The Diary

JC review provokes Irish ire

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Irish paper the Sunday Business Post carried a full-length story about how the JC "attacked" The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (above), the film of the Holocaust book by Irish author John Boyne.

JC film critic Gerald Aaron, who reviewed the movie, was unaware that his cultural opinion would start an international crisis. Better postpone that weekend in Dublin, Mr Aaron.

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Parking in the future

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Steven Spielberg directed Minority Report, which predicted a world in which people were arrested for crimes they had not yet committed.

It seems it is no longer science fiction. JC reader Martin Stern has been given a ticket for a parking offence that will happen on "October 3 2008" in Tel Aviv. Don't do it, Martin.

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Israel sells snow to Swiss

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

A few years ago there was a legendary story about the British company which was selling sand to the Arabs. Now, here is one to top it: Israelis are selling snow to the Swiss.

An Israeli company has flogged the IDE Snowmaker to Switzerland. It will be deployed in the Swiss town of Zermatt from next month. Israeli snow comes at a higher cost than the natural stuff - the machine costs over £1 million.

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David Irving: The movie

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

We hear that the book written by academic Deborah Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, about her legal battle with the Holocaust denying historian, has now been optioned by a film company.

Which prompts the question: who will play Irving in the movie? We reckon that Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jack Nicholson could be among the front-runners. Or how about John Cleese in the lead role?

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Jewish news copies its copy

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

In last week's Jewish News, the "Dear Rabbi" column answered the query of a lady who was told by a clairvoyant that she was going to make a fortune.

The rabbi replied: "Wow. You were told by a top clairvoyant!... definitely not a load of rip-off mumbo-jumbo cooked up by some fruit-loop con-artist..."

Coincidentally, AOL's agony uncle answered a similar query on August 29.

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Footballer outed as pianist

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

A lot of Premiership footballers have problems adjusting at the end of their careers. Some go into coaching, some become pundits, others buy a pub.

However, Israeli player Elisha Abas has made a more unusual career choice. After a long career in the Israeli top league, he has become a concert pianist.

Abas was actually a child prodigy at piano until the age of 15, when he became a victim of burnout. Three years later, he made his debut in his new career as a footballer.

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13-year-old pooch gets a bark mitzvah

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008
What do you do for the dog who has everything? Well, if he is 13 years old you give him a bark mitzvah. New Yorker David Best spent $10,000 on his a bash for his pooch, Elvis. He must be barking.

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Israel’s Ikea in the frame

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Furniture in Israeli branches of Ikea cost more than the ubiquitous flatpacks in any country in Europe, according to a new survey. Prices at the store's Israeli outlets are about 30 per cent higher than in Britain and the Netherlands and 24 per cent higher than in France and Sweden.

And then you have to build it yourself.

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Rabbi's courting controversy

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

One of Israel's leading rabbis has, er, somewhat unexpected views on dating.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the spiritual leaders of the religious Zionism movement, held forth on the subject following Israeli discussion show Srugim. One of the show's guests argued that multi-dating was allowed under Jewish law.

Aviner said that multi-dating was forbidden... unless the woman was old and the man took too much time making a decision.

We wonder how long is too long - and how old is old?

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Who is Muhammad Cohen?

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Here is a contender for the world's craziest name. It's Muhammad Cohen.

You may not be surprised to hear that film director Cohen was born Eliot. However, he changed his name following his marriage to an Indonesian Muslim woman in 2002. It was, he said to demonstrate the similarity of the Muslim and Jewish religions.

Cohen said he was welcomed by the Muslim community. When he decided to marry, the only worry of the officiating Imam was that he be circumcised. Cohen was able to re-assure him on that count.

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