The Diary

Bronze is better than gold

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

Bankers usually go quietly but Greg Smith resigned spectacularly this week as a Goldman Sachs executive with an open letter in the New York Times blasting the firm for its "toxic and destructive" environment.

In contrast with his career, the London-based financier said that one of his proudest moments was winning a bronze medal in table tennis for South Africa at the Maccabiah Games.

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Purim trial

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

In London's High Court listings for yesterday, a case called Smith v Purim - which perhaps ought to have been timed for last week.

Next up: Cohen v Easter.

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Wrong number

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

You must wonder at the Speedyreg website, which advertises the personalised number plate ANN 1F thus: an "excellent choice if you wanted to become the Ultimate Anne Frank fan".

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When stars get in your eyes

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

A talking point - at least for those of you up watching cartoons at the crack of dawn.

A reader was horrified by the above shot from CBeebies' Tommy Zoom, which depicts the villainous Polluto plotting world domination surrounded by some familiar-looking stars.

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Woody allen's chasidic romp

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

Woody Allen's on-screen appearances are now few and far between but he has been persuaded to go in front of the camera for actor-director John Turturro's next film, Fading Gigolo.

The 75-year-old movie-maker, who won an Oscar for screenwriting this month, plays a pimp whose occupation does not go down well with his Chasidic neighbours.

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One to watch in Chief race

By Simon Rocker, March 15, 2012

The forthcoming visit of former Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, who has been tipped as a possible successor to Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, will be keenly watched by pulpit pundits.

He is to speak at South Hampstead Synagogue on Wednesday week in a meeting hosted by doveish Israel group Yachad.

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Vic Reeves's daughter-in-law

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012

Kimberley Nixon, one of the stars of the hit Channel 4 campus comedy Fresh Meat, has an altogether different role in a forthcoming BBC sitcom, as a middle-class Jewish woman.

The Welsh actress (right) will be playing Clare, wife of an aspiring comedian in a series written by award-winning stand-up Jason Cook and based on his experiences; its title, Hebburn, is named after his home town.

Also

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One green who's off our menu

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012

There was one guest on the Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me this week I certainly wouldn't eat with: the deputy leader of the Green Party in Wales, Pippa Bartolotti.

It was her gripe with Ambassador Matthew Gould that led MP Paul Flynn infamously to question whether a British envoy to Israel should be Jewish.

No less appetising is her account of meeting Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar in Gaza

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The lottery win that wasn't

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012

The name of Pinchus Yosef Friedman of Stamford Hill has been whizzing around the globe via the internet all week as the reported recipient of a 38.5 million euro lottery win.

"The phones started ringing at 4am – friends and family worldwide wanted to congratulate us," said his wife Leah.

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A purim gift to burglars

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012

Shomrim, the Orthodox protection service, warned Londoners to pick up any mishloach manot - packages of Purim gift food - they saw left on a neighbour's doorstep.

According to Shomrim, burglars have been known to strike when they spotted mishloach manot outside front doors, taking it as a sign that no one was home.

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