The Diary

Hackers who lost their way

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

Belvoir Castle, the Duke of Rutland's pad in Leicestershire, is the setting for an annual teddy bears' picnic in its stately grounds.

But visitors to its website the other day would have been bemused to find images of the castle replaced by the Algerian flag and a message in Arabic denouncing Israel.

The geographically challenged Algerians who perpetrated the hack had confused this slice of aristocratic England with Belvoir Fortress, a former Crusader garrison 2,000 miles away in Israel.

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Eggsellent news in Uganda

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

You may recall our recent report on the Putti Jews of Uganda and Ros Eisen, the London woman aiding them. Happily, the egg-farming venture she set up has taken off. "We started with 50 chickens, three weeks later we are up to 500," Ros said. "They've had to convert an empty building planned as a library into an additional henhouse."

After seven months their laying days will be over and a date with the soup pot beckoning.

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Will Katie get X-Factor axe?

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

After all the excitement over Stacey Solomon last year, is there anyone with the J-factor this year?

Step up Katie Waissel (left) from Hertfordshire, who made her mark at last week's X Factor audition by forgetting the lines to Queen's We Are the Champions and successfully persuading the judges to let her do another song instead.

But the participation of the part-time receptionist - who went under the name Katie Vogel aka Katie V when we spoke to her about her singing ambitions a few months ago - may
be short-lived.

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Into the breach

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

Former chairman of the Union of Jewish Students Daniel Sacker has left top PR firm Weber Shandwick and is rumoured to be on his way to the JNF.

Yet to be revealed is what role the Young Jewish Political Network member will play at the charity, which lately parted company with its new chief executive after just six months.

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The BBC plays fair by Israel

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

What's come over the BBC? After last week's Panorama on the Gaza flotilla incident - which drew plaudits from the Zionist Federation and had the Palestine Solidarity Campaign fuming - came an item on Radio Four's Today this week about a Norwegian fund blacklisting two Israeli companies.

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Rogue burger

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

Drew Barrymore's new comedy Going the Distance, due for released next month, has a scene in which co-star Justin Long eats a burger.

A bit of a problem for the New York Jewish couple who lent their home as a location: they are kosher, but the burger, cooked in their kitchen, most certainly was not. The studio had to replace the grill.

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Kosher guide goes mobile

By Simon Rocker, August 26, 2010

It can be hard to keep up with the ins and outs of kashrut. Bounty bars recently returned to the approved list after many years off it - but how would you know?

Help is at hand with a new mobile phone app from Arta Creative Solutions, which can give the run-down on 8,000 products from the London Beth Din's kashrut guide.

A handy device when your child is pestering you to buy something in the sweetshop.

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Read all about it on the BBC

By Simon Rocker, August 19, 2010

The Diary declares war on anyone who has a bad word to say about Grandma's House, the BBC's new Jewish family sitcom.

How could we do other than proclaim its genius after Monday night's episode which featured copious shots of a character reading the JC?

I cannot reveal the cunning wiles that got us round the Beeb's normally impassable product placement defences and would be the envy of market departments everywhere.

Meanwhile, the show, which is co-written by Simon Amstell and Dan Swimer, is likely to add to the stock of Yiddishisms that have entered everyday language.

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Happy birthdays

By Simon Rocker, August 19, 2010

Shimon Peres could be seen toe-tapping his way through the International at a musical tribute for his 87th birthday in a Tel Aviv theatre on Monday. He was the only audience member able to sing the words of the socialist anthem, played as a nod to his youthful radicalism.

The Israeli president's party was certainly less raucous than Stacey Solomon's 21st birthday bash, reported by the Sun this week. "She was drinking loads and swearing like a trooper," said a guest. "People were getting totally wasted."

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Blossoming Benayouns

By Simon Rocker, August 19, 2010

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun had to dash to Stamford Bridge from the bedside of wife Mirit to to make last Saturday's 5.30 kick-off, following the birth of their third child, a son, earlier in the day.

This has left kosher supporters speculating: if the brit takes place on time tomorrow, will the Israeli international be able still to get up north to play later in the away game at Wigan? Or could we be about to witness the country's first on-field circumcision? Surely Roman Abramovich could help rustle up a minyan.

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