The Diary

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

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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.

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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".

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Antichrist on kosher offer

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2012

Asda has explained why a search for kosher food on its website prompted the response "antichrist".

A JC reader was shocked to discover the word offered when he searched whether the supermarket stocked products made by the well-known kosher food company Manischewitz.

The company said it was a glitch resulting from the website's use of pronunciation software.

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Fog on the tyne over Iowa

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2012

Tyneside-based Metro Radio reporter Simon Conway has found himself having to fend off tweets all week about the Iowa Caucus. The former Nottingham J-Soc committee member has been confused with another Simon Conway on air, the British-born talk show host of Who Radio in Iowa (who started his career with the Jerusalem Post).

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A giant step for boteachkind?

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2012

The winter skies are thick with kites as various names are thrown up for successors to Lord Sacks as Chief Rabbi.

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An early case of equal pray

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2012

While religious demonstrators in Israel have taken to the streets to demand that women be kept in their place, here is a more enlightened view from the Middle Ages.

The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York has revealed that in its library is a copy of a 500-year-old siddur written by the Italian scribe Rabbi Abraham Ben Mordechai Farissol.

Traditionally, men offer a daily blessing for hav

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