The Diary

The rabbi who owned Man Utd

June 12, 2014

When a Malawi news site reported the recent death of Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer it used a picture of Arnold Saunders, the very much alive emeritus rabbi of Higher Crumpsall and Broughton Synagogue. How come the mix-up?

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Great Scott - Mr President?

June 12, 2014

A leading community figure told me of a new name being floated as a possible president for the Board of Deputies in next year’s election: the Conservative MP for Ilford North, Lee Scott.

Mr Scott joined the Board in 2012 as deputy for Leytonstone and Wanstead, a United Synagogue affiliate.

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Channel 4's voice of protest

June 2, 2014

You may recall Gaby Lock, the loquacious Chasid, who appeared in a couple of BBC documentaries a few years ago which took an offbeat look at Stamford Hill life. One followed him and his wife Tikvah holidaying in Two Jews on a Cruise.

Retired Rabbi Gaby returns to the small screen next week, with a part in new Channel 4 series The Complainers.

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Rooms to spare at chez Sacha

June 1, 2014

If you’ve dreamt of living in Hollywood or fancy a change of scene, Sacha Baron Cohen and actress wife Isla Fisher are looking to rent their Los Angeles home. It has a screening room, a wine room and a pool, according to the Sunday Times. But you will need to have a little money to play with — the asking price is £51,000 a month.

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What Dylan did for Israel

June 1, 2014

We may have Bob Dylan to thank for the Rolling Stones’s visit to Israel next month. Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said that he had asked Dylan, after a performance, where he was going next. “Israel” the singer replied. “He had a big smile on his face, because he loves it,” Wood said. “That planted a seed that I’d like to play it one day."

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Mr Clegg makes someone happy

June 1, 2014

Leeds Grammar School sixthformer Nadav Winehouse stepped out of an A/S exam and was stunned to find Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg waiting for him.

Nadav, who is studying politics, had tweeted an invitation to Mr Clegg to visit the school but had assumed nothing would come of it.

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Mind the ectoplasm

June 1, 2014

French-Jewish actress Eva Green is indeed bewitching ; she played Morgana the sorceress in TV series Camelot and was a witch in the film Dark Shadows.

Now she’s back on gothic duty in the new Sky Atlantic series Penny Dreadful, starring as spiritualist Vanessa Ives, whose séances are not for the faint-hearted.

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A booba to make you blush

May 26, 2014

Sheila Vogel-Coupe knows a trick or two and I am not talking about bridge.

The 85-year-old St Johns’ Wood resident was proclaimed by the Sun this week as “Britain’s oldest prostitute”, who can command £250 an hour for her services.

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Ed Miliband's Pesach pledge

May 26, 2014

If Labour leader Ed Miliband were to triumph in next year’s election, there is one pledge we we’ll make sure he keeps. Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna told the JC that his boss would follow President Obama’s White House example and hold a Pesach Seder in Downing Street.

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Les Miserables - the Shabbat version

May 25, 2014

Stanmore Synagogue’s Purimspiel is still raising smiles weeks after the festival.

A spoof on a Shabbat service sung in the style of the musical Les Miserables, it has drawn applause far beyond Stanmore via Youtube.

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