Eric Clapton headlined the fifth annual Life Festival in Oswiecim, Poland late this month. Yes, you read that right. Eric Clapton just played Auschwitz.
Well, kind of.
The Oswiecim Life Festival started in 2010, and was created by Darek Maciborek, a radio DJ, who wanted to change the negative associations brought up by his hometown. Because of its close proximity to Auschwitz, Oświęcim, has always carried part of the legacy of the death camp, which was where over 1 million people died, 90% of whom were Jewish.
The Life Festival Oswiecim is meant to combat anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia through music and the arts. Various Polish and foreign bands play in the festival. James Blunt played in 2011, and Peter Gabriel in 2012. Last year, the festival pulled in Sting to headline.
Clapton preformed the closing number at the festival, which was his final stop on his four-month world tour.
More than 10,000 people came out for the event, which took place from the 25th – 28th of June.
Yes, we know Kyle Beckerman has embraced Rastafarianism and yes he married the non-Jewish (and, by all accounts, beautiful, lovely and smart) Kate Pappas at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, but we know that those dreadlocks are just extreme peyes honoring Leviticus 19:27 where the Torah says, “You shall not round off the פְּאַת Pe’at of your head”
So what does Kyle Beckerman have in his peyes?
Only Jurgen Klinsmann seriously thought TeamUSA could get to the round of 16 without plucky little Landon.
The lost tribe
For thousands of years the lost tribe of pygmy Jews has been passed down from one dreadlocked Jewish captain of Real Salt Lake MLS soccer team to the next.
An oxygen tank
Michael Bradley and Beckerman’s lung-bursting efforts seem scarcely possible without some help. I can reveal that Beckerman has a small supply of oxygen in his locks to help him recover mid-game. And he shares with his buddy Bradley because, really, where’s Bradley going to hide it?
The black box from Flight MH370
Where WAS Kyle Beckerman on March 8, 2014? Internet conspiracy theorists want to know.
A mini Kyle Beckerman for extra reach in an emergency to make goal-saving headers.
In case of penalties.
The beautiful, smart, lovely Kate Pappas
In case of elimination.
The long awaited “Boy Meets World” spinoff, “Girl Meets World,” premiered last Friday on Disney Channel to 5.2 million viewers.
The new show brings back Jewish stars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel as fan-favorites Cory and Topanga, this time as parents to 12-year-old Riley, played by Rowan Blanchard.
Accompanied by her best friend, Maya, Riley deals with boys, middle school, and her family.
“We’re dealing with a lot of the same issues that we dealt with on the original series,” Ben Savage said in an interview, “themes of freedom from your parents and individuality and family support and relying on your friends.”
In another interview, Savage said that the timing was just right for the new show. “A lot of kids who grew up with Boy Meets World are parents now. Some of the most meaningful, special emails or messages or tweets that I’ve gotten have been from people saying, ‘I grew up with Boy Meets World and I can’t wait to watch this show with my own kids.’”
He assured audiences that Cory is definitely the Cory Matthews that we all knew and adored. “Cory’s his own little entity of a neurotic, funny, sweet, sincere roller coaster. Topanga is definitely the more centered, firm authority in the house.”
The show takes place in New York City, as mentioned in the Boy Meets World finale. Topanga is a full-time lawyer and mother, and Cory takes Mr. Feeny’s place as a middle school history teacher, much to his daughter’s dismay.
Tune in to Girl Meets World Friday nights at 8:30 EST because old cast members are bound to pop up, including Rider Strong, who played Cory’s partner in crime, Shawn Hunter, and William Daniels, Mr. Feeny.
“It took a famous baby to die pre-term — Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, son of John and Jacqueline Kennedy — to make the call to the world that babies matter,” said Dr. Agneta Golan, Director of Soroka Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to the guests at the American Friend of Soroka Medical Center Gala Benefit at the New York Palace Hotel. “I am here to speak out for my ‘Kennedys of the Negev’…. When the alarms go on, we run to shelters…. I am sure that because Israel matters to you, my babies matter to you.”
Emceed by Dan Abrams, co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline,”—who informed he was a cancer survivor and that his mother (who was present) is “a Sabra committed to all things related to Israel, “ the speaker roster included Ido Aharoni, Israel’s consul general in New York who stated: “Whenever something happens in Israel, people in New York feel as if it happened in New York — and visa versa.” He informed: “Soroka” — Israel’s 4th largest hospital with 1,000 beds, serving one million, will eventually have to serve a population of nearly six million…provide medical service and health care to an entire region which we all agree is the future of the State of Israel.”
Citing Ben Gurion — whose statue stands in Siroka Hospital’s lobby — keynote speaker and recipient of Siroka’s “Stateswoman for Health Award,” Admiral Susan Blumenthal, said: “’In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles’ and this hospital is a miracle in the Middle East.” Answering “Why did I become a doctor?”, uber blonde, blue-eyed, pink-cheeked Blumenthal — who spoke at length about global health issues — said: “In my first year in college my mother developed breast cancer…my last year of medical school it had metastasized to her spine. She lived long enough to see her daughter become a doctor…eventually assistant surgeon general and one of the few women Jewish admirals in the service.”
Liat Ben Rafael relaxes at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters/Haaretz
Every day, hundreds of millions of people are exposed to the artistic preferences of a young Israeli woman who curates one of the most popular exhibitions on earth. Liat Ben Rafael, 28, is one of the three managers of the Google Doodle team, which is responsible for Google’s constantly changing home page. The team includes 10 illustrator-animators, graduates of art schools, and four programmers.
Four hundred doodles go live every year, replacing the usual logo (which was designed by Ruth Kedar, an Israeli designer) with an interactive or entertaining illustration. About 2,000 doodles have been created so far. Most of the team’s work involves marking independence days and the birthdays of important figures in each country. Those doodles are shown only to Internet surfers in the specific country.
Ben Rafael’s role is to construct the annual plan for the doodles. She works in Google’s offices in California, and is part of a team that examines the suggestions that come from all over the world, from Google employees and web surfers alike.
She makes the final decision as to which doodles to develop and give to the illustrators. She is currently heading the World Cup project, and is also responsible for the International Women’s Day project, in which she takes particular pride. She is also in charge of the children’s competition, Doodle 4 Google.
Actor Shia LaBeouf, who starred in the “Transformer” movies and with Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” did not enter a plea on Friday after being charged with disorderly conduct and harassment.
LaBeouf, 28, was arraigned on five charges in the tiny, packed courtroom at Manhattan’s Midtown Community Court after being arrested on Thursday evening.
He was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of trespass, one count of criminal trespass and harassment in the second degree.
As the disheveled-looking actor left the court alone wearing a bright blue T-shirt and baggy pants he was mobbed by waiting photographers and reporters.
LaBeouf was taken into police custody inside New York’s Studio 54 during a performance of the musical “Cabaret” after disturbing the performance and using obscene language.
He became belligerent when security guards asked him to leave, police said. Police were called and he was arrested and led out of the building.
Luis Suarez, right, has been banned from the World Cup for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini/Getty Images
In the most dramatic turn of events at the World Cup in Brazil so far, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez — one of the most talented players of his generation — has been banned from “all football-related activities” for four months for biting the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s June 24 game against Italy.
That means he’ll miss the entire rest of the World Cup.
Here’s why Suarez should use his enforced absence from the beautiful game to join the Chosen People.
Back in December, I gushed that Jews finally had their own royal baby frenzy — Moroccan-born French Jewish comedian Gad Elmaleh and Charlotte Casiraghi had just had a baby boy.
“Grace Kelly’s granddaughter just had a Jewish baby. Win,” I wrote.
Boy, was I wrong.
When my family heard that Elmaleh was marrying Casiraghi, they were torn between pride that “un gars de chez nous” (literally: our guy) was infiltrating the royal family of Monaco, and concern about what this would mean for his Jewish faith.
“Watch, he’ll convert within a year,” my grandmother warned.
“No way, Mamie,” I answered. “He’ll lose all his Jewish fans if he does that.”
And then this. According to French gossip magazine “Voici,” Elmaleh and Carsiraghi (who is fifth in line to the throne) celebrated the baptism of their son, Raphael, in the royal chapel of Monaco last Sunday.
Not quite a conversion… but still.
Now, for some background: Gad Elmaleh is to Moroccan Jews what Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld are to Ashkenazi Jews. This is a big deal. His portrayals of Moroccan Jews living in French-speaking countries have caused many a night of stomach-holding, ab-building, raucus laughter in my living room. He just gets us.
For Montreal Sephardis, it’s a double blow — Elmaleh got his comedy start there after attending high school in the city. It’s a close-knit community (I went to school with his cousin).
Still no news as to whether baby Raphael will be circumcized. I haven’t called my grandmother yet, but I know what she’ll say. Ok, Mamie, you told me so.
Mikhail Fridman sings Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ in effort to make record books / Russian Jewish Congress
(JTA) — If time really is money, then the song that producer Igor Sandler recorded on Tuesday at his Moscow studio not only will be the longest tune ever released, but may be among the costliest to make.
That’s because the people singing in Sandler’s bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records database include Russian Jewish billionaires whose time is a pretty expensive commodity.
Still, they convened on Tuesday at the request of the Russian Jewish Congress to record a three-hour-long cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which organizers plan to submit to the editors of the record book under the category: “Longest Officially Released Song.”
Among the vocalists were numerous occupants of the top slots on Forbes’ list of Russian billionaires, including Mikhail Fridman, co-owner of the Alfa Group — the biggest financial and industrial investment group in Russia. Forbes ranked him Russia’s second-richest man last year, when his fortune was estimated at $16.5 billion. Since then, that figure has climbed to $18.5 billion.
Also singing was Boris Mints, the owner of investment company O1 Properties as well as wealthy Jewish businessmen like German Zakharyan; Yuri Kokush and RJC President Yuri Kanner — himself no pauper.
Titled “Musical Marathon 5775,” the project is expected to generate a final product in time for Rosh Hashanah. It will feature the voices of more than 150 Russian Jewish celebrities, such as actress Klara Novikova, composer Alexander Zhurbin, actor Leonid Kanevsky and political scientist Igor Bunin. In total, RJC and Igor Sandler Productions plan to integrate the voices of 5,775 singers in the tune — enough, the organization says, to break the world record for number of vocalists on a single track.
North Korea on Wednesday denounced a forthcoming American comedy film featuring a plot to assassinate its leader Kim Jong Un as an act of terrorism and threatened to unleash a “merciless counter-measure” if Washington failed to ban the movie.
The movie “The Interview”, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is scheduled for release in Octoberthis fall.
“Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated,” the North’s official KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.
The Hollywood movie recounts the story of a talk show host and his producer who land a rare sit-down interview with Kim, the third leader of his family dynasty to rule North Korea.
The Central Intelligence Agency then recruits the pair to assassinate him.
Rogen responded to North Korea’s threat with a lighthearted tweet:
People don't usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they've paid 12 bucks for it. Hiyooooo!!!— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) June 25, 2014
Each time I met Eli Wallach — whom I had known for nearly 30 years (and always with his wife Anne Jackson at his side) — he greeted me warmly.
Ever gracious, he’s sent handwritten ‘thank you’ notes following mentions in my column and a particularly sweet one after my review of their daughter Roberta’s performance in a 1991 play adding: “I expect to be in the Roundabout Theatre in Miller’s “The Price.” Hope you’ll come to see it.”
The last time I chatted with Wallach — who died at 98 of natural causes on June 24 — was at the Player’s Club on April 12, 2010 when he and Anne Jackson presented an award to actress Patricia Neal on the occasion of an upcoming prequel to Hellman’s “The Little Foxes.” Then 83-year old Jackson put her hand on 94-year year old Wallach and proclaimed: “This is mine!” Wallach then asked her ‘What was I going to say?” and Jackson affectionately replied, “I don’t know, Sweetheart.” Wallach snapped back: “What does that mean?” They looked at each other and smiled.
Eli Wallach and Ann Jackson // Photo by Karen Leon
An actor famous for portraying — as he once said — “Mexican bandits, Italian Mafiosi and a Greek jewel thief, I finally ended up as an ‘Old Jew.’” Wallach had great affection for and kept close ties to the Yiddish theater. At a June 2, 2005 Folksbiene cocktail party at Elaine’s he recalled Maurice Schwartz and Jacob Adler. In 1988 Wallach portrayed the character David Cole — based on Adler — in Joseph Papp’s “Café Crown” at the Public Theater grandstanding with panache and a black cape and fedora on the stage! At the 2002 “Celebrating the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre and 100 Years of Yiddish Theater,” emcee Wallach presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Yiddish Theater legends Mina Bern and Shifra Lerer.
Without the grades for City College, he went to the “oil rich” University of Texas where tuition was $30 a year and, as he’d tell it, teachers would call on him just to hear his Brooklyn accent. Wallach liked to boast that he and Anne were married in 1948 “when Israel became a state,” adding “and we’re [both] still here!”
At a July 12, 2004 “Dialogue with Rabbi William Berkowitz” at The Center for Jewish History, Wallach delivered a 90-minute uninterrupted “performance” in which he disgorged an avalanche of anecdotes about plays and films he was in, and actors he had worked with. Still smarting at losing out to Frank Sinatra for the role of Mario in “From Here To Eternity,” he recalled a rehearsal for G.B. Shaw’s “Major Barbara” at which Charles Laughton admonished him: “No Stanislavsky crap from you!”
“We were the only Jewish family in Red Hook in a sea of Italians,” he once said. When the director of the [1967 film] “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” told him to “cross himself” he was mystified by Wallach’s peculiar hand choreography. Wallach explained that it was his shorthand execution of the rite based on “seeing my Italian neighbors cross themselves in Little Italy in the 1920s.”
His father’s reaction to his becoming an actor: “”From this you make a living!?””
Some living!. Some life!
On The Daily Show Jon Stewart opened up about his son’s experiences dealing with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.
When those with Celiac disease eat gluten, their bodies attack the gut and damage the villi that line the small intestine. These villi, tiny hair-like projections, are supposed to absorb nutrients for the body, but cannot for those with Celiac disease.
For Jews, it’s been described as “like Passover, but year-round” just without the matzo.
(Reuters) — Gary Oldman made comments about Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin and Nancy Pelosi in an interview that sparked headlines, but his manager insisted the actor was giving a “flamboyant monologue on political correctness and demonstrates the absurd by being absurd.”
In the interview published in Playboy magazine on Monday, the 56-year-old British actor said it would be hypocritical for people to castigate Gibson for his 2006 anti-Semitic diatribe while being arrested for drunken driving because “we’ve all said those things.”
“Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews, and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him - and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough,” Oldman said. “He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know?”
“Most men need one woman to keep ‘em straight — I need four — and these are all nurses, Dr. Mark Kris, an honoree at the 31st Annual Calvary Hospital Gala, told the 400 black tie guests at The Pierre.
The lead physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering — IBM Watson Collaboration Attending Physician Memorial Hospital, recipient of the Annie Blount Stores Award said, “Those of you in healthcare know who is the ‘Crazy Glue’ — the nurses— and I stand here today to a great degree because of them.”
Frank Calamari, President & CEO Calvary Hospital, its Chairman of the Board Dr. “Thomas Fahey, Jr., and Calvary Fund Chairman of the Board and a past honoree Steven Golub — extolled Calvary’s unwavering tradition of loving care of its patients. A film video showcased the tender treatment of 93-year old Trina Kruger who had taken up ceramics while at Calvary. During dinner, her daughter, Sandy Reiburn, a past buyer in the garment arena, showed me a stunning one-of-a-kind pocketbook her mother had constructed of designer labels.
Barbara Nitzberg, Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations at Calvary, told me: “We have three Jewish chaplains at Calvary: Rabbi Rachmiel Rothberger, Rabbi Harold Stern, and Rabbi M.Ed. Shmuel Zuckerman.
Mel Gibson has finally found someone willing to stand up for him.
In an interview with Playboy magazine promoting his role in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” actor Gary Oldman donned his defender-of-pariah-celebrities cape, labeling the climate of political correctness in Hollywood as “crap.”
I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things,” the 56-year-old actor said. “We’re all f—–g hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word n—-r or that fucking J–? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy.”
Oldman also had a kind word for Alec Baldwin, who recently made headlines when he made a homophobic slur to a paparazzo who was trying to take his picture.
“Alec (Baldwin) calling someone an F– in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him.”
It’s been almost eight years since Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade during his arrest on a DUI charge.
“So they persecute. Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him-and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough.
“He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That f—- kraut” or “F— those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, ‘Isn’t that shocking?’
The New York Daily News points out that at this point, the self-described Libertarian seemed to realize that his words could be seen as offensive.
You have to edit and cut half of what I’ve said, because it’s going to make me sound like a bigot,” Oldman told his interviewer, reportedly told his interviewer.
Ready to feel old? “The Lion King” turns 20 (almost legal!) today.
On June 24, 1994, one of the most successful animated features ever entered theaters. In honor of the much-loved Disney classic, we recognize the Jews who made “The Lion King” possible.
1) Matthew Broderick: Voice of Adult Simba
Probably most well known for his teenaged antics in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Matthew is now 52 and has been married to Sarah Jessica Parker for 17 years.
2) Rob Minkoff: Director
By the time Rob started directing “The Lion King,” he had already worked on “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Brave Little Toaster.” After, he moved on to direct “The Haunted” Mansion and “Stuart Little.”
3) Jeffrey Katzenberg: Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios
Later that year, Jeffery left Disney and founded DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Since then, he’s been involved in the production of such masterpieces as “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Honorable mention: Whoopi Goldberg — Voice of Shenzi
Although not Jewish, Whoopi deserves a nod. She changed her surname to Goldberg because her mother told her that only Jews could make it in Hollywood. Most recently, you can find Whoopi as a guest character on Glee.
Happy birthday “Lion King”! Here’s to many more happy childhoods.
Harry Potter, meet Hollywood.
In this most adorable of clips, Daniel Radcliffe sorts celebrities, including — Meryl Streep, Barack Obama, Emma Stone, Miley Cyrus, Ryan Gosling, and Beyoncé — into the four Hogwarts houses (in case you’re one of those who didn’t read the books or see the movies, they are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin).
Meryl Streep? “I’m just going to put all the cool people in Gryffindor.”
Benedict Cumberbatch? ” He’s someone I associate with great intellect.” (Ravenclaw)
Miley Cyrus? “Come on, Miley, come to Gryffindor. We’ll sort you out.”
Jon Hamm? “Because I know you, and I know you won’t take offense to this, I’m putting you in Hufflepuff.”
Only one person was deemed sneaky enough to be in Slytherin: “I think [Kanye] would kind of be happy with [Slytherin], though.” Obviously.
Watch the full clip below:
Seth Rogen and James Franco are wanted men.
But this time, the pair aren’t on the run from scary-but-somewhat-lovable pot dealers a la “Pineapple Express.” Apparently, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has taken offense to the plot of the Jewish comedy duo’s new movie. Since “The Interview” basically sees Rogen and Franco as a television host named Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer (Rogen) who are enlisted by the CIA to travel to North Korea and assassinate Kim Jong-un, one could see why he would be less than enthusiastic.
A North Korean spokesperson said, “[this] shows the desperation of the US government and American society. A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy – Americans.”
Seth Rogen doesn’t seem too worried though. He hopes the North Korean leader will enjoy the fim:
“The Interview” hits theaters in the fall. Watch the trailer below:
Laverne Cox appreciates a Nice Jewish Boy.
The actress, who plays one of the most beloved and compelling characters on “Orange is The New Black,” which premiered its second season on Netflix earlier this month (and if you haven’t seen it yet — WHAT are you waiting for?), dished about her type during an appearance on “Chelsea Lately” earlier this week.
Per the New York Post’s Page Six:
“I dated a lot of Jewish men,” the transgender “Orange Is the New Black” actress said on “Chelsea Lately” Wednesday. “I’d like to think of myself as the nation’s premiere black transgender shiksa.”
Cox chalked up her dating preferences to location and noted that there are lots of Jewish men in New York. “They seem to like me and I like them and we get along,” she quipped.
In May, Cox became the first transgender person to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
After waving bye-bye to “Chelsea Lately” and signing a new deal, Chelsea Handler is moving on to Netflix.
In partnership with her production company, Borderline Amazing, Handler will star in four docu-comedies, premiere a stand-up special based on her tour, “Uganda be Kidding Me” and a launch brand spanking new talk show — all on Netflix.
Although not the only Jew to be featured on late night television (see also Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz, or “Jewy Jewman” as Jon Stewart jokingly called himself in an interview), Chelsea Handler is the only female host in the late night slot.
Her current show, “Chelsea Lately” has aired on E! for the past seven years, and will air its final episode August 26, 2014. In the past, Handler has not been shy about her dissatisfaction with “Lately” and called E! a “sad, sad place to live.”
In a statement about the change, Handler said, “I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move.” She later explained that, “Netflix is the most forward-thinking, alert group I’ve sat down with in ages.”
Although there is speculation as to how often episodes of Handler’s new talk show will air, Netflix spokeswoman Karen Barragan assured listeners in a statement that episodes will not appear all at once, as with previous television shows. Instead, Handler’s new show will be uploaded in a staggered order, a first for Netflix.
Handler’s yet-unnamed show will premiere in early 2016. We’re marking our calendars for a binge-sesh.