The Shmooze

Monica Lewinsky Gets National Magazine Award Nod

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Monica Lewinsky has been nominated for a National Magazine Award for her Vanity Fair essay commenting on her relationship with Bill Clinton.

In “Shame and Survival,” published in June, broke Lewinsky’s near-ten years of silence about the affair that nearly brought down a president:

“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened,” Lewinsky wrote in her essay, which earned Vanity Fair its sole 2015 nomination. “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position… . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”

Sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors since 1966, the awards “honor print and digital publications that consistently demonstrate superior execution of editorial objectives, innovative techniques, noteworthy journalistic enterprise and imaginative art direction.”

The winners will be revealed on February 2 at a ceremony held in New York at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.


Bethenny Frankel Wants to Sell You Munchie-Free Weed

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Love weed but hate the munchies? Bethenny Frankel is your new best friend.

Frankel —  who launched the empire that provides you with your weekly fix of Skinnygirl margarita mix— has supposedly announced that she will be peddling a kind of pot that keeps you high without sending you on an bodega Ruffles expedition in the middle of the night.

“It will be a specially engineered strain of pot designed to not give you the munchies,” an insider close to Frankel told Us Weekly. “She read about how profitable the cannabis industry is and wants to get in on that.”

TMZ reports that the new Skinnygirl product would be available in “states where recreational marijuana is legal … like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.”

Frankel has neither confirmed nor denied this story.


Ayn Rand, Worst Jewish Aunt — Ever

By Anne Cohen

Lior Zaltzman

It’s hard to imagine Ayn Rand as having a warm and fuzzy family life.

And yet, this letter to her niece Connie shows that Rand — born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum in 1905 to Russian-Jewish parents —  did indeed have humans who loved her. Well, maybe. The missive (posted below) outlines the rather, um, severe conditions under which Rand would loan her sister’s daughter (not some stranger — and even then, come on) $25 to buy a graduation dress. If I were Connie, I would probably have waved bye bye to scary aunt Ayn after this doozy.

You think your aunts are bad? Read it and weep:

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Sarah Silverman Makes Marvel Comic Cameo

By Anne Cohen

Scott Koblish/Marvel Entertainment

You don’t have to tell me that Sarah Silverman is a superhero(ine).

Marvel’s latest Deadpool comic features a cameo by your favorite potty-mouthed Jewess, protesting the big bad Roxxon company, which appears in several Marvel comics series. In addition to being high on the red carpet, Silverman is well-known for her environmental activism.

According to the Times of Israel, Silverman joins a prominent list of Jewish celebrities who have peeked out of the pages of comics past. Gilda Radner, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis and Woody Allen have also had the honor.

Super Sarah to the rescue!


'Grand Budapest Hotel' Leads Oscar Nominations

By Anne Cohen

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards. Winners will be revealed in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, when Neil Patrick Harris makes his debut as Oscars host. Leading the pack is Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel,” inspired by the writings of Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig, with 9 nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director).

Also in the kind-of-Jewish movie category is “Ida,” Poland’s nominee for best cinematography and best foreign-language film, which tells the tale of a Catholic nun who learns that her parents were Jews killed in the Holocaust. “Wild Tales,” directed by the Argentinian-Jewish Damian Szifron, also earned a nom in the latter category.

Here’s the full list — better get started on those Oscar ballots:

Following is a list of nominees in leading categories.

BEST PICTURE

“American Sniper”
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST ACTOR

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

BEST ACTRESS

Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

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I'll Always Have Paris

By Masha Leon

The events in France have prompted a reminder of how France and things French have punctuated my life.

As a child in pre-World War II Warsaw I remember my parents’ friends describe visits to Paris as a place where you can “otemen frei” — breathe freely.

In Vilno on June 15, 1940 we went to see the American film “Marie Antoinette” about the French Revolution. As my parents and I emerged from the theater, Soviet tanks were rolling down the street and Lithuania had lost its independence. In Kobe, Japan in 1941, I attended Ecole Ste Marie, a convent school, where French nuns taught us Jewish refugee children English and French — and even tried to replicate a Seder.

The lingua franca of my husband’s father’s family — from pre-British Mandatory Palestine to Alexandria to France, Switzerland, Israel, and Algeria was French. His uncle had served in WWII in the French army and spent part of the war in a German POW camp. Their son — like the little boy in filmmaker Claude Berri’s “The Two of Us” —  was hidden by a French farmer who was not too fond of Jews but took pity on the child.

Marek Halter and Ambassador Francois Delattre, 2004 // Photo by Karen Leon

Our 1967 visit to Paris — a few weeks after the Six Day War — offered a little window on what it was like to live as a Jew in France at the time. In a restaurant, the Maitre D’ greeted us with hauteur as “Americains” then quickly warmed up when he saw the “chai” I was wearing and whispered “Vous etes Juifs?” (Are you Jews?) adding sotto voce “Moi aussi” (me too).

During my August 1987 interview of Beri (ne Claude Berel Langmann) who had been hidden during the Nazi occupation with an anti-Semitic French farmer (portrayed by French superstar Michel Simon) told me “I made that movie not only against anti-Semitism…but prejudice.” Did he know Marek Halter, I asked referring to the activist who as a child escaped the Warsaw Ghetto and immigrated to France in 1950 where he founded the International Committee for a Negotiated Peace Agreement in the Near East.

“He is more involved in the Jewish thing,” Berri told me. “I am a man of the West not first a Jew.” Does he see himself as a Jew or Frenchman? “ Berri replied, “Probablement as a Jew….but I can be more close with an Arab than a Jew, depends on the man. It was never for me ‘Jew first.”

On June 9, 2004, then newly appointed French Consul General in New York Francois Delattre (now France’s Ambassador to the United States who on January 11 was among the more than 1000+ crowd at the Memorial service for the 17 victims of Terror in France held at Lincoln Square Synagogue) had hosted a reception for Marek Halter who was here to publicize his latest novel, “Sarah” — the first of a trilogy about Biblical women.

Later that day, at a reception for Halter at Mortimer Zuckerman’s home, I asked Marek in Yiddish “What about anti-Semitism in France?” He winced. “As long as France is a democracy….” he trailed off. He was downhearted that the marches he had once organized against “anti-semitisme et racisme” that used to empower tens of thousands to march, through the streets of Paris “can hardly muster a couple of thousand.” Wherever Marek may be now, he must be aware of outpouring not of just thousands — but of millions.


Jen Glantz is Your Bridesmaid for Hire

By Martyna Starosta and Maia Efrem

Wedded to the Business from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

First comes love, then the proposal, then the nightmare of wedding planning. But brides — and grooms — no longer need to bear the burden of planning on their own. Copy editor by day and professional bridesmaid by night, Jen Glantz is the “gal pal you never knew you needed.” Glantz turned her experience as a bridesmaid for her friends into a business venture with Bridesmaid for Hire.

Glantz, 26, first made headlines in July 2014 when she posted an ad on Craigslist for her services and received hundreds of responses from brides around the world. Since then she’s put two weddings under her belt and is swiftly booking up through 2017. She’s expanding so fast, in fact, that she’s looking to hire other bridesmaids to tackle more weddings.

With four packages ranging from $300 to $1,000, Glantz will help you check off your massive to-do list, be the bridesmaid by your side and even serve as an undercover bridesmaid for the maid of honor.

It certainly looks like Hollywood had the same idea with the Josh Gad and Kevin Hart comedy “The Wedding Ringer.” In it, Gad’s character hires Hart as the ultimate fake groomsman for his upcoming nuptials.

A native of Boca Raton, Florida, Glantz moved to New York three years ago and now works at an advertising tech startup. Her 2013 e-book “All My Friends Are Engaged” is a collection of Glantz’s dating disaster stories and advice for single women everywhere.

The Forward’s Martyna Starosta and Maia Efrem caught up with Glantz about stressed-out brides, the impact of social media on weddings and surviving the happiest day of your life.

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Push Your Way to Front Like Bibi

By Ben Sales

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a knack for embroiling himself in political sideshows during foreign memorial services.

He entered Israel’s latest tempest in a teapot earlier this week, attending the march for victims of France’s terror attacks even though French President Francois Hollande asked him not to. Israeli media outlets are now reporting that Netanyahu pushed his way past other world leaders so he could get to the front of the crowd.

Among his previous funeral-related controversies: When British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, Netanyahu came under fire domestically for installing a $127,000 bed on the plane for his five-hour flight to the state funeral — right when he was trying to pass an austerity budget.

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Amazon Signs Woody Allen to Direct TV Show

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Amazon.com Inc said it signed Woody Allen to write and direct a new TV series for its video streaming service.

The half-hour series will be shown on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video in the United States, the UK and Germany, Amazon said.

The company said it had ordered an entire season of the “Untitled Woody Allen Project,” Allen’s first TV series.

“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin,” the “Annie Hall” director said in a statement on Tuesday.

This isn’t Allen’s first foray into grand world of television. In 1969, the world was introduced to “The Woody Allen Special,” a variety show in the loosest sense of the word, which involved Allen doing stand-up, multiple comedy sketches featuring Candice Bergen and an interview with the Reverend Billy Graham. It’s as weird as it sounds.

Don’t believe me? Watch a clip below:

With Reuters


PHOTO: Charlie Hebdo's Latest Cover

By Anne Cohen

Charlie Hebdo will be back en force on Wednesday, after a terror attack that left 12 dead.

The magazine is set to release a record-breaking 3 million copies this week, dwarfing its usual print run of 60,000 in response to soaring demand for the first edition of the satirical weekly since last week’s deadly attacks by Islamist militants.

Charlie Hebdo staff has been working out of makeshift offices at French newspaper Libération. On Sunday, at least 3.7 million people took part throughout France in marches of support for Charlie Hebdo and freedom of expression.

The cover, published Monday night in anticipation of Wednesday’s release, shows the prophet Mohammed holding a #JeSuisCharlie sign. The caption above reads: “All is forgiven.”

With Reuters


Jeff Goldblum Is Going to Be a Daddy

By Anne Cohen

Mazel tov! Jeff Goldblum and new wife Emilie Livingston are expecting their first child together.

The happy couple revealed the news during an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman” on Friday.

“She’s pregnant!” Goldblum, 62, gushed “She’s three months pregnant.” “She told me the day before we got married that she’s pregnant. It’s a boy,” he added.

Fortunately for the unborn child, Goldblum seems to have veered away from his previous baby name picks. Calling your kid Coda or Mingus is like posting a call to bullies everywhere. “If it stays, our current thinking is Elliot Charlie,” the actor told Letterman.

Goldblum married actress/gymnast Livingston, 31 in November at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont.


Social Justice Was The Golden Globes' Biggest Winner

By John A. Oswald

Jeffrey Tambor, Jill Soloway celebrate their win for ‘Transparent’ // Getty Images

George Clooney had one.

Kathy Bates, Diane Kruger and Dame Helen Mirren too.

Signs and buttons with the simple but powerful words “Je Suis Charlie” — French for “I am Charlie” – were everywhere Sunday at the Golden Globes ceremony.

The usually raucous night took on a decidedly somber tone as A-listers showed their support for France after last week’s deadly terror attack at the office of French humor magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and hostage standoff at a Jewish supermarket.

French Jews were particularly rattled — so much so that the famed Grand Synagogue in the Marais canceled Friday night Sabbath services for the first time in 70 years.

Stars jumped to their feet inside the Beverly Hilton after the head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association paired the Charlie attacks with the recent hacking at Sony that prompted the studio to yank Seth Rogen’s The Interview,” a farce about the fictional assassination of North Korea’s dictator.

Getty Images
Jared Leto declared “Je Suis Charlie” while presenting at the Golden Globes.

“As international journalists we also understand the importance of freedom of expression. As not only an integral part of the American fabric, but a beacon that is reflected across the globe. Together, we will stand united against anyone who would repress free speech, anywhere from North Korea to Paris,” Theo Kingma said to thunderous applause.

Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto, a presenter at last night’s show,also paused to also pay tribute.

“To our brothers, sisters, friends and families in France, our thoughts, our prayers, our hearts are with you tonight,” he said. “On vous aime. Je suis Charlie.”

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Jewish Stars Wow in Red on Golden Globes Red Carpet

By John A. Oswald

Just call it a comeback – on the red carpet – for “Girls” creator Lena Dunham, who wowed in a stunning ruby red satin Zac Posen (who else!) number at the 72nd Annual Golden Globes Awards Sunday night.

Dunham, one of four Jewish actresses nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, rolled snake eyes inside the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles – she and her HBO dramedy both lost out.

But it was a different story outside. A year after Dunham’s hideous canary yellow disaster, also a Posen, landed her on E!’s Worst Dressed list, she hit it out of the park with the high-low sculpted gown with boat neck neckline.

The matching ruby heels and understated jewelry choices rounded out the fashion win. This was actually the third time for Dunham in Posen (also Jewish) – two years ago he adorned her in an off-the-shoulder aubergine creation.

Getty Images
Julianna Margulies’ Bulgari ring

Red appeared to be a favorite choice for many actresses Sunday. “Good Wife” star Julianna Margulies wore an ankle-skimming red floral gown by Ulyana Sergeenko but it the Bulgari ring she borrowed for the night that she wanted to talk about.

Margulies, who was up for best actress in a TV series, said she couldn’t stop herself from waving it at her handsome hubby Keith Lieberthal. But he didn’t flinch.

“He gets the hint, but he’s not stepping up!” she complained (we’re sure she can afford it on her own, it must be said).

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America-Israel Cultural Foundation Celebrates Its 75th

By Masha Leon

The America-Israel Cultural Foundation’s 75th Gala Celebration at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall was a thrilling event. Host and past AICF honoree Itzhak Perlman recounted that as an 11-year old fifty-nine years ago upon receiving his scholarship from Israel’s then PM Moshe Sharett (who had changed his name from Shertok to Sharett) he’d been urged by the PM to Hebraicize his family name. Perlman smiled: “Had I changed my name to Ish-Peninim (Hebrew for Perlman) “Would anyone have heard or spoken of Perlman playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major?”

Honoree violinist Miri Ben-Ari accepted her award from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of Harman International. Ben-Ari, a Grammy award-winning violinist, producer, humanitarian and UN Goodwill Ambassador of Music, is CEO of “Gedenk”, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness among young people about the Jewish Holocaust. A classically trained violinist she has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy Award winners including Kanye West, Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Patti La Belle, Janet Jackson, — some of whom are featured in her album “The Hip-Hop Artist.” Starting at five, she got her violin from Isaac Stern, founder of AICF. A frequent performer at president Clinton parties, she performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication in Washington D.C. Her single “Symphony of Brotherhood” was the first instrumental single to hit Billboard’s Hip Hop/R&B charts.

Nicole Assaad and Eres Ben Zion Milatin // Photo by Karen Leon

Thanking the 1200 attendees, for “supporting the talented youth of Israel — the heart of this wonderful country ‘s artistic life and spirit,” AICF president Bill Schwartz lauded the Haggai Cohen Milo Ensemble who opened the program, then added a few more Ben-Ari kudos: “She was honored at the White House as a ‘Remarkable Woman’ by First Lady Michelle Obama and has received the Al Sharpton Martin Luther King Community Service Award” as well as the first Dr. Martin Luther King Israeli Award from President Shimon Peres.

A highlight of the event was the exquisite performance by 12-year old ballerina Amit Hason who danced “Variation from “La Esmeralda” — choreography by Petipa — and a sparkling Past-de-deux interpreted by Gelsey Kirkland Ballet dancers Erez Ben-Zion Milatin and Nicole Assaad. An extraordinary talented 12-year old cellist Daniella Akta and mezzo soprano Maya Lahyani were among the event’s memorable artists.

Since 1939 AICF has supported 17,000 young artists with scholarships and has contributed to the growth of more than 600 of Israel’s leading arts institutions. Alumni include: Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zuckerman, Yefim Bronfman, David Broza, The Jerusalem Quartet, and more…

David Homan executive director if AICF mused: “There will be a time in Israel when there are no more survivors and it will be a different Israel. When I think of what we will have when the memories fade, I think of all that we do together to keep those memories alive. The music, theatre, dance, art and film that Israel produces and is so vibrant around the world and is so amazing of what AICF ‘s 75 years of support has brought.


First Look at Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher's Baby

By Anne Cohen

In October, Ashton Kutcher posted pictures of 8 different babies to Twitter, announcing that one of them was Wyatt Isabelle, his newborn daughter with Mila Kunis.

Now, we’ve got the read deal. The couple’s holiday card, showing off the 3-month-old infant, have been leaked online.

While dressing up your newborn child as a pig isn’t the most kosher of projects, we’ll let it slide. It’s just too cute. Mazel tov!


Jewish 'Bachelorette' Andi Dorfman Calls Off Engagement

By Maia Efrem

Getty Images

Just when you let your guard down and started believing that true love really does exist —  and that it can be found on a TV show, no less — reality slaps you right across the face.

TMZ reports that Bachelorette Andi Dorfman and fiancée Josh Murray have called off their eight-month long engagement, to the swift sound of lady hearts breaking across the nation.

The couple first stole our hearts last summer as millions tuned in to watch the first Jewish “Bachelorette” and the former baseball player declare their undying love in the Dominican Republic. Then we followed them as they continued their picture perfect relationship on social media, looking adorable and sickeningly lovey-dovey on their Instagram feeds.

We should have known better.

Not surprising, though, that the two kept news of their split a secret until after Monday’s “Bachelor” premiere on ABC. The two appeared as close as ever on the red carpet as they talked about delaying wedding planning.

Well, better luck next time, Josh.

And Andi, have we got a nice guy for you. Call us when you’re ready.


Are The Kardashians Moving to Tel Aviv?

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Brace yourself Tel Aviv, the Kardashians are coming.

The Times of Israel reports that Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian have their eye on $30 million worth of real estate on the city’s A-list Hayarkon Street. The sisters would apparently combine a fourth floor apartment and 11,840 square feet penthouse to create the ultimate Kardashian krash pad.

The property in question, at 96 Hayarkon street, dates back to 1935 and was designed by architect Pinchas Bijonski in the Bauhaus style. The renovated building, opened to the public in 2012, combined the original structure with a 9-story tower.

Check out the inside here:

Scott Disick, Kourtney’s boyfriend and father of her three kids, is Jewish (and has the bling to prove it). Can we look forward to a krazy Kardashian wedding in Israel sometime soon? We’d settle for a glimpse of Kanye at the kotel.


When Charlie Hebdo Lampooned Jews Too

By Anne Cohen

On January 7, three gunmen open fired at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, including two police officers. Four of France’s most celebrated cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous, were among the victims. It’s easy to speculate about what sparked this deadly attack. Charlie Hebdo wasn’t exactly known for its tact or subtlety — in November 2011, the publication’s offices were firebombed a day after publishing a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.

But it would be a mistake to think that the popular magazine only targeted Islam. It thumbed its nose at everyone, reflecting mostly the bad and the ugly, but also the good, of French society as a whole — Jews included. Here are a couple of examples:

Charlie Hebdo/ via Daily Beast

An Orthodox Jew, the Pope and an Imam yell: “Charlie Hebdo must be veiled!”


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9 Jews To Look Out For at The Golden Globes

By Anne Cohen

As we all get ready to worship at the altar of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on Sunday, take a moment to check out which of your favorite Jewish actors/directors/writers are being honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The 72nd Annual Golden Globes Awards will air at 8 p.m. (EST) on NBC on Jan. 11, 2015. Good luck to all members of the tribe!

Jake Gyllenhaal

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama — ”Nightcrawler”


Maggie Gyllenhaal

Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie — “The Honorable Woman”


Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical — ”Inherent Vice”


Liev Schreiber

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama — ”Ray Donovan”


Louis C.K.

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy — ”Louie”


Jeffrey Tambor

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy — ”Transparent”


Julianna Margulies

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama — “The Good Wife”


Lena Dunham

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy — ”Girls”


Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy — ”Veep”


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Cameron Diaz's 'Jewish' Wedding

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Mazel tov, Cameron Diaz! At least, we think so.

The non-Jewish actress tied the knot yesterday in a Jewish ceremony with Good Charlotte’s (maybe Jewish? — status ambiguous) Benji Madden. Yes, you read that right. Two celebrities with no apparent connection to Judaism decided it would be fun to say “I do” under a chuppah (after scouring the Internet, I was unable to find any reference to Benji’s Jewish background, but hey — who knows).

Us Weekly reports that the ceremony, attended by 100 guests and planned by Yifat Oren (so THERE’S the Jewish connection) and Stefanie Cove, was held on a stage in Diaz’s home.

The traditional seven blessings were recited, and yes, Benji crushed the glass as twin Joel Madden and his wife Nicole Ritchie looked on.

But wait, it gets weirder. Per Us Weekly:

After the vows, Madden requested personal time with Diaz, during which they entered a private room for about 30 minutes, asking not to be disturbed — a Jewish wedding ritual known as Yichud.

I’m not really sure how to feel about this. Is Good Charlotte a good Jewish band? Or Is Judaism just the new kale?


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