The Diary

Fir deal for fashion designer

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

No, this column has not been taken over by the Church Times, nor is this a dreaded "Chanucah bush".

The 30-foot pine in the picture is the Christmas tree at Claridge's hotel in London which was decorated by Paris-based Israeli fashion designer, Alber Elbaz.

Maybe he should be called in to give a facelift to those giant Lubavitch menorahs.

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Alarming time for Baddiel

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks was repeatedly interrupted when he spoke at the British Ort dinner by an alarm that kept going off.

When fellow guest speaker David Baddiel tweeted about the noisy intrusion, back came a tweet: "I bet that alarm is making a right beth din…"

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Sorrell's talmud treat

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Could Sir Martin Sorrell yet be a rabbi in the making? The advertising supremo was a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs at the weekend.

When asked what book he would like to take to his castaway refuge beside the Bible and Shakespeare, he chose the Talmud.

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Elizabeth Taylor's golden gift

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's wedding ring, given to her by Richard Burton, could fetch a £1 million when it is auctioned at Christie's in New York next week - but its London-based Jewish jeweller has revealed the actor paid just £8,000 for it.

The actor bought the band of white gold from Ivor Gordon in South Africa in 1975, the week before he married Dame Elizabeth a second time.

Mr Gordon, who ran

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A camera fit to shoot a rabbi

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

We've had kosher mobiles (no internet connection) and a kosher dictionary (no entry on "homosexual"). Now comes the KDC - the Kosher Digital Camera, newly on sale in Stamford Hill.

What makes a camera kosher?

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Thermal sheitl?

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2011

Dedicated followers of frum fashion must not miss the "Winter Wig Fest" which is coming to Golders Green and Stamford Hill next week, courtesy of a New York bridal company.

I wonder what makes a winter wig different from its summer counterpart.

Fur-lined perhaps?

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Survivor plays on

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2011

Remarkable would be too slight a word for Alice Herz-Sommer, thought to be the world's oldest Holocaust survivor, who celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday.

The Belsize Park-based concert musician, who spent the latter years of the war incarcerated in Terezin, still plays her piano daily.

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Interfaith at the palace

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2011

The Queen reportedly reads the Racing Post over breakfast every morning but it seems Prince Philip may enjoy a different publication - this one.

On Monday, 350 members of the British media gathered at Buckingham Palace for a reception to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year.

Spotting JC editor Stephen Pollard, the Duke of Edinburgh gestured towards him and told Catherine Pepinster, edi

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Well-groomed wedding date

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2011

American Steve Greenberg made history a decade ago when he came out as the first openly gay, Orthodox rabbi.

Now he has just become the first Orthodox rabbi to conduct a same-sex marriage.

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Mosque's Rabbinic result

By Simon Rocker, December 1, 2011

You won't see this very often but the other day you would have found Dayan Ivan Binstock of the London Beth Din, Masorti Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Liberal chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich and Edgware Reform Synagogue's Rabbi Daniel Smith all happily sitting on the same panel and talking about Judaism.

Needless to say, this display of inter-denominational fraternity did not take place in

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