The Diary

Shared lament at the Abbey

August 7, 2014

The remembrance service at Westminster Abbey on Monday for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One included a passage from Jeremiah's Lamentations - the same book that was read in synagogues up and down the country that very night to mark the fast of Tishah b'Av.

An abbey spokesman told me the choice was coincidental and they were unaware of the link with the Jewish calendar.

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Snub for Raymond's sideburns

August 7, 2014

The Beard Liberation Front has published its shortlist for its annual Sideburns of the Year contest which includes one Jewish representative out of six, the novelist Will Self.

But there is a conspicuous omission among the chosen streak-cheeked, JW3 chief executive Raymond Simonson. The beardies should be bearded until they proffer an explanation.

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Champion kneidls and dreidels

August 7, 2014

Guinness World Records will be celebrating its 60th birthday next year.

So there is still time for would-be Jewish world-beaters to make the jubilee edition.

The largest certified matzah ball was made by Noah's Ark Original Deli in New York in 2009, which weighed in at 267lbs. The monster kneidl required 1,000 eggs, 80lb of margarine, 20lbs of chicken base and 200lb of matzah meal.

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The legendary batmitzvah

August 7, 2014

R 'n' B singer John Legend's video of his new single You & I, which celebrates a diversity of women, includes this image of a batmitzvah girl.

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Lucas aid for empty Israel

August 7, 2014

Moved by reports of deserting tourists, American Jewish filmmaker Michael Lucas has flown to Israel to show his solidarity.

But his work is unlikely to feature at the UK Jewish Film Festival (wherever it is held). His company Lucas Entertainment makes what you'd call adult pics for the gay market.

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Ramadan Rabbi's fast progress

July 31, 2014

Orthodox Rabbi Natan Levy's decision to fast for Ramadan as a gesture of understanding towards Muslims attracted TV attention as it came to an end this week.

Braving detractors who said he was naïve and the odd call for his excommunication, the Board of Deputies' interfaith consultant reckoned that approval outweighed criticism by 70:30.

While the shadow of the Gaza conflict hung over his i

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Far from the madding cows

July 31, 2014

Members of the Board of Deputies think it ought to keep its name if it merges with the Jewish Leadership Council. But some alternatives suggested in a consultation with deputies were Jewish Parliament, Board of the Jewish Commmunity, United Voice of British Jews and National Council of UK Jewry. I would have recommended Council of Jewish Deputies - but the acronym is CJD.

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Rescued by Mr Hizbollah

July 31, 2014

My colleague Rosa Doherty had the unenviable task of covering the annual pro-Palestinian Al Quds rally in London last Friday. When she identified herself, a female marcher greeted her thus, "Eugh, Jew. Blood is on your hands." Feeling scared, Rosa was reassured by a friendly man waving a Hizbollah flag, who said, "Don't worry about her, she's a Christian, they're nuts."

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Capitally offended Rothschild

July 31, 2014

A high-powered conference on improving capitalism in London in May, which featured Prince Charles among its speakers, has led to a dispute among its organisers. Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild (the wife of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild) has issued a writ against the Henry Jackson Society, the think tank-led by Dr Alan Mendoza.

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Mazeltov, Luciana

July 31, 2014

Here endeth the dream of many a Jewish bachelor: rising Labour star Luciana Berger is engaged. The Shadow Minister for Public Health has previously been linked to fellow politician Chuka Ummuna but her name appears in the S&P column in this week's JC affianced to Alistair Goldsmith.

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