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
Couple Rides Bus. Hardly the subject for a news article in a national newspaper, but welcome to the bizarre world of Israel’s Haredi media.
You may recall that there’s controversy in Israel about gender-segregated bus lines in Israel – or in Hebrew mehadrin lines. Earlier this month, the High Court ruled that they are legal, but that segregation must be voluntary – nobody can force passengers to stick to the convention of men at the front and women at the back.
It’s the forbidden fruit… unless peeled.
The strawberry has been the cause of much rabbinical consternation in recent years. The reason is that many rabbis believe strawberries to be a favorite hangout for insects, and eating an insect is actually more problematic in Jewish law than eating pork.
Now one of Israel’s most prolific Haredi organizations, the Eida Haredit, has decreed that strawberries – which are currently in season in Israel – should not be eaten as purchased, even if thoroughly washed. This is not enough to get rid of insects, it says.
Crossposted From TMZ
A Jewish hockey player drafted by the Anaheim Ducks is suing the team — claiming coaches within the organization launched multiple “verbal anti-Semitic attacks.”
Twenty three-year-old Jason Bailey — a third-round NHL pick in 2005 — claims from the moment the Ducks assigned him to play for an affiliate team called the Bakersfield Condors, his coaches unleashed a “barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks.”
In the suit, filed yesterday in Orange County Superior Court, Bailey claims the head coach of the Condors told him “[Jews] only care about money and who’s who” and that he “never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a yarmulke.”
Nominations for the 83rd annual Academy Awards, announced this morning, were good for the Jews.
Shoo-ins Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) and Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) got Best Actress and Actor nods, respectively. James Franco, whose mother is Jewish, also scored a Best Actor nod for his role in “127 Hours.”
“Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky earned a Best Director nomination, along with “True Grit” helmers Joel and Ethan Coen. “The Fighter” director David O. Russell, son of a Jewish father and Italian-American mother, also got a Best Director nomination.
Jews also ruled the screenwriting categories. Debra Granik scored a nod in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for the brutal “Winter’s Bone,” while Hollywood vet Aaron Sorkin earned his for Facebook docudrama “The Social Network,” as did fellow A-lister Scott Silver for scrappy Boston epic “The Fighter.” In the same category, the Coen Brothers won the Academy’s attention for their highly acclaimed adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel “True Grit.” British improv-drama icon Mike Leigh was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for “Another Year,” his sobering look at happiness — and the lack thereof — among the British chattering classes. And British-born, Long Island-raised David Seidler got his first Oscar nomination — in the Original Screenplay slot — for “The King’s Speech”.
Former U.S. Olympian Jillian Schwartz will enter a new phase of her career on Friday, competing for Israel at the Millrose Games at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Schwartz, who represented the U.S. in the pole vault at the 2004 Athens Olympics, became an Israeli citizen in 2009 and will compete under the country’s flag on Friday. The 31-year-old Illinois native hopes to take the Millrose title over Brazillian star Fabiana Murer, who won the world indoor pole vaulting title last year.
Ever tried a move called the Ganesh in bed? Jim Carrey did, and he’s feeling the wrath of Hindu and Jewish groups as a result. In a skit that aired on “Saturday Night Live” this month, Carrey played an “erotic shaman” who had developed new sex positions with an elderly character played by “SNL” regular Kenan Thompson.
“Lord Ganesh is highly revered in Hinduism and is meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines, not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV series,” was the response from a Hindu statesman named Rajan Zed, the Toronto Sun reported. “Such an absurd depiction of Lord Ganesh, with no scriptural backing, is hurtful to devotees. It’s also disturbing and offensive to the one billion Hindus around the world.”
Are Macy Gray’s political views like the weather? The pop singer, best known for her 1999 hit “I Try,” was “conflicted on whether or not she should cancel shows in Tel Aviv because of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians,” according to the Hollywood reporter — and “solicited advice on her Facebook page.”
The singer posted: “I’m getting alot [sic] of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians… What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I dont know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”
This year’s Academy Award nominees won’t be announced until Tuesday, but Israel already knows its hot streak at the Oscars is over.
“The Human Resources Manager,” Israel’s foreign-language submission, failed to make it onto the short list of nine films in the category, announced Wednesday. The final five nominees will be announced January 25, along with nominees in the other Oscar categories.
Consequently, this year will be the first time since 2007 that Israel’s submission has not been nominated in the foreign-language category.
In all the excitement, controversy and dismay related to Israel’s Defense Minister abandoning his party, Labor, and forming a new faction, it seems that many of us overlooked the funny part.
As the Forward reported here, in what many viewed as an act of self-preservation as Labor turned on him, Likud Barak has now set up the Ha’atzmaut faction and taken four Labor lawmakers with him.
Who knew he was so dedicated?
Ashton Kutcher reads the Torah every Saturday. That’s what Natalie Portman said of her co-star in the upcoming romantic comedy “No Strings Attached” during a recent interview.
Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, noted that Kutcher taught her more about Judaism that anyone else in her life.
She’s been a red-carpet regular for years, but Monday marked the first time that Bar Refaeli attended the premiere of one of her own films.
The Sports Illustrated cover girl, equally well-known as the girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, celebrated the new film not in Hollywood but in Rishon Lezion, where a large crowd turned out for the premiere of “Session,” an English-language drama directed by Israeli filmmaker Haim Bouzaglo.
The Holocaust, for better or worse, turns up at the Academy Awards as often as Meryl Streep. The genocide has been so ubiquitous in recent years — in movies ranging from “The Reader” to “Inglourious Basterds” — that next month’s Oscars will be notable partly for the absence of films that address it.
That hasn’t stopped the subject from turning up in pre-Oscar campaigning, however. In an e-mail sent out after Sunday’s Golden Globes, an anonymous writer criticized one of this year’s front-runners, “The King’s Speech,” for “largely “gloss[ing] over the Nazi-sympathising past” of the movie’s protagonist, England’s King George VI.
They don’t look that appetizing in photos. But Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz swears that green bagels from a Canarsie bakery taste like “heaven” with a little butter or cream cheese.
It’s a good thing Markowitz has a taste for the emerald-colored dough rings; Brooklyn’s Bell Bakery is producing a million of them to cheer on Jets fans before Sunday’s big game against the Steelers.
The bagels, as a press release today breathlessly trumpeted, have also been named an “official food of the world-famous Sundance Film Festival,” which kicks off Thursday in the presumably bagel-deprived burg of Park City, Utah. “Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and other officials will hold a press conference on Tuesday, January 18, 11:00 AM at Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street) to announce the official bagel of New York, which tens of thousands of filmmakers and other Sundance Film Festival-goers from all over the world will be enjoying,” the press release says.
Israel will give its highest literary honor next month to Ian McEwan, the English author behind books including “Atonement” and “Saturday.”
A winner of the Man Booker Prize for his 1998 novel “Amsterdam,” McEwan will accept his latest honor, the Jerusalem Prize, at the start of the Jerusalem International Book Fair on February 20.
For a Jewish visitor to Poland, is it moral to steal souvenirs that may have themselves been looted from Jewish homes during the Holocaust?
Not according to yesterday’s Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine. “Traveling in Poland, I visited antique stores offering Jewish items — menorahs, mezuzas — that seemed more than 65 years old,” wrote Randy Malamud of Atlanta. “[I] found myself unable to pay for what was probably stolen property. Part of me wishes I had stolen (liberated?) some of them. Would that have been justified?” In his response, Ethicist scribe Randy Cohen quoted Marilyn Henry, a Jerusalem Post columnist who “has written much about such sad relics.” Cohen advised that “while the items may have been looted during the Nazi era, they may have been treated as legally ‘abandoned’ when the family was deported; they may have been sold at fire-sale prices by the original owner/family to raise funds to flee; they may have been held with the best of intentions by neighbors in anticipation that a Jewish family would return, and the family did not return.”
With star turns in films like “Barney’s Version” and “Lies My Father Told Me,” Jewish Montreal has been making headlines for its cinematic profile. But a string of anti-Semitic incidents over the weekend is shining a less sanguine spotlight on the city’s Jewish community.
The Montreal Gazette reported today that four synagogues and a Jewish school in the heavily Jewish neighborhoods of Cote St. Luc and Hampstead were targeted by vandals who smashed windows with rocks, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Rabbi Reuben Poupko, who serves as chairman of the Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee in Montreal, told the Gazette the crimes constitute “an organized and systematic attack on Jewish institutional life” and promised that the people who use the buildings on a regular basis would not be intimidated by the vandals. “The reason it’s so troubling is that was not an isolated affair,” he said.
Busybodies are constantly giving couples who have difficulty conceiving all sorts of advice — foods to eat, vitamins to take, acupuncturists to try. It ranges from well-meaning to downright offensive. Now, along comes a suggestion more bizarre than almost any other… with scientific backing.
Dr. Shevach Friedler, an infertility doctor at the Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv, has concluded that if couples try IVF, what they really need is jokes and magic tricks. He got a medical clown to entertain women straight after they had embryos implanted in their wombs. Some 36.4% of them conceived, compared with 20.2% of women he surveyed who weren’t entertained post-implantation.
Medical clowning is a big thing in Israel, where doctors increasingly believe it benefits patients. In 2006, Haifa University’s Department of Theatre began a special bachelors’ program for a group of medical clowns who wanted to build on their knowledge. Then in 2009 it launched a degree program that trains and accredits medical clowns. Yes, clowns are literally having a laugh at the taxpayer’s expense.
Paul Giamatti has played a broad range of characters, from a station manager in Howard Stern’s “Private Parts” to John Adams in the award-winning HBO series of the same name. In his latest role (for which he earned a Golden Globe at last night’s award show), he plays the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Barney Panofsky in “Barney’s Version,” a film based on the Mordecai Richler novel.
The film, which opened in limited release January 14, traces Panofsky’s life through three generations and just as many wives. Giamatti recently spoke with the Forward’s Curt Schleier about the challenges of playing a not-so-politically-correct Jewish man:
Curt Schleier: Were you aware of the book and Richler before you got involved with the film?
Paul Giamatti: I was aware of [the book], but I had not read it. I knew who the author was, but I never read anything by him. I’d always gathered he was like a Philip Roth or a Saul Bellow or something like that.
Barney is not a very nice guy, is he?
As discussed in last week’s Forward, Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has announced that he will retire in 2013, and speculation has begun about potential successors.
Sure, it’s fascinating to those of us who keep abreast of developments in the world’s Jewish communities, but did you know it’s also of interest to…. bookmakers. Believe it or not, you can now place a wager on who will fill Sacks’ shoes. Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest betting company, is offering odds on 15 possible — or in some cases pretty impossible — successors. It’s open for bets online, here.
Most potential successors are British rabbis. A favorite (with 13/8 odds) is British export to the U.S. Shaul Robinson, who is currently senior rabbi at New York’s Lincoln Square Synagogue. The final column, however, consists of bizarre outsiders. There’s the Israeli modern-Orthodox leader Benny Lau (with 33/1 odds) and the British businessman and boss on the British version of “The Apprentice,” Alan Sugar (250/1).
That’s what the estate of J.D. Salinger is calling Frederik Colting, the Swedish novelist who’s created a sequel to Salinger’s beloved 1951 magnum opus, “Catcher in the Rye.” The BBC reports that Colting’s “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” which depicts “Catcher” protagonist Holden Caulfield as a haunted septuagenarian, has been banned from release in the U.S. and Canada at the estate’s behest.
Colting reached a settlement with Salinger’s estate to end a lengthy copyright dispute over the book, according to the BBC and trade publication Publishers Weekly. As part of the deal, the book cannot be published stateside, though it can be sold in other countries. Colting must also stop using his own title for the book.
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