The Diary

Tricky step on the stairway

April 14, 2016

Next month the ears of a Californian jury will settle a long-running debate among rock fans: were the opening bars of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven lifted from an instrumental composed by American Jewish guitarist Randy California?

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Odd man or woman out

April 14, 2016

As we report this week, the S & P Sephardi Community has voted to allocate half the seats on its board to women. The new board will have nine seats but no one has explained what half means. Will there be four for each gender and the ninth for a hermaphrodite?

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Darren's impressive debut

April 14, 2016

Darren Altman, who sailed through the opening round of ITV's Britain's Got Talent with his celebrity impressions, said: "It's the first time I've done something like that - I'm not an entertainer."

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Lydia on song for The Voice

April 7, 2016

Lydia Lucy is priming her vocal chords for Saturday night when she bids to become The Voice of 2016 in the final of BBC1's song contest.

Though not Jewish, she can be considered an associate member of the tribe as a singer with top simchah band Totem.

"I can't wait," she said ahead of the climax to the competition which will feature her duetting with her coach will.i.am.

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Nothing weird about a beard

April 7, 2016

The eye-catching cover of this week's New Yorker magazine highlights the fondness for facial hair shared by contrasting residents of Brooklyn, Chasids and hipsters. Tomer Hanuka, the Israeli artist who drew it, commented, "I think superbeards can add gravitas to any face."

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Oil's well that ends well

April 7, 2016

Russian billionaire Mikhail Frydman, who sold his stake in an energy company just before oil prices collapsed, told the Financial Times he didn't really understand oil markets. To succeed in business, "you don't have to be smart, but you do have to be lucky", he said, claiming also to lack the "talent to spend money beautifully". Mr Frydman, let me help you...

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The minister for mitzvot

April 7, 2016

The annual Orthodox Jewish All Stars Premiere Party in New York honours high fliers who have not lost their religion on the road to success. This year's award-winners included our own Baroness Altmann. "I have found that being frum doesn't mean that you cannot achieve in the secular world," the Pensions Minister said: "You just have to believe it."

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First dates' kosher clash

April 7, 2016

You wouldn't expect a conversation on the ethics of shechita on Channel 4's First Dates, which films couples who have never met having dinner together. But when biologist Jemma revealed last week to non-Jewish Dan that she kept kosher, her potential paramour responded: "That is reportedly very cruel".

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A plug for meaty books

March 31, 2016

The Radio Times ran an article about books on the radio or in the news which was entitled "Bringing Home the Bacon". Rather ironically, all the books referred to were by Jewish authors: Deborah Levy, Alexei Sayle, Marceline Loridan-Ivens and Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. Perhaps they meant "Bringing Home the Bagels".

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Barmitzvah boy's warring dad

March 31, 2016

The new production of Bar Mitzvah Boy, the musical of Jack Rosenthal's celebrated play, featuring Adam Bregman in the title role, is drawing the crowds to the Gatehouse in Highgate. Many performances are sold out - except Fridays! Adam, 13, is the son of King's College London's Professor of War Studies and JC book reviewer, Ahron Bregman.

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