The Diary

Hot licks from a tall friend

September 11, 2014

Someone has got the ear of British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, pictured here with wife Celia and children Rachel and Emily during a visit to the Ramat Gan Safari park.

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Scrum down for Shabbat UK

By Simon Rocker, September 11, 2014

The countdown has begun for Chief Rabbi Mirvis's Shabbat UK, just six weeks away.

More than a hundred shuls, schools and groups have signed up to special events to promote Shabbat observance and celebration.

Already scheduled is a mass challah bake beforehand in which thousands are expected to take part.

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Next stop synagogue

September 11, 2014

This London bus stop, which says "United Synagogue", will make it easy to get off for Palmers Green and North Southgate shul. But I can't see the notice, "Closed on Saturdays"?

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Rosh Hashanah milk and honey

September 11, 2014

Here's a campaign for Israel where you don't have to take to the street and wave a banner. Michael Lewis from Leeds wants us all to download Halleluyah, Milk and Honey's 1979 Eurovision winner for Israel, from iTunes and lift it to the top of the charts.

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Old bill's new year clash

September 11, 2014

Despite Jews being Barnet's biggest ethnic minority, local police have scheduled an "unprecedented" crime prevention campaign for September 25 - first day Rosh Hashanah. Police are aware of the festival and have promised to "connect" with Jewish residents that day. Should we watch out for officers bearing honey cake?

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New home for old Deputies

September 8, 2014

Limmud in the Woods campers may have rolled up their tents but they may need to get them out again - to lend to the Board of Deputies, which could be a homeless in a few weeks after the sale of its Bloomsbury headquarters.

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Few gripes with Gyllenhaal

By Simon Rocker, September 4, 2014

Here's a surprise statistic: BBC2's eight-week drama on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Honourable Woman, which ended last month, provoked just two complaints. Given the heat usually generated by anything about the Middle East on TV and its coincidence with the Israel-Hamas war, that is an extraordinarily low grumble rate.

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Ripped-off antisemitism

September 4, 2014

The graffiti scrawled recently on the wall outside the kosher Bevis Marks the Restaurant in London's East End reads, "The Jewes [sic] are the men who will not be blamed for nothing". Rings a bell? The same words were found in the same street 120 years ago when someone tried to hint that Jack the Ripper could be Jacob the Ripper.

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Sri Lanka's two in a million

September 4, 2014

As they disembarked from their 11-hour flight to Sri Lanka last week, Joshua Gladstein, 24, and Sophie Nathan, 23, expected long immigration queues and lengthy waits at baggage reclaim. Instead they were welcomed with books, flowers, hotel upgrades - and a ceremonial dance display. The occasion?

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Yenta keeps it old school

August 28, 2014

Couples today tend to lock eyes online, rather than across a crowded synagogue.

So the Jewish dating scene has adapted, with websites and apps like JDate and JCrush connecting singletons.

But one New York matriarch, Tova Weinberg, is keeping it traditional – and has now successfully set up 250 couples. Her recipe for the perfect shidduch? Be less picky.

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