The Diary

The city sale of the century

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Strictly Orthodox property developer Eliasz Englander had a problem. His firm, Citywise, is developing a 106,000 ft scheme at 1 Southampton Row in central London. He needed to put a tower crane on the site, but was informed by builders Bovis the crane had to be erected on Saturday to prevent traffic disruption.

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Lawyer outed as Jew... again

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Another exclusive in agenda-setting local rag the Jewish Telegraph. It reports that Nick Freeman — the lawyer known as “Mr Loophole” for his ability to help celebrity clients escape driving convictions — “has spoken publicly about his Jewish background for the first time” to the paper.

Actually, it is the first time he has spoken about his Jewish background this month.

Or did they miss his JC interview in which he talked about being a member of the New Kahal Chassidim shul?

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Dame Shirley beautified

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Tel Aviv University’s Insider magazine has a flattering profile of one of its governors, Dame Shirley Porter, which tells her story very much the way the disgraced Westminster City Council ex-leader would want it told.

The magazine gushes: “A quarter of a century ago, as leader and then Lord mayor of the City of Westminster, she spearheaded vast urban beautification and clean-up campaigns.”

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Yossi eats hay for energy

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

If you want to see Yossi Benayoun in action, try the 2.30 at Ascot.

Yossi Benayoun, the horse, is named after the Israeli international footballer.

The nag is owned by South London man Russell Trew, who tells the Wimbledon Guardian that, as a West Ham supporter, he was a big fan of Benayoun until the midfielder joined Liverpool.

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Paddy power’s own goal

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Many believe that sacked Chelsea manager Avram Grant was treated harshly by the media because he was Israeli and Jewish. Certainly, he has faced plenty of antisemitic abuse from racist fans.

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Passport to a cushy aliyah

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

First there was The Apprentice. Now there is to be a new show which could well be called The Zionist Apprentice. A production company is hunting for eight young people who will compete against each other on various extreme missions that mirror the challenges undertaken in building the state of Israel.

The winner of Ultimate Oleh will be given a “golden ticket” into Israel — a luxury flat, a new car and a dream job.

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Mezuzah crime warning

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Your car may be protected by an immobiliser and your house alarmed, but there is another important item you need to protect — your mezuzah. 

Rabbis in southern Israel have warned people to be on the lookout for mezuzah thieves. Dozens of householders in Kiryat Gat, 50 miles south of Tel Aviv, found last week that the parchments from inside their mezuzah cases had been stolen. So if a dodgy geezer offers you a bargain mezuzah, you have been warned.

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Bard was Jew... and female

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Is it just possible that William Shakespeare was a nice Jewish girl?

Many have questioned whether Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by the Bard himself, but Shakespeare-ologist John Hudson is among the first to suggest he might have been a female — and a Jewish one at that.

Hudson is claiming that the true author of the works could have been Amelia Bassano Lanier, who lived in England as a Marrano and is thought to be the first woman to publish a book of poetry.

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Lara's dream job: shluffing

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Shocking news if you thought the JC’s lovely Showbiz Shmooze columnist Lara Lewington leads a glamorous showbusiness lifestyle.

In fact, she told the Independent’s “Five-minute interview” slot this week, she’s a boring stay-at-home type. “Because I interview celebrities occasionally, people always assume I’m constantly out living a wild lifestyle when actually I’m probably at home cooking dinner and not being very sociable at all,” she said. She added that her ideal night out was “one that ends early so I can get home to bed. I’m really boring.”

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Cambodia's kosher mosque

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

A prominent American-Jewish family has been helping out poor villagers in a remote Cambodian village... by building them a mosque.

The Lightman family from Massachusetts have been working with the village, Tramoung Chum, since 2003. It started when academic Alan Lightman, his wife Jean Greenblatt Lightman and their Daughter Elyse funded a four-room concrete school.

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