Former Executive Editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson is back in the news — and it’s a bit of a head scratcher. Along with media entrepreneur Steven Brill, she has proposed a startup that would pay writers $100,000 (yes, that’s the correct amount of zeroes) for investigative journalism pieces that are too long for a magazine but shorter than the average book.
Abramson announced the company at a conference at last weekend’s Journalism and Women’s Symposium and said that the idea has already generated interest from investors.
Representatives of Spain’s Jewish community demanded that a local politician apologize for dressing up as Adolf Hitler at a Halloween party.
Toni Rodríguez, a representative of the ruling Popular Party on the council of the municipality of Gandia near Valencia in eastern Spain, posed for pictures with friends while in costume on Oct. 31.
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, on Tuesday wrote to the municipality, to the council member and to the party’s regional representatives “to ask that they issue a public apology,” FCJE’s communications director, Maria Royo, told JTA.
“We complained about the behavior of this council member. We have not received an answer so far,” she said.
The Spanish-language Jewish news website itongadol.com reported, based on a report by the AJN news agency, that Rodriguez’s spokesperson said his boss dressed up as Hitler “not to celebrate the person but to ridicule him and show him as a person connected with horror.”
Any fan of “Orange Is The New Black” knows not to mess with Big Boo.
A New York City subway preacher learned that the hard way when actress Lea DeLaria, clad in “Bad Jew” t-shirt, confronted him about his homophobic views. A passenger on the Queens-bound M train grabbed a video of DeLaria telling the doom and gloom preacher that he and the Tea Party are “everything that’s wrong with America,” and calling him a “creepy religious fanatic.”
The anonymous tipster told Gothamist:
I walked onto the F train at W4 station and they were already yelling. And when I got off two stops later at 23rd street, they were still going. A lot of people were standing around taking videos and photos and watching. I think people weren’t sure whether it was real or staged. But a friend later confirmed that she has seen this same man preaching similar things on the subway before, so I’m pretty sure it was real.
So next time you’re stuck on the subway and upping the volume on your iPhone, try it DeLaria’s way — a rowdy rendition of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” is a surefire way to keep the haters at bay.
In a (sadly) non “Ferris Bueller”-related interview with Fox News, economist and author Ben Stein called President Obama the most racist president ever.
“He is purposely trying to use race to divide America,” Stein told Fox news.
Stein was on to discuss the main issue on voters’ minds today: the economy. A Fox News poll revealed that even in the wake of Ebola and immigration, the economy is still voters’ main concerns. Stein disagrees with the network’s official poll. “I think that’s what people are saying is their most important issue,” he said, “but what I think the White House is doing is trying to racialize all politics and are especially trying to tell the African American voter that the GOP is against letting them have a good chance in this economy.”
“That’s just a complete lie!” he told Fox. “Republicans don’t have policies against the African Americans,” he said. “The idea that the economy is being used as a way to oppress some minorities is just an outrageous lie.”
The lie is so great, so grand, Stein says, that detractors “might as well say that the Republicans are coming down from the moon!”
Ben Stein, who gained recognition as a speech-writer for presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, is the author of the “Yes, You Can Retire Comfortably,” “Can America Survive?,” and “Yes, You Can Time the Market.” He is also, obviously, that guy from “Ferris Bueller.”
Who else could bring Henry Kissinger, Ralph Lauren and Barbara Walters together in the same place, at the same time?
Jewish A-listers bid a sad farewell to Oscar de La Renta on Monday. The service, held at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City’s Upper East Side, saw politicians, actors, fashionistas and socialites, all in their glitzy best to pay tribute to the designer, who died from cancer on Oct. 20 at age 82.
Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg repped the Jewish fashion world. Chelsea Clinton and hubby Marc Mezvinsky accompanied Hillary Clinton. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the crowd in prayer. Director Mike Nichols and actor Matthew Broderick gave Hollywood cache.
“It was a very beautiful, solemn, spiritual service celebrating a man who was so wonderful and life giving,” Walters told The New York Post (even Anna Wintour shed a tear).
Amal Clooney better frame that wedding gown.
But a Jew? No longer. According to Haaretz, the actor has converted to Christianity, with a little help from Brad Pitt.
LaBeouf, currently starring alongside Pitt, told Interview magazine that he “found God doing ‘Fury.’ I became a Christian man, and not in a fucking bullshit way — in a very real way.”
“I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can’t identify unless you’re really going through it,” he added in the interview.
Born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, LaBeouf has expressed pride in his Jewish heritage in the past. He was bar mitzvahed and in 2004, he admitted he felt “cocky” when telling people he was Jewish. “Not bad cocky, but good cocky,” he clarified. “Because what I am really saying is that I am one of the few chosen ones out there.”
Well, Shia, you may not be chosen anymore, but on the bright side, that means Mel Gibson can feel sorry for you. Aren’t you lucky.
‘It’s so great when other people wear your clothing,” joked fashion guru and founder of Donna Karan Ltd. Donna Karan, honoree at the Lungevity Foundation’s Celebration of Hope Gala at The Pierre. Wearing a body-hugging black silk sleeveless dress, long black shawl, black boots and imposing triangular tribal metal necklace, fashion was not on the menu that night. Founder of Urban Zen Foundation, and the Urban Zen Stores which “marry philanthropy and commerce” Karan spoke passionately of her husband who succumbed to lung cancer.
“He was a cool dude, really hot artist, photographer…father… who was dismissive of my yoga till he was diagnosed with lung cancer [a disease] that makes breath so difficult.” Karan went on to describe how his battle to breathe became a catalyst for the Urban Zen program.. In the face of her own husband’s battle with lung cancer Ms. Karan discovered a way to care for lung cancer patients that medical treatments could not provide. “I spent decades dressing people. now I want to address them.”
“We go into hospitals, do in-bed yoga, aromatherapy, nutrition…We did a clinical study at Beth Israel Hospital so they wanted me to design the doctors’ uniforms, the nurses’ uniforms….’Sorry guys…I want to design a care system.’” Karan informed that “Thanks to the Urban Zen Therapies Program “We saved $900,000 on one floor in the hospital.”
The statistical shocker was the disease’s numerical profile. Lungevity Foundation president and chairman Andrea Ferris informed: “Lung cancer kills 160,000 people a year. There are 400,000 Americans living with lung cancer today. While colon, breast and prostate cancer all have reliable detection tests—lung cancer does not! Currently only 17% of those diagnosed survive 5 years post diagnosis. Sixty percent of all lung cancer diagnoses are of those who never smoked or are former smokers…. It kills more people than colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancers combined!”
“If you were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003 there was still no way to detect it early…. Learning of your diagnosis, your doctor would tell you to go home and get your affairs in order. Treatments were limited…toxic. Now in 2014 personalized medicine is a reality…. we now have definitive proof that finding lung cancer early saves lives and innovative treatments are being developed.”
When Ferris asked lung cancer survivors in the room to raise their hands and be identified, there was an explosion of applause.
Emceed by “News 4 New York” award-winning co-anchor David Ushery, the event’s honorary gala chair was Mrs. John Updike whose husband the noted American writer succumbed to lung cancer in 2009. Her son and vice-chair Jason Bernhard was among the event’s speakers.
Memo to Iggy Azalea (and any other impromptu bar mitzvah performer): wear underwear. You never know when your pants are going to suddenly split mid-song, giving 13-year-old boys a glimpse of manhood that goes a little beyond their Torah portion.
The “Fancy” rapper, 24, was performing her (aptly named) song “Booty” at an unidentified kid’s bar mitzvah when, well, this happened:
Today in things in poor taste: A Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman showing one Bibi Netanyahu, flying an Israel plane into an American building. Subtle.
I guess people who lost a loved one on 9/11 will just have to get past that boring old thing called grief in the interest of depicting political tension.
Dressing up for Halloween is always an ordeal. Dressing up when Halloween also falls on Shabbat? Wow.
So this year, in honor of “Shabbatoween,” we’ve come up with some easy tricks to add a topical Jewish twist to your costume. Major treats guaranteed.
For ultimate ’70s swag, pair a leisure suit with a colorful shirt. Bring on the bling, perfect the comb-over and voila! (ABSCAM optional)
Forget Jennifer Lawrence. For the female counterpart to Irv’s psychadelic charm, try a long hair, don’t care Gloria Steinem attitude. Throw on some oversized sunglasses and you’re good to go.
Looks like Professor Sprout has stepped out of the Hogwarts greenhouse — right into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Miriam Margolyes, who played the matron of the Hogwarts greenhouses and Head of Hufflepuff house in the “Harry Potter” franchise, spoke out about the recent war in Gaza to Radio Times, a British television and radio magazine.
According to Haaretz, the actress, who was raised Jewish and grew up in a Jewish household in Britain, said, “I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behavior is not acceptable.”
Margolyes observed that, “there’s been a troubling backlash” against Jews as a result of Operation Protective Edge.
In Belgium and France, rioters shouted “Death to Jews!” In Germany it was, “Gas the Jews!”
Britain itself saw a fivefold increase in calls to the country’s anti-Semitic hotline. July alone saw 240 calls, up from the previous average of roughly 50 a month in the first half of 2014.
“Anti-Semitism is horrible,” Margolyes said, “and can’t be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it,” she said.
“I don’t think many people like Jews,” she added.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. After all, Margolyes continued, “I’m lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant.”
Maybe someone should lay off the mandrake potion from now on…
Legendary newsman Ben Bradlee was put to rest on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
But among the traditional hymns and psalms listed in the program, something stands out: Hebrew script, spelling out the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for mourning.
Now, the former Washington Post executive editor, who died October 21 at the age of 93, was far from Jewish. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more WASP-y figure. His father, Frederick Josiah Bradlee Jr. (his friends called him “B”), could name his American ancestors 10 generations back.
His mother, however, may hold the key to Bradlee’s affinity for the tribe. Josephine de Gersdorff Bradlee, received the Legion of Honor for her work keeping children safe from Nazi forces during World War II.
Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who worked with Bradlee on the Watergate articles that brought down President Richard Nixon, remembered their mentor’s wise words of advice:
Four decades ago, Ben Bradlee told us his general theory of newspapering and life: “Nose down, ass up and moving steadily forward into the future.”
He understood the past and its importance, but he was utterly liberated from it. The past was history to learn from. And he refused to let himself be emotionally encumbered by it or deterred by either the lows or the highs.
In advance of the anticipated arrival in New York in 2015 of the “Freedom Frigate” Hermione-Lafayette — Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America celebrated its Inaugural October Gala aboard the USS Intrepid Air & Space Museum. Moet Hennessy flowed and a leggy beauty dispensed teaspoonfuls of Petrossian caviar to the black tie guests — six hundred strong from across the globe.
Presented by FOH-LA President Miles Young the first recipient of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America Leadership award was Dr. Henry Kissinger.
The award is in honor of the French frigate which sailed from Rochefort on March 21, 1780 arriving in Boston with a contingent of French reinforcements who joined General Washington and fought in the American campaign for eighteen months until victory.
Charlie Rose and Henry Kissinger // Photo by Karen Leon
Following the award presentation, French philosopher and author of “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of de Tocqueville” Bernard-Henri Levy — dashing in his signature chemise empassee (an unbuttoned blinding white shirt) — declared: “Charlie Rose, one of my dearest friends, is to us French people “a table.” Citing “famous tables” of history such as the Tabula Rasa of Francis Bacon and Descartes, …the Last Supper… the Table of the Oval Office…the table of the Card Player of Cezanne and today there is the ‘Table of Charlie Rose’ [for he] he invented the world table. [He is] the reinventor of an art which for a long time was considered a French art — the art of conversation. He is the master of what Hannah Arendt called the world of ideas…an agent of resistance to noise, silence and twitter.” From where I sat I was sure I saw Charlie Rose blushing.
“What this evening is about,” responded Rose, “is America’s oldest friends: France and Lafayette.” He touted Lafayette’s “love for America,” which “caused a young man to come here and identify with a young nation…and it made all the difference and that is what we are celebrating this evening…. [And] for me to be mentioned in the same breath, as Henry Kissinger is a deep honor. As all of you may know, he is the one person I have interviewed more than anyone else. Period! He has the longest number of hours at what Bernard called ‘the table.’” Rose noted, “Henry’s sense of appreciation of what immigrants have brought to this country is amazing!”
Rose then proceeded to do an on-stage “table” interview with Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, who diplomatically fielded Rose’s queries vis a vis major international political, and economic issues. The menu, inspired by the cuisine of Poitou–Charentes whence “The Hermione” sailed for America, was curated by Ariane Daguin, CEO of “D’Artagnan” and included the classic Poulet Grand Mere (Grandmother’s chicken!).
Intended as a “permanent ambassador” of Franco-American friendship, the Hermione’s meticulous authentic reconstruction includes “400,000 wood and metal parts, 2,000 oaks selected from French forests, 1,000 pulley blocks, 26 canons firing 12-pound canon balls and “the restoration of the hull made entirely of oak reaching 1 meter thickness — inconceivable today but used in the 18th century to withstand enemy cannonballs.”
Golden State Warriors owner Peter Guber with basketball star Jermaine O’Neal/Getty Images
(JTA) — Oy. Talk about auto-correct fails.
In an email to team employees, the Jewish owner of a pro basketball team said he wanted to learn “hoodish.” He apparently meant to write “Yiddish.”
Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber sent out a follow-up email clarifying that the use of “hoodish” (which this writer’s auto-correct keeps trying to change to “goodish”) was not intended as a slur, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Happy birthday Jonas Salk!
Today’s Google Doodle pays tribute to the Jewish inventor of the polio vaccine, born 100 years ago today in New York City. Been a long time since high school science class? Here’s a little refresher:
Jonas Salk 1914, New York City - 1995, San Diego) graduated from New York University with a medical degree in 1939. His parents, Jewish Ashkenazi immigrants with little formal education, were eager to see their children succeed. Salk first worked on developing an influenza vaccination before becoming interested in the polio virus. He developed a vaccination which used dead virus, also known as inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). The field trial for the vaccine was one of the largest of its kind, with over 600,000 schoolchildren injected with the vaccine or a placebo, and a million more serving as “observed” controls. In 1955, the vaccine, which showed 90% effectiveness, was approved to international acclaim. He continued his biomedical research in the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, which he founded in San Diego, Ca., focusing on multiple sclerosis and HIV.
The polio virus is transmitted through water and faeces, where it can remain infectious for a long period of time, and causes paralysis. Children are especially vulnerable. Today, it’s easy to forget the terror caused by polio epidemics. In 2009, a PBS documentary declared that, “Apart from the atomic bomb, America’s greatest fear was polio.” In the 1950s, between 25,000 and 50,000 new cases of polio were diagnosed every year in the United States alone. When news that Salk’s vaccine testing was successful went public in 1955, he was hailed as a “miracle maker.”) In fact, April 12, 1955 almost became a national holiday . The last U.S. polio case was reported in 1979.
Salk’s vaccine uses dead polio viruses, grown on monkey kidney and then inactivated with formaldehyde. The main disadvantage of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is that the immunization is not life-long. Albert Sabin, another member of the tribe, developed an oral polio vaccine around the same time, which uses live viruses and digested orally, making it cheaper and easier administrate. Immunization is life-long, but the vaccination carries a small risk of infection, especially in people with compromised immune systems. In 2000, the U.S. government switched back to recommending the use of Salk’s vaccine because the risks associated with Sabin’s oral vaccine, which outweighed the cost benefits.
Courtesy of ITV
SPOILER ALERT If you are one of those who actually waits the four-month purgatory period between when “Downton Abbey” airs in the United Kingdom and in the United States, you may want to avoid this blog post. Until January 4, that is.
Attention fellow tribe-members! There is a Jewish boy on this season of “Downton Abbey.” Atticus Aldridge, played by Matt Barber, appears in season 5 as Lady Rose’s new love interest. He’s tall, dashing and did we mention, a lord — and it turns out he’s a member of a Ukrainian Jewish family that fled the pogroms in Odessa.
This doesn’t seem to bother Rose, but really what does? The rest of the family seem pretty keen on Aldrige, including the Dowager Countess, though her reaction when she finds out his true origins is right on point: “There’s always something, isn’t there?”
This is the first confirmed Jewish sighting on the hit series. We first had our hopes pegged on Lady Cora Crawley, described as “the beautiful daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods multimillionaire from Cincinnati.” As it turns out, her father was one of the Chosen, but as the Jewish Chronicle points out, Cora and her brother Harold were raised Episcopalian.
Welcome to the Downton-verse Atticus Aldridge! Mrs. Pattmore may have to start brushing up on her challah recipes.
Dr. Ruth has some tips for those of you looking to get a little something something this Halloween: no tricks, just treats.
The 86-year-old Jewish sex expert has taken to Twitter to share her best advice for some loving on the most spooky of holidays. We’ve picked out some of our favorite tidbits. Read and learn, folks.
On Halloween it's OK to wear fake hair, fake teeth even fake boobs. When all that comes off, however, hope you don't fake an orgasm— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
Don't fear zombies tom'w night, they don't exist. STDs do so be extra careful once that costume of yours comes off— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
Tom'w is Halloween. Are you prepared? I know you have a costume but do you have a place to put your condom in it?— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 30, 2014
This weekend practice putting your Halloween costume on….and off!— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 24, 2014
Seems there are scary clowns out there w/more coming Halloween. Best defense? Stay home in bed w/your partner, no make up, no clothes!— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 27, 2014
Looking to meet someone at a Halloween party Fri? Wear costume that will stimulate others' intellect, conversations will follow— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) October 27, 2014
Or, if all else fails, there’s always the sexy Olaf from “Frozen” costume. Good luck!
Billy Crystal found another touching way to honor his close friend Robin Williams.
Williams, an avid San Francisco Giants fan, lived in the Bay Area for a long time. So, before game five of the World Series on Sunday night, Crystal helped bring Williams’ children — Zelda, Cody, and Zak – out onto AT&T Field during a video tribute for the late legend of comedy on the stadium’s big screen. Crystal caught the ceremonial first pitch from Williams’ son Zak and then warmed up the crowd for the start of the game. Zak celebrated as if he had won the World Series for the home team.
Apparently, Crystal and Williams used to bro-out at games together. In 2007 they met Giants manager Bruce Bochy in the Giants dugout of an inter-league game between the Giants and the Yankees.
And that brings out what made last night’s tribute more special: Crystal isn’t even a Giants fan, he’s a huge Yankees fan.
Great nite at WS in SF. Caught first pitch strike thrown by Zak Williams Robins son.Fans showered him with love. pic.twitter.com/2LChmwOuFr— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) October 27, 2014
Joking about his height at the podium at the October 13 U.S. Air Force, Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club’s 18th Annual Military Ball, U.S. Army (Ret) Col. Jack Jacobs — the only living Jewish recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor — cautioned the bemedaled and gowned military assemblage at The Pierre not “to take potshots” about “my standing on a box.”
Jacobs thanked SSMAC Chairman and CEO Ivan Obolensky and its executive director Hazel Cathers, “who labor tirelessly to make sure that there is a home for the troops who worked [and] fought to defend the homeland — without whom we would not be here today and I — and lots of people have to thank the troops…. For we and lots of other people in the world would not be enjoying the fruits of their labors — freedom which is priceless and can only be paid with — as has been said many times — since the [American] Revolution — with the blood of patriots. “
Col. Jacobs — whose curriculum vitae notes “ is among the most highly decorated soldiers from the [Vietnam] era having earned three Bonze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor” was, among others, a founder and CEO of AutoFinance Group Inc., a Managing Director of Bankers Trust, a London real estate firm The Fitzroy Group and serves on a number of charitable boards of directors, was an on air analyst for NBC News and recipient of the 2011 Murrow Award on the Nightly News segment “Iraq: The Long Way Out” (and more).
Emceed by WPIX’s Marvin Scott, the event’s honorees included General Mark A. Welsh III Chief of Staff, U .S. Air Force, Lieutenant General Stephen L. Hoog Asst. Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force., and Emmy Award-winning journalist WPIX 11 News Anchor Tamsen Fadalwho received SSMAC’s Distinguished Media Achievement Award.
Among the festive and uniformed guests: Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia, Countess Nicholas (Tanya) Bobrinkskoy, Helen Roosevelt, Iriina Dvorjitsky San Fillipo, Margo and John Catsimatidis, and newscaster/author Rita Cosby.
Founded in 1919 by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Mrs. Cornelia Barnes Rogers, and Gen. John J. Pershing, SSMAC has served over five million Servicemen and Servicewomen, veterans and their families and those of our Allies with its “Home Away from Home” accommodations at its Lexington Avenue site.
On August 13, 2003, the day of the Northeast Blackout, Karen Leon (this column’s photographer and my daughter) had just left the Forward building at its then 33rd Street home when lights began to go out in Manhattan. There was no way to get out of the city so she walked over to the SSMAC Club and was welcome. By candlelight she slept on a cot, shared canned tuna and listened to war stories told by servicemen and women from across America. It was a night to remember.
Too lazy to sort through your parents’ kippah drawer? Now, you can print one — in 3D.
Craig Kaplan, an associate professor in the Computer Graphics Lab at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, rarely leaves the house without his Panama hat in warmer weather.
He wanted to design a 3-D printed version of the traditional hat, but he decided to start with an easier shape to reproduce: a yarmulke, or kippah — a plate-shaped head covering worn by observant Jews.
“After that,” he says, “it was just a matter of working through the mathematics — programming and 3-D modeling to make these kippah designs a reality.”
And yes, before you ask, it is kosher. Caplan consulted with rabbis to make sure that his model could be worn worry-free by all members of the tribe (though as Heeb points out, why you would need one is a whole other story).
There’s a downside, however. As Caplan pointed out to NPR, “they don’t do as good of a job at concealing the aging Jewish male’s bald spot, as I can personally attest.”