Simon Round

The city sale of the century

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Strictly Orthodox property developer Eliasz Englander had a problem. His firm, Citywise, is developing a 106,000 ft scheme at 1 Southampton Row in central London. He needed to put a tower crane on the site, but was informed by builders Bovis the crane had to be erected on Saturday to prevent traffic disruption.

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Supershmaltz me!

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Our Food editor sets out to discover what effect two weeks of eating only haimishe shtetl food has on his body

I have always enjoyed Jewish food. There is something intensely comforting about a big, fatty salt-beef sandwich slathered with mustard, a bowl of golden chicken soup with lockshen and a kneidl or two, or a fat slice of challah with chopped liver and a pickled cucumber. Comfort food does not get more comforting than this.

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Lawyer outed as Jew... again

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Another exclusive in agenda-setting local rag the Jewish Telegraph. It reports that Nick Freeman — the lawyer known as “Mr Loophole” for his ability to help celebrity clients escape driving convictions — “has spoken publicly about his Jewish background for the first time” to the paper.

Actually, it is the first time he has spoken about his Jewish background this month.

Or did they miss his JC interview in which he talked about being a member of the New Kahal Chassidim shul?

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Yossi eats hay for energy

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

If you want to see Yossi Benayoun in action, try the 2.30 at Ascot.

Yossi Benayoun, the horse, is named after the Israeli international footballer.

The nag is owned by South London man Russell Trew, who tells the Wimbledon Guardian that, as a West Ham supporter, he was a big fan of Benayoun until the midfielder joined Liverpool.

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Dame Shirley beautified

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Tel Aviv University’s Insider magazine has a flattering profile of one of its governors, Dame Shirley Porter, which tells her story very much the way the disgraced Westminster City Council ex-leader would want it told.

The magazine gushes: “A quarter of a century ago, as leader and then Lord mayor of the City of Westminster, she spearheaded vast urban beautification and clean-up campaigns.”

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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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Paddy power’s own goal

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Many believe that sacked Chelsea manager Avram Grant was treated harshly by the media because he was Israeli and Jewish. Certainly, he has faced plenty of antisemitic abuse from racist fans.

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Mezuzah crime warning

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Your car may be protected by an immobiliser and your house alarmed, but there is another important item you need to protect — your mezuzah. 

Rabbis in southern Israel have warned people to be on the lookout for mezuzah thieves. Dozens of householders in Kiryat Gat, 50 miles south of Tel Aviv, found last week that the parchments from inside their mezuzah cases had been stolen. So if a dodgy geezer offers you a bargain mezuzah, you have been warned.

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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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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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