The Diary

Of wealth and waist lines

By Simon Rocker, January 13, 2011

The Sunday Times went dipping into Jewish sociology last week. Here's restaurant critic A.A.Gill: "They say there are two types of hypochondria: French and Jewish. French hypochondria is the irrational fear that you're ill because you've eaten too much, and Jewish hypochondria is the irrational fear that you're wasting away because you haven't eaten enough."

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Rothschild wedding stars

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

A high celebrity count at last week's marriage of Jessica de Rothschild and screenwriter Sacha Gervasi at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John's Wood and the Criterion Restaurant.

The bride is the daughter of Liberal Judaism patron Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, the groom the father of Spice Girl Gerri Halliwell's daughter, Bluebell.

The wedding party included actress Helena Bonham Carter and her partner, director Tim Burton, and Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon, according to tweeting guest Sarah (Mrs Gordon) Brown.

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Cocaine on the brain

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

It is certainly one of the catchier titles among next year's books: Freud on Coke.

David Cohen, who published an account of Freud's flight from Nazi-occupied Vienna, The Escape of Sigmund Freud, last year, takes a more obscure episode for his new book: the psychoanalyst's early experiments with cocaine.

On the subject of Jews and narcotics, I could hardly ignore legendary Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richard's tribute to his cocaine supplier for many years, the late Freddie Sessler.

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Tom Jones goes yiddish

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

Before the year is out, let me add my own salute to the evergreen Sir Tom Jones, who turned 70 in summer.

Lesser known among his musical repertoire is a rendering of the Sophie Tucker classic, My Yiddishe Momme, which has earned more than 300,000 Youtube hits (according to David Mishon, who drew my attention to it).

Not quite up there among his greatest hits Sex Bomb and Delilah, I grant you, but it would have gone down a storm in The Catskills.

Sir Tom says that he learned the song from his father but is it possible he could have picked it up from another source?

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Martial tips for cabbies

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

The Israeli self-defence technique, krav maga, has found a new group of adepts - London cabbies.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association has started to teach courses to its members in order to fend off attacks from abusive passengers and robbers on the streets.

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Sunny despite the snow

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

Heathrow chaplain Rabbi Hershi Vogel was a busy man this week, as you might imagine, answering pleas for help from passengers stranded at the snowbound airport

Except that Rabbi Vogel himself was a victim of the weather: he, wife Zelda and their youngest child, nine-week-old Elisheva, were marooned for more than a day at Amsterdam airport trying to get home.

Still, he took calls on his mobile from people in London looking for "places to stay, food and if I could help with tickets!"

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How Isadore became trendy

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

Laura Ashley has a new designer tile out which goes by the name of "Isadore". Is this the start of some retro-Jewish name trend. John Galliano's Morrie range perhaps or Irving by Chanel.

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Mick and Ron still friends

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

Mick Davis and Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor remain on good terms, despite the contretemps over the UJIA chairman's outspoken remarks on Israel and the envoy's public rebuke of him. The pair were spotted out on a stroll the other day - in perfect amity, according to the reader who recognised them.

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Justice for twelth Lord

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

There has been much murmuring among legal folk about Sir John Dyson being the only Supreme Court judge not to be called Lord (or Lady): he was appointed after the court replaced the Law Lords. Now the Queen has intervened and Sir John will be known as Lord Dyson, after all.

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Mel Gibson's dodgy jibe

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

Mel Gibson is never going to win that Anti-Defamation League man of the year award. The Australian actor notoriously ranted against Jews in a outburst after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in 2006.

Now actress Winona Ryder - who lost relatives in the Holocaust - has revealed an encounter she had with him at a Hollywood party some 15 years ago.

"Somehow, it came up that I was Jewish," she recalled in an interview with GQ magazine. "He said something about 'oven dodgers' but I didn't get it. I'd never heard that before."

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