The Diary

Lube milk for China

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2010

A first for China- no longer will strictly kosher residents have to make do with powdered milk to dispense on their cornflakes.

A group of Beijing cows have been persuaded to lend their udders for the production of chalav Yisrael, fresh supervised milk. The dairy impresario is British-born Rabbi Shimon Freundlich, head of Lubavitch in the Chinese capital.

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Going for Goldie

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2010

Goldie Hawn has apparently charmed the Tories with the idea of importing some of her education methods into UK schools.

Her charitable foundation promotes "deep belly breathing" and other exercises designed to help children focus better.

The goldilocked actress has a longstanding interest in Eastern spirituality as a Jewish Buddhist, or Buju - or should that be Jubu?

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Fry: My gripe with Moses

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

Will Stephen Fry get an invitation to the Chief Rabbi’s next Chanucah bash — “Latkes and lox and bagels and blintzes. Hurrah,” he twittered after last year’s do?

Possibly not, I think, after his contribution to Channel 4’s programme on the Ten Commandments on Sunday. They were “the hysterical believings of a group of desert tribes,” he said. “Those desert tribes have stirred up more misery for mankind than any other group of people in the history of the planet and they are doing it to this day.”

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TV's battle of the brains

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

Fingers on the remote for BBC2 next Monday evening for the quarter-final of University Challenge, which features the long-awaited clash between two of the brainiest Jewish boys in Britain.

Natural scientist Alex Guttenplan will be battling for bonus points against physics undergraduate Gilead Amit, the respective captains of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Imperial College London.

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Bernard hits the botul

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

Much snickering in Paris at the expense of Bernard-Henri Lévy. Taking a potshot at an Immanuel Kant in his latest book, the pin-up philosopher quoted from a book called The Sex Life of Immanuel Kant by one Jean-Baptiste Botul.

The only trouble is Botul doesn’t exist: he was a spoof figure invented by a journalist, Frédéric Pages.

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Deputies charmed

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

You can teach an old dep new tricks, as members of the Board of Deputies proved when they went for a show at the Magic Circle last Thursday.

Among them was former Board president Lord Janner, a member of the Circle himself who displayed the odd sleight of hand or two. Still, even he couldn’t produce any rabbis from the hat.

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Bibi and the boy wonder

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

It could all been so different for Bibi…

Benjamin Cohen, Channel 4’s technology correspondent and ex-JFS pupil, who recalled his 1990s’ fame as a “teenage dotcom millionaire” on BBC radio this week, revealed that he came out of his English class at school one day when he got a call from the Israeli Embassy in London.

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The Dame meets a Churchill

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Among the 450 guests who graced the Anne Frank Trust’s annual lunch last Thursday was wartime forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn.

Popularity has never faded away from the veteran singer, now 92 (whose late husband was clarinet and sax player Harry Lewis — their marriage was recorded in the JC’s “dance band news” column in 1939).

“Everyone knows you more or less won the war single-handed,” one gushing trust volunteer was overheard telling her at the event.

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Diana's royal regret

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Anthony Julius’s history of English antisemitism, Trials of the Diaspora, acclaimed by Philip Roth for its author’s “intellectual acumen” and “staggering erudition”, is already creating a stir ahead of its publication later this month.

In a Sunday Times extract, the literary lawyer revealed that Princess Diana, whom he represented in her divorce with Charles, had told him that she should never have married into a German family.

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Osborne says thanks

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

With the election looming, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne thanked two of the Conservatives’ top Jewish campaigners this week for their efforts to try to “turn the Torah party to the Tory party”.

The objects of his gratitude were the party’s chief executive Andrew Feldman and fundraiser Howard Leigh, who were among a large audience at a Jewish Care breakfast addressed by Mr Osborne this week.

Mr Leigh chairs Jewish Care’s business breakfast committee. Mr Feldman’s mother Marcia volunteers at one of the charity’s centres, which Tory leader David Cameron visited last year.

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