The Shmooze

Drake and Chris Brown Brawl Over Rihanna

By Margaret Eby

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Rihanna and Drake in 2011

A hip-hop beef went from the airwaves to the front page this week after rapper Drake and R&B crooner Chris Brown and their entourages got into a very public bar fight. At around 4 a.m. on Thursday at club W.I.P. in SoHo, the two chart-topping singers came to blows over Rihanna, with whom both have been romantically connected. According to The Daily News, the fight began over a gesture of goodwill.

Both stars were celebrating the birthday of Ne-Yo’s manager Javon Smith when the famously ill-tempered Chris Brown sent over a bottle of champagne to Drake’s table as a peace offering. Drake reportedly sent the bottle back with the note: “I’m still f—ing Rihanna.” The ensuing melee left Brown with a chunk of skin torn off his chin. His bodyguard and an Australian tourist were also injured. Reports differ on what actually happened. Drake denies involvement in the fracas, but today Brown claims that he has physical evidence against the Jewish rapper. Video has emerged of the fight as well, though the play-by-play remains inconclusive.

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Lindsay Lohan To Act Opposite Jewish Porn Star

By Samantha Malone

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Lindsay Lohan and Jewish porn star James Deen nailed it. The chance to star in the upcoming film “The Canyons,” that is.

Lohan, who is currently shooting “Liz & Dick,” the Elizabeth Taylor biopic for Lifetime, will work alongside the popular Jewish boy next door in a contemporary thriller that promises a plot filled with power struggles, sex and success. The co-stars will play two of five young adults trying to find their way in modern day Los Angeles.

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Anastasia Michaeli: Gay People are Miserable

By Nathan Jeffay

First it was scuffles and water fights in Knesset; now it’s homophobia. Anastasia Michaeli just doesn’t seem to get the conventions of normal inoffensive behavior.

You probably remember the model turned politician from the ugly saga in January when she threw a cup of water at Israeli-Arab lawmaker Raleb Majadele during a Knesset discussion. Or maybe from even earlier, when in 2010 she physically threatened another Arab lawmaker, Hanin Zuabi, a participant in the Gaza flotilla, who was talking about the activist voyage.

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Adam Lambert Tops ‘Sexiest Men in Pop’ List

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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When it comes to sex appeal, it looks like Jewish pop stars have it. How else can The Shmooze account for the fact that three out of the 10 men on Billboard’s “sexiest men in pop” list are members of the tribe?

Billboard polled 600,000 readers, who let it be known that the sexiest male musician out there is — get ready for it — Adam Lambert. The guy is on fire these days, what with being the sexiest singer du jour, plus having recently made it to the number one spot on the Billboard chart when his new album “Tresspassing” sold 77,000 copies in its first week (beating out Adele, no less).

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Andy Samberg To Star in BBC Series

By Margaret Eby

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After seven seasons with Saturday Night Live, Digital Short darling and Jewish feminist Andy Samberg decided to leave the show earlier this summer. But Samberg fans shouldn’t fret. It won’t be long before his affably goofy face fills your screens once more — even if you don’t go see him in Adam Sandler’s latest vehicle, That’s My Boy.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the “Lazy Sunday” star has already landed a new gig in England.

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Mom Helped Kid Paint Swastikas

By Eileen Reynolds

Jon Lovitz via Twitter

When Jon Lovitz tweeted his outrage over an anti-Semitic act of vandalism in Southern California this April, his ire was directed primarily at a group of teenage girls he called bullies. Lovitz’s friends, parents of a teenage daughter, found feces left on their doorstep and swastikas and the word “Jew” painted in maple syrup in the yard. They believed that perpetrators were classmates from their daughter’s school. A neighbor had caught the vandalism on a surveillance camera.

Now justice is being served — and it looks like this isn’t just a case of teenage bullying. Catherine Whelpley, a Southern California mom, is being charged with aiding in the crime. She allegedly drove her daughter and two other girls to and from the crime scene, as well as to a second home where they’re also accused of committing vandalism.

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Gilad Shalit To Report on NBA Finals

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Former Hamas captive and recently discharged IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has just landed his first post-army job — and it’s a plum one.

A long-time sports fanatic (he’s especially fond of the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team), Shalit will be the new sports commentator for the leading Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. Israel’s Channel 2 News reported today that Shalit will write a regular column, and that his first one will be on the NBA championship.

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Italian Soccer Star Taunted By Racist Fans

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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As many had feared, racism has reared its ugly head at Euro 2012. Italian football star Mario Balotelli was subjected to non-stop verbal abuse during the Italy-Spain match earlier this week at the Arena Gdansk in Poland.

The Mirror reported that 300 Spanish fans made monkey chants at Balotelli, and that the stewards (ushers) thought this was “funny.” A sports photographer who was on the scene said, “I was sat behind the goal with all the Spanish fans behind me and they were involved in monkey chanting and laughter and mockery whenever Balotelli was on the ball.”

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Joan Rivers, Condo Board President

By Eileen Reynolds

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She’s known by Mrs. Rosenberg to residents of the building on East 62nd St, near 5th Ave., but she refers to herself as “the scary lady upstairs.” She once hired a “Jewish voodoo priestess” to scare off a ghost. Her apartment is a $29.5 million penthouse decorated in the style of “Louis XIV meets Fred and Ginger.”

Could the Shmooze be describing anyone other than Joan Rivers? Of course not. Rivers, the New York Times reports, is one of a very few celebrities to serve on co-cop and condominium boards in New York City, and in her role as president, the bawdy comedian is serious as a heart attack.

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Natalie Portman Hits the Town With Aleph

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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If you go by paparazzi photos and gossip reports, then it appears that Natalie Portman dined in at least a couple of restaurants in Los Angeles last week.

First, the Enquirer let everyone know that the actress stopped in for lunch at Flore Vegan, an organic vegan restaurant on W. Sunset Blvd in Silverlake, with her almost one-year-old son Aleph. With little Aleph crying up a storm, the midday meal didn’t go very smoothly.

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‘Jerry Maguire’ Kid Shows Off Star of David Tattoo

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Little Jonathan Lipnicki, the child actor the Shmooze fondly remembers playing opposite Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in the 1996 hit film “Jerry Maguire,” is all grown up. Now 21, Lipnicki is totally ripped. Who could have imagined that little elf with spiky blond hair and round glasses turning into a piece of beefcake.

But he has, indeed, turned out to be very muscular, and he is proud about showing off his bod — and also the fact that he is Jewish. If you stop staring at his six pack for a minute, you’ll notice a big Star of David tattoo on the left side of his torso.

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Bethenny Frankel Kicks Off New Talk Show

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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In her latest project, reality TV star Bethenny Frankel is shifting the focus from what she has to say to what other women have to say…sort of. Her eponymous talk show, which begins airing today on FOX, will be about women (some celebrities, some not) talking about their lives.

But don’t worry that Frankel is going to fade into the background. “If we’re talking about something, I’m of course going to give my input as to my experience with that topic,” she said. “It’s not about me telling about my life. It’s about me learning about other people, and women learning about each other’s lives. It’s going to be a conversation. Of course I’m going to be in that conversation.”

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David Arquette Celebrates Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem

By Nathan Jeffay

Noam Moscovitz/Flash 90
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (left) with David Arquette

Mazel tov to actor David Arquette! Today, just 28 years late, he celebrated his bar mitzvah.

Arquette is in Israel at the moment, filming for his Travel Channel show Mile High, also known as Trippin’. As part of his tour he went to the Western Wall this morning and attended a bar mitzvah ceremony that took place there.

Then staff at the Western Wall asked him if he ever celebrated his bar mitzvah. When he said no, they fixed one up pronto with the help of the site’s rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch. Arquette was called up to the Torah, and like every good bar mitzvah boy, put on tefillin. A source at the Western Wall tells the Shmooze that it was a moving ceremony. You can see some footage of Arquette at the wall over at Ynet.

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Paul Simon Mistaken for Neil Diamond

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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It’s conceivable that someone might mistake Paul Simon for the other Paul Simon. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past half-century, then you could possibly think someone was talking about the late politician Paul Simon, rather than about the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and one half of Simon & Garfunkel.

But apparently it’s not the bow tie and horn-rimmed glasses wearing non-Jewish senator that some people have confused with the 70-year old musician. Instead, it’s another Jewish singer of similar age that they have Paul Simon mixed up with. To the Shmooze’s ear, their music does not sound much alike, so we wonder if it’s the fact that each of them has been married three times that makes people confuse one with the other.

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Yes, Joe Biden Danced the Hora

By Eileen Reynolds

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO - DAVID LIENEMANN

It’s the question that’s been on everybody’s — okay, maybe just the Shmooze’s — mind since Ashley Biden’s big wedding to Jewish doctor Howard Krein: What’s the vice president like on the dance floor?

Word’s just in that proud Papa Biden joined in a traditional Jewish wedding dance in honor of his daughter and her new hubby. Check out People’s exclusive photo spread for a peek inside the interfaith bash — and a glimpse of what looks like a sweet and festive father-daughter dance.

We only wish we could get our hands on a video.


Video: The 'Jewish Justin Bieber'

By Margaret Eby

The pop music world has yet to have an Orthodox Jewish megastar, but one 13-year-old crooner may change all that. Edon Pinchot, who earned the nickname “the Jewish Justin Bieber” from the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, displayed precocious singing abilities on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent.

The yarmulke-clad Pinchot doesn’t quite have the Bieber hair, but his dulcet tones certainly give the “Baby” singer a run for his money. After a performance of “Good Life” by One Republic, Pinchot passed through to the Las Vegas with flying colors. He’s already built up a substantial YouTube following with videos of pop covers plunked out on his home piano, singing everything from John Lennon’s “Imagine” to Shontelle’s “Impossible”. Sharon Osbourne — herself half-Jewish — praised Pinchot for the emotion in his voice, but made no reference to his Jewishness. Both Howard Stern and Howie Madel gave Pinchot the thumbs up, so we’ll being seeing a lot more of the mellifluous-voiced youngster.

Watch Edon Pinchot Wow the Judges:


Gaza Journalist Honored by Women’s Group

By Nathan Jeffay

She is one of the most remarkable public figures in Gaza, and now her work is being acknowledged with a prestigious accolade.

Journalist Asma Al-Ghoul has worked in the media for a decade, writing about life under Hamas rule as she sees it — and also doling out a fair bit of criticism to the rival Fatah movement that rules the West Bank. The International Women’s Media Foundation has announced that she is one of the four winners of its Courage in Journalism award, which will be presented in New York and Los Angeles in October.

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Gymnast Kerri Strug Is Now a Mom

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Flickr/dabruins07

It’s a boy for Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Kerri Strug and her husband, Robert Fischer! Their son, Tyler William Fischer, was born on March 1, according to People magazine. The couple has been married since April 2010, and this is their first child.

Little Tyler weighed in at 7 lbs. 1 oz. at birth, which is no small thing given his mother’s tiny 4’10’ frame. “For me, he was large!” exclaimed Strug.

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Eli Yishai: Eritrea No Worse Than Sderot

By Nathan Jeffay

Ira Abramov via Wiki Commons

Always diplomatic, Israel’s Interior Minister has come up with another gem. He told Israel Radio today that he questions whether Eritrea is actually more dangerous that Sderot, the town on the Israel-Gaza border that is subject to Palestinian rocket attacks.

Eli Yishai, who leads the Haredi Shas party, was on the offensive against asylum seekers who are flocking to Israel from Eritrea. Just to remind ourselves, Eritrea is a country where Human Rights Watch says citizens face suffer arbitrary and indefinite detention; torture; inhumane conditions of confinement; restrictions on freedom of speech, movement, and belief; and indefinite conscription and forced labor in national service.

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Barbara Walters Tried To Get Assad Aide a Job

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Joella Marano via Wiki Commons

As if Barbara Walters’s exclusive soft-ball interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last December wasn’t bad enough, now there is word that the 82-year-old host of “The View” has inappropriately used her influence to further the career of one of the brutal dictator’s closest aides.

The Telegraph reports that Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria’s UN ambassador, get a spot at the Columbia School of Journalism and an internship with CNN’s Piers Morgan show. When Syrian opposition activists got a hold of email exchanges between Walters and Jaafari, 22, they confronted Walters with them, and she admitted that she had been acting with a conflict of interest and apologized.

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