The Diary

A chasidic country retreat?

By Simon Rocker, July 28, 2011

The signpost indicated an intriguing discovery deep in rural Kent: "Little Satmar Holiday Park".

Could the superfrum Chasidic sect have set up a caravan camp between Folkestone and Dover without anyone knowing?

Of course, it was too good to be true.

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Test debut for Lords Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, July 28, 2011

David Goldberg, the emeritus rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, achieved what must be a unique rabbinic accolade - being interviewed as the lunchtime guest on BBC Radio's Test Match Special on the last day of the England v India Test.

The Liberals' flagship synagogue happens to lie opposite Lords cricket ground and visiting tourist teams have often parked their coaches in the forecourt.

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Hard news for Hari

By Simon Rocker, July 28, 2011

The writing seems on the wall for Johann Hari, the Israel-bashing Independent columnist, who has been accused of making up quotes and taking others from his interviewees' writings and passing them off as quotes made to him.

This week the Telegraph reported that he is to be stripped of his prestigious 2008 Orwell Prize, although the announcement is to be delayed pending an Indy inquiry into the

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Wide of the tattoo mark

By Simon Rocker, July 28, 2011

Our nonsense detector began vibrating wildly when the Daily Mirror reported that Amy Winehouse could not have an Orthodox funeral unless her tattoos were removed.

Simply not true, says United Synagoue burial head Melvyn Hartog. "Halachically, you are not supposed to have tattoos," he explains. "But you also must be buried whole. Having a tattoo doesn't affect you having a Jewish burial at all.

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JNF has second thoughts

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011

JNF UK has battened down the hatches after last week's news that the head of its lucrative legacy division, Harvey Bratt, is leaving for the rival UJIA.

This week whisper reached me that JNF's finance director David Lantry had handed in his resignation, too, but when I asked JNF if this was true, it only gave the stonewalling reply that it did not comment on "issues relating to members of staff

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Back on your bike, Boris

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was guest of honour at the opening of Jewish Care's Golders Green campus last week. Before leaving, he retrieved his bicycle helmet and rucksack from behind the front desk, waving cheerio and apparently all set to peddle back to City Hall.

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It's never too late to learn

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011

All praise to John North, who was awarded his doctorate from Queen Mary, University of London on Tuesday – at the age of 93.

From a Jewish family in Bohemia, he arrived here as Jan Neuberg in 1938.

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Boating the billionaire way

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011

Here's a thought if you're looking for a holiday: Roman Abramovich is offering his yacht Eclipse for hire. The size of a pocket battleship, it has two pools, a gym and a helipad. Just one catch: he reportedly wants to charge £175,000 a day for it.

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Why Iran is hacked off

By Simon Rocker, July 21, 2011

Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency knows, of course, the real scandal behind phone hacking.

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Next up for Penn and Teller

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

Young Daniel Kramer may not have fooled Penn and Teller last weekend but step forward the next Jewish contestant.

Nicholas Einhorn (above), a gold star member of the Inner Magic Circle, will be appearing on tomorrow's ITV prime time show when he will try to perform a trick that the maestro American magicians cannot figure out.

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