Simon Rocker

Next up for Penn and Teller

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

Young Daniel Kramer may not have fooled Penn and Teller last weekend but step forward the next Jewish contestant.

Nicholas Einhorn (above), a gold star member of the Inner Magic Circle, will be appearing on tomorrow's ITV prime time show when he will try to perform a trick that the maestro American magicians cannot figure out.

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What's on Sir Martin's mind

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

Sir Martin Gilbert, whose last book was about Jews in Arab lands, will be writing on a subject closer to home for his next.

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Goodbye, shul world

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

Much quoting from this week's Torah portion Pinchas at the United Synagogue elections on Monday. But a not so holy source inspired outgoing president Simon Hochhauser's valedictory words, "Thank You and Goodbye" - the News of the World's final front page headline.

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Return of Evelyn Rose

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

That Evelyn Rose's Complete International Jewish Cookbook was out of print. Well, let the hallelujahs resound! The new edition is out. But why did they chose that white cover - you'll have to wear gloves to use it.

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Farewell Mcfalafel

By Simon Rocker, July 14, 2011

McDonald's take on the popular chickpea snack did not go down well in Israel and the dish is to be withdrawn. Time for McShnitzel perhaps?

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Ofcom: no second look at The Promise

By Simon Rocker, July 8, 2011

TV watchdog Ofcom has rejected a call to reconsider a complaint into The Promise, Channel 4's controversial drama on Israel.

Stephen Franklin, a member of the Zionist Federation, had accused the programme of being antisemitic, biased and likely to increase attacks on UK Jews.

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Cocktail of learning sustains pub yeshivah

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

A group of young people are sat around a long wooden table discussing the moral conundrum the rabbi has set them.

"When Osama bin Laden was tracked down and killed, was that something that makes sense in Judaism?

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Joining the rabbi doctors

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Rabbi Harvey Belovski of Golders Green Synagogue has joined the elite band of "Rabbi Drs" in Britain after being awarded a PhD by the University of London's Birkbeck College.

His thesis is on the thought of Rabbi Shemuel Bornstein, a Chasidic rebbe from Sochaczew in Poland, who died in 1926.

Rabbi Belovski began his doctoral research four years ago.

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Building a legacy at Tel Aviv University

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The UK support group for Tel Aviv University is trying to attract longer-term investment in the institutionby running its first legacy tour later this year.

And the man they have running it, Geoffrey Simmonds, has led similar tours for the Hebrew University.

Mr Simmonds - who has resigned as a Hebrew University governor - is "delighted" to be fundraising on behalf of the Tel Aviv Universit

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Shechitah: EU reprieve

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The threat to shechitah in the EU abated this week after MEPs approved food labelling policies without demanding the compulsory identification of meat produced by ritual slaughter.

MEPs also suggested a future study on "the stunning of animals" to help frame animal welfare policy.

The wording may be significant in that it suggests a focus on stunning methods as a whole rather than, as previo

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It's an 'Islamist Spring'

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The head of a leading Israeli think-tank has painted a gloomy picture of recent events in the Middle East, characterising the Arab Spring as "more of an Islamic uprising".

Major-General Danny Rothschild, director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would be the political beneficiaries of Arab street protests, even if they had not instigat

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Chief criticises faith coverage in media

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has criticised media coverage of religion, saying that the failure to report interfaith work was leading to negative perceptions among the public.

He told a House of Commons select committee last Thursday: "Up and down the country, religious groups are getting together across the boundaries between faiths."

But he went on: "It is our complete failure ever to get publi

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Prince's Jerusalem pitch?

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Could His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales be trying to tell us something?

On Tuesday night, he addressed a packed audience at Guildhall to celebrate the 250th anniversary year of the Board of Deputies.
Accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles got a standing ovation for his speech, which was crammed full of references to the long relationship between Britain's royal fa

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Stressful elections

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Haifa University researchers have found that people's stress levels rise significantly before they cast their vote in an election. One line for Arab despots to use against their rebellious citizens; dictatorship is better for your blood pressure.

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Rothschild's west bank

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Israeli think tank head Danny Rothschild, in London this week, once played a key Ministry of Defence role in the Palestinian Territories. As he used to say at the time, although a Rothschild, the only bank he had was the West Bank.

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Beware killer candlesticks

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

A narrow escape for Marilyn of St John's Wood who was enjoying a peaceful Friday night post- dinner last week. "My husband was in the armchair and I was reading the paper," she recalled, "when suddenly there was a bullet sound."

She looked up to find that one of the small glass holders for her Shabbat candles had shattered from the heat - sending a shard flying across the room.

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Lumley's the ethical pick

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The Jewish Association for Business Ethics has gone for glamour rather than grey suit with its choice of dinner speaker: campaigning actress Joanna Lumley. A vision of Patsy, the dissolute character she played in Absolutely Fabulous, dispensing ethical tips to our captains of commerce staggers before me....

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A capital comment

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

A choice snippet from the latest volume of diaries of Tony Blair's former press aide, Alastair Campbell: the then Prime Minister once told his then- Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak that he could see how hard it would be for Israel to hand over Jerusalem - it would be "like giving Westminster to Germany".

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The US presidential election

By Simon Rocker, July 6, 2011

All too often elections to Anglo-Jewish organisations are a formality, with one group of leaders slipping unopposed into the seats vacated by their predecessors.

So it’s worth applauding the fact that there will be a contest to lead the community’s largest organisation, the United Synagogue, for its next triennial.

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Pack and Zinkin: let the battle commence

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

Why are you standing for the presidency?

Stephen Pack: To secure the future of the United Synagogue for the next generation. I have a deep passion for the US - it is a remarkable organisation, and has many excellent communities, but it now needs some new initiatives to ensure it continues to flourish.

Peter Zinkin: I believe in the power of the US to be a force for good in our community.

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