The Diary

PM's holiday reading

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

David Cameron may prefer Tuscany or Cornwall to Tel Aviv, but for his hols at least, he took a little bit of Israel with him.

His vacation reading included Simon Sebag Montefiore's history of Jerusalem.

Western leaders must have Israel on their minds, because President Obama's summer choices included leading Israeli novelist David Grossman's Until the End of the Land.

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A fishy-looking mezuzah

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Given the popularity of sushi at the fanciest simchas, it was only a matter of time before someone attempted to formalise the special relationship Jews have with the Japanese rice and fish snack.

There's been smoked salmon and cream cheese sushi and herring sushi, but the latest creation is a sushi-shaped mezuzah - a picture of which was circulated by Rabbi Rashi Simon from educational group K

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Hare raises Israeli hackles

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Another case of Israel being the whipping-boy on TV?

After the outrage over Channel 4's The Promise earlier this year, now the Israeli embassy plans a letter of protest to the BBC over Page Eight, David Hare's secret services thriller, which was screened on Sunday.

The film's sub-plot features Rachel Weisz (above, with fellow-star Bill Nighy) playing a Damascus-born publisher in London who s

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The winds of providence

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

One Orthodox Jewish family in New York at least had reason to be grateful to Hurricane Irene.

For years, a large mulberry tree in their grounds had deposited sticky fruit and purple mush on the pavements to their and their neighbours' annoyance.

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A man to the bimah born

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

There are probably many rabbis whose father was a rabbi. But Roni Tabick must be unique in this country in that both his parents are rabbis.

The son of Rabbis Jackie and Larry Tabick is about to enter his second year of rabbinic studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the USA.

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No shabbat for Amnesty

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Amnesty is hosting a meeting in London next week with speakers from the Combatants for Peace group - a former Fatah commander and an Israeli ex-paratrooper. But if you are religious, you will not be able to go because it's taking place on Friday night. They won't be making kiddush.

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Inquisition at the airport

By Simon Rocker, September 1, 2011

Actor Stephen Mangan is a well-travelled man whose destinations have ranged from Honduras to Laos. But it was one place in particular which he recalled on the Ruth Jones talk show on BBC2 on Monday night: Israel.

An airline guard, a young woman with a big gun, began grilling him about his career and even student days.

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Two Eds better than one

By Simon Rocker, August 25, 2011

Celebrity lookalike photographer Alison Jackson is planning a new stunt based on David and Ed Miliband.

Famous for her pictures, posed by lookalikes, of the royal family and politicians in unlikely scenarios, she is looking for some suitable stand-ins for the political brothers.

Her studio even placed an ad in the JC for some ersatz-Milibands.

But after a trawl of the highways and by-ways

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The Hgh Hollywood Days

By Simon Rocker, August 25, 2011

Some American rabbis keen to pep up their High Holy Day sermons have been seeking inspiration at a workshop run by Hollywood writers, including scriptwriters for Mad Men and The Simpsons. Perhaps our own ministers could take a cue; how about some help from Dan Mock the Week Patterson or Jeremy League of Gentlemen Dyson?

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When the Earth moves

By Simon Rocker, August 25, 2011

According to Rabbi Yehuda Levin of New York, this week's earthquake on the east coast of the USA was a divine protest against gay marriage.

In a video (you can see on the vozisneias website) he cites the Jerusalem Talmud which has God saying: "You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn't belong. I, too, will shake the earth."

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