The Diary

Masterchef's matzah balls

April 8, 2015

BBC TV's Masterchef went almost kosher for Pesach on Monday night, when contestant Fran served the judges chicken soup and kneidlach.

The 36-year-old teacher from Newport told judges Greg Wallace and John Torode that, given the brief to "create a classical dish", she had immediately turned to her grandmother's famous recipe.

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Politics of the seder plate

April 8, 2015

Rabbi Jonathan Romain added a little electoral seasoning to the Maidenhead Synagogue Seder by asking guests to suggest which political parties were best symbolised by items around the table.

Bitter herbs: Conservatives - "the bitter effects of austerity".

Salt water: LibDems – "Nick Clegg's poll ratings are lower than the Dead Sea".

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Bread tasting of heaven

April 8, 2015

In the run-up to Easter, BBC Radio 3 invited a number of prominent figures to discuss aspects of the Lord's Prayer. What more apt choice could there have been for Baroness Neuberger than the line, "Give us our daily bread" - a cry that will be echoing around many a Jewish household this week as we count down the days of matzah.

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Veggies are no has-beans

April 8, 2015

Pesach is extra hard on vegetarians who abstain from kitniot (legumes). But no problem for the Jewish Vegetarian Society which fed 65 guests on garlic-infused aubergine, vegetable tagine and chocolate mousse pots at a sell-out vegan and bean-free Seder at JW3. "It was our biggest event to date," said JVS director Lara Smallman.

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The easter soldier from JFS

April 8, 2015

Dan Cade has landed himself a new biblical TV role, but one his JFS education is unlikely to have prepared him for.

He plays Roman centurion Cassius, who has a hand in the crucifixion story in NBC's new series A.D. The Bible Continues.

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The honorary consul's dilemma

April 2, 2015

When Israel met Wales in the European Cup qualifier at the weekend, it was a classic dilemma for Philip Kaye of Cardiff.

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Israel's new best friend

April 2, 2015

You have to hand it to Nigel Goodrich, organiser of last weekend's launch event for the Edinburgh Friends of Israel. Last year, he founded a similar support group for Israel in another part of Scotland, the Dumfries and Galloway Friends. Galloway Friends of Israel… truly a name to savour. Respect that man.

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You'll have to skip this dip

April 2, 2015

The web has been going wild about Ben & Jerry's kosher-for-Pesach charoset-flavoured ice cream, though it's not new - we wrote about it three years ago. But if you're thinking of making Seder night even more different and dipping your maror into it, I'm afraid it's still limited edition and available only in Israel.

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Noah's fine with the vine

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2015

David Threlfall, who starred as ever-drunk Frank Gallagher in Channel 4's Shameless, found a nobler role on Monday, as Noah in BBC One's biblio-drama, The Ark. But the two characters have one thing in common. Noah was the first man to hit the bottle in the Bible, passing out after enjoying the fruits of his post-flood vineyard a little too much.

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One election not enough

April 2, 2015

Jonathan Davies, the Liberal Democratic candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, will be contesting a second election next month.

Not only is he standing for Parliament when the country goes to the polls on May 7 but 10 days later the vice-chairman of the Lib Dem Friends of Israel will be hoping also to become the new treasurer of the Board of Deputies, succeeding Laurence Brass (who coinciden

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