The Shmooze

Dan Savage Invites Brian Brown for Bible Debate

By Eileen Reynolds

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Dan Savage

Dan Savage took National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown at his word when he said he’d debate the Bible’s stance on homosexuality and marriage anytime, anyplace.

Answering that public challenge, Savage issued an invitation of his own on his “Savage Love” podcast this morning. Brown has been asked to Savage’s house in Seattle for dinner and a debate, with a video crew present, and New York Times Beliefs columnist Mark Oppenheimer moderating.

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Lea Michele's 14 'Secret' Tattoos

By Eileen Reynolds

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Come on, Lea Michele.

The Shmooze is not in the habit of taking our favorite starlets to task for the silly things they say on late-night television, but Lea Michele’s chat with David Letterman last night caught our attention. Would it have killed the “Glee” star, who snagged spot #14 on Maxim’s straightforwardly salacious Hot 100 list, to show off something other than her figure?

Perhaps we’re expecting too much. It’s not Michele’s fault Maxim thinks she’s sexy, after all, and she did talk about the season finale of “Glee,” which airs tonight, and about what may or may not happen next season. She joked that living in Los Angeles has caused her to lose cred as a New Yorker. But the rest of her comments — not to mention her choice of wardrobe — seemed calculated to get the audience to think about her body.

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Bar Refaeli Tops Maxim's Hot 100 List

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Men say they appreciate the inner beauty of a woman, but it’s the outer kind that carries the day on Maxim’s new list of the world’s 100 hottest women. It is also evident that for this Maxim’s audience, beauty goes hand in hand with youth. Some of these women are awfully young, but thankfully there’s no jailbait on the list.

For some oglers — we mean, readers — it may be difficult to spot the Jewesses among all the pouting lips, super-deep cleavages and come-hither looks. Not so for the Shmooze. We’ve identified more than a handful of Jewish women who made the cut. The hottest among them is Bar Refaeli, who comes in at the very top spot on the list. In fact, that must be the reason she appears close to naked in the Maxim photo shoot — when you’re that hot, you might just feel the need to shed your clothes.

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Law and Order: Special Yiddish Unit

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Mark Probst, via Wikimedia Commons

So, you think there isn’t much work out there in the public sector for Yiddish speakers, right? Well, think again. If you just happen to speak the mameloshn and have always wanted to serve the public, then there’s a job for you.

It seems the police department in Israel’s capital is looking for native Yiddish speakers to join its Central Unit. According to the Haredi news website B’hadrei Haredim, flyers have been see posted around town saying: “Wanted: Israel Police, Jerusalem’s Central Unit, seeks native Yiddish speakers for an interesting and challenging position. The position is open to men and women who are about to finish their studies. Position is not open to students.” In other words, there’s no moonlighting as a cop if you are still a yeshiva bocher.

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Sarah Jessica Parker To Host Obama Fundraiser

By Margaret Eby

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Michelle, meet Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda. Sarah Jessica Parker is the latest Hollywood star to offer up her not-so-humble abode in the name of Obama fundraising. Following in the footsteps of George Clooney and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who raised a cool $15 million from a bash at Clooney’s place, Parker is offering up her Manhattan home for a fundraiser on June 14. (Looks like those plans to move her brood to Brooklyn have been put on hold.)

According to the Daily News, supporters can enter a raffle to attend the soiree by donating as little as $3. Parker’s announcement is not only a call for Democrats to support the President, but an invitation to laud the Commander in Chief “Sex and the City” style. “It should be fabulous,” Parker emailed in her invitation.

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Zuckerberg's Surprise Wedding

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Mark Zuckerberg may have not worn a suit to meet with investors in New York, but at least he ditched his hoodie for his own wedding.

In a move that was a surprise even to the wedding guests, the Facebook founder and CEO married his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday in the backyard of their Palo Alto, California home. Just a day after the much-hyped Facebook IPO, the couple invited fewer than 100 friends and family for what was ostensibly a party for Chan, 27, who had graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco on May 14 (which was coincidentally Zuckerberg’s 28th birthday). But in a bait-and- switch move, the couple announced that the party was actually a wedding only after the guests had arrived.

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John Cleese Will Star in Israeli's Film

By JTA

British comic actor John Cleese has signed on to a film by Israeli director Reshef Levi.

Cleese will play a disgraced, eccentric British lord in the heist comedy “Hunting Elephants,” in which three Israeli senior citizens help a 12-year-old boy hatch a plan to rob a bank in order to save his family home.

Cleese’s participation was announced last week at the Cannes Film Festival and reported first by the Hollywood Reporter.

Also at Cannes, an Egyptian director told reporters that he does not want his film distributed in Israel, according to Yediot Achronot. Yousry Nasrallah learned during the interview at Cannes that his film “After the Battle” was picked up for distribution in Israel.

“I do not know at all if the film was sold to Israel,” he said. “But if you want my opinion, no, I do not want it to be. Not as long as the Israelis still occupy the Palestinian territories.”

Several reporters reportedly applauded the director’s statement.


Video: Zuckerberg, the Musical!

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Guess what day it is today?! Yes, it’s Friday…but it’s also Mark Zuckerberg’s big day! If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, then you’ll know that today is Facebook’s IPO (that’s “initial public offering” for the financial anachronisms-challenged), and that it is the largest tech sector IPO ever.

Before the hoody-wearing CEO gets down to the serious business of counting the $18.4 billion this IPO will raise, he should take a fun moment — if he hasn’t already — to watch a cute video called, “Zuckerberg: The Musical!” The video shines a humorous and musical spotlight on the milestones along the way of Facebook’s development from Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard to today’s FB symbol debut on the Nasdaq ticker.

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Edward James Olmos Tours the Holy Land

By Haaretz

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Edward James Olmos

Actor Edward James Olmos is sitting at a Jerusalem cafe. For the better part of two weeks, this 65-year-old American actor-director, and star of television and the big screen, has traveled the length of Israel. He has taken in the holy sites in Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee, visited Sderot in the south and the Golan Heights in the north, met with Israeli actors and political scientists and engaged Palestinian civic leaders and entrepreneurs in Ramallah.

Olmos has agreed to meet a reporter for 30 minutes, and then he’s off to another meeting. “I’m here for a multitude of reasons,” says Olmos, who is joined by Robert M. Young, the noted American filmmaker with whom he has collaborated on more than half a dozen films and numerous television projects. “It has been a remarkable visit.”

Olmos - the first American-born Latino to receive an Academy Award nomination for best actor, for his role in the 1998 film “Stand and Deliver” - is visiting Israel for the first time. He is a guest of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and its annual Civic Leaders Study Trip, co-sponsored by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. The program seeks to “build a connection between activists in Los Angeles and Israel while providing first-hand knowledge about Israeli society, democracy, innovation and challenges,” according to Catherine Schneider, a Federation spokesperson.

“I’m interested in anything that has to do with humanity and the human condition anywhere on the planet,” says Olmos, a native of Los Angeles and a social activist, who notes that he was impressed by some of the emergency first-responder technology he was shown.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


Barbra Streisand Mourns Donna Summer

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Barbra Streisand is among the many celebrities who have issued statements expressing sadness over the death of disco queen Donna Summer. Summer died from cancer May 17 at the age of 63.

Streisand said she was shocked to hear or Summer’s passing and had not been aware that she was so ill. “She was so vital the last time I saw her a few months ago,” Streisand said of Summer. “I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented. It’s so sad.” Streisand was referring to “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” the hit duet the two singers recorded together in 1979.

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Is Natan Eshel Really Gone?

By Nathan Jeffay

In most of the world, leaving a job means exactly that — moving on. In this part of the Middle East, however, it doesn’t seem to mean much. Take, for example, two of the most important Palestinian figures. Does anyone recall that the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat actually resigned last year following the leak of the so-called Palestine Papers? And does anyone remember that, also last year, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad was meant to be making an exit after the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, but he never left and has just had his position renewed after a cabinet reshuffle.

And now we hear of what Natan Eshel is up to. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff, he resigned in February amid scandal — he had admitted sexual harassment of a female staffer and signed a plea bargain admitting misconduct that it was none other than Eshel who brokered the recent unity deal between the Likud and Kadima parties which saved the country from elections. According to Yediot he still has the use of a high-end government car and a cell phone, paid for by the State. Oh, and he is also receiving NIS 40,000 (over $10,000) a month.

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Top Jews on Forbes Celeb 100 List

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Steven Spielberg is the top Jew on Forbes’s list of The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities. The director/writer/producer/studio owner came in at number 10 on the list of 100. Ahead of him were Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Tom Cruise. But coming in behind Spielberg were another 90 celebs, among them a fair number of other Jews.

Among them is former Beatle Paul McCartney (who was reported to be converting to Judaism, so he’s kosher enough for the purposes of our Jewish tally) in the 21st spot. Radio shock jock Howard Stern was ranked at number 30, with film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer coming in at 39th. Further down the list are MOT funnymen Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ben Stiller. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel pull up the rear in 86th place and 97th place, respectively.

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Reality Show Seeks U.K.'s 'Best Jewish Mum'

By Anshel Pfeffer

Crossposted from Haaretz

Dozens of Jewish mothers around Britain have been followed in recent weeks by television cameras tracking their daily lives. Their cake-making, homemaking and matchmaking skills will be under scrutiny by a team of experts and when the four-part series is screened on Channel Four at the end of the summer, the Best Jewish Mum in the United Kingdom will be crowned. Bashevis Singer meet Simon Cowell.

The classical yidishe mamma, the stuff of song and literature and a recurring theme in Woody Allen movies, is getting its 21st century makeover. And how else, but on reality TV.

Read more at Haaretz.com


Saving (Jewish) Lives on the Sabbath

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Yosef, spiritual leader of Shas, the Orthodox Sephardic political party, has tackled that hot potato of what, exactly, Judaism says about saving life on the Sabbath. Everyone agrees that religious law lets you break Sabbath restrictions to save a life — but for whom?

Many rabbis, including the late American religious authority Moshe Feinstein, have ruled that, of course, a life is a life and you can save anyone. But Yosef has ruled that it’s Jews only.

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Video: Zosia Mamet on ‘Girls’ and Dating Horrors

By Margaret Eby

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Zosia Mamet recently stopped by Conan to answer the question that fans of her HBO show “Girls” have been asking since the series debuted: Is dating in your 20s really as bad as the show makes it look?

“It’s a little worse,” Mamet replied. “It’s pretty f**king bad.” On Girls, Mamet plays Shoshanna, the fresh-faced, overeager “Sex and the City”-obsessed Jewish cousin of the effortlessly cool Jessa. Shoshanna’s most recent romantic excursions have gone incredibly badly, as with her last crush, Matt, a friend from summer camp who refuses to take her virginity. This week, the extent of her love life was watching helplessly as Jessa used Shoshanna’s apartment as a place for a torrid fling with her ex. But despite all that, Zosia thinks the actual dating scene is even worse.

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Leonard Cohen Wins, Then Gives Away $50,000

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Leonard Cohen humbly accepted the Glenn Gould Prize on May 14 in Toronto, and then promptly gave away the $50,000 that goes with it to the Canada Council for the Arts.

“Thank you so much … how very kind of you to greet me with such hospitality,” the 77-year-old poet, songwriter, singer and author said as he briefly doffed his trademark black fedora. Cohen kept his acceptance remarks short so as to allow maximum time onstage for the musicians who had come to honor him by performing covers of some of his most famous songs. Among them were Illinois country-folk songwriter John Prine, Toronto roots outfit Cowboy Junkies and Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor. Cohen’s son Adam was also there to fete his father, performing “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and the 1967 hit “So Long, Marianne.”

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Mama Gyllenhaal Happily Skips ‘Hysteria’ Premiere

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Maggie Gyllenhaal was decidedly not hysterical about missing the premiere of her new film on Monday. It wasn’t fear of the paparazzi that kept Gyllenhaal away, but rather her decision (a no-brainer!) to stay home with her newborn daughter, Gloria.

Skipping the red carpet scene at the Hotel Chantelle bash, Gyllenhaal opted for pajamas instead of an evening gown. The Shmooze applauds how the actress has set her priorities, but we are, however, sorry that she missed out on the fun at the party for “Hysteria.” Hugh Dancey, her costar in the sexy comedic romp about the invention of the vibrator, surely missed her as he hobnobbed with guests like Patrick Wilson and Mamie Gummer.

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Heyyy! Fonzie To Play Porn Star on Broadway

By Eileen Reynolds

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Still Sexy: Henry Winkler

Hold on to your leather, “Happy Days” fans: The Fonz may be coming to Broadway as a porn star.

That’s right — the onetime teen heartthrob Henry Winkler, now 65, is in negotiations to play an aging adult entertainment great in “Performers,” a new comedy by David West Road about the porn industry.

Winkler’s character is loosely based on Ron Jeremy, a…er…giant in the field. The hunky Cheyenne Jackson is slated to play opposite Winkler as an up-and-coming porn performer (read: hot young thing). Evan Cabret will direct the play, which will open in the fall. Robyn Goodman, no stranger to the lewd (she brought the world “Avenue Q”), has signed on as producer.

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Gilad Shalit Visits ‘Homeland’ Set

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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In what was a surrealistic scene, former Hamas captive Gilad Shalit, smiling and in dark shades, visited the set of “Homeland” in Israel. The Showtime series, about CIA agents working to prevent American Iraq War POWs suspected of being turned by Al-Qaeda from committing terrorism, is based on the Israeli TV show “Hatufim.” The show’s creators have said that Shalit’s saga had been an inspiration for their work in creating the series.

Shalit got to meet actors Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, who play Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson, respectively, as they were filming some scenes for the series’ second season on Yefet Street in Jaffa. Shalit, who was accompanied by family members and some reporters, also met Gidi Raff, the show’s co-creator and executive producer.

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Hip-Hop Artist Y-Love Comes Out as Gay

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Y-Love in 2009

Y-Love, the 34-year-old ex-Hasidic hip-hop artist, came out as gay in an interview with Out magazine published today.

Y-Love, also known as Yitz Jordan, was briefly married to a Jewish woman, tried reparative therapy and lived a double-life for many years. But now he is announcing to the world that he is gay so that he can live and date openly as a homosexual, with the aim of finding the right guy to marry.

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