Simon Round

Star violinist's debt to his Jewish teachers

By Simon Round, November 24, 2011

If you had to work out David Garrett's occupation simply by his appearance, you would be unlikely to guess that he is one of the most gifted violinists of his generation.

With his long hair and skull ring he looks vaguely heavy metal-ish but, then again, with his Roger Federer-esque good looks he could also be a model.

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Holocaust historian defends man who broke into Auschwitz

By Simon Round, November 17, 2011

A Holocaust historian this week came to the defence of a British prisoner of war whose account of his time at Auschwitz has been called into question.

Denis Avey, 93, recorded his experiences in The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz, in which he recounted how he had swapped places with a Jewish prisoner so he could see the death camp for himself.

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Interview: Hugh Hudson

By Simon Round, November 10, 2011

If you happened, like me, to be a sports-mad Jewish teenager growing up in the early 1980s, there were very few British-Jewish sporting role models. There was, if I remember correctly, a fairly high-ranking table tennis player and one or two professional footballers slogging away in the lower leagues.

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TV review: Jamie's Great Britain

By Simon Round, November 4, 2011

Jamie Oliver divides people into two camps - those who find him admirable and inspiring, if a bit irritating, and those who find him just irritating.

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Pitching a tent for change

By Simon Round, November 4, 2011

You may have noticed that there has been a lot of protesting going on this year. Some of it is admirable (for example, the demos against Middle Eastern tyrannies), some of it less so (August's protests against the fact that you actually have to pay for trainers).

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Interview: Albie Sachs

By Simon Round, November 3, 2011

Albie Sachs has no recollection of April 7 1988 beyond the fact that he was intending to go for a run on the beach near his home in Maputo, Mozambique. He remembers leaving his apartment with some cold beers which he planned to drink as an after-run treat. He subsequently found out that as he unlocked the driver's door of his Honda there was a huge explosion.

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The other talented young Waley-Cohen

By Simon Round, October 31, 2011

It is very rare to find musician Tamsin Waley-Cohen on her own. She has a constant companion at concerts, at cafes and even on holidays. It is a long-term relationship which, although it has had its ups and downs, has enabled her to move forward with her career.

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Interview: Jason Shifrin

By Simon Round, October 31, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

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Hired by Lord Sugar, but ruined by debt

By Simon Round, October 27, 2011

Businessman Jason Shifrin always knew how to make money. Unfortunately, he was also an expert in how to spend it. And he spent in huge amounts - on holidays, on cars, on houses and on his friends. When there was not enough money coming in to finance his lifestyle, he borrowed to fund it. And when those debts were called in, he borrowed some more to repay the original loans.

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Interview: Yoav Factor

By Simon Round, October 19, 2011

For most film directors, making a movie is a 24/7 job. However for Yoav Factor it is more like 24/6. Despite attempting to fit the shooting of his debut feature, Reuniting The Rubins, into a "crazy" five-week schedule, come Friday evening, Factor, much to the surprise of the non-Jewish crew, would leave the set to go home for Shabbat.

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Interview: Judy Ironside

By Simon Round, October 11, 2011

Judy Ironside spends so of her much time in darkened rooms watching films, that she likes to be outside whenever she can, which is why we are sitting in a blustery Clerkenwell courtyard on what is quite a chilly October afternoon.

Ironside, the founder and executive director of the UK Jewish Film Festival, is enjoying the breeze.

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Comedy Rules: From the Cambridge Footlights to Yes, Prime Minister

By Simon Round, October 7, 2011

By Jonathan Lynn
Faber and Faber, £14.99

This book by Yes, Prime Minister co-author (and my uncle)Jonathan Lynn is as hard to pin down as is its author.

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Interview: Irma Kurtz

By Simon Round, October 6, 2011

Irma Kurtz greets me as I emerge from the lift outside her tiny central London flat. "I'm sorry," says the veteran Cosmopolitan agony aunt, clearly referring to the mess in the corridor caused by the refurbishment of the building. Over a cup of tea in her living room, Kurtz, slim and elegant at 76, apologises for her earlier apology.

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October's queue starts here

By Simon Round, September 28, 2011

In this country we are famous for a few things - our royal family, our dismal weather and some of the world's blandest food. But perhaps the thing which most characterises us in the eyes of the rest of the world is our proclivity to stand in line and wait for stuff.

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Idea that's dead on the money

By Simon Round, September 27, 2011

You have seen the ads for comparethemarket.com. Now prepare for the latest comparison website – comparethecoffin.com.

This new venture is a Jewish-Muslim partnership between Londoners Steven Mitchell and Akhmal Saleem.

The idea came to 45-year-old Mr Mitchell after he had created a bicycle for children – a business which got him onto the BBC's Dragons' Den.

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TV review: Rosh Hashanah: What is the point of religion?

By Simon Round, September 27, 2011

If Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks's career had taken a different turn, he would have made a wonderful broadcaster. As listeners to Radio 4's Today programme will know, he has a deep, mellow, reassuring speaking voice.

Once a year, he gets to use this talent in his New Year broadcast (think of it as a rabbinical version of the Queen's speech).

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TV review: Curb Your Enthusiasm

By Simon Round, September 22, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm is back for its eighth series. As usual, devotees live from one episode to the next while the rest of the country completely fails to get it.

So what is so funny about an outspoken, sex-obsessed, obnoxious bald guy who swears a lot?

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Anger over Yomtov clash

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

A Jewish councillor has protested to Hackney Council at the holding of a civic event on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

Councillor Linda Kelly - who switched from the ruling Labour group to the Conservatives in summer - criticised the council's speaker, Susan Fajana Thomas, for the timing of the fundraising dinner.

"If this is a civic event, all the communities should be invited," Councill

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Israeli cuisine whets West End taste buds

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

Those who spent time on kibbutz in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s will have vivid memories of the food - tomato and cucumber salad, hard-boiled egg and cream cheese accompanied by dense, grey bread for breakfast and the occasional rushed falafel at bus stations around the country.

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Interview: Lynne Franks

By Simon Round, September 15, 2011

Lynne Franks is wearing a badge which proclaims her to be an "outrageous older woman". She is chatting to me, while simultaneously briefing her PA and making herbal tea (she is currently detoxing from caffeine). She exudes energy and enthusiasm, and at 63 is bubbling with ideas.

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