The Shmooze

Passover Clean-Up Goes Online

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Passover cleaning ain’t what it used to be. To be sure, many Jews are engaged right now in the traditional sweeping, scrubbing and washing to rid their homes of chametz. But it seems that young singles are trying to unload themselves of unwanted leavening—that stuff that spiritually weighs you down—in an entirely different way. They’re de-friending people on Facebook and deleting contacts in their cell phones.

According to a new poll of 1,120 Jewish singles conducted by the Jewish dating site Jewcier, 68% of women and 65% of men said that cleaning out their Facebook accounts and phone contact lists was the most important kind of Passover cleaning there is. “What we found is that, when it comes to Passover priorities, Jewish singles have traded the traditional priorities with modern, non-traditional ones,” said Shira Kallus, Relationship Advisor for Jewcier. “Specifically, Jewish singles are more interested in ridding their Facebook from unwanted friends, and ex boyfriend’s or girlfriends, rather than spending their time cleaning their homes from dirt and their kitchens from chametz.

When asked which was more important to clean out—your Facebook friends or your cell phone contacts, 85% of the women respondents said it was Facebook, but 75% of the men said the their cell phone would take priority. Not surprisingly, both sexes said the most important Facebook friends to delete are ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends. But quite a few men also said they would be de-friending co-workers they were not really friends with, and many women said they wouldn’t be waisting time anymore by having people who had set them to limited profile access among their “friends.”

Read more


Dude, Just Swim Back!

By Haaretz

The International Red Cross was set to return an Israeli Arab who has been held in Lebanon after crossing the border a few months ago.

It was not clear whether the man, Ahmed Jamal Daif, accidently swam across the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon while diving, or whether he purposefully swam over.

Daif will be returned to Israel through the Rosh Hanikra border crossing on Thursdays.

In September, London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that Lebanon arrested three people suspected of spying for Israel and trespassing, adding that an Egyptian citizen and his wife were arrested on suspicion of spying, and an Arab-Israeli man was arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Ahmed Jamal Daif was found at the time in a diving suit on a beach in the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura, a Lebanese army source said, adding that Lebanese intelligence is interrogating him and ascertaining whether he was spying for Israel.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


Get Your Obamulkes and yarMITTkahs for Passover

By Renee Ghert-Zand

For the sake of unity and sanity, many families ban talk of contemporary domestic politics from the Seder table. But diehard political supporters of presidential candidates have a way of getting their positions across without saying a single word. As Matthew Walters tell us, you can wear your politics on your sleeve — or your keppe.

Walters is selling what he claims to be “The Original Obalmulke Yarmulke.” And now with Passover coming up, he’s offering the “4 More Years” Obamulke 4-Pack, a “buy 3, get 1 free” deal that he is betting no Obama supporter can pass up. The made-in-the-USA ivory suede kippot printed with the Obama 2012 logo cost $9 each, with a flat shipping fee of $5. With Walters’ special Passover sale, you could cover a lot of heads without having to divert too much money from your matzo budget.

But what about all those Republican Jews out there who would not be caught dead wearing an Obamulke at Seder? They have not been forgotten — so long as they support either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. YarMITTkahs and Jewt For Newt skullcaps are available on eBay.

Read more


Hitler Appears in Shampoo Ad for ‘Real Men’

By Michael Kaminer

After refusing to yank an ad in which Adolf Hitler extols a shampoo brand’s masculine virtues, Istanbul-based advertising agency MARKA confirmed today that the commercial for Biomen “would not be aired again and had also been removed from the company‘s web site,” according to EuropeOnline.

In the commercial, which had aired on Turkish television, der Fuhrer gesticulates wildly while a gruff, dubbed-in voice harangues viewers that “If you’re not wearing women’s clothes, you shouldn’t be using women’s shampoo either. Here it is. A real man’s shampoo. Biomen. Real men use Biomen.”

Read more


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.

Read more


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.”

Read more


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.

Read more


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.”

Read more


Palestinians Want Their Soccer Star Back

By Nathan Jeffay

Getty Images

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.”

Read more


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.

Read more


Bar Refaeli To Star in Comedy About Mossad Hit

By Nirit Anderman

Getty Images

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.

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

Read more


Natalie Portman Calls For End To Syrian Bloodshed

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

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.”

Read more


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.

Read more


Zach Braff and Mitt Romney: Cousins?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

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.

Read more


Israel Film Festival Opens in L.A.

By Rex Weiner

Getty Images
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.”

Read more


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.

Read more


Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.