The Diary

Is this the man to succeed Mick Davis?

October 11, 2012

Jewish Leadership Council chairman Mick Davis has been much in the news of late trying to stitch together the mega-merger between Xstrata and Glencore.

But within the corridors of North-West London, British Jewry’s top lay leader has been the topic of talk for a different reason — that he could be stepping down in the not too distant future as chairman of the UJIA.

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Reading can make you blind

By Sandy Rashty, October 4, 2012

Crown Heights is one of the epicentres of American Orthodoxy. So you might imagine the most popular choice in the local library would be some rabbinic hagiography or edifying novel from Artscroll.

But it appears the most borrowed tome over the summer was Shmuley Boteach’s guide to nuptial bliss, Kosher Sex.

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For Queen and country

By Sandy Rashty, October 4, 2012

A JFS student from Bushey is a new director at the British Monarchist Society.

Gideon Benedyk, 14, will publicly debate and protect Her Majesty from “the hypocritical and dreadful republican argument.”

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Bibi’s pose manipulated?

By Sandy Rashty, October 4, 2012

What really lay behind this picture choice of Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the UN General Assembly last week?

In the course of his address, the Israeli premier accidentally appeared to ape the pose of Adolf Hitler in the notorious arm-raised Nazi salute.

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Yiddish curses to wish on your worst enemy

September 28, 2012

No language has mastered the art of cursing quite like Yiddish. If you want a riposte to a slight or a snub, then Lita Epstein’s, If you can’t say anything nice, say it in Yiddish (Robson Press, £8.99), has an insult or imprecation for any occasion.

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Dr Who debut for Sugar's cubes

September 28, 2012

The latest episode of Dr Who had a higher Jewish content than normal. Not only was the evil villain played by the actor who has made evil villains his speciality, Steven Berkoff, but there was a surprise appearance by Lord Sugar.

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Rogue note at Klezmer bash

September 21, 2012

Regent’s Park annual klezmer celebration had the crowds rocking to the sounds of the shtetl.

But one visitor could not believe his ears when he heard a presenter announce a piece of music this year by Gilad Atzmon. The notorious Israeli jazz musician and self-styled “self-hating” Jew did not actually perform at Klezmer in the Park: one of his tracks was broadcast between live acts.

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All hail to males in veils

September 21, 2012

This extraordinary picture of a veiled Chasid was recently taken at Ben Gurion Airport.

Its wearer must either fear the threat of some particularly pestilential mosquitos or, more probably, wants to protect himself from the sight of women with bare arms or short skirts.

Before you mock this as an outlandish fundamentalist fad, let us commend it as a fashion that more could follow.

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Roy Hodgson's Literary Choice

September 13, 2012

Interest has been reviving in Stefan Zweig, the nearly forgotten Austrian Jewish writer who fled the Nazis, lived here for a while and committed suicide in Brazil in 1942.

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No prime time for TV Chief Rabbi

September 13, 2012

BBC commissioning editor for religion Aaqil Ahmed was forced to defend his late-night scheduling of the Chief Rabbi’s annual Rosh Hashanah broadcast.

Lord Sacks’s programme, which showed footage of his debate with atheist Richard Dawkins, went out on BBC1 on Wednesday at 11.15pm.

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