The Shmooze

Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman

Pixie-coiffed Anne Hathaway accompanied her fiancé Adam Shulman to Rosh Hashanah services on Monday. The paparazzi documented a lot of PDA on the couple’s way to IKAR at the Westside JCC in Los Angeles.

Hathaway and Shulman weren’t the only ones doing some New Year’s smooching. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were spotted locking lips in New York’s Central Park, also on Monday.

Another celeb couple caught by the paparazzi used the moment to do some guerilla marketing for charities close to their hearts. Upon leaving a restaurant at which they had lunched, Andrew Garfield and his girlfriend Emma Stone held up signs with a message drawing attention to organizations they feel deserve more attention than they do.

Amanda Bynes is out of jail on her own recognizance for her April DUI arrest, but she is in a lot of trouble for a number of serious driving offences. A judge, who denied a DA’s request that a $50,000 bail be imposed on Bynes, has warned her there will be severe consequences if she breaks the law again. The actress’s parents have moved from Texas to Southern California to keep an eye on her.

“Glee” star Lea Michele is the new face of French cosmetic company L’Oreal.

When Sarah Silverman wants to get rid of her gum while walking the red carpet, she just takes it out of her mouth and hands it to the nearest guy. On Tuesday night at the “Condé Nast Travelers” “Visionaries” awards, that just happened to be Adrian Grenier—who tactfully put it in his suit pocket.

“The Big Bang” cast graces the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly. But where’s Mayim Bialik?!

On Sunday, Ryan Braun drew a standing ovation as he hit his 200th career home run, but the Mets still lost 3-0 to the Brewers.

According to Forbes’ newly released annual list of the 400 wealthiest individuals in the U.S., New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is $3 billion richer now than he was just half a year ago.

There’s a new young Jewish would-be singing star to cheer for. Thirteen-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar of Westchester, N.Y. wowed the judges at her The X-Factor audition with her rendition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and advanced to the next round.


Amid Holidays, Israel Wins Baseball Opener

By Elliot Olshansky

getty images

The history of Jews in baseball is inexorably tied to the High Holidays, with the stories of Hank Greenberg attending Rosh Hashanah services in Detroit in 1939 before playing for the Tigers (with rabbinical approval) and Sandy Koufax’s refusal to pitch the first game of the 1965 World Series on Yom Kippur standing out as two of the most famous moments in Jewish baseball history.

During these Days of Awe, an unlikely team will look to add its own chapter to that legacy.

With a 7-3 win over South Africa on Wednesday night in Jupiter, Fla., the Israeli national baseball team opened the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Roger Dean Stadium will play host to the qualifying tournament between Israel, South Africa, Spain and France, with the winner advancing to the 16-team main tournament in March, along with three other qualifiers (powerhouse baseball nations like Japan, the Dominican Republic and the United States are pre-qualified for the event).

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Gilad Shalit's Rosh Hashanah Message

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Rosh Hashanah can be a busy time for all Jews, but Gilad Shalit’s family has had even more going on than most.

First, Gilad Shalit’s older brother Yoel wed his girlfriend of three years, Ya’ara Vinkler. They stood under the huppah last Friday afternoon at Kibbutz Beit Oren in the Carmel region of northern Israel. “We’ve waited for the happiness of this family for a long time,” wedding guests told Ynet. Yoel and Ya’ara met during the campaign to free Gilad from five years of Hamas captivity (he was released on October 18, 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners), and announced their intention to marry last April.

Also this past weekend, Gilad published his first op-ed piece — a personal reflection for the New Year — in Yediot Aharonot. “…Most of all, I believe Rosh Hashanah symbolizes new opportunities,” he wrote. “For me, the past year has been the year in which I went back to living like regular people do. I returned to my family, I went back to having a social life and I rehabilitated myself, both physically and mentally.”

Shalit shared that, for him, the highlight of the past year — other than being freed and reunited with his family — was his being able to meet the athletes in the locker room at the NBA Finals in Miami, even getting sprayed with the celebratory champagne.

The former captive warns that fate can turn on a dime, and that the best way to deal with life’s vicissitudes is to see the glass as half full. If something bad does happen, “You must overcome. Crying won’t help. And always remember that it is possible to get out of any bind,” he wrote. “This is true for many things — diseases, injuries or crises. There is no point in regretting what happened; you must look to the future and think of the next stage of your life.”

Shalit admits that his life this past year has been rather extraordinary and public, and added that he expects to revert to a much more private existence in the future.

Judging by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ Shalit’s op-ed received online, it would appear that many people were glad to read what he wrote and see a photo of him dribbling a basketball on the cover of Yediot’s “7Days” supplement. Blogger Noam Reshef, however, gave voice to those who think Shalit should have disappeared from the public eye many months ago. He thinks that all this exposure — even a Rosh Hashanah reflection — is far too painful for the hundreds of Israelis whose have to deal with the fact that the murderers of their loved ones are now walking free as a consequence of Shalit’s release.


Stephen Colbert's Atone Phone

By Curt Schleier

Scott Gries
Tevye the Milkman is not the only one to believe in tradition. Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report does, too. As has become his High Holiday custom, Colbert is happily prepared to accept apologies from Jews who have wronged him. To make that easier, he has set up a toll-free Atone Phone. Here’s how he explained it earlier this week:

“To quote your Jewish pope, Moses, revenge is a dish best served Kosher. That’s why I am once again offering my Atone Phone hot line. If you’re Jewish and you gave me tsuris during the year 5772 just pick up the phone before Yom Kippur and dial 1-888-667-7539.”

That will likely be easier to remember if you think: 1-888-OOPS-JEW. Unfortunately, the cost of a toll-free line — even one with so noble a purpose — is prohibitive. So to help defray the cost, he’s had to share the number with several other companies.

So you’ll have choices when connected. Press 1 and you’ll be connected to 1-888-MOPS-KEY, a consumer help line for discount janitorial supplies. Press 5 and you’ll get 1-888-NORS-LEZ, a sex chat line featuring lesbians of Scandinavian descent.

Best to press 2, which will be answered by a recording of Mr. Colbert, himself, inviting apologies and pointing out that some of the most creative ones will be aired on his show. The competition is stiff. His first call came from Ira Glass, host of public radio’s This American Life. Glass apologized for not having Colbert on his program. “You are America,” he tells Stephen. Polite as always, Colbert tells Glass “I watch your show, too.” When it’s pointed out that This American Life is on the radio, Colbert explains: “I turn the sound down and watch the radio.”

Glass, of course, sneaks in a plug for his film (he produced it and co-wrote the screenplay), Sleepwalk With Me. And he quickly assures Colbert that he didn’t call for a cheap plug: “I called you to wish you l’shana tovah, Happy New Year, and what better way to celebrate than by watching the Sundance-winning movie I produced called Sleepwalk With Me.”


Chelsea Handler Bitten by Sea Lion

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler recently told viewers of her “Chelsea Lately” talk show on E! that she had an uneventful summer…except for the fact that she was attacked by a sea lion. The comedienne was bitten on her left leg while paddle boarding in the Pacific Ocean.

“If there was ever a woman who was born to get up to ridiculous nonsense, it was probably Chelsea Handler,” wrote one blogger upon hearing of the incident. Knowing that some might suspect this was just part of her schtick, Handler reportedly lifted her skirt to show off the bandages she is still wearing on the wound. “You don’t believe me? These medical stickers are real!” she exclaimed.

Handler, 37, recounted exactly how it happened that “suddenly a rogue sea lion leaped up and viciously attacked my leg.” She had apparently been paddle boarding with a few friends, but got separated from them at some point. She fell off her board and noticed a sea lion that had been following her. When the animal looked her straight in the face, she said she immediately sensed she was going to be attacked. “F-ck! I’m like, I know I’m going to get bitten by a sea lion! Of course I would! Who else would get attacked?” she recalled thinking.

Fortunately for the comedienne, she had been on safari and remembered her guide having told her to make a lot of noise should she ever be attacked by an animal. “So I’m in the water with one arm in the paddle board and I [squawked] and it worked!” Handler said. “It really worked.”

Although sea lions do not commonly attack humans, there have been reports of people being bitten by them in the waters off the West Coast. A spokesman for the Marine Mammal Center in San Francisco warned, “People should understand these animals are out there not to attack people or humans. But they’re out there to survive for themselves.” Sea Lions, which range from 100 to 300 kilograms and have large, sharp teeth, should be left alone.

Another celeb learned this lesson the hard way. Earlier this year, Shakira reported on her Facebook page that while she was in vacationing in Cape Town, South Africa, a sea lion jumped up out of the water and attempted to bite her as she tried to take a close-up picture of it.


Fashion Week: Calvin Klein's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Models at Calvin Klein’s Spring 2013 show.

Calvin Klein’s Spring 2013 line was on display last week at the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Klein has one of the most recognizable and profitable brands in the world, but he started off with very little. Born in the Bronx to Jewish Hungarian parents, Klein started his fashion line by opening a coat shop in 1968 with his childhood friend, Barry Schwartz. He had some formal training — Klein attended the High School of Art and Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology — but legend has it that Klein’s success began when a buyer from the then-popular department store Bonwit Teller accidentally landed in his workroom and placed a $50,000 order. Now, Klein has a lucrative company that designs eye wear, fragrances, jeans, lingerie and underwear, on top of its women’s and men’s clothing lines.

Klein has succeeded by making mundane clothing, such blue jeans and underwear, sexy. It’s hard to forget Klein’s ads, which show stunning men and women posing seductively in only underwear or jeans.

Klein’s show last week did not disappoint. One woman wore a nude-colored sparkle dress that fit her so perfectly it was as if she were covered in glitter. Another showed off a soft pink ball gown that Cinderella could have worn to meet Prince Charming. There were more casual looks, too: women wore short white dresses, tailored suits and yellow sun dresses.


Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Ralph Lauren at Fashion Week.
Yesterday Ralph Lauren displayed his newest collection at the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Lauren epitomizes the American dream, both in his preppy American clothing that proudly display the polo horse and rider logo, and with his own story. The designer was born in the Bronx in 1939 to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. His original name was Ralph Lipschitz. He studied business, served in the army and changed his name before entering fashion with no formal training in 1967 when he opened a tie shop. By 1997 Lauren oversaw a publicly-traded fashion empire, which still thrives today with a sports and home furnishings outpost in addition to its men’s and women’s clothing line.

You can find the Ralph Lauren logo at almost any preppy sport. The ball boys at the US Open wear brightly colored matching Ralph Lauren gear. Nacho Figueras, the insanely good-looking Argentinian polo player, is the face for the company’s black line and proudly displays his clothes while he gallops on horses. A recent edition of Ralph Lauren Magazine showed models fox hunting, skeet-shooting and playing croquet, all while adorned in the designer’s hats, breeches and dresses.

Yesterday’s show displayed the same classic looks. Models marched in pencil skirts, button down blouses and black berets. They also displayed long, sparkling red and white ball gowns, adorned with black top hats. But perhaps the most exciting part of Lauren’s show was the A-List crowd that included Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba and Ryan Lochte, the Olympic swimmer. “Ryan Lochte just bent down to kiss Anna Wintour in the front row,” tweeted the Daily Beast.


Simi Polonsky's Frum Fashion Week Picks

By Alyson Krueger

Courtesy of Simi Polonsky
Simi’s Rosh Hashanah look.

Simi Polonsky, an Orthodox woman living in Crown Heights, is an expert at turning runway looks into synagogue-appropriate styles. She grew up in Australia, where she was a personal stylist for several Jewish women, helping them find stunning clothes that meet modesty requirements. Now, with her sister Chaya Chanin, Polonsky is running Frock Swap, a roving New York City consignment store that sells designer clothes to Orthodox women who want to look great while abiding by Jewish tznius customs.

Polonsky spoke with the Forward’s Alyson Krueger about New York Fashion Week and what fashion cues modesty-conscious women can take from the event.

Alyson Krueger: How have you been following Fashion Week? What’s your reaction?

Simi Polonsky: I love the volume in everything. Some designers have more color than others, and I definitely like that as well. I also love the mix. I feel like I see a resurgence of old world glamour.

When you’re watching Fashion Week as an Orthodox Jew who dresses modestly, what do you look for?

My eye automatically pops more when I see a whole look that could be modest! You wouldn’t even have to do anything! Having said that, even looks that aren’t modest, I still appreciate that because for me, clothing is really art. For me, it’s like going to an art gallery.

Is high fashion coming up with more modest styles today?

You look at the runways and there are endless, endless, endless natural looks that are modest and that can be modest. And not only that, you see “it” girls and ex-models and photographers, so many of their looks are modest. And Marc Jacobs actually just said about his show, “Young girls need to learn that sexiness isn’t about being naked.”… The designers themselves and the fashion icon people, they know, they don’t need to expose themselves. They are very comfortable with being totally covered and fashionable, because you can be totally covered and fashionable. It’s not an oxymoron!

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Fashion Week: Rachel Zoe's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe, the celebrity stylist turned designer, showed her new line this afternoon at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Rachel Zoe was born as Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig in New Jersey. Although she has no formal fashion training — she worked at Gotham and YM Magazine before starting a career as a freelance stylist — Zoe is well known for dressing celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Demi Moore and Liv Tyler. Her book, “Style A to Zoe,” consolidates her views on fashion. She also launched a reality television series, called the Rachel Zoe Project, which starting airing on Bravo in 2008. Now in its fifth season, the show portrays the ups and downs of her real life, including working with her husband and business partner and raising her son.

Zoe launched her own clothing line last year with the mission of “creating pieces that provide affordable glamour, and can be mixed, matched, and worn together for the perfect wardrobe,” according to her official Fashion Week biography. At this yesterday’s show it was clear that Zoe is used to dressing the most stylish fashionistas. Models walked the runway in shimmering gold, floor-length gowns; hot orange pants with matching jackets; and a white, sequined jacket with sheer sleeves. Her outfits were clearly made for a day at the Hamptons and an evening at the Oscars.


Fashion Week: Michael Kors' Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Michael Kors
Michael Kors displayed his newest line today at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The designer was born in Long Island, N.Y. to Joan Hamburger, a Jewish former model, and her husband Karl Anderson, a college student. His mother remarried when he was five and the designer later changed his name to Michael David Kors. Kors now lives in New York City and married his longtime boyfriend in August of last year.

Kors started his label in 1981 when he was fresh out of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and started selling his clothing at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks immediately. Women were attracted to his modern takes on classics and pieces that made them look at once classy and hip. Now, decades later, he has flagship stores around the country, and beauty, eyewear, fragrances, home, handbags, jeans, shoes and underwear lines. And of course, he has mega celebrity factor from his role as a judge on Project Runway, where his Jewish roots sometimes show. According to a New York Times profile he once told a young designer, “One of my aunts might have worn that dress. It’s, like, a good bar mitzvah moment.”

Before today’s show Kor’s tweeted the gist of his newest collection: “Graphic stripes, bold shades, and geometric glamour.” Two models wore black dresses with small triangle shapes in the back. A male model wore a green and black striped sweater with matching green pants. One model looked drop-dead gorgeous in a bright, red backless dress with a shiny but simple matching belt around her waist. In the finale models walked the runway according to the colors they were wearing, a move that made one Twitter user so excited she exclaimed via tweet, “OMG.. his ending is genius. Going by color, such a smart move.”

All, in all, his look was simple, preppy, but very fresh: The perfect all-American combo.


Obama's New Year's Greeting to Oren

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, was so pleased with a Rosh Hashanah greeting he received Monday from President Barack Obama that he photographed it and put it on Twitter. “I’m deeply appreciative of President @BarackObama’s personal letter for Rosh Hashanah,” the ambassador tweeted.

The letter, typewritten on official White House stationery, was delivered to Oren’s home in Washington. In it, Obama makes specific reference to Oren’s wife Sally and children Yoav, Lia and Noam, wishing them and all others who will gather with the family a good and sweet New Year.

But don’t let the fancy letterhead and “L’Shanah Tovah” sign-off fool you. This may be a High Holiday greeting, but it is also a politician communicating during election season. “This holiday season is a time of reflection: a chance to reaffirm friendships and renew our commitments—including America’s unshakeable commitment to the State of Israel,” the President wrote. He went on to state that the security of Israel is “non-negotiable,” and made a specific point of claiming “the security cooperation between our two countries is stronger than it has ever been.”

Having made his point, Obama lightened up a bit. In thanking Oren for his dedication to public service, the President joked that Oren’s accomplishments are “not bad for a kid from Jersey.” Obama—or more likely someone on his staff—did his homework. Long before he came to live in the Israeli Ambassador’s residence, Oren grew up as Michael Bornstein in West Orange, N.J.

However, only a day later, news reports indicated that behind the niceties there are serious tensions brewing between Obama and Oren’s boss, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The rift between top U.S. and Israeli leaders appeared to deepen Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leveled the sharpest attacks in years by an Israeli leader against Washington, over differences on how to address Iran’s nuclear program,” Joshua Mitnick and Jay Solomon wrote in the Wall Street Journal. Netanyahu was steaming after Obama apparently snubbed his request for a meeting in New York later this month.

We’ll just have to wait and see how they work things out in the New Year.


The Other Hebrew Hammer

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Today’s boxing fans may know welterweight Cletus Seldin as the Hebrew Hammer. But it turns out he’s not the only one in the ring using that moniker. In fact, the other fighter, Mark Weinman, was using the alias — and winning bouts — before the 25-year-old Seldin was even born. And Weinman’s back at it…21 years after his last match.

Weinman knocked out 32-year-old Elvis Martinez of the Dominican Republic in 39 seconds at a boxing event in Tampa, Florida on Saturday. Not bad for a 50 year-old super-middleweight who retired from the sport in 1991 following a three-fight losing streak. Weinman was once a well-known New York middleweight who had won the first 11 fights of his professional career.

Since retiring, Weinman has been working as a trainer, but he felt he had more of a desire to fight than did some of his fighters. Not all together satisfied with how his original career ended, Weinman decided to get back in the ring. “I also needed a little redemption. I didn’t like the way my career ended [the first time]. I started out 11-0 as a pro with nine knockouts, but things didn’t go well after that. I wanted to try it again,” he said after Saturday’s event.

Weinman’s professional boxing hiatus set the record for the longest time between bouts, but he’s clearly hammered home the fact that this fighting Jew is back.


Fashion Week: Tory Burch's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Tory Burch

Tory Burch’s clothing was on display today at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Burch, whose mother is Jewish, grew up in Philadelphia high society. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and worked for many designers, including Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez. She now runs one of the country’s most successful women’s clothing brands, making clothes that are sophisticated yet wearable.

Launched in 2004, Tory Burch’s company sells clothes, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Oprah endorsed her line in 2005. Shoppers flock to her flagship boutique in Soho, which is designed to feel more like a living room than a store. Her brand is known for its bright, graphic prints, bold colors and tiny, unique details. Her clothes are at once preppy, fun and sophisticated.

Burch tweeted that her inspiration for this morning’s show is “American prep remix meets magpie traveler.” The outfits were very diverse, not resembling one another in the slightest and all screamed adventure and individuality. While one model wore a long, flowy yellow dress that an Instagram user described as a “burst of sunshine,” another wore a professional-looking summer suit brightened with dark coral accessories. My favorite was a white form-fitting dress with shiny, red details around the waist and down the front.

About the show, the Council of Fashion Designers of America tweeted: “Traveled the world with @toryburch this am and LOVED every minute.”


Bieber's Jewish Backer

By Michael Kaminer

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Scooter Braun and Justin Bieber

When the Justin Bieber documentary “Never Say Never” hit last year, the Forward chatted with the superstar’s manager and “father figure,” Scooter Braun, about his own background — Holocaust-survivor grandparents, rough childhood in Greenwich, Conn., Hebrew name.

Braun focuses a bit less on his Semitic side in a recent New Yorker article, which offers an in-depth profile of the former Atlanta party promoter who calls himself “a camp counselor for pop stars.”

The 31-year-old entertainment mogul does reveal a childhood infatuation with Superman sparked by the character’s Jewish roots. “I liked everything he stood for,” Braun said, telling the magazine he liked that Superman had been created by two Jewish men, which made him “the Jewish superhero.”

Braun also revealed that he’s studied the careers of “influential behind-the-scenes guys,” like Jewish Hollywood powerhouse David Geffen, who “moved from the William Morris mailroom to the music business and eventually co-founded DreamWorks.”

“David Geffen was a Bruce Wayne to me,” Braun said. “He was extraordinary, but at the same time his talents were something that I could dream of and could fathom.”

When Braun met David Geffen, at a party a couple of years ago, according to the New Yorker, he said Geffen shared advice: “Get out of the music business.” So Braun “has been converting his twelve-person company, SB Projects, into a many-faceted organization.”

The company now boasts film and TV divisions, a publishing arm, and a technology-investment unit, in addition to a music label and management company.


David Copperfield and MLK

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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David Copperfield

Magician David Copperfield has purchased a newly discovered 1960 audiotape interview of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and has donated it to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

The tape was discovered by Stephon Tull of Chattanooga, Tenn. as he was cleaning out the attic in his father’s home. He found the recording, labeled “Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960,” in a dusty box along with other pieces of research his father had been doing for a book project about racism in Chattanooga. Tull’s father never completed the project and is now in his early 80s and in hospice care.

Copperfield, 55, did not disclose the amount he paid for the recording, but the New York-based broker who acquired it from Tull and sold it to Copperfield appraised its value at $100,000.

The magician had no intention of keeping the recording, and felt that the best place for it was the museum, which was built on the site where King was assassinated in 1968. “The magic of Dr. King was in his message: peace and nonviolence,” Copperfield told the Associated Press. “I didn’t want this to be hoarded away. I wanted it to be shared with people to continue the message, which is more important today than it’s ever been.”

Beverly Robertson, president of the museum, said she was excited about integrating the audio recording into its exhibits. “We are absolutely honored and thrilled to be receiving this audio that really presents history in the voice of one of the greatest human rights leaders of our time,” she stated. “There are few places that have King’s actual voice integrated into the exhibit, so this is a tremendous enhancement for all of our efforts at the National Civil Rights Museum.”

The museum is currently undergoing renovations, so it may be a while until the public can hear the tape as part of an exhibition. In the meantime, people can listen to a 5-minute portion of the interview on YouTube, where it has been set to a slide show of historical photos of King and the civil rights era.


Fashion Week: Donna Karan's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Donna Karan at her DKNY show at Fashion Week.
Donna Karan showed off her Spring 2013 collection at the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this afternoon with the likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham looking on. Karan’s models wore a sophisticated, tailored silver dress with a cropped, matching blazer; a long, silver toga-esque dress, with a sexy slit up one leg and a subtle trail; and a nude dress, so slinky it could be a night gown, with a metallic, silver jacket lined with wild fringes on the arm, collar, and bottom hem. While none of the outfits were incredibly complicated, they all screamed femininity and poise.

Karan, who grew up in a Jewish family in Queens, founded her company in 1984 with the mission of making modern clothes for women who want both comfort and beauty. Her line is based on the idea that modern dressing should be easy; women should own seven items that can be mixed and matched to create outfits suitable for transitioning from work to play to relaxing. In this spirit, her first item (and still perhaps her most famous) was a one-piece bodysuit that could be worn equally well with a fancy skirt or frayed jeans. The look is at once both simple, easy and sexy. “That I’m a woman makes me want to nurture others, fulfill needs and solve problems,” she writes on her web site. “At the same time, the artist within me strives for beauty, both sensually and visually. So design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.”

At her DKNY (Karan’s more casual line) show this past Sunday, models wore two-colored bodysuits, swim suits, simple bra tops, long, yellow dresses with black, mesh backs and leather pencil skirts with button down blouses. In a post-show interview Karan said, “When I can wear the same thing as the girls on the runway, I’ve done my job.”


Fashion Week: Diane Von Furstenberg's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

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Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg showed her new line at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week yesterday. The models and Von Furstenberg wore Google Glasses, capturing footage for a video that will be produced after Fashion Week. The clothes — loose, drape-y dresses in reds, white and black — were classic Von Furstenberg.

Von Furstenberg launched her first clothing line in 1972 with a simple but bold statement: “Feel like a woman. Wear a dress.” Today she is known for her iconic wrap dress, which comes in colorful floral, hippy-esque patterns as well as softer, more elegant tones. She also creates sportswear, fragrances and beauty products. She is also the president of the Council of Fashion Designers, where she has taken bold steps to crack down on the use of underage and underweight looking models.

When Von Furstenberg entered the fashion world she was a princess, married to Prince Egon of Furstenberg. They divorced in 1972 (just as she launched her first line), which stripped away the title ‘Princess,’ but the designer continues to use the royal surname.

She was born in Brussels, Belgium as Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, to a Romanian father and Greek mother. Her mother, Liliane Nahmias, was a Holocaust survivor and was in Auschwitz just 18 months before Von Furstenberg was born. In an interview posted on the UJA of New York website, Von Furstenberg said that her mother always pushed her ahead in life, teaching her that “Fear is not an option.”

Furstenberg is also vocal Obama supporter. This year, at the Fashion’s Night Out party at her headquarters, Von Furstenberg was shooing everybody out, encouraging them to go home and watch the President’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“I think we’re all looking for some lightness and happiness,” Von Furstenberg said at the start of Fashion Week, according to the Associated Press. “And I hope I am bringing that to my collection.”


Red Hot Chili Peppers Jet Into Israel

By JTA

The Red Hot Chili Peppers arrived in Israel ahead of their first concert ever in the country.

The band landed in Israel on a private jet from Istanbul and traveled directly to the Western Wall, according to reports.

They are scheduled to perform in front of tens of thousands of ticket holders on Monday night at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv.

The band cancelled a scheduled performance in 2001 at the last minute due to the second Palestinian intifada.

Israel is the last stop on the band’s European tour; it will begin its U.S. tour in two weeks.

A Lebanese rock band cancelled as the opening act for the band last week in Beirut, in protest of its concert in Israel, according to the Times of Israel. Several Facebook pages have also called for the band to boycott Israel.


Fashion Week: Zac Posen's Runway

By Alyson Krueger

Fashion luminary Zac Posen is showing his new line this evening at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The son of a corporate lawyer and artist in Manhattan, Posen always knew he wanted to design fashion. As a child he would take yarmulkes from his grandparents’ synagogue and make dresses for dolls with them. When he was a sophomore in high school he interned with Nicole Miller and then worked under the guidance of a curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for three years. And all of this was before he was accepted to study at the Central Saint Martins College in London, famously known for training many of fashion’s big wigs. Posen founded his own company in 2001, just as he was celebrating his 21st birthday. His first show, in 2002, was located in a former synagogue on the Lower East Side. But since its beginning Posen’s company has been fraught with financial problems, it saw too much growth, too quickly, and it received mixed reviews from the fashion industry.

Posen is known for making tiny little cocktail dresses and mermaid-shaped dresses that hug the waist and then flow at the bottom. “Mr. Posen’s signature collections have evolved from vampish, old-Hollywood-style bias-cut silk dresses and flirty butterfly chiffons into intricately themed gowns that take their inspiration from something simple in nature —seashells, raffia or tumbleweed, for example,” according to a mini bio in the New York Times.

So what to expect from Posen at today’s show? Something glamorous, mysterious and fun, and hopefully very, very surprising.


A Brazilian Bar Mitzvah Video Goes Viral

By Andrea Palatnik

Forget about the religious ceremony: A bar or bat mitzvah is an opportunity for the family to show off its riches, with lavish parties in fancy hotels and enough food to feed a small town. Right?

Well, at least that’s how I remember it, growing up in Rio in the 1990’s.

Every weekend there would be two or three bar mitzvahs, and parents who knew each other too well in such a small community (composed of mostly Ashkenazi Reform Jews) would ostentatiously compete to see who could serve the most expensive champagne; who could hire the most popular band; who could book the swankiest venue.

Then, in those years before the mass adoption of digital photography and video, bar and bat mitzvah parties began to feature a usually embarrassing tradition (for the boy or girl): A “surprise” slideshow for all guests to see, right before dinner was served, featuring embarrassing childhood pictures. There would be those classic shots of you as a naked baby trying to lick your own feet and of you as a toddler during a potty training session; or a photo of your mom with a weird hairdo from the 80’s holding you as you blow the candles on your first birthday cake. But that was about it, and everybody marveled at the time at the corny PowerPoint effects.

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