Although Oprah Winfrey didn’t quite take the plunge, she did recently stop by a mikveh in Brooklyn Heights.
Scouting locations to film segments for her new show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which will air in January 2012 on OWN, she stopped in at Congregation B’nai Avraham. The program will show Oprah interviewing spiritual leaders around the world. The Shmooze is guessing that the visit to the synagogue’s new, state-of-the art ritual bath has something to do with Winfrey’s plans to touch upon the halachic concept of “family purity” and the related spiritual nature of immersion in “living waters.”
Sometimes a dollar bill is not just a dollar bill. According to a report by Arutz 7/Israel National News, it can be a portent, as in the case of a certain dollar bill given to a woman 21 years ago by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, along with a blessing.
According to Chabad (the story’s original source), the note in question ended up in the hands of Aviva Shalit, when a Chabad rebbetzin named Chana Kanterman came to visit her at the now dismantled Gilad Shalit protest tent next to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem. Kanterman insisted on giving the dollar bill, which she had personally been handed by the rebbe, to the Shalit family as a sign of her support for their struggle.
As New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos volunteered in the Masbia soup kitchen on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn yesterday, he reminisced about having once smuggled religious items and medical supplies to Refuseniks in the Former Soviet Union. With Jewish terminology like “shul” easily tripping off his tongue, the Senator joked with the Masbia staff about how the “tzizis” he was wearing at the time made him itchy. (The Shmooze won’t give away the punch line — you’ll just have to watch the video clip.)
It is not clear what sparked Skelos, who donned a velvet yarmulke for the occasion, to suddenly recall the work he did on behalf of Soviet Jewry so many years ago. Masbia director Alexander Rapaport said that Skelos, together with Senator Marty Golden, “chopped carrots, peeled potatoes, ladled soup, and served meals to those who would not be able to eat otherwise.” Perhaps there were some Russian recipes on the menu that day.
Watch Senator Skelos Reminisce at the Soup Kitchen:
Travelers preparing to take a train from Rome’s Termini Station can grab some food at a kiosk and pick up a magazine at a newsstand there. And while they’re at it, they can also buy for themselves some Nazi dolls as souvenirs of their stay in the Eternal City.
Barak Talmor, an Israeli studying in Rome, happened upon a shop next to the station in central Rome selling dolls (more like toy soldiers) dressed in SS uniforms. From the photos Talmor took and sent to Israel’s Channel 2 News, it appears that many are holding flags or standards with swastikas. Some are marching while others riding atop tanks. There is even one of Hitler himself giving the Nazi salute as he stands in the front seat of an open-top car.
An artificial pancreas was taken for a test drive recently in Israel. This new technology, if it proves successful, could be a huge breakthrough in diabetes care and control.
“A Sweet Life,” a website for healthy living with diabetes, reported that 18 children in Israel were gathered at Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha to participate in the world’s first out-of-hospital artificial pancreas trial. The study was led by two doctors from the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel: Prof. Moshe Phillip of the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and and Eran Atlas of the Diabetes Technology Institute.
Organizers of this year’s ING New York City Marathon on November 6 are hoping that runners will raise $1 million per mile. That’s a total of $26,200,000 for charity. Among the official charity teams this year will be 70 runners raising money for The Blue Card, a non-profit organization that supports the everyday financial needs of 2,000 destitute Holocaust survivors in the United States.
“Some survivors have commented about how they are honored and find it interesting that while they were once on death marches, now younger people are raising money for them by running,” noted The Blue Card’s executive director, Elie Rubinstein. “It’s not ‘run for you life,’ as it was for the survivors during the Holocaust, but rather ‘run for someone else’s life.’”
Would you like fries with that mass suicide?
Visitors to Masada can now ponder Jewish martyrdom while eating fast food, thanks to the recent opening of a McDonald’s at the historical site. The latest issue of Time Out Tel Aviv reports that the fast-food chain “just opened a branch inside the visitors center of the sombre ruined fortress,” where a besieged group of Jews killed themselves “rather than face a life of slavery at the hands of their Roman captors.”
Bravo’s “Real Housewives” series has spawned spinoffs in cities across the U.S., so perhaps it was only a matter of time before the phenomenon hit Israel. A Hebrew-language version of the show debuted last night on Israel’s Channel 10, where it is called simply “Me’usharot,” or “Rich” (and where it was ostensibly created independently from the American series).
Like its U.S. counterpart, the Israeli version follows the lives of some of the country’s richest women, who mostly spend their time shopping, talking smack about their friends and living lives of almost unimaginable extravagance. Depending on how generous you’re being, the series can be read as mocking or shamelessly celebrating the subjects’ materialism and vapidity — as well as their social climbing, plastic surgeries and general lack of self-awareness.
With a memoir to sell and scores to settle, Bernie Madoff’s daughter-in-law appeared on “The View” this morning to talk about the infamous Ponzi schemer and the damage he wrought on his own family.
The author of the newly published “The End of Normal,” Stephanie Madoff Mack cut a sympathetic figure on the ABC daytime show, and was treated gently by the show’s panel, which included Barbara Walters. Madoff Mack’s husband, Mark — Bernie Madoff’s elder son — hanged himself with a dog leash in December while she and the couple’s daughter were on vacation at Disney World.
What happened in this German casino will not be staying in this German casino.
A gambling establishment in a German spa town will return a Dutch Old Master painting to the heirs of a Jewish art dealer persecuted by the Nazis and forced to flee Germany, Bloomberg reports.
It won’t be quite like Fashion Week in New York, Paris or Milan, but it will be Holon’s biggest fashion week ever. This month, the Mediatheque Cultural Center in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, will host a fashion-focused event October 24-27 that will include film screenings, an international symposium, master classes taught by international fashion personalities and a fashion show.
The Holon municipality and the Design Museum Holon, which opened in 2010, are behind the fashion week. They are aiming to make a name for their museum and to gain recognition for Holon within the international design community. This, the third annual Fashion Week in Holon, is being produced by produced by Benny Moran Productions in collaboration with the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, the lifestyle channels of Ananey Communications, the Israel Textile and Fashion Association and the Foreign Ministry.
Many questioned Hamas’s fashion sense when they saw the civilian outfit that Gilad Shalit was dressed in for his transfer to Israel during last week’s prisoner swap. They thought it was far from flattering to his thin, malnourished frame and gaunt face. It turns out, however, that Gazans actually thought the collared, checkered shirt the Israel soldier was wearing was the height of style. Consequently, it has been dubbed the “Gilad Shirt” and turned into a must-have item.
Large numbers of the exact shirt, as well as some very similar ones, are now on display in Gazan stores and markets for an average price of $16.50. They are being snatched up like hotcakes, and Gazan shoppers have expressed concern that they will run out.
To help us better understand the merits of the ridiculous lawsuit Michigan resident Sarah Deming is filing against the producers of the new film “Drive” — which stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston — her lawyer has decided to spell out its bizarre logic in the comments section of a movie blog.
In addition to complaining about what she perceives as a bait-and-switch scheme whereby the film’s trailer was deceptive about the amount of action-packed driving there actually is in the movie, Deming claims that “Drive” is anti-Semitic. Gawker quotes the suit as stating that the movie had “extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith.”
During the Jewish festival season, which finished yesterday here in Israel (and draws to a close tonight in the States), thousands have descended on the Western Wall. All sorts have made their way to the popular pilgrimage site, from secular to Haredi Jews, as well as a sizable contingency of Christians from around the world who visit Jerusalem every Sukkot. But all of them, it seems, are being subjected to norms of Haredi society.
The area directly in front of the wall itself — essentially a large synagogue as it is used for prayers — has long been segregated along gender lines, and this is relatively uncontroversial. But it seems that visitors in recent days have been instructed to segregate long before arriving at the wall — rather being asked to get in line, according to gender, ahead of the security checks for the whole Western Wall Plaza.
Ever since the Torah characterized Jacob as “yoshev ohalim,” a tent dweller, most people do not usually use “Jews” and “hunting” in the same sentence. But the truth is that there are Jews who hunt, and it is now known that Justice Elena Kagan is among them.
In a talk at Beth Tfiloh Congregation celebrating the Baltimore synagogue’s 90th anniversary, the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States shared her feelings about sitting in the same seat that was once occupied by Louis Brandeis, the nation’s first Jewish justice. She also answered questions about whether she thought her Jewish background would influence her decision on an upcoming case involving an Israeli couple petitioning the Court to intervene regarding the State Department’s refusal to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth of their son on his passport. (The State Department deliberately lists only “Jerusalem,” without specific reference to a country because of what is considers the disputed nature of Jerusalem’s status).
You know that scene in “Back to the Future 2” when Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly skates on a hover board? It’s no longer just movie magic.
Tel Aviv University scientists demonstrated quantum levitation at the Association of Science-Technology Centers annual conference held last week at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. The researchers from the Superconductivity Group at TAU’s Schools of Physics and Astronomy wowed conference attendees with their demonstration of superconductors locked in a magnetic field.
They showed how a disc frozen with liquid nitrogen can be made to hover over a magnet in any position. Similarly, it can “fly” over a track at any height or at any angle. It even appeared to defy gravity as it circled underneath the track.
When most Americans think Jews and team sports, they think basketball and baseball. Israelis think basketball and football — the European kind. But we should also be paying attention to Jews in American football — at least in the case of two rival Jewish day school teams in Florida.
It was Monday Night Football at the North Miami Stadium on October 17 as Lipson Hillel Community High School played against David Posnack Hebrew Day School in the 3rd annual Kiddush Cup game, which traditionally takes place during the intermediate days of Sukkot. The Hillel Hurricanes from North Miami Beach shut out the Posnack Rams from Plantation with a score of 51-0. Hillel is now 3-0 all-time in the Kiddush Cup, and it finished the 2010 season with a 6-1 record, which is very respectable for a football program that is only 3-years-old.
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli is avoiding Prince Harry’s rumored affections for her by keeping busy with work.
One of her current assignments is not for modeling, but for mentoring. Fear not, though: The job still involves wearing haute couture and posing for the camera.
Refaeli has been tapped to appear in an episode of a new E! reality show called “Scouted,” slated to premiere on November 28. The program is associated with One Management, the New York modeling agency founded by Scott Lipps.
Some tech-savvy Israelis thought that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hogging the spotlight yesterday as the nation celebrated the return of Gilad Shalit after five years and four months in Hamas captivity.
So, they started a creative Facebook meme to express their frustration with Bibi’s perceived need to be in so many photos of the soldier’s homecoming. Facebook users, calling Bibi the Forrest Gump of Gilad Shalit Day, began Photoshopping his face (taken from the now iconic picture of Shalit’s first embrace with his father) into images of historic events he has absolutely nothing to do with.
Forget designer showrooms in the Garment District, modish stores on Madison Avenue, and the latest haute couture from Paris. The stylish place to be last night was at the 92nd Street Y to hear Calvin Klein speak.
Most know the Jewish fashion designer as a name on a fragrance bottle or a logo emblazoned on a pair of jeans. But yesterday, an audience got to hear from the designer himself, as Klein sat down with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis for a discussion about his life and career.