Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • JFS - 'the dead hand of ecclesiastical authorities'

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 10, 2009

    An outspoken commentary on the JFS court case from the former head of Carmel College, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen. You can read the full version here :

    But here's a taste:

    "Unlike other community Jewish schools throughout the world, the JFS's religious position is controlled by the established Church of Anglo Jewry, the United Synagogue and its ecclesiastical authorities. So that if elsewhere children recognized as Jewish by other denominations and other ecclesiastical authorities are allowed to attend community Jewish schools, in England they are not.

  • Luck of the Irish

    Geoffrey Paul
    Jul 9, 2009

    Perhaps the felon who fought extradition to Ireland because he did not like onions in his food will make do with the multiplicity of cans of Hebrew National soups which have had to be withdrawn because they have unannounced celery, mustard or soya in their content. I myself had a notion of what criminality must feel like when, having trawled through Tesco's fruit and vegetable bargains this morning, I espied a private treat (my wife is a working gal), a tin of Hebrew National barley soup and put it in my trolley for a private, unannounced lunch. You can't have that, said the guy at the checkout desk, it's an “emergency withdrawal.” A what? Not to be sold. Not to you. Not to anyone. But it was on the shelf, together with a host of companions. Were they all to rust alone in some distant landfill? Apparently, yes, because people who couldn't take celery, mustard or soya might have had an allergic reaction and been able, presumably, to sue for thousands. I didn't have a chance, or a thought, to check for onions. But I am sure the Irish can do that.

  • Sweet smell of excess

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 9, 2009

    As our website story recounts, a man who is a convert to Judaism and is allergic to onions has had his appeal against extradition to Ireland turned down by London's High Court.
    The grounds for appeal, he said, were that onions formed a staple part of the Irish prison diet and that they weren't too hot on offering him a kosher regime, either.
    Somewhat cruel, I thought, to point out that onions are a basis of most Ashkenazi Jewish cooking, so he's suffering a double whammy. Then I read further and realised he had been convicted of having sex with a mentally impaired person. Not so amusing. Frankly, I don't care if he starves in prison.

  • The biter bit

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 9, 2009

    Schadenfreude, I think: the story this morning that MPs are to summon past and present News of the World execs to explain themselves in front of a House of Commons committee over the phone-bugging scandal.
    I imagine that all those MPs who consider themselves sadly traduced by the investigation into their expenses claims will have been punching the air with glee this morning as the Guardian's scoop unfolded. Now, they will crow, it's our turn...

  • Oops I did it again...

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 9, 2009

    After the JC reported last week that Britney Spears is to take up a role in a new holocaust film The Yellow Star of Sophia and Elton it seems the superstar has been getting into character.

    She's been spotted sporting a Magen David while strolling the streets of Paris with her son Jayden James.

    New boyf Jason Trawick is Jewish, and Brit's reportedly signed up a mystery rabbi to get clued up on Jason's religion.

  • Yippee (or whatever the Hebrew is)

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 8, 2009

    Hooray, hooray - Easyjet is launching flights to Tel Aviv from November 2.
    The lead-in prices are remarkably cheap: just over £100 return plus £8 each way if you check a bag in. Presumably food is extra but it's very tempting.
    The problem, unfortunately, is that it doesn't stay that way. When Thomson launched its all too short-lived series of London/Tel Aviv flights a couple of years ago, the first fares were relatively low, too; I flew in January 2008 for about £150 return and thought myself very lucky.
    This Pesach, however, I ended up getting one of the last Thomson flights to Israel (I hadn't planned in advance to be in Tel Aviv), and paid a stinging £586. You could easily pay that on a scheduled flight - and you wouldn't pay extra for food and you'd get a decent seat pitch and a more generous baggage allowance.
    El Al, which has just moved from Stansted to Luton, was just starting to feel the benefit of flying from a north-west-London-friendly airport. Anecdotally I hear more people enjoy flying from Luton because it's local (-ish), accessible, intimate, and the parking is cheap.
    Now that Easyjet is going to offer Tel Aviv flights from Luton, too, I predict the airport is going to become a zoo. But it will be a bearable (sorry) zoo if - and only if - Easyjet keeps its prices low. Please, Stelios - you know it makes sense.

  • Does Harry Potter's Jewish humour cross the line?

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 8, 2009

    What's Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe's best Jewish joke?

    "Did you hear how copper wire was invented? Two Jews fighting over a penny."

    The 19-year-old actor, who is Jewish through his mother told the Guardian Weekend magazine that he was "very proud of being Jewish".

  • A breed apart

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Intriguing insight into the Royal Family in today's Mail:

    Royal favourite and TV pundit Alastair Bruce will remember his recent
    stay with the Queen for all the wrong reasons  -  for the Falklands
    veteran ended up in hospital after choking on a piece of beetroot over

    looked worse than it actually was,' Bruce, national events commentator
    for Sky, told friends. A member of the Royal Company of Archers  -  the
    Queen's bodyguards in Scotland  -  and a herald of the College of Arms,
    Alastair was among 20 guests invited to an intimate dinner with the
    Queen at Windsor Castle.

  • Hidden from it all

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    I got home late last night and went straight to bed. I've not yet looked at a paper this morning. And I couldn't face Today on the way in, so I listened to some Bach.

    All of which means I am, as of this moment, one of the few people on the planet to have heard not a sound and seen not one single image from Wacko Jacko's memorial. 

    If only I could ensure it stayed like that for the rest of the day...but the papers beckon.

  • Major Miller's au revoir again

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 8, 2009

    Well, that was a damp squib. Uttoxeter was abandoned last night after being unable to clear a waterlogged crossing on the course and an ambulance got stuck in the mud.

    So with Nicky Henderson being unable to make entries, it looks like that's it for the summer. That's racing...

    UPDATE: Change of plan. He is being moved to Oliver Sherwood so we can get another run into him, and will be entered for Worcester and Uttoxeter a week today.