The Diary

Sorry girls, I've just got wed

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

We can't bring you a royal wedding but here's a touch of glamour from the nuptial celebrations of promoter Jonathan Shalit and wife Katrina. Here is the happy groom with three of the guests at the party following the West London Synagogue ceremony: singer Jamelia, actress Kelly Brook and broadcaster Myleene Klass.

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Norwood's blue moment

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

A great time was had by all 1,300 guests at the Norwood dinner on Monday – one of Anglo-Jewry's largest fundraising parties. But one number sung by Simon Webbe, former heartthrob of boyband Blue, was not the most obvious choice for a Jewish family charity: Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon.

The lyrics allude to various amorous feats performed while driving a car. Still, the audience had no problem clapping and singing along, although Mr Webbe did look momentarily uncomfortable, not surprisingly since he was standing right next to the Chief Rabbi's table.

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Heiming up the bard

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Surprise hit of the Jewish Film Festival was Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish. A hundred Charedim turned up at London's Tricycle theatre, many familiar with cast members who had flown from New York for the screening. "I'm pretty sure that the Tricycle had never seen anything like it," said JFF director Judy Ironside, "and neither had we".

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Covering letter

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Guardian columnist Deborah Orr, battling against cancer, wrote that she might wear a hijab in the event of hair loss. Whereupon she received a "kind letter" from the League of Jewish Women with "a fetching green scarf", she said, "so that I can dress up and pretend to be a Jewish woman rather than a Muslim woman if needs must".

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Mick goes unrecognised

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Man of the moment Mick Davis had this anecdote on the vagaries of Jewish leadership. The UJIA chairman went to a dinner party a few days after speaking in defence of Israel at the Trafalgar Square solidarity rally during its Gaza operation last year.

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Dastardly Dick's dig

By Simon Rocker, November 4, 2010

The Board of Deputies' 250th anniversary bash with Tony Blair has sold so well, it's being moved to a larger venue.

Expect further snarls from Indie columnist Richard Ingrams, who recently had a go at Blair and the Board, calling it a "body of self-appointed worthies who make it their business to defend the interests of their country against its critics". (By "their country", he means "Israel".)

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A lion in the ladies' den

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

Much in the media about Howard Jacobson following his Man Booker Prize success last week.

Apparently his mother thought The Finkler Question too Jewish to win: she was also upset not to see the closing words of his acceptance speech on TV when coverage switched instead to some surfacing Chilean miners.

The novelist was meanwhile picking a bone with Philip Roth, telling the Guardian that the American Roth "thinks English Jews have no balls. He's wrong about that - not least because he doesn't understand England or English Jews. He thought this is a hotbed of antisemitism."

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Not so easily impressed

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

Independent editor Simon Kelner, who launches spin-off title i next week, must still be on a mission to prove himself. When appointed Indy chief in 1998, he rang his mother. Instead of the mazeltovs, she asked about his predecessor Rosie Boycott. "She's gone off to edit the Express," he said. "Now that's a job," she replied.

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Booba in the dug out

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson appeared, according to the Guardian’s Barney Ronay this week, in the “surprise role of managerial Jewish grandmother”. So can we expect to see him dispensing cups of chicken soup at half-time, pinching Wayne Rooney’s cheeks and saying “Don’t worry, bubbeleh”?

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Grade stands by the BBC

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

The BBC may have spent more than a quarter of a million pounds resisting solicitor Steven Sugar's Freedom of Information campaign to force it to release the 2004 Balen report on its Middle East coverage.

But the corporation's stance is defended by its former chairman Michael Grade. The document had no place in the public domain, he said to a Board of Deputies lunch on Tuesday.

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