The Diary

Kapoor to rock Brighton

By Alex Kasriel, November 13, 2008

The Brighton Festival has appointed Indian-Jewish sculptor Anish Kapoor to the newly created role of guest artistic director. The Mumbai-born 54-year-old Turner Prize winner, who will take up his job in May, says, of course, that he feels honoured. "The city will provide a unique backdrop for my work and the inspiration for many new events and ideas." Given the sculptor's affection for curved shapes, the owners of Brighton's pier might be slightly worried.

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The Blair scare project

By Alex Kasriel, November 13, 2008

In a major case of ‘doh!', Tony Blair's bodyguard accidentally fired his handgun at Ben-Gurion International Airport. It is thought he was unloading the weapon outside the terminal building when it went off. No one was hurt but airport security and police rushed to the scene. It's not the first time Middle East peace envoy Blair has unwittingly alarmed Israeli authorities. In May, Israeli fighter jets scrambled to intercept an unidentified aircraft suspected to be hostile, only to find out that it carried the former PM.

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Ivanka’s ours now

By Alex Kasriel, November 13, 2008

The daughter of property tycoon Donald Trump is converting to Judaism. Ivanka Trump, 27, who is engaged to Jewish businessman Jared Kushner, is attending Orthodox synagogue Kehilat Jeshurun in Manhattan's East Side. The former model, who now helps to run her father's business, is hoping to marry next year - and Mr Trump will have a Jewish daughter and son-in-law. Welcome to the fold, Donald.

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Oh yes, we get offended

By Alex Kasriel, November 13, 2008

In its latest issue, secularist magazine The New Humanist searches for the world's best religion in a game of "God Trumps". Judaism gets eight out of 10 for follower dedication - "no bacon sandwiches ever," the magazine observes, "that's dedication" - but also eight out of 10 for its "daffiest doctrine", niddah. The magazine reckons that Jews are "not really" given to having broigeses, getting just five out of 10 in the "easily offended" category. They don't know us very well, do they?

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Dress does not impress

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

The left-wing Meretz party in Israel has long campaigned against religious control of Israeli life.

However, an advertisement promoting a Meretz candidate in the Ramat Gan municipal election on a secular ticket has been pulled from buses - because the candidate's sleeves were considered too short.
Meretz's Ramat Gan branch were told this week that if the sleeves of candidate Yuli Goldstein were not lengthened, the ads could not be posted on local buses.

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Save Brand, says George

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

George Weiss, the founder of the surrealistic political party the Rainbow Coalition, has started a campaign to get disgraced presenter Russell Brand back on the radio.

Rainbow George, who has been on Brand's show a number of times, told the Diary that he was due to be a guest on the fateful night of the obscene phone calls.

"When they got Jonathan Ross, they decided they didn't need me. I don't think any of this would have happened if I had been there," he said.

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Rabbi dreams of Xmas

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

The word, Christmas, has been banned by a council-funded charity, leading to outrage in the city of Oxford.

Oxford City Council has endorsed an idea from cultural development agency Oxford Inspires to call the end of year festivities the "Winter Light Festival".

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Hitler’s trout in hot water

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

A Belgian TV channel has dropped plans to broadcast a TV cookery show on Hitler's "favourite dish".

The programme, on public broadcaster VRT, caused heated controversy when it cooked up plans to devote an episode to the trout in butter sauce beloved of the Fuhrer. Presenter Jeroen Meus said in the programme, which has already been produced: "Hitler was the most powerful man in the world and could have had caviar. But it's simple trout instead."

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Your shul-seat diagnosis

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

A while ago we asked you to vote on the comfort of your synagogue seat. of the 40 who voted, only five per cent of you rated your shul seat as "heavenly", 57 per cent said seats were "adequate" and 38 per cent were considered then "excruciating". There must be some sore bottoms out there.

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‘Hit A Jew Day’ is not a hit

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

Four American schoolchidren are in trouble over their less-than-inspired plan for a Hit A Jew Day at their school in Missouri, in which around 10 of the district's 35 Jewish children were struck. The 11- and 12-year-olds children now face exclusion from school. We suggest humiliation in the manner of Borat's Throw The Jew Down the Well.

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