The Diary

Watts up with free energy?

March 23, 2014

British Gas are planning to introduce a new scheme to tempt customers — free electricity on Saturdays. Which will not be much help to observant Jews, for even with automatic timers for lights and electric urns, they are likely to use less electricity than on a weekday. But despair not: according to The Times, British Gas are considering a “free Sunday” alternative.

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Rapper in his natural habitat

March 23, 2014

Rappers do not usually spring from Golders Green with a business degree from Leeds.

But today marks the online release of the debut single of Dave In Charge, alias David Palmer, the JFS-educated grandson of veteran Liberal Democrat politician Lord Palmer of Childs Hill.

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Katherine Jenkins's Seder date

March 23, 2014

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who performed at a fundraiser for Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre on Monday, let her audience in on a secret.

“I’m not really one to talk about my personal life,” she said, “but I did want to share with you that over the past seven months I have been dating a lovely Jewish boy from New York.”

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The Board sees green

March 16, 2014

The Board of Deputies found a new meaning to the term “green screen” at its conference on leadership on Sunday, where presenters trying to use PowerPoint had to grapple with gremlins in the University College lecture hall. Eventually, the projection equipment was made to work, but only up to a point: the screen would display just a single colour — green. An eco-sign from above?

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James Bond's kosher sausage

March 16, 2014

Here’s a story about a Swiss alp, a salami and the world’s most famous secret agent.

A new exhibition on James Bond opened not so long ago at the Schilthorn, which featured in the sixth 007 film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

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The plant with roots shmoots

March 10, 2014

The Wandering Jew has been found… in a garden centre in Bury. The Trabdescanthia Zebrina, or “purple wandering Jew”, is described as “a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails over itself to make a dense groundcover”.

During one week in spring, it should be fed with chopped fish and crushed matzah

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When the Beatles met the becks

March 10, 2014

There’s Brian Epstein, music publisher Dick James and two McCartney wives. But a lesser known Jewish contribution to the Beatles story was revealed during a Jewish Book Week session with Fab Four authority Mark Lewisohn, whose first of a three-volume history was published last year.

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Pink Floyd's Yiddishe Mama

March 10, 2014

Rock star Nick Mason, drummer of Pink Floyd, remarked in a Sunday Times feature about why men were taking up cooking, “There’s a Jewish mother inside every man waiting to come out.” Could that even be so for his erstwhile colleague and bass player from the now disbanded band, the Israel-boycotting Roger Waters?

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Dark horse for deputies

March 9, 2014

Expect an unfamiliar face to be the Board of Deputies’ next chief executive since several communal figures mooted as possibles are thought to have ruled themselves out for the £100,000-a-year post.

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Discovering the joy of soy

March 7, 2014

Cookery writer Claudia Roden once visited the Chasidic New York stronghold of Williamsburg in search of heimishe recipes, she recalled at Jewish Book Week. Its residents in turn sought help in trying to get a cookbook published. But not about cholent the way Booba made it. They wanted the world to taste their kosher Thai and Japanese dishes

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