Simon Round

Passport to a cushy aliyah

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

First there was The Apprentice. Now there is to be a new show which could well be called The Zionist Apprentice. A production company is hunting for eight young people who will compete against each other on various extreme missions that mirror the challenges undertaken in building the state of Israel.

The winner of Ultimate Oleh will be given a “golden ticket” into Israel — a luxury flat, a new car and a dream job.

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Cooked to death - but yummy

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

New British Kitchen
UKTV Food, Thursday, June 5

In New British Kitchen, John Torode, of Masterchef fame, and Glaswegian presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli investigated Britain’s ethnic food. This week’s episode was on the subject of Jewish cuisine .

While it was fantastic that the wider community got an insight into how we lead our lives, programmes about Jewish food are always faintly embarrassing.

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We’re on the telly

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

A new BBC series shines a light on Britain’s Jews. Director Vanessa Engle talks to our television critic

There cannot be many more surreal moments in documentary history than the scene in Vanessa Engle’s new film The Prisoner, in which a reformed Chasidic drug-dealer wants to demonstrate how easy it is to swallow a condom packed with grade-A substances. With no cocaine-filled package to hand, he uses the next best thing — a pickled cucumber, which he dispatches in one gulp with the help of a sip of water.

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I’m hopeless at maths. You can count on it

By Simon Round, June 9, 2008

I realised this week that I have a debilitating medical condition. Actually I’ve had it for most of my life but I only recognised the symptoms when I was listening to the news on the radio.

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New career? I think I’ve missed the bus

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

I was shocked to realise this week that I will soon be coming up to my 20th anniversary as a journalist (although I was practically a child when I started, so don’t get the idea that I’m getting on or I need reading glasses or anything like that. Actually, I can still see quite small print if there is good natural light and the page is held precisely 36 cms from my eyes).

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Bard was Jew... and female

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Is it just possible that William Shakespeare was a nice Jewish girl?

Many have questioned whether Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by the Bard himself, but Shakespeare-ologist John Hudson is among the first to suggest he might have been a female — and a Jewish one at that.

Hudson is claiming that the true author of the works could have been Amelia Bassano Lanier, who lived in England as a Marrano and is thought to be the first woman to publish a book of poetry.

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Lara's dream job: shluffing

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Shocking news if you thought the JC’s lovely Showbiz Shmooze columnist Lara Lewington leads a glamorous showbusiness lifestyle.

In fact, she told the Independent’s “Five-minute interview” slot this week, she’s a boring stay-at-home type. “Because I interview celebrities occasionally, people always assume I’m constantly out living a wild lifestyle when actually I’m probably at home cooking dinner and not being very sociable at all,” she said. She added that her ideal night out was “one that ends early so I can get home to bed. I’m really boring.”

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Cambodia's kosher mosque

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

A prominent American-Jewish family has been helping out poor villagers in a remote Cambodian village... by building them a mosque.

The Lightman family from Massachusetts have been working with the village, Tramoung Chum, since 2003. It started when academic Alan Lightman, his wife Jean Greenblatt Lightman and their Daughter Elyse funded a four-room concrete school.

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Thailand's Jewish problem

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

JC reader Howard Cowan was browsing the thai2english.com website, which translates Thai words to English and English words to Thai. So he keyed in the word “Jew”.

He discovered that the Thai word for Jew is Yiw — which the web-site defined as “stingy, miserly and cheap”.

Can the Thai ambassador tell us please if this is official policy?

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Jews do better on American TV

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

House
Channel Five, Thursday, June 5

Americans do two things better than us (actually, three if you include making hot dogs) — medical dramas and Jewish themes in fictional programmes.

So when, as in this episode of House — the Golden Globe-winning medical series starring our own Hugh Laurie — they do both simultaneously, you can be guaranteed a cracking night in.

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Amy’s rehab: no, no, no, yes?

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Last week’s JC report that Amy Winehouse planned to fly to Israel for rehab was followed up by papers around the world. Eliezer Cohen, chairman of the Israel Anti-Drug Administration, told us that Winehouse’s representatives “spoke to a renowned institution and an Israeli professor” who was expecting her arrival within weeks .

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Boots go to Israel. The world gets more boring

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

So Boots the chemist is on its way to Israel. I am sure there will be plenty of dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv at the news that Boots No 7 cream (with its anti-ageing properties) will now be available there.

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Giraffe sticks its neck out

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Chicago Rib Shack owner Jon Yantin received a roasting from rivals Giraffe after innocently suggesting on our Business page that his place, unlike Giraffe, was not a children’s restaurant. Giraffe director Andrew Jacobs so overreacted that he sent in his PRs demanding corrections, and even prevailed on Yantin to apologise and send the JC a letter stating that Giraffe was actually a “family restaurant”.

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Tonge: Beware the slur

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

If you wish to lobby Parliamentarians on Israel/Palestine, be wary of “the slur of antisemitism”.

So said Baroness Jenny Tonge in a presentation reported by the Israeli Committee Against House Demol-itions’s May newsletter.

Tonge claimed that MPs were terrified of being accused of antisemitism. Many Labour MPs were supporters of Israel, and the Board of Deputies used its influence wherever it sees it as necessary, she said. 

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Dirt, noise, 36-hour shifts...I love my job!

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

It’s messy, grubby work helping pregnant women through the contractions. But for Lauren Mishcon, being a ‘doula’ sure beats nine-to-five.

Lauren Mishcon has no idea when she will next be required to work. It could be over the weekend, perhaps on Monday morning, or maybe not for a week or two. When she is called upon, it may be for a few hours, or it could be a marathon 36-hour shift.Mishcon is a birth doula. Her job is to accompany women through the process of giving birth, providing comfort, support and advice.

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Leonard Cohen's funny. No joke

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Front Row: Leonard Cohen
Radio 4, May 26

It is strange that Leonard Cohen has a reputation for being miserable when, as this interview with Mark Lawson clearly demonstrated, he is a very funny guy. Anyone who is familiar with the work of the legendary Canadian poet/singer/artist will also know that he is also gifted and enormously interesting.

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I'm happy to be mummy's boy

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

William Sutcliffe is a novelist concerned to celebrate an important relationship

William Sutcliffe is not anticipating a call from the compilers of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for his new novel, Whatever Makes You Happy (Bloomsbury £10.99). “If you are writing about young people, you are disqualified from every literary prize,” Sutcliffe claims. “You are also disqualified if you are funny, use lots of dialogue, or write about contemporary Britain — everything I tend to do.”

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I was fighting in 1968 - for chocolate biscuits

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

As you are probably now aware, this year is the 40th anniversary of the cataclysmic events of 1968. There has barely been a newspaper or periodical which has not run lengthy articles about the revolutions and protests of that year. Up to this point I have veered away from telling the story of my part in the events as they unfolded, but seeing as everybody else is telling tales of demonstrations and riots, I don’t see why I should be left out. So here is my untold story of 1968.

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Police arrest crime’s Mr Wig

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Police in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak this week apprehended a 20-year-old man who allegedly stole 50 sheitels.

This was no hair-brained scheme. The man, a yeshivah student, could have expected to sell the wigs for £250 each .

However, his scheme was, er, uncovered  when the man hid his stash in the communal storeroom at his block of flats where a neighbour discovered them and reported him to the police.

The man was thought to be acting alone and police are not thought to be looking for the bigwig behind the operation.

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George Bush can ride a bike

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given President George W Bush a bicycle. The official Israeli explanation for the gift is that the bike was given because the President’s knees are (like his brain) a little knackered and he can’t go jogging any more.

However, given the fact that Bush has a history of falling off bicycles (the last time was in Scotland three years ago), could this actually be a sophisticated and very subtle assassination attempt?

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