The Diary

Missing Yidden in the Midlands

March 2, 2014

The Diary has sent an investigation squad to Leicester whose entire Jewish population has vanished. At least according to The Times, where Giles Coren wrote at the weekend — in emphatic caps — that there were “NO JEWS AT ALL” there.

The Jewish Year Book lists both an Orthodox and Progressive synagogue in the city.

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Positively hair-raising

March 2, 2014

The last people you would expect to use cosmetic surgery would be strictly Orthodox Jews. But New York website dnainfo reports a growing demand for hair transplants from young men, including Chasidim who want to thicken their peyot. The procedure starts at £1,900 and a full transition from smooth chin to full beard will cost you more than double that.

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The star-spangled dinner

March 2, 2014

Just add gedempte meatballs to this pasta (from Nashville, Tennessee) and you will have a dish fit for the Kosher Noshtra.

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The phone call left hanging

March 2, 2014

One item proved too raw for London’s “richest annual banquet of writers” — Jewish Book Week.
The programme said that Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers’ Manuel) would tell his story, from his childhood in Nazi Germany to “the intrusion into his privacy by phone calls from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross”.

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Naughty boys calendar uncovered

February 28, 2014

The annual Nice Jewish Boys calendar will appeal to Jewish mums eyeing up future sons-in-law. But there is a raunchier rival. The Naughty Jewish Boys calendar will go from “shirtless to nude”, its creator Duncan Pflaster promised Heeb magazine. “There won’t ever be anything pornographic, just beefcake shots like one might see in Playgirl, only with yarmulkes.”

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Delivered by male order

February 24, 2014

Some glass ceilings seem unlikely to crack. This flier promises a formidable cast of rabbis to speak a seminar on “Principles of Faith”— which is being held for women. If there is a female lecturer on the bill, she is being kept under wraps for now.

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Bafta star's no minyan man

February 23, 2014

There were extra smiles in Stanmore and cheers in Cheadle when Will Poulter collected his Rising Star award at the Baftas last Sunday.

The 21-year-old English actor had a Jewish mum, according to a Wikipedia entry. But tribal pride proved short-lived: after further inquiries, Mrs Poulter herself rang us to tell us that neither she nor her son happens to be Jewish.

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John Kerry's mitzvah days

February 23, 2014

One of the guests at last week’s special service at Westminster Synagogue to honour its collection of Czech scrolls was none other than the Jewish brother of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cameron Kerry was part of a delegation from Boston’s Temple Israel led by his wife, and its president, Kathy Weinman. Their community has one of the scrolls salvaged from the Nazis.

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Cone, shmone, do me a flavour

February 16, 2014

My favourite story of the week comes from Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, who was over here for the Masorti movement’s annual learning day.

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