Cater's Choice

TV In our secular society, should the state subsidise any religion - Christianity, Hinduism, Islam - through charitable status?

The question comes to mind with the final part of Jews, tonight on BBC Four at 9pm, which profiles Jonathan Faith, who sold his Faith shoes chain for millions and is on a mission to reverse the decline in Britain's religious Jewish population, now only 270,000, by applying the techniques of the shoe business.

Starting out as a secular Jew, Faith, now 52, became a Modern Orthodox Jew after the birth of his first child 20 years ago and believes Judaism offers Jews a fulfilled way of life. He has designed a course to teach Jews how to become observant. One of the charities with which he is involved, Aish, takes non-religious Jews on holiday to Israel to help put them back in touch with their heritage. Public benefit?

On Friday, in Alex James in Africa: Farming for a Future, on the Community Channel at 8.30pm, the Blur musician-turned-farmer heads for Burkina Faso to see how climate change affects those working the land. He looks at how Christian Aid helps train farmers to use solar technologies and conserve soil and water to survive in an increasingly dry landscape. James and Christian Aid are also creating a Burkina Faso garden to demonstrate the work at this week's Royal Show in Warwickshire.

Radio On the food trail, in tonight's Nightwaves on BBC Radio 3 at 9.45pm, presenter Philip Dodd and guests debate the crisis of rising prices, from the impact on the poorest, who already spend almost all of their income on food, to consumption patterns in India and China and what western consumers can and should do.

If food is in crisis, so too is health, and the World Service's Health For All - Fact Or Fiction?, also on Friday at 10.05am, asks what will happen if the UN Millennium Development Goals - maternal health, clean water, the prevention of child deaths and more - are missed.

Contact: Nick Cater at

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