The Diary

Drinking cure for Israelis

July 17, 2014

If you want to give more than moral support to Israeli friends and relatives sheltering from Hamas rockets, then a flask of scotch might be just the thing.

Apparently, a study into the state of mind of Israelis during a previous round of hostilities with Gaza showed that those who enjoyed a drink or two were more likely to resist depression than those who were teetotal.

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Rihanna beats Tweet retreat

July 17, 2014

Pop star Rihanna is more known for provocative attire than politics. But she stumbled into hot water this week after a tweet went out from her official site which read #freepalestine.

A source denied this revealed the singer's Mid-East sympathies and said she had accidentally sent out the hashtag after reading about the latest conflict. The tweet was removed shortly after its appearance.

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Friday dinner still a winner?

July 17, 2014

Our reviewer may have hated it but the third series of Friday Night Dinner, Robert Popper's Jewish family sitcom, has enjoyed decent ratings.

The first two episodes, which attracted audiences of around one-and-a-half million, were comfortably in Channel 4's top 10 programmes.

But the third slipped to number 11, drawing just under 1.2 million viewers.

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The Chief Rabbi's relocation

July 17, 2014

Nearly a year after taking office, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has at last moved into his new home in Hendon.

He upped sticks from nearby Finchley after the builders put the finishing touches to the house, whose address I shall not reveal in order to spare the Community Security Trust a collective coronary.

There are still some people who are yet to be reconciled to the idea that, after more

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The robot that wrote a Torah

July 17, 2014

Technology has affected many a trade but could one of the most sacred Jewish roles now be at risk, that of the Torah scribe?

Time magazine reports that a robot scribe has just gone on display at Berlin's Jewish Museum.

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The state of Chabad

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2014

Twenty years after Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson's death, Chabad's outreach work has not quite stretched to every corner of the globe.

Their rabbi-and-rebbetzin teams surprisingly cover only 49 of America's states.

Newly-appointed Rabbi Akiva Hall is their first full-time representative in Mississippi, leaving only South Dakota Chabad-less.

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Yofi coffee

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2014

Tensions may be rising in the Middle East but coffee remains the hot topic for Israelis, who have lobbied against high beverage prices at Ben Gurion Airport.

The Israel Airports Authority agreed this week to install cost-cutting vending machines, leaving passengers able to buy a coffee for seven shekels (£1.20) instead of the previously sky-high 18 NIS (£3.10).

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Beach wails?

July 10, 2014

JW3 will be hoping its beach installation - opening on Sunday - is more successful than last December's temporary ice rink.

That winter wonderland was beset by unseasonal high temperatures and repeatedly closed.

Tel Aviv-style sunshine may be too much to hope for, but surely the curse of Finchley Road won't strike again to leave soggy sandcastles?

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Buzzed off

July 10, 2014

Another article aimed at British Jews has appeared on the Buzzfeed site.

18 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You're A British Jew features all the stereotypes we've come to expect.

"North west London", check. "Harry Styles", check. "Beck", check.

The JC also gets a mention. Apparently we are the "British Jewish version of Hello!".

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Making sense of Austen

July 10, 2014

A new Hebrew translation of Sense and Sensibility is proving popular.

Translator Shai Sendik spoke at Hampshire's Jane Austen House Museum this week about the difficulties of bringing her vision of 19th-century England into 21st-century Ivrit.

It was a dream come true, he said, despite the challenge of recreating Austen's style and irony for readers whose sabra ways may not be fully apprecia

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