The Diary

Shmuley B in da house?

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wants to run as a Republican for Congress. The talk show host intends to pitch for the party's nomination for a New Jersey district. If he were chosen to stand and then elected in November, he would, he believes, be the first rabbi in the house.

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Muzzle Tov: a dog's life

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

You recall last week I lauded Muzzle Tov, the greyhound who won his race after Shabbat. He was back in action last Saturday, when he should have been taking kiddush in his kennel, and this time he managed only fifth. Mind you, the Torah talks about resting your cattle, not your dog.

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What Jackie said competition

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

The lucky winner of our caption contest - and recipient of two tickets to see Jackie Mason in London this month - is Estelle Ries of Radlett.

In her entry, the comedian tells Mikhail Gorbachev in the above photo: "If I give you my autograph, everyone will want one!"

And here are Jackie Mason's own suggestions. To Gorbachev, he says; "Have you ever thought about converting?

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Kate's chasidic dress sense

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

Don't be surprised if the Duchess of Cambridge were to go shopping in Stamford Hill because one of her favourite coats was inspired by a kapote.

Katherine Hooker, designer of the London Contrast coat, told New York magazine that it was based on "a young boy's Chasidic coat" that she once bought in a junk shop in Israel during a visit as a teenager.

It was "black silk with a little collar, cu

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No ears for Mr Livingstone

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

Rabbi Alan Plancey, emeritus United Synagogue minister and a Conservative councillor, experienced chilly feet this week, not because of the snow but the idea of going to a charity dinner for Orthodox school Side by Side, whose guest is Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone.

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Does Cora read the torah?

By Simon Rocker, February 2, 2012

The online salon talk this week has been whether award-winning ITV drama Downton Abbey requires a mezuzah.

Leading character Lady Cora (below) has already been revealed to be the daughter of Cincinnati millionaire Isidore Levinson.

Later this year you will be able to learn about her matrilineal line when her mum - played by Shirley MacLaine - turns up in the next series.

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All hail to a truly top dog

By Simon Rocker, February 2, 2012

Let's bask in the glory of Muzzle Tov, the greyhound who romped to victory in the 20.17 at Romford on Saturday night. It was the seventh win out of 43 races for the speedy kosher canine.

I notice he was racing after Shabbat; there must be a lesson in that. Give that dog a bone.

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The pic they didn't want seen

By Simon Rocker, February 2, 2012

What could be more innocuous than a picture of a rabbi at prayer? But when this shot of Lord Sacks on official tour of Australia last week appeared on the J-Wire website, photographer Henry Benjamin was asked to remove it by the Chief Rabbi's Office.

Hardly the work of a prying paparazzo.

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Peston's hair-raising claim

By Simon Rocker, February 2, 2012

"No, I don't dye my hair," BBC business editor Robert Peston told his Observer interviewer on Sunday, "It's good Jewish genes. My dad, who's 80, has still got a full head of dark hair."

Is our DNA indeed hairier? I already see the protest letter from the League of Bald Jewish Gentleman.

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Dramatic gift from Israel

By Simon Rocker, February 2, 2012

The New Israel Fund has received a donation with a difference. Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua, a guest of the UK charity last year, has offered it the English premiere of his new play, about a London meeting between Israel’s future premier David Ben Gurion and revisionist Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky.

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