Jenni Frazer



Wet, wet, wet

By Jenni Frazer, July 17, 2009

To everybody's favourite reading, Fort Lauderdale's South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which reports that an "ordained Jewish cantor," Debbie Ballard, is training at a Florida scuba shop in order to perform Jewish weddings under water.
Apparently they get round the glass-smashing by getting the groom to smash a lightbulb with his flipper, while later the couple "sip wine out of a sippy cup", whatever that may be.
The paper has gone as far as consulting local rabbis for an expert opinion.

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Er, the horror

By Jenni Frazer, July 13, 2009

I've just learned, with some consternation, that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was born in the same nursing home in Glasgow as me and my brother. (Brown's older, by the way.)
I didn't realise that the Orchard Park Nursing Home, now a hotel, was supposedly the Queen Charlotte's of Glasgow. How aspirant of my parents.
And there was I thinking that the blue plaque in the bar was reserved for us.

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Who knew?

By Jenni Frazer, July 13, 2009

Seth Freedman, writing in The Guardian's Comment is Free, discloses his own, difficult experience in appearing on Press TV, which he now acknowledges was a counter-productive activity. The Iranian-funded TV station Press TV, Freedman says, "pretends to be a reputable, impartial broadcaster. In reality, it is anything but."

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Sweet smell of excess

By Jenni Frazer, July 9, 2009

As our website story recounts, a man who is a convert to Judaism and is allergic to onions has had his appeal against extradition to Ireland turned down by London's High Court.
The grounds for appeal, he said, were that onions formed a staple part of the Irish prison diet and that they weren't too hot on offering him a kosher regime, either.

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The biter bit

By Jenni Frazer, July 9, 2009

Schadenfreude, I think: the story this morning that MPs are to summon past and present News of the World execs to explain themselves in front of a House of Commons committee over the phone-bugging scandal.
I imagine that all those MPs who consider themselves sadly traduced by the investigation into their expenses claims will have been punching the air with glee this morning as the Guardian's scoop unfolded. Now, they will crow, it's our turn...

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Yippee (or whatever the Hebrew is)

By Jenni Frazer, July 8, 2009

Hooray, hooray - Easyjet is launching flights to Tel Aviv from November 2.
The lead-in prices are remarkably cheap: just over £100 return plus £8 each way if you check a bag in. Presumably food is extra but it's very tempting.
The problem, unfortunately, is that it doesn't stay that way. When Thomson launched its all too short-lived series of London/Tel Aviv flights a couple of years ago, the first fares were relatively low, too; I flew in January 2008 for about £150 return and thought myself very lucky.

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JNF: Projects bloom in desert sand

By Jenni Frazer, July 2, 2009

As far as the eye can see, there is sand. Somewhere over the horizon to the south west, there is Egypt; Gaza is close by, too. But one can see no landmarks, no signposts.

And then you turn on your heel and you see familiar net-covered structures, signifying Israeli agri-tech. And right here, in the middle of this vast Negev nothingness, a group of people are growing food in the sand.

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Stay cold-blooded in the sun

By Jenni Frazer, June 25, 2009

Tyro novelists are always told: “Write what you know.” Sometimes — as in experienced non-fiction writer Adam LeBor’s thoroughly enjoyable debut, the political thriller, The Budapest Protocol — this means the reader benefits from a wealth of a particular author’s experience. And Lebor’s hero Alex Farkas is, funnily enough, a British journalist based in Hungary — just like LeBor himself.

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Analysis: Livni’s time will come again soon

By Jenni Frazer, June 25, 2009

Once, in the days after Ehud Olmert took over from the unconscious Ariel Sharon, Tzipi Livni was Israel’s Acting Prime Minister, replacing Mr Olmert when necessary and designated to take over from him should the worst happen a second time.

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‘Rambo’ John Bercow, JSoc and his far-right links

By Jenni Frazer, June 25, 2009

Half a lifetime ago, two furious Jewish students wrote to the JC to complain about John Bercow, now the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

In 1986, Mr Bercow, then 23, was the ambitious new chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, sporting a Rambo T-shirt and pursuing, the JC said, “a hard-line aggressive policy with the accent on machismo”.

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How curious

By Jenni Frazer, June 24, 2009

I notice, with very little surprise, that there do not appear to be mass protests in the streets of London after the tragic and baseless shooting of the Iranian protestor, Neda Soltan.

Why would this be, I wonder? Could it be that the people who are so eager to turn out on the streets to demonise Israel at every turn are less anxious to offend those who are in charge of the Islamic Republic? Surely not.

Sooner or later an ayatollah will blame the evil Zionists for fomenting unrest against the regime and then it will be safe to demonstrate again. Colour me cynical.

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A nose for a good story

By Jenni Frazer, June 18, 2009

How, I wonder, could I have missed this piece of essential information for the world of journalism? The New York Times has a perfume critic.
True, the appointment is now nearly three years old, but hey, some news takes time to filter through and it's always worth saving the best until last.

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Bibi’s red lines are not thought through

By Jenni Frazer, June 18, 2009

Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday night anything more than posturing, or is there, as they say in Israel, real “tachlis” in his approach to the Palestinians?

Many commentators are unsure. The approach, they say, is vintage Bibi: a lot of fancy phrases with not much substance at the bottom.
The problem appears to be that while Mr Netanyahu’s “red lines” — in particular, extremely limited sovereignty for the Palestinians — appear to have played well inside his government, not a lot of thought appears to have been given as to how they translate into action.

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Analysis: what the Obama speech means

By Jenni Frazer, June 5, 2009

US analysts say President Obama's Cairo speech shows he stands by Israel, but disappoints on the subject of Iran.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrachi, founder of the Israel Project organisation, said: "Obama’s address comes at a time when Americans have clearly stated that they stand with Israel by a seven-to-one margin"

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Chicken Little, the sky is falling

By Jenni Frazer, June 4, 2009

Today's Independent gives over the whole of page 2 to a somewhat baffling story, Chicken injected with beef waste sold in UK.

Its standfirst tells readers: Muslims and Jews conned into eating meat bulked out with cow and pig products.

I have read this article several times now and I cannot find any evidence to support this assertion. If one eats kosher chicken, sold in a supervised kosher butcher's shop, the food chain is directly traceable to the shochet with, as far as I understand, no opportunity for the alleged adulteration to occur.

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Oh, good grief

By Jenni Frazer, June 3, 2009

Yesterday The Times ran a story asking if the Novogratz family were the coolest in the world. They are, for those who have not read the story, a photogenic Manhattan-based family in which the parents, Robert and Cortney (no, that is not a spelling mistake, but something like a clue as to what follows), have done rather well on property speculation and renovation. So well have they done, in fact, that they are about to be embraced by reality tv, whose various Tarquin execs seem to think that R & C and their adorable brood will make for unmissable viewing.

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A mystery

By Jenni Frazer, May 27, 2009

I have just tried to find an Israeli residential phone number via international directory inquiries.

I was in the middle of spelling the town name when the (very nice) operator stopped me. "I'm sorry," she said, "but I can't look it up. It's all in Hebrew. Business numbers are in English, residential numbers are in Hebrew." And, she added, trying to be helpful, "Hebrew is a very difficult language."

Is this a new development? And if so, at whose instigation?
I'd like to be told.

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Make mine a Gibson (please don't)

By Jenni Frazer, May 26, 2009

It seems only yesterday — in fact it was just over three years ago — that columnists and commentators were falling over themselves to badmouth Hollywood bad boy Mel Gibson. Gibson, it will be remembered, had fully illustrated the reality of "in vino veritas" by indulging in an antisemitic tirade when pulled over by the police for being drunk.

I recall at the time forecasting that it wouldn't take long before Hollywood would re-clasp Gibson to its bosom since he is, of course, fabulously wealthy.

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Circus, circus...

By Jenni Frazer, May 20, 2009

A couple of months ago my niece got married. It was a beautiful and generous simcha; naturally enough, there were many people there I did not know, most of whom, I assumed, were from the bridegroom's side. Walking through the reception area's acres of carpet I all but stumbled on a strange woman in a powder-blue suit, a handbag at her feet. She was juggling.

No-one seemed to know who she was; eventually it emerged that she was a neighbour of the groom and that she, er, enjoyed simchas.

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Demjanjuk: 29,000 murder charges

By Jenni Frazer, May 12, 2009

Accompanied by American federal agents, overseeing his deportation from the United States, 89-year-old John Demjanjuk arrived in Munich today to face 29,000 counts of murder as a guard in the Sobibor death camp during the Second World War.

Demjanjuk, a retired car worker, had repeatedly tried to block his deportation from Cleveland, Ohio, but just four days after the US Supreme Court refused to consider his latest request, he was in a wheelchair, being loaded onto the German-bound jet.

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