My father’s claim on my heart put an end to my young love affair

When his mother left, Alan Balfour, aged six, vowed he would never let his father down. But when he fell in love with a German girl, he knew his Jewish father would never approve

Several years ago, my son married an Asian woman who converted to Judaism. At the simchah, my daughter-in-law wore a burgundy-and-gold sari. Thumbprints of sandlewood were pasted on their foreheads. A young Indian, barefooted and clothed in an ivory tunic over loose trousers played traditional Tamil music on a clarinet. At each table he bowed, and when the Tamil tunes gave way to a slow, haunting Hatikva the room was mesmerised. Jews and Tamils were celebrating together.

It had been very different when, as a young Jewish man, I had wanted to marry a German girl.

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