The Diary

Divine justice

May 5, 2016

A Haifa court received an unusual request this week - to make a restraining order against God. The unnamed claimant had complained of unfair treatment by his Creator, according to Israeli website Walla. The judge was unable to oblige, although the defendant was reported not to have shown up.

More..

Rita Rudner comes to Limmud

May 5, 2016

Cambridge Limmud has always prided itself on the quality of its speakers and next month's event is unlikely to disappoint with novelist Howard Jacobson and three knights including Sir Lawrence Freedman, a member of the Chilcott inquiry, taking part.

More..

Dogs groomed for office role

May 5, 2016

If you find a dachshund under your desk or a whippet by the watercooler next month, do not be surprised - it will only be a colleague's pet taking part in Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

The annual event was launched in 2014 by Jo Amit and Mark Hirschel to support the charity All Dogs Matter.

More..

Rabbits snapped up by Fox

May 5, 2016

Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of weighty books on Jerusalem and Russian czars, is taking a different literary turn. He and his romantic novelist wife Santa have co-penned a children's novel called The Royal Rabbits of London, whose hero Shylo they'll be hoping joins the ranks of other legendary bunnies such as Fiver, Brer and Bugs.

More..

Good folk

May 5, 2016

"Never court a wee lassie with a dark and a roving eye." But you can still sing about her, as did musician Sam Lee at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at the Royal Albert Hall. The Belsize Square Synagogue member took the prize for best traditional track with his version of Lovely Molly (from which the words above are taken).

More..

Reward for a telling talent

April 27, 2016

British writer Jonathan Tel has struck gold for a second time with his short story, The Human Phonograph.

His tale of a couple living on a remote Chinese nuclear base during the 1960s won the Commonwealth short story prize last year.

More..

Kept waiting on the bench

April 27, 2016

Sir Gavin Lightman has had to wait a while for the portrait he is entitled to hang at Lincoln's Inn in London for serving as its treasurer in 2008.

The artist he commissioned it from felt extra pressure to get it right - Sir Gavin's daughter, Sarah. It took eight years to complete, during which time she got married, edited a book and had a baby.

More..

With an outstretched arm…

April 27, 2016

Nail technician Natalie Rose, from south London, had an unusual commission pre-Pesach – her client wanted her fingers decorated with the Ten Plagues.

Her first reaction was: "how on earth I am going to do the death of the first-born".

In the event, lice and locusts proved the hardest to draw in such a small space.

But probably easier than being asked to do the Ten Commandments.

More..

Near miss at the marathon

April 27, 2016

Israeli Hagai Penkar may not have won the London Marathon on Sunday, but he can claim the distinction of being the last of its 39,000 runners to begin it.

When he drove to what he thought was the start line in Greenwich Park, he found he had actually turned up at the finish line, near Green Park.

More..

Folk star from Belsize Square

April 21, 2016

Sam Lee is still fighting the sense that "surely this is all wrong, surely someone's made a terrible mistake".

But there is no doubt.

More..