Simon Round

I’m Jewish? I’ll be a rabbi, then

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

The Choice

Radio 4, Tuesday, September 16

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Celebrity lawyer tells of her pain as ‘poison’ allegation is dropped

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Leading media divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd Platt has spoken of her shock at being arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and her relief after being told she will not be charged with any offence.

Ms Lloyd Platt - who appears regularly on GMTV and Channel 4 and has acted for celebrities including Les Dennis and Anne Diamond - said she had been arrested by the police "under circumstances that were a complete mystery."

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Interview: Annabel Karmel

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Her recipes and supermarket food have earned her global fame, but negative media coverage still hurts


Annabel Karmel may be the country's best-known and top-selling author on children and family food but when people attack her work, it hurts. Although she is a fixture on the best-seller lists, she has been sneered at by interviewers from more than one newspaper.

Sitting over a dish of sea bream in an Italian restaurant in London, she says she cannot understand the criticisms.

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13-year-old pooch gets a bark mitzvah

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008
What do you do for the dog who has everything? Well, if he is 13 years old you give him a bark mitzvah. New Yorker David Best spent $10,000 on his a bash for his pooch, Elvis. He must be barking.

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Israel’s Ikea in the frame

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Furniture in Israeli branches of Ikea cost more than the ubiquitous flatpacks in any country in Europe, according to a new survey. Prices at the store's Israeli outlets are about 30 per cent higher than in Britain and the Netherlands and 24 per cent higher than in France and Sweden.

And then you have to build it yourself.

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Rabbi's courting controversy

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

One of Israel's leading rabbis has, er, somewhat unexpected views on dating.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the spiritual leaders of the religious Zionism movement, held forth on the subject following Israeli discussion show Srugim. One of the show's guests argued that multi-dating was allowed under Jewish law.

Aviner said that multi-dating was forbidden... unless the woman was old and the man took too much time making a decision.

We wonder how long is too long - and how old is old?

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Who is Muhammad Cohen?

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Here is a contender for the world's craziest name. It's Muhammad Cohen.

You may not be surprised to hear that film director Cohen was born Eliot. However, he changed his name following his marriage to an Indonesian Muslim woman in 2002. It was, he said to demonstrate the similarity of the Muslim and Jewish religions.

Cohen said he was welcomed by the Muslim community. When he decided to marry, the only worry of the officiating Imam was that he be circumcised. Cohen was able to re-assure him on that count.

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Flag day at the BBC

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Is the BBC as objective and unbiased in its news coverage as it maintains? According to a source at the BBC, the Middle East Section of its online news service is run by two journalists - one with a Lebanese flag on his desk, the other with a Syrian flag adorning his workstation.

It is an interesting interpretation of "balanced".

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The Middle-East war, at a stadium near you

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

The world is changing frighteningly fast. House prices go up and then down again, petrol prices go up and then even further up, and all the time the glaciers and rain forests are disappearing. Through all this uncertainty, I have always taken comfort in one solid, unchanging fact. The team I support, Chelsea, are the world's richest football club and have more spending power than then most medium-sized nation states.

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Big up the Hendon massive

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Songs of Praise
BBC1, Sunday September 7

I, along with perhaps around 80 per cent of the population of Great Britain, have never sat through an entire edition of Songs of Praise, despite the fact that it has been showing ever since I was old enough to be depressed on a Sunday evening.

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So that’s Esther’s life, then

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC1, Wednesday September 3
God on Trial


BBC2, Wednesday September 3

 

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Palestinians' bad timing

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

The time is a- changing in the Gaza Strip, though not in the West Bank. Such is the level of feuding between the Hamas administration in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that they cannot even agree on what time it should be.

Gaza Mean Time, or GMT, went back to Daylight Saving last Friday, whereas the Palestinian Authority put its clocks back on Sunday with the onset of Ramadan.

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Swamped with immigrants? If we’re lucky

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

Immigration is a bit like the dark - people tend to be scared of it despite the fact that it is unlikely to do them any harm. There is now only a small minority of people who do not think that our society has been enriched over the past 50 years by the huge cultural wealth brought to this country by successive waves of immigration. However, whenever cyclical immigration picks up, there is a wail of hysteria within the pages of certain tabloids which is pounced upon by a section of the public too stupid to buy a better paper.

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Interview: Ruby Wax

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

Ruby Wax is the queen of rapid-fire comedy. But, as she tells Simon Round, humour hasn't healed the legacy of depression left by her Shoah-survivor parents - and so she trained as a psychotherapist

 

You do not need to research Ruby Wax particularly deeply to know she had a problem childhood. Over the years, her comedy has been peppered with lines about the strange upbringing by her eccentric and neurotic parents.

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Don’t get too pretty, girls

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

According to blogger Modesty Blasé writing in the Jerusalem Post, there is a new phenomenon among Jewish mothers. They are encouraging their daughters to be mediocre.

Says Blasé: "They shouldn't be too pretty, too smart or too competent for fear of scaring the boys away,"

So is the world being turned on its head, or has April Fool's Day come early?

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Lamarr’s ‘sex with Hitler’

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Adolf Hitler may have based his career on Jew-hatred, but it did not stop him having sex with a Jewish girl - and not just any Jewish girl, but Hollywood film star Hedy Lamarr.

In a new book about the legendary actress, biographer Devra Hill claims that Lamarr fled Austria to embark on an acting career in Hollywood after she was forced to make love to Hitler by her first husband, Austrian munitions dealer Fritz Mandl.

Devra claims that Hitler was unable to resist Lamarr.

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Does AP have it in for Joe?

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Either AP has got it in for former Democrat, now Independent, Joseph Lieberman, or the news agency needs to employ better proof-readers.

A recent AP story should have read: "Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential pick in 2000, who is now an independent..."

Except, somehow, an "r" was inserted in "pick" between the "p" and the "i".

Whoops!

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Where on earth is Israel?

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Noticed anything strange about Google World?

A JC reader saw that there were a few crucial little details missing from the site which gives satellite maps of the world . Although almost the entire planet is covered by Google, there is one important exception - Israel.

Whereas other countries have all major cities highlighted, Israel has nothing but a dotted line to separate it from the Territories.

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Springer wells up like his guests

By Simon Round, August 28, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC1, Wednesday, August 27

V If you are familiar with Who Do You Think You Are, you will know that it has addressed the Holocaust before. David Baddiel, Stephen Fry and Natasha Kaplinsky have all uncovered the horrors of their families' experiences.

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Broiges of the week: Lucian freud v Bernard Breslauer

By Simon Round, August 28, 2008

We're not sure whether it is halachically possible to have a broiges involving a dead person, but this one is worth recording. The late Bernard Breslauer, a millionaire antique-book dealer, sat for a portrait by painter Lucian Freud. He was so upset at how his double chin had been painted that he deliberately destroyed the painting. This, is in turn, has reportedly infuriated Freud.

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