The Diary

The plant with roots shmoots

March 10, 2014

The Wandering Jew has been found… in a garden centre in Bury. The Trabdescanthia Zebrina, or “purple wandering Jew”, is described as “a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails over itself to make a dense groundcover”.

During one week in spring, it should be fed with chopped fish and crushed matzah

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When the Beatles met the becks

March 10, 2014

There’s Brian Epstein, music publisher Dick James and two McCartney wives. But a lesser known Jewish contribution to the Beatles story was revealed during a Jewish Book Week session with Fab Four authority Mark Lewisohn, whose first of a three-volume history was published last year.

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Pink Floyd's Yiddishe Mama

March 10, 2014

Rock star Nick Mason, drummer of Pink Floyd, remarked in a Sunday Times feature about why men were taking up cooking, “There’s a Jewish mother inside every man waiting to come out.” Could that even be so for his erstwhile colleague and bass player from the now disbanded band, the Israel-boycotting Roger Waters?

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Dark horse for deputies

March 9, 2014

Expect an unfamiliar face to be the Board of Deputies’ next chief executive since several communal figures mooted as possibles are thought to have ruled themselves out for the £100,000-a-year post.

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Discovering the joy of soy

March 7, 2014

Cookery writer Claudia Roden once visited the Chasidic New York stronghold of Williamsburg in search of heimishe recipes, she recalled at Jewish Book Week. Its residents in turn sought help in trying to get a cookbook published. But not about cholent the way Booba made it. They wanted the world to taste their kosher Thai and Japanese dishes

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Missing Yidden in the Midlands

March 2, 2014

The Diary has sent an investigation squad to Leicester whose entire Jewish population has vanished. At least according to The Times, where Giles Coren wrote at the weekend — in emphatic caps — that there were “NO JEWS AT ALL” there.

The Jewish Year Book lists both an Orthodox and Progressive synagogue in the city.

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Positively hair-raising

March 2, 2014

The last people you would expect to use cosmetic surgery would be strictly Orthodox Jews. But New York website dnainfo reports a growing demand for hair transplants from young men, including Chasidim who want to thicken their peyot. The procedure starts at £1,900 and a full transition from smooth chin to full beard will cost you more than double that.

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The star-spangled dinner

March 2, 2014

Just add gedempte meatballs to this pasta (from Nashville, Tennessee) and you will have a dish fit for the Kosher Noshtra.

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The phone call left hanging

March 2, 2014

One item proved too raw for London’s “richest annual banquet of writers” — Jewish Book Week.
The programme said that Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers’ Manuel) would tell his story, from his childhood in Nazi Germany to “the intrusion into his privacy by phone calls from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross”.

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Naughty boys calendar uncovered

February 28, 2014

The annual Nice Jewish Boys calendar will appeal to Jewish mums eyeing up future sons-in-law. But there is a raunchier rival. The Naughty Jewish Boys calendar will go from “shirtless to nude”, its creator Duncan Pflaster promised Heeb magazine. “There won’t ever be anything pornographic, just beefcake shots like one might see in Playgirl, only with yarmulkes.”

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