The Diary

$1 million for Douglas

January 22, 2015

Oscar-winning Michael Douglas has picked up a new award, but not for his feats in film. He has won the $1 million Genesis Prize, a kind of Jewish Nobel. The judges who include Lord Sacks saluted his passion for Israel and his Jewish heritage. Last year he and wife Catherine Zeta Jones celebrated son Dylan's barmitzvah in Israel.

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Tapping into Gogglebox

January 22, 2015

The Tappers of Edgware have become one of the best-known families in the land through Gogglebox, Channel 4's uber-reality show which features people watching and talking about TV.

They were given the honour on Wednesday of announcing one of this year's National Television Awards, screened live by ITV, from their home.

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Beefed-up Blooms Viennas

January 8, 2015

It was a bold change to one of British Jewry's most iconic items, the Blooms Vienna.

Gilberts Kosher Meats, which manufactures the Blooms brand, had been lobbied by requests for a lighter product.

A year or so ago, the company acceded - and added some turkey to the sausage mix. But others had the beef with the mixed blend.

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Lord's nearly lost honour

January 8, 2015

Lord Young, the government's enterprise adviser, who was made a Companion of Honour last week, almost missed out on his New Year's gong.

The letter inviting him to accept the award was delayed.

"They sent it to the wrong address," he explained, "to the temporary office address.

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Merron's merry dance

January 8, 2015

As well as political nous, Board of Deputies' CEO Gillian Merron has nimble feet. She was runner-up in last month's Strictly Limmud Dancing contest, winning the judges' (if not audience) vote with a graceful Israeli folk number. Being at the Board, she must have seen her fair share of horas.

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Sarah Palin's Hebrew pooch

January 8, 2015

Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, has named her dog Jill Hadassah after the biblical heroine Esther. Hadassah is an alternative name for Esther. It's also a leading Jewish women's organisation in the USA. This could be the start of a trend; would you call your labradoodle Wizo?

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Archbishop to grace dinner

January 8, 2015

With a general election looming, the Board of Deputies was not going to give a platform to a politician at its dinner in May - and risk appearing partisan. This year, the guest speaker will be a man of the spirit, one with Jewish roots, though not Jewish. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will be making his first major address at an Anglo-Jewish function since taking office in 2013.

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Crossed off our shopping list

January 2, 2015

The cross on this colourful hanging is clearly the original Asian symbol of auspiciousness rather than a Nazi swastika — still not what you might to expect to find in a Jewish charity shop in north- west London.

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Welcome doctor's appointment for Israel activist

January 1, 2015

The director of the Academic Friends of Israel, Ronnie Fraser, can at last breathe a sigh of relief.

After his failed legal action against the University College Union over its anti-Israel policy, the union launched a claim to recover around £500,000 in costs from him and his lawyers Mishcon de Reya.

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Lighting up the temple

December 24, 2014

After nearly 2,000 years the menorah has been lit again in the Temple, not in Jerusalem though. Candle-lighting ceremonies took place in London’s Inner Temple with Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger (above) among those doing the honours.

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