The Diary

Playing Mo's better blues

May 7, 2015

Ten years ago Mo Nazam (left) hit on a different way to encourage interfaith harmony. The Muslim guitarist from London formed a band, Berakah, which draws on the musical traditions of the three Abrahamic faiths; its Jewish violinist is Serena Leader. Now, ahead of its forthcoming anniversary tour of the UK, he has added a multifaith youth ensemble, but it needs one thing more - a Jewish member.

More..

Screen grab for votes

May 7, 2015

One election down, one more to go. The campaign to be next president of the Board of Deputies is being taken so seriously that one candidate, Alex Brummer, has even made an election video, complete with uplifting backing track- possibly the first in the Board's history.

More..

Not quite Kiddush

May 7, 2015

Someone at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs must have been drinking from the wrong cup. The guidance on VAT produced by the tax authorities lists among zero-rated items unfermented grape juice for use at the "Jewish seder or kaddish".

More..

Shopper who dreamt of chupah

May 7, 2015

The final encounter in the latest series of Channel 4's First Date series introduced shopping-hater Joe to personal shopper Nicole (below).

The stylist, who bragged about the number of times she's been proposed to, confided to her blind date, "I don't know why but I've always fancied it - I would have loved to be Jewish."

More..

More about the woman in gold

May 7, 2015

Some critics may have been cold but Rabbi Stuart Altshuler had no hesitation recommending Woman in Gold to his Belsize Square flock this week.

The film is based on the story of Maria Altmann (played by Helen Mirren, below) who fought to reclaim from the Austrian government several paintings the Nazis took from her family.

More..

Mum turned down Phil Collins

April 30, 2015

New North London Synagogue treasurer Tony Bogod can smile, as a survivor of Graham Norton's big red chair.

At the end of his BBC chat show, Norton invites members of the public to tell a story. But most never reach the end, because if the presenter starts to get bored, he pulls a lever and dumps them unceremoniously out of the chair.

More..

Israel shows good taste

April 30, 2015

The taste of Israel is now toast of London. The Palomar, which opened last summer, won restaurant of the year in GQ magazine's inaugural food awards.

More..

Covering up for Galliano

By Simon Rocker, April 30, 2015

A Jewish educational event featuring John Galliano In London next month, has prompted complaints - but not because of the fashion designer's controversial past. Objectors thought the model on the original advert for the occasion (right) was a little underdressed; a more suitably attired replacement has been found (left).

More..

Perfect for poll dancing

April 30, 2015

There will be a lot of Jews dancing next Thursday - and nothing to do with the anticipated outcome of the General Election. It's Lag Ba'Omer, the festival which marks a break in the semi-mourning period of the Omer and a day on which weddings are traditionally held.

More..

Seeing red over Sarah

April 30, 2015

The dress code may not have said "blue and white" but Finchley and Golders Green Labour candidate Sarah Sackman's red cardigan prompted a glare or two at Finchley Synagogue's Israel Independence Day service - in contrast to the royally blue Conservative peer-to-be Ros Altmann.

More..