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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-06-16

Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: Dublin celebrates its most famous fictional Jewish citizen, kosher sushi comes to London, Rachel Stevens set to give Olympic performance and Guy Ritchie's Kabbalah book.

1. Blooming marvellous: Folks in Dublin have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, marking the day on which James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses featuring Jewish protagonist Leopold Bloom, was set. Bloom, an advertising salesman who spends much of the book drifting through one surreal situation after another, is cherished by the Emerald Isle. Ulysses can also rival the time it takes to read the Torah. According to an expert on the book, it takes an average of six months to read it, and once they've read it once, many people then re-read it. SJ's guide to other famous Blooms: Leo Bloom (the nebby Jewish accountant from Mel Brooks' The Producers), classic British actress Claire Bloom, and finally Bloom's – the once famous kosher powerhouse of the East End, now sadly relegated to a spot in Golders Green high street.

2. Sushi hero: Orthodox London Jews finally have the chance to indulge in a plate of Japanese delicacies with the opening of Sushi-koshi. Italian owner David Basevi currently runs the service as delivery only, but has plans to open a restaurant later this year. Highlights of the menu include mozzarella and tomato sushi, a sushi set that includes tuna, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel and sprat and of course lots of vegetarian options. The website address is but when SJ looked it appeared to be under construction with very little content. Let's hope their claimed 45 minute delivery actually works.

3. Generous Green: Retail tycoon Philip Green, the man who owns Top Shop as well as BHS and a whole host of other high street names has given a record donation to Jewish Care. The billionaire, who is in the process of trying to nab Marks And Spencer, made the generous gift in December but the news has only just become public. Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris called the donation "tremendous".

4. Rachel's Olympic performance: The UK's sexiest Semitic star Rachel Stevens is to be one of the headline acts at London's Olympic Torch Relay concert, to take place in The Mall on June 26. The event marks the arrival of the Olympic flame in London, and to celebrate Rachel
will join the likes of James Brown, Will Young and Rod Stewart at the show.

5. Guy's the limit: Film director Guy Ritchie, a dedicated follower of The Kabbalah Centre and its take on Kabbalah, is setting his creative sights to writing a book about how the likes of the Zohar have changed his life for the better. In doing so, he follows spouse Madonna – or Esther as she now prefers to be known – who is writing a children's book on Kabbalah. What next? Four-year-old Rocco Ritchie asks for an early Barmitzvah?

6. A play looking at the life of the Jewish community in Calcutta has finally made it to London. Calcutta Kosher, by Shelley Silas, is an autobiographical account. Writing for SJ, Shelley revealed: "One of the themes Calcutta Kosher deals with, is how to keep your own culture and identity, when all around you is in opposition to that." The play is currently showing at the Stratford East Theatre.

7. Back to its Jewish roots: The Odeon cinema chain may finally be returning back to a Jewish owner. Iranian property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz has bid £350 for the chain, founded by Birmingham-born Jew Oscar Deutsch (legend suggests that the name Odeon stands for Oscar
Deutsch Entertains Our Nation).