The Diary

Spielberg on ice

February 16, 2014

Russian ice-skater Julia Lipnitskaia captivated spectators with her gold-medal turn at the Winter Olympics. But the 15-year-old champion raised an eyebrow with her music for one routine, the theme tune to Schindler’s List. I wonder what people would have made of it had she chosen something from The Producers.

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New home for Oxford Jewish centre

February 16, 2014

Behold the correct picture of the new home of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies from September — the Clarendon Institute, a late Victorian building once used by Oxford University Press. The photo that appeared in last week’s JC was of the separate Clarendon Building, which was also linked to OUP but opened in the early 18th century. Only a couple of hundred years out.

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Free passage for Czech Torah

February 16, 2014

This cargo on a flight from Canada to London was too precious for the luggage hold. It contains a rare Czech Sefer Torah brought by Vancouver’s Temple Sholom to a special service In London (see p15). Air Canada allotted two seats for it, free of charge.

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Interfaith serenade for Clegg

February 16, 2014

Mixed-Up Chorus, a new multifaith choir launched by the Three Faiths Forum, gave its debut performance on Wednesday — at the behest of the government.

It sang at a Whitehall reception hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to celebrate the contribution of interfaith groups to community relations in London.

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Limmud in the wilderness

February 9, 2014

Could JC reporter Charlotte Oliver, who covered the winter education conference, be scouting for a new venue in the Sinai? Definitely warmer than windy Warwick…

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Cop who wanted to keep goal

February 9, 2014

Kim Bodnia, the Jewish co-star of BBC’s latest hit Scandinavian drama, The Bridge, once aimed to be a professional goalkeeper, he told the Guardian — “I could have been the rival of Peter Schmeichel”.

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A rum choice for dinner

February 9, 2014

I don’t know why mojitos have become drink of the day at Jewish do’s, although I am not complaining. Not only was the Caribbean cocktail served before the Centre for Jewish Life dinner this week, trays of them continued to be ferried to tables throughout the proceedings. The CJL is for trendy young things but they were even sipping mojitos at the Board of Deputies dinner.

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Why is this child different?

February 9, 2014

Tiger mother Amy Chua caused a stir a few years ago with a book about the aspirations Chinese Americans had for their children — which made pushy Jewish parents seem like pussies.

Now she and husband Jed Rubenfeld have challenged educational liberalism again with their new book, The Triple Package, asking what makes some groups do better than others. Like Indians, Chinese or… us.

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Welcome to the kippah club

February 1, 2014

Natalie Portman’s French husband Benjamin Millepied has started a conversion course in Judaism, reported Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth. The couple are in Israel, where the actress is casting her first film as director, an adaptation of Amos Oz’s Tales of Love and Darkness.

They met on the set of Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s psycho-thriller.

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Chief gets 'freed' by BBC

February 1, 2014

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made his debut on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot on Monday. But the pronunciation of his first name still defeats BBC presenters. A few months ago he was being introduced as “Eefrim”. On Monday Evan Davies handed over the mike to “Efree-im”.

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