The Shmooze

Barbara Walters Tells Off Donald Trump

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Barbara Walters looked straight into the camera while filming a recent episode of “The View” (that is, once she figured out which camera to look at) and plain out told her old friend Donald Trump that he is being “a fool.” If that wasn’t clear enough, she admonished the tycoon and reality TV star with, “Stop it! Get off it!” in regard to the birther conspiracy theory accusations Trump continues to level at President Obama.

Adam Sandler is apparently big in Romania. Well, at the very least his animated feature, “Hotel Transylvania” has been well received there. Sandler didn’t make it over to Transylvania for the film’s premiere there, but director Genndy Tartakovsky did. Next up for Sandler is a Western titled, “Ridiculous 6.”

Drew Barrymore and hubby Will Kopelman made their first public appearance since their baby daughter Olive was born at the LACMA 2012 Art + Film Gala presented by Gucci on Saturday. The couple was photographed showing off pics on an iPhone to friends Jennifer Aniston and her fiancé Justin Theroux. Judging from the adoring looks, we think it’s safe to bet they were the latest photos of little Olive.

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Dunham, Others Sing 'You Don't Own Me'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Yes, that’s “Girls” showrunner Lena Dunham, style rookie Tavi Gevinson, and designer Rachel Antonoff in the “You Don’t Own Me” PSA video that is going viral. These three, along with many other women — especially Leslie Gore (who recorded the song in 1964) — sing it out (or at least lip dub) for women’s rights and freedoms — and for President Obama’s re-election.

ABC has bought a new TV comedy series that the multi-talented Zach Braff will executive produce, write and direct. The show, “Garage Bar,” will focus on a group of friends whose lives change when one of them achieves pop-stardom.

Everyone who supported Anthony Ervin’s Indiegogo campaign got a big return on investment when the swimmer won four gold medals at the World Cup meet in Berlin this past weekend. With one of those wins, he broke the American record for 50 SCM, with a time of 20.85 seconds. Now it’s on to more meets in Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore for Ervin.

To prepare 200 residents of a remote Amazonian village who have never seen a movie to be extras in his upcoming cannibalism horror movie, filmmaker Eli “Bear Jew” Roth showed them the controversial 1980’s Mondo classic “Cannibal Holocaust.” Roth reported, “The villagers thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.”

Harvey Weinstein has made sure that President Obama will have an actual starring role in “Seal Team Six,” the film he produced about the killing of Osama bin Laden that will be aired on the National Geographic Channel two days before the election.

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James Franco Dishes on His Love

By Renee Ghert-Zand

We can all feel better now that James Franco has set the record straight about who he is actually dating — or not dating. The gossip rags were reporting that Ashley Benson dumped Ryan Good (Justin Bieber’s BFF) to go out with the much older Franco. Franco cleared things up for us in a HuffPo blog post.

They must be getting very serious. Jason Segel and girlfriend Michelle Williams have reportedly bought a home together in Brooklyn, a loft in a converted warehouse overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The couple will be moving in with Williams’ 7-year-old daughter Matilda, whose father is the late Heath Ledger.

In Jewish celeb parent updates we have: Sarah Jessica Parker taking a break from campaigning for President Obama in Cincinnati to buy some jewelry for her twin daughters; Rachel Zoe gushing about how cute and bilingual her toddler son Skyler is; Tori Spelling taking her kids to the pumpkin patch; Sarah Michelle Gellar rocking an unbelievably svelte post-partum body; and Selma Blair snuggling with her little Arthur.

Julianna Margulies was sitting pretty with Katie Holmes and Emma Roberts at the launch for Narcisco Rodriguez’s new DesigNation line for Kohl’s.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz are not only rap partners, but also new BFFs. Us Weekly suggests that the two have become closer as Paltrow’s friendship with Madonna has cooled, and that Paltrow has made it her mission to find Diaz a man.

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Bizarre 'Jewish Mum' Hits British Reality TV

By Liam Hoare

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In the Broadway production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, midway through the second act Sir Robin advises King Arthur that “We won’t succeed on Broadway / If you don’t have any Jews.” Starring dancing girls wearing Magen Davids and featuring a Fiddler on the Roof bottle dance parody, the song and the show was wildly successful in New York but not so in London, Sir Robin’s tune described by The Guardian as “a Broadway in-joke that has little purchase this side of the Atlantic.” When the show eventually went on tour in the United Kingdom, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” was radically re-written, the focus shifting towards celebrity producers and actors.

That the joke was lost in translation was hardly surprising, given the absence in the U.K. of a strong tradition of either Jews as objects of humour (in a nice way, at least) or the Jewish sensibility as the butt of jokes. The rise of comics like Sacha Baron Cohen and Simon Amstell notwithstanding, the U.K. has never had prominent figures like Woody Allen and Jackie Mason who use Jewishness or stereotypical Jewish traits for comedic effect. Reflecting a desire for homogeneity, British humour has traditionally sought to be universal, compared to the way Jews and other minorities have carved out niches in the multi-ethnic American entertainment scene. That is, until now. A new primetime reality show has, whether they wanted it or not, pushed British Jews into the spotlight, highlighting in particular the old trope of the clingy, bolshy, and neurotic Jewish mother.

The premise of Jewish Mum of the Year (airing now on Channel 4) is a simple one: eight Jewish mothers compete in weekly trials, including organising a successful Bar Mitzvah and making a perfect match, in order to be named Mother of the Year by The Jewish News and become their new agony aunt columnist.

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Lea Michelle's First Pregnancy Rumor

By Renee Ghert-Zand

First it was reported that Lea Michele might be pregnant. Then she put the kibosh on the supposed baby bump sighting by tweeting: “My first fake pregnancy rumor! I’ve finally made it!” But it does look like there is at least some truth to conjecture that she and her partner both on and off the screen, Cory Monteith, are planning a vacation in colder climes.

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The honeymoon’s over for Anne Hathaway and new hubby Adam Shulman. The couple arrived back in L.A. after their European post-nuptial getaway.

The word on the street is that James Franco, 34, is dating the much younger Ashley Benson, 22, whom he met on the set of “Spring Breakers.” Franco plays an eccentric drug dealer named Alien in the movie.

And while we’re on the subject of young couples in love, we’d be amiss not to mention that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have switched coasts. After all that PDA in New York, the two were spotted over the weekend getting foot massages together in Studio City, California.

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Andy Samberg 'Kidnapped' for Biel-Timberlake Nups

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Are we surprised that Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 84, jumped up out of her seat at a Q&A session following a screening of the movie “The Sessions” and demanded that actress Helen Hunt use contraceptives? Not at all. In fact, we would have been disappointed if she hadn’t. The film is about a sex surrogate, played by Hunt, who introduces a polio-stricken poet to the pleasures of sexual intimacy. “Every psychology class, anybody who has dealings with sexuality and education should see this film,” the famous sexologist said in giving the movie the Dr. Ruth seal of approval.

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It was kind of hard to avoid hearing the news last week that Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake got married in Italy. Among the guests (or kidnap victims, as some of the gossip media is putting it) at their destination wedding was funnyman Andy Samberg.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan spoke in front of an audience at the University of Tennessee last week. Sure, she talked law, but what really got people’s attention were her stories about hunting with fellow Justice Antonin Scalia. “I’m hoping to bag myself an antelope,” she shared.

The love spell has worn off. Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is now single and available, following a breakup with girlfriend Rosie Coker. The couple had met on the “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” set back in 2007.

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Forward! And Away We Go

By Forward Staff

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The Boss, aka Bruce Springsteen, performed a song last night that we just can’t get out of our heads. It’s called “Forward, And Away We Go.” According to USA Today, “Springsteen said Obama called him up — we’re not sure whether he was joking — and said he wanted to close the ‘campaign song gap’ with Republican rival Mitt Romney.” So the boss wrote this short ditty. Have a listen and make sure to shout the name of your favorite Jewish newspaper after each stanza — “Forward!”

Watch the video below

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Drake Graduates From High School

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Drake deserves a mazel tov for finally graduating from high school. The 25-year-old singer’s secondary education got sidetracked a decade ago as he started focusing on his music and his acting on the Canadian TV series, “DeGrassi: The Next Generation.” Thanks to a final push and support from his teacher Kim Janzen, whom he thanked publically on Twitter, Drake now has his diploma in hand.

She may be smart enough to land a sweet book deal, but Lena Dunham didn’t look too intelligent tweeting a hugely insensitive joke about a couple of Canadian serial killers. In response to Mindy Kaling’s suggestion that she and Dunham, along with B.J. Novak, dress up as the West Memphis Three for Halloween, Dunham said she thought it would be more fun for Kaling and Novak to masquerade as Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (who were convicted of raping and killing a number of teenage girls in the 1990s) and for herself to go as Homolka’s younger sister (who was one of the victims). Dunham apologized for what she thought was a funny tweet, but turned out not to be.

First, we heard that director Ivan Reitman was planning to shoot Ghostbusters 3 next summer. Then, we heard it may not happen…or that if it does happen, it the film won’t really be a sequel. Whatever.

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Celebrity Tweets from Presidential Debate

By Renee Ghert-Zand

You and your friends weren’t the only ones tweeting during Tuesday night’s debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. Plenty of celebs shared their thoughts, as well. Here are some of those 140-characters-or-less commentaries, including ones from Sarah Silverman, Albert Brooks, Elizabeth Banks, Ivanka Trump, and Samantha Ronson.

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And in more election-related celeb news, The Observer, owned by Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, has endorsed Mitt Romney for president. When it comes to who they want to see in the White House come January, Kushner and his father-in-law, Donald Trump, are on the same page.

Anne Hathaway and her new husband Adam Shulman are making their own social-political statement by donating some of the proceeds from the sale of their wedding photos to marriage equality advocacy groups, including Freedom to Marry.

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Don't Mess with Sarah Silverman's Dad

By Renee Ghert-Zand

You’ve been warned: don’t mess with Sarah Silverman’s dad. Donald Silverman told Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt, who wrote a nasty open letter to the comedienne in The Jewish Press, “You don’t F**k with my family.”

Nipples abounded on Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” show earlier this week. When Handler wasn’t making fun of Jennifer Aniston’s “very pronounced nipples” right to her face, the host was being bullied in the shower by Sandra Bullock.

And while we’re on the subject of skin, it was hard to miss that Gwyneth Paltrow was showing quite a bit of it in a head-turning black cut-out Michael Kors dress at the Golden Heart Gala in New York on Monday night. Wondering how Gwynnie keeps her lithe figure? She frequents the gym, even when she is away from home.

Lea Michele also bared a lot in a see-through dress at the ELLE Women in Hollywood Celebration, also on Monday. Rashida Jones was at the same event, but she was wearing a far more conservative frock.

Former “real housewife” Jill Zarin wanted some answers from Bravo’s Andy Cohen as to why she was dismissed from the show — and she got some.

Amanda Bynes pled not guilty to two counts of driving with a suspended license on Monday. There are actually people who do feel bad for her — like her former co-star Jennie Garth, 40, who says she has reached out to Bynes, but has not gotten any response from the troubled 26-year-old.

There are plenty of gleeful people out there now that it has been announced that Bette Midler will be making an appearance on…well, it’s obvious which show.

SKG founders Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzen and David Geffen have each donated $30 million to the $350 million Motion Picture & Television Fund Campaign. The funds will go toward building an endowment that will support the industry’s charitable works, especially taking care of members of the industry who are elderly or in need.

Is there nothing Rachel Zoe can’t or doesn’t want to do? Now she’s developing a semi-autobiographical sitcom for NBC.

Lindsay Lohan may be voting for Mitt Romney, but the chances that super-liberal Jake Gyllenhaal will be doing the same are virtually nil. Hence, the tweet that went out under his handle was bogus. The actor doesn’t even have a Twitter account.

Dustin Hoffman, who recently learned he will be receiving an award for his directorial debut this year, got emotional while talking through his filmography at a special BAFTA event in London.

In case you missed this interesting interview with artist Peter Max about his childhood as a refugee from the Nazis in Shanghai (Max took his daughter Libra with him on his first visit back to the Chinese city since he left as a boy), here is the podcast.

And finally, we have today’s happy family paparazzi sightings: Natalie Portman eating ice cream with hubby Benjamin Millepied and son Aleph (who looks like he is really enjoying the treat) in Austin, and Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts strolling in Manhattan with younger son Samuel.


Darren Aronofsky Builds Noah's Ark

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Darren Aronofsky has built (well, not exactly all by himself) an ark of biblical proportions in Long Island. It’s for his epic, “Noah,” which is expected in 2014.

Just as Adam Lambert was advocating for marriage equality while on a promotional tour (his new single “Tresspassing” was just released this week) in Australia and New Zealand, word got out that he has insured his voice for an unprecedented $48 million.

Where to start with the update on Scarlett Johansson? Should it be with her break up with New York ad exec Nate Naylor? Or maybe with her MoveON political ad blasting Mitt Romney’s and the Republicans’ positions on women’s health issues? Or perhaps with her W Magazine cover showing her with grey hair, heavy makeup, and a nose ring? Take your pick.

Depeche Mode will be back in Israel, playing a concert in Tel Aviv’s Park HaYarkon in May 2013. The last time they were in the Holy Land was 2009.

Paul Shaffer thinks 32 years together with David Letterman may just be enough. But then again, he and his buddy — both in their 60’s — could get a second wind after their current contract expires in 2014.

“Spring Breakers,” a new film that got a lot of buzz at the Venice and Toronto festivals, may get a late 2012 release so that its co-star, James Franco, will get a shot at a best supporting actor nomination for the 85th Academy Awards. In the film, Franco plays Alien, a drug dealer with cornrows, tattoos and grillwork.

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Israel's New Soccer Star on Rise

By Elliot Olshansky

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Tomer Hemed

A new Israeli soccer star is on the rise.

Tomer Hemed turned Israel’s recent World Cup qualifying games against Luxembourg into his own personal coming out party. The 25-year-old striker scored a hat trick in Israel’s 6-0 win in Luxembourg City last Friday, and then followed it up with two more goals in a 3-0 win on Tuesday at Ramat Gan Stadium. The lopsided wins allowed Israel to move into a second-place tie with Portugal in the six-team qualifying group, with Israel having the edge on goal differential.

Of course, if it were just a matter of whipping up on one of Europe’s soccer minnows - Luxembourg is the lowest seed in Israel’s group, and the fourth-lowest seed in Europe - then Hemed’s heroics wouldn’t mean all that much. As it happens, however, the Haifa native’s star turn comes in the midst of a breakout season in Spain, where Hemed is in his second season with Mallorca.

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Dem-Supporting Celebs Snub Republicans

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Lots of celebs came out last Thursday to the AmfAR Inspiration Gala to honor CAA managing partner Kevin Huvane, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Chelsea Handler, and Kate Hudson, who stunned in a low cut red Prabal Gurung gown.

And while she was at that AmfAR event, SJP was asked what she thought about the recently published work out photos of Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan. “How much does that add to the intellectual capacity? Just curious,” is how the Obama- supporting actress responded.

Since we’re on the topic of celebs who have less than nice things to say about GOP hopefuls, we’ll mention that “Saturday Night Lights” creator Peter Berg wrote a letter to Mitt Romney accusing him of ripping off the show’s “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” phrase. Berg told the governor to stop using it and to come up with his own slogan.

And in our final item for today about Democratic celebs annoyed with Republicans, no one seems to be sure why Ann Romney chose to wear a wrap dress by Diane von Furstenberg. We guess Romney didn’t get the memo that the designer is a big Obama fan.

Pals and would-be hip-hop artists “Emcee Gwyneth Paltrow” and “Deejay Jazzy Cameron Diaz” show a side of themselves we haven’t seen before in a video they made to congratulate Chelsea Handler on moving her show into a new studio. Handler reportedly sold a bunch of stuff from her old studio and gave the proceeds to an LGBT advocacy group.

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Other 'Hebrew Hammer' Scores TKO

By Elliot Olshansky

Ryan Braun may be sitting at home and watching as the Major League Baseball playoffs continue but a different “Hebrew Hammer” was in action Saturday night, and certainly lived up to his billing.

Undefeated welterweight boxer Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin improved his pro record to 9-0 on Saturday night, when he defeated Carl “The Assassin” McNickles via TKO in the third round of their co-main event bout at the NYCB Theater in Westbury, N.Y.

Scheduled for eight rounds, Seldin and McNickles both came out looking to make it a short night early on, throwing heavy punches to the head and body in the first two rounds. In the third round, however, Seldin took control, dropping McNickles with a crushing right hand. Chicago native McNickles was able to beat the count and continue the fight, but Seldin picked right up where he left off, finishing McNickles later in the round. It was the seventh career knockout for Seldin, and his sixth consecutive stoppage.

Elsewhere in weekend Jewish sports news:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Erik Lorig matched his career high with his sixth reception of the season on Sunday in a 38-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Bucs backed up to their own two-yard line, the 25-year-old Stanford alum caught a short pass on the left side from Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman, and took it to the 18-yard line before being pushed out of bounds. The 16-yard catch was the longest of the season for Lorig, whose team improved to 2-3 on the season and sits second in NFC south behind undeafeated Atlanta.

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No Iverson, But Israeli Hoops Galore

By Elliot Olshansky

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When rumors linked Maccabi Haifa with former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson last week ahead of the Israeli Super League club’s preseason U.S. tour, it made a certain amount of sense.

As it turns out, the 2001 NBA MVP won’t be suiting up for Haifa when the club faces the NBA’s Golden State Warriors on Thursday night or when the team faces the Minnesota Timberwolves, but given that Haifa head coach Brad Greenberg was the 76ers’ general manager when the team drafted “The Answer” first overall in 1996, there was a plausible connection. However, the presence of Greenberg wasn’t the only reason that an “A.I. signing” made sense. In recent months, Haifa - which finished last season at the bottom of the 11-team Israel Super League - has become something of an outpost for lost souls and reclamation projects.

While Maccabi Haifa (owned by Florida-based businessman Jeffrey Rosen) regularly looks to promote Israel and the Super League in the U.S. - the club last visited the U.S. in 2010, and the Haifa-produced Inside Israeli Basketball program airs on the YES Network and other regional sports channels around the country - the club landed in the headlines for a less-than-positive reason earlier this year, when former Syracuse University assistant coach Bernie Fine was hired to serve as a consultant. Fine, who was fired from Syracuse last year amid accusations of child sex abuse, consults on personnel matters from his home in upstate New York, and played a role in the search that led to Greenberg’s hire as the team’s new head coach.

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Friday Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Finally, there is some news this week about Lena Dunham that does *not * involve her $3.7 million book deal. This time, it’s using Twitter to endorse President Obama for re-election and promote marriage equality.

Speaking of the election, Sarah Silverman is one busy lady. We’ve barely gotten over her shtick in the “Let My People Vote” video, and now she’s appearing in two more anti-Republican ads — one from the folks at The Center for Reproductive Rights, and the other from her friends at the Jewish Council for Education and Research.

While everyone was talking about how Jay-Z caused a major commotion last week travelling by subway to his concert inaugurating Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, it seems that they overlooked the fact that he dedicated the new venue with the lighting of a menorah. Never mind Christmas in July — we’re talking Hanukkah in October.

And while we are on the subject of the Barclays Center… Babs is back in Brooklyn to perform two concerts. Barbra Streisand’s return to her hometown is making people nostalgic. Sure, you can look at photos, chronicling her career, but this footage from a 1981 documentary about Streisand’s Brooklyn beginnings is not to be missed.

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Yenta App Finds You a (Jewish) Match

By Emily Shire

In case you didn’t have enough grandparents, neighbors, and rabbis trying to make sure you don’t remain single and Jewish for long, your iPhone is getting in on the matchmaking game. Today, the New York Post reported that Yenta is a new app to solve your romantic and semitic woes.

In a similar model to the popular gay app Grindr, Yenta tracks your location on your phone and shows you a list of other single members of the tribe in the relative vicinity. However, while Grindr is used almost explicitly for finding a quick sexual encounter, Yenta desires to help you find your “Jewboo,” which is possibly the least sexually appealing term possible. In fact, creator Luba Tolkachyov made clear Yenta’s more innocent intentions. Viewing it as a twist on the ever-popular JDate, the app is meant to remove “the need for a lengthy profile,” he told the New York Post. Well, I certainly know I am looking for a Jewish soulmate who hates formulating sentences so much that a dating profile is unbearably strenuous for him to compose!

According to Tolkachyov, single Jews should be scoping out every environment with the potential for a shidduch, like the eagle stalking mountainous terrain for prey. He wants users to be able to “walk into a coffee shop and find out who’s Jewish and single around you,” he added. God forbid you buy your morning java and not be consumed with finding your future spouse; a moment spent not obsessing over finding your beshert, is a moment wasted.

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Thursday's Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Yesterday, all eyes were on the newly blond Natalie Portman. More precisely, they were on her exposed midriff and super-toned abs. Just about every gossip outlet was carrying photos of Portman dressed in a short jeans skirt and stomach-baring pink top on the Austin, Texas set of the new Terrence Malick movie in which she stars with actor Michael Fassbender.

In case anyone was still in doubt that Rhea Perlman is really separated from her husband of 30 years, Danny DeVito, she made it perfectly clear by stepping out sans wedding ring.

Tori Spelling introduced her new son, and fourth child, on the cover of Us Weekly. She also revealed that she suffered from a condition called placenta previa while pregnant with little Finn. “We almost didn’t make it,” Spelling said, about the dangers faced by both her and the unborn baby. The actress mentioned that the condition was attributed, in part, to the fact that she became pregnant with Finn only one month after having her third child, Hattie.

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Wednesday's Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Can’t get enough of that “New Girl” quirkiness? Well, check out “The Jew Girl” on the Funny of Die website. The video’s co-writer, Jenn Schatz, nails her performance as “Bess,” a Jewish parody of Zooey Deschanel’s offbeat character, Jess.

And while we’re on the topic of “New Girl,” Max Greenfield shared with David Letterman his lifelong difficulties with birds. He said he can handle New York pigeons, but ostriches are another story entirely.

Mila Kunis may be Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive, but that doesn’t mean she’s not just like the rest of us. Paparazzi caught her wearing sweats while making a coffee run in Manhattan with beau Ashton Kutcher.

Speaking of Mila Kunis and the honor bestowed upon her by Esquire… The actress used the opportunity to speak out for President Obama and against Republicans. In an interview with the magazine, she blasted the GOP for its “attacks on women” and its use of religion in politics.

More details about David Cross and Amber Tamblyn’s recent wedding have emerged. The bride wore bright yellow and there were celebrities aplenty.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s husband, astronaut Mark Kelly has written a children’s book. The picture book is titled “Mousetronaut” and was inspired by some mice that Kelly had taken with him up into space in the space shuttle.

David Siegel, one of the largest resort developers in the world and the subject of the recent documentary film “The Queen of Versailles,” sent an email to all his employees insinuating that their jobs would be in serious jeopardy should President Obama be re-elected.

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Lady Hasidic Alt Rockers

By Simi Lampert

To be honest, I didn’t expect Bulletproof Stockings to be good. What, I thought in the judgmental part of my mind, would two Chabad women from Brooklyn know about alternative rock?

It turns out, quite a bit. Dalia G. Shusterman and Perl Wolfe, the current members of the female Hasidic alt. rock band, each had her own journey that gave her exposure to music and experience in performing, according to the Times of Israel. Neither, though, had any expectation of being where they are today: In a successful, Jewish-themed band with a forthcoming CD and performances all over New York.

Shusterman, former hitchhiking teenage musician, current single mother of four, grew up Modern Orthodox but was attracted to Chabad after years of performing. After she joined the Chabad community, she had no thoughts of performing her beloved drums again; but when her husband passed away last year, her family was uprooted from L.A. and moved to Crown Heights.

There, she was introduced to the soulful-voiced, piano-playing Wolfe, a songwriter who returned to her Chabad roots after years of rebellion, and more recently, a divorce. The two met a year ago, and have since produced a four-track EP. Though their music can be accessed online and on MP3s by men, their performances are women-only, due to the commandment which forbids men from listening to the sound of a woman singing.

Unlike so much Jewish music, Bulletproof Stockings — so named for the opaque hosiery Hasidic women are expected to wear — is quite enjoyable to listen to, and full of clear talent. Their sound is compared to Florence and the Machine and Adele, among other such talented, and successful, artists.

The two wish to be an inspiration to other observant women to express themselves through music, and see the performing boundaries as a positive thing rather than restricting.

“We really want girls to pick up their instruments and start getting into it. There’s a weird misconception that it’s not Jewish to do this kind of thing,” Wolfe said to Times of Israel.


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