The Diary

You're hired - nearly

By Simon Rocker, September 21, 2010

Former JC sports reporter Craig Silver came agonisingly close to making the final cut for the next series of BBC TV's The Apprentice.

The former King Solomon pupil got down to the last pool of 15 male candidates from thousands of hopefuls. With his eye on the winner's £250,000 prize, the 24-year-old estate agent passed several stages before missing out on the chance of a boardoom duel with Lord Sugar. "The application process was gruelling but the experience gave me a buzz," he said. "My big plan was to open a traditional English sweet shop in New York."

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Yom Kippur, the cool fast

By Simon Rocker, September 21, 2010

Is the whole world turning Jewish? Here's Peaches Geldof (right) sporting a kippah at a pre-Yom Kippur meal with of-the-faith boyfriend, film director Eli Roth, in a picture posted on Twitter. (Or else she was indulging in a little papal emulation).

Another celebrity faster was actress and Kabbalah student Demi Moore who joined Jewish husband Ashton Kutcher in a day of abstinence before they ended their fast in Applebees Grill Bar.

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Grainy day rabbis

By Simon Rocker, September 21, 2010

Come September and naturally the learned men of the London Beth Din are thinking about Jewish festivals: Pesach. Top dayan Menachem Gelley was out the other week behind the wheel of a combine harvester, gathering wheat for next spring's shemurah matzah.

The LBD certainly gets out and about in the cause of kashrut, from inspecting guar gum in Pakistan to keeping the kitchens safe from treif on Yeshiva University's annual Mediterranean cruise. The name of the boat was Costa Fortuna - no reflection, I'm told, on the supervision fees.

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The Cohen coat explained

By Simon Rocker, September 21, 2010

I can now tell you how the "Cohen Coat", recently featured here, got its name.

Makers All Saints called the garment after idiosyncratic American filmmakers, the Coen brothers. Fortunately, their style is better than their spelling: the cinematic duo go sans h.

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Whoopi at the wedding

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

Suzy and Justin Kennedy enjoyed unexpected celebrity congratulations at their recent marriage.

American actress Whoopi Goldberg, who is starring in the West End musical Sister Act, had just returned to her London hotel, Claridge's, when she ran into the newlyweds on their way to the reception.

"She said she was sure she would not be the only Goldberg at the wedding," said Justin.

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Soros and J-Street

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

Contrary to popular belief, George Soros, who has just given $100 million to Human Rights Watch, has not funded the dovish Israel lobby group J-Street. The financier, who has voiced trenchant views on Israel in the past, feared that the new group might suffer through association with him.

Write me a cheque, George, and I'll happily bear the stigma.

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Blundering Berlusconi

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

Dipping the apple into the honey this year was Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who was among Rosh Hashanah guests of Israeli Ambassador Gideon Meir in Rome. He assured his host of his strong friendship with Israel, especially after visits to Yad Vashem and Auschwitz.

Which didn't stop the elderly Lothario causing uproar a couple of days later when he attempted a "joke" about Hitler at a youth event: the Führer is discovered alive by supporters. "I will return," he tells them, "but on one condition... this time, I will be evil, right?"

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Spicing up the suburbs

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

Lots of excitement at one Orthodox synagogue in London at Rosh Hashanah where a man arrived for evening prayers to deliver a rather unseasonal greeting. Mounting the bimah, he begun to accuse a fellow worshipper of having an affair with his wife.

He was quickly ushered out by the rabbi, leaving others to dine out on the tale over the following days.

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Tamara Drewe visits Israel

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

After all the talk of boycott in the film world, kippot off to director Stephen Frears, whose new Britcom Tamara Drewe will open the Haifa International Film Festival next week. (Frears only discovered he was Jewish in his late 20s at his grandmother's 90th birthday party.)

Meanwhile, no honey cake for Sunday Times columnist India Knight, who tweeted this week that she has turned down spa trips to China and Israel.

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Bricked up in borehamwood

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

As Channel 4's Big Brother hurtles towards oblivion - at last - on Friday, consider the spiritual welfare of our own dear Vanessa Feltz.

As I write, the blond broadcaster, who volunteered to take part in the final programme, is still cocooned with fellow-celebrities in the televised den and may remain so during Rosh Hash-anah unless she is evicted beforehand.

Just in case she should go festively without, offerings of apple and honey and pomegranate seeds should be left outside the Big Brother house in Borehamwood.

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