The Diary

The state of Chabad

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2014

Twenty years after Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson's death, Chabad's outreach work has not quite stretched to every corner of the globe.

Their rabbi-and-rebbetzin teams surprisingly cover only 49 of America's states.

Newly-appointed Rabbi Akiva Hall is their first full-time representative in Mississippi, leaving only South Dakota Chabad-less.

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Yofi coffee

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2014

Tensions may be rising in the Middle East but coffee remains the hot topic for Israelis, who have lobbied against high beverage prices at Ben Gurion Airport.

The Israel Airports Authority agreed this week to install cost-cutting vending machines, leaving passengers able to buy a coffee for seven shekels (£1.20) instead of the previously sky-high 18 NIS (£3.10).

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Beach wails?

July 10, 2014

JW3 will be hoping its beach installation - opening on Sunday - is more successful than last December's temporary ice rink.

That winter wonderland was beset by unseasonal high temperatures and repeatedly closed.

Tel Aviv-style sunshine may be too much to hope for, but surely the curse of Finchley Road won't strike again to leave soggy sandcastles?

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Buzzed off

July 10, 2014

Another article aimed at British Jews has appeared on the Buzzfeed site.

18 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You're A British Jew features all the stereotypes we've come to expect.

"North west London", check. "Harry Styles", check. "Beck", check.

The JC also gets a mention. Apparently we are the "British Jewish version of Hello!".

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Making sense of Austen

July 10, 2014

A new Hebrew translation of Sense and Sensibility is proving popular.

Translator Shai Sendik spoke at Hampshire's Jane Austen House Museum this week about the difficulties of bringing her vision of 19th-century England into 21st-century Ivrit.

It was a dream come true, he said, despite the challenge of recreating Austen's style and irony for readers whose sabra ways may not be fully apprecia

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Rabbi Galloway, I presume

By Simon Rocker, June 26, 2014

You seldom see men in hats these days unless they are Orthodox Jews or ministers in the Nigerian government. So will Respect MP George Galloway be coming to a minyan down your way soon?

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Doubled-up diplomats

By Simon Rocker, June 26, 2014

British Israel Ambassador Matthew Gould, speaking at a London dinner this week, said that he is often mistaken for his Israeli counterpart in London, Daniel Taub. "I had assumed that this would be happening to him as well," he said. "So I asked him this morning over breakfast, 'I imagine you're mistaken for me?'" Ambassador Taub's response was emphatic. "No."

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Mosque stop for Mozart

June 26, 2014

The courtyard of the Crusader Fortress in Acco was the impressive venue for the Israel Opera Festival's performance of Don Giovanni this month.

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Oxford's principled choice

June 26, 2014

Deputy High Court Judge John Bowers will be swapping a wig for a mortar board next year as head of an Oxford College.

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Surprise signing

June 26, 2014

More than 20 MPs have signed an early day motion calling for the immediate release of the three Israeli teenagers abducted on the West Bank. They include such staunch friends of Israel as Robert Halfon and James Clappison. But one name on the list that may surprise you is not exactly known for his pro-Israel sentiments, the Lib Dem MP for Bradford East, David Ward.

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