The Diary

Reward for a telling talent

April 27, 2016

British writer Jonathan Tel has struck gold for a second time with his short story, The Human Phonograph.

His tale of a couple living on a remote Chinese nuclear base during the 1960s won the Commonwealth short story prize last year.

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Kept waiting on the bench

April 27, 2016

Sir Gavin Lightman has had to wait a while for the portrait he is entitled to hang at Lincoln's Inn in London for serving as its treasurer in 2008.

The artist he commissioned it from felt extra pressure to get it right - Sir Gavin's daughter, Sarah. It took eight years to complete, during which time she got married, edited a book and had a baby.

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With an outstretched arm…

April 27, 2016

Nail technician Natalie Rose, from south London, had an unusual commission pre-Pesach – her client wanted her fingers decorated with the Ten Plagues.

Her first reaction was: "how on earth I am going to do the death of the first-born".

In the event, lice and locusts proved the hardest to draw in such a small space.

But probably easier than being asked to do the Ten Commandments.

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Near miss at the marathon

April 27, 2016

Israeli Hagai Penkar may not have won the London Marathon on Sunday, but he can claim the distinction of being the last of its 39,000 runners to begin it.

When he drove to what he thought was the start line in Greenwich Park, he found he had actually turned up at the finish line, near Green Park.

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Folk star from Belsize Square

April 21, 2016

Sam Lee is still fighting the sense that "surely this is all wrong, surely someone's made a terrible mistake".

But there is no doubt.

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It could have been Queen Babs

April 21, 2016

Prince Charles was apparently so struck by Barbra Streisand that she might actually have found herself Queen Bee, a new book has suggested.

After they met on the set of her 1970s film Funny Girl, the singer joked: "Who knows, if I'd been nicer to him, I might have ended up as the first real Jewish princess."

As a Cambridge student, the prince kept a picture of her on his wall, according to C

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Obama's late, late seder

April 21, 2016

American President Barack Obama will not be holding a Seder tomorrow night - unless he has persuaded Prime Minister David Cameron secretly to share some maror and matzah during his British visit.

The annual White House Seder will nevertheless be taking place, if a little later, after the President's return from his foreign travels. In fact, there is a biblical precedent for a delayed Passover.

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Rosa wraps it up

April 21, 2016

JC reporter Rosa Doherty goes in for some intriguing trans-faith fashion on a break in Dubai

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Back to the East End

April 14, 2016

The BBC's next trip down memory lane will feature families reliving the East End of London in Victorian times. The programme, I understand, will include at least one Jewish family. I imagine that they may have to pickle a gherkin or two but will they have to shecht their own chickens?

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No dinner date with Labour

April 14, 2016

"It gives me great pleasure to once again send a message of support," wrote Prime Minister David Cameron in the brochure for the Board of Deputies dinner this week. But there was no similar greeting from the Labour leader. Perhaps Board officials worried a mug-shot of Mr Corbyn might have had some diners spluttering over the seared tuna.

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