The Diary

Sex that's too hot to read

November 13, 2014

Dutch writer Saskia Goldschmidt's book The Hormone Factory has been nominated for a prize she probably doesn't want to win. It's the Literary Review's annual Bad Sex Award, which pokes fun at erotic descriptions.

The novel is about the questionable methods used by a Jewish pharmaceutical company to survive World War Two.

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The Chief Rabbi's lucky strings

November 13, 2014

When Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was growing up in South Africa, he was picked for his primary school football team.

But come the day of the match, he didn't want to play, he recalled during a visit last week to Rosh Pinah School in Edgware.

He was worried how his peers would react when he went into the changing room to put on his kit and they saw his tzitzit.

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The preying kabbalist

November 13, 2014

An Israeli kabbalist has been ordered to stop practising by a rabbinical court after reportedly telling a female client she should have sex with him in order to heal their souls. According to shteible.net, the kabbalist was rumbled after the woman recorded her treatment.

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The JC and the zionist war hero

November 13, 2014

A rare letter has comes up for auction from Joseph Trumpeldor, co-founder of the Jewish Legion in 1917, which took part in the British conquest of Palestine.

Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 defending the Zionist settlement of Tel Hai from an Arab attack, was writing to a First World War comrade to try to persuade him to join the embryonic legion.

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They're Israel rugby stars

November 13, 2014

You can be sure that Israel will be represented at the Rugby World Cup here next year - but unfortunately not by the country. The name of the full backs of both champions New Zealand and Australia happens to be Israel – Israel Dagg and Israel Folau, respectively.

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Jimmy Carr's kibbutznik past

November 6, 2014

Add comedian Jimmy Carr to the list of showbiz kibbutzniks. He spent two months communing with Israel in his 20s, he told the Magen David Adom dinner this week. Some of his jokes were so blue they had the audience blushing redder than the charity's logo but he helped raise a record sum.

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Rap with strings attached

November 6, 2014

Israeli hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari has enjoyed collaborations with some of the top rappers, winning a Grammy award in 2005 for co-writing Kanya West's Jesus Talks.

Now she appears on three tracks of Theophilus London's new album Vibes, released this week, which West has produced.

The classically-trained violinist is the founder of a charity, Gedenk, "Remember" in Yiddish, which uses cult

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What's nu for Scottish TV

November 6, 2014

BBC Scotland's Gaelic current affairs programme, Alba Eorpa, is considering doing an item on the Stamford Hill Shomrim. A TV producer who called us said that they had heard that US Secretary of State John Kerry had praised the work of the volunteer security group and asked if we knew of a Yiddish-speaking "fixer" who could put them in touch with Shomrim.

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Laura joins United Synagogue

November 6, 2014

Board of Deputies senior vice-president, Laura Marks, who represents the Movement for Reform Judaism, has joined the United Synagogue.

Ms Marks, who has become an associate member of Highgate Synagogue while retaining links with the Reform Alyth, said, "Lots of people are members of more than one synagogue.

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She'll be back behind the bar

October 30, 2014

Maria Friedman (below), one of the country's leading lights in musical theatre, turned up recently in a more unexpected place: Eastenders.

She played Elaine Peacock, mother of Queen Vic landlady, Linda Carter, in the BBC soap.

While she's out of the picture for the time being, the BBC confirmed we haven't seen the last of her.

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