The Diary

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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Gardening synagogue

November 5, 2015

Radio 4's Any Questions has been broadcast from a synagogue once before. But New North London Synagogue can boast a more novel first. It has been selected to host an edition of Gardener's Question Time later this month. The idea to apply to be a venue for the popular radio show came from green-fingered member Hazel Stein, who tends the synagogue's garden.

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Glad to get on his bikes

November 5, 2015

The founder of a project that fixes old bikes and gives them to refugees has been named Lloyds Bank Social Entrepeneur of the Year.

Former Habonim social action worker Jem Stein, 27, beat five finalists to win the £10,000 prize for the Bike Project.

Since starting the project three years ago, Mr Stein has supplied transport to more than a thousand refugees.

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Domestic drama in Edgware

November 5, 2015

When Jane Myers enjoyed a night of theatre with family and friends, the venue was unusual - her house.

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Nigella's lapse in taste

November 5, 2015

We may forgive Nigella Lawson her TV pork and prawns but how will she live this down? In an Evening Standard interview, ex-MP George Galloway explained that he was able to join the Groucho Club in London - usually barred to politicians - because the membership secretaries were friends: Nigella and her late husband (JC columnist) John Diamond.

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Pulling michael McIntyre's leg

October 29, 2015

You may wonder why Claire Ruback of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, is tugging at the trouser leg of Michael McIntyre (right).

During one of his recent live shows at Wembley, the comedian was telling a story about his calf muscles and rolled up his trousers to demonstrate.

But when it came to rolling them down again, the trousers refused to budge.

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From blue movies to blue stars

October 29, 2015

Don't be surprised if a rabbi pops up in former porn star Jenna Jameson's next screen outing.

The American celebrity is reported by Israeli media to be planning a reality TV series as she goes through a conversion to Judaism.

In recent weeks, Ms Jameson, who is engaged to Californian-based Israeli diamond dealer Lior Bitton, has been posting messages of support for Israel on social media (in

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