The Diary

The chicken soup masterchef

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

Ash Mair, this year's winner of BBC's Professional Masterchef, may not be a Yiddishe boy, but he does work for Jewish-owned caterers.

David Wolanski, who runs The Recipe with his brother Simon, says Ash has cooked at "many high-end private Jewish functions including weddings, barmitzvahs and birthdays".

The company's takes on Jewish food include shots of chicken soup.

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Wolfson's record grant

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

The Wolfson Foundation has made its largest ever grant, awarding up to £20 million to University College London to establish the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre: it is named in memory of the philanthropist who died last year.

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Network first for Hobsbawm

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

Julia Hobsbawm, chief exec of media business Editorial Intelligence, been made the world's first professor of networking. She will take up the visiting chair at the Cass Business School in London, teaching young entrepeneurs the value of face-to-face contact.

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Osborne and Gove at the double

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

This year's No 10 Chanucah Party saw the debut of a new comedy double act.

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Religiously incorrect reindeer

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

When Adam Benjamin walked into a West End of London shop and asked about Chanucah cards, he was offered a "Chanukmas" selection for those who celebrate both Christmas and the Jewish festival of lights.

But beside pictures of Santa Claus lighting a menorah and "Three Weiss Men", he was stunned to find a card featuring Rudolph, "the hook-nosed reindeer".

Mr Benjamin complained that the card wa

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Inmates' porridge and latkes

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

The cells of Jewish prisoners will be a little brighter next week, as Liberal Judaism providers inmates with their own menorah and candles.

Cellmates can play a wholesome game of dreidel with the "gelt" provided in Liberal Judaism's Chanucah packs, put together by Liberal Judaism's university chaplain Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander and student worker Adam Francies.

Students in 30 different cities

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Putting her house on winning

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

Manchester architect Lisa Raynes is putting her own home, replete with proud mezuzah, on the line as a contestant on the ITV finale of "May The Best House Win" on December 23.

The mother-of-three, whose children attend North Cheshire Jewish Primary, said she was "petrified by how I'll come across."

The style certainly sounds like a winning theme, described by Ms Raynes as "Chorlton boho ecl

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Entertaining Mr Putin

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

It seems a night of klezmer is not the first priority for the Kremlin.

Eclectic Jewish band Oi Va Voi were booked to entertain the annual Jewish Awards Ceremony at the Kremlin next Monday, hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's friend, Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.

But, according to the band's spokesman, the event was "mysteriously cancelled ostensibly because of insufficient funding."

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We're looking for Anne

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

A "bizarre job advert" was tweeted from Arts Council website, for an Anne Frank lookalike. But the advert is not for a lookalike for appearances at weddings and barmitzvahs, but, rather more tastefully, for the Anne Frank Trust's fundraising film.

Filmmakers are "looking for a girl aged 12-14" with "a clear English voice." Anne, of course, was German by birth and Dutch by upbringing.

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Aviv: Perfect for Chanucah?

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

Tesco Borehamwood has its festivals muddled. A keen-eyed reader noticed the store proudly displaying Aviv Passover matzos - described on the label as "Perfect for Chanucah." Deep-fried matzos anyone?

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