The Shmooze

Eliezer Melamed Criticizes Netanyahu's 'Inflated Ego'

By Nathan Jeffay

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accustomed to mockery from the left for his conviction that Israel is on the brink of grave danger from Iran. But now he faces harsh words from one of the far right’s most renowned ideologues.

Eliezer Melamed, the very same rabbi who caused furor and state sanctions against his yeshiva for saying that troops told to evacuate settlements or outposts should disobey, has rattled off a stinging and very personal attack against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

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Alicia Silverstone Spits Up Food for Baby

By Michael Kaminer

Getty Images

Now broadcasting exclusively online: Alicia Silverstone in the straight-to-video epic “bear eating my mouth.”

It’s not a horror movie — at least not in the conventional sense. The “Clueless” star and vegan-cookbook author uploaded footage of her daily feeding routine for 11-month-old son Bear Blu, passing him chewed-up food directly from her mouth. It’s in living color on Silverstone’s healthful-living site TheKindLife. “I just had a delicious breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. Yum! I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup…from my mouth to his,” Silverstone writes. “It’s his favorite…and mine. He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating.”

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Hebrew School Booby Dream Video

By Dan Friedman

If young Alexander Portnoy had had YouTube, he surely would have avoided much anguish. I think the jury is out as to whether he’d have gone a lot further into left field or whether he’d just realize the futility of his desires and chillax in front of the

The last video I posted, The Groggers’ “Circumcise Your Nose” ended up in a furor because the plastic surgeon who prompted the video was accused of acting unethically.

Now comedian Rachel Bloom, in a surgery-free promotion, has posted her comedy Hebrew School video, “You Can Touch My Boobies.” Following the heder daydreams of Jeffrey Goldstein in pre-bar mitzvah class, the film explores the various wish-fulfillments including the sexual world fungibility of mineral trivia. On her website Bloom notes:

Some might say it’s a comment on gender roles and sexuality as portrayed by the media. Most will probably say “Booooooooooooobs!”

I say that this work of woman’s art was pointed out to me by a feminist as being amusing to anyone who had “been or known a 12-year old boy,” and that I am merely facilitating Jewish conversation about gender roles and sexuality.


Orthodox Top Model Now an IDF Tank Instructor

By Nathan Jeffay

The Shmooze hasn’t heard much about Esther Petrack since she was eliminated from “America’s Next Top Model” 18 months ago. Before then, she sent a flutter of excitement through American Jewry at the prospect of having a Jewish — and Orthodox noch — winner of the show.

Now, Israel’s Channel 2 has reported, she is on her way to becoming a tank instructor in the Israeli army. She has been serving in the Israel Defense Forces since December.

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SoHo Synagogue Founders Voted Most Stylish

By Renee Ghert-Zand

A young rabbi and rebbetzin are holding their own among some heavy-hitting company. Are they being compared to great Torah scholars? Historical rabbis and their wives? No — it’s a bunch of fashion designers, artists, art dealers, musicians, writers and hoteliers whose company they share. StyleCaster has deemed Dovi and Esty Scheiner, co-founders in 2005 of the SoHo Synagogue, two of the 50 most stylish New Yorkers for 2012.

We guess it’s not all that surprising that the couple, photographed for the StyleCaster website in tsnius chic attire, would be deemed exemplars of style. After all, we’re talking about a shul in trendy SoHo, not Hasidic Crown Heights.

In a brief interview, the Brooklyn-born-and-raised couple said that they love all their neighbors on Crosby Street, and that “on Shabbos afternoons we relax on the wooden swing at the Mondrian.” Esty remarked that it is fun for her to combine her personal style with the dictates of modesty. Dovi simply said, “I love my yarmulka.”

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Palestinians Want Their Soccer Star Back

By Nathan Jeffay

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It seems that transfer is a dirty word among Palestinians — when it comes to soccer as well as politics.

Transfer is the euphemism used by members of the Israeli far-right who want to expel Arab citizens from Israel, an idea unsurprisingly detested by all Arabs in this region. But when the word is used to describe a sportman’s switch from one team to another, you’d think it would be less controversial.

Meet Ali Khatib, the man putting that assumption to the test. He is the newest player on the books at the Hapoel Haifa soccer club, and has instantly become a favorite with fans, scoring four times in his first four games. However, an official at Jabel Mukaber, the Palestinian team that he left to take up his Haifa job, has described his move as “treason.”

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She’s Everywhere! Mayim Bialik’s Old Navy Ad

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We can now add CFO (as in “Chief Floral Officer”) to Mayim Bialik’s blossoming curriculum vitae. The “Big Bang Theory” actress, neuroscientist, mommy, blogger, kosher vegan connoisseur, and attachment parenting expert can now be seen hocking spring dresses in a short Old Navy commercial.

Bialik appears in the spot wearing a frumpy frock and floppy hat in pastel blue, pink and yellow. She operates a remote control that directs “bee bots” to “put the petals to the metal” and color Old Navy’s “Hello” dresses in bright colors and prints.

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Bar Refaeli To Star in Comedy About Mossad Hit

By Nirit Anderman

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Crossposted from Haaretz

Israeli model Bar Refaeli is set to join the cast of an upcoming Israeli-French film that will poke fun at the 2010 assassination of senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Refaeli joined the cast along with Shai Avivi, who took over the role held by Shlomo Bar-Abba, who had to leave the project because of a scheduling conflict. Avivi will play a veteran Mossad agent who once commanded assassination teams but who was later relieved of his operational duties and given a desk job.

The film is called Kidon (Javelin) and is based on the events surrounding the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, which took place in Dubai in 2010.

In real life, the assassination, widely believed to be carried out by the Mossad, generated widespread media coverage, including closed-circuit camera footage allegedly showing members of the assassination team in tennis garb in Mabhouh’s hotel.

Read more at Haaretz.com


Yair Netanyahu Goes AWOL

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, wanted to pop home for Shabbat dinner with his family. So that is just what he did. The only problem was that Yair is an IDF soldier, and he did not have permission to do so.

Now, Yair is serving a 21-day military detention for his impulsive move. The punishment is not only for going AWOL — with two bodyguards in tow — but also for lying to his superior about his whereabouts.

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Knesset Member Wants to Dance With the Stars

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes you’ve just gotta dance. At least that’s what Kadima MK Nino Abesadze says.

Abesadze is hoping to kick it up on Israel’s version of “Dancing With The Stars,” but her need to move to the beat is being stifled by Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon. He claims that Abesadze’s participation on the show could amount to a conflict of interest and set an undesirable precedent.

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Shimon Peres Wishes Iran a Happy New Year

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Hot on the heels of the Facebook love fest between everyday Israelis and Iranians, the social media-savvy Israeli President Shimon Peres is sending out special videotaped Nowruz greeting to the Iranian people. Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is being celebrated today.

In his taped message, Peres comes across as genuinely concerned about the Iranian people. But let’s not kid ourselves — given the tense situation over Iran’s nuclear build up, it is not just by chance that the president is making this gesture now.

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Natalie Portman Calls For End To Syrian Bloodshed

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Natalie Portman and others are lending their star power to try to help stop the bloodshed in Syria. On March 15, the first anniversary of the conflict in that country, Portman and other celebrities joined regular people of countries around the world in voicing their outrage against President Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing brutal attack on the citizens of his own country.

Some celebrities took the message to YouTube. Others, like singer Annie Lennox and Nelly Furtado, sent messages out on Twitter. Portman, along with actress Susan Sarandon, posted handwritten notes on the “Unite For Syria” Facebook page. Portman simply uploaded a familiar headshot of herself wearing a leopard print blouse, alongside signed note saying, “Unite For Syria. Stop One Year of Bloodshed. #Syria 15 March.”

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Lenny Kravitz Headed To Israel

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Singer and actor Lenny Kravitz will be on his way to Israel soon, or so he has told a reporter interviewing him about his new film, “The Hunger Games.” While earlier this year, he told Israeli friends that he was going to come to the Holy Land for a private visit, word now is that he is going to turn it into a working vacation.

Although Kravitz has confirmed that he will make Israel a stop on his new “Black and White America” tour this spring, he has not released any information about a specific date, time or venue for the concert.

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Zach Braff and Mitt Romney: Cousins?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Zach Braff, in England right now for the premiere run of “All New People” (his London stage debut — plus, he wrote the play) is surely enjoying the present moment. But it turns out that his past — at least his family’s past — has something to do with another play: “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.

It seems that the Jewish Braff is related to the Mormon Presidential candidate Mitt Romney…by way of a Puritan Protestant. That Protestant is Rebecca Nurse, who was falsely accused of practicing witchcraft in the infamous Salem witchcraft trials. She was hanged in 1692. Miller made Nurse a central character in his play about the trials.

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Israel Film Festival Opens in L.A.

By Rex Weiner

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Jonah Hill

The gala opening of the 26th Israel Film Festival at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles on Thursday night turned into a celebration of Israel’s entertainment industry as translated by Hollywood. Producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, and Showtime President David Nevins of the TV hit series “Homeland,” based on the Israeli series, were honored with an IFF award presented by Homeland star Morena Baccarin. Israel’s Minister of Culture Limor Livnat also hailed the Academy Award nominations of 10 motion pictures from Israel, included the most recent, “Footnote.”

Noting that Iran had nabbed the Best Foreign Language Oscar this year for “The Separation,” Livnat said, “Mark my words — Iran wins over Israel only in the movies!”

Actor Jonah Hill, Oscar-nominated for his role opposite Brad Pitt in “Moneyball,” was honored by the festival with an award presented by Seth Rogen, who took stage and cracked, “Who won for best circumcision?”

“We are very pleased to honor such a dynamic and multi-faceted talent like Jonah Hill,” said festival founder and executive director Meir Fenigstein. “We are excited to present the IFF Achievement in Film Award for his remarkable accomplishments and his support for Israeli filmmaking.”

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Israeli Celebs Support Sudanese Asylum Seekers

By Nathan Jeffay

It’s celebrities versus politicians in Israel.

If the latest petition to be signed in Israel ever went up for auction, it would sell for millions of shekels, because it bears the names of some of the most famous Israelis alive: writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, singer Yehudit Ravitz and actors Hanna Maron and Moshe Ivgy.

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Teens Not Interested in Bibi’s Outreach Video

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

In a move to reach Israeli youth, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video of himself inviting young people ages 13-18 to propose new ideas and legislative proposals to a special meeting of the Israeli government. But unfortunately for Bibi, it looks like the kids just aren’t that into him or his government.

We’re definitely not talking about a viral video here. Since the clip was posted on YouTube on February 29, it has had only 282 views. The thought of being chosen as one of five people to sit next to the prime minister and present a suggestion for how the government could be doing things differently just doesn’t seem to appeal to the teens. Is it Bibi they don’t like? Or do they just think that sitting around a boardroom table with a bunch of suits is boring and uncool? It’s hard to say. Could be either or both.

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Marla Sokoloff Blogs About Breastfeeding

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Marla Sokoloff’s fans know her from roles over the years on shows like Full House, Party of Five, The Practice and Desperate Housewives. Now she has a new role—that of mother. And Sokoloff is sharing with her adoring public aspects of her private life on a celebrity baby blog she is writing for People magazine.

The actress says she is happy in general to be telling news of her five-week-old daughter Elliotte Anne, whom she had together with her husband music composer Alec Puro. However, in her post from March 14, she emphasized that she felt it was particularly important to share the difficulty she has had with breastfeeding.

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Bibi and the Tasty Nuclear Duck

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Benjamin Netanyahu’s now-famous duck comment has caused a great deal of amusement at his expense, most famously from this animated remix. Now, the venerated British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, has set its best comic writers on Bibi.

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it? That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck and it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck,” said the Israeli Prime Minister at AIPAC.

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Photo Op: Chelsea Clinton Combats Islamophobia

By Eileen Reynolds

Nancy Adler
From left: Imam Shamsi Ali, Rabbi Marc Schneier and Chelsea Clinton

A year and a half after her wedding to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton is keeping busy. In addition to her work for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, she’s also serving as a correspondent for NBC and pursuing her doctoral degree in public service.

And last night, Clinton headed to New York City’s Upper West Side to moderate a discussion between Rabbi Marc Schneier, founder and president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Imam Shamsi Ali, leader of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.

The JCC in Manhattan event, framed as a conversation about Islamic relations, was titled “Combating Islamophobia.”

Click to enlarge the photo at right.


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