The Diary

Hypnotic attraction on itv

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

Seeking romance on ITV's Saturday night dating show Take Me Out is ex-JCom (Jewish radio) presenter Ben Dali aka Ben Phillips.

The London-based hypnotist and magician's trip to the show's Tenerife date spot with Lotte from Stoke Newington will be shown this week.

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Labour’s turn with Mrs T

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

The Jewish Labour Movement elected its new guard on Tuesday with former Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark as chairman. Elections took place in Parliament's Portcullis House, though you might have thought they'd book a venue other than the Thatcher Room.

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Oscar Wilde refreshed

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

The interval was almost as good as Immanuel College's new production of The Importance of Being Earnest. The audience, fittingly for Oscar Wilde's classic English comedy, was treated to a full cream tea with cucumber sandwiches and chocolate eclairs. Lady Bracknell would have approved.

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Clubbable brit is dating hit

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

A Brit is one of the two most popular men on Jewish dating app JCrush.

Adam Paulden, 28, from London, was one of the "most crushed" bachelors on the app, the company announced this week.

The theatre and television producer, who identifies as "Jewish by culture," says that "a sense of humour is a must; usually a dark one. Intelligent. Good moral values. Someone quite active."

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Wogan, priests and rabbis

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

Sir Terry Wogan was warmly recalled by one rabbi who worked with him. Maidenhead Synagogue's Rabbi Jonathan Romain regularly did the "Pause for Thought" religion slot on the broadcaster's daily Radio 2 show.

"All the good things said about him are true," said Rabbi Romain. "He was as affable and full of bonhomie off air as he was on it."

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Inside story of David Bowie

January 14, 2016

The late, great rock star may not have been a candidate for aliyah but there could have been a David Bowie who was Jewish.

In the late 1980s Rabbi Amanda Golby was doing the rounds as a prison chaplain in England when she ran into a prisoner professing to be Jewish who said that his name was David Bowie.

"I was not actually sure that he was Jewish," Rabbi Golby said, "and there were indeed m

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Few gripes with these stripes

January 14, 2016

Did clothing retailer H&M get in an unnecessary flap when it withdrew a striped scarf bearing a distinct resemblance to a tallit from sale in Israel?

Most people here saw no problem with the garment.

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No need for alarm Belz

January 14, 2016

Amused to see Ofsted inspectors reporting that a Belz Chasidic school in Hackney lacked a policy about "preventing radicalisation". I can't remember the last time a Belz Chasid, or any other Chasid for that matter, went off to fight in Syria.

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Jerusalem the goalden

January 14, 2016

A move by a group of Tory and Labour MPs to make the hymn Jerusalem England's official anthem for football and rugby matches is to be debated in Parliament in March. Would Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn be any more comfortable singing it?

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Friday night smiles for Chiles

January 14, 2016

Presenter Adrian Chiles wore a baffled look through most of his visit to a Rome synagogue on the second leg of his BBC religious trip, My Mediterranean, as he tried to work out when a morning service actually starts.

He seemed much more at ease enjoying a Shabbat dinner with the Nacamulli family – a more wholesome way to pass a Friday night, he opined, than spending it in the pub "wondering h

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