The Diary

Fox snares a better press

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Megan Fox was reportedly dropped from the Transformers film series after producer Steven Spielberg learned that she had described its director Michael Bay as wanting to be "like Hitler" on the film set.

But her media fortunes were back in credit later in the week with the news that she has landed a role in Sacha Baron Cohen's new film, which, as irony would have it, is called The Dictator.

More..

It's the talk of the cabbies

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

The historically large number of Jewish cabbies has left its mark on the trade lingo, as a new guide, London Taxi Driver Slang, demonstrates.

You can hail a droschky (cab) to take you to Goldberg's Green (Golders Green) or Volvo City (Stamford Hill), while you fret at the amount being run up on the zeiger, taximeter.

More..

Getting shirty for Israel

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Israeli art student Noam Edry has been so upset by the anti-Israel sentiment she faced on campus in London that she is using her degree show to make a stand on her country's behalf.

She has recruited volunteers to help with her performance of "Coffee Stand", where they will serve Israeli coffee and wear t-shirts she designed with the slogan "I come from the most hated place on Earth", which con

More..

Guardian travel tips

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

The Guardian, in a travel feature exhorting readers to capitalise on the Arab spring by visiting the Middle East, did manage to include Israel - giving it one paragraph out of three pages.

But do not jump to conclusions: that was the same amount of space also devoted to "Palestine".

More..

Keeping Winehouse company

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

There will be a little Yiddish-flavoured hors d'ouevre before Amy Winehouse takes the stage in Istanbul on Monday as part of her world tour.

Her support act will be Oi Va Voi, the London band that helped to make klezmer cool in the UK.

Oi Va Voi (above) enjoy a considerable European following - they are headlining at Hungary's equivalent of Glastonbury in the summer and have already played a

More..

Horse with kosher pedigree

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

There are already race horses called Menorah and Mezuzah but here is another that happens to have a hoof in the Jewish stable - Frankel, who triumphed in the St James Palace Stakes at Ascot this week, remaining unbeaten.

The champion was named after a leading American trainer, Bobby Frankel, who died a couple of years ago and whose parents ran a kosher catering business.

Frankel's owner is

More..

A Prince on the menu

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

The Board of Deputies rounds off its 250th anniversary celebrations next month with a dinner, graced by a royal guest.

The Board wants to keep his identity under wraps. But it's an open secret.

Here's a clue: he is heir to the throne, his wife is a duchess but they are not the couple who just got married.

More..

No freedom for Dylan

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

He is the world's best-known bard but Bob Dylan is not quite big enough for Haringey, the London borough where he bought a house.

The council has rejected a proposal to make him a freeman, saying the honour was reserved only for those who made outstanding contributions to local life.

More..

Meet the hands-on minister

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

You don't need to bring a rabbi to the classroom when you can keep children entertained with one of these religious leaders produced by educational aid suppliers TTS.

And there are probably one or two congregations thinking this might make a pleasant change in the pulpit, too.

More..

The chaplain's soccer past

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2011

At least one rabbi would have rejoiced at QPR's promotion to the Premier League: Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, who is set to become Liberal Judaism's first designated university chaplain. Because, before the rabbinate, she used to be one of the club's official photographers.

She started going to Loftus Road as a child to watch games with her father, the late Rabbi Albert Friedlander.

More..