The Shmooze

Big Independence Day Bucks for Israeli Pop Stars

By Nathan Jeffay

Wikimedia Commons
Eyal Golan

Israel’s Independence Day, coming up next week, is a great day of rejoicing for Israel’s celebrities.

Why for celebrities, you ask? Are they the biggest Zionists in the country, the most excited that after 2,000 years of yearning, in 1948 the Jewish People attained political independence.? Er… no — they just make the biggest bucks.

Popular crooner Eyal Golan is getting 160,000 shekels from Acre municipality for a 45-minute show at its public celebration (there are about 3.75 shekel to the dollar, so divide by four to get a ballpark dollar figure). He then zooms off to Haifa where he gets another 100,000 shekels for a few songs.

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Jake Gyllenhaal's Random Act of Kindness

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We enjoyed watching Jake Gyllenhaal look for the missing matzo during Passover last week — and then we learned that he is even more of a mensch than we knew.

The handsome 31-year-old actor has been known to be philanthropic, giving to a variety of causes from the Afghan Relief Organization to Variety to Global Green, but apparently his magnanimity extends even to owners of parked cars. In an act of random kindness, Gyllenhaal recently put money into Beverly Hills shopping district parking meters that were about to expire.

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Eric Cantor Backs Shmuley Boteach’s Campaign

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

It’s always good to have friends in high places… who are willing to open their wallets for you.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has contributed $5,000 to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s congressional campaign.

You will recall that the self-touted “America’s rabbi” and author of “Kosher Sex,” “The Kosher Sutra,” and “Kosher Jesus,” recently tossed his hat in the ring. Rabbi Boteach is also known for releasing “The Michael Jackson Tapes,” on which listeners can hear the rabbi and the late singer discussing the effects of celebrity, as well as for his “Shalom in the Home” show on TLC.

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Rachel Dratch: ‘I’m a Troll’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Rachel Dratch just isn’t pretty enough.

That is why, she writes in her new memoir, “Girl Walks Into A Bar,” she hasn’t made it big in films or on television post-SNL.

“I am offered solely the parts that I like to refer to as The Unf-ckables. In reality, if you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t point at me and recoil and throw up and hide behind a shrub,” she writes. “But by Hollywood standards, I’m a troll, ogre, woodland creature, or manly lesbian. … Trolls, ogres, and woodland creatures can be done with CGI, so that leaves yours truly to play the bull dykes.”

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Jon Lovitz Gets Tough On Hate Crime

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We may know Jon Lovitz as a joker, but he was very serious when he tweeted about a recent anti-Semitic act perpetrated against his friend’s teenage daughter by other students from her school. It was reported that Lovitz’s posts about the incident, which took place in Northridge, California on April 3, led to the expulsion of the perpetrators from their middle school.

“Some coward & idiot left this on a friend’s doorstep, yesterday. This is an insult to all of us,” the comedian tweeted along with a photo of the pile of feces and swastikas and the word “Jew” written in maple syrup on the front walk and doorstep of his friend’s home.

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Ahmad Tibi and Michael Oren Duke It Out

By Nathan Jeffay

Ahmad Tibi, one of the liveliest, not to mention most controversial, lawmakers in the Knesset, is squaring up to Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren.

Oren penned a piece in Foreign Policy praising Israel’s democratic nature, in which he wrote:

Israel has tolerated acts that would be deemed treasonous in virtually any other democracy. Ahmad Tibi, who once advised PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat and recently praised Palestinian “martyrs” — a well-known euphemism for suicide bombers — serves as a member and deputy speaker of the Knesset.

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Dior (Finally) Names Galliano Successor

By Michael Kaminer

Getty Images
Raf Simons

While John Galliano’s outsize personality helped revive the moribund Christian Dior brand, it also sparked his self-destruction — and firing — after a notorious anti-Semitic rant last year.

Today, the conglomerate that owns Dior finally named a successor for a designer many considered irreplaceable. And the brand’s new creative director is reputed to be as low-key and focused as Galliano was self-promotional and incendiary.

Monday’s appointment of Belgian designer Raf Simons — who had been designing the Jil Sander label until his own abrupt firing in March — ended months of speculation over who would replace his disgraced predecessor, Reuters reported.

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Will the SJP Clan Move to Brooklyn?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Brooklyn or Manhattan?

That’s the question Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick are mulling over these days. It was reported last month that the couple was considering buying adjacent townhouses on State St. in Brooklyn Heights. Although SJP’s rep told the New York Daily News that the actress does not currently own property in Brooklyn, this could change in the near future.

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Bibi’s 5,000 Indonesian Facebook Fans

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no different from the rest of us when it comes to trying to boost our online presence and optimize our social networking reach. You may have heard about his recent efforts to get more people to “like” his official Facebook page, some or which got him into a little trouble.

Well, now he’s boasting about the number of “friends” he has (200,000 at last count). The only problem is that — at least in this case — the numbers kind of lie.

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Ex-Hasidim To Tell All on Reality TV

By Michael Kaminer

Call it “Jersey Sheitel”.

Three former Ultra-Orthodox Jews will star in a reality show about their post-religious lives, according to the New York Post.

The subjects of “shunned” will include an aspiring model/actress named Pearlperry Reich — currently embroiled in a divorce and custody battle for her four kids — who told the Post her “main purpose is to create a positive Judaism… And a really good opportunity for me to get my face out there.”

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Hollywood Hunks Get Ripped With Krav Maga

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Details has only just now caught on to the popularity of Krav Maga, the famed Israeli approach to self-defense training. The magazine seems to have noticed a critical mass of male celebrities using the program to get in touch for their roles on screen — and in life. “Made in Israel. Imported by Hollywood’s A-List. Coming soon to a health club near you,” shouts its article’s subtitle.

Among the Hollywood hunks mentioned in Details’ Krav Maga story are Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and John Mayer. British actor Jason Statham reportedly also used the technique to train for his role as “an ass-kicking man of mystery” in his new movie, “Safe.”

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Messy Divorce for Film Exec Bob Weinstein

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Bob Weinstein

While Harvey Weinstein has had cause to shep nakhes lately, his brother Bob seems to be having nothing but tsoris.

Word hit the press on the first day of Passover that movie producer Bob Weinstein’s wife Anne Clancy Weinstein, a former book editor, has filed for divorce and is seeking an order of protection. She wants the latter because she “fears bodily harm” — presumably at the hands of her husband.

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Video: Drake's 'Re-Bar Mitzvah'

By Forward Staff

As part of what he’s calling a “re-commitment to the Jewish religion,” Drake has released a video featuring bagels, the Torah, Manischewitz, Lil Wayne in a panda mask and a whole lot of rapping in the synagogue. Is this guy for real? Watch him reading from the Torah and decide for yourself.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME

Watch Drake Celebrate His ‘Re-Bar Mitzvah’:


Best Celebrity Tweets for Passover

By Renee Ghert-Zand

It might not surprise you that celebrities were tweeting pre-, post- and even mid-Seder. Some typed clever quips, while others sent out heartfelt thoughts, including greetings for Easter, which coincides this year with the first days of Passover. Here are some of The Shmooze’s favorite Pesach posts of 140 characters or less:

Susan Orlean (on a pre-Passover flight): On this flight we eat only unleavened peanuts and snack mix, to remember how hastily we went through security.

Joan Rivers: Heading to Melissa’s for Passover. Seders in L.A. are so showbiz – until Elijah arrives, we’ve hired a seat filler from the Oscars.

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Kissing Cousins: Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

It’s kind of weird that actor Zach Braff and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney are cousins. But since chances are pretty good that they will never marry and have children together, we don’t have to worry too much.

That isn’t the case with actor Kevin Bacon and his wife of 23 years, actress Kyra Sedgwick. It was recently revealed, courtesy of the PBS genealogy program “Finding Your Roots,” that the two are related to each other — and not only by marriage. It turns out that the husband and wife are descended from distant branches of the same family tree, and that they both come from families that at one time owned slaves. Talk about six degrees of separation!

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Jewcier’s Fantasy Celeb Seder

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Jewcier.com
How many can you name? (Click to enlarge.)

You know that extra seat that some people leave at the Seder table? It’s usually for Elijah the Prophet, or symbolizes our Jewish brethren around the world who are not free to celebrate Passover. For the past five years, many families left an empty seat for Hamas captive Gilad Shalit. This year, he will be at home in Israel at his family’s Seder.

But Jewcier, the Jewish dating site, has challenged its members to think of someone — anyone! — special to imagine inviting to Seder. Jewcier isn’t asking us to think high mindedly or metaphorically. The basic question is: Which Jewish celebrity would you like to have keeping you company though all the verses of Dayenu?

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Matchmaker, Find Me a Jewish Bachelor Billionaire

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Nicolas Berggruen in Berlin in 2010

The mothers of the seven Jewish (or Jew-ish) men who make up more than half of Forbes’ list of the 12 most eligible billionaire bachelors must be kvelling. That is, they must be thrilled that their sons are so incredibly wealthy and desirable, but not necessarily that they haven’t yet blissfully settled down (some of them have been in marriages and long-term relationships — but without happy endings).

So, who are these must-have guys from the tribe, who are not currently in serious relationships and are on the lookout for life partners? If you follow banking, investing, real estate development, tech industry and all-around entrepreneurship, you’ll recognize their names immediately. They are:

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Rahm Emanuel Disses New York

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We all knew that Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was a competitive kind of guy. But now he’s carrying it a bit too far.

Gothamist has its knickers in a twist because the Windy City’s head honcho apparently dissed New Yorkers while doing an interview with a local Chicago magazine called Michigan Avenue. Emanuel reportedly overheard a visiting New Yorker “raving” about the Chicago skyline before adding “but I still love New York.” This remark didn’t sit well with the mayor, who couldn’t refrain from turning to the tourist and saying, “That’s the thing about you New Yorkers. Always talking about how much you love your city. Here in Chicago, we just do.”

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Jon Stewart In Awe of ‘The Island President’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

You heard about the new documentary film “The Island President” here in the Forward first. Now Jon Stewart has gotten a hold of the story. More specifically, he invited the film’s star, Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives, to appear on The Daily Show for an exclusive interview.

On April 2, Stewart questioned Nasheed about his recent forced ouster from the presidency, and about his dramatic fight to save his country from the devastating effects of climate change. Without a serious global effort to significantly cut carbon emissions, the Maldives will sink into the sea before too long.

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An Elvis-Themed Israel Tour, For Only $4,000

By Nathan Jeffay

Getty Images

Elvis Costello shunned Israel a couple of years ago, cancelling a gig on grounds of conscience. But it seems that Israel is just the destination to celebrate the mightier, even more famous Elvis.

On Thursday, tickets went on sale for a $3,995 Elvis Presley themed tour of Israel. No kidding — check it out for yourself.

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