The Diary

Prayer? We’ll do it for you

By Simon Round, March 26, 2009

Technology is certainly making things easier for observant Jews. Among the most recent innovations is a website for those too busy to pray — it says it will to do it for you.

Informationageprayer.com claims that it can recite Jewish, Christian or Muslim prayers for only $1.99 per month.

Although it has had more than 15,000 hits in a week, very few people have taken the service up so far, said co-founder James Mcarlos.

Meanwhile, Yiddish speaking Israelis with sense-of-direction issues can now buy a Yiddish satnav.

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Man gets maternity leave

By Simon Round, March 19, 2009

A Jerusalem resident has become the first gay man to be awarded maternity leave.

Yonatan Ger has received approval from the National Insurance institute to take 64 days’ “maternity” leave following the birth of his son to a surrogate mother in India.

Happily, father and baby are both doing well.

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Is Mason racist in Yiddish?

By Simon Round, March 19, 2009

Unrecon-structed Jewish comedian Jackie Mason is in trouble for calling President Obama a “shvartze” during a performance in New York,

Mason used the term, which means “black” in Yiddish but is considered derogatory, during a performance at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in New York City on March 12.

One audience member was quoted as saying, “He’s more offensive to the Jews than Madoff tonight.”

“I’m an old Jew. I was raised in a Jewish family where ‘schvartze’ was used,” said Mason. “It’s not a demeaning word.”

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What a berko

By Simon Round, March 12, 2009

Just in case you thought that the phenomenon of the abusive football dad was confined to this country, here is a story from Israel.

One father subjected the coach of a school under-nines football team to such a vicious tirade of abuse that he has been sentenced to community service and ordered to pay compensation to the coach.

The offender was none other than former Premiership star Eyal Berkovic, who clearly has not mellowed since retirement. At least Berkovic was slightly more restrained than former West Ham team-mate John Hartson who infamously kicked the Israeli during training.

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Mirren goes to cheder

March 12, 2009

Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren is taking her latest role as a former Mossad agent very seriously — so much so she has enrolled in Hebrew classes.

The 63-year old star is not only reportedly learning Hebrew in Israel for her part in The Debt, she is also reading about Israeli history.

So what next? Aliyah?

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House prices at Purim

By Simon Round, March 12, 2009

If you are just off to buy a new mezuzah, having read in last week’s JC that the parchment-filled cylinder adds £10,000 to the price of of any property, perhaps you should be aware that Monday was Purim.

There was actually no survey indicating that houses increase in value if a mezuzah is nailed on the doorpost, and no website called www.sellyourhouse4more.com.

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A cappel of autographs

By Simon Round, March 5, 2009

An American man has put on display what could be the world's most unusual collection of autographs.

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LiLo story is kosher

By Simon Round, March 5, 2009

Actress Lindsay Lohan is set to convert to Judaism - to show her commitment to Jewish girlfriend, D.J amatha Ronson LiLo, 22, announced the move on her Facebook page.

Her father Michael Lohan said: "She's exploring Judaism right now. She's explored Scientology, she tried Kabbalah, and now this. I think it's just another phase."

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Jerry, the musical

By Simon Round, February 26, 2009

Jerry Springer has been mayor of a major US city, has hosted a talk show and has had an opera named after him.

Time for a career change then — so he is taking the logical next step — he is to make his West End debut in the musical Chicago.

Highgate-born Springer won plaudits for his dancing on Dancing With The Stars, the American version of Strictly Come Dancing. And he has clearly decided that rather than run for President as he was recently threatening to do, he would rather play Billy Flynn in the musical at the Cambridge Theatre.

Probably a good decision.

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The genius of Avram

By Simon Round, February 26, 2009

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant’s flamboyant chat-show host wife Tzofit said that newly-appointed Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink will be hailed a genius if he does as well as her husband did in his first season at the football club.

To match the success enjoyed by Grant, Hiddink will need to win precisely zero trophies. Genius?

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