Oliver Burkeman carries an egg timer wherever he goes. This is not so that he can boil the perfect four-minute egg at a moment's notice, but rather as a tool in his constant battle against procrastination.
Sara Shilo came late to novel writing. The author of The Falafel King is Dead, which became a literary sensation when it was published in Israel in 2005, did not start writing until she was 40. But even more surprising is the fact that she did not even manage to read an entire novel from start to finish until she was the same age.
Whenever there is a humanitarian crisis, the international aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), needs to find the resources to provide emergency care for those in need. Currently the organisation is active in more than 60 countries around the world and its resources are stretched, so you would think that MSF's Jewish UK executive director, Marc DuBois, would be lobbying the government to provide more assistance in these countries. However the Philadelphia-born aid worker has found himself in the unusual position of opposing government-sponsored medical aid.
Abraham Foxman has spent most of his adult life attempting to debunk racist stereotypes. As national director of the US-based Anti-Defamation League, his voice is regularly heard condemning antisemitism. Ironically, so strident has been that voice that some feel he has turned himself into a stereotype - that of the touchy Jew.
Jewish leaders do not come more much more influential than Daniel Mariaschin. As executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International and the director of the BBI Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy, the American has the ear of world leaders on matters of Jewish interest and much more.
B'nai B'rith has been accredited as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) by the United Nations since 1947 and as such plays a prominent role in campaigning and lobbying. So what does Mariaschin (pictured) plan to discuss with Foreign Office representatives - his next appointment after our interview?
When the Coalition government came to power in May it faced an unprecedented budget deficit of over more than £150 billion, at a time when Britain seemed to be on the verge of sinking back into recession.
We may be living through an era of savage cuts and austerity, but not everyone is tightening their belts. Millionaire former care-homeowner Bradley Reback has been busy putting money back into the community.
There are not many rabbis whose transformative experience occurred at a gay sauna in Amsterdam. However, there are very few rabbis like Lionel Blue.
Blue, known as the gently avuncular voice of Radio 4's Thought For the Day, was the first British rabbi to come out publicly as gay. His gayness has presented him with religious and emotional challenges but also has enabled him to establish his own religious philosophy, which he has shared with Radio 4 listeners and now with readers in the form of a new book, The Godseeker's Guide.
Joan Rivers stands on-stage in a concert hall in the wilds of Wisconsin, regaling a packed audience with her trademark brand of edgy humour. Suddenly a man complains in a loud voice about a gag she has made on the subject of deafness. He announces he is walking out. Rivers, visibly shaken, subjects him to a volley of invective as he leaves the auditorium.
Among his many talents, Yehuda Avner was always good at taking notes. As adviser and speech-writer to five Israeli Prime Ministers there was a lot to take down - there were the discussions about policy, meetings with great statesmen and all those jocular off-the-record comments.