The Diary

Natasha to star in mission to Mars

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2016

After winning a competition to create the best way to get to Mars in 80 days, 17-year-old Natasha Cowan may not be off to the red planet just yet.

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Recalling bloodshed in Baghdad

June 9, 2016

Harif, the organisation for Jews from Arab lands, turned to verse to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Farhud, the pogrom in Baghdad in June 1941.

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George Osborne finds relief

June 9, 2016

Chancellor George Osborne must have welcomed a break from the bitter Brexit debate as guest of honour at the World Jewish Relief dinner on Monday. But who could have got him to come at such a politically hot time? We suspect the persuasive contact was WJR chairman-elect Dan Rosenfield, who knew the then Shadow Chancellor when he worked as a policy adviser for the Treasury.

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Mr Regev's fling with bling

June 9, 2016

Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev's previous experience of Britain was only on fleeting visits, except for a three-week stay when he first came here as a 21-year-old in 1982. The Australian-born envoy is now the picture of diplomatic society but you might have thought his younger self was on the way to Glastonbury.

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New show for horrible historian

June 9, 2016

Dave Cohen, supplier of comic songs to BBC's popular Horrible Histories, has a new show out. Entitled Music Was My First Love, it is, he says, "a stand up-poem, the Odyssey with jokes", which tackles subjects as various as left-wing antisemitism to his relationship with his Charedi siblings.

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Muslim doctor to the rescue

June 9, 2016

When a guest was taken ill at the Liberal Judaism patrons' dinner on Tuesday, the call naturally went out for a doctor in the house. But, in what must have been the first time at a function in recorded Anglo-Jewry history, no Jewish medical practitioner to be found.

Fortunately, there was a doctor at hand, Tarek Seda, a Muslim.

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Bier bonding

By Simon Rocker, June 2, 2016

Could James Bond be passing from one Jewish director to another? Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, whose credits include recent BBC blockbuster series The Night Manager, has been tipped as a possible successor to Sam Mendes for the next 007 film.

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Scents of play

By Simon Rocker, June 2, 2016

American composer Scott Frankel will be hoping for more than cosmetic success with his new musical War Paint which premieres in Chicago at the end of this month. Its theme is the fierce competition between perfume entrepreneurs Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden.

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Paul counts down to tv return

By Simon Rocker, June 2, 2016

Former Oxford University J-Soc president Paul Erdunast has been top-seeded for the finals of Countdown this month. He can be seen on screen again in the quarter-final of the Channel 4 game show next Friday.

The classics graduate from Pinner promises that the climax to the current series will be well worth watching.

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High five for Ronson and Glynne

By Simon Rocker, June 2, 2016

Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk was the most played pop track in the UK last year, according to the annual PPL People's Charts. A second Jewish performer, Jess Glynne, earned the number five slot with her song Hold My Hand.

The charts are based on airplay including in such places as pubs and restaurants as well as on radio, according to PPL, which licenses music for broadcast and public performances.

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