The Diary

Wrong call on Christmas

January 5, 2014

Every rabbi must have their mobile-going-off-in-shul story. One Orthodox rabbi at Limmud recalled how the service was interrupted by a phone in the women’s gallery one Shabbat morning which happened to coincide with Christmas Day. But at least the ringtone was appropriate: Jingle Bells.

More..

A penny for his thoughts

January 5, 2014

Veteran activist Gershon Baskin, whose book The Negotiator detailed his role in freeing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity, is the latest author to turn to the web for support.

More..

Generosity shown in spades

December 15, 2013

United Synagogue chief executive Jeremy Jacobs, attending his final council meeting on Monday, would have been pleased with his parting gift: a decanter, a set of glasses and a bottle of malt. He is the ideal man to advise your kiddush club, as a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

More..

Calling foul on Heston's fish

December 15, 2013

It seems an unwritten rule of television that pretty well every dish cooked by celebrity chefs is something kosher-keeping Jews can’t eat.

Take Heston Blumenthal’s Great British Food this week, which was devoted to fish and chips.
The programme mentioned its partial origins in the Jewish East End.

More..

Cricket test from down under

December 13, 2013

Whispers around town suggest that Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of the Great Synagogue in Sydney could be in the frame to succeed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at London’s Finchley Synagogue. The UK-born rabbi was formerly national director of the Association of Jewish Sixth-formers. But what we want to know is: which team is he supporting during the Ashes?

More..

Mr Speaker not short on words

By Simon Rocker, December 4, 2013

Guest of honour John Bercow’s florid style had one guest at the Jami dinner on Monday noting down words to look up in the dictionary afterwards.

More..

Hot turkey at Thanskgivukkah

By Simon Rocker, December 4, 2013

Here’s one London family who marked Thanksgivukkah, last Thursday’s rare coincidence of Thanksgiving and Chanucah. Lighting their special turkey-shaped “menurkey” (from left) are Eden, Ava and Lulu Cohen, daughters of Shimon Cohen, of the PR Office, and his New Yorker wife Jessica.

More..

Recycled jokes for politicians

By Simon Rocker, December 2, 2013

The coalition parties might not always see eye to eye but at least their leaders like the same Chanucah joke.
At the Downing Street Chanucah do last week, Prime Minister David Cameron said that when he told his cabinet colleagues about one day’s oil lasting eight nights and their ears pricked up, he had to remind them it was a miracle, not an energy policy.

More..

Rappy chappy not so happy

December 1, 2013

One man you don’t want to invite to sing at your simchah is Kanye West. The American rapper complained this week that he was being marginalised by “people at the top” who, rather than sharing his ambition for a fashion career, were more interested in trying to get him to perform at their sons’ barmitzvah.

More..

Paul Kaye's ripping yarn

December 1, 2013

Look out for Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr in Game of Thrones) who appears in Monday’s episode of Ripper Street, the BBC1 crime series set in late Victorian Whitechapel. Religious peace in the East End is threatened when occultists try to usher in the end of days by burning down synagogues and churches.

More..