Love It. Fear It. Smear It.
Is 'Halachic' Going Mainstream?
Sitting Shiva for Spot?
A 'Crazy' Look at Paris Strip Palace
Boycotting Israel and My Olive Tapenade
From Esperanza to Shprintze
Israeli Gas Masks Help Get You High(er)
Was Adolf Hitler Leader or Follower?
Why My Daughter Isn't Bilingual — Yet
Preaching Lost Art of Fermentation
'Homegrown' Story of West Coast Jews
Remembering Mike Wallace
Sisters in Skivvies on the Lower East Side
An Anthem for LGBT Youth
Jewish Gangsters at the Mob Museum
Mayim's Most Important Role
‘Cabaret’ Comes to Tel Aviv
A Transsexual at Yeshiva University
'Strange' Evolution of Legendary Song
Kehinde Wiley Paints Israelis in Color
Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.
Sweating in the Cleveland Schvitz
Berlin Film Festival Gets Serious, Mostly
Addicted to Aggadah
Why Do Men Write All the Baby Manuals?
Jewish Oscar Winners, From Allen to Zinner
Cleveland Rocks — Not Really
Raised Christian, But Jewish by Birth
Be My Israeli Valentine
The Jew and Hitler's Bug
Academy Awards Slideshow
Oscar Wins for ‘The Artist’; ‘Footnote’ Shut Out
The Jewess of 'Downton Abbey'?
The Allure of the Burka
Who Will Light Up Jewish Kids Lit?
Leonard Cohen's Old Whine in a New Bottle
Stephen Colbert vs. Maurice Sendak
X-Rated Dispute in Knesset
A Fraught Journey To Judaism
Bringing Real Bagels to the Motor City
Saying Mazel Tov in Mandarin
Strange Origins of David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method'
How Jews Stayed in Good Spirits During Prohibition
The Word 'Jew' Has Fallen Out of Favor
Last Song of Hitler's Favorite Crooner
Making Foodie Resolutions for New Year
For the Glove of the Game
Adrienne Cooper Embodied Progressive Spirit
TV Ripped My Son From Reality
How Authentic Is ‘Porgy and Bess’?
Sandra Bernhard Shows Her Softer Side
Gimme Some New Time Religion
Tintin and the Anti-Semites
Gimme Some Old Time Gossip
Jewish Cookies Santa Would Love
The Hanukkah Bush and Christmas Dreidel
Lou Reed, rock & roll poet and founding member of the Velvet Underground, died on the same Sunday morning that he taught us all to love (“Sunday Morning.” 1966). As usual, Twitter was the first to know it. Here is how Jewish celebrities reacted:
The one and only Lou Reed, died today at 71.ampmdash; Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) October 27, 2013
Just a perfect day you made me forget myself I thought I was someone else, someone good #RIP LOU REEDampmdash; Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) October 27, 2013
We love you Lou. We love you Laurie.ampmdash; Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 27, 2013
Lou Reed forever defined the beautifully blue Sunday morning. It feels like a wry touch to hear the sad news about him at such a time.ampmdash; B.J. Novak (@bjnovak) October 27, 2013
I think I read that Eno said The Velvet Underground never had a big hit, but everyone who heard them went out and started a band. #LouReedampmdash; Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) October 27, 2013
Oh it’s such an imperfect day. #LouReedRIPampmdash; Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) October 27, 2013
Linger on…ampmdash; Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) October 27, 2013
When Anderson Cooper gets a stalker, it’s not just some garden-variety loon. No, the CNN star has been allegedly menaced by a self-described “gay, Jewish, white supremacist” from Queens named Alex Hausner.
According to the NY Daily News, Hausner “unleashed a crazed campaign against Cooper and boyfriend Benjamin Maisani, contacting them repeatedly between January 1 and June 30” of this year. Hausner was arrested in July and charged with menacing, stalking, harassment and aggravated harassment; in late September, he was declared unfit to stand trial by court doctors, the News reported.
Prosecutors claim Hausner “got into the pair’s swanky building and banged on their apartment door with his foot. ‘I swear to f—ing God don’t insult me, I’m going to f— you up,” according to the News. The New York Post also reported that Hausner said, “I can prove from my sources that [Cooper’s] boyfriend has sent people after me… [Maisani] is a thug and a mongrel.” Hausner’s mother, Lori, said her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 12 but “is not violent and believes he was commissioned to protect the popular CNN anchor.” The problems have transformed into a fixation on Cooper, who Alex Hausner believes has talked to him through his television. “He’s got these psychiatric problems. He believes people are telling him to protect Anderson because people are after Anderson,” Lori Hausner told the News.
According to the New York Post, Hausner’s been in trouble before his alleged Cooper fixation, facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for unnamed incidents. An ex-neighbor told the paper “he was a radical – he believed in his [Jewish] religion, and he believed in one race, the white race.”
Hausner is being held without bail at Riker’s Island, where he’s requested protective custody because of “threats”, the News reported last week; he was committed to a psychiatric facility on October 15.
It’s still unclear how long Hausner will stay under psychiatric care before he’s stable enough to face the charges against him.
“It could be a week. It could be never,” Hausner’s lawyer Wendell Cruz told the Post.
“Richard [Holbrooke] was never fooled by Mia’s so-called porcelain beauty,” said journalist Kati Marton, alluding to her late husband, U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, at the October 21 Blue Card Benefit held at The Powerhouse at The Museum of Natural History.
Presenting the Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Social Justice to Mia Farrow and son Ronan Farrow, Marton recalled the ambassador saying “She’s tough and smart.”
“Could anyone else [but Mia] have gotten Steven Spielberg to drop his project helping the Chinese to stage the Olympics…well Mia did! Her role in fighting genocide in Darfur has been amazing and — most remarkable — raising Ronan who, at 15, was hired by Richard.” Turning to Mia and Ronan seated near the podium, Marton said, “After the Vanity Fair piece [which alludes to the possibility of Ronan’s parentage by Frank Sinatra] — which I know everyone in this room has read —Mia has very few secrets left.” But to illustrate “that Richard was fiercely loyal — for the 17 years that we were with him, I was not allowed to see any ‘Woody Allen’ films.”
(JTA) — The St. Louis Cardinals tied up the World Series with Thursday night’s 4-2 win over Boston. The save went to Trevor Rosenthal.
Regrettably, unlike A.M., Lefty, Hannah and the NFL’s Mike Rosenthal, the Cardinals’ Rosenthal is not a Jew. But the reliever is sometimes mistaken for one, as ESPN reported earlier this year:
he has to deal with the occasional mis-impression about his religious identification. Contrary to what numerous fans and bloggers might think, he is not Jewish.
“Every once in a while, someone will ask me about it,” Rosenthal says. “My dad is an attorney, and he gets invited to bar mitzvahs all the time.”
That means the tribe is left with Craig Breslow, the Yale-educated Red Sox relief pitcher. Alas, Breslow had a really rough night, with an unfortunate throwing error that gave the Cardinals the lead.
At the upscale San Ignacio mall in central Caracas, Venezuela, the only sight less likely than a sex shop is a sex shop with a mezuzah on the doorpost. But TuTiendaSexy — “your sexy store” — has found success by defying expectations.
Founded by a trio of 20-something Jewish-educated college buddies, the brand now encompasses wholesale distribution, retail locations in three Latin American countries, and a burgeoning online business. A new offshoot, TuTiendaVIP, offers bachelorette party planning, pole-dance clases, “seduction courses” and strippers.
Unlike its lurkier local counterparts, the brand injects humor – and uninhibited enthusiasm – into its site and stores. Now, as TuTiendaSexy plans a U.S. debut, Argentinean-born founder Gabriel Noe, 30, talked to the Forward about why sex still sells – and about those mezuzahs.
MICHAEL KAMINER: Jews have had a long involvement in sex-related industries, from adult films to sex toys. Why do you think that’s the case?
GABRIEL NOE: It’s as simple as this: Sex sells. The market of sexual wellness products is almost $15 billion annually, not to mention the market size of adult entertainment. Basically, it is an excellent business and is known as Jews we like to endeavor in “good deals “
He may not be able to spell it, but Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is on board with Thanksgivukkah. He promised to proclaim Nov. 28 “Thanksgivukkah Day” in the city.
Menino made the vow to JewishBoston.com, which hit Boston’s streets to quiz locals about Thanksgivukkah. While many in the Pilgrims’ home state were ignorant about this year’s confluence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah, others were pretty enthused.
“More than any other place in the country, it’s a big deal,” said Barry Shrage, president of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies, which has created a website devoted to the amalgamated holiday.
It’s been a breakout year for the intersection of municipal leadership and Jewish schlock video; In February, Atlanta’s mayor starred in a Bar Mitzvah rap video.
The latest installment of Conan O’Brien’s “Jibber Jabber” is perhaps his best yet.
Our favorite red-headed comedian interviewed Mel Brooks, “the funniest man on the planet Earth,” who talked to him about growing up in Williamsburg — where if “you take a wrong step, you step on a Jew” — finding out humor wasn’t Jewish-specific (a big surprise), and “Spaceballs.”
And that’s only the first five minutes of an impressively long hour and twenty minute show.
Here’s what Mel had to say about it afterward:
It’s hilarious. Watch now.
A good barometer of whether something is worth writing about or not is if Joan Rivers has anything to say about it. Another, higher (and rarer) measure of success is if she has something GOOD to say about it.
This week, the forthcoming Kanye West and Kim Kardashian nuptials win on both counts.
Upon hearing about Kanye finally popping the question to Kim — on her birthday, no less — Joan tweeted:
Our E! family is thrilled about Kim's engagement. She's a lovely girl, a hard worker and we wish her the best. Watch @ENews tonight for moreampmdash; Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) October 22, 2013
Well, it seems people were so amazed at her lack of snark that the our favorite fashion cop had to send another tweet, assuring her account had not, in fact, been hacked.
NO-my account wasn't hacked! I'm truly thrilled for @KimKardashian and I wish her the very best. Can’t I send a nice tweet once in a while?ampmdash; Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) October 22, 2013
It doesn’t seem possible, but James Franco is adding yet another notch to his professional bedpost: Broadway star.
The actor (we will stick with the relevant occupation to save space), has confirmed that he will star alongside Chris O’Dowd in Broadway’s “Of Mice and Men.” O’Dowd will play Lennie, leaving George in Franco’s capable hands.
“I am going to do a play on Broadway,” Franco revealed at Live Talks with James Franco on Sunday. “I am going to do Of Mice And Men with Chris O’ Dowd, directed by this amazing director, Anna Shapiro, who won a Tony for the stage version of August: Osage County. So that will be my Broadway debut.”
Franco, 35, added that he was eager to take on the part — based on the famed John Steinbeck novel — despite the sense of having been typecast from previous roles.
“As an actor, you are perceived through your roles. People read into you,” he said. “Everyone thinks I’m a pothead. A lot of people think I’m gay. A lot of kids come up to me and say, ‘wow, your arm grew back.’ So you’re perceived through your characters. You’re perceived through your interviews.”
Until the next big project, James!
Do you love Halloween? Well, according to Buzzfeed, Jewish rapper Drake does too.
So this year, why not combine the two? Presenting the “Drake O’Lantern”:
If you have a spare 24 minutes at some point today, you can fill them by watching a newly released failed NBC pilot, courtesy of Sarah Silverman.
“Susan 313,” which stars Silverman along with Jeff Goldblum, Tig Notaro, June Diane Raphael (“Burning Love”) and “Parks and Recreation” writer Harris Wittels, never made on the air. It tells the story of Susan (Silverman), who moves into her old apartment building after breaking up with her boyfriend of 10 years.
Silverman tweeted an announcement introducing the pilot to the world earlier today:
LADIES & GERMS, I GIVE YOU FAILED NBC SIT-DRAM "SUSAN 313" http://t.co/sal7Edhk5Fampmdash; Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) October 22, 2013
But the comedian was quick to point out that this isn’t some kind of bitter revenge post: “This isn’t like, ‘Can you believe they didn’t pick this up?’ This isn’t that kind of posting. It’s like, ‘They probably did the right thing, but we liked the show,’” Silverman explains in the episode’s intro. “So enjoy it.”
Did NBC do the right thing? Check out the episode and let us know in the comments!
Good news men!
It seems Bar Refaeli doesn’t only date famous men, as referenced in the story in the New York Daily News about her last week.
Start lining up!
Just woke up to DailyNews saying I'm looking for a strong FAMOUS guy- what?!?! Where did u get that?? Completely false.ampmdash; Bar Refaeli (@BarRefaeli) October 18, 2013
In what was its most successful event, the October 16 Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria raised a whopping $1.6 million.
Dinner chair Nelson Peltz introduced the Center’s Distinguished Service Award recipient —New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo who good humouredly led off with: “When Nelson [told me] ‘I didn’t vote for you,’ I thought it was a joke. He wasn’t kidding.” Cuomo touted Peltz, CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management LLP, as “an icon of the American dream, a great American and New Yorker, a great philanthropist.”
Touting the Wiesenthal Center as “a living memorial to the memory of a great man — Simon Wiesenthal — who died eight years ago at the age of 96, sixty years after his liberation,” Cuomo said: “Now some will say that the Center’s mission is complete.” Apropos the emergence of anti-Semitism worldwide, Cuomo cited incidents in France when “last month a group of Jews were attacked by a gang of teenagers…in Spain two months ago…’Adolf Hitler was right’ was painted across a bullfight arena…. It is very much a real threat in the world we live in…. So Simon Wiesenthal was right and you are right to be here this evening. We need a strong Israel and we need a strong America…working hand-in-glove because they are the bulwarks for democracy on this globe.”
“Anti-Semitism around the world has never been stronger and more dangerous,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, declared. His documented scroll of statistics included: “an estimated 150 million Europeans harbor anti-Jewish sentiments…. Seventy years after the Holocaust, in the same country that initiated the Holocaust, a study showed that 20% of Germans living today are anti-Semitic.”
Speaking with the help of an interpreter, 86-year old Medal of Honor recipient Czeslawa Zak — who was a young girl in Warsaw when her parents helped harbor 14 Jews from 1940-1944 — played down her family’s heroism. The family was designated as Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem. During the reception I got to chat with Ambassador Yehuda Avner author and star of the Moriah Film documentary “The Prime Ministers” and shared some pre-war Warsaw memories with Zak, who joined me in singing Polish folk songs.
Keynote speaker Vernon Jordan Jr. Senior Managing Director, Lazard presented the 2013 Simon Wiesenthal Center Humanitarian Award to Kenneth Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, Lazard.
The Wiesenthal’s newly opened exhibit/installation in Los Angeles in memory of Anne Frank brought back my 1982 visit to the Anne Frank house where we chanced on an elderly British couple musing: “One wonders if it really happened?” I retorted: “Does one also wonder about the London Blitz?” They apologized. “Yes. Yes. It must have happened.” In Litvishn Yiddish I asked an elderly German woman [from Aachen] with granddaughter in tow, why she came. In German she replied: “My neighbors, my friends, they were taken away in the night to Theriesenstadt…” Tearfully she added: “Ach ja! She needs to know this.”
Good news single Jewish girls around the world: you’re not alone! Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli also has trouble finding a man, or at least that’s what she told the New York Daily News on Friday.
“I don’t understand it,” Refaeli, 28, said. “I look great. I’m cool. I like going out. I like being at home, I like movies, I like eating. So what’s wrong with me? Why am I alone?”
Wow. Being a gorgeous supermodel must be harder than it sounds.
Though to be fair, the pool is somewhat narrowed when you’re exclusively on the prowl for someone who is “big and strong and famous.”
So guys, check your online dating profiles and make sure it syncs up with the following criteria:
“I’m looking for someone serious, who I can set up home with,” she said. “Someone who comes from a warm, loving family like mine, who has values like mine,” she said.
You never know, you could get lucky.
Attention “Girls” fans!
It’s official — the mascot series of the broke-Brooklyn-twenty-something that lives in all of us has a return date: January 12, 2014.
Really, Lena Dunham instagrammed so.
In the meantime, hop the G train, pay a visit to Grumpy’s, dance frenetically to Robin — whatever one does to celebrate, “Girls”-style.
When Rabbi David Paskin, a congregational rabbi outside of Boston and the co-head of Kehillat Schechter Academy, heard that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah would fall on the same day this year, he knew it was a chance for families to have fun. But he also saw it as a moment to shine a light on the value of religious freedom that is at the core of both holidays.
So, the singing rabbi composed a song to help celebrate and educate. Late last week, he posted a music video of the lighthearted rhyming number that follows him and a few other troubadours racing through the stairwells of his school singing out with all the kids about latkes, cranberries, Pilgrims, Native Americans, dreidels and the Hasmonean dynasty.
“It’s only in America, where we have this religious freedom, we can shout out loud about this moment in time,” Paskin tells JTA. Thanksgivukkah, as the confluence of the two holidays has now been dubbed, last occurred in 1888 and may not happen again for 79,043 years. Everyone from Stephen Colbert to Buzzfeed seems to have something to say about the unique happening.
It all strikes a personal chord for Paskin, who says he’s reminded of a teaching from Abraham Joshua Heschel to look at the world with radical amazement. “These holidays are celebrations of tremendous blessings we’ve been given and gifts we’ve received from God,” he says. “If I put on my secular hat, they’re gifts from our country and from each and every person.”
“This is yet another opportunity to look beyond what divides us, and be grateful for what unites us. If ever two holidays that are about this, it’s Chanukah and Thanksgiving.”
(The lyrics to “The Ballad of Thanksgivukkah,” can be found here.)
Here’s a preview:
After two years off-screen, the tribe’s pride and joy (a Harvard graduate!) is back in the limelight.
Natalie Portman shines on the November cover of Marie-Claire, and dishes about her love for Los Angeles, her upcoming move to Paris and how, really, she’s just like you and me.
She even has bad habits! “I bite my cuticles,” she offers, apologetically. “Oh, and I can go into a Food Network hole.”
On Hollywood’s tendency to typecast her: “Like, every Jewish role comes to me,” she says, laughing. Even now, when everyone from Mila Kunis to Scarlett Johansson is of the faith? “I look more Jewish than Scarlett,” Portman deadpans.”
Portman’s next project will also be her directorial debut: She’ll be starring as Amos Oz’s mother in “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
Though the Israeli-born actress is fluent in Hebrew, she admitted to be being somewhat nervous about carrying on whole conversations in French, though she can definitely get through the basics. “I mean, not about, like, philosophy,” she explains. “But about this and that, I can manage.”
Welcome back Natalie, and bon voyage a Paris!
With Thanksgivukkah madness on the rise, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include Stephen Colbert’s angry rant in the mix.
Stephen Colbert loves Thanksgiving. So it’s no wonder he gets mad when “American sacred day of family, and hearing Nana’s unvarnished opinion of Filipinos, is in danger.”
Why is his glorious holiday in such peril? In an unlikely turn of events (which will only happen again 70,000 years from now), the first day of Hannukah coincides with Thanksgiving. The horror! Children could start believing that “Thanksgiving started when the Wampanoag sat down with the Maccabees and the yams lasted for eight nights,” he laments.
“How dare you, Hannukah!”
We’re two weeks from Halloween folks, which means while the rest of the country is already in the full swing Christmas kitsch, we of the tribal persuasion get to celebrate something much more special this year. And why shouldn’t we go all out? It’s going to be another 70,000 years, or approximately 2,800 generations, before Thanksgivukkah graces our calendars again.
In honor of this rare occasion, here are six pieces of ridiculous stuff that you absolutely must have on your family table, or the Pilgrims/Maccabees will be shamed.
1. The greeting cards.
Available from the National Museum of American Jewish History and ModernTribe, this is you last chance in this life time to send out cards with such pithy jokes on them as “Nun Gobble Hey Shin,” and “What did the turkey say to the Maccabee? — You think YOU got problems?”
His most recent films may be based in just about every (almost) Western European capital, but Woody Allen says he’s not a big tourist.
But in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 on the eve of “Blue Jasmine“‘s European release, everyone’s favorite neurotic admitted to considering bending the rules for a trip to the Holy Land.
“My wife is of Korean origin and she’s been trying for years to convince me to go to South Korea with her — so far, unsuccessfully,”he said, according to the Times of Israel. “She’s also very curious about Israel and wants to go there with the girls, so they can see and understand their father’s Jewish culture. I assume we’ll go and visit Israel soon. There’s no way around it.”
Allen has never visited Israel, though he brandished the hasbara banner when asked about his thoughts on the country: “I support Israel and I’ve supported it since the day it was founded,” he said. “Israel’s neighbors have treated it badly, cruelly, instead of embracing it and making it part of the Middle East family of nations. Over the years Israel has responded to these attacks in various ways, some of which I approved of and some less so. I understand that Israelis have been through hard times, I don’t expect Israel to react perfectly every time and that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wonderful, marvelous country.”
The 77-year-old also included a signature zinger. When asked if it’s harder to be a Jew in America today, he answered: “No, I don’t think so,” before adding: “by the low standards of tolerance for Jews all over the world, America’s been a very tolerant country.”
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