The Diary

Lights go out in downing st

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

The Prime Minister's Chanucah party has become an annual fixture in the Anglo-Jewish calendar and the great and good eagerly await their invitations.

But Chanucah's late arrival this year - it doesn't begin until the evening of December 20 - has posed a problem.

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Is chicken soup Israeli?

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

I don't know how many of you have tried Jamie Oliver's Jewish-inspired dish from last week's episode of his Channel 4 series, Yorkshire pud with smoked trout paté (the trout is the Jewish bit).

The chirpy cook sampled chicken soup in a Leeds kitchen and extolled the pleasures of Jewish contributions to the nation's food: salt beef, smoked salmon and fried fish.

But what struck me was the ti

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Not that broad a church

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

The Big Tent Israel conference in Manchester this month would have to be a very big tent indeed to include one name I spotted among a list of possible speakers for the event: the Reverend Stephen Sizer.

Israel has faced few more vocal antagonists in the Christian world than the author of such books as Christian Zionism: the Road to Armaggedon?

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Chief's American prayer

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2011

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks was honoured in the American Senate when he recited the innovation prayer there on Wednesday, the traditional opening to a session.

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The not so heimish hero

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2011

Joseph Heller's novel Catch 22, 50 years old this year, is regarded as an American-Jewish classic. But would its hero Captain Yossarian have been able to make up a minyan?

In a letter being auctioned next week in California, Heller revealed the truth.

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Lovestruck at the films

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2011

Not only can you have a reel good time at the Jewish Film Festival, you might even find romance.

As did Cedric Behrel, the manager of Trinity Films, distributors of the festival's opening film This Must Be the Place, which stars Sean Penn.

It was a case of love actually at last year's festival, where he met the woman who recently became his wife, music journalist and JC contributor Nicola C

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Rabbis mind the language

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2011

What must be the world's first rabbinically supervised English dictionary is about to be published by none other than Oxford University Press.

A special edition of the Oxford English Dictionary for Schools has been approved for exclusive use in strictly Orthodox schools.

OUP agreed the idea with the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, which stumped up the cash to underwrite an initial 2,

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How Yentob got a leg-up

By Simon Rocker, October 28, 2011

BBC creative director Alan Yentob amused Young Norwood supporters when he quoted his job application in 1968: "Although possibly not a significant qualification for entry to the BBC, my dramatic debut at the age of nine as Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor was greeted by a gratifying critique from one of my contemporaries, 'You ought to be a film star because you've got smashing legs'."

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Turkish date with Limmud

By Simon Rocker, October 28, 2011

An eye-catching name on the guest list at this year's Limmud conference is Turkish Ambassador to the UK Ünal Çeviköz.

Two years ago such a visit would have been unremarkable but Turkey's spectacular fallout with Israel since the Gaza flotilla incident last year gives it added currency now.

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He's hot in Honolulu

By Simon Rocker, October 28, 2011

Londoner Gregg Sulkin, barmitzvah boy hero of the film Sixty Six and young werewolf in the Disney Channel series, The Wizards of Waverly Place, gets the red carpet treatment at EuroCinema Hawaii, an international film festival, where he won the Rising Star award.

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