The Diary

A darling seeking lovers

By Simon Rocker, December 17, 2009

Are you a single Jewish lady looking for love? Are you husband-hunting? Are you the last single girl among your friends? Do you have a pushy mother who sets you up on dates?

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Sitting pretty with Rachel

By Simon Rocker, December 17, 2009

Want to sit on a celebrity cuddle couch? It could be yours for £300. Alex Bourne, actor and Maccabi league star striker, better known as the other half of singer Rachel Stevens, is offering the couple’s year-old purple sofa for sale on Facebook. And Alex is prepared to take a £1,700 loss on the £2,000 that he forked out a year ago.

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Rod's love train derailed

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

You would think there would have been nothing in Rod Stewart’s ITV show last Saturday night to affront specifically Jewish ears. But an alert watcher from Edgware has found cause for complaint. Mr Stewart’s repertoire included Love Train, sung by the O’Jays in the 1970s.

According to the original lyrics, among those invited on board said train are“folks in Russia and China” and “folks in Egypt and Israel”, too.

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The slow boat to Haifa

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

As world leaders in Copenhagen try to thrash out an agreement to combat climate change, it is good to know that Anglo-Jewish organisations are planning to do their bit. In order to cut carbon emissions, the UJIA is considering sending gap-year students to Israel by boat rather than plane.

There are educational advantages too, believes UJIA chief executive Douglas Krikler. Apart from visiting Jewish communities en route, retracing the journey of early immigrants who reached Haifa by boat could be “particularly poignant”, he says.

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Chelsea's mishpachah

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

Let's hope Chelsea Clinton’s future uncle-in-law does not get access to mum Hillary. Her fiance Marc is a nephew of anti-Zionist Prof Norton Mezvinsky.

Chelsea, incidentally, won’t be the first of presidential stock to enter a Jewish family. Claudia Taylor Brod, grandchild of Lyndon Johnson, converted to Judaism and lives in Miami. And Franklin Roosevelt’s great-grandson, Joshua Boettiger, is a rabbi.

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Mr Brown's maccabees

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

Who will light the candles at Downing Street’s Chanucah do next Wednesday (at No 10 rather than the Foreign Office). I hear it may be the five Council of Christian and Jews’ presidents: Lord Sacks, Rabbis Abraham Levy, Tony Bayfield and Danny Rich along with a Masorti stand-in for Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. Leaving one more kindler. Could David Miliband don his kippah to spread light in dark places?

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Outed: the mobile messiah

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

While we’ve been preoccupied with the credit crunch, Afghanistan and Stacey Solomon’s progress, we’ve missed the real news. The Messiah has arrived and been spotted driving around Prestwich.

(Ok, he can’t spell; there should be an ‘h’ in Moshiach.)

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Pipped to the bedpost

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Amos Oz and Philip Roth were in contention for this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award, given by the Literary Review to mock erotic fumblings in print. The two giants ultimately lost out to their literary junior, New York-born Jonathan Littell, for a scene in his Holocaust novel, The Kindly Ones.

Littell, son of spy novelist Robert Littell, doesn’t define himself as Jewish, according to Ha’aretz, and he’s not kindly towards Israel, which he thinks does “atrocious” things to the Palestinians.

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Hands-on advice

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Staff at the government’s Equalities Office have been issued with a lengthy memo on how to avoid bullying, harassment and discrimination at work.

Among potentially harassing conduct, say the mandarins, is refusing to shake someone’s hand.

I wonder what the United Synagogue is going to advise Orthodox rabbis.

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A starry knight

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

You would need a museum to house all the awards garnered by Sir Sigmund Sternberg for his interfaith diplomacy. And yesterday he was due one more. Already one of few Jewish papal knights (wife Hazel is also a dame), he is being upgraded with a star added to the knighthood — a “rare” accolade, according to an expert on Vatican honours.

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