The Diary

School's out for BNP

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The British National Party was all set to hail a victory it no doubt hoped presaged great things to come in the next election.

Its website had an item reporting a mock-election at top London school UCS, where the BNP contender came second.

It was all a joke, the school explained: the BNP candidate stood to satirise the party and its agenda - and attributed his good poll showing to the fact that he handed out biscuits.

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Entertaining Mr Biden

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

American Vice President Joe Biden was not best pleased that during his visit to Israel its Interior Ministry announced that 1600 new homes were to be built in east Jerusalem: he reportedly turned up 90 minutes late to dinner with Bibi Netanyahu.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai explained to Yediot Achronot: "I greatly regret that the Vice President took it personally. I want to emphasise that this is a technical matter. There was nothing deliberate against the Americans or against the Vice President here. I didn't know this was going to happen today."

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Spare the chicken soup

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Among Jewish Book Week highlights was a session on meatlessness between vegetarian authors Jonathan Safran Foer and Etgar Keret.

But while Safran Foer's two young sons are following daddy's diet, Keret junior remains to be convinced, according to Hephzibah Anderson.

"When asked by his four-year-old why he doesn't eat schnitzels," she blogged. "Etgar explained that he thought about the animal being killed and lost his appetite. 'I think the same thought,' his carnivorous son grinned, 'But with me it has the opposite effect.'

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Good habits start young

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Who said young people no longer read newspapers? Pay heed, all you parents, to Emanuel Joseph Latchman, aged one and a half of Golders Green - son of Hannah and Birkbeck College Master, Professor David Latchman - engrossed in his weekly JC.

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Carry on purim

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Perhaps they should start rating Purimspiels like films for child suitability.

Here's a snatch from the festivities at the New North London Synagogue. "A consignment of Viagra was stolen from downturn Purim. Police are looking for three hard-ended criminals."

Which prompted my 11-year-old to ask: "Daddy, why that's funny?"

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A phoney story

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

To those who rushed out to install the new Mitzvah App on your iPhone, after our story last week, an almost sincere apology: Sunday was Purim and the story an invention.

This did not stop the Guardian from ringing up first thing Friday to find out more.

But absolutely true is that you can get a Megillah App, complete with range of noises for the mention of Haman.

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MPs cut kosher expenses

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Congratulations to the All-Party Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism which has got the House of Commons to change its rules to make kosher catering cheaper there. Groups booking functions incur a room charge unless they have a minimum number of guests.
Previously those ordering kosher meals did not count towards the minimum, but now they will.

Charities will be thus spared needless room hire charges, says committee chairman John Mann. Order him a tray of mini latkes and crispy duck pancakes, someone.

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Mitzvah mobile: The iPhone app that checks your Jewishness

By Simon Round, February 25, 2010

It is said that there is an application for everything on the Apple iPhone. So what about an app to make you a holier Jew?

Well, now there is.

From America comes the mitzvah app - which is set to take the community by storm. The Orthodox world, which has traditionally been suspicious of digital technology, is embracing this development, although there is a minority that feels that the new app will herald a Big Brother culture in Judaism.

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Stacey pigs out on ITV

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

I am sure Stacey Solomon must have had many an offer to sing at simchahs since X Factor stardom, but she certainly won't be advising on the catering.

Not after her appearance on Monday's This Morning show on ITV, where she was invited to sample the recipe of the day.

"This is the reason I came," cooed King Solomon High School's most famous graduate as she took a mouthful of the dish - belly of pork with shallots and gherkins.

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Ali for Jerusalem?

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

Could Muhammad Ali be bound for Israel to take part in trials to treat Parkinson's Disease at Hadassah Hospital next year?

The boxing legend's daughter Rasheda Ali sits on the advisory board of Israeli company BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, which is looking at stem cell treatments.

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