The Shmooze

The Ku Klux Klan Welcomes… Jews?

By Anne Cohen

Members of the Ku Klux Klan, circa 1930 // Getty Images

Have you been harboring a deep, dark, hidden desire to join the Ku Klux Klan? Well, now’s your chance. Apparently, the Klan, bastion of White Supremacy, is looking to “diversify and increase its membership to include Jews, black people, homosexuals and those of Hispanic origin with a re-branding as ‘the new Klan’,” the Daily Mail reports.

The new and improved organization, re-dubbed the Rocky Mountain Knights, claim to have traded in their old standby — hate — in favor of “a strong America.” Prospective members must be 18 and live in the Pacific Northwest.

‘White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan. The KKK is for a strong America,’ founder John Abarr told the Great Falls Tribune.

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Jeff Goldblum Got Married This Weekend

By Anne Cohen

Third time’s the charm for Jeff Goldblum.

The 62-year-old “Jurassic Park” actor married Emilie Livingston, 31, in a ceremony at L.A.’s Chateau Marmont on Saturday. Sadly, no dinosaurs were in attendence.

Livingston Instagrammed a pretty bottle of champagne to commemorate the occasion. Caption: “Excited to see our pictures from our photographer but right now feeling so loved after a magical and enchanting evening on Saturday!!!”

The two had been dating since 2011.

Goldblum was previously hitched to “Silverado” co-star Patricia Gaul from 1980 to 1986, and to Geena Davis, with whom he starred in “Earth Girls Are Easy,” from 1987 to 1990.

Mazel tov!


Nicki Minaj Is Sorry About 'Nazi' Video — Sort Of

By Anne Cohen

It’s ok guys, we can all relax. Nicki Minaj is really sorry about all the overt Nazi imagery in her new music video. In fact, she’s not responsible at all. Turns out the people behind the madness were all Jewish. Well, in that case…

The ADL generously accepted Minaj’s apology.

“We are pleased that Nicki Minaj has taken full responsibility for the video and recognized that it was indeed offensive,”Abe Foxman wrote in a statement. “Her clear renunciation of Nazism is an important step. We hope that she will take further steps to educate herself and her fans about who the Nazis were and why we should never take genocide or the Holocaust lightly.”

If you haven’t seen the offending item yet, here it is:


Scared of Over-Sharing? 5By's Greg Isenberg's Got You Covered.

By Natasha Baker

(Reuters) — Consumers concerned about over-sharing on public social networks are turning to private messaging apps to share texts, photos and videos with a limited group of people.

Downloads of private social messaging apps increased 200 percent in 2013 over 2012, making them the fastest-growing category of apps, according to San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm Flurry.

The apps provide more private connections and allow users to express themselves without worrying about how they are perceived by their entire networks.

“Millennials are realizing that they have to be really careful about what they share on public social networks. One embarrassing or exposing photo can severely impact their job prospects,” said Greg Isenberg, CEO of 5by, a division of San Francisco-based web discovery engine StumbleUpon.

The 5by app, for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, allows users to create private forums around videos. They can search for videos across public social networks like YouTube and Vimeo and share them with a select group of people.

“For young people it’s about sending that silly video and expressing yourself how you really want to express yourself,” said Isenberg.

[Ironically enough, the first thing that comes up when you search Isenberg’s name on Youtube is a video of him partying hard in Montreal. Oops.]

Ephemeral media apps such as Snapchat, which disappear after a few seconds, cater to consumers’ desire for more private experiences, he said.

Snapchat, available for iPhone and Android, makes texts, photos and videos disappear seconds after they are viewed.

“You know it won’t live beyond a certain time so you express yourself in a truer manner to yourself,” said Isenberg.

Facebook has also recognized the need for more private experiences. Last month it launched the Rooms iPhoneapp to allow users to converse with a select group of people using real, or made up, names.

The company earlier this year acquired private social messaging app WhatsApp, which lets people chat privately with friends across mobile devices.

Flurry Chief Executive Officer Simon Khalaf said consumers realize they need to restrict how they share information. Users might share a silly photo with a friend on Snapchat, he said, but share a photo family members might see on Facebook.

“Often times with new technology, such as in the early days with Facebook and social web-based platforms, we over-shared,” said Marcos Sanchez, vice president of corporate communications at San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm App Annie.

“As we go through these phases of oversharing, it’s often followed by a phase of curation.”


Another Day, Another Jewish Trump Wedding

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

First Ivanka, now Eric. The MOT-Trump circle has just gained another member.

The Donald’s 30-year-old son married Jewish TV producer Lara Yunaska on Saturday in front of 450 people. The ceremony, held at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, also featured a “crystal-embellished” chuppah. Because, you know, Trump.

The bride, who reportedly broke both her wrists horseback riding two weeks before the wedding (ouch!), wore Vera Wang.

Ivanka Trump, who married New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner in 2009, posted pictures of the ceremony to Instagram.

Kushner, who officiated the ceremony, reportedly told Yunaska: “You are not just gaining a family you are getting 6 million Twitter followers.”

Mazel tov.


American Friends Israel Museum 'Rock The Garden' Gala

By Masha Leon

It was a high-energy multi generation crowd at the American Friends of the Israel Museum’s “Rock the Garden” Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street. Overhead a huge “Rock the Garden” neon sign, plus a wall-sized display of LP’s against an orange background. Denim fabric decorated with metal snaps and zippers tubular table centerpieces helped make the museum’ annual event an over-the-top happening.

During my reception chat with NFL New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft he proudly informed that two of the players on his football team — Julian Edelman and Nate Ebner were Jewish with one — “wearing a mezuzah during play.”

“Nearly fifty years ago my husband’s family were founders of the Israel Museum,” AFIM president Stacey Bronfman told the guests. “”To honor my husband’s grandfather — Samuel Bronfman — on his 70th birthday, the family proudly donated the archeology wing. Our uncle Charles [Bronfman] generously supported the museum…my late father-in-law Edgar Bronfman would be proud of you… Under the leadership of James Snyder it has secured its place among the [world’s] top art institutions and is ranked 63rd in the world with close to one million visitors annually.”

Karen Leon
James Snyder

“Great to see you!” Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Museum Snyder called out to the audience. “We are a little museum 6,000 miles away in Jerusalem and look at the quality, and energy, of this party. This past summer… has been one for the books. But all during the summer, the [museum’s] garden was a place of sanctuary. All this talk about the beauty and tranquility is really the calling card of the garden, and everyone came calling during that entire time. All the more reason to celebrate the garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi.”

“The garden — seven acres out of the [museum’s] twenty acre campus — is where the museum’s heart really beats. There were no tourists…but all during the summer months we were packed with local visitors… The Family Festival had 3000 people a day…our Kite Festival had 6,000…our wine festival… 12,000 and more than 100,000 visitors came to explore “Big Bambu” — American brothers’ Doug and Mike Starn monumental outdoor installation 52.5’ high and 7500 sq. ft. made of more than 10,000 bamboo poles]. These are normal numbers for us…even though tourists are one third of our audience.”

The Garden’s benefactor was famous American impresario Billy Rose. In the early 1960’s he met with Teddy Kollek and Karl Katz — the museum’s first chief curator — and decided to donate his priceless collection of sculptures to the newly forming museum — eventually sponsoring the creation of a large-scale sculpture garden.

The evening lasted through the dessert party and everybody’s parting gift was a cool black T-shirt with a white and neon pink ROCK THE GARDEN logo splashed across the front.


Eli Roth Ties the Knot, Jewish Ladies Everywhere Weep

By Anne Cohen

Ladies, it’s over. The Bear Jew is taken.

Eli Roth, 42-year old director of “Hotel,” “Cabin Fever” and yes, that guy anyone with eyes ogled during “Inglurious Basterds,” has tied the knot. The lucky lady is actress Lorenza Izzo, 22.

According to People Magazine, the couple wed in Izzo’s native Chile in a bilingual ceremony. She wore Vera Wang, he wore an Isaia tuxedo.

And before you ask, here’s that scene:


Bob Geldof Re-Booting 'Do They Know It's Christmas' For Ebola

By JTA

Getty Images

Musician and philanthropist Bob Geldof, who in 1984 inspired a generation of rock stars to record a charity single for Africa, will raise money to combat Ebola with a new version of the song.

Geldof, frontman for Irish new wave band The Boomtown Rats, pulled together the Band Aid supergroup for “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” three decades ago to help those affected by famine in Ethiopia.

Geldof confirmed at a conference in London that the song would be re-recorded. The new line-up is expected to include boy band One Direction and singers Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, British media reports said.

The original song, which raised 8 million pounds ($11 million), featured some of the era’s biggest acts including U2’s Bono, George Michael and David Bowie. It has been re-recorded twice in 1989 and 2004.

Geldof co-wrote the song with Ultravox singer Midge Ure. It topped the charts in 1984 and sold millions of copies, with proceeds going to Ethiopian famine relief.

They followed it up with Live Aid in 1985, a transatlantic concert that raised an estimated $100 million for Ethiopia.

Ebola has killed 4,950 people out of more than 13,000 infected since it broke out in West Africa earlier this year, according to the World Health Organization, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia an


Is Nicki Minaj's New Video Nazi-Themed?

By Anne Cohen

Is it me, or has there been an unusual amount of inappropriate Nazi-themed pop culture lately?

Fans of Nicki Minaj are calling for the singer to take down her controversial new video, “Only You,” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown. With hoards of SS-style troops goose-stepping in an ominously drab fascist landscape while sporting swastika-like armbands, it’s more than a little suggestive of the Third Reich.

At the center of all this is Minaj herself, seated on a red throne overlooking her stormtroopers (is she Hitler in this scenario?).

See for yourself:

Of course, the ADL is “deeply disturbed” about the whole thing. Abe Foxman, who is himself a Holocaust survivor, released the following statement:

Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism. The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

It is troubling that no one among Minaj’s group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release.

This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era. The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews and all those who can recall the sacrifices Americans and many others had to make as a result of Hitler’s Nazi juggernaut.

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DIY SodaStream Wine...It's A Bad Idea

By Anne Cohen

So, to all you youngsters hoping to spice up Shabbat dinner with homemade sparkling wine: Don’t.

One kid put this sensible advice to the test when he decided to make a red wine spritzer using his SodaStream. His kitchen is now purple. The moral of this story: SodaStream and Beaujolais do not mix.

[h/t Gawker]


John Galliano Loses Dior Lawsuit For Unfair Dismissal

By JTA

The British fashion designer John Galliano lost his lawsuit against Christian Dior for unfair dismissal.

The decision by a Paris employment court was announced Tuesday.

Galliano, who was fired in March 2011 after being filmed making anti-Semitic statements at a Paris bar, was ordered to pay Dior one symbolic euro. He had sued for lost earnings of up to $16 million, claiming that the fashion house was aware of his alcohol and drug addictions before the incident.

In the video, Galliano stated his love for Adolf Hitler and told people he believed were Jewish that their mothers should have been gassed. He later blamed his outbursts on addictions to drugs and alcohol.

“It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it,” Galliano said in an interview with Vanity Fair in an article in the July 2013 issue.

A French court ruled in September 2011 that Galliano in several incidents had made “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity.” He was sentenced to a suspended fine and no jail time.

Following the anti-Semitic tirade, actress Natalie Portman, who was serving as a spokeswoman for Dior, issued a statement condemning Galliano and said “I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”

Last month, Galliano was hired as the creative director of the Paris-based fashion house Maison Martin Margiela.


Bill Ackman Lauded By Police and Fire Widows Benefit Fund

By Masha Leon

“I have always appreciated the work done by our bravest and finest” said hedge fund whiz William Ackman founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management L.P., honoree at the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s 29th Benefit Fund’s Gala at The Waldorf-Astoria.

Honored for his “steadfast commitment to the non-profit’s mission,” Ackman accepted the “Answer the Call” Award — a large digital mosaic of the Stars & Stripes by artist Alex Cao –created exclusively for the Benefit Fund. He told the 900 guests: “I am one of the luckiest people in the whole world [partly] because I was born here, work here…and what I do can’t be done anywhere else but in New York, one of the few cities in the world you can walk down the street and feel safe.”

With joint New York Police and Fire Department Honor Guard Drum and Pipe Bands leading the way, the organization’s president Kevin Parker asked for silence to honor “three First Responders we lost this year” adding “we also lost a great friend and longtime supporter — Ace Greenberg.”

Karen Leon
Bill Ackman

There were blessings by Rev. Christopher KeenanOFM and NYPD Chief Chaplain Rabbi Alvin Kass who, in addition to alluding to the “wisdom of the Kotzker Rebbe,” told of “Three clergymen considering how each would like to be remembered by people visiting their graves. The priest said: ‘I hope they will say I was a good man who tried to bring his flock closer to God.’ The minister said: ’I hope they said I tended to the needs of my congregation.’ The rabbi said ‘I hope one will say to the others I think he’s moving!’”

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The U.S. Tried to Arrest Roman Polanski At Jewish Museum Opening

By Gabe Friedman

Getty Images

The United States government still really wants to arrest director Roman Polanski —  and what better place to catch him than the Polish Jewish history museum?

Polanski, who was arrested (but never sentenced) for sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl in 1977, was attending the grand opening of Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw last Tuesday when U.S. authorities contacted Polish officials. The Holocaust survivor was questioned by police but not arrested.

“From the point of view of Polish history,” this attempt by the U.S. “showed absolute ignorance,” Tomasz Nalecz, an advisor to the Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski, told the BBC.

Polanski’s mother was murdered in Auschwitz.

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What Should We Call Gary Shteyngart's Next Book?

By Martyna Starosta

Gary Shteyngart from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

Calling Gary Shteyngart fans! This is your chance to leave your imprint on American Russian Jewish literature.

The author just celebrated a big success with his latest memoir “Little Failure,” which won him a Top 5 spot in this year’s Forward 50 list.

But this is also a great moment to speculate about Shteyngart’s next book. At the end of our Forward 50 video interview the author requests input from our audience “Let the Forward readers decide on a title in a communal way.”

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Robert Downey, Jr. Welcomes A Baby Girl

By Gabe Friedman

Mazel tov! Robert Downey, Jr. and his wife Susan Downey (nee Levin) welcomed their second child on Wednesday and gave her a very Hebrew name. Welcome to the world, Avri Roel!

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Jill Abramson's New Startup Pays $100,000

By Gabe Friedman

Getty Images

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.

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What Was This Spanish Politician Thinking?

By JTA

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.”


Watch Orange Is The New Black's Big Boo Confront a Subway Preacher

By Anne Cohen

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.


[H/T Heeb]


Ben Stein Calls Obama 'Most Racist President' Ever

By Rachel Delia Benaim

Anyone? Anyone?

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.”


Jewish Stars Say Goodbye to Oscar de La Renta

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

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.


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