camp. Back in the car I got to thinking that Golders Green may be the last “village” in England where multiple generations intermarry among themselves. Thomas Hardy would have had a Field Day.

    And who did you marry, Uri Schurder?

  609. I had the pleasure of meeting 70s (decade . . . not age!) ex-Hasmo Alan “Aggie” Schwartz last night, at the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival . . . and it is final: we are organizing a Holy Land Hasmo Reunion!

    We think a Thursday evening would be best, and – for ease of mingling and geographical convenience for everyone (and after failing to get Ron Dombey to give up his garden!) – at a pub in or around Tel Aviv.

    In order to catch holidaying NW Londoners, how about Chol Hamoed Sukkos (I presume it is okay to just drink outside a Sukkah) Thursday 4th October?

    Your thoughts, please . . .

  610. Sounds like a good idea

  611. Richard Herman

    Great idea – I hope to be in Israel for Sukkot.

  612. Mike

    Could I suggest that you ask someone coming from England for Sukkot to bring a supply of Grodzinski Iced Buns. By October 4th they should be at least a week old. That was about the vintage of the specimens served up in my day with a cup of tea-coloured hot water in the rat-infested kitchen before Yeshiva Stream. Do they serve English tea in Tel Aviv pubs?

    Lunch?

    John

  613. Not to forget some of that delicious Snowcrest orange squash (one part squash, 19 parts water). Perhaps we can even fly over one of those nice mothers who used to serve it all up (did someone tell them it was a bigger mitzvah than volunteering with the elderly/sick/handicapped?!) I will be sure to bring some Yaarkshire Tea.

    The way we are going, we might even get a minyan. As seems to be the case with proposed Hasmo reunions, that Aggie character was so enthusiastic about it when I met him – it was his idea! – but has since disappeared into the ether.

    PS Lunch sounds good . . . especially seeing as it’s your shout! 😉

  614. I have just posted to facebook a photo I took, yesterday evening, in Shuk Machane Yehuda . . .

    https://www.facebook.com/melchettmike

    Any late 70s/early 80s ex-Hasmos recognise the character?!

  615. The following – which I repost here for anyone who knew, or remembers, Wayne/Ze’ev – was posted to the Hasmonean Alumni group on LinkedIn on Wednesday . . .

    “It is with great sorrow I announce the passing of Ze’ev (Wayne) Stepsky z”l. Shiva is at 38 Hillcrest Avenue, Edgware and Yigal Yadin 36/6, Modi’in.”

    I remember “Stepsky” – he was two or three school years below me, I think – in true Hasmo style, by his surname alone. Trying to picture him today, I could only summon up a well-built “lobus” with square-rimmed, metal-framed glasses (was that him?) I also seem to recall running into him in downtown Jerusalem at some point post-Aliyah (’96), and that he had become quite frum.

    If any readers would like to post their fuller memories of Wayne/Ze’ev below, they are more than welcome.

    God bless, Stepsky.

  616. The Stepsky brother who was a few years below you with metal-framed glasses was his younger brother Ryan, although the well built description is definitely Wayne, who was in my year at Hasmo which was only one year below you.

  617. The somewhat unusual reactions to Stepsky’s passing on my facebook page and in private messages and e-mails – “he was briefly part of our little ‘firm’ [at Hasmo],” wrote one – has had the following, a seemingly fitting tribute, ringing in my ears for the past couple of days . . .

  618. Mike, did you see this article on one of the few ex-Hasmos to make his mark in a non-business or -rabbinic sphere? I’m sure he owes it all to Rabbi Angel.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/rising-uk-art-star-gets-the-go-ahead-from-his-rabbi/

  619. “He was sent to an Orthodox school, Hasmonean, at a time when a Jewish education was still quite rare among British Jews.”

    The point clearly being that Mr. and Mrs. Weil didn’t want David to have one either! 😉

    Good to see an ex-Hasmo doing well in an ‘untraditional’ field.

  620. It is with real sadness that I have learned of the passing of Simon Myers, who was in the year above us at Hasmo (’77-’82, I think). I remember him well. So young. Heartbreaking. Baruch dayan emes.

  621. Hello Mike,

    I was interested to come across your article. Although it would have been before your time at the school, my grandfather (on my father’s side) was Dr. Abraham Levene, who taught at the Hasmonean until his retirement in July 1961. Abraham was a friend and colleague of Rabbi Schonfeld (the school’s founder) and he was also headmaster at the Jewish Secondary School in Shefford, Bedfordshire from 1939-45. That jewish school in Shefford, where Schonfeld was the Principal, was a haven for jewish refugees from Britain, and also many children from Germany and Austria fleeing the Nazis.

    I still have the silver plate given to my grandfather on his retirement in July 1961, “presented by the boys of Hasmonean Grammar School in appreciation of your devoted service”, so reads the inscription.

    I wonder if there is anyone out there who was taught by my grandfather? I’m not sure he would have recognised the school as you describe it, as he was a dedicated scholar and I believe, always a wholly committed teacher. However, as I say, this quite a time before you were at the school, and I also recognise that a pupil’s perception of a school will not always agree with that of the teacher!

    Anyway, interesting stuff.

    All the best,

    Andy Levene

  622. Welcome, Andy, and thank you for your comment.

    “I wonder if there is anyone out there who was taught by my grandfather?”

    John Fisher?

  623. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the reply and the welcome. I’ve just looked up John Fisher on here – I think he looks perhaps too young to have been taught by my grandfather, but I will contact him. As my grandfather retired from Hasmo in 1961, then realistically any pupil that he could’ve taught would have to be at least in their mid 60s now I suppose.

    I enjoyed your open letter to the vile, bitter, and contemptuous Andy Kershaw. But you can’t do anything with rabid anti-Israeli fanatics like him. Some people cannot be reached by reason. They are unable to engage in a mature, composed debate, or even consider an opposing viewpoint. Despite his education and intelligence, when it comes to Israel, Kershaw always resorts to the most vitriolic and irrational rhetoric. He is a pathetic and risible character.

  624. Andy – although I do try to be an internet father figure to Mike – especially when he gets carried away with the use of ancient Anglo Saxon words of no more or less than four letters – I was only 3 years old in 1961.

  625. Hello John, Yes, I could see from your photo, that you were too young to have been taught by my grandfather at Hasmo. I was T-minus 3 in 1961, so you are not much older than me! Thanks for replying anyway.

    All the best,

    Andy

  626. Just a bit of good-natured, ex-Hasmo fun, Andy . . . and I wanted to confirm the rumours emanating from Ra’anana, that Mr. F checks melchett mike the minute Shabbos goes out!

    Have you seen these school and masters photographs (the former from 1959, the latter disputed)? Will be interesting to see if you can find your late grandfather in either/both of them. Perhaps he is one of the question marks in the masters photo!

    In the meantime, I have e-mailed some commenters to melchett mike who attended the school during those years, to draw their attention to your comment and ask if they can help.

    Best,

    Mike

  627. Hello Mike,

    Yes – that is my grandfather! In the school photo, in section 4. The second row (obviously, with all the teachers/masters) and third from the right, with his arms folded and a little white pointy beard. That is Dr. Abraham Levene, and if that was taken in 1959 then that would have been 2 years before his retirement. Thank you very much – I had never seen that photo before. How different teachers (and pupils for that matter) looked back then – they just don’t make ’em like that anymore..

    Thanks for emailing out to other commenters as well to see if there are any memories of my grandfather at Hasmo – it would be fascinating to hear any stories..

    Great stuff Mike – I am very glad I stumbled across your blog!

    Best,

    Andy

  628. Benjy Richman

    Hello Andy,

    I was at Hasmo from 56 – 61 and remember “Dotty” very well. He was a lovely man, too much of a mench to teach at the school. We were very cruel to him. He was much too nice to keep discipline, very soft spoken. He taught me Jewish History, Hasmonean period Pharasees and Saducees up to the end of Bayit Sheni.

    I remember he taught Michael Weitzman z”l Sanskrit for O level. We all knew that he was over qualified to be a Grammar School teacher.

    I seem to remember he had one suit, blue /grey that he wore for the 5 years I was at the school. He also always wore a bow-tie.

    Until 1958 I lived in Stoke Newington and on the occasions that I went to Egerton Road Shul I remenber that he davened there.

    For us teenagers he was very old and I always looked upon him as a grandfather figure. He is on the 1959 picture sitting to Stanton’s left.

    I hope you get more information from some of the others.

    Regards,

    Benjy Richman.

  629. Hello Benjy,

    Lovely to hear from you! Yes, that sounds like Abraham indeed! Softly spoken and perhaps not the strictest when it came to keeping discipline in the classroom – I can very well imagine that! So his nickname was “dotty”? Is that because he was somewhat absent minded or a little eccentric, or perhaps overly erudite at times? Or some other reason maybe? And one suit – yes, I remember that suit clearly, from whenever my father took us to visit him and Debora (his wife) at their house in Kyverdale Rd, Stoke Newington, or on their occasional visits to my parents’ house in Ilford. He wasn’t allowed to buy any new clothes unless authorised by his wife, and she would have considered the purchase of a new suit excessively frivolous and ostentatious. She ruled the roost in the household, and always kept a very firm grip on the family budget.

    Very nice to hear such warm and kind words about Abraham. I believe he very much enjoyed his time at Hasmo, judging from what my father told me, although his wife Debora was always more ambitious for him – she wanted him to be a Rabbi or perhaps a Professor somewhere prestigious. He had been a Reverend at Nottingham Synagogue before the war, but after teaching at the Jewish Secondary School in Shefford during the war with Schonfeld, Abraham and his wife settled in Stoke Newington.

    I still have a copy of his book and Ph.D. which I inherited from my parents when they passed on – it is entitled: ‘The Early Syrian Fathers on Genesis – from a Syriac MS. On The Pentateuch in the Mingana Collection.’ It was published in 1951 by Taylor’s Foreign Press (just for the record!). I know from my father, what a labour of love it was for him to complete his Ph.D. thesis which he worked on for many years.

    Well anyway, thank you for getting in touch to share your memories, and all the very best to you.

    Andy.

  630. I would like to e mail Andy Levine about my memories of his grandfather. Could you let me have his e mail address please

  631. Hello Alan, my email address is: andy_levene001@yahoo.co.uk (andy_levene001 FOLLOWED BY @yahoo.co.uk)

    I look forward to hearing your memories of your time at Hasmo and my grandfather..

    Andy

  632. Who better than an ex-Hasmo to understand the concept of סליחה and to give someone a fresh start . . .

    http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/541726/EXCLUSIVE-Ched-Evans-talks-Oldham-Athletic-football-news

  633. I think it is incumbent upon me to alert ex-Hasmos to the “exciting launch” . . .

    http://hasmoneanconnect.com/

    I just signed up. The notifying e-mail (received today) also advertised the following “Career opportunity” . . .

    Geography Teacher – Full Time from September would suit NQT | Hasmonean High School

    I guess “NQT” stands for Non-Qualified ‘Teacher’. Nothing changed there then!

  634. I am very sad to report the passing away, in Los Angeles, of ex-Hasmonean, Nick Harris z”l. He was just 49.

    Nick was in the year above me at Hasmo, and, while I can’t claim to have known him well, I clearly remember that he was “one of the good guys”. And Nick clearly never changed, as is borne out by the comments after the following . . .

    http://deadline.com/2015/05/nick-harris-dead-story-foundation-icm-partners-1201433457/

    Nick’s contribution here was only brief – see the comment above of March 4, 2009 (10:15 pm) – but Hasmo, and one “Legend” in particular, clearly remained with him.

    Baruch Dayan Emes.

  635. I was staggered to learn yesterday of the sudden, tragic passing, in Los Angeles, of another ex-Hasmonean, Philip Midgen z”l. He was just 54.

    A fellow Hendonite (as well as Prothero Gardener and Raleigh Closer), Philip was a brilliant law student at Manchester University, who moved to California after meeting his American wife, Toby.

    I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Philip and Toby in Jaffa, in July, and greatly enjoyed catching up (our late parents were good friends). He was just a lovely, genuine and highly intelligent – though always exceedingly modest – guy.

    Philip leaves Toby and two teenage children, Isaac and Sophia. My deepest condolences to all of them, and to his sister Sharon.

    Baruch Dayan Emes.

  636. Geoffrey Levene

    I was a pupil 1957-62. I was there with many of the guys in the photo you posted. My abiding memory is the prayers on my first morning. I realised I’d made a big mistake! And the timetables – every other lesson seemed to be J.S. The scary Mr.Grossman, the violent Dickie Feist and Slimy Hymie Lewis. And the terrifying Mr.Ellman. He used to stalk the playground like a latterday Dr. Mengele. I will post more in due course.

  637. Dr. Mengele! Blimey, that is pushing it a bit. I utterly detested Ellman – he has a special place of dishonour in my Hasmonean House of Horrors – but even I would never have gone that far.

  638. Welcome to this fine weblog, Geoffrey. I look forward to receiving your further comments.

    As for John Fisher, take no notice – he’s a tax accountant. By “stalk[ing] the playground like a latterday Dr. Mengele,” I am sure you meant nothing more offensive than that he was looking for twins.

  639. I only found out about Phil M