The Shmooze

What Did Jon Stewart Think About Bibi's Speech?

By Dave Goldiner

What did Jon Stewart think about Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress?

It’s kinda NSFW, so you better watch the video.

Apparently, the late-night funny man was not impressed with the multiple standing ovations that Bibi received from the Congress. He wasn’t amused by all the soaring rhetoric about Iran, either.


Bibi's Speech in 'Game of Thrones' GIFs

By Lior Zaltzman

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was full of biblical, literary and pop culture references from Haman to Robert Frost. But when he said:

“In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.”

… we knew a meme must be born! Behold, Netanyahu’s speech summed up in Game of Thrones GIFs:

When he kept addressing Congress as: “my friends…”


When Netanyahu spoke of the story of Purim:


When Netanyahu mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini and Mughaniah:


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Say It With Nutella — Unless You're Jewish

By Anne Cohen

Courtesy of Nutella

You might want to reconsider those Nutella-filled hamentaschen this year.

The beloved purveyor of spreadable chocolate hazelnut goodness has banned certain words from its “Say it With Nutella” campaign, which allows people to customize their jar labels. This policy would be totally understandable if the list of so-called inappropriate words didn’t also include “Jewish,” “lesbian,” and “Muslim,” alongside reasonable options like “Hitler,” “poop” and various controversial sex acts.

For some reason, “Gay” and “Christian,” are both good to go.

In a statement, Ferrero (Nutella’s parent company) said that “negative or insulting messages were directly removed from the field of possibilities, the idea being to use the jar of Nutella as a communication medium to share enthusiasm … similarly, words of communities that are often subject to attacks by malicious people were removed from the proposals.”

For the record, “palm oil,” the controversial fat that makes Nutella taste like heaven on toast, is also banned.

Click here for the full list of banned words.

[h/t Grubstreet]


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

By Lior Zaltzman

It’s Dr. Seuss’s 111th birthday. You know him as the creator of “The Cat in the Hat” — but we want to celebrate his long career as a political cartoonist.

During the WW II era, Seuss drew over 400 political cartoons working for the left-leaning New York City daily newspaper, PM.

Yes, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is most famous for his children’s classics like the fabulously treif ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. But while Seuss’ fiction that captured the imaginations of many generations, it was in his politIcal cartooning that he proved to be a true ally of the Jews.

Many of Seuss’ cartoons have him sounding a warning bell, urging American to take action against Hitler’s massacre of the Jews in Europe, while shining a spotlight on the anti-Jewish sentiment at home in the US.

Here are some examples:


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WATCH: Trailer for Lena Dunham's 'Eloise' Doc

By Thea Glassman

Sorry quarter-life crisis — Lena Dunham has set her sights on something decidedly younger, milder and more whimsical.

The writer, director and actress debuted a trailer for her new documentary short, “It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise,” a portrait of Hilary Knight, the illustrator behind the beloved children’s book series “Eloise.”

The film — which premiered at Sundance and will air this spring on HBO —was born from Dunham’s friendship with the 88-year-old artist and her lifelong love of the vivacious little girl at the “tippity top floor of the Plaza Hotel”.

Knight, who reached out to Dunham after learning she had a tattoo of Eloise inked to her lower back, began the famed series in 1955 with Jewish author Kay Thompson. The books struck a chord with Dunham, who told the New York Daily News that the magic came from its spirited, often times troublesome, protagonist. “As a little girl you don’t see that many representations of yourself beyond a good little child with pigtails.” Duhman said. “So, it was meaningful.”

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Canadians 'Spock' Five-Dollar Bills

By Anne Cohen

Forget the split-fingered salute — Canadians have found a new way to honor “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy, who passed away at age 83 last week: they’re “Spocking” their five-dollar bills.

For the non-Canadians among you, this is in fact a long-standing tradition which involves drawing Vulcan eyebrows and pointy ears on the profile of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister and face of the fiver.

The practice was revived on Friday, when the Canadian Design Resource tweeted out the following message:

As you’d probably expect, the Bank of Canada is less than enthused about the whole thing. Spokeswoman Josianne Ménard put out the following statement:

It is not illegal to write or make other markings on bank notes because neither the Bank of Canada Act nor the Criminal Code deals with mutilation or defacement of bank notes. However, there are important reasons why it should not be done.

Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan. Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.

What a drag, eh?

For more “spocked”-fives, head over to Quartz.


Teaching Children to Deal with Loss — at Camp

By Masha Leon

There was not a dry eye at 693 Park Avenue as guest speaker Leslie Segrete, — TV personality, designer, decorator, host of A & E’s “$100 Makeover” and co-host of nationally syndicated radio show “The Money Pit”— told the 200 guests at the 16th Valentine Salon about her 4-year old son Henry’s journey to Westhampton Beach East End Hospice’s Camp Good Grief, the luncheon’s beneficiary.

Introduced by emcee and sister Stephanie Segrete Sack, as a “brave, resilient, vibrant single mom,” Leslie Segrete recounted: “It was 2012 — a great year for us… [Following] Hurricane Sandy…came home with a new baby. Did not seem that anything can go wrong. Life was going well. Taking turns feeding baby Charlie, I gave Ed a bottle, told him to change the diaper. That was the last time I saw Ed. He had a heart attack while feeing Charlie and died within half an hour of arriving at the hospital. He had heart disease without any symptoms.”

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William Shatner Will Miss Leonard Nimoy Funeral

By Reuters


William Shatner cannot attend the funeral of his friend and “Star Trek” co-star Leonard Nimoy because of a prior commitment for a charity ball, the actor said on Twitter on Saturday.

Shatner and Nimoy portrayed the two best-known characters on the original “Star Trek” television series launched in 1966 and in a series of films, with Shatner playing the adventurous Captain Kirk and Nimoy as the logic-bound, half-alien Mr. Spock.

Nimoy, who had battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), died on Friday at age 83 at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles.

Shatner said in a post on Twitter that he was in Florida, having previously agreed to appear at a Red Cross ball.

“Leonard’s funeral is tomorrow. I can’t make it back in time,” Shatner wrote, adding “I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried.”

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My Memories of Leonard Nimoy, Yiddish-Speaking Vulcan

By Masha Leon

I first met Leonard Nimoy — a.k.a. Spock from the hit TV series “Star Trek,” who died today at 83 on February 27, 2015 — when as a celebrity at the 1973 American Booksellers Convention in Anaheim, California. He stopped by my publishing company’s exhibit booth.

A distant Litvak cousin of my mother’s from Grodno Gubernie (Byten-Slonim) in what is now Belarus, he became a friend and would later be showcased in several of my columns.

Masha Leon and Leonard Nimoy, 1973 // Karen Leon

At the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre’s June 12, 2003 “Broadway Salutes Yiddish” Gala, Nimoy recalled his audition for Maurice Schwartz — actor/director who founded the Yiddish Art Theater. Nimoy joshed, “Schwartz’s wife said: ‘He looks like a goy!’ But when I replied in Yiddish, Schwartz nearly fainted. I got the job.” That night Nimoy sang Itzik Manger’s “Oyfn Veg Sheyt a Boym” (On The Road Stands A Tree) then offered the Vulcan split-finger parting gesture which, he explained, “I first saw as a boy in shul.”

My favorite handwritten Nimoy letter dated August 12, 1994 — on stationery headed Susan Bay Nimoy & Leonard Nimoy reads:

Dear Masha:

Thank you so much or your letter and columns. It means a lot to me to find myself in print in my Zeide’s favorite paper!

I read and enjoy your columns regularly! I was touched by your piece about the your father and totally agree that it was a pity that “only 600 supporters saw the National Foundation for Jewish Culture Awards.

Zei gezunt,
Leonard Nimoy

At the October 9, 2013 American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s benefit at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Nimoy was “beamed” onto the stage and set forth the IPO’s remarkable evolution from its 1933 nascence in Palestine — including a reference to violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s vision to bring Jewish
Courtesy of Masha Leon
Letter from Leonard Nimoy to Masha Leon
musicians from Europe to safety to its present world-class prominence.

A visibly fragile Nimoy left the stage and did not remain, as he had at past events, to mingle with the guests.

With my Nimoy correspondence I found the following Interview that appeared in a blurb from Publishers Weekly — possibly in conjunction with his 1973 ABA appearance: “By the time I was cast as the alien “Spock” in “Star Trek,” I had appeared in several other science fiction vehicles I usually played aliens. I suppose the reason was that I simply didn’t fit the image of the clean-cut astronaut from Terra. Whatever the explanation, I was happy to get the work… There is something very protective, very territorial that lives in the breast of the science fiction reader. Probably that accounts for the outpouring of mail to NBC, which resulted in “Star Trek” being continued for a third season. Many TV station managers have told me they’d rather not answer the phone when they take “Star Trek” off their rerun schedule.


Celebs Sit Virtual Shiva for Leonard Nimoy on Twitter

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Mr. Spock on the original “Star Trek,” passed away on Friday at the age of 83. While Trekkies everywhere are holding up their hands in four-fingered salutes, celebrities have chosen Twitter as their mourning medium of choice.

William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk alongside Nimoy’s Spock, wrote: “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.” Zachary Quinto, a.k.a. B-list Spock (sorry Zachary — I love you!) declared that his “heart was broken.” And Gary Shteyngart set his phaser to “weep.”

In the words of the late great, “Live long and prosper.”

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#TheDress — How About #TheYarmulke?

By Lior Zaltzman

Yesterday, #thedress toor over social media. You know the one. It went so viral that it even managed to create a rift in the KimYe home:

But what does it mean when the internet goes crazy over the color of a dress? Do we love kvetching so much that we’ll waste all night arguing over after a single item of clothing? Luckily, someone helped us regain perspective — and prevented the Internet from literally exploding:

But just for fun, we created our own controversy. Introducing #theyarmulke:

GUYS WHAT COLOR IS THIS YARMULKE?! We can’t decide!!! Is it white and blue or black and gold? OMG WE’RE FREAKING OUT.

What’s your pick? Let us know in the comments.


'Live Long and Prosper': The Jewish History of Mr. Spock

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

EDITOR’S NOTE: Leonard Nimoy, most famous for playing Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek,’ has passed away at the age of 83. Here’s how he came up with the hand gesture that made him famous.

Who could forget Mr. Spock’s trademark hand sign on “Star Trek”? It turns out that the distinctive salute was based on the Hebrew letter shin.

That’s the story behind the gesture, says Leonard Nimoy, who played the half-human, half-Vulcan character for decades in the various TV and film incarnations of “Star Trek.”

In a 2011 appearance at a synagogue in Maryland, Nimoy recalled explaining the need for a special greeting for the character. “Humans shake hands. Asian people bow to each other … What do Vulcans do?” he remembered asking a director.

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Watch Michael Oren Try to Imitate 'House of Cards'

By Anne Cohen

Just when you thought Israeli campaign videos couldn’t get any more lame (* cough * Bibi) you get Michael Oren trying to get in on the “House of Cards” craze.

In a new election video released online by Kulanu, Moshe Kahlon’s new political party in which Oren holds the third spot, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. does a really, really bad impression of Kevin Spacey.

“Tonight starts the new season of ‘House of Cards,’” says Oren in a sketchy Southern accent, speaking directly to the camera a la Frank Underwood. “It’s a TV program about dirty politics. If you’re tired of dirty politics in Israel, on March 17, you vote for Kulanu.”

Oy.

The third season of “House of Cards” is now available to stream on Netflix. But you knew that already.


Legalize It With Meretz

By Lior Zaltzman

Getty Images

Is it possible that the Israeli left finally has something in common with Moshe Feiglin?

Earlier last month, Meretz put out an elections ad showing them as the lamest party ever — but today it seems like they’re finally ready to be one of the cool kids — by lighting up a joint.

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Does Purim Boil Down to a Really Bad Date?

By Lior Zaltzman

Does the story of Purim just boil down to a really bad date? Our latest #OyDate tackles the story of Esther and Achashverosh as you’ve never heard it before.

Do you have your own horrific or hilarious stories about Jewish online (or offline dating)? Tweet us a story with #OYDATE to @jdforward. Or e-mail your stories to zaltzman@forward.com with the title OYDATE - for anonymity.



Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Ricky Gervais Talk About Hitler

By Anne Cohen

Put a couple of Jewish comedians in a room together and it’s only a matter of time before one of them mentions Hitler. This “Single Shot” montage from “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” just proves the point.

Watch Jerry Seinfeld make fun of the ultimate Big Bad with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Barry Marder, Ricky Gervais and Bill Burr. (Okay those last two aren’t Jewish, but who’s counting?)


Katy Perry Visits Auschwitz

By Anne Cohen

Katy Perry took a break from the European leg of her “Prismatic World Tour” to visit Auschwitz on Wednesday. The pop star posted shared a picture of the concentration camp with her 15 million Instagram followers with the following caption:

“My heart was heavy today.
For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazi murdered about one and a half million men, women and children mainly Jews from various countries of Europe.
Auschwitz - Birkenau
1940-1945
‘>The one that does not remember history is bound to live through it again’ — George Santayana”

No selfies were involved, and for this we are thankful.

Instagram/Katy Perry

[h/t Tablet]


Mayim Bialik's Scary Ironic Biblical Cat

By Anne Cohen

Mayim Bialik has a sense of humor.

The actress shared a picture of her cat on Instagram today with the caption: “My sleepy baby, Esau. (that’s an ironic Biblical name. Google it.)”

Once you recover from the sight of what is really a scary-looking hairless creature, the joke is pretty clever. Esau, in the Torah, is Isaac’s oldest son and Jacob’s twin brother. His name, in Hebrew, means “hairy” or “rough.”

This is how his birth is described in Genesis 25:25: “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.”

Good one, Mayim.

Instagram/Mayim Bialik


Monica Lewinsky's Life Has Been Turned Into a Mini-Series

By Anne Cohen

Remember when Monica Lewinsky tried to put that whole Bill Clinton scandal behind her by moving to Manhattan and starting her own handbag line?

Well, now the whole saga has been immortalized in a new 6-part DIY mini-series, the Fader reports.

The series, directed by Doron Max Hagay, seems loosely based on New York Magazine’s 2002 profile, “Monica Takes Manhattan,” which showed Lewinsky struggling with the Big Question: How does one get over being notorious? (Apparently, there’s a lot of yoga involved.)

“The obvious route of representing Monica as a joke or vixen was an appealing aspect of her story to play against, and once I began to ask questions in the process of figuring out the story, complexities began to emerge,” Hagay told the Fader. “I began to empathize with Monica, whom I saw as gravely hurt and misunderstood. I love melodrama, especially the films of Douglas Sirk, so crafting a narrative with a female protagonist whose desire to control her destiny and regain a semblance of normalcy, which fits in in the intensely emotional realm of melodrama, was exciting to me.”

The first episode (below) shows actress Lily Marotta (as Lewinsky) arriving in the West Village wearing her signature beret. For more, check out the project’s website here.


{h/t FADER]


This What You Get When You Combine Limp Bizkit and 'Seinfeld'

By Anne Cohen

Seinfeld and Limp Bizkit — two 90s phenomenon (ok, one is early 2000s, but bear with me). And there the similarities end. One has achieved cult status; the other — not so much. One is Jewish; the other — not so much.

But combine them, and you get something surprisingly, well, awesome.

Posted last Thursday, the video has already gotten over 350,000 views. Time for a Fred Durst comeback?


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