The Shmooze

Jerry Seinfeld Stands Up to Test of Time

By Susan Armitage

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Jerry Seinfeld is a master comedic craftsman still keeping his standup game in top form.

That’s the takeaway from this weekend’s New York Times magazine profile in which Seinfeld shares his writing process (including his notes) and talks spirituality with the Times’s Jonah Weiner.

Seinfeld describes growing up on Long Island in a “pretty Jewish” family that went to temple and kept kosher. Despite forays into Zen Buddhism, Scientology and transcendental meditation, Seinfeld told the Times he still identifies as Jewish.

“I was very flattered recently to hear about a Nazi rally in Florida where they took DVDs of (my) show, sprayed swastikas on them and threw them through the windows of a synagogue,” he said. “That was nice.”

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Knicks' Stoudemire Gets Hitched

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Amar’e Stoudemire and Alexis Welch

Amar’e Stoudemire married his longtime fiancée Alexis Welch in a private 12.12.12 wedding. The Knicks player, who has Jewish roots and has visited Israel, wore a tallit and kippah for the ceremony.

Mandy Patinkin is the man of the hour, what with his Golden Globe nomination, the buzz about his saying Kaddish on last night’s Homeland season finale,, and his over-the-top reaction to a TV host’s rushing out of an interview with him to attend the birth of his first child.

All this time we’ve been kvelling about Olympic gymnastics champion Aly Raisman, we didn’t even know that her teammate Gabby Douglas has some Judaism in her past. You can read all about it in her new memoir, “Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith.”

Yay! The super-talented young Carly Rose Sonenclar has been chosen as one of the final three contestants on “The X Factor”!

Sarah Silverman exhorts men to be “Bro-choice” in this new PSA for the Draw the Line campaign working to collect signatures for its Bill of Reproductive Rights.

Looking for some holiday make-up tips? Scarlett Johansson is happy to give you some. And Kate Hudson tells you how she maintains her youthful glow.

And speaking of Kate Hudson, she and her mom Goldie Hawn may be celebrity MOTs, but they apparently get together every year to celebrate a “very traditional Christmas.”

Two hit-and-run misdemeanor charges against Amanda Bynes have been dropped.

Itzhak Perlman, Cantor Yitzchak Helfgot and the Klezmer Conservatory Band joined Garrison Kiellor on a Prairie Home Companion in New York this past weekend.

As Adam Lambert prepared to host “VH1 Divas” on Sunday night, he made sure to remind us that men can be divas, too.

Hanukkah may be over, but it is not too late to watch this video of characters Puck and Jake enthusiastically performing “Oh Hanukkah” on Glee.

In case you missed it, here’s a good interview on NPR with Orthodox Jewish British singer Alex Clare, who was dumped by a record label because he doesn’t roll on Shabbos.

If you didn’t read Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, then you missed: Joy Behar confirming that she is Italian but looks like Bette Midler and likes to use Yiddish words; Joan Rivers giving advice on how to entertain your guests at a holiday dinner; and Mark Feuerstein telling Dave Itzkoff (for “The Big Profile”) that he comes “from a long line of shvitzers.”

If you’ve ever wondered whom Billboard would name as the top 30 Jewish musicians, wonder no more. Here’s the list.

Hugh Grant admits Jon Stewart was right to call him a complete pain in the you-know-what for the way he acted when he was a guest on The Daily Show back in 2009.

In celeb sightings we have: Lea Michele looking like she overdid the spray tan; sporty Chelsea Handler playing ping-pong; Bethenny Frankel out for a stroll with her family amid rumors of marital woes; and health and weight conscious Gwyneth Paltrow stuffing her mouth with marshmallows to humor her friend celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.


Orthodox Jewish All Stars

By Renee Ghert-Zand

“Jew in the City” fans are used to watching entrepreneurial Allison Josephs sitting on her living room set expounding humorously and informatively into the camera about Orthodox Jewish life. But this time she’s gotten off her couch and out into the field to film a video called “Orthodox Jewish All Stars,” that shows that not all Orthodox Jews spend their lives in the yeshiva or kitchen, as some might assume.

In fact, Orthodox Jews can be found on Capitol Hill, the Billboard charts, the bestseller lists, the performance stage, the basketball court, the Rhodes Scholars list, and the steps of the Supreme Court. Others can be found in television network production meetings, or in the boxing ring.

“People are often incredulous when I explain to them that Orthodox Jews are professionally active in all different parts of society,” Josephs told The Forward in a phone interview. So, rather than continuing on her own to try to break down stereotypes, Josephs steps aside and lets a bunch of exceptionally successful Orthodox Jews — ranging from liberal Modern Orthodox to Hasidic — speak for themselves.

These “All Stars” are: Senator Joel Lieberman; author Faye Kellerman; recording artist Alex Clare; media producer and marketer (Jamie Geller;](http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-geller) pro boxer Dmitriy Salita; pro basketball player Tamir Goodman; comedian Mendy Pellin, Supreme Court law clerk and Sharsheret founder and director Rochelle Shoretz, Rhodes Scholar Miriam Rosenbaum; and the Maccabeats a cappella group.

They all say a bit about themselves and how they balance being an Orthodox Jew with their profession commitments. And then at the end Mendy Pellin provides a little comic relief. “Orthodox Jews do have a lot of career options. But let’s face it. We can’t do everything. Like, we can’t be pork taste testers,” he jokes in his stand-up act. “When was the last time you saw an Orthodox Jew as a pork taste tester?”

“The biggest challenge was collecting all these super-busy people,” Josephs said about the four months of work that went into making the video. “But it was better for me to show than tell,” she said about being behind the camera this time. Indeed, it was very rewarding for her to find that these people also cared about “straightening out our image,” as she put it.

It appears that people are highly interested in meeting this All Star lineup. The clip has garnered more than 40,000 views in just the first few days since it was posted on December 9—setting a record for “Jew in the City” videos. Might this mean that there will be an “All Stars” video part 2?


'Sandy, Screw Ya'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

By all accounts, Wednesday night’s big 12-12-12 Concert for Hurricane Sandy relief at Madison Square Garden was a big success. Among the performers were Billy Joel, who sang “New York State of Mind,” and Adam Sandler, who made up his own lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluyah.” One line went, “Sandy, screw ya, we’ll get through ya, because we’re New Yawkers.” Sandler also managed to squeeze in humorous references to Donald Trump, the New York Knicks, Times Square porn, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, and Michael Bloomberg.

Joan Rivers spoke out in defense of the Australian DJs who made the prank call to the hospital treating Kate Middleton that may have precipitated the suicide by the nurse who transferred the call to the duchess’ ward.

Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun revealed details of a foiled plot to murder and castrate the singer.

Jason Reitman has lined up Seth Rogen and Jack Black to participate in a live-read of the script of “Ghostbusters,” which as directed by Reitman’s father Ivan Reitman back in 1984.

Adam Shulman held his wife Anne Hathaway’s hand as the couple landed in L.A. following Hathaway’s embarrassing wardrobe malfunction at the “Les Miserables” New York premiere.

A make-up artist traveling with Sarah Jessica Parker’s entourage in Oslo, Norway was arrested for shoplifting.

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman’s daughter Olive makes her public debut in People magazine this week.

Judd Apatow, dressed in a suit and holding a “HaHa” balloon, graces the cover of the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Lea Michele tweeted her ecstatic response to receiving a personalized gift from Barbra Streisand.

As might be expected, Barbara Walters used zero tact in interviewing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about his being overweight.

The awards season will soon be upon us. Critics’ Choice Awards nominees include Daniel Day-Lewis (best actor), Alan Arkin (best supporting actor), Logan Lerman (best young actor), Steven Spielberg (best director), and Tony Kushner (best adapted screenplay). SAG Award nominees include Julianna Margulies (best actress in a TV drama series), Daniel Day-Lewis (best film actor), and Alan Arkin (best supporting film actor).

Scarlett Johansson talks about her return to Broadway in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” coming up in January.

Johan Huibers, a Dutch builder, has completed work on his full-scale, fully operational Noah’s Ark. The project took him 20 years. The wooden vessel is 427 feet long, 95 feet wide and 75 feet high.

The latest Jewish celeb sightings include: Lea Michelle on a holiday shopping spree with patients from Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis back in L.A. from Rome; Shia LaBoeuf with a new buzz cut; Paul Rudd at a special Variety screening of his new movie; and Howard Stern and his wife Beth Ostrosky Stern’s kitschy and catty Christmas card.


Tavi Gevinson Adds Author to Resume

By Reuters

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Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson has accomplished more in her 16 years than most people double her age.

The style blogger, writer and darling of the fashion set launched a fashion blog from her suburban Chicago home before she turned 12. Two years later it was getting 50,000 hits a day and she was a fixture in the front row of fashion shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Profiles of the young fashionista followed in the New York Times and the New Yorker, along with stories in French Vogue and in teen magazines.

Gevinson has added editor to her credits with the publication of “Rookie Yearbook One,” a compilation of articles, photographs and drawings from her Rookie website, which she started about 15 months ago.

“I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a print component. Each month on the site is a different theme. I eventually realized that to do a yearly book, and call it a yearbook, would be the best format,” she said.

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Snoop Lion as Moses

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Move over Charlton Heston, Snoop Lion (formerly Dogg) is the new Moses. The rapper plays the greatest of Jewish prophets as he faces off against Santa Claus in the latest episode of Epic Rap Battles of History.

The Daily Show without Jon Stewart? Believe it or not, Stewart almost quit the show early on. The comedian talked about this and much more with Stephen Colbert in an on-stage conversation at a fundraiser for the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, N.J. last week.

Kevin Youkilis is a New York Yankee! It’s been reported that the one-year deal has been done for $12 million.

Do you miss “Seinfeld” and wish that it were still on the air? The show isn’t coming back, but you can at least pretend it might be by following the new @seinfeldtoday Twitter feed that gives you and everyone else a chance to imagine what “Seinfeld” episodes would be like in 2012. So far, Jerry Seinfeld has not posted anything.

Gwyneth Paltrow is on the cover of the January issue of Redbook with her personal trainer Tracy Anderson. The actress dishes on her difficulties in losing post-pregnancy weight the second time around and on the joys of being 40.

Watch the new video of James Franco’s third song off his band Daddy’s “MotorCity” album. The song is called “Can’t Say Goodbye,” and it’s about Franco’s father who died last year. The video appears to be a collection of clips from home videos of Franco as he was growing up.

Sarah Jessica Parker attended a press conference with Gerard Butler in advance of their hosting the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Concert on Tuesday in Oslo.

Adam Mansbach tells us what it has been like to be on the bestseller list all year long for his “Go The F—k To Sleep.”

Shia LaBoeuf will make his Broadway debut in a play called “Orphans.” The production, co-starring Alec Baldwin, will open in the spring.

Director Brett Ratner is partnering with Australian billionaire James Packer to form a new film company called RatPac Entertainment. We wonder if they inked the deal just so they could combine their names in this clever way.

We had heard that Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito had decided to work on their marriage, but we didn’t know (until now) that it was Michael Douglas who played relationship counselor and convinced DeVito to ask Perlman to give things another try.

Bethenny Frankel threw a holiday party for her Skinnygirl Cocktails staff at a popular New York seafood spot.

Adam Lambert is “so excited” about hosting the upcoming VH1 Divas live concert on December 16.

Just when we thought we had exhausted our search for this year’s new Hanukkah videos, we found a couple more good ones. First, there is “Samurai Jew: The Eighth Night.” If you’ve ever wanted to experience the Hanukkah story in Japanese anime form, then this one’s for you. And if you miss hearing the classic Hebrew Hanukkah songs of your youth, then listening to a cappella group Qunita & a Half’s “Hanukkah Medley” will be a pleasure.


Barbara Walters Dishes on Sex

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters got a little candid about her sexual preferences as she told her “The View” co-hosts about her interview with E.L. James, “Fifty Shads of Grey” author.

Lena Dunham may be all lovey-dovey with her indie rocker boyfriend Jack Antonoff (the paps caught the two smooching in public in Hollywood this past weekend), but she is playing it tough with Gawker. The “Girls” showrunner had her lawyer demand that the website remove the contents of her book proposal, which it had previously published.

And while we are on the topic of “Girls,” the soundtrack for the show’s first season is now available. Read the track list here.

Lea Michele is on the cover of Marie Claire. In an article inside, she brushes off ) diva rumors and calls her breasts “my prizewinners.”

Jonathan Lipnicki celebrated his 22nd birthday in Sin City and posed with a scantily clad cocktail waitress to preserve the moment.

Adam Lambert teamed up with Cyndi Lauper on stage at the latter’s holiday benefit show at New York’s Beacon Theater. Watch this video of their duet rendition of “Mad World” by Tears For Fears. In the meantime, Lambert has reiterated that despite all the recent gains for gay marriage, it’s not something he is thinking about for himself.

Dustin Hoffman planted a big smooch on the mouth of Niall Horan of One Direction. The 75-year-old actor-director appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman alongside the hot boy band. Hoffman first covered Horan’s mouth with his hand, and also warned the 19-year-old singer he was going to do the gag kiss.

Barbra Streisand says she never actually watched on of her movies. Try to guess which one it was (hint: it was a really bad film), and then click here to see if you are right.

For those of you who can’t wait until Judd Apatow’s “This is 40” (starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel) is out in theaters on December 21, here is a red band trailer — that means it’s for adult eyes only.

Fans of more mature actors may be anticipating the release of “Stand Up Guys” with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. According to the movie’s official synopsis, “despite their age, their capacity for mayhem is still very much alive and well — bullets fly as they make a hilariously valiant effort to compensate for the decades of crime, drugs and sex they’ve missed.” Here’s a clip from the action-comedy caper opening on December 14 in New York and L.A.

David Duchovny was courtside at a NY Knicks game with his kid Kyd (yes, Kyd is the kid’s name).


Hasidic Gangnam Style

By Renee Ghert-Zand

While you were eating latkes…

A bunch of Brooklyn Hasidic men went totally Gangnam Style at a wedding. Their version is in Yiddish and English instead of Korean, and there’s no “sexy lady” involved—neither in the lyrics, nor on the dance floor. The video is quite a sight to behold:

The late Amy Winehouse’s house in London’s Camden Square sold at auction for £1.98m. The singer died in the house, and her family had been having trouble selling the property, which had been sitting vacant since July 2011.

Eight Jews ranked among “The World’s Most Powerful People” according to Forbes: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is at No. 6; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at No. 16; Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are at No. 20 together; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at No. 23; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is at No. 25; Bond fund manager Bill Gross is at No. 51; and Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman is at No. 45.

When Israelis searched for women on Google this year, the one they searched for most was model Bar Refaeli.

Jewish Basketball fans have been keeping an eye on Aaron Liberman, a walk-on at Northwestern. The 6’10” Orthodox Jew from L.A. plans to wear his kippah on the court once he gets over a bad case of shin splints.

Craig Ferguson didn’t ask Mayim Bialik about her divorce, but he did make her uncomfortable by commenting on how sexy the sheer sleeves of her dress were.

It was reported that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman’s long marriage may not actually be over. The couple is apparently trying to work things out.

Veteran Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916, turned 96.

The “Nice Jewish Guys” 2013 calendar has been made available in time for the Holiday Season.

And it looks like the Hanukkah videos are still rolling in. We can now add to our 2012 list these fine examples:

The full “Heiffer at Hanukkah” video with Mark Feuerstein and Ed Asner. This one, about the importance of giving tzedakkah (for instance, to Heifer International) at Hanukkah-time, makes a lot more sense than the short clip of Feuerstein praying while dressed up as a cow (you can see that one in our Hanukkah video roundup from last week):

Matisyahu’s official video for his “Happy Hanukkah.” All proceeds from the sale of downloads of the song will go to Hurricane Sandy relief:

The Ein Prat Fountainheads“iHanukkah-Apple Style” digital short that’s a take-off on the way Apple rolls out its new products:

The incomparable Lipa Schmeltzer’s “Believe in a Miracle.” The performer calls it “an enthusiastic anthem to the Festival of Lights”:


Celebs Tweet for Hanukkah

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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President Obama tweeted for Hanukkah.

‘Tis the season to be tweeting. Celebs (Jewish and non-Jewish alike) took to the Twittersphere to send their Hanukkah greetings or to enlighten followers about the holiday. Here’s what some of them had to say in 140 characters or less:

President Barack Obama: From our family to everyone celebrating Hanukkah, Chag Sameach.

Lena Dunham: Happy Chanukah! Or, as we like to call it in my family, Hanukkah.

Joan Rivers: Why do we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days? Because it takes everyone that long to figure out how to spell it correctly.

David Frum: Looking forward to tonight’s brief Hanukkah truce in the War on Carbs.

Alicia Silverstone: Kicking off 8 days of vegan Hanukkah recipes with vegan latkes 2 ways! ‪http://bit.ly/veglatkes

Rachel Zoe: Happy Hanukkah to all my tweeters who are celebrating tonight! xoRZ

Prime Minister David Cameron: I wish the Jewish community in the UK and across the world a happy and peaceful Chanukah

Leonard Nimoy: Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate. Shalom to everyone. LLAP

Marlee Matlin: Let the light of the first night tonight bring you happiness, peace and fun with family and friends. Happy Hanukkah!

Matisyahu: Lit the menorah last night in SF…let them play music from my iPhone & forgot to turn off the ringer…

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: So nice to join Chabad of Weston and light our hometown menorah on the second night of Hanukkah

Andy Borowitz: Hanukkah is the most American holiday because it’s a celebration of burning oil that we don’t have.

Sarah Palin: Todd and I and our family wish a very Happy Hanukkah to all throughout the world who gather this week to celebrate…

Senator Harry Reid: I wish all celebrating Hanukkah a Chag Sameach. In nights ahead, may the candles you light shine as brightly as our future

Hoodie Allen: Happy Hanukkah to all my peoples

Marie Osmond: Happy first day of Hanukkah to all who celebrate.

Congressman-elect Joe Kennedy III: Chag Sameach to all those celebrating Hanukkah around the world. Wishing you a joyous and peaceful holiday with your friends and family.


Hanukkah Videos Galore

By Renee Ghert-Zand

We almost thought we weren’t going to have a selection of new Hanukkah videos to share with you this year. Particularly stressful was our waiting to see if the Maccabeats would come out with something. We waited and waited, and finally, they released their original “Shine” a mere two days before the first candle was to be lit. What a relief! We could never be ready to celebrate a Jewish holiday without a new Maccabeats video to go with it.

It seems like everything was very down to the wire this year. We’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to Hanukkah’s coming early in December, thus shortening the production period. But as we’re going to press, we’ve seen and heard nothing new from the Ein Prat Fountainheads. Very distressing.

So, let us recommend the following Hanukkah videos for your viewing pleasure…or displeasure, depending on what kind of holiday cheer you are looking for:

Here is that new video called “Shine” from the Maccabeats. It is an original composition and it theme is the promotion of the Bone Marrow Registry and the importance of being tested.

Michelle Citrin’s “Hanukkah Lovin’” is quickly emerging as a favorite this year. The singer wins you over in the first bars of this sweet and sultry jazz ballad about lighting some sparks during the holiday. Not to mention that she looks very fetching in her “Spinster Chanukah” sweater.

StandFour, a break-off group from The Maccabeats (these guys have graduated from Yeshiva U.), gives us “Eight Nights,” a parody mashup of “Some Nights” by Fun, “Die Young” by Ke$ha, “Live While We’re Young” by One Direction.

Six13, with a little help from their fans, bring us their frum pop version of “Haneirot Halalu.”

In the new “Bubala Please” videos, “two angry, misunderstood gangsters” named Luis and Jacquann show us—using extremely foul language— how to make latkes and decorate a Hanukkah bush. These videos are most definitely not to everyone’s taste, no matter how the latkes are made.

Matisyahu performs his new holiday song, simply titled “Happy Hanukkah” on the Tonight Show. All proceeds from the sale of the song (online only) will go to Hurricane Sandy relief.

Engineering fans will enjoy this video made by Technion students in Israel demonstrating the Rube Goldberg machine they made to light the menorah this year. For the real geeks among us, there is also the behind-the-scenes video.

The Pella Singers bring us this “8 Nights of Hanukkah” mashup that we think is about Jewish Americans showing solidarity with Israel. Actually, once we see in the end credits that it was produced by StandWithUs, then we are sure that is what it is about.

We get a tour of Jerusalem via rollerblades in this fast-paced new Hanukkah video from Aish.com.

If you like watching middle-aged guys pretending to be youthful hip-hop artists, then L.A.’s Ohr HaTorah’s “No Latkes” is for you. It seems that good latkes are a real deal breaker for these guys.

Let Rabbi Daniel Brenner sing to you about how he digs “A Minor Holiday” —Hanukkah—in a major way.

Rockazion shot their roots reggae version of the Hanukkah classic “Who Can Retell” against the backdrop of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in Long Beach, New York.

Y-Love offers a Hanukkah blessing of inclusion in this PSA he made—in Yiddish—for Keshet, the Jewish LGBT advocacy and education organization.

This has got to be the weirdest new Hanukkah video out there. It’s of actor Mark Feuerstein dressed in a silly cow costume rapping the Hebrew “Ve’ahavta” prayer for a Heifer International holiday fundraising campaign. At least, that’s what we think this trippy video is.

And what would Hanukkah 2012 be without a little Gangnam Style? Here’s a video showing an impressive Hanukkah-themed light display, set to the song none of us can get out of heads, put on by the Herman family of Los Angeles. Also, the 7th and 8th graders at Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, California shine in that awkward yet cute middle school kind of way in their “Hanukkah Style” video.


Honey Boo Boo's Israeli Fan

By Renee Ghert-Zand

As we learned earlier this week, Adam Levine doesn’t care much for Honey Boo Boo. But others clearly feel differently. Barbara Walters named the child beauty pageant contestant and reality TV star one of 2012’s Most Fascinating People. She also has an admirer in Adi Segal, who lives in Israel. Segal recently wrote Honey Boo Boo a letter thanking her for keeping everyone cheery while rockets were flying in from Gaza. It appears to be a gag letter, but Honey Boo Boo was very obliging and posted a photo of herself holding the letter and the inflatable hammer decorated with an Israeli flag that Segal sent her.

It looks as though there is nothing that Fran Drescher does not carry in her purse. Take a look and see.

Here’s an engaging video of the talented and lovely Kate Hudson and Lea Michele battling it out to “All That Jazz” on “Glee.”

And here’s a music video of a completely different genre. Drake teams up with A$AP Rocky, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar for “F–kin’ Problems.” It’s not to everybody’s taste.

Sarah Michelle Gellar reunited with her “Buffy” co-star David Boreanaz at a holiday event in L.A. benefiting L.A. Family Housing, an organization that helps families transition out of homelessness and poverty. Tori Spelling was there en famille, as well.

The first ever comedy issue of Vanity Fair, guest edited by Judd Apatow, hits newsstands in January. Here’s a sneak peek at one version of the cover featuring Paul Rudd and the rest of the cast of Apatow’s new film “This Is 40.” There are two other versions of the cover—one with Maya Rudolph, Jim Carrey, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrel; the other with Kristen Wiig, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld.

“New Girl” parodies abound. First there was “Jew Girl,” now there is “Old Girl”—featuring a grouchy retiree named Muriel Rosenberg who is not at all like the “adorkable” Zooey Deschanel.


Kate Middleton Buzz

By Renee Ghert-Zand

It seemed that everyone was reacting to the news yesterday that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant and hospitalized because of extreme morning sickness. Ivanka Trump tweeted kind wishes for the royal pregnancy, while Zach Braff took a more humorous approach in expressing his congratulations.

And while we’re mentioning Ivanka Trump, here’s a photo she tweeted from her appearance yesterday on “The View.” That’s a gigantic photo of her young daughter Arabella projected behind her.

Court documents filed by Mayim Bialik on November 21, the day she announced she was divorcing her husband Michael Stone, indicate that she is seeking joint physical and legal custody of their young sons Miles and Frederick.

Rachel Weisz won the 2012 Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle for her work in “The Deep Blue Sea.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was given last Thursday the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award. “Ehud, thank you for your friendship, and your dedication to the shared dream of a safer and more secure future for Israel and the United States,” said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to Barak, who recently announced he is retiring from politics.

Alanis Morissette took some time to visit the Kotel after arriving in Israel to give the final concert of her “Guardian Angel” world tour.

Newly released photographs of Albert Einstein’s brain are providing clues to how its unusual features may have contributed to the scientist’s genius.

We’ve already told you that Lena Dunham is one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year. Now get the scoop on how the stylists gave her a Twiggy-inspired look for the magazine’s photo shoot.

Howard Stern will be back for a second season of “America’s Got Talent.”

We were all excited about Lenny Kravitz signing on to play singer Marvin Gaye in a new biopic, but now we hear that Gaye’s son (who was once Kravitz’s classmate) is none-too-happy about the project.

We could be wrong, but we have a sneaking suspicion that few people would take real issue with Adam Levine’s recent statement to GQ that “Honey Boo Boo is the DECAY of Western civilization.”

Eggnog is apparently the secret weapon for getting Ellen Barkin’s character on “The New Normal” to be nice. We wonder if latkes or sufganiyot do the trick, as well.

And while we’re on the subject of the holidays, here’s a menorah arts & crafts project you probably won’t see being done at your local Jewish school. Let’s just say that it’s a little too hygienic.

And finally, we have the latest celeb sightings: Ashley Tisdale, Johnny Galecki and friends chilling at a Lakers game; Adrien Brody making an entrance at the CNN Heroes: All Star Tribute in L.A. on Sunday; Kate Hudson having a busy day in New York on Monday; and her mother, Goldie Hawn, carrying her own pillow as she gets off a flight at LAX.


The New 'Girls'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Okay, we all know this is what you’ve been waiting for. Here’s the trailer for the new season of Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” which will begin airing January 13.

Entertainment Weekly has announced its Entertainers of the Year list. The MOTs on it are hot young stars Lena Dunham, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Max Greenfield (with his “New Girl” cast mates). The young-at-heart Mandy Patinkin (as a member of the “Homeland” cast) also made the cut.

Celebs from near and far came to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to celebrate with Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova as they received the Kennedy Center Honors.

In case you haven’t heard, Jeffrey Katzenberg was awarded an honorary Oscar for his charity work.

As if the girls in the audience weren’t screaming loud enough, Drake made a surprise appearance on stage at Justin Bieber’s Toronto show Saturday night. Want proof? Here’s the video.

In baby news: Harvey Weinstein, 60, and wife British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, 36, are excitedly expecting their second child together (Weinstein has three daughters from a previous marriage); Fred Savage and wife Jennifer have still not decided on a name for their new son born last week.

Talk about meta. Appearing on “The Soup” on E!, former child star Danielle Fishel played former child star Lindsay Lohan playing former child star Elizabeth Taylor in a “Lizdsay Taylorhan” spoof of Lohan’s panned recent portrayal of Taylor in a made-for-TV film.

Everyone’s been talking so much about Paul Rudd’s performance in “Grace” on Broadway that some have failed to take note that Ed Asner is also in the production. “It’s exciting and I’m intrigued,” the veteran actor said about being back on stage.

“The X Factor” announced its final six contestants, and guess who’s in the number one spot? It’s the 13-year-old powerhouse Carly Rose Sonenclar. We are so rooting for you, Carly!

Matthew Broderick like older movies with a slower pace. Here, he explains why his favorite film is the 1936 comedy “My Man Godfrey” with William Powell and Carole Lombard.

Marissa Jaret Winokur tells her fans how she lost 60 pounds in seven months. Sounds like she took the tried and true approach: healthy eating, moderate portions, and exercise.

Renaissance man James Franco will have multiple films at Sundance, including one he co-directed.

Adam Lambert made an impression at the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong last week.

Super-health-conscious Gwyneth Paltrow surely doesn’t eat hamburgers. Or does she? Apparently her friend chef Jamie Oliver convinced her to eat a hamburger, French fries and drink a milkshake while riding on a roller coaster when she guest starred on his new show.

The outrageous Chelsea Handler never fails to amuse. This time she dressed in a skimpy bodysuit to resemble Christina Aguilera to make country singer Blake Shelton feel more at home on her talk show (Aguilera and Shelton are co-mentors on “The Voice”).

In case you have just not been able to get that yellow dress Amber Tamblyn wore at her wedding to David Cross back in October out of your mind, let her explain to you whey she chose it.

Happy 67th birthday, Bette Midler! Yes, you read that right. The Divine Miss M is already 67! Until 120!

In recent celeb sightings we have: Halle Berry wearing necklaces made by Abayudaya Jewish women in Uganda; Lea Michele posing at the Hollywood Foreign Press and InStyle’s Golden Globes event; Liev Schreiber biking around New York with his little boys; Paula Abdul and boyfriend John Caprio holding hands in Beverly Hills; Rachel Weisz bundled up and talking on her cell phone in New York; and Jake Gyllenhall just looking good.


'Bachelorette' Does It Under Chuppah

By JTA

getty images

Last season’s TV ‘Bachelorette,’ Ashley Hebert, and a Jewish construction manager from New York, J.P. Rosenbaum, were married in a Jewish wedding ceremony.

The couple married under a chupah during an outdoor ceremony on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif., according to reports.

ABC will air a two-hour wedding special on Dec. 16.

The couple became engaged on the finale of the seventh season of “The Bachelorette” in August 2011.


Least Influential Jews

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Amanda Bynes

We’re heading into the end of the year, so it’s time for GQ’s list of the 25 least influential people of 2012. When it comes to this distinction, the tribe is represented by troubled starlet Amanda Bynes (ranked #2!), Oscars host Billy Crystal, “The Newsroom” writer Aaron Sorkin, and actor Adam Sandler.

There are only eight contestants remaining on “The X Factor,” and 13-year-old phenom Carly Rose Sonenclar is in the lead. With Sonenclar’s amazing rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” she continued to impress the audience and the judges, including Simon Cowell who joked that he would have to disqualify her for being an alien (because how could a young teenage human have such a powerful, soulful voice?).

Fran Drescher is a cougar and proud of it. The 55-year-old actress told HuffPo in a video interview that, with her high energy level and contemporary tastes, she’s really only interested in dating younger men. She’s doing her best to impose some limits, and says she’ll try to stick to guys who are no more than 10 years her junior.

A couple of new bundles of joy have entered the world. Fred Savage and wife Jennifer welcomed their third child, a boy. Judge Judy (Scheindlin) now has a complete jury with the arrival of her 12th grandchild, a little girl born to her son Gregory and his wife Laurie.

Daniel Radcliffe has made it into the Sundance Film Festival for the first time, with his drama “Kill Your Darlings, in which he plays poet Allen Ginsberg. The film about the Beat Generation will compete in the U.S. dramatic competition at the festival in January.

What does Gwyneth Paltrow do when she can’t find a one-shouldered yoga top she likes? She collaborates with an exercise wear company to make one that she can sell exclusively on her Goop website.

Alison Brie demonstrates her talent for dancing the Charleston during her sexy photo shoot for Nylon Guys.

Logan Lerman joined some other young actors for a panel discussion at The Variety Studio: Awards Edition event in L.A.

Lisa Edelstein is going from “House” to “House of Lies.” She will have a guest starring role on the latter, a Showtime program with Don Cheadle.

Comedic actor Jack Black is girding himself in advance of his being roasted by the Friars Club this coming April. “Anyone could really take me to pieces. I’m not gonna give any ammunition away,” he said. “I regret having ever agreed to it, but I’m going to go through with it.”

Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning were seen strollingtogether in New York’s Soho neighborhood. This, of course, means the two are dating. Or not.

Take a look at this fab video stylist Rachel Zoe put together with pop duo Karmin for Coach.com.

Marissa Jaret Winokur, who usually devotes her blog to reflections on her recent major weight loss, focused her latest post on the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

HuffPo feels it necessary to point out that celebrity siblings have inherited some beauty genes, too. In a slideshow of handsome brothers and pretty sisters of people famous for their good looks, we see: James Franco’s younger brother Dave; Scarlett Johansson’s twin brother Hunter; and Kate Hudson’s older brother Oliver.


Bob Saget's Dirty Humor Book

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Bob Saget

You may remember Bob Saget as Danny Tanner on “Full House,” but he’s actually not always as clean cut as that. In fact, he has a “dirty humor” book coming out in 2014 showcasing “the full monty of [Saget’s] crazy self.”

Who knew that Scarlett Johansson has always aspired to be a weather girl? We certainly didn’t. In any case, her dream came true as she was given the opportunity to pinch hit on the Today Show for Al Roker, who had laryngitis.

In case you haven’t already heard, Stevie Wonder has cancelled his performance at the upcoming annual Friends of the IDF gala fundraiser in Los Angeles, claiming that his role as a U.N. “Messenger of Peace” is incompatible with his appearing at the event.

It will be the TIME editors who ultimately choose the magazine’s Person of the Year for 2012. But in the meantime, the public was able to weigh in with its votes of “definitely” or “no way” on 39 candidates for the honor. Among them are Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Jon Stewart. The Algemeiner reported that once the votes were tallied, Netanyahu came in fourth in the “no way” category, just behind dictatorial Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. Adelson fared even worse, coming in second on the “no way” list.

In the meantime, the cover of the latest issue of TIME features a portrait of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi taken by Israel photographer Nadav Kander.

Chelsea Handler gave fellow comedienne Whitney Cummings some helpful (not!) advice for preparing to host her new E! talk show, “Love You, Mean It,” which Handler is producing.

Remember those reports that the Trump kids staged an intervention with The Donald in an attempt to get him to stop trash talking the President on social media? Well, Ivanka Trump says that no such meeting with dad happened. “I totally respect @realDonaldTrump ‘s opinions & right to articulate his views, which is what I would have told @nydailynews if they’d called me to fact check their false story,” she tweeted.

Shia LaBeouf, who was seen hanging out in Hollywood in cut-off shorts, is apparently in a rebound relationship with “Nymphomaniac” co-star Mia Goth.

Adam Levine made it plenty clear in a weird tangential rant while on “The Voice” that he and Maroon 5 will not be playing The Roxy any time soon. The singer claims the group was dissed when they played there a while back as the opening act for Michelle Branch. “Ummm, what was that about? cc: @adamlevine,” the famous L.A. venue posted on Twitter in response.

Did you catch the photo of then-very young siblings Abigail, Robin, and David Pogrebin (children of Letty Cottin Pogrebin), with Marlo Thomas in The New York Times marking the 40th anniversary of “Free To Be You And Me”?

Self-proclaimed “Jewish Adventurist” Andy Cohen caught his first big one on a fishing trip in New York Harbor for Tom Colicchio’s “Hooked Up” show.

Go behind the scenes with Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe on the making of their new British mini-series, “A Young Doctor’s Notebook,” which is based on a novel by Soviet Russan writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

Watch a sneak peek of Lisa Edelstein’s guest starring gig on the new CBS Sherlock Holmes drama “Elementary.”

Demi Moore most definitely has a thing for young men. Moving on from her broken marriage with Ashton Kutcher (who we all know is now dating Mila Kunis), Moore has been spotted cozying up to 26-year-old art collector Vito Schnabel, son of artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

Is this the new winter look? Both Lenny Kravitz and Amanda Bynes were photographed wearing super-sized knit scarves—though each was wearing the cold-weather item differently. Kravitz appeared to be trying to make a fashion statement while practically being swallowed by his, while Bynes used hers as protection against the paparazzi.

Other celeb sightings include: Jesse Eisenberg tooling around New York on a bike (where is helmet?!); Bar Refaeli doing some holiday shopping in Berlin with her dad prior to her appearance on a German television show; Tori Spelling sharing her family’s Thanksgiving photo; and Jack Black cheeringon the Lakers as they lost to the Pacers.


Aly Raisman on Dancing With the Stars

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Aly Raisman

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and the rest of the Fierce Five gymnastics team appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” in a show of support for Team USA member Shawn Johnson, who is competing with partner Derek Hough. Raisman and the others donned lacy black leotards and flashed big smiles as they took part in Johnson’s freestyle routine.

Oh yeah. Lenny Kravitz will portray “Sexual Healing” singer Marvin Gaye in a film that will be made next year. The biopic will focus on Gaye in the early 1980’s when he was trying to fight his addictions and return to a successful singing career, before being shot to death by his father in 1984.

In other casting news, rumors that Warner Bros. wanted to cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman in the upcoming “Justice League” were quashed by the actor’s representatives soon after they hit the gossip and entertainment news sites.

A couple of big name musical artists are showing their support for Israel. Alanis Morissette will play a concert at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Theater on December 3, and Stevie Wonder will headline the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gala in Los Angeles on December 6. The annual fundraising event is hosted by Cheryl and Haim Saban.

Watch host Adam Lambert ham it up — and shatter a lot of glass — in a couple of cute promos for “VH1 Divas,” which will air live on December 16.

Mazel tov to Daniel Radcliffe, who has finally joined the world of social media — but notably not the Twittersphere. The actor opened a Google+ account as “an outlet for accurate information” about himself.

Lea Michele graces the cover of the January 2013 issue of Flare magazine, in which there is a story about her new album, her penchant for getting tattoos, and her love for boyfriend and Glee co-star Cory Monteith.

50 Cent recruited Eminem and Adam Levine for feature vocals in the video for “My Life,” the lead single off his new “Street King Immortal” album.

In celebrity sightings we’ve got: Matthew Broderick accompanying son James to school; Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman taking their 2-month-old daughter, Olive, for a doctor’s visit; and ScarJo going to dinner with her new boyfriend Romain Dauriac, and at a photo call for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which will start previews in New York on December 18.

And to get us in to the Hanukkah spirit, we have: a brand new mashup video by StandFour, a quartet of former members of the Maccabeats; and these hipster-ish Hanukkah sweaters by Geltfiend. Watch this amusing video to learn about the genesis of this new-yet-retro seasonal attire.


Amy Winehouse Biopic?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Mitch Winehouse

Mitch Winehouse, father of late singer Amy Winehouse thinks George Clooney would be the perfect actor to play him in a biopic about his daughter. Some have urged Winehouse, who is trying to make the film happen, to consider Lady Gaga for the role of his daughter, but Winehouse doesn’t think Gaga quite cuts it. “She’s the same as Amy – she’s a nice kid, very nice young lady. She still can’t play Amy though,” he insisted.

Mila Kunis may be in Italy to shoot a movie, but it’s also a Roman holiday for her and her honey Ashton Kutcher. The couple has been repeatedly spotted strolling and dining. It’s curious, though, why Kutcher is holding a plate in a photo taken outside a restaurant where the pair ate. Could it have anything to do with his supposedly keeping kosher as part of his —but not Kunis’—Kabbalah practice?

Can’t wait until the January 13 season 2 premiere of Lena Dunham’s “Girls”? Click here for a bit of a sneak peek.

Ivanka Trump and her brothers Eric and Donald Jr. apparently staged an intervention with their father, Donald Trump, before the election early this month to try to get him to stop his libelous tweeting against President Obama. Obviously, they weren’t too successful.

Looking for that perfect Hanukkah gift for the Elizabeth Taylor or Barbie doll fan—or both—in your life? A new Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Barbie doll is now available for $150. It wears a glamorous white 1950’s style dress with a red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon pinned to it and comes with a replica of a White Diamonds perfume bottle, sunglasses, and a script, among other accessories.

You can’t always get what you want. In Steven Spielberg’s case, that would be the opportunity to direct a James Bond film. No hard feelings, though. Spielberg said he liked the latest Bond flick “Skyfall” and plans on seeing it a second time.

Harvey Weinstein is none too happy with the NFL Network’s pulling of an interview with “Silver Linings Playbook” star Bradley Cooper, calling it an act of censorship. The network did not like references to gambling on NFL games in the movie, which Weinstein co-produced.

Jason Segel, who played Jason in “Knocked Up” is back as the same character in Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40.” And as you can see, he has the hots for Debbie, the character played by Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann.

In TV casting news, Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner play Zooey Deschanel’s parents in “New Girl,” Roseanne Barr will appear in “Portlandia,” and Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have officially signed on to return as Cory and Topanga in Disney’s “Boy Meets World” spinoff.

Nikki Reed is on the cover of Zooey magazine and shares openly about the pain her 2003 indie film “Thirteen” caused her family.

Shia LaBoeuf has split from his girlfriend of two years, Karolyn Pho. The breakup was reported to be due in large part to the actor’s agreeing to perform real-life sex scenes in the new Lars von Trier film, “Nymphomaniac.”

Daniel Racliffe, Rashida Jones, and “Twilight” screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg will take part in the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia, Canada next week.

Read what “This American Life” host Ira Glass had to say in a sit down with The Hollywood Reporter, and what “Happy Endings” star Adam Pally told HuffPo in one of its “no-filter” interviews.

British actress Dinah Sheridan died on Sunday in England at age 94.

And finally, in celebrity sightings we have: Lea Michele and boyfriend Cory Monteith returning to Los Angeles from Vancouver; Bethenny Frankel rocking a white bikini; and Justin Bartha hanging out at the park with his cute little dog. Mitch Winehouse, father of late singer Amy Winehouse thinks George Clooney would be the perfect actor to play him in a biopic about his daughter. Some have urged Winehouse, who is trying to make the film happen, to consider Lady Gaga for the role of his daughter, but Winehouse doesn’t think Gaga quite cuts it. “She’s the same as Amy – she’s a nice kid, very nice young lady. She still can’t play Amy though,” he insisted.

Mila Kunis may be in Italy to shoot a movie, but it’s also a Roman holiday for her and her honey Ashton Kutcher. The couple has been repeatedly spotted strolling and dining. It’s curious, though, why Kutcher is holding a plate in a photo taken outside a restaurant where the pair ate. Could it have anything to do with his supposedly keeping kosher as part of his —but not Kunis’—Kabbalah practice?


Larry David Remembers Thanksgiving

By Renee Ghert-Zand

While you were eating turkey…

Celebs ate turkey, too. However, some like Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone, Dianna Agron, Julianna Margulies, and Lea Micheledid not (they’re vegetarians).

Larry David treated us to his animated reminiscences of Thanksgiving in Brooklyn with his family.

Joan Rivers tweeted about delivering Thanksgiving meals to the homebound, watching the Macy’s parade, and the thoughtful seating arrangements at her table.

Anne Hathaway and new hubby Adam Shulmantook their dog for a walk in New York, and Shia LaBoeuf strolled with his “Nymphomaniac” co-star Mia Goth in L.A.

Rashida Jones joined Jimmy Fallon in performing a catchy holiday-themed medley parodying popular songs by One Direction, Rihanna and Psy’s Gangnam Style, among others. The bit about spinning the dreidel on Hanukkah was set to Flo Rida’s “Whistle.”

Bob Saget enjoyed the holiday together with old buddy John Stamos, who starred with him in the 1990’s sitcom “Full House.”

Read more


Mayim Bialik Plans Divorce

By Forward Staff

getty images

Actress Mayim Bialik and her husband, Michael Stone have announced plans to divorce after nine years of marriage.

The “Big Bang Theory” actress, known for her adherence to so-called “attachment parenting,” blamed the split on “irreconcilable differences.

“After much consideration and soul-searching, Michael and I have arrived at the decision to divorce,” she wrote on her blog at Kveller, a Jewish parenting website.

The couple has two sons, 7-year-old Miles and 4-year-old Frederick.

The former “Blossom” star insisted that her unusual parenting style, which includes sleeping in the same bed with the children, had nothing to do with the couple’s trip to Splitsville.

“The hands-on style of parenting we practice played no role in the changes that led to this decision,” she wrote. “Relationships are complicated no matter what style of parenting you choose.”


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