The Diary

Helping hand for the homeless

June 30, 2016

Athol Halle, chief executive of award-winning charity Groundswell, puts his choice of vocation partly down to his Jewish youth group experience. He recently collected a £40,000 GSK Impact prize from the King's Fund on behalf of Groundswell, which helps homeless people access medical services.

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Singing Selena prized by Norwood

June 23, 2016

American singer Selena Gomez was nearly top of the pops at Norwood business lunch when a box for 17 people at her London concert in November went for £5,000 in a prize auction.

Nearly, because the most valued item was a signed book by football legend Pele which fetched the charity £6,000.

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Blitz boy's belated barmitzvah

June 23, 2016

Samuel Lyons has finally celebrated his barmitzvah - at the age of 85.

The then JFS pupil had been preparing for his induction into adulthood before the Second World War in London's East End, but when the Blitz closed the school, he was evacuated to the country. Although he returned to the capital and had lessons with a tutor known as Rabbi Scratchy, the barmitzvah fell by the way.

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Hodgson's cunning Shabbat plan

June 23, 2016

If you are an England football fan, don't be disappointed that the team only finished second in its Euro 2016 group. The fixture list now means that England won't have to play any of its remaining games on Shabbat - which surely manager Roy Hodgson must have realised all along.

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The day Tesco went crackers

June 23, 2016

It was matzot on the house at Tesco's Poole Road branch in Bournemouth which decided to give away its remaining Pesach crackers this month. "We had a lot of stock left over," explained a duty manager. "We reduced prices but people were not buying them, so we offered them for free." But too late now for a quick trip south for a matzah metziah, the boxes have all been snapped up.

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Limmud's absent friends

June 23, 2016

Limmud must wait a little longer for David Schwimmer, who earlier in the year had been flagged as a presenter at last Sunday's regional event in Cambridge. The Friends star was unable to make it because of filming commitments. His wife, performance artist Zoe Buckman, was forced to cancel at the last minute, organisers said, owing to the illness of a close relative.

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Rock and poll at Glastonbury

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2016

Michael Desmond’s pro-Remain campaign took him all the way to the High Court in London this week. The Hackney Labour councillor was one of a group who are taking legal action to try to force the government to set up a referendum polling booth at the Glastonbury Festival in order to make sure that youthful rockers can have their say.

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Trophy fit for $1 million prize

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2016

The next recipient of the $1 million Genesis Prize, the Jewish Nobel, will be able to collect a handsome new trophy designed by London-based Israeli Yoni Alter. His design was selected from 13 finalists by a panel of judges which included Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate. Its pillars of increasing height create an image of the Magen David when seen from above.

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Rabbi Leo is happy to see green

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2016

Radlett Synagogue's former rabbi Leo Dee has quickly made his mark in Israel since moving there two years ago. He was at the Knesset last week with his colleagues from Greeneye, which received a Green Globe Award for services to the environment.

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Hollywood call for Jewish schools

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2016

The finger of fame could soon point at one lucky Jewish schoolchild, who could go on to work for Steven Spielberg.

The legendary director is searching for a "really extraordinary boy" in the Jewish playgrounds of north London.

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