The Diary

Missed steps

November 19, 2015

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is a keen user of the fitness tracker on his mobile phone. But here's a problem. The day when he clocks up most metres is Shabbat, when he's walking to visit one of his congregations, and of course cannot take the phone. Has anyone invented a Shabbat-friendly pedometer? Get going, geeks.

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Buckets of help for Mr Hislop

November 19, 2015

No, this isn't UJIA chief executive Michael Wegier (right) blooding his new head of fundraising. Nor is a charity edition of BBC's Have I Got News for You in the pipeline.

HIGNFY presenter Ian Hislop happened to bump into the UJIA boss in the street while filming a documentary about attitudes to poverty.

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Hear, hear for Lord Polak

November 19, 2015

One government supporter who does value the NHS is the new Tory peer, Lord Polak, who in his maiden speech in the Lords recalled how the service had saved his life after the discovery of a brain tumour.

Although left deaf in one ear, that has sometimes been quite useful, he said, "I am aware that, today, I have not been interrupted - but I am also aware that this courtesy is for today only.

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Musical medics' Christmas bid

November 19, 2015

In between tending the sick, Dr Harriet Nerva has turned music promoter, launching a social media campaign to get a Christmas hit.

Bridge Over You, a mash-up of Coldplay's Fix You and Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, sung by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir (right), was runner-up on Gareth Malone's TV show Sing While You Work in 2013.

Now Cambridge-based Ms Nerva, 26, who

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Griff's night at the museum

November 12, 2015

If you have never visited London's Jewish Museum, you can take a peek inside courtesy of the BBC.

The Camden-based museum featured as the venue for Tuesday night's episode of The Quizeum, the BBC Four quiz show presented by Griff Rhys Jones.

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A near-brush with celebrity

November 12, 2015

Guests leaving the New Israel Fund dinner in London on Sunday night narrowly missed walking on to a film set. A little way down, actor Michael Fassbender had just finished shooting scenes for his next movie. But it wasn't exactly the most appropriate title, given that the dinner had been remembering Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the 20th anniversary of his killing.

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Trimming without turkey

November 12, 2015

Boots seasonal choice of sandwiches includes a vegetarian option, "Festive Falafel". There's little that gives the snack a Yuletide twist beyond the addition of some red cabbage. But then, Christmas did originate in the Middle East...

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Sealing kosher thunder

November 12, 2015

Clink your classes to a new member of the kosher cocktail club, Thunder Vodka. The Sephardi Kashrut Authority has supervised a special run of the fashionable toffee-flavoured brand. Now why would a vodka need a kosher seal? Thunder is usually produced in a plant also used for wine, which would knock it off the shul drinks list unless the equipment is koshered first.

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Hull the city of chanucah

November 12, 2015

Hull's emblem as the designated City of Culture for 2017 has a somewhat familiar look - give an additional candle or two.

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Stray thoughts on Israeli cats

November 5, 2015

Israel may have to cope with the challenge of a new exodus - one moving away from the country rather than to it.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has floated the idea of deporting thousands of stray cats to any country willing to accept the four-legged refugees.

In the past, Israel has tried to restrict the growth of stray animals by neutering them.

Mr Ariel not only thinks this practice cr

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