The Diary

Israeli horror in Peckham

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

The Jewish Film Festival is screening Israel's first horror movie, Rabies, in which a group of tennis players are stalked by a killer. And where will it be showing? Peckham. Too bloody for Hampstead, I guess.

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Gingertops of the pops

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Following in the footsteps of Stacey Solomon and Katie Waissel on the X Factor were married couple Brian and Annette Altman, who performed as The Gingertops on this season's show.

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Corrie's special delivery

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Fans of ITV's Coronation Street will have been surprised to hear the exchange between Rita Sullivan, doughty manageress of newspaper shop The Kabin, and her new newspaper "delivery boy" Dennis Tanner on Sunday night.

Down on his luck Dennis was homeless until his old friend took pity on him, giving him paid employment.

On his first round, Dennis got a little muddled with the deliveries.

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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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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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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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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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