The Shmooze

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to Honor Sean Penn

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — Who needs another Oscar when you’re about to be crowned the 2014 Champion of Jewish Justice? Not to put words in his mouth or anything, but we’ll bet that was what two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn was saying to his girlfriend Charlize Theron as soon as they stopped “making out like crazy“ at Madonna’s Oscars after-party.

Okay, so maybe we’d lose that bet, but for reals, Penn is set to receive the honor at This World: The Values Network’s annual dinner in May. The organization is helmed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who singled Penn out for his above-and-beyond efforts to help free Jacob Ostreicher, an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn imprisoned in Bolivia.

“One of the highest Jewish values is to rescue a person from imprisonment,” Boteach told 6NoBacon.

While the former rabbi to Michael Jackson admits to disagreeing with the left-leaning Penn on most issues, he was amazed by the actor’s commitment to the Ostreicher case. “You never judge a man by his views, you judge him by his actions,” he said.

Ostreicher was in Bolivia in 2011 working on a rice-growing venture he’d invested in when he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. He was also accused of doing business with drug traffickers. No proof was ever provided in court. The father of five was held in what has been described as a squalid, inhumane prison for 18 months before being placed under house arrest. According to The New York Times, Penn had a hand in the transfer.

Penn’s involvement in the case made headlines in May, when he spoke at a congressional hearing intended to pressure Bolivia to release Ostreicher. In December, Ostreicher finally escaped, thanks to what Penn called a “humanitarian operation” that moved Ostreicher across the border into Peru. Penn, who was reportedly part of the operation, remained by Ostreicher’s side upon his return to the U.S.

“Penn had no obligation to risk his life for Ostreicher,” said Boteach. “I’d like to think he was moved by the simplest of reasons – to save another human being in need.”

No word on whether the rights to this truly remarkable story have been optioned for the big screen, but it sounds like the stuff of a great thriller. Or a buddy comedy about a spunky rabbi and a surly actor who, against all odds, find some common ground. Oscar material, for sure.


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3 Love Stories From Jewish Home's 'Over 80' Gala

By Masha Leon

The March 5 inaugural Jewish Home Lifecare “Eight Over Eighty: Celebrating Eight Remarkable Lives” Gala honored octogenarians who proved that life can be a hoot at any age.

In an filmed interview, Klara and Larry Silverstein, president and CEO Silverstein Properties, Inc, revisited their meeting-to-marriage saga. In 1951, Larry got a job at a camp working in a kitchen “which left me with dishpan hands” where Klara was his demanding and “fastidious” boss. An invitation to her parents’ home followed and, said Larry, “It’s 2014 and she’s still my boss.”

His afterthought: “Her father’s attitude was: ‘No chupah, no shtuppa’” had a good sport Klara whisper ‘I hope this will not be in the film. ” After a nanosecond of stunned silence, the 500 guests at the Mandarin exploded with laughter.

President and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare, Audrey Weiner, said, “Most of us want to age like New Yorkers…. There is not one among us who wants to live in a nursing home. So on West 97th Street, we will open the 20-story Living Center of Manhattan that will revolutionize how we care for those who need our services…We will care for all New Yorkers… whatever they believe and whomever they love…. By 2030 here in New York City there will be more people over the age of 65 than children in kindergarten — one in five New Yorkers.

Karen Leon

Also honored: Dominic Chianese (whose film credits include “The Godfather: Part II” and “The Sopranos”). A Bronx H. S. of Science alum, he has been performing at nursing homes for more than 30 years. Guitar in hand, Chianese led the guests in a sing-along of the 1926 hit “Heart of My Heart.”

Emily and 95-year old Eugene Grant president of Eugene M. Grant & Co., a real estate investment firm (who still plays a mean classical piano), recalled their meeting at a skiing resort in Quebec, Canada. She was 21, playing a Schumann piano concerto. “He thought I was a nice little French girl and spoke to me in French. He sent a bottle of wine to my table.” He said, “[this] led to my proposing to her 48 hours after we met.” Emily, a chair emeritus of Purchase College (and other impressive credentials) added: “It’s still a work in progress.”

Also honored were five foot tall feisty Edith Windsor who recalled her “love story” with Thea Spyer whom she met in Greenwich Village in 1963. Once a UNIVAC maven who did groundbreaking work at IBM programming languages and operating systems, she changed the course of American history by challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Supreme Court — and won. Completing the honoree roster: Joan Wachtler, a trustee of Jewish Home Lifecare, and Richard Eisner, Founding Partner and Managing Partner of Eisner LLP.

Tobi Kahn a painter and sculptor, created eight one-of-a-kind wooden figures to be installed at the Living Center in Manhattan with miniature replicas for each of the 8 honorees.


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'Girls' Goes Biblical on SNL

By Anne Cohen

“Son of God,” “Noah,” and now “Girls” — 2014 is the year of the Bible movie.

Lena Dunham nailed her ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosting debut with a parody of her hit HBO series, proving that the travails and tribulations of the average twentish-year-old woman are as old as time itself. “Girls: The Bible Movie” trades in the coffeeshops of Greenpoint for the Garden of Eden, with Adam Driver and Dunham’s character Hannah Horvath as Adam and Eve.

And just like in “Girls,” everyone’s naked.

How do unlabeled relationships fare in a land of talking snakes and forbidden fruit? See for yourself:


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A Jew at Buckingham Palace

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — They are trained to uphold the strictest protocol, which includes standing motionless and expressionless at attention outside Buckingham Palace in London.

But that training was no match for an American Jewish tourist who made a Royal Guard soldier crack up, and then captured it on film.

The video documenting the man identified as Yankel’s feat surfaced recently online, and though attempts to reach Yankel and ascertain his identity and the date of filming have not immediately succeeded, the film pretty much speaks for itself. Yankel, who appears, judging by his black kippah, black suit, tzitzit and white shirt, to be Orthodox, begins his offensive on British decorum by standing next to the soldier and telling his friends’ camera: “We were together in school, me and him. He went his own way.”

The soldier remains frozen as Yankel elaborates on their 30-year-long friendship, which he says has endured despite some basic differences of character. “I remember in school, he used to sit by himself and read books. I was just this guy fooling around and having fun,” Yankel says. The soldier begins to crack 60 seconds into Yankel’s routine, when Yankel recalls how the soldier’s mother would pick him up from school until he was 20.

Read more


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Jewish Outreach Celebrates 'Shabbat Across America'

By Masha Leon

“Our parents prayed for a ‘melting pot’ but instead, we have gotten a ‘meltdown,’” Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, executive director of National Jewish Outreach Program, told the guests at its “Generation to Generation Dinner” at the Grand Hyatt.

While touting NJOP’s March 7th “Shabbat Across America” (now in its 18th year) at 450 locations, Rabbi Buchwald — who founded NJOP 26 years ago — referred to the new Pew Report as he lamented “the erosion of Jewish life taking place at a far more rapid pace than any of us ever imagined…. Statistics have left the Jewish community reeling in pain and despair…entire movements of Judaism are threatened with extinction…. Schools that only 50 years ago boasted enrollments of more than 600,000, now have fewer than 150,000 young students. The list goes on….”

Ever the optimist, Rabbi Buchwald rebutted: “Our programs continue to enjoy great success… Before the Pew Report became public; NJOP knew that most young people no longer responded to traditional outreach efforts…were reluctant to enter synagogues, [ergo] NJOP was one of the earliest Jewish organizations to enter the social media area. With its Jewish Treats and Tweets [it has] 50,000 subscribers. Most of our 42,000 Twitter followers are between the ages of 20-40, married, some with children.” Quoting NJOP benefactor and Holocaust survivor Sam Domb, Buchwald declared: “Despair is not an option.”

Karen Leon

Keynote speaker former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau — who was born in Poland and is a Holocaust survivor—took the 325 guests on an imaginary journey around the world “with Socrates, Julius Caesar and Moshe Rabbeinu” — each experiencing a short-term revisit to earth. Socrates and Caesar arrive to discover that the languages, landmarks and icons of their time have disappeared to history. “Moshe alone” finds he can communicate with the first person he encounters in a language that he speaks, about traditions and practices he holds dear…That the Holy land awaits him, teeming with Jews and Judaism and is still very much alive. Israel’s president Shimon Peres sent written greetings which were displayed on a screen.

Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse was presented with NJOP’s Carl & Sylvia Freyer Young Leadership Award. Amy and Seth Litzenblatt received the Leslie Nelkin Special Service Award.

With Rabbi Buchwald’s admirable track record of conversions to his credit, I thought back to an NJOP dinner a few years ago at which several young [and gorgeous] converts were introduced to the guests. I was seated next to a very pregnant young Korean woman wearing a large black pillbox hat and a long flowing brown and print silk dress. Delivery seemed imminent.

“When are you due?” I asked.

In Korean-accented Hebrew she replied: “Boruch Hashem, I am blessed with twins.”


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Jewish Newspaper Confuses Actor With Drug Lord

By Anne Cohen

What is it with the name confusion this week?

Hot on the heels of John Travolta’s Oscars-night blunder, when he referred to Broadway star Idina Menzel as Adela Dazeem (next Disney princess, anyone?), we now have an Orthodox newspaper confusing actor Luis Guzman with Mexican cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The Lakewood Shopper correctly reported the notorious drug lord’s capture by Mexican authorities, but used a picture of Luis Guzman, famous for roles in “Carlito’s Way” and “How to Make It In America,” as a mug shot, Elite Daily reported).

The error was pointed out by Malei Rikud on Twitter.

The actor, who lives in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, gamely replied to the tweet. Needless to say, he was less than pleased to be compared to a man who’s allegedly responsible for countless murders and the laundering of billions of dollars.

While Travolta later apologized for “Travolta-fying” Menzel’s name, it seems the Lakewood Shopper has yet to do so.


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Andrew Garfield Ruined Batkid's Oscar Moment

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — Today in handsome Jews acting badly, actor Andrew Garfield has reportedly let down a 5-year-old cancer survivor.

The “Spider-Man” star was supposed to take the stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday and introduce Miles “Batkid” Scott as “the world’s next superhero,” according to Mashable. In November the city of San Francisco, with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and nearly 12,000 volunteers, morphed into Gotham City, where Miles played Batkid in front of a cheering crowd.

This time Make-A-Wish collaborated with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to get Miles an Oscar. Garfield and Miles rehearsed the segment on Saturday, but the actor was a no-show the next day at the actual ceremony and the bit was ultimately cancelled.

“I don’t know if they ran out of time, of if there was something about the segment they didn’t like,” Miles’ mom Natalie told the International Business Times. “It got pulled so quickly that we didn’t have a lot of insight into what was going on.”

The family was treated to a trip to Disneyland instead.


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AIPAC's Case of Scarlett Fever

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — Scarlett Johansson, fresh out of her SodaStream battles, declined to attend this year’s annual American Israel Political Affairs Committee policy conference. She’s in Paris, picking up an honorary Celeste award and promoting her latest releases,.

She kept appearing at the conference though, after a fashion.

Johansson featured prominently in AIPAC’s showcase of Israel’s high-tech sector on Monday.

Her image — 10 times over — was flashed during a demonstration of the ElMindA, a hairnet-like device that scans a brain’s electronic activity. The company’s managing director, Ronen Gadot, tested the device on Winton Stewart, a linebacker at Alabama State University who is also AIPAC’s deputy director of campus outreach. (Football players are especially susceptible to concussions, which the device could help diagnose more accurately).

The idea was that the device, by tracking how one’s brain registers an image, could then track one when it appeared in quick succession among other images. It is a more accurate measure, Gadot contended, than subjective memories. In other words, while one may remember detecting Johansson’s face five or six times, the device would be able to more accurately register exactly how many times your brain made the right call.

Stewart said he remembered eight out of the 10 viewings, and Gadot said the device recorded that many.

At the conference closing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought Johansson up again, although perhaps in a weirder way. He applauded her role in the SodaStream matter, when she rejected calls for her to boycott the product.

But then he likened her to … a plantation owner? His second paragraph alludes, after all, to Scarlett O’Hara the Southern belle of “Gone with the Wind.”

Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty and shame. And those who — those who oppose BDS, like Scarlett Johansson, they should be applauded.

Scarlett, I have one thing to say to you: Frankly, my dear, I DO give a damn. And I know all of you give a damn, as do decent people everywhere who reject hypocrisy and lies and cherish integrity and truth.


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John Travolta Sorry for 'Travolta-izing' Idina Menzel's Name

By Forward Staff

John Travolta is sorry for pulling a ‘Travolta’ on Idina Menzel at the Oscars.

The chagrined Hollywood star apologized for mangling Tony winner Idina Menzel’s name as he introduced her performance of the song “Let It Go” at the Oscars.

Travolta, 60, said he’s been “beating myself up” over the gaffe during Sunday night’s broadcast.

He randomly called the Jewish performer “Adele Dazeem.”

“Then I thought … What would Idina Menzel say? She’d say, ‘Let it go, let it go!’” he added in a statement.

Menzel sang the hit from the animated film “Frozen” after the cringeworthy intro. It went on to win the Oscar for Best Song.

Travolta’s slip sparked a meme on social media where anyone’s name can be “Travolta-ized” into weird and nonsensical variations. Slate even launched an interactive widget that let users “Travoltify” their name.

Menzel, 42, starred in “Rent” and “Wicked” on Broadway and is in previews for her new show, “If/Then.”


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Lena Dunham Plans 'Archie' Comic Books

By Anne Cohen

Fantasies do come true — if you’re Lena Dunham.

The “Girls” creator will reportedly be writing a story four-issue for “Archie,” the iconic comic featuring everyone’s favorite carrot-top. Dunham has previously spoken of her love for the comic and her desire to be involved in its production.

From the New York Times:

Sometimes, opportunities will present themselves. That was the case when, in November, Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the HBO series “Girls,” expressed her love of Archie during a conversation with the filmmaker J. J. Abrams and the novelist Doug Dorst at Symphony Space in New York. Ms. Dunham said she owned the first Archie comic and remarked, “You really haven’t lived till you’ve been to an Archie convention.”

The information went from stage, to audience, to text (a friend sent the line to Mr. Goldwater’s son), to Archie’s publisher, to its new chief creative director, who is friends with Ms. Dunham. “As his first initiative, Roberto really brought together the whole Lena project,” Mr. Goldwater said.

“I was an avid Archie collector as a child — conventions, first editions that I kept in plastic sleeves, the whole shebang,” Dunham said in a statement. “It has so much cultural significance but also so much personal significance, and to get to play with these beloved characters is a wild creative opportunity.”

Though the comic isn’t set for release until the spring of 2015, the promotional art released by Archie Comics looks ominously like the original Season 1 poster for “Girls.” Maybe it’s time to bring out the R (rated) in Riverdale.

Photo credit: Archie Comics/Dan Parent.


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'Reich Friends' Re-Casts Sitcom With Hitler and Goebbels

By Anne Cohen

I was once of the mind that there is no such thing as a bad “Friends” mashup. I was wrong.

Behold “Reich Friends”, a spoof of the much-loved sitcom brought you by Spanish-language comedy collective Marca Blanca. Using historic footage of Adolf Hitler and his besties, Himmler, Goebbels, Göring and Eva Braun, the group recreates the opening credits, complete with “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts (you probably know it as “The Friends Theme Song.”)

Hitler’s Bavarian retreat, The Eagle’s Nest is the new Central Perk. In the wise words of Chandler Bing: Could this BE any more offensive?

[h/t A/V Club]


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Scarlett Johansson Pregnant With First Child

By Anne Cohen

Mazel tov, ScarJo!

Scarlett Johansson, the Jewish actress and SodaStream spokeswoman, is pregnant with her first child with fiancee Romain Dauriac, a source confirmed to E! News.

The pair were spotted at the 39th Cesar Film Awards 2014 in Paris on Friday (no baby bump yet!)

Johansson went public about her relationship with the French journalist in November 2012. The couple announced their engagement in September.

ScarJo was previously linked to actor Ryan Reynolds. The two divorced in 2011 after three years of marriage. In December, she spoke to the Daily Mail of her wish to start a family:

“I would like to have my own family, that would be nice,” she said. “They say it’s never the right time and I am sure that’s true, but I think you have to plan it like anything else.”

And now, the question on everyone’s mind: Will Dauriac follow the lead of fellow French-hubby Benjamin Millepied?


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Jewish Museum's Purim Ball: A Rap and Twitter Spiel

By Masha Leon

“It’s hard to imagine that we sold out The Armory!” beamed Claudia Gould Director of the Jewish Museum at its February 26 Purim Ball which raised a record $2.5 million.

More than 1,000 festive donors dined on a fabulous meal beneath a ceiling installation of 3,000 T-shirts with such imprints as: “I Love Esther” and “Got Spiel?”

Honoree Anshu Jain, co-chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank, was introduced by BlackRock, Inc. president Robert Kapito, who said, “Queen Esther was a Jewish queen over what was part of modern day India… and Ahasuerus reigned from Hodu to Kush which is the Biblical word for India.” Jain affirmed his familiarity with the Jewish community noting that Indian tradition also hones to “twin views of praise and guilt.”

Claudia Gould and Jessica Williams// Photo by Karen Leon.

Purimspieler Jessica Williams, a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” greeted the guests with: “Hey everybody! Hope you are ready for this, ‘cause it’s about to go down tonight…. There’ll be a lot of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram…. To all the older people — good luck!”

Delivered in Rap and Twitterese, Ahasuerus is King Aha-Tsurus, “the biggest rapper in the U.S., whose crew is De Persian Statesmen who won a lot of Grammys and hangs out with Warren Buffet. King lives with wife “Vashti Knowles” aka “Queen V [Beyonce], so popular she sang at President Obama’s” Inauguration. Theirs is a “life of fame, glamour and of course — anti-Semitism…. Aha-Tsurus has a beef with a Jewish gang, The Jew Tang Clan — a gang not to be messed with… It was rumored that the Jew Tang Clan killed [two major rappers] so he vowed to make the Jew Tang Clan his sworn enemies…. Aha-Tsurus was famous for anti-Semitic lyrics like, ‘What you not a fan, got murdered like the Jew Tang Clan…homey lookin’ real skittish, whatsa matter with you at least you don’t speak Yiddish.”

Photo by Karen Leon.

According to Williams’ hip-hop spiel “Aha-Tsurus held a party with a lot of twerking strippers — ‘who don’t count as humans’— and tweets Vashti to get her “booty butt’” over to his 50-50 Club. No! He divorces her. The king needs a new “Boo” and orders his crew “’Go find me the flyest girl but she can’t be Jewish or from the Jew Tang Clan.” Mordechai, aka Mordy, appears as rapper and a former Jew Tang Clan alum. As for his adoptee Esther, Williams informs: “She has the advantage of being racially androgynous, not unlike [Grammy–winning] Bruno Mars.

King falls for yoga-loving Esther. Another rapper — Haman West — a member of the Persian Statesmen and “a lot like Kanye West, hates and attacks Mordy. Esther “comes out of the Jewish closet” to save Mordy, the members of the Jew Tang Clan and herself. Haman gets exiled to his wife’s Kardashian-like reality show. King is no longer anti-Semitic, makes amends “with the Jew Tang Clan and others like “Jew Live Crew” and “The Old Money Boys.”

Williams concluded: “Esther is totally bummed she could not make it [here tonight] and ”she tweeted me to tell you that tonight celebrate goofy Jewish Halloween in her honor.”

Then came the after party and every guest left with a fun white T-shirt with the imprint “Body by Hamentaschen.”


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John Travolta Mispronounces Idina Menzel's Name

By Anne Cohen

If your name is actually Adela Dazeem, you may be getting a lot of unwanted tweets today.

The Twitterverse exploded during last night’s Oscar ceremony, when a confused John Travolta mispronounced singer Idina Menzel’s name, accidentally referring to her as Adela Dazeem.

Menzel got a standing ovation for her performance of the Academy Award-winning song “Let It Go” from this year’s Disney sensation, “Frozen.”

But the damage was done. 0.02 seconds later, a meme was born. A Twitter account has already been set up for @AdelaDazeem. As of today, it has 13, 500 followers.

And yes, good ol’ Buzzfeed has a list called “If John Travolta Had To Pronounce Everyone’s Name At The Oscars.” Highlights include Jart Liters (Jared Leto), Lunesta Knee-Congo (Lupita Nyong’o), Janet Loorenstein (Jennifer Lawrence), and Leonart DiCamry (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Funnily enough, this photo was snapped backstage as John was studying his script.

Come on, say it with me John, I-DI-NA MEN-ZEL.


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6 Jewish Things on the Oscars Red Carpet

By Lauren Davidson

There’s only one day on the Jewish calendar more important than Rosh Hashanah for looking your spanking best. And our favorite Hollywood Hebrews were out in full force at the Academy Awards. Here’s six Jewish things about the Oscars red carpet.

Let’s get the bad ones out of the way first.

Bette Midler’s choice of red flowers (roses, perhaps?) was unfortunate. The capped-sleeve Reem Acra dress looked like it had been embroidered onto her body. But it didn’t really matter because all eyes were on Midler’s beaming face. “She was nice enough to make [the dress] in my size,” she laughed.

Ms. Midler Tweeted earlier: “She actually came to my house!”

Read more


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Behind-the-Scenes Jews Score at the Oscars

By JTA

Spike Jonze won Oscar for best original screenplay/Getty Images

After some fairly lean Oscar years, full or partial Members of the Tribe scored well at the 86th Academy Awards, though mainly in the less glamorous, behind-the-scenes categories.

Israeli-American producer Arnon Milchan, who is an acknowledged intelligence operative for Israel’s nuclear weapon program, shared in the celebration for best picture winner “12 Years a Slave” as one of the seven listed producers who won a golden statuette on Sunday night.

Woody Allen, a regular non-attending entry at the Oscars, failed to win the original screenplay trophy for his “Blue Jasmine.” However, the honor went to “Her” writer Spike Jonze, born Adam Spiegel and the son of a Jewish father.

Perhaps the most satisfying win of the evening, from a Jewish perspective, went to “The Lady in No. 6: Music Saved My Life.” The short documentary tells the story of 110-year old concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer, who died exactly one week before the award ceremony.

Read more


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Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher Are Engaged

By Anne Cohen

Mazel tov to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher!

Rumors of the couple’s engagement went haywire on Thursday night after Kunis was spotted with a rather large rock on her finger.

An unnamed source finally confirmed the news to Us Weekly. “She is crazy about him!” the source added.

The couple, who met on the set of “That 70s Show” in 1998 (Kutcher was Kunis’ first on-set kiss), have been dating since 2011, shortly after Kutcher, 36, split with actress Demi Moore. Kunis, 30, was the longtime girlfriend of Macauley Caulkin.

While Kutcher himself isn’t Jewish (Kunis is a Ukrainian Jew), he is a known kaballah enthusiast. The couple recently attended the funeral of Rabbi Philip Berg, founder of the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Center, in Safed.

May their future be filled with dates as cute as the one Kunis described in a recent Cosmopolitan interview: ” We have a thing called white T-shirt night and it’s when you wear jeans and a white T-shirt and you go on a date. Nothing fancy, it’s just something that you love to do… whether that’s bowling or dinner or going to a cheese shop.”


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Christian Bale's Kippah Malfunction

By Anne Cohen

The Oscars are only two days away, and if you’re anything like us, you’re rooting for an “American Hustle” win in Costume Design.

This is the first Academy Award nomination for Australian costume designer Michael Wilkinson (whose credits include “Man of Steel,” “300,” “Watchmen,” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 & 2” ), and come Sunday night, he’ll face fierce competition from the likes of “The Great Gatsby” and “12 Years A Slave.”

Much has been written about the film’s knockout 70s wardrobe (and the hair, the hair), but it seems Wilkinson deserves an Oscar just for getting through the shoot.

According to Racked, there was more than one mishap to maneuver around. David O. Russell’s spontaneity on the set, often required Wilkinson to think on his feet. Racked reports that Wilkinson had 40 different outfit changes for Amy Adams and Christian Bale alone.

When it came to Bale, who plays Jewish scam artist Irving Rosenfeld, Wilkinson had a whole other set of problems. During a shoot for a wedding portrait of Bale and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters that was to be featured in their bedroom, Wilkinson realized he had completely forgotten to pack a yarmulke.

“The yarmulke was key for the wedding portrait so I ran to the bathroom, cut up some paper towels and worked with bobby pins,” he told Racked. “It always makes sense to make friends with the hair department.”

“American Hustle,” a comedy/drama based loosely on the ABSCAM FBI sting operation, is nominated for10 Academy Awards.


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Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen Share Bris Photos

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — Mazel tov to Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny Mollen on the birth–and apparent circumcision–of their son Sid. On Tuesday Mollen posted shots to Instagram that seem to have been taken on or around the time of their newborn’s bris. “Today was not a good day to be Sid’s penis,” read one caption that bore the hash tags #babybiggs and #circumcision, while another shot showed Biggs and Mollen wrapped in a talit.

The news probably seems entirely unsurprising. This is Larry Bloom we’re talking about, after all–of course his kid would get snipped. But allow us to remind you that although Biggs has brought many a Jewey character to life, he is actually Roman Catholic. (Shocks every time–we know.)

While Mollen’s faith is currently unconfirmed, we’re banking on the fact that she’s a tribe member–especially since this isn’t the first Jewish rite of passage she’s shared on social media. In January Mollen posted shots of the couple’s dog Teet’s “bark mitzvah.” It’s all there on Instagram, but the Daily Mail summed it up quite nicely, so sit back and enjoy shots of yarmulke-clad pooch lighting a candle and munching on challah, plus fun puns like “Fur goodness sake!”


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Abe Foxman Embraces 'Son of God' Movie

By Anne Cohen

“Son of God” is the latest in a series of New Testament movies inspired by the life and death of Jesus Christ. But for once, Jewish leaders are positive about the film’s portrayal of Jews.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League told the Wrap that he hopes “Son of God” will be “the antidote to the poison that ‘Passion of the Christ’ became.”

“It’s almost a disservice to ‘Son of God’ to compare the two,” he said.

It’s been ten years (can you believe it?) since Mel Gibson’s Jesus epic opened in theaters. The movie was, and has since been criticized by Foxman and others for its negative and stereotypical portrayal of Jews. “Son of God,” on the other hand, is a big-screen-adapted version of the popular History channel miniseries “The Bible.”

“Gibson bloodied the Jews by portraying them as such villains,” said Foxman. But as the Wrap points out, Foxman doesn’t have the same attitude towards all depictions of the crucifixion.

“The story of the crucifixion and the way it has been used through the centuries has never been good for the Jews,” he said. “Having said that, ‘Son of God’ is the most sensitive, caring depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen. The producers have done everything possible to put the events into historical, political and psychological context.”

According to Foxman, the ADL was met with “Son of God” creators Mark Burney and Roma Downey during the production process. The ADL is even sponsoring a dinner honoring the two on May 8.

But not everyone is as positive as Foxman. In his review of “Son of God” for the New York Post, Kyle Smith was not so enthusiastic about the film’s depiction of Jewish characters (or the movie in general).

Meanwhile, evil Jewish elders lurk in Jerusalem, fretting that Jesus’ antics will cause the Romans to cancel Passover. (As in many movies of this kind, the bad Jews look a lot more stereotypically Jewish than the good Jews.) The editing structure is: miracle, scheming villains, miracle, scheming villains. Though his followers call him “Rabbi,” Jesus here is more entertainer than teacher. Who wouldn’t follow a guy so agreeable, so ready to fix your troubles? “Son of God” is like one of those Good News Bibles that avoids words of more than two syllables.

“Son of God” opens nationwide on Friday. Watch the trailer here:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: son of god, jewish, anti-defamation league, crucifixion, jesus, abe foxman



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