The Diary

Archive of a genius

By Jessica Elgot, April 19, 2012

Picking the brains of the world's most famous physicist is a popular pastime, according to the Hebrew University.

The university has launched an expanded archive of 80,000 Albert Einstein-related documents – which received 21 million hits in just five days, from 160 countries.

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Labour Succot, Simchat Tories

By Simon Rocker, April 6, 2012

Somebody ought to take a mobile synagogue around the party conferences this year. The last day of the Lib Dems' coincides with Yom Kippur, Labour's covers the first two days of Succot, while the Conservatives will be doing business over Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

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A singing date with Jessie J

By Simon Rocker, April 6, 2012

Former JFS pupil Samantha Neal, from Bushey, will experience a taste of stardom today when she gets to sing at a concert with Jessie J in Chelsea as the winner of MasterCard's Priceless Duets competition.

Her winning video, picked by Jessie J herself, beat nearly 11,000 applicants.

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Meet our youngest soap star

By Simon Rocker, April 6, 2012

Joshua Jacobs, two-and-a-half, has been on the TV screen rather a lot of late as George, the son of murdered mum Heather Trott, in BBC soap EastEnders.

When parents Radley and Amanda Jacobs of North-West London signed him with the Scallywags agency, "we hoped he might get a modelling job or a TV ad," Radley said. "Two weeks later, we got a call asking if he would like to audition.

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Kaddish for a TV terrorist

By Simon Rocker, April 6, 2012

In a recent episode of the hip Channel 4 series, Homeland (which is based on an Israeli original), a captured Islamist terrorist slits his wrists before the CIA can extract any more information. What is the response of his interrogator (played by Mandy Patinkin)? He rocks in his chair and delivers a flawless Mourner's Kaddish.

What would the Beth Din make of that?

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The meat is in the messsage

By Simon Rocker, April 6, 2012

A rather puzzling turn of phrase from Alfie, the publican in EastEnders this week, trying to convey an unlikely prospect: "I've probably got more chance of getting a rabbi to lunch in a sausage-making factory." Hath not a Jew viennas, hath not a Jew worsht?

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Donors who came to dinner

By Simon Rocker, March 29, 2012

Lords Feldman and Wolfson (of Next) were among the Conservative donors who have enjoyed hospitality in high places, whose names were released this week.

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Not quite the wedding it seems

By Simon Rocker, March 29, 2012

There have probably been few chupahs in the Outer Hebrides.

But last weekend American Becky McNeese, 58, went under the canopy with crofter Finlay Campbell, 63, attired in Black Watch Tartan and tallit, at the Community Hall in Barvas on the isle of Lewis.

After pipes ushered in the bride, the groom entered to the blast of shofars.

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Britain's basketball olympian

By Simon Rocker, March 29, 2012

Among those selected to carry the Olympic Torch across the country is one particularly apt choice, 85-year-old Lionel Price.

He is a veteran of the last London Olympics of 1948, where he represented Britain at basketball (and was, said the JC at the time, one of the team's "most effective players").

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Dealer with room on TV

By Simon Rocker, March 29, 2012

Back on screen is Jeff Salmon as one of the dealers in Channel 4's Four Rooms who are asked to buy valuable objects by members of the public. One item featured this week was a dress worn by the late Amy Winehouse, which was offered by her father Mitch to raise funds for charity.

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