The Diary

Batman bound for Egypt

September 29, 2013

Christian Bale, who played Batman in the Dark Knight films, will be coming to the rescue again, although this time not dressed in a cape. He is to play Moses in a new film of the Exodus directed by Ridley Scott, whose portfiolio includes Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator.

Alien star Sigourney Weaver has reportedly been cast as Pharaoh’s mother

More..

Ed's eye for a good property

September 29, 2013

In an excerpt from his revelatory memoirs, Gordon Brown’s notorious former spin doctor Damian McBride recalled the then Prime Minister taking some of his closest advisers for a tour of Chequers in 2007.

Among them was Ed Miliband, then a minister, who, McBride wrote, mimicked “a Jewish patriarch, being shown round his grandson’s house, ‘Nice place you’ve got here, Gordon,

More..

Mason the Litvak

September 29, 2013

BBC Newsnight’s economics editor Paul Mason is the latest TV personality to reveal Jewish ancestry.
Asked about his “genome” in an Observer interview, he replied that it was “part Lithuanian Jewish, part Lancashire coalminer”.

More..

Meet the Goldbergs

September 29, 2013

ABC’s new family sitcom The Goldbergs hit American TV screens this week. The actor who plays Barry Goldberg — would you believe — is called Troy Gentile.

More..

Tripped up by Purim football

September 29, 2013

Browsing online, I came across an Independent preview of the Jewish Museum’s forthcoming exhibition on Jews and football, “Four Four Jew”.

I was surprised to read in the feature that Jews are “twice as likely” as the general population to go to a football match.

The information was said to have come from an article which was published in the JC in the 1990s.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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”.

More..

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.

More..