The Shmooze

Fashion Week Comes to Israel

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Israeli model Bar Refaeli on the runway in 2008

It won’t be quite like Fashion Week in New York, Paris or Milan, but it will be Holon’s biggest fashion week ever. This month, the Mediatheque Cultural Center in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, will host a fashion-focused event October 24-27 that will include film screenings, an international symposium, master classes taught by international fashion personalities and a fashion show.

The Holon municipality and the Design Museum Holon, which opened in 2010, are behind the fashion week. They are aiming to make a name for their museum and to gain recognition for Holon within the international design community. This, the third annual Fashion Week in Holon, is being produced by produced by Benny Moran Productions in collaboration with the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, the lifestyle channels of Ananey Communications, the Israel Textile and Fashion Association and the Foreign Ministry.

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Shalit Shirt Inspires Fashion Trend

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

Many questioned Hamas’s fashion sense when they saw the civilian outfit that Gilad Shalit was dressed in for his transfer to Israel during last week’s prisoner swap. They thought it was far from flattering to his thin, malnourished frame and gaunt face. It turns out, however, that Gazans actually thought the collared, checkered shirt the Israel soldier was wearing was the height of style. Consequently, it has been dubbed the “Gilad Shirt” and turned into a must-have item.

Large numbers of the exact shirt, as well as some very similar ones, are now on display in Gazan stores and markets for an average price of $16.50. They are being snatched up like hotcakes, and Gazan shoppers have expressed concern that they will run out.

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Lawyer Explains Claim That Film Is Anti-Semitic

By Renee Ghert-Zand

To help us better understand the merits of the ridiculous lawsuit Michigan resident Sarah Deming is filing against the producers of the new film “Drive” — which stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston — her lawyer has decided to spell out its bizarre logic in the comments section of a movie blog.

In addition to complaining about what she perceives as a bait-and-switch scheme whereby the film’s trailer was deceptive about the amount of action-packed driving there actually is in the movie, Deming claims that “Drive” is anti-Semitic. Gawker quotes the suit as stating that the movie had “extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith.”

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Stricter Gender Rules at Western Wall on Sukkot

By Nathan Jeffay

During the Jewish festival season, which finished yesterday here in Israel (and draws to a close tonight in the States), thousands have descended on the Western Wall. All sorts have made their way to the popular pilgrimage site, from secular to Haredi Jews, as well as a sizable contingency of Christians from around the world who visit Jerusalem every Sukkot. But all of them, it seems, are being subjected to norms of Haredi society.

The area directly in front of the wall itself — essentially a large synagogue as it is used for prayers — has long been segregated along gender lines, and this is relatively uncontroversial. But it seems that visitors in recent days have been instructed to segregate long before arriving at the wall — rather being asked to get in line, according to gender, ahead of the security checks for the whole Western Wall Plaza.

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Justice Kagan Goes Hunting

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Ever since the Torah characterized Jacob as “yoshev ohalim,” a tent dweller, most people do not usually use “Jews” and “hunting” in the same sentence. But the truth is that there are Jews who hunt, and it is now known that Justice Elena Kagan is among them.

In a talk at Beth Tfiloh Congregation celebrating the Baltimore synagogue’s 90th anniversary, the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States shared her feelings about sitting in the same seat that was once occupied by Louis Brandeis, the nation’s first Jewish justice. She also answered questions about whether she thought her Jewish background would influence her decision on an upcoming case involving an Israeli couple petitioning the Court to intervene regarding the State Department’s refusal to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth of their son on his passport. (The State Department deliberately lists only “Jerusalem,” without specific reference to a country because of what is considers the disputed nature of Jerusalem’s status).

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Israeli Scientists Learn to Levitate

By Renee Ghert-Zand

You know that scene in “Back to the Future 2” when Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly skates on a hover board? It’s no longer just movie magic.

Tel Aviv University scientists demonstrated quantum levitation at the Association of Science-Technology Centers annual conference held last week at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. The researchers from the Superconductivity Group at TAU’s Schools of Physics and Astronomy wowed conference attendees with their demonstration of superconductors locked in a magnetic field.

They showed how a disc frozen with liquid nitrogen can be made to hover over a magnet in any position. Similarly, it can “fly” over a track at any height or at any angle. It even appeared to defy gravity as it circled underneath the track.

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You Know It’s a Jewish Football Team When…

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

When most Americans think Jews and team sports, they think basketball and baseball. Israelis think basketball and football — the European kind. But we should also be paying attention to Jews in American football — at least in the case of two rival Jewish day school teams in Florida.

It was Monday Night Football at the North Miami Stadium on October 17 as Lipson Hillel Community High School played against David Posnack Hebrew Day School in the 3rd annual Kiddush Cup game, which traditionally takes place during the intermediate days of Sukkot. The Hillel Hurricanes from North Miami Beach shut out the Posnack Rams from Plantation with a score of 51-0. Hillel is now 3-0 all-time in the Kiddush Cup, and it finished the 2010 season with a 6-1 record, which is very respectable for a football program that is only 3-years-old.

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Bar Refaeli To Appear on E! Reality Show

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli is avoiding Prince Harry’s rumored affections for her by keeping busy with work.

One of her current assignments is not for modeling, but for mentoring. Fear not, though: The job still involves wearing haute couture and posing for the camera.

Refaeli has been tapped to appear in an episode of a new E! reality show called “Scouted,” slated to premiere on November 28. The program is associated with One Management, the New York modeling agency founded by Scott Lipps.

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Bibi, Shalit and the ‘Forrest Gump’ Effect

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Amichai Yacobbi

Some tech-savvy Israelis thought that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hogging the spotlight yesterday as the nation celebrated the return of Gilad Shalit after five years and four months in Hamas captivity.

So, they started a creative Facebook meme to express their frustration with Bibi’s perceived need to be in so many photos of the soldier’s homecoming. Facebook users, calling Bibi the Forrest Gump of Gilad Shalit Day, began Photoshopping his face (taken from the now iconic picture of Shalit’s first embrace with his father) into images of historic events he has absolutely nothing to do with.

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Calvin Klein Dishes on Jewish Competition

By Gary Shapiro

Joyce Culver for 92nd Street Y

Forget designer showrooms in the Garment District, modish stores on Madison Avenue, and the latest haute couture from Paris. The stylish place to be last night was at the 92nd Street Y to hear Calvin Klein speak.

Most know the Jewish fashion designer as a name on a fragrance bottle or a logo emblazoned on a pair of jeans. But yesterday, an audience got to hear from the designer himself, as Klein sat down with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis for a discussion about his life and career.

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‘Baby Rabbi’ Tops Worst Halloween Costume List

By Renee Ghert-Zand

costumecraze.com
Click to enlarge.

The Houston Chronicle has done a little pre-Halloween window-shopping and found some children’s costumes that parents should think twice about. The paper’s parenting blog deems them uncomfortable, over-sexualized or, as in the case of one Jewish-themed costume, culturally insensitive.

In the over-sexualized department, most of the costumes are for girls — as might be expected — and many have either extremely short skirts or no skirts at all. The Shmooze agrees that a tween should not be dressed as though ready for roleplay as a French maid, sexy schoolgirl, or Santa’s helper. Likewise, a little boy should never be seen in a pimp suit and hat straight out of a 1970s blaxploitation film.

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L.A. Times Takes On the Kabbalah Centre

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Before the Kabbalah Centre had one material girl, it had another. Long before Madonna started wearing a red string bracelet and visiting Israel, there was Karen Berg, the avaricious wife of Rabbi Philip Berg, the Centre’s founding rabbi.

In a series of articles, the Los Angeles Times is exposing the dark underside of what many consider to be more of a celebrity cult than a legitimate religious institution. Former followers of the Bergs are now speaking out against them, and the IRS is investigating their lavish lifestyle and finances.

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SNL Video: Andy Samberg Interviews Drake

By Renee Ghert-Zand

This past Saturday night, SNL’s Andy Samberg scored an interview — or more like a series of interviews — with Drake, who was the musical guest for the show. It might have been a good conversation between a nice Jewish boy from Northern California and another from Toronto, but it wasn’t. How could it have been with the hilarious Samberg doing the questioning?

If you think you are going to learn something new or personal about Drake from this, you are going to be disappointed. But that’s okay. You’ll be laughing too hard to care.

Watch Andy Samberg Interview Drake on SNL:


Gymnast Alexander Shatilov Is Israel’s Great Olympic Hope

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov is on his way to the 2012 Olympic Games in London after winning the bronze medal for floor exercise at the Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo on October 15.

The 24-year-old Uzbekistan native, who immigrated to Israel in 2002, tied for third in the floor exercise with Diego Hypolito of Brazil, with a score of 15.466. China’s Zou Kai, the Beijing Olympic and 2009 world floor champion, won the silver, and Kohei Uchimura of Japan took the gold. Uchimura had won another gold 18 hours earlier, becoming the first male gymnast to win three all-round titles.

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Tel Aviv Mayor Could Use a Lesson in Subtlety

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Marc Goldberg

Has Ron Huldai forgotten that he is the mayor of Tel Aviv and not Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? In condemning the defacement yesterday of the memorial to assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the square outside Tel Aviv’s city hall, Huldai proclaimed, “We should cut off the hands that allow themselves [sic] to harm what is sacred and important to the people of Israel.”

The Shmooze is hoping that the mayor was speaking figuratively. But Israeli journalist Dimi Reider points out that this was not a one-off reference to this strict form of sharia law punishment. Just a week ago, Huldai said, “I expect the hands of those who do such things to be cut off.” That time he was deploring the vandalizing of a Muslim and Christian cemetery in Jaffa.

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Looking for San Francisco ‘Mensch of the Month’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Courtesy of Dana Hall

Friends Dana Hall and Elizabeth Shapiro are looking for 12 single Jewish men, one for each month of their forthcoming 2012 “Mensch of the Month” wall calendar.

“Hunky blond firemen just don’t do anything for me,” the 26-year-old Hall told The Shmooze. Shapiro, also 26, feels the same way, so the two co-workers at the San Francisco Food Bank set out to produce a calendar featuring the kind of guys they themselves would like to meet. After doing some research and finding that a “Nice Jewish Guys” calendar already exists, they decided to go the more local route.

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A Sukkot Kerfuffle Over Antennas

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Two adjacent Jewish organizations in San Francisco — the Lisa Kampner Hebrew Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school, and the Bureau of Jewish Education — are involved in a neighborly scuffle over roof space.

The two groups are feuding over a public hearing about the placement of AT&T antennas on the BJE’s roof. Two existing antennas dating to 1997 are scheduled to be replaced by six new ones. The Hebrew Academy’s Rabbi Pinchas Lipner immediately suspected a conspiracy between the BJE and the city’s Planning Commission when he realized that the meeting was scheduled for today, the first day of Sukkot.

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Protest Sukkah Rises at the Chicago Hyatt

By Renee Ghert-Zand

They may be occupying Wall Street with a sukkah in New York, but in Chicago the protest sukkah is at the Hyatt Regency. That is where the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual meeting is being held this week, and Jewish activists figured the hotel was the best place to make their point about the need for the real estate industry to help struggling families keep their homes.

The activists — among them rabbis and cantors who insisted the erection of the temporary structure outside the hotel constituted a demonstration and not a protest — invited bankers to eat meals with them in it, and to meet with individuals affected by the housing crisis.

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Feds Nab Leader of Immigration Fraud Ring

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

The long arm of the law caught up with a lawyer who goes by the moniker “Rabbi Avraham David” in Canada yesterday. The attorney, whose real name is Earl Seth David, was arrested in Toronto and will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges for his actions as the alleged ringleader of a massive immigration fraud scheme.

David fled to Canada in 2006 when he realized that the feds were onto him and were beginning to probe the immigration fraud mill he had allegedly operated through his Manhattan law firm since 1996. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney claims that David’s firm filed tens of thousands of fraudulent petitions using fake employer sponsors and a corrupt government employee. Twenty-seven defendants were charged as a result of the investigation.

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Anthony Weiner Kvetches About His In-Laws

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We are all prone to complaining about our in-laws. We might gripe about them while shmoozing with someone in person, on the phone or by e-mail. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, it seems, talks about his in-laws even while sexting.

In her forthcoming tell-all book, “I Friended You,” about her online relationship with Weiner, 35-year-old former cheerleading coach Traci Nobles reveals that amid Weiner’s naughty messages to her was also some venting about his wife Huma Abedin’s parents. Abedin, who is a deputy chief of staff and aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was born to a Pakistani family and grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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