The Diary

Come dine with me

By Simon Rocker, April 8, 2010

Asked by a newspaper to name her "dream dinner party" guests, actress Felicity Kendal came up with a suitably eclectic band: Byron, Ghandi, Marlene Dietrich and Eddie Izzard were among her chosen, along with Israel's only female premier, Golda Meir.

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Smack me, it's a kiddush cup

By Simon Rocker, April 8, 2010

Distant ritual memories returned to radical and highly secular poet Michael Rosen on a visit to London's revamped Jewish Museum. Reviewing it for the New Statesman, he was moved by the silver Judaica to write: "When my father died, among his things were two engraved silver cups. I had put them to one side, meaning to ask someone where, how and when they were used. And there they are! I smack my head, in the same way he used to smack his head: kiddush cups!

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Come drink with me

By Simon Rocker, April 8, 2010

No, your eyes did not deceive you. Channel 4 has confirmed that, indeed, it was a bottle of Palwin's that appeared in the latest episode of its popular home cooking contest, Come Dine With Me.

Quite how our favourite tipple – I stretch the point – ended up on the table of host Dave, a Weston-super-Mare artist cum rickshaw pilot, is anyone's guess. No doubt it complimented his main course of jacket potato and home-made beans. Perhaps he can spare a glass for Michael Rosen (see below).

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Asleep on the job

By Simon Rocker, April 8, 2010

NuMa, the new group set up to find bright ideas for British Jewry, gets its name from the Yiddish nu and mah, Hebrew for "what".

But numa also means "go to sleep" in Ivrit. A compulsory afternoon shluff is an idea I warmly endorse. Zzzzzzz…

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No passport, please

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

Normally, as a security measure, the Israeli Embassy in London checks the passports of visitors.

So I wonder why at Tuesday's reception to celebrate the building's renovation, they asked guests only for driving licences.

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Tombstone Grand Prix

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

A minibus driver must have thought he was Jenson Button at Bushey Cemetery the other day.

Ferrying a group of pensioners to a stone-setting, he took a corner too fast, clipped a stone and left three graves rather worse off.

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Pesach mice

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

A pest controller, come to dispose of a colleague's mice, told her: "I do a lot of work in Stamford Hill but it's a bit of a problem. This time of year they insist the poison has to be kosher." And how do you make it kosher?
Just make sure it's wheat-free, she said.

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Fo enigma

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

I was intrigued to find in the index of the Foreign Office's annual human rights report a reference to the "Goldberg Commission".

Now I'd heard of the notorious Goldstone inquiry into events in Gaza last year, but Goldberg?

A proof-reader is currently under interrogation in a small, dark room in a foreign country…

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And then there were twelve

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

The new Supreme Court has got its full compliment of 12 justices with the appointment of Sir John Dyson (right). An Appeal Court judge since 2001, Lord Justice Dyson, 66, steps into the vacancy left when Lord Neuberger became Master of the Rolls.

Originally from Leeds, he is a former chairman of the British Friends of the Hebrew University's legal group.

Lord Justice Dyson is the fourth justice eligible to have got into JFS, following Lords Brown and Collins plus Lord Phillips (who is of Sephardi descent on his maternal grandparents' side).

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Shining example of a horse

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

Hurrah for Menorah the horse, which got this week's Cheltenham Festival off to a flying start with an unexpected victory in the opening race.

Much celebration at Mill Hill Synagogue where I am told many congregants took the advice of a seasoned punter to back the horse, which recorded a 12-1 win over odds-on favourite Dunguib on Tuesday.

Menorah's trainer Philip Hobbs did not know how the champion steed got his name although he knew it was something to do with a Jewish candlestick.

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