The Diary

A horse called Mezuzah

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

You may recall reading a few weeks ago of the exploits of Menorah the racehorse. Well, he is not alone in being Judaically named. There is another, called Mezuzah.

His most recent outing was at Sedgefield last week where he came eighth out of ten: as it was Shavuot, perhaps he should have been left in his paddock to graze on cheesecake.

Owner-trainer Jo Foster of Ilkley has yet to return my call so I can't explain how Mezuzah got his name.

But watch out too for Derby contender Brit Milah - a cut above the rest.

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Peter Crouch goes to Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

England skipper Rio Ferdinand is known as a regular visitor to Israel but lanky Spurs striker Peter Crouch recently took a holiday there as well.

He popped into Mike's Place, the celebrated Tel Aviv bar beloved of expats, to watch the FA Cup final, telling fans that he hoped a visit to the Holy Land would bring England luck at the World Cup in South Africa next month.

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The saintly Mr Shapps

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

Is there something new Housing Minister Grant Shapps is not telling us?

Clearly the former BBYO leader enjoys the favour of Prime Minister David Cameron.

But judging from this picture in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, he is in someone's good books even higher up as well.

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Amber cooks for glory

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

I'm pleased to report that 11-year-old Amber, the Junior MasterChef contestant and maker of dream latkes, has made it to the final four. You can see if she gets crowned queen of the young cooks this afternoon at 4.35 on BBC1 or CBBC.

Among her semi-final tasks was preparing the favourite dessert of new Doctor Who Matt Smith: treacle sponge with custard.

Amber's cooking took off after she did a charity barbeque for Chai Cancer Care.

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The 'yid' t-shirt unriddled

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

Last week I showed a Portsmouth fan leaving Wembley after the FA Cup whose t-shirt bore the legend: We've got 99 problems but a yid ain't 1.

It was all perfectly innocent, a reader has written in: he must have had the t-shirt done for the semifinal against Tottenham, whose supporters of course are known as Yids: so all the slogan meant was "at least I'm not a Tottenham fan".

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Wembley's soccer shocker

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

Football's authorities may have tried to kick racism out of the sport but this t-shirt slipped through the Wembley turnstiles at the FA Cup final at the weekend.

Jewish Chelsea supporter Michael Coplans spotted it as spectators left the stadium after the game.

Taking its wearer to be a fan of opposing club Portsmouth, he said; "I can only think the 99 is a reference to their financial problems and the Yid is a reference to [Israeli manager] Avram Grant.

"I was flabbergasted. I sent the picture to a couple of Jewish friends and they were appalled by it, too."

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Greybeard's revenge

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

The Board of Deputies struck a blow for senior citizenry on Sunday when it removed the age limit on the presidency and officer posts.

Lest it ever be thought a gerontocracy, some years ago it imposed a bar on anyone standing for leadership roles after the age of 72.

Support for keeping the limit came from High Court judge Sir Michael Burton, who pointed out that judges retire at 70.

But by a single vote, deputies backed the motion to lift the cap from the ZF's Jonathan Hoffman, a spring chicken in his 50s.

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The BBC goes to shul

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

The BBC has found an unusual way to mark the 200th anniversary of the world's first Reform service this summer.

It is staging a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4's popular Any Questions? from Wimbledon and the District Reform Synagogue on Friday evening July 16.

Shabbat does not come in until after the broadcast, which will be followed by a commemorative service.

According to the BBC, it is the first time the show has been hosted by a synagogue since it began in 1948.

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Fuming father of the bride

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

I am not surprised that well-to-do American businessman Richard Gabrielson was angry about his son-in-law.

He reportedly had no idea he had one until he read online that his lovely daughter Alex had met 30-year-old Surrey divorcee Nick Bond in a Las Vegas bar and married him a few hours later.

She is a Catholic and her father apparently wanted a grand church wedding. Nick is Jewish and when asked by the Daily Mail whether his wife knew, he responded that he wasn’t practising.
But didn’t his wife notice he was circumcised, mused the newspaper. “It didn’t come up,” he said.

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Winner's daveners

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

Veteran foodster Michael Winner revealed a new euphemism in his Sunday Times column: "Saturday boys". A "marvellous" phrase that he'd recently heard to describe Jewish men. "Because they go (in theory) to synagogue on Saturday," he explained.

See you in shul, Michael.

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