The Shmooze

Hip-Hop Artist Y-Love Comes Out as Gay

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Y-Love in 2009

Y-Love, the 34-year-old ex-Hasidic hip-hop artist, came out as gay in an interview with Out magazine published today.

Y-Love, also known as Yitz Jordan, was briefly married to a Jewish woman, tried reparative therapy and lived a double-life for many years. But now he is announcing to the world that he is gay so that he can live and date openly as a homosexual, with the aim of finding the right guy to marry.

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Catfight! Gwyneth Paltrow and Rashida Jones

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Rashida Jones, via Twitter

Gwyneth Paltrow might be the public face of Hugo Boss’s new Boss Nuit Pour Femme perfume, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost her sense of humor. The other day, when she wasn’t busy with an official photo shoot, Paltrow took time to goof around with her pal Rashida Jones. The two ditched the professional make-up chair and did their own make-up and photography. But who knew these actresses would be so purrrfect at it?

When they were finished, Jones tweeted a photo of Paltrow posing in full blue cat-face make-up, with the caption: “At callbacks for Cats: The Movie…” Paltrow then tweeted a picture of her friend’s feline look. Paltrow, pretending to be competitive with Jones, started a faux Twitter catfight. Tweeting about Jones’s more natural red-orange tabby look, Paltrow wrote: “This bitch is hot on my tail for rum tum tugger @iamrashidajones #catsthemovie”.

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Barbra Streisand and Adele? It Could Happen

By Margaret Eby

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Dynamic Duo?: Barbra Streisand (left) and Rihanna

You can’t say Babs is one to sit around and putter. According to Page Six, beloved funny girl Barbra Streisand may be looking for some new duet partners.

The musical stalwart recently nabbed a contract extension with Sony Music, where executives are asking Streisand to do an album of her old standbys with younger artists. If this gambit sounds familiar, it’s because that’s exactly what propelled Tony Bennett back up the charts with his recent album, “Body and Soul.”

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Natalie Portman Turns Heads at Ballet Gala

By Eileen Reynolds

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Natalie Portman’s “Black Swan” days may be behind her, but the actress was still the belle of the ball at the New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala on May 10. Not quite a year after the birth of her son, Aleph, Portman looked as slim and elegant as ever in a feminine, tiered Christian Dior gown in navy blue. On her arm, of course, was handsome hubby and ballet great Benjamin Millepied.

This was the pair’s first red carpet appearance since the Oscars, when they made their quiet debut as a married couple. The red Dior dress Portman wore that night reportedly sold for $50,000. The Shmooze wonders how much this one might fetch.


Mekhi Phifer Hangs Out at Israeli Air Force Base

By Nathan Jeffay

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What is “ER” doctor Greg Pratt up to nowadays? Well it seems that he fancies himself as an Israeli fighter pilot. The actor who played him, Mekhi Phifer — also famous for his co-starring role opposite Eminem in the feature film “8 Mile” — is in Israel at the moment, and hanging out where all the celebs go… on an air force base.

He Tweeted:: “We r now headed to the military base. Its about to go down! Me and my dude @omarepps r trying to pilot one of the fighter jets!! Pray for yo.”

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Stern Weighs in on Obama Marriage Stance

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Radio host Howard Stern is telling President Obama to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. While so many other celebrities have been praising the president for publicly stating earlier this week that he is personally in favor of same-sex marriage, Stern is criticizing him for not going far enough.

“I wish the president actually had gone further. I wish he said he was going to back some legislation on the national level,” Stern told reporters at a press conference about his new gig as an “America’s Got Talent” judge. However, the shock jock did admit that he did appreciate the president’s “evolving” views on marriage equality. “Okay, this is a good first step,” he said. “It’s a baby step.”

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Roman Polanski Plans Dreyfus Flick

By JTA

Polish director Roman Polanski’s next film will be a political thriller based on the Dreyfus Affair.

The acclaimed director announced Wednesday that the new film, titled “D,” will reunite the team that produced his award-winning film “Ghost Writer.”

Albert Dreyfus was a French Jewish army officer who was falsely convicted of treason in 1894. In the ensuing 12-year battle to clear his name, anti-Semitism played a major factor.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, covered the story for a Viennese newspaper and was inspired by the trial to found an international Zionist organization.

Polanski is a Holocaust survivor, and his escape from the Krakow Ghetto was the backdrop for his 2002 movie “The Pianist.” He has lived in Europe since pleading guilty to statutory rape in 1978.

“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” Polanski told the Los Angeles Times. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today’s world.”


Clooney Hosts Big-Time Obama Fundraising Party

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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George Clooney (left) and Jeffrey Katzenberg

In case you hadn’t heard, there is going to be a big fundraising bash for President Obama’s reelection campaign tonight over at George Clooney’s place.

No one — well, at least no Democrat — would want to miss that, right? But before you run to put on your party dress, you might want to know what it’s going to cost you to get through Clooney’s front door.

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Amy Winehouse Blood Painting Up for Auction

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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An art piece made by the late singer Amy Winehouse — using her own blood — will be auctioned off at the Cob Gallery in London. The self-portrait, titled “Ladylike,” is part of a collection by Pete Doherty, called “On Blood,” which was on view at the gallery earlier this year.

Doherty, known primarily as co-frontman for The Libertines, as well as for his membership in indie band Babyshambles, is also a visual artist. It has been reported that he was very close with Winehouse, and that he invited her to create an artwork with him. “Amy was on the phone to her dad when she did that [painting]. She said, ‘Dad, I’m with Pete and he’s making me draw with my blood!’ He didn’t like me much, her dad,” Doherty told The Independent in February. The Shmooze can’t imagine why.

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Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon Dead at 84

By Eileen Reynolds

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Vidal Sassoon, the well-known British hairdresser credited with creating the 1960s “bob,” has died at the age of 84, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sassoon was born to Sephardic parents in London in 1928. After his father left the family when Sassoon was three years old, his mother, facing extreme poverty, made the difficult decision to place Sassoon and his younger brother in a Jewish orphanage.

Read our coverage of “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie,” a documentary film about the stylist.

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Biden Makes Sign of the Cross, Rabbis Giggle

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Former TV journalist and newly minted politician Yair Lapid’s address to the Rabbinical Assembly’s National Convention in Atlanta yesterday got a lot of attention. In his remarks, he emphasized that he would work for equality for all religious movements in Israel — something that made the Conservative rabbis in the audience smile.

But another politician one-upped Lapid and made the more than 1,600 rabbis laugh. Vice President Joe Biden was on hand to address the plenary, and he got a good chuckle from the audience even before he stepped up to the microphone and said a single word.

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Dustin Hoffman and Mila Kunis Save Lives

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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First Responders: Mila Kunis and Dustin Hoffman

Who needs the Avengers when we have real-life Jewish celebrities rushing to the rescue?

First came news that on April 27, actor Dustin Hoffman, 74, saved the life of a London jogger who had gone into cardiac arrest. Hoffman, who owns a home in Kensington, was walking in Hyde Park when he saw lawyer Sam Dempster, 27, staggering and frothing at the mouth before falling forward and hitting his face on the pavement. Hoffman reportedly turned Dempster onto his back, which opened his airway, and called 999 (equivalent to our 911) from his cell phone.

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Etgar Keret Hates Manchester United

By Dan Friedman

nate lavey
Etgar Keret

In a recent video interview, Israeli novelist Etgar Keret joked that he wouldn’t trust Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, despite his well known union background and anti-racism bona fides, to hide a Jew in his attic during another Holocaust. And he jested that Real Madrid’s star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo — who used to play for Ferguson at the club — wouldn’t behave much better. He bases his assessment, of course, on nothing but the team’s style of play.

Manchester United have been a dominant financial and sporting force in English soccer over the past decade, earning the envy and enmity of millions worldwide. But they uncharacteristically go into the final game of the English Premier League season this weekend needing a better result than their “noisy neighbors,” Manchester City, to pip them to the title.

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Travolta Sex Abuse Case Takes Anti-Semitic Turn

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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John Travolta is strongly denying allegations by an unnamed male plaintiff (“John Doe”) that he assaulted and sexually harassed him. The actor plans to countersue the plaintiff, a Los Angeles masseur who claims to have been hired by Travolta in January, and his lawyer Okorie Okorocha for malicious prosecution. Travolta’s representative has told the media that the actor wasn’t even in California on the date that the plaintiff claims the assault took place.

The plaintiff’s claims may indeed turn out to be spurious. However what caught The Shmooze’s eye were some pretty wild Jewish-related accusations against Travolta buried in the middle of the complaint for damages document filed with the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

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Video: Spinning Class With Max Greenfield

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Max Greenfield, who plays Schmidt on “The New Girl,” has shown that you can turn some kibitzing into some tzedakah.

A few weeks ago Vulture made up a mock cover for a workout video that it imagined Greenfield’s “lovably preening” Schmidt character might have made. It was all just a joke, but Greenfield kind of liked it and rose to the challenge of actually making a Schmidt exercise video. Greenfield released it on YouTube and it went viral. Imagine Greenfield’s surprise when he found out that people weren’t just getting a kick out of it; they were actually paying attention to his spinning technique.

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'The Dictator' Meant Those Ashes for George Clooney

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Whoops! You know those Kim Jong-il “ashes” that Sacha Baron Cohen — in character as the Supreme Leader of Wadiya — spilled all over Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars? Well, it turns out that they were originally meant for George Clooney…and that the provocateur is contrite over the incident.

Last weekend, Baron Cohen made a surprise cameo on Saturday Night Live and used the opportunity to apologize to Seacrest, who was also on the set. “I didn’t realize that ‘The Dictator’ was doing a walk on cameo [on SNL]!” Seacrest said, according to Perez Hilton. “He comes off stage and comes over to me. He breaks character and says, ‘Sorry about the Oscars. It wasn’t personal.’”

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Remembering ‘Price Is Right’ Creator Bob Stewart

By Michael Kaminer

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I was so obsessed with game shows like “The Price Is Right” as a 1970s kid that I would fake illness, skip school, and play along at home. Until today, I had no idea that the show’s creator, Bob Stewart, was born Isidore Steinberg to Russian immigrants. But I should have figured that a show in which people obsess about the cost of goods would have come from a Jewish brain.

Stewart — who changed his name “after being rejected for a television job because he believed the employer was anti-Semitic,” according to The New York Times — died on May 4. Along with “The Price is Right,” his hit shows included “Password,” “To Tell the Truth,” and “The $10,000 Pyramid,” which eventually adjusted for inflation to become “The $100,000 Pyramid.”

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Is Miguel Cotto’s ‘Kosher’ Tattoo Illegal?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Cotto hits Mayweather during their WBA super welterweight title fight on May 5. Can you spot the OU tattoo?

While Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto’s fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. this past weekend in Las Vegas was clearly fair (Cotto lost in a unanimous decision), Rabbi Jason Miller is questioning whether it was completely kosher.

Actually, the rabbi was concerned not about what went on in the ring, but rather about what Cotto was wearing in it. Cotto has been sporting an Orthodox Union kosher symbol (a circle with the letter “U” in the middle, often pronounced as O-U) tattoo for some years now. He apparently got it as a tribute to a Jewish friend.

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On Walk of Fame, ScarJo Thanks Jewish Mom

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Jewish mothers — the butt of so many jokes — don’t always get the respect they deserve. For that reason, the Shmooze commends Scarlett Johansson for specifically thanking her own Jewish mother as she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday.

Posing in front of her star in a black and white silk print dress, red pumps and an upswept hairdo, ScarJo said it was her mom, Melanie Sloan, whom she had to thank for her success. No stereotypical pushy Jewish mothers came to mind as the actress, 27, explained how her mother has supported her throughout her life and career.

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Video: Camp Ramah Gets Shout-Out on ‘Girls’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Zosia Mamet

Whether or not they are fans of the new hit HBO series “Girls,” former Camp Ramah-niks may want to tune into this week’s episode on Sunday at 10:30. In the episode, titled “Camp Friend,” their summer home-away-from-home gets a shout-out. Now, would that technically be product placement or guerilla marketing? Doesn’t matter — either way, it’s 15 minutes…well, more like 15 seconds… of fame for Conservative Judaism’s camping movement.

In the preview clip released by HBO, Shoshana Shapiro (played by David Mamet daughter Zosia Mamet) is stopped unexpectedly on the street by a guy who hopes she’ll recognize him. “Hey, Shoshana! Remember me? It’s me, Matt Kornstein. Camp Ramah,” he says. He goes on to compliment her by telling her, “You led the most intense kitchen raid I ever saw in my time as a junior counselor.” No spoilers here: The Shmooze merely notes that the look exchanged between Shoshana and Matt in that moment is also, to borrow Matt’s word, pretty “intense.”

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