The Diary

Sacks in an American groove

July 28, 2013

Tchaikovsky and Bach were among the selections of Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks when he guested on Private Passions on Sunday – Radio 3’s version of Desert Island Discs.

But he also had room for a more contemporary choice: Simon and Garfunkel’s America.

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Rabbi Mirvis bats for Britain

July 28, 2013

Chief Rabbi-elect Ephraim Mirvis said that, when he takes office shortly, he wants to be “a batsman not a bowler”, explaining that he hoped to “score runs for our team” by projecting a positive image of Judaism rather than try to “bowl out” other movements. Whether he’ll be be a Cook-like accumulator or a Pietersen-style basher, we'll have to wait and see.

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Norwood's froomest rider

July 28, 2013

Here’s Tour de France champion Chris Froome (depicted centre), appearing at a very different kind of cycling occasion.

In 2010, he came to give his support to the Norwood charity bike ride in Kenya.

Mr Froome, who grew up in Kenya, knew the family that organised the event.

He assisted the Norwood ground team, familiarising riders with the route and lending a helping hand to the b

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Kate's still no Jewish princess

July 26, 2013

Despite our best efforts to scotch the persistent rumour that Kate Middleton has Jewish ancestry, it is proving hard to kill.

An Iranian news agency Mehrnews.com recently reported that the royal family’s “new bride is a Jew” and thus would be her offspring.

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A brew called Jew?

July 7, 2013

A reader visting Munich was amused to see this label, advertising a local beer. The logo looks as if it spells “Jew”.

Wonder whether brownshirts would have boycotted the tipple.

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Showband scores for Walcott

July 7, 2013

The Gilev Showband, best known for launching the career of X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, are a regular fixture on the simchah circuit.

But the couple they played for at a Tuscan castle month didn’t get hitched under a chupah. Gilev performed at the party celebrating Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott’s marriage to childhood sweetheart Melanie Slade.

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An Israel appeal to ignore

July 7, 2013

An appeal has been launched to support monitoring of the BBC’s Middle East coverage in order to ensure its accuracy and impartiality.

But I doubt you’ll want to dip into your pockets. The appeal has been made for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign by Baroness Tonge, who says she is “infuriated” by the BBC’s coverage of Israel.

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Pompey chimes fo Gaiman

July 7, 2013

Portsmouth is to honour one of its most famous literary sons by naming a road after his latest book.
Graphic novelist and fantasy writer Neil Gaiman (below) said he was “gobsmacked” to learn that the title of his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane will appear on the local map.

Portsmouth council hopes the gesture will encourage a “love of literacy” among young residents.

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Lapid just the ticket for UJIA

June 30, 2013

Israeli politicians rarely figure high on the guest-speaker list of Anglo-Jewish charities nowadays.

But Israeli Finance Minister and Yesh Latid Party founder Yair Lapid, whose meteoric rise to power was one of the surprises of the last Israeli election, ought to get the tickets moving.

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What's the point of a chief rabbi?

June 30, 2013

Quentin Letts has a Radio 4 series called What’s the Point Of?, billed as a witty look at great British institutions.

In three weeks, I can reveal, the target of his scrutiny is none other than the Chief Rabbinate of the United Hebrew Congregations.

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