The Diary

Why Bibi was in the soup

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2010

Tony Blair revealed one reason why he admires Israel at the Board of Deputies dinner on Tuesday. Shortly after becoming Prime Minister, he was dining with Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

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A peaceful piece of fashion

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2010

After the Cohen coat a few months ago, here comes the Shalom top.

According to designers Matches Fashion: "Our team give each piece girls' names each season and this piece was named Shalom."

And before you rush to point out that Shalom is usually a boy's name, there's a model called Shalom Harlow.

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Mazeltov, your maj

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2010

When Board of Deputies leaders popped in to see the Queen at Windsor Castle leader, they asked chief exec Jon Benjamin to get a large card in Hebrew to wish her mazeltov on grandson William's engagement.

But the card he bought was in Yiddish rather than Hebrew and so thought unsuitable to present. Perhaps they should have sent it to her machetunim, the Middletons.

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Maureen sees green

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2010

The big names turned up for Mitzvah Day's main event at a Nature Reserve in King's Cross including Lord Sacks, Rabbi Tony Bayfield and Sir Trevor Chinn all wearing matching Mitzvah Day bright green t-shirts. A flustered Maureen Lipman arrived late as the rain started. Lord Sacks greeted her with: "Ah Maureen, you look rather fetching."

"Fetching?" she replied in shock. "Don't you mean kvetching?"

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Theatrical family troubles

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2010

For the first time since Mike Leigh's 2005 play Two Thousand Years, the National Theatre is putting a Jewish family centre stage.

Ryan Craig's new play The Holy Rosenbergs, which opens next March, is set in Edgware and will star Henry Goodman as the patriarch of a Jewish family who attempts to save both his ailing catering business and his cherished standing in the Jewish community. As his eldest son fights for Israel in Gaza, his daughter investigates war crimes in the conflict, while his youngest son goes off the rails and refuses to join David's business.

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Sorry girls, I've just got wed

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

We can't bring you a royal wedding but here's a touch of glamour from the nuptial celebrations of promoter Jonathan Shalit and wife Katrina. Here is the happy groom with three of the guests at the party following the West London Synagogue ceremony: singer Jamelia, actress Kelly Brook and broadcaster Myleene Klass.

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Norwood's blue moment

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

A great time was had by all 1,300 guests at the Norwood dinner on Monday – one of Anglo-Jewry's largest fundraising parties. But one number sung by Simon Webbe, former heartthrob of boyband Blue, was not the most obvious choice for a Jewish family charity: Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon.

The lyrics allude to various amorous feats performed while driving a car. Still, the audience had no problem clapping and singing along, although Mr Webbe did look momentarily uncomfortable, not surprisingly since he was standing right next to the Chief Rabbi's table.

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Heiming up the bard

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Surprise hit of the Jewish Film Festival was Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish. A hundred Charedim turned up at London's Tricycle theatre, many familiar with cast members who had flown from New York for the screening. "I'm pretty sure that the Tricycle had never seen anything like it," said JFF director Judy Ironside, "and neither had we".

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Covering letter

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Guardian columnist Deborah Orr, battling against cancer, wrote that she might wear a hijab in the event of hair loss. Whereupon she received a "kind letter" from the League of Jewish Women with "a fetching green scarf", she said, "so that I can dress up and pretend to be a Jewish woman rather than a Muslim woman if needs must".

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Mick goes unrecognised

By Simon Rocker, November 22, 2010

Man of the moment Mick Davis had this anecdote on the vagaries of Jewish leadership. The UJIA chairman went to a dinner party a few days after speaking in defence of Israel at the Trafalgar Square solidarity rally during its Gaza operation last year.

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