The Shmooze

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

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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

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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

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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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Pretty Women Can’t Get Jobs?

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Beautiful women don’t really get all the breaks, new Israeli research suggests.

Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Center found that if you’re female and searching for a job, good looks could actually be a liability.

They applied for 2,500 jobs using fake identities. For each job, they sent an application with a photograph — as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia — and one without.

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Israeli April Fool's Jokes Went Too Far

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Coming soon after the Purim prank season, April Fool’s Day didn’t used to be such a big deal in Israel. But every year it becomes more popular — and more chaotic. Israelis, it seems, aren’t always great at knowing where to draw the line.

Three youngsters from Beit Shemesh have just spent three days in police custody after faking an armed robbery at a kiosk run by a friend (or probably now former friend). They went to the kiosk on Sunday night wielding toy guns and with their faces covered and demanded money. Their victim handed over 4,000 shekels (just over $1,000) and called the police — only to find that the “robbers” returned an hour later to explain it as all a joke. But the three men were arrested and brought before Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on charges of armed robbery, threatening behavior and disturbing the peace.

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Jackie Mason Calls Cops on Lady Friend

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Carl Lender via Wikimedia Commons
Jackie Mason in 2006

Oy vey. Jackie Mason’s apparent girlfriend was giving him some serious tsoris early last Friday morning. It was so bad that the 83-year-old Tony Award-winning comedian and former rabbi called the cops on her.

The police put 48-year-old Kaoru Suzuki-McMullen in handcuffs at Mason’s West 56th St. apartment after he alleged that she had assaulted him when he had tried to get her to leave his home. A source told the New York Daily News, “He called down to the doorman on his phone. She took the phone from him, scratching and bruising his left wrist.”

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PJ Library Founder Honored for Philanthropy

By Eileen Reynolds

Ross Den Photography
Harold Grinspoon accepts his award onstage at The Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Jewish philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, a real estate entrepreneur and founder of the PJ Library program, was honored May 29 at the by the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations for his commitment to the Russian-speaking Jewish community. The event, entitled “Building the Future,” marked COJECO’s 10th anniversary and took place at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Grinspoon, 82, founded the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in 1993 to promote Jewish life among young people, adults and families in western Massachusetts, North America and Israel. The Institute for Jewish Philanthropy, a program of that foundation, has catalyzed 85 Jewish overnight camps to raise more than $70 million dollars with matching grants and consultation.

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Lily Safra To Auction Jewels for Charity

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

If you are in the market for some expensive jewelry, you’ll want to know that philanthropist Lily Safra’s personal collection will be on the auction block at Christie’s in Geneva on May 14.

The auction will feature 70 lots, which are estimated to fetch in excess of $20 million, all of which Safra plans to give to 20 different charities. Safra’s collection includes “important diamonds, rubies and sapphires, as well as an outstanding array of fine antique and period jewelry,” according to Christie’s. All the pieces in the auction were collected by Safra between the 1970s and now. Eighteen of them are by JAR,who crafted them specifically for Safra. According to Christie’s, “this is the largest private collection of creations by JAR ever to be offered at auction.”

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