The Diary

A whale of a mitzvah

September 25, 2013

In some communities, it is traditional to auction the honour of reciting the book of Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoon for a pledge to charity. While it is not unheard of for donations to run into thousands, I rubbed my eyes when I heard that at the Great Synagogue Moscow this year, it went for 20 million rubles. But its minister, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, assures me the amount was true.

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Kvetchers need not comment

September 22, 2013

Here’s a set to questions recently posed by BBC quiz show Pointless. The harder the answers prove to be, the more points are scored.

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On hand to sub for dad

September 18, 2013

Two United Synagogue rabbis had to cut short their officiation at Yom Kippur because they lost their voice mid-service. But happily both were able to call on their sons.

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Miriam among the Israelites

September 18, 2013

Actress Miriam Margolyes, supporter of the boycott campaign against Israel, was spotted in two synagogues up north over Yom Kippur, Yeshurun and Stenecourt.

In a tweet, Joy Wolfe, chairman of pro-Israel Stand With US, remarked that it was ironic she should have spent the day “in the two most Zionist synagogues in Manchester”.

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Chief Rabbi's soft-shoe shuffle

September 18, 2013

If there’s a Guinness world record for sermon-giving, then Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis must have come close to achieving it.

Over Yom Kippur he delivered no fewer than 11 addresses to assorted services in three different communities — Hendon, Hampstead Garden Suburb and Finchley.

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Pearly Moses awaits liberation

September 15, 2013

This statue of Moses with the tablets has been standing awhile in the window of the All Aboard charity shop in Golders Green.

But the Lawgiver has lately been sporting some unconventional adornments.

Perhaps some kind buyer should think of giving him a home before he acquires any more bling.

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Dining out on Michelin menu

September 15, 2013

Guests at next month’s annual dinner of Meir Panim UK are in for a treat. The special kosher menu has been created by Michelin-starred chef Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon in London.

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Faithfull to her roots

September 15, 2013

Marianne Faithfull, once paramour of Mick Jagger and archetypal 60s wild child, will be exploring her Jewish ancestry in the BBC 1 series Who Do You Think You Are? next week.

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Prince in a 'Jewish cap'

September 12, 2013

Trust the sourpuss Iranian media agency Press TV to cast a jaundiced eye on Prince Charles’s presence at the inauguration of new Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis last week.

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Prophet and gain for BBC

September 8, 2013

Sunday Times critic Paul Donovan has called for more of Clive Lawton’s “outstanding” recent series of offbeat portraits of the prophets for BBC Radio 4. It’s the ideal subject for the Limmud co-founder who, in flowing white locks, looks the prophetic part.

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