The Diary

It's a wizard thing to be a Jew

By Simon Rocker, January 19, 2012

when you enter the world of a computer game, you can choose what kind of character you want to play, such as wizard, warrior or thief.

But how would you react when the offered options include adventurer, rogue and "Jew"?

Normally, anti-defamationists would be up in arms but this is the new computer game of South Park, the scurrilous TV satirical cartoon.

South Park's co-writer Matt Stone

More..

Hot on the felafel trail

By Simon Rocker, January 19, 2012

Could Israel be about to become the new taste of TV? After London restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi's splendid BBC documentary on food in Jerusalem last month, ITV chef Philip Vickery has been out to Israel to sample its flavours. He will be reporting on This Morning on Monday about what he found.

More..

Sex please, we're frum

By Simon Rocker, January 19, 2012

America's Jewish Week ran a feature recently about koshersextoys, a website purveying padlocks, prostrate plugs and other pleasure-enhancing items, based in the yeshivah town of Lakewood. My rabbinic adviser has yet to tell me whether such toys should be circumcised.

More..

Hebrew debut in a Camden pub

By Simon Rocker, January 19, 2012

Foreign artists often leave behind their own language and sing in English when here.

More..

Israeli brush-off for Brits

By Simon Rocker, January 19, 2012

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas popped in during his trip to London this week for a meeting with Sir Ronnie Cohen, chairman of the Portland Trust, which sponsors projects on the West Bank.

The Palestinian leader was due to have met senior community figures over lunch, although the meeting - which was at the instigation of the FCO - ended up not happening.

Nonetheless, President

More..

No limousine to the funeral

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

Business has not only slowed down in the high street. Our cemeteries are experiencing reduced demand because Jews are not dropping off in quite the same numbers each year as they used to.

The fall in funerals has forced the United Synagogue Burial Society to trim costs - with the result that families of the deceased will no longer be able to take a free limousine to the grounds.

More..

MP with a sorry tale

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who a few weeks ago queried the diplomatic loyalty of Britain's Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould because he is Jewish, is launching next week an updated version of his book on how to be an MP, Commons Knowledge. New chapters include one on "How to cultivate enemies" and another on "How to apologise".

More..

Lewis the supermind

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

Applause, please, for Money Mensch Martin Lewis, whose wise advice helps keep more pounds in our pockets. He won the BBC's Celebrity Mastermind on Sunday, just pipping Football Focus presenter Dan Walker. For his special subject, Martin, who earned a donation for his nominated charity Citizens Advice Bureau, answered questions on the Superman films.

More..

Fiery fred was no yiddishe lad

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

The Hall of Famous Jewish Cricketers may be a very small room but at least we thought we could claim one of the all-time greats, Fred Trueman.

More..

Kosher diet with a ham twist

By Simon Rocker, January 12, 2012

People often have their own idiosyncratic standards of kashrut. Some will scrupulously eat kosher meat at home yet tuck in to a rump steak out. Others will avoid pork like the plague but think nothing of a bit of beluga or lobster thermidor.

But Paul Danan must be unique.

More..