The Shmooze

Joe Biden's Daughter Marries Jewish Doctor

By Laura Goldman

Official White House Photo- David Lienemann

Vice President Biden’s daughter Ashley married Dr. Howard Krein, a Jewish doctor from Philadelphia, on Saturday at the bucolic St. Joseph’s of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, which is the same church where she was baptized. In the official statement released by the vice president’s office, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden said, “We’re happy to welcome Howard into our family, and we wish them all the best in their new life together.”

The wedding ceremony, which was limited to 200 close family and friends of the bride and groom, was officiated by a Catholic priest, Father David Murphy, and a Reform Jewish Rabbi, Joseph M. Forman of Or Chadash synagogue in Flemington, N.J. Forman, a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Learning in Cincinnati, Ohio, assures the Forward that the ceremony contained the typical elements of the Jewish and Catholic wedding ceremonies.

“A Ketubah was signed. The couple got married under a beautiful chuppah, made of natural branches with a cloth covering,” he said. The wedding ceremony started with the traditional burach habim and included the priestly blessing and the shevai brachot. The groom stepped on a glass at the end.”

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Madonna's Mixed Reviews

By Haaretz

France’s far-right National Front is considering a lawsuit against Madonna over a video she used during her concert in Israel on Thursday night. The clip showed party leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead.

While she performed the song “Nobody Knows Me” in Ramat Gan Stadium, Madonna showed a video in which her face was collaged with a number of well-known personalities. The face of Marine Le Pen appeared for a few seconds with a swastika affixed to her forehead before dissolving into a composite character resembling Adolf Hitler.

The concert, which opened Madonna’s 65-city MDNA world tour, received mixed reviews from the international press, which provided extensive coverage - around 80 foreign journalists were here for the performance.

“For a show that was originally billed as a ‘Concert for Peace,’ the opening night of Madonna’s world tour in Tel Aviv, Israel, featured a disproportionate amount of violence,” the critic from The Hollywood Reporter wrote, citing the guns and religious imagery used during the first part of the concert.

For more go to Haaretz.com


Winehouse House To Sell for $4.2 Million

By Margaret Eby

Getty Images

The London pad where the late songstress Amy Winehouse lived is on the market, priced at a cool $4.2 million. The sprawling three-bedroom house in swanky Camden, where Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning last July, had become an impromptu memorial site for the pop star. Winehouse’s grieving fans traveled to the home to leave tributes outside.

According to the New York Post, Winehouse’s father, Mitch, was originally going to convert the house into a center for The Amy Winehouse Foundation, but the location proved inconvenient. Winehouse’s fans have been vocal in their outrage against her father for cashing in on his daughter’s fame so soon after her death. Mitch Winehouse protested on Twitter that the property cost too much to maintain. “Some of you are being stupid,” he wrote, “It costs £25,000 per month to keep house and security.”

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Muhammad Ali’s Grandson’s Bar Mitzvah

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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We’ve called former world heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali “The Greatest,” “The People’s Champion” and “The Louisville Lip.” Now we might want to also call him “Zaidy” — and a very proud one at that.

The boxing news site “The Sweet Science” reports that the Muslim Ali’s grandson recently became a bar mitzvah. The 13-year-old boy, Jacob Wertheimer, is the son of Ali’s daughter Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer and her husband, Spencer Wertheimer.

“I was born and raised as a Muslim,” Ali-Wertheimer said. “But I’m not into organized religion. I’m more spiritual than religious. My husband is Jewish. No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another. He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture.” Accordingly, Jacob had his bar mitzvah ceremony at Philadelphia’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom on April 28.

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Dr. Ruth To Sell Sexy Low-Alcohol Wine

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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It turns out that Dr. Ruth Westheimer wasn’t kidding when she told me that she was coming out with her very own line of wines.

When I interviewed her at an event at the Jewish Theological Seminary last March, she was talking a mile a minute about latest projects. She mentioned the wine somewhere in between plans for her 84th birthday party at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, on June 5 (she made sure to note that her actual birthday is June 4), and an upcoming play about her life called “Dr. Ruth: All The Way.” Sadly, I didn’t take many notes on what she was saying, other than that it would be California wine. It seems I should have taken her viticulture aspirations more seriously.

Westheimer, a person known for doing things her own way, isn’t coming out with just any wine. The main reason she agreed to become a first-time vintner was that she would be able to sell a wine with considerably less alcohol than usual. While regular wine normally has 13 percent alcohol content, Dr. Ruth’s will have only 6 percent.

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Mayim Bialik Couldn’t Quite Quit Facebook

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Deciding to take a break from Facebook is usually a personal issue — but not in Mayim Bialik’s case. On May 24 the actress declared on her Kveller blog that she was going to stop using social media. But by yesterday, she had already reconsidered and announced that she would be back on Facebook, but with the caveat that she would disable the comment function on her page.

After receiving a particularly bruising beating from commentators, Bialik had decided enough was enough. Why was she getting off Facebook? “Because it’s not working for me. It’s stressful and upsetting,” she explained. “I can’t simply ‘ignore all of those comments’ because I know deep down I’m a great person and ‘who cares what people think anyway?’ It’s about not feeling comfortable being a part of such a discourse anymore.”

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CSI Cast Tours Israel

By Nathan Jeffay

Shahar Azran
Carmine Giovinazzo prepares to board his El Al flight to Israel at JFK International Airport.

Madonna’s concert in Tel Aviv tonight is requiring a mammoth operation by Israel Police. And it seems that officers also have some pretend cops keeping the country safe too. Purely by coincidence, four TV cops are in Israel today.

Detectives Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) from CSI:NY are touring Israel, together with CSI: Miami actors Jonathan Frederick Togo, who plays Ryan Wolfe, and Omar Benson Miller, who plays Walter Simmons.

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Adam Levine Talks Promiscuity

By Margaret Eby

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Strippers, supermodels, and lavish parties might not be the first thing you think of when you see Adam Levine, the falsetto-wielding front man of the pop band Maroon 5. But maybe they should be. His juicy profile in “Details,” which ran on the cover this month, reveals a side of Levine that’s far away from his scrubbed-but-tattooed television persona.

“Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of [women] is because I love them so much,” Levine mused to “Details” writer Craig Marks.

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Israeli Group Mocks Soros and Thomas Friedman

By Nathan Jeffay

Philanthropist George Soros, New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan and writer Thomas Friedman are the latest targets of the right-wing Israeli satirists who became famous for mocking the Gaza flotilla.

Latma, the group that made We Con The World about the flotilla that approached Gaza two years ago today, have set to music their claim that being a liberal Jew who criticizes elements of Israel’s conduct means… that you hate Israel. Soros, Chazan and Friedman are singled out.

A look-alike of Yariv Oppenheimer, head of the Israeli activist organization, is bitterly mocked. With a neon sign in the background which says “Boycott Israel!!!” he sings: “When Soros handed out cash by the truck, to funds, associations, every shmuck, we were okay, we immediately stressed, that we also hate Israel, every one of us.”

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Jerusalem Post Ranks 50 Influential Jews

By Michael Kaminer

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Jon Stewart took #7 on the Jerusalem Post list.

Mazel tov, Benjamin “King Bibi” Netanyahu. You’re officially the most influential Jew in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post’s just-released ranking of the world’s 50 most significant Semites.

And good on you, (Jon Stewart #7). The Post thinks you’ve got more juice than Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (#9) and Eric Cantor (#19) —and all of you rate higher than Shimon Peres (#22) and George Soros (#38).

But the Post’s choices — Canadian rapper Drake at #16? Natalie Portman at #36? — have sparked some good-natured hand-wringing in the blogosphere.

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Teenage Israeli Actress To Play Virgin Mary

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Andrew Brucker, via Wiki Commons

Many Jewish moviegoers will be pleased to know that Mel Gibson has nothing to do with the soon-to-be-produced prequel to “The Passion of the Christ,” and that a young Israeli actress has quite a lot to do with it. Fifteen-year-old Odeya Rush has been cast for the title role in “Mary, Mother of Christ.” The movie will also star major talents Ben Kingsley and Julia Ormond.

The film, which will begin filming in Malta, Jordan and California this August, chronicles the life of the Virgin Mary from childhood through young adulthood. Producers decided not to hire a number of actresses of different ages, believing that Rush is up to the challenge of portraying Jesus’s mother from ages 8 through 19.

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English Soccer Team To Visit Auschwitz

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

In an educational effort to combat the troublesome phenomenon of anti-Semitism and racism in soccer, England’s national football team will visit Auschwitz and other Holocaust-related sites while in Poland next week for the Euro 2012 tournament.

According to the Algemeiner, the team will visit Auschwitz some time between its arrival in Poland on June 6 and its first game (against France) on June 9. The players are expected to light candles along the train tracks leading to the camp, and to sign the guest book there.

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Bar Refaeli Gets Cozy with Shaun White

By Margaret Eby

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Looks like Bar Rafaeli doesn’t have that much trouble getting a date after all. Olympic snowboarder Shaun White might have been listening when the Maxim Hot 100 topper complained on Conan that men never approach her. White and Rafaeli were caught canoodling in a SoHo lounge over Memorial Day weekend, according to Fox Sports.

White, known for his shoulder-length carrot-colored locks and nickname “the Flying Tomato,” met Rafaeli outside a club in the wee hours in the morning. A waitress spied them kissing and dancing until 3 a.m., when White chivalrously escorted Rafaeli to a car and not so chivalrously forgot to tip for his VIP table. Though there’s no confirmation from either star’s representative, the two were also seen taking a leisurely bike ride around Central Park on Tuesday. It just goes to show: Every tomato has his day.


More on the Chan-Zuckerberg Wedding

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Chan in Vietnam in 2011

Now that the world knows who Priscilla Chan is, she’s being spotted everywhere — including in a Chinese TV documentary on the country’s police force. Oddly enough, a short snippet of footage of Chan and her husband, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has shown up in the program highlighting how Chinese police use hi-tech methods to fight crime.

Loving a guy — even if all he wears is hoodies — is no crime, so it must be complete coincidence that the image of the couple strolling on the streets of Shanghai last March made it into the film. “There is a serious shortage in China’s police manpower,” the narrator said as Zuckerberg and Chan appeared walking and smiling behind a couple of officers. In China there is probably a severe shortage of people who even know who Zuckerberg is, let alone what he looks like, given that Facebook is blocked there.

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Aaron Sorkin Is Dating Another Kristin

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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We all know that the “Sex and the City” character Charlotte York had a soft spot for Jewish men — or at least for a one named Harry Goldenblatt. Now it seems that Kristin Davis, the actress who played the Carrie Bradshaw pal, has her eye on a particular Jewish guy, too.

Life & Style reports that Davis is dating screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin. It appears that Sorkin, who penned the Academy Award-winning film about the rise of Facebook, has been doing a little social networking of his own lately. He and Davis have been “getting together when they can,” according to a source. “They’re a good match for each other,” the source added.

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Private Pair: Alison Brie and Dave Franco

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

And now for a Franco family update:

Us Weekly reports that “21 Jump Street” star Dave Franco, younger brother of James, is dating Alison Brie. The 29-year-old actress is known for her television roles as Annie Edison on “Community” and Trudy Campbell on “Mad Men.”

Sources say that Brie has been seeing Franco, 26, for the past six months, but that the L.A.-based couple has been keeping the relationship low-key. This was mainly due to the fact that their shooting schedules were keeping them on different sides of the country. But in April they got to spend some time together in New York, where Franco was filming and Brie came to promote her new film, “The Five Year Engagement.” While in town, Brie also performed with her band, The Girls, at (Le)Poisson Rouge.

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Adam Lambert Outsells Adele

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Glamberts rejoicing because their idol has made it to the number one spot on the Billboard chart. In what After Elton is calling a historic achievement, Adam Lambert is the first openly gay artist to have made it to the top.

Lambert came close when his first album, “For Your Entertainment,” made it to the third spot. But there’s nothing quite like having the number one album in the country, which is what the former American idol runner-up has right now. Having sold 77,000 copies in its first week, “Trespassing” has surpassed albums by Adele and Carrie Underwood.

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Barry Manilow: I’m Not Like Joan Rivers

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

In anticipation of a performance in Dublin yesterday, singer Barry Manilow sat down for a cozy conversation with the Independent. There was some talk of “Mandy,” “Can’t Smile Without You” and “Copacabana,” but for the most part, Manilow used the opportunity to reveal some interesting tidbits about his family’s past, as well as about his present appearance.

Manilow told the Independent that he is “a secret Irishman.” While the Jewish community can proudly claim the 68-year-old singer as one of our own, we should also be aware of the fact that Barry Alan Pincus (he adopted Manilow, his mother’s maiden name, as his last name after his bar mitzvah) could have very well have been Barry Kelliher instead. That’s because his father was a non-Jewish Irish man named Harold Kelliher.

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Their Parents Were Nazis

By Michael Kaminer

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Raph Fiennes played Amon Goeth, whose real-life daughter is interviewed in a new BBC documentary.

Monika Hertwig remembers leaving a screening of Schindler’s List suffering from shock. “I kept thinking this has to stop, at some point they have to stop shooting, because if it doesn’t stop I’ll go crazy right here in this theatre,” she told the BBC this week.

Hertwig’s not a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She’s not even Jewish. Her connection to the film’s more insidious: The notorious Plaszow commander Amon Goeth, played by Ralph Fiennes in the film, was her father.

She’s just one haunted Nazi offspring profiled by the BBC; many of them also carry their forebears’ reviled surnames. “The names of Himmler, Goering, Goeth and Hoess still have the power to evoke the horrors of Nazi Germany, but what is it like to live with the legacy of those surnames, and is it ever possible to move on from the terrible crimes committed by your ancestors?” the BBC asks.

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Naomi Campbell and the Palestinian Press

By Nathan Jeffay

Getty Images

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has found herself at the center of a row over press freedom in the Palestinian Authority.

She has just spent her 42nd birthday in Bethlehem, where she lit candles in the Church of the Nativity. “As much traveling as I’ve done, I’ve never come here,” she told a Palestinian television station., going on to say: “I’m happy to be here. Weapons and war, greed and oil … I hope it all stops.”

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