The Diary

Rabbi who made the Pope laugh

October 15, 2015

Rabbi Bob Alper describes himself as "the world's only practising clergyman doing stand-up comedy...

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Fed in the clouds

October 15, 2015

Federation of Synagogue's president Andrew Cohen, writing in its magazine Hamoar, said that it was "hoping to introduce a new platform that will transition cemetery management away from the current system… to a new cloud-based platform." A stairway to heaven?

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No ravs, just revs please

October 15, 2015

Does the taxman have something against rabbis? When Richard Canin of Solihull Hebrew Congregation was registering Gift Aid donations, he wanted to record one that came from a rabbi. But the HMRC's website refused to recognised the title - he had to enter "reverend" instead.

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Getting a Zerdin edgeways

October 15, 2015

British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, who won America's Got Talent, is a man of mystery, as far as his religious origins go. When we approached him, he responded: "the name Zerdin's Jewish but I'm not".

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Kol b'seder, Prime Minister?

October 8, 2015

David Cameron's reference to "yeshivahs" in his Tory conference speech is surely the first Prime Ministerial use of the word. It follows his mention of a "balagan" when speaking to the Knesset last year. Perhaps the government is making the most of Skills Minister Nick Boles's infamous Hebrew lessons - claimed on expenses in 2012.

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Celebrity chef roasts women

October 8, 2015

She has made millions from her wholesome, family image as a working mother - and even employs the moniker "Mumpreneur" - yet Annabel Karmel believes that being a woman is an obstacle to success.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival this week, the best-selling author told her audience that women are unable to do some jobs as well as men owing to their "sensitive nature", desire to be lik

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And now...a commercial break

October 8, 2015

Good news for fans of TV journalist Robert Peston: the famously verbose presenter has just jumped ship from the BBC to ITV, where he will be political editor. The big difference? Ad breaks - something that can only accentuate his rambling, drawn-out delivery. My advice? Record and fast-forward.

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WJR chief races to milestone

October 8, 2015

You might think turning 50 would be an excuse to slow down; not so for charity boss Paul Anticoni. The World Jewish Relief chief executive is raising funds by competing in four marathons over four days in Morocco.

The endeavour will see him race across the High Atlas mountains, facing desert heat and rough terrain along the way.

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Bridge is a sport that suits us

October 8, 2015

The card game bridge may spur dinners, tournaments and even dedicated cruises, but that is not enough for Sport England, the national body that provides government funding for sporting initiatives, which has excluded it from its list of sports.

Here is hoping, then, that the High Court rules in favour of the English Bridge Union, which has contested Sport England's verdict.

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No go for no-show protest

October 1, 2015

A pro-Israel activist had planned to sabotage a fringe meeting on Palestine at the Labour Party conference in Brighton this week - booking 150 tickets online with the aim of leaving the seats empty on the night. But he had to think twice about the spoiler plan when police called him to say that the pro-Palestinian camp had expressed concern about the bookings.

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