The Diary

Sex please, we're Jewish

By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

A survey of Nottingham students from six religions found that Jews were the most permissive in their attitudes towards sex.

More than 70 per cent of our youngsters claimed to be sexually active - 27 per cent higher than the average.

Better start sending the chaplains round with chastity belts.

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Reform's royal invitation

By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

Recently retired Reform head Rabbi Tony Bayfield is certainly in royal favour. Having collected his CBE from Buckingham Palace last week, he has been invited to dine with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle early in April. At the end of the month he will join them again, this time in Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

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Trotsky and the pop star

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

Genealogists, here is a mission for you. The Evening Standard reported that Sylvia Young, founder of the London theatrical school, believes she is related to Leon Trotsky.

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BBC's history in the making

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

After recently revealing BBC plans for a Simon Schama history of the Jews, I can now give more details.

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Don't let down the donkeys

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

There are some causes that transcend political divisions in the Middle East and one of them is donkeys with sore noses.

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He's clear, certainly

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

Pity poor Robert Fisk, whose judgement has been made to look, er, rather strange by recent events.

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Mel the man for Madoff?

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

Hollywood is reportedly planning to make a film about fraudster Bernard Madoff, now in the second year of his 150-year jail term.

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The poncho you can pray in

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2011

After the Coen coat and the Shalom top shown here in recent months, could this be the ultimate in Jewish chic?

The spring offering depicted below is on sale here in high street fashion chain H & M.

But the Swedish-based company claims its designers did not draw on the synagogue.

"A Jewish prayer shawl was not used as inspiration," said an H & M spokesman. "The poncho style top was designed with current trends in mind. This one in particular is inspired by the '70's."

Still, I shudder to think what some rabbis will make of the garment if they spot it in the ladies' gallery.

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A lost tribe calls from Fiji

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2011

Since King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, according to the Bible, it is not surprising that many peoples claim the energetic sovereign to have been their ancestor.

The representative of a new group of reputed descendants has emailed us for help, from Fiji. The Itaukei Jews - itaukei means "indigenous" in Fijian - wish to be recognised as of the faith and request a visit from our "chief president" to research their history and genealogy.

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St Matthew goes to shul

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2011

Shul-goers were left wondering over the United Synagogue's leaflet on the weekly Torah portion last Shabbat. A helpful illustration of the High Priest's costume came with a quotation from an unexpected source, the Gospel of Matthew.

Could the Archbishop of Canterbury be making a bid to be next Chief Rabbi?

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