Elaine Stritch, who died on July 17 at 89, was as feisty off-stage as on— whether belting out the the ode to imbibing: “The Ladies Who Lunch” or the survival anthem “I’m Still Here!.”
A presence at many a New York City bash, she was a participant in the November 17, 2003 “Stella By Starlight” Gala at the Rainbow Room to benefit the Stella Adler School of Acting. Stritch — an alumna — recalled: “When Ellen (Stella’s daughter) and I were both dating Marlon (Brando), Stella invited him to lunch at the Plaza. After lunch she said, ‘Marlon, you are not going to see Ellen any more…unless, darling, you marry her!’” Stritch chuckled: “Three waiters dropped their trays.” Stritch also recalled: “Stella made a purchase at Tiffany’s and when asked where to send it, she gave a New York address. ‘I thought you were English’ said the sales lady.’ Stella replied: ‘I’m not British… just affected.’” Stritch smiled: “I started to talk like her! And it scared the s**t out of me!”
Elaine Stritch and Masha Leon // Photo by Karen Leon
When I called Ellen Adler for some Stritch memories, she told me that her mother — grand dame of the legendary Adler Yiddish Theater dynasty — would say: “’When students come to me, they are bums. They don’t know how to talk, how to walk. When they leave me, they are artists.’” As an afterthought, Ellen Adler said: “When Marlon and Elaine were my mother’s students — both he and my mother would always yell at Stritch ‘Silence’!’”
The Backstreet Boys canceled three sold-out concerts in Israel due to the Gaza conflict.
The American pop band posted a message Sunday on its official website announcing the cancellation of the July 29-31 concerts at the Raanana Amphitheater “to assure the safety of the audience.” New dates will be scheduled for the spring.
“This is a major disappointment for the band and fans as this was to be our first visit to Israel and we looked forward to meeting our fans,” the message said.
Canadian singer Paul Anka also canceled two concerts set for this week in Tel Aviv. The concerts will be rescheduled “once the local situation is resolved,” according to a statement issued by his representative.
Earlier, the Gaza conflict forced the cancellations of a Neil Young concert in Tel Aviv and a performance by the band America.
What does carbon dioxide have in common with the persecuted Jews of Nazi Germany?
Plenty, at least according to Princeton University physics Prof. William Happer.
On CNBC’s July 14 edition of Squawk Box, a morning news and business segment, Happer said: “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”
The bizarre comparison came in a discussion about climate change, which Happer has denied in the past. He was a featured guest “expert” on the subject, even though he has never published peer-reviewed research on climate change
Happer also complained that he has been vilified for his unorthodox views and compared himself to Galileo, whose round-earth theory was slammed by the establishment of his day.
Jon Stewart featured Happer’s quote in his “Moment of Zen” segment on Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Show.
(Haaretz) — If you were wondering what sexual position was most appropriate in a bomb shelter, don’t. That’s some of the advice Dr. Ruth Westheimer gave an audience in Tel Aviv Wednesday night.
The sprightly 4-foot-7, 86-year-old lost her parents in the Holocaust and was a sniper in the Haganah, prestate Israel’s underground army. But it was her sex advice over the radio that made her famous back in the ‘80s in the United States. On Wednesday, she addressed a crowd of 650 on the ninth day of Israel’s air offensive in Gaza.
The escalation between Israel and Hamas was very much in the background; Dr. Ruth applauded the audience for holding out despite the situation. Meanwhile, the event’s organizer, the Tel Aviv International Salon, reassured people that if the air-raid siren went off, they were in a safe zone.
“I want to applaud you for your resilience and taking the time to talk about subject matter that I am still talking about almost every day, even though I’m 86,” she said to laughter from the crowd, who had been woken up that morning by a siren. Then came her rundown on good sex, with a healthy dose of Jewish tradition mixed in.
“For Jews, sex has never been a sin; it’s always been a mitzvah,” she said in her famous German accent. And if you want to be “sexually literate,” as she put it, it’s better to be in a relationship. “I’m talking about relationships and commitment. Did you hear me? Commitment,” she said to laughter from the audience of mostly young professionals who have immigrated to Israel.
What else is key for a good sex life? Women must take responsibility for their sexual satisfaction, a message she noted that women in the United States had heard loud and clear. A couple’s relationship is a vital part of the puzzle. Don’t talk about past partners, “Use sechel,” she advised, using the Hebrew word for good sense. And don’t get too used to a vibrator.
Another important rule of thumb, if you’ve had an affair and don’t want a divorce, if you want someone else besides your partner, or if you sometimes don’t find your partner attractive, just don’t say it out loud. “You can have a whole soccer team in bed with you in your imagination,” she said. “Just keep your mouth shut.”
How did Chelsea Handler ‘Nazi’ this coming?
July 14, Chelsea did a Hitler parody on her E! talk show, “Chelsea Lately.” Two days later came the Anti-Defamation League’s condemnation.
During the parody, Chelsea’s sidekick, Chuy, dressed up as Hitler. When asked why, he told the audience it was in response to Germany’s World Cup victory. Various Nazi jokes were tossed around, continuing past the skit and into the program.
One panelist said, “I’m a Jew, but I’m still glad that Germany won. It’s nice for them to have something gold that they didn’t pry out of my grandfather’s mouth.”
How far is too far?
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said, “While we try to give comedians leeway and do not believe that Nazi jokes should be completely off-limits, this was an instance of taking a Hitler parody to the extreme” and that “Chelsea Handler’s references to it throughout the program and her connecting it with Germany’s World Cup victory took the joke way overboard.”
He continued to say that it was “offensive and hurtful to Holocaust survivors and their families, and to members of the German team and all Germans.”
Germany’s World Cup victory in general has kept the ADL very busy, as Handler’s denouncing follows the ADL’s criticism of all the Nazi jokes that spread like wildfire on Twitter following the match.
(JTA) — Were Hitler jokes taken too far on the late-night comedy show “Chelsea Lately”? The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) certainly thought so.
“While we try to give comedians leeway and do not believe that Nazi jokes should be completely off-limits, this was an instance of taking a Hitler parody to the extreme,” the ADL said in a statement issued Wednesday, calling it “tasteless, offensive and hurtful both to Holocaust survivors and their families, and to members of the German team and all Germans.”
Dressed as Hitler, host Chelsea Handler’s sidekick Chuy Bravo cracked jokes about Nazi Germany throughout a segment about Germany’s World Cup victory on Monday night’s show.
The gag was used to promote the E! network show on Twitter: “Tonight! Nazis, selfies and LeBron James!” This isn’t the first time Chelsea’s name has come up in reference to Nazi Germany. Raised Jewish, Handler discovered the extent of her Nazi ancestry on TLC’s reality show “Who Do You Think You Are?” when she learned that her grandfather fought for the Reich during World War II.
One disgruntled scriptwriter for the show, has even argued that Holocaust jokes are a virtual expectation on the show. In the 2011 book “Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me,” Brad Wollack writes: “The rule at ‘Chelsea Lately’ is that it hasn’t been a productive morning writers meeting if I haven’t made a 9/11 or Holocaust joke (and I’m talking about the Jewish Holocaust).”
But Chelsea Handler is hardly the only one referencing Nazi Germany in response to Germany’s win.
The YouTube channel FegelDolfParodies, which describes itself as “a channel dedicated to ‘Downfall’ and ‘Angry German Kid’ parodies,” also produced a parody to mark Germany’s win, as did Hitler Rants Parodies, another YouTube channel that produces videos taking the 2004 film “Downfall” and re-subtitling them in a comedic manner. (Yes, there are apparently multiple YouTube channels devoted to parodies of one Holocaust-themed film.)
Meanwhile, the “Chelsea Lately” segment in question is nowhere to be found on the Internet, perhaps purged by the show’s producers given its controversial nature.
(Reuters) — An African-American character will soon strap on the star-emblazoned shield and step into the red, white and blue uniform of Captain America in the pages of Marvel Comics.
The character of Captain America first appeared in 1941, as a super soldier fighting the Nazis. He was revived by Marvel in the 1960s and became an icon among Marvel’s lineup of heroes.
The change in characters was announced on the publisher’s official website on Wednesday. It is built around the retirement of Captain America’s original alter ego, Steve Rogers, who finds he has lost the extraordinary strength and agility he had once gained from injections of performance-enhancing “super soldier serum.”
Rogers will hand the Captain America persona to his much younger friend and cohort, the character Sam Wilson, already a comic book star in his own right as the true identity behind the winged superhero known as Falcon.
A three-page explanation of the transformation was posted under the headline: “It’s time for an all-new Captain America.” It was authored by Marvel writer-artist Rick Remender and editor Tom Brevoort, part of the creative team involved in the publisher’s re-launch of several of its popular heroes.
Rookie Cleveland Cavaliers Coach David Blatt won a European title with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Now he gets to coach Lebron James. Getty Images
One year ago, David Blatt was working with Maccabi Tel Aviv’s management on signing new players for the upcoming season. A year later, Blatt is coaching the best basketball player on the planet — LeBron James.
After spending nearly a decade at the heralded Israeli club, Blatt was recently hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the first Israeli to ever coach a team in the NBA.
When Blatt signed the contract with the Cavs, he knew that they were heavily pursuing James, but he also knew there was no guarantee. Even if the Cavs didn’t sign James, Blatt would still be happy, given how hard he has worked to reach the NBA.
After James announced he was returning to Cleveland, Blatt realized how quickly things had changed since he signed his contract.
Suddenly the Cavilers are expected to make the playoffs, as they have all-star Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, who was the number one pick in this year’s NBA draft, and the king himself, LeBron James.
The question now is, will David Blatt live up to the pressure?
To find out, the Forward spoke with David Pick, a senior Correspondent for Eurobasket.com. Pick is currently in Las Vegas, covering the NBA summer league.
We asked Pick about what we should expect from Blatt in his first season in charge and if Blatt would be able to transform his coaching style from European basketball to an NBA style. Pick spent the season as a beat writer for Maccabi Tel Aviv and developed a relationship with Blatt on and off the court.
Raphael Gellar: When the season ends, do you think the Cavs will have had a successful season under David Blatt?
Our favorite Jewish late-night talk show host tackled the violence in the Middle East last night — with a few sharp-tongued yucks aimed at Israel.
In a two-minute segment on the Gaza conflict, Jon Stewart highlighted the “asymmetrical” nature of the two sides pitted against each other.
“Both sides are engaging in aerial bombardment, but one side appears to be bomb-better at it,” Stewart said with a grin.
Israel, with its Iron Dome missile defense system and smart phone technology, has the means to save and warn many more citizens than their Gaza counterparts, the funnyman noted.
“Most Hamas rockets are neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome technology and Israeli citizens can even download an Iron Dome app,” Stewart explained. This alert system, which can be accessed by any Android or iPhone, alerts citizens of incoming missiles. So far, this app has been downloaded by about 500,000 Israelis.
Palestinians cannot be quite so sanguine about the conflict, he noted.
“How are the Gazans notified?” Stewart deadpanned. “The Israeli military warns Gaza residents of imminent bombing with a smaller, warning bombing.” He smiled. “An amuse-boom, if you will.”
Want to have your own slice of the war in the Middle East?
You can bid on your very own “Hamas Missile Debris” on HappySale, an Israeli based auction website. The seller, Yochay Benarie, is asking for 500 shekels, or $146.70, for the fragment.
Benarie, who lives in Tel Aviv, put up the debris for auction yesterday, and since then, the page has had more than 6,000 views, no doubt helped by a Buzzfeed article that features the Hamas Missile Debris for sale. The debris is marked, “Slightly Used,” so consider those words before placing your bid. According to Benarie, it is “99.9% safe.”
Another commenter replied, “So basically I only have 0.01% of losing a finger? Hmmm… I’ll think about it :)”
Benarie also assures potential buyers that he can sell multiple fragments of the missile, and that they come in different sizes.
(JTA) — I just got a text from someone who’s trying to blow me up.
“The stupidity of your leaders put all of Israel under fire, and forced all the Israelis to go into shelters,” it said, sent by a user named SMSQASSAM. “We will continue bombing every place in Israel until they answer all of our legitimate claims with total affirmation.”
It was signed, “The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,” Hamas’ militia.
Hamas is texting me. Awesome.
This isn’t the first time. Hamas has hacked Israeli phones several times during this and other times of conflict, sending messages to tens of thousands of Israelis.
I don’t know for sure if I can credit Hamas with this, but a text I got Friday from someone named SHABAK informed me that a “Suicide bomber sneaked into Tel Aviv and Center targeting shelters. Beware of strangers in shelters.”
Leaving aside how one suicide bomber could target more than one bomb shelter, I’m guessing that text wasn’t from the Israel Security Agency, called the Shabak. Maybe it was from Hamas.
Two days earlier, I got a text from a user named “Haaretz” informing me that rockets had hit Haifa. They hadn’t. The Haaretz newspaper sent out an email titled “URGENT CLARIFICATION” telling us that “The message was not from Haaretz.”
Was it from Hamas?
I’m not going to respond; I’m not the biggest fan of text-messages. I prefer phone conversations, even if they’re short. But I’m not going to call Hamas, and judging from this past week, it’s probably not going to call me. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what it writes me next.
Basketball superstar Dwight Howard’s foray into commentary on the crisis in the Middle East only lasted about 15 minutes. However, that was more than long enough to make headlines and draw the ire of thousands of twitter users.
Later that day, he tweeted “previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will.”
previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will.— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
Nevertheless, the backlash was swift.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said that he should be “publicly condemned as strong as Donald Sterling was,” a reference to the Los Angeles Clippers owner who came under withering attack for disparaging remarks about black people.
Omri Casspi – a teammate of Howard’s last year on the Houston Rockets and the only Israeli player to ever be drafted and play in the NBA – responded to Howard’s tweet on Saturday.
600 missiles been fired from GAZA by Hamas in the last 4 days. NUMBERS DONT LIE. STOP LYING.— Omri Casspi (@Casspi18) July 12, 2014
Casspi had also been vocal on Twitter during the #bringbackourboys campaign during the search for the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers.
Howard, who believes himself to be God’s messenger in the NBA, seems to have quickly learned the consequences of political commentary.
I apologize if I offended anyone with my previous tweet, it was a mistake!— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
(Reuters) — Israelis have found a new way to learn of imminent rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip in the form of a mobile phone app.
Hamas militants have fired more than 1,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli cities in the past week. Typically, air raid sirens blare and residents have between 15 and 90 seconds to head to bomb shelters and safe rooms in their homes.
Many have also downloaded an application called Red Alert to their phones that also warns of incoming rockets.
“The initial thought was to help people in the south. We didn’t think we would need to help people in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv but we do,” said Ari Sprung, a co-developer of the app.
Israeli has responded to the rocket salvos - most of which have been intercepted by an Iron Dome system - with air strikes toward those launching them in Gaza.
Most of the rockets launched from Gaza since 2005 have been aimed at southern towns but Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups now have missiles that can reach deeper into Israel.
The app has been downloaded by some 500,000 Israelis on their Android and iPhones, with another 50,000 in the United States having downloaded an English version.
Once a rocket is fired, Israel’s military sounds sirens and also notifies Red Alert’s servers. Its servers crashed at the outset when rocket fire turned to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv but they were quickly back up with stronger servers.
“The No 1 reason we created it was to save lives,” said the U.S.-born Sprung, who works at Jerusalem start-up Curiyo. “I hope I can un-publish it in the future.”
Lorin Maazel, cerebral conductor — who died aged 84 on July 13 from complications of pneumonia — was a presence in my columns not only because of his international renown and as conductor of the N.Y. Philharmonic, but also because of his support of Israel’s cultural and humanitarian institutions.
At the January 23, 2003 joint Israel Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Orchestras Gala benefit, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the black tie audience with: “In New York you get a great deal, two for one! Two conductors — Zubin [Mehta] and Lorin [Maazel] —and two mayors” — a reference to his Tel Aviv-Jaffa counterpart, mayor Ron Huldai.
“It’s the first time in twenty years that both perform together — a symbol of our love for each other, our cities, our countries and our peoples,” said Bloomberg.
Palestinian rocket fire on Tel Aviv has forced the cancellation of veteran rock star Neil Young’s concert scheduled for Thursday.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Sunday the show was canceled by police for security reasons “in order not to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk”.
Militants in the Gaza Strip have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since Tuesday, when the Israeli military launched an air and naval offensive on the coastal enclave. Palestinian officials say 159 civilians have been killed.
Some of the Gaza rockets have been fired at Israel’s commercial hub, Tel Aviv, and have been either intercepted by anti-missile batteries or have landed in open areas, causing no casualties.
Some 30,000 people had bought tickets to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s show that was to be held at Tel Aviv’s main Hayarkon Park, a representative for the show’s organizers, the Shuki Weiss production company, said.
Young, who was to be accompanied by his longtime band The Crazy Horse, last performed in Israel in the 1990’s.
Artists including the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and The Pixies, have performed in Israel in the past few months despite pressure from pro-Palestinian groups to cancel their performances over Israeli policy toward Palestinians.
The Pixies canceled a show in Israel in 2010.
Delighted to be invited to the 12th Annual Concern World Wide Women of Concern Luncheon at The Pierre, I got to meet one of my favorite film stars — Toni Collette — who was honored as its First Global Ambassador for Concern. Among Collette’s many films are two favorites I like to revisit: The 2003 gem “Japanese Story,” and the 2006 — at times “farklempt” nosh — “In Her Shoes” in which Collette — one of two Jewish sisters (Cameron Diaz is the other) — with personal and career issues — discovers she has a still living grandmother named Ella (“Shirley MacLaine”) living in a Catskills-in-perpetual-sunshine resort genre retirement paradise in Florida. Reunited with their feisty grandmother Maclaine and embraced by the retiree entourage, the film ends in a funky, multi-cultural Jewish wedding. If you haven’t tasted this film — rent it!
At the luncheon I asked a bubbly Collette — fit and svelte in a black and white sleeveless polka dot dress — what was it like working with MacLaine. “Bloody brilliant!” she blurted out. “She is so ballsy, so grounded, so honest, so upright. I really like her a lot.” When I commented that “you seem to be attracted to transformational roles,” Ms. Collette — who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in “The Sixth Sense” and won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series” for her performance in Showtime’s hit series “The United States of Tara” — shrugged and replied: “Life is change. Embrace it!”
Mazel tov to Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey!
Iron Man and his real life Pepper Pots are expecting a baby girl. The 49-year-old actor announced the news on Facebook on July 9.
And sent out a tweet, just to be sure:
Yo. Susan. Me. Baby. Girl. November. Scorpio?— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) July 9, 2014
The couple, who met in 2003, were married in a Jewish ceremony at Amagansett, New York in 2005. Susan Downey gave birth to their first son together, Exton Elias Downey, in February 2012.
Elanes hot new BF finaly explane why he have teardrop tatoo pic.twitter.com/Jh7wiOoX8z— Seinfeld Current Day (@Seinfeld2000) June 21, 2014
The popular Twitter team’s newest project is a phone app that will include emojis of the major characters and several iconic objects featured on the show: Junior Mints, the black and white cookie, the front of Monk’s Café — yada, yada, yada.
Jason Richards, creator of the Seinfeld Current Day account, prefers to use humorously altered names, such as “Jary” and “Elane” to avoid directly copying the Seinfeld franchise. But don’t be fooled — those faces are unmistakably of the (un)fabulous four.
Last Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of Seinfeld’s first episode. Happy texting!
As Germany hammered Brazil during the World Cup match yesterday 7-1, Twitter exploded in reaction tweets. With a record 36.6 million tweets were sent out during the match, the Germany-Brazil match became the most discussed sports event in Twitter history.
Unsurprisingly a large fraction of those tweets were, well, Nazi jokes.
Germany, relax! They're not Poland.— rob delaney (@robdelaney) July 8, 2014
Awkward time to be Nazi war criminal hiding out in Brazil.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) July 9, 2014
Of course the ever obvious:
Brazil did Nazi this coming.— World Cup 2014 (@FifaWorIdCup_14) July 8, 2014
Some pointed out the problem of Holocaust jokes:
All of these nazi jokes are out of mein kampfort zone anne frankly I'm offended— Nathan Kim (@nathantenders) July 8, 2014
And others attempted to be clever:
I do nazi see any hope for Brazil— Mary. M. Timmons (@muurrricatimz) July 8, 2014
Man the goalie really holocaust them the game, I bet Brazil's coach was like Aw Schwitz— Daniel Kibblesmith (@kibblesmith) July 8, 2014
Explaining his British accent, Bramwell Tovey, conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, welcomed the Avery Fisher Hall audience at its July 4th Summertime Classic Star-Spangled Celebration with: “I am here to apologize for 1776…bad decision by the King. Happy Birthday America!”
As he raised his baton, someone sneezed! Without missing a beat, Tovey brushed the back of his sparkling white jacket with his hand then led the orchestra and a 2,700-strong audience in a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Marine Band member, Bramwell Tovey and Major Dix // Photo by Karen Leon
Leading off with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” (1942), the program included George Gershwin’s 1927 “Strike Up The Band.”
Mark Nuccio, NYPhil associate principal clarinetist, accompanied by the orchestra thrilled with a memorable performance of Aaron Copland’s (1947/48) “Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra with Harp and Piano.”
When the “Commandant’s Own” 80-strong United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps [red jackets, white pants and blinding polished brass instruments] marched on stage, there was a momentary hush followed by explosive applause. Perhaps it was an optical illusion, but from where I sat, the edges of the Marines’ red jackets —irrespective of the wearer’s height — seemed to line up evenly!
Under the baton of Major Brian Dix, director and commanding officer of “The Commandant’s Own,” the Marines led off with Elmer Bernstein’s (1922-2004) theme from the Oscar-nominated film “The Magnificent Seven.” A drums only “Xylophonia” [two xylophones were wheeled on stage] adapted by Nathan Morris and Briana Dix and performed by the entire assemblage was followed by Durham Prince’s 1941 “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” which had audience members — myself included — dancing in their seats.
The Commandant’s Own play at Avery Fisher Hall // Photo by Karen Leon
“The band travels 50,000 miles each year giving concerts,” Major Dix said. He invited members of the audience who had served in various wars to stand up and be recognized. As each military branch of service theme was played, veterans stood up to explosive applause. An a capella rendition of “I’m Proud To Be An American” was accompanied by a kishke-churning drumline tattoo. After John Philips Sousa’s “Semper Fidelis” the Marine Band joined the NY Phil in a medley of Dix’s “Ellis Island” (1999). Maj. Dix explained that this work was based on his grandmother’s favorite American folk songs that she and other immigrants learned on their journey to America.”
“We really need America in the world today,” were Tovey’s parting words to the audience.
During the post-performance reception in the Green Room, I mentioned to Major Dix that my husband had served in the U.S. Navy, that a relative recently joined the Marines, that I was a columnist for The Jewish Daily Forward and that I was a Holocaust survivor. He looked down at me (he is tall!) then kissed the top of my head!