The Diary

Tony and two Jonathans

By Simon Rocker, July 22, 2010

Today presenter Evan Davis got into a tangle presenting an item on last week's JPR report on Israel-diaspora relations.

He introduced Reform head Rabbi Tony Bayfield not once but twice as "Rabbi Jonathan Bayfield".

"My mother would be very upset," the Reform leader responded.

Davis explained that they had "Rabbi Jonathan Sacks" on so often that the name just tripped off the tongue.

Which did nothing to console Rabbi Bayfield, who retorted: "I don't think it's improved the situation."

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Double trouble

By Simon Rocker, July 22, 2010

Lord Levy must be having a poor grass-court season.

A fortnight ago he found the Shabbat sermon of Rabbi Julian Shindler – standing in for Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet at Mill Hill – was not to his liking.

Rabbi Shindler kicked off by discussing how "all men have sexual fantasies".

For Lord Levy it was all too much - amid much tut-tutting, he upped and left.

The former Labour Party fundraiser followed it up last Shabbat by abandoning a lunch at Woodside Park Synagogue.

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It's a rich man's world

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

Super-rich Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly lost $36 billion during the credit crunch, has bounced back with his latest grand scheme, a hotel and casino complex in Singapore.

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Why this bagel is barred

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

If you were a cow, you'd have every reason to bless Tzedek, the international development aid charity. It's cut its carbon footprint by 15 per cent with a series of environmentally-friendly measures – one of which is to insist on vegetarian catering at its events.

Director Dan Berelowitz has risked accusations of sacrilege by declaring "Smoked salmon bagels are off the menu." Supporters will have to make do with grilled halloumi, instead.

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Never the twain...

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

Two demos took place outside the Israeli Embassy in London this week, both of them Jewish. Hundreds of charedim rallied on Tuesday against the disturbance of ancient graves in Israel.

The previous day Liberal women held a vigil in support of Anat Hoffman, arrested for praying at the Western Wall. Pity the poor police had the two events clashed.

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Tomb Raider Torah

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie says she wants her six children to have knowledge of all faiths so they can make their own choice when they grow up. The heroine of Tomb Raider revealed that she even has a Torah in the house.

Jolie, by the way, is daughter of actor Jon Voight, who although non-Jewish, is a prominent supporter of Lubavitch.

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Low blow at the high table

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

University teacher Eve Garrard was taken aback when at an academic dinner she heard a fellow diner remark, "Bloody Jews!" Confronted, he tried to justify the comment, claiming Israel was "the same as the Nazis". But we want to know: who is the culprit?

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Ron: it was over the line

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

Frank Lampard's goal-that-never-was against Germany has been debated ad nauseam. But now the Chelsea and England playmaker is being used as a metaphor for the Middle East conflict.

Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor compared Lampard's disallowed effort to those people who fail to see that Israel's critics have "crossed the red line" in demonising the state. Perhaps we could do with goal-line technology in both cases.

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Achtung, Irving's on tour

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

Life as a jobbing Holocaust denier can be tough in a recession. So "historian" David Irving has come up with a cunning plan. How about guided tours of Hitler's Secret Headquarters?

Irving is proposing you join him this September for, "a week-long guided tour of Hitler's secret headquarters and other historic sites".

Participants will get the chance to gain a real insight into one of the world's most reviled and ridiculed extremists. Oh, and there will be plenty of stuff about Hitler too.

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Rabbi v Home Secretary

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2010

There was high excitement at the JC newsdesk this week when details of a court hearing was emailed to us. But the case of Rabbi v Secretary of State For the Home Department turned out to concern an application made by one Abdi Sharif Rabbi.

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