The Diary

Wanted: undercover chasids

By Simon Rocker, June 22, 2014

A Stamford Hill rabbi called a meeting last week, looking for able-bodied men between the ages of 35 and 50 to embark on a secret nocturnal mission.

According to a report on a Hebrew website, he was concerned about yeshivah boys frequenting casinos and other places of dubious repute instead of being tucked up with their Talmuds.

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No knees-up for prize singer

June 12, 2014

Laurence Hasson (far left) proved in good voice at the national barbershop championships, where his group Park Street won the quartet category.

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Lucky letters for JC three

June 12, 2014

If your initials are J. W. and you dream of an artistic career, a spell at the JC might help. Singer Jessie Ware worked here as a web reporter, comedian Josh Widdicombe interned here post-university and one-time reporter Jemma Wayne has just published her first novel After Before.

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Thanks from Mr Speaker

June 12, 2014

Guest of honour at the Jewish Care dinner John Bercow said he could hardly have turned down the invitation. The House of Commons speaker revealed that it had been Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris who had taught him Hebrew for his barmitzvah.

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A woman with very good taste

June 12, 2014

Another plug for Israeli cuisine this week, from Susannah Constantine, one half of style tipsters Trinny and Susannah.

In the new series of BBC1's Celebrity Masterchef, judges evoked the name of maestro Yotam Ottolenghi when praising Susannah's dish.

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Mick Jagger's secret helper

June 12, 2014

Sir Mick Jagger displayed an impressive command of Hebrew during the Rolling Stones' triumphant Tel Aviv gig. But how did he manage? Actress Noa Tishby, who was seen enjoying his company in the band's first visit to Israel, whispered the words through an ear piece.

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Neat tweet on Cantor's defeat

June 12, 2014

The shock defeat of the najority leader of the House of Repressentatives, Eric Cantor, who lost his primary election in Virginia to little-known economics professor David Brat, prompted this witty Twitter comment: "'Brat Upsets Cantor' is the name of my barmitzvah memoir."

It was posted by Dave Gilson, a senior editor on American investigative, magazine Mother Jones.

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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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