The Diary

Israelis go wild for ben

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2016

Israelis have been buying into the Wildest Dreams of London sixth-former Ben Izak. His debut EP, which was released on Monday, reached number four in Israel's iTunes album chart the next day. The Immanuel College head boy, whose real name is Bertie Green, also entered the equivalent top 100 for the UK.

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All white for the knight

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2016

It's been a memorable year already for JLGB patron, Sir Jack Petchey, the East End boy who joined the Navy, bought a second-hand car business and, through various business ventures, became a multi-millionaire.

His charity work particularly in support of youth was recognised with a knighthood in the New Years Honours in January.

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Alas, poor Year Book

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2016

The Jewish Year Book, the directory of British Jewry, would have celebrated its 120th anniversary this year. Would have - because it is no more.

No longer will you be able to scroll through its who's who of the good and the great or count up the number of Jewish peers.

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Big Brother’s kosher burger

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2016

There was a little extra kosher taste to the recent series of Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother. Contestants were fuelled with supplies from Flipside Burger Bar, the recently opened supervised restaurant in Borehamwood. "We have been taking lots of orders from the local BBC studios, too," said manager Cassie Mann. "They heard the quality was good and we have proper hamburgers."

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Bernie the menorah lighter

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2016

The most striking aspect of the Jewishness of Democratic presidential challenger Bernie Sanders is how little comment it has drawn.

But while the self-declared socialist may be no shul-goer, he is certainly not a shrinking Israelite.

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Soulful Ronaldo's a hot item

By chris, February 11, 2016

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has netted a role in an Israeli TV ad (above).

The Real Madrid striker alerted Twitter fans by announcing "There are rumours that I'm going to be a star in Israel".

He appears in a commercial for leading telecommunications company HOT.

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Israel gift for oscar hopefuls

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2016

Israel can expect a gust of celebrities after the Oscars at the end of the month.

Nominees up for the main Academy Awards will receive a goody bag worth around £140,000.

The most valuable item is a 10-day, first-class trip to Israel worth £40,000, while other gifts include a walking tour of Japan, laser skin therapy and, for women contenders, an erotic toy.

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Stiller's cymbalic barmitzvah

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2016

Zoolander 2 star Ben Stiller certainly made sure his barmitzvah went with a bang - he played drums in his own band at the party. Its name was Capital Punishment and was an "avant garde, post-punk" outfit influenced by Eno and Bowie, he told The Graham Norton show on the BBC at the weekend. They even made an unreleased album called Roadkill.

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It's not quite cricket

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2016

Boys at Talmud Torah Kerem Shlomo in Salford, taking a closer look at a specimen of the eighth plague, were probably glad it didn't end up in their school dinner. But locusts are kosher.

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Hypnotic attraction on itv

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2016

Seeking romance on ITV's Saturday night dating show Take Me Out is ex-JCom (Jewish radio) presenter Ben Dali aka Ben Phillips.

The London-based hypnotist and magician's trip to the show's Tenerife date spot with Lotte from Stoke Newington will be shown this week.

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