The Diary

Sainthood for Sacks?

By Simon Round, July 2, 2009

Could it be that Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks is keeping quiet about a change in his status?

The Mayor of Enfield, Eleftherios Savva, recently wrote to Alan Sless of Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue: “I enjoyed…the opportunity to meet Chief Rabbi Professor St Jonathan Sacks.”

Is it time to rename his shul, St Jonathan’s Wood Synagogue?

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Costumes make a splash

By Simon Round, July 2, 2009

Just in time for the heatwave, strictly Orthodox women are being offered the opportunity to buy a fully modest line of swimwear.

As temperatures soar into the 30s, a new line of swimming costumes, called Sea Secret, has been designed by two French-born Orthodox Jews.

They feature below-the-arm and below-the-knee swimwear designed for women who want to hang out at the beach but still wish to maintain Orthodox standards.

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Koogle is kosher

By Simon Round, June 18, 2009

Until now, strictly Orthodox Jews have been reluctant to use the internet search engine, Google, for fear of clicking on something immodest or unkosher.

Now, they do not have to — they can Koogle it instead.
The new Orthodox-friendly search engine — a pun on the haimishe potato bake — filters out religiously objectionable material.

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Not All Right, Wright

By Simon Round, June 18, 2009

President Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, made the headlines last week when he asserted “them Jews” were depriving him of access to Obama.

The negative publicity persuaded him to apologise. “I’m not talking about all Jews... I’m talking about Zionists,” he explained.
Oh, well that’s OK then.

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Adam: Al qaeda’s top jew

By Simon Round, June 18, 2009

They say the Jews get everywhere, well here is proof that one has ended up in a very unlikely position — running Al Qaeda.
Adam Yahiye Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, is one of the most influential Al Qaeda activists. In a new video, he has spoken about his Jewish roots for the first time.

Gadahn’s grandfather was Jewish but don’t expect any reminiscences about bowls of chicken soup on a Friday night.

Gadahn is fairly hardcore — indeed, he is on the FBI’s most wanted list,

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He’s a dead good writer

By Simon Round, May 27, 2009

The Jewish Book Week newsletter offers a hearty well done to the winner of this year’s Jewish Quarterly Wingate literary prize. “Congratulations,” it gushes, “to Fred Wander”, author of the novel, The Seventh Well. Very gratifying for Mr Wander. Or it would be, were it not for the fact that he died in 2006, something the newsletter fails to mention.

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Advice to bridle at

By Simon Round, May 27, 2009

Talking of mother-in-laws, bride grooms in Jerusalem are being urged to stay away from them because of their tendency to meddle in matrimonial affairs.

The advice comes in a pamphlet handed out by the Jerusalem Religious Council to men attending its classes on marriage. Other pearls include the insight that a “woman is like clay. The husband can shape and mould her as he pleases”, and the observation that “a woman who hasn’t been complimented is like a fish out of water”. “It makes you want to cry,” comments Knesset member Uri Orbach, who has received complaints.

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Bert’s Jewish by Marriage

By Candice Krieger, May 27, 2009

Great excitement on the JC’s arts and entertainment desk this week with the arrival of an email offering an interview with Bert Jansch. What? You mean the award-winning, Scottish folk-rock guitar hero? The man Neil Young and Jimmy Page count as a seminal influence? That Bert Jansch? We had absolutely no idea he was Jewish.

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Our capital, Tel Aviv!

By Simon Round, May 21, 2009

Here is your starter for 10. What is the capital of Israel?

All of you who answered “Jerusalem” get top marks.

Ok, so this is not the world’s hardest quiz. But El Al still managed to get it wrong. Its subsidiary, Superstar Holidays, sent out a press release with details of packages to Tel Aviv.

The press release joyously announced: “Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.”

Of course, Tel Aviv does celebrate its centenary this year, but unless they know something that we don’t, Jerusalem is still the capital.

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Lorna in quarantine

By Simon Round, May 21, 2009

Bicom chief executive Lorna Fitzsimons was briefly in quarantine last week with suspected swine flu.

Fitzsimons returned from a trip to the US with suspicious symptoms and was ordered to take herself out of circulation while tests were done.
Thankfully, she turned out to have nothing more than a case of the sniffles.

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