Simon Rocker

Diplomatic dynamos

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2011

You would probably think I was living in a parallel universe if I told you that Israel had won a "best delegation" prize at the United Nations.

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The wisdom of Solomon

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2011

It's good to see Stacey Solomon carving out a TV career, now as co-host of ITV1 Saturday night show Sing If You Can.

She has also published her autobiography this week - at the tender age of 21. But its title, My Story So Far, is no great shakes. After her I'm A Celebrity exploits, why not something a bit more literary like Confessions of a Kangaroo Shmekel-Eater?

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Randall on the money

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2011

leading business journalist Jeff Randall has shown he is no mean fundraiser by heading the quest for £1.5 million for a Jewish studies chair at his old university, Nottingham.

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Get hammered for Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2011

Enjoy the Hebrew Hammer, a blend of vodka, curaçao, lemon and lemonade, concocted specially for students celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut by the Duke of Cambridge, a cocktail bar in Oxford. It's blue and white (with the ice). They ought to serve it at the Bicom Israel conference on Sunday.

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Engaging with Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 11, 2011

Sunday’s “We Believe in Israel” conference has been billed as the largest advocacy of its kind in this country. But if you go to the conference home page, you’ll notice that the word “advocacy” does not appear.

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Indy writer's Israel rethink

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

When it comes to Israel, Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown belongs with the bashers rather than the backslappers. So some readers were left rubbing their eyes on Monday when she suggested that Israel's supporters may have a point in complaining that it is unfairly picked on by the left.

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Barking up the wrong tree

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

Despite web rumour, Kate Middleton is unlikely to be of Jewish stock.

What's stirred it is that her mother Carole was born Goldsmith: and further up the matrilineal line lies great-great-grandma Elizabeth Myers.

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Lock, stock and mohel

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

Madonna took her commitment to the Kabbalah Centre so seriously that she not only had her son circumcised but also her ex-husband, film-maker Guy Ritchie, according to the centre's Karen Berg, quoted in New York magazine.

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Beware of the sauce

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

Israeli cuisine is coming up in the world. Still, I wonder at the Tel Aviv restaurant whose menu included the following item: gnocchi with "chess nuts, parmegano reggiano and fresh pee" (sic). That's carrying the search for organic ingredients a bit too far.

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The Apprentice absentees

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

Apprentice master Lord Sugar may be the only Jew in the boardroom in the new series of the show. While no fewer than a quarter of last year's 16 candidates were Jewish, this year's crop has yet to reveal the slightest heimishe trace.

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Jewish charity sector collects £750m a year

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

The Jewish charity sector in the UK has an annual income of up to three quarters of a billion pounds a year, according to a new national online database.

There are 1,753 Jewish charities and foundations with a combined income of £739 million, according to a search of the Charity Trends site which has been launched by the Charities Aid Foundation.

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Jewish museum to open Saturdays

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

The Jewish Museum in London's decision to open on Saturdays from the end of this month could set a precedent for other Jewish cultural institutions.

The museum, which reopened last year in expanded premises in Camden, hopes to attract more non-Jewish visitors on Saturday as part of its brief to further interfaith understanding.

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Rabbis join call for a living wage

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

Two senior rabbis joined a special interfaith event in central London on Monday to mark the 10th anniversary of a pioneering anti-poverty campaign.

Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues, gave their support to the Citizens UK campaign for a living wage.

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Sorry about the Jew-burning, says Mallorca

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

On May 6 1691, Rabbi Raphael Valls, leader of the Chuetas, descendants of forced converts to Christianity in Mallorca who practised their Judaism in secret, was burned at the stake.

It was one of a series of auto da fes that year which took the lives of more than 30 Chuetas, the Catalan for "pigs", as the crypto-Jews were locally known.

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Thousands of Holocaust documents go online

By Simon Rocker, May 5, 2011

A new online database will make it easier to find out what happened to the thousands of artworks pillaged by the Nazis after Hitler's rise to power in 1933.

It is one of several initiatives in aid of Holocaust research that were announced this week in the wake of Yom Hashoah on Sunday.

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Starting soul collection

By Simon Rocker, April 28, 2011

Wimbledon Synagogue has started work on a book of its members' spiritual reflections.

They have been asked to submit contributions which record a "moment of meaning" or "something significant in your soul".

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild said some had written prayers, others had contributed stories about experiences which were special for them.

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Vote at EU is new threat to Shechitah

By Simon Rocker, April 28, 2011

Shechitah defence activists stepped up lobbying this week after Euro-MPs raised a fresh threat by voting again for meat labels to state if an animal has not been stunned before slaughter.

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Israel's royal celebration

By Simon Rocker, April 28, 2011

The last royal wedding must have taken place in Israel a couple of millennia ago and probably involved one of the Herods.

But some British expats are planning to celebrate today's marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

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Not so festive in Palestine

By Simon Rocker, April 28, 2011

Among those who made the Pesach exodus from London was Jewish Book Week director Geraldine D'Amico. But while others reclined in Herzliya or Eilat, she followed a different itinerary, visiting the West Bank as guest of the British Council-backed Palestine Festival of Literature.

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Musical mastermind

By Simon Rocker, April 28, 2011

JC editor Stephen Pollard will be on BBC Radio 4 on Monday lunchtime, but he won't be talking about antisemitism or Israel. He will be taking part in a heat of Counterpoint, a musical equivalent to Mastermind, where among other things he will be tested on his knowledge of Puccini.

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