The Shmooze

Roseanne Barr: Israel's Next Prime Minister?

By Nathan Burstein

Forget the usual slate of Israeli politicians - the country’s next prime minister could be Roseanne Barr.

Wikimedia Commons

So says the comedian, who announced her unlikely candidacy on yesterday’s “Tonight Show.” After announcing that she would also seek the American presidency, the former “Roseanne” star added the Israeli premiership as a “two-fer.”

“I’ve got to solve all the world’s problems,” she told Jay Leno.

To cheers from the audience, the former TV star outlined her U.S. agenda, which includes eliminating taxes and legalizing marijuana.

Barr, on the show to promote her new Lifetime reality series, didn’t elaborate on her plans for the Middle East. That’s probably a smart move for her candidacy, since the comedian, who has a Jewish background, has treated the issue with something less than nuance in the past. In December 2008, shortly after the start of Israel’s Gaza war, she declared that the country “is a NAZI state” on her blog.

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Lauren Ambrose Named the Next ‘Funny Girl’

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

The role that launched Barbra Streisand has been recast — and it didn’t go to the Jewish heir apparent.

The next Broadway production of “Funny Girl” will star Lauren Ambrose as Fanny Brice, the real-life Jewish comedian whom Streisand played during the show’s original 1964 Broadway run.

The role, which earned Streisand a Tony nomination and later an Oscar for the film version, has been the source of considerable speculation in recent months, as the search has intensified for the star of the new staging. Bartlett Sher, the Tony-winning director of the new show, has said he was looking for an “unforgettably thrilling voice… a once-in-a-generation talent [with] excellent comedic timing.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Six Feet Under, Lea Michele, Lauren Ambrose, Funny Girl, Fanny Brice, Bartlett Sher, Barbra Streisand

Rick Sanchez To Launch Talk Show

By Nathan Burstein

Juda Engelmayer, WikiCommons
Rick Sanchez and Abe Foxman at Yankee Stadium in May 2011

Former news anchor Rick Sanchez, who was fired by CNN last fall after implying that Jews control the media, has completed the next step of his professional comeback.

The ex-cable host is developing a syndicated talk show that will shoot in Florida, TVNewser reports. The program will be shot in both English and Spanish, and Sanchez, who will own a stake in the show, is currently looking for a female co-host — possibly an actress. More details should be known later today, when the TV site will release an interview with the former news anchor.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rick Sanchez, Television, Emilio Estefan, CNN, Anti-Semitism, Abe Foxman

Israeli Scientists Develop Date-Rape Drug Detector

By Nathan Jeffay

iStock

Israeli researchers look poised to make nightclubs safer. They have developed a sensor that detects date rape drugs in drinks.

Fernando Patolsky and Michael Ioffe of the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University have developed a sensor that detects changes to optical signals caused by drugs such as GHB.

In a summary of the research sent to journalists the university claims 100% accuracy for the test. The researchers were aided in their research by bartenders, who mixed popular cocktails of 15 types. Blind testing was then carried out: 50 glasses in total (distributed across the 15 varieties of drink) were randomly spiked with date rape drugs, with the researchers unaware of which glasses contained the drugs. In the experiment, the system detected the drugs in all drinks.

The researchers have patented all elements of the system. They now hope to miniaturize the system for mass production and produce a device no larger than the head of a pin, making it possible for clubbers to check their drinks without their dates noticing.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tel Aviv University, Nightclubs, Michael Ioffe, GHB, Fernando Patolsky, Date Rape, Chemistry

‘Bibi — Shake Shake’: Noy Alooshe’s Latest Remix

By Renee Ghert-Zand

With the crowds in the streets of Israel chanting “Mubarak, Assad, Bibi Netanyahu!,” the Shmooze knew it couldn’t be far behind: a July 14 Revolution-themed Noy Alooshe remix.

What Alooshe did to Muammar Gaddafi (who can forget “Zenga Zenga?”), Israeli Kadima party politicians like Tzipi Livni and Dalia Itzik, and a variety of Israeli and American celebrities and pop singers, he has now also done to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In his “Bibi — Shake Shake” video, he does a fine job of poking fun at the Prime Minister’s recently expressed confidence that the kinds of popular uprisings associated with the Arab Spring could never happen in Israel.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Benjamin Netanyahu, Arab Spring, Alooshe Noy

American Jews Not Prejudiced Against Muslims, New Poll Finds

By Nathan Burstein

For all the distrust that supposedly separates them, American Jews feel a lot of solidarity with their Muslim counterparts.

That’s the stereotype-defying implication of a new poll by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, which shows that American Jews express more understanding for American Muslims than any other U.S. religious group.

Eighty percent of American Jews believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the country, placing them behind only Muslims themselves (93%), and far ahead of the next most sympathetic religious group, Catholics, 59% of whom see American Muslims as loyal.

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Rabbis To Cheese Company: ‘Worker Exploitation Ain’t Kosher’

By Michael Kaminer

The cheese may be kosher. But treatment of workers hasn’t been.

That’s the message a group of rabbis took Tuesday to the Midtown headquarters of a hedge fund that owns a kosher-cheese processor accused of retaliatory firings against employees who fought for overtime pay.

Crain’s New York Business reports a delegation of rabbis was turned away at the front entrance to a Lexington Avenue office building when they tried to enter, “Michael Moore-style,” to demand a meeting with executives at Apax Partners. The private equity firm owns Israeli-based kosher cheese giant Tnuva Food Industries.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Unions, Tnuva Food Industries, Michael Moore, Flaum Appetizing Corp., Apax Partners, Workers' Rights

Important-to-Know Nose News

By Nathan Burstein

You’d think a Jewish scientist would avoid making racial generalizations about noses, but that hasn’t stopped an Israeli professor from doing just that.

Wikimedia Commons
Barbra Streisand’s famous nose with character

Abraham Tamir, a chemical engineering professor at Ben-Gurion University, has published the results of his study of nearly 1,800 noses, based on both photos of living people and works of art. (Although Tamir’s primary work focuses on other topics, he teaches a class on the relationship between science and art.)

Tamir’s proboscis probe proves (supposedly) the existence of 14 types of Caucasian noses, which include the turned-up or “celestial” nose, the Roman and the hawk varieties. MSNBC’s “Body Odd” blog notes the prevalance of “the fleshy nose, which is large and prominent,” in Israel. (In some households The Shmooze can think of, this is referred to affectionately as a “nose with character.”)

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nose, Israel, Nathan Burstein, Ben-Gurion University, Abraham Tamir

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli City Opens First Internet Café

By Penina Kessler

It seems even the Haredi world has conceded to the necessity of the Internet – but don’t expect them to crash servers posting on FaceGlat or uploading wedding videos anytime soon.

ISTOCK

The ultra-Orthodox city of Modiin Illit is getting its very first Internet café after receiving rabbinical approval, Ynet News reports. The venture, called Gilad Net, represents the latest foray of the ultra-Orthodox into the World Wide Web, which has previously been decreed an “abomination” by some Rabbis.

What’s being served at Gilad Net represents only the most “kosher” of the Internet - Rabbinic approval for the venture was dependant on the installation of content-control filters on the café’s computers. Only certain websites, such as Gmail, Ikea, and the pages of government ministries are available for perusal. However, this limited access is more than enough for Gilad Net’s client base, owner Yehuda Weisfish told Ynet. He insists his business is intended for “people who don’t want to bring a computer into their home and don’t need Internet on a daily basis… people who need the Web to access emails, bank accounts, HMOs and government ministries.” Which means that those who want to read the Shmooze will have to go elsewhere.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Panina Kessler, Modiin Illit, Israel, Internet, Haredi

Israel's 'Tent City' Protesters Compared to Biblical Spies

By Nathan Jeffay

After almost three weeks of non-stop media attention the protesters camped out in Tel Aviv’s “tent city” have been called many things, good and bad. But likening them to the Biblical spies is a new one.

In this interview firebrand grandmother Daniella Weiss, leader of radical settlers, appears to present the protesters as the modern version of the ten spies who famously gave the Children of Israel a negative report about the Land of Israel. The protesters’ negativity echoes the negativity of the spies, she claims. They “are lamenting, people are complaining, people see all the bad sides of life instead of seeing the prosperity of the Land of Israel.”

Amazingly, in her analysis the country’s political leadership against which the protesters are demonstrating is also a modern incarnation of the spies. “Today we have a beautiful land,” she said. “Everything is prosperous, we have a good economy and all the reasons in the world to be satisfied. Yet the leaders want to cut the land in two and this influences many people.” Weiss was referring to fact that some government ministers are in favor of a two-state solution.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nathan Jeffay, Israel, Daniella Weiss, Tent City

Israeli Activist's Conviction Roils Irish Pol

By Renee Ghert-Zand

The revelation that Irish Senator David Norris’s former lover, Jewish-Israeli pro-Palestinian activist Ezra Yitzhak Nawi, was convicted of statutory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in 1992 may have torpedoed Norris’s bid for his country’s presidency.

The openly gay Norris has been up front about his former sexual relationship with Nawi, as well as about their continuing friendship. However, he has not yet commented directly on the revelation about Nawi, nor about a clemency letter he wrote on official Irish parliamentary stationery on Nawi’s behalf, calling his former lover a “good and moral person.”

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Israeli Entrepreneurs Flock To South Sudan

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Israelis are known to be impatient, and when it comes to how fast they are moving to establish business relations with the new country of South Sudan, the stereotype is holding true.

Israeli companies seeking contracts in industries such as agriculture, security, medicine and infrastructure are being welcomed by the leadership of the world’s newest nation. Under-the-radar support given to the Christian South Sudanese rebels by Israel in recent years is helping to smooth the way to the quick establishment of economic ties. South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang was even treated for an eye injury in an Israeli hospital.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tamir Gal, South Sudan, Rafi Dayan, John Garang, Israel, Business

Israeli Gangster Gunned Down at Gas Station

By Michael Kaminer

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the old saying goes. But it meant tragic consequences for an Israeli gangster. Crime boss Francois Abutbul, whose casino-owner father was murdered in 2002, was himself gunned down Sunday at a central Israeli gas station, Haaretz reports.

Abutbul, known as “Francois the Great,” was released from prison last December after serving about half of a 22-month sentence for domestic violence, JTA reports. The “scion of an Israeli crime family” was shot by two men who approached his car on a motorcycle and then sped away.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Crime, Francois Abutbul, Francois the Great, Israel

Interfaith Environmental Forum Connects Jews, Christians, Muslims

By Nathan Jeffay

There was a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem this week, as leaders of the three faiths came together to promote a cause that affects them all — the environment.

They spoke at the Interfaith Environmental Forum in Jerusalem, asserting the imperative in their religions to halt environmental damage and advance sustainable living.

The panelists were Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Deputy Minister of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Religious Affairs Haj Salah Zuheika, and American Jewish Committee International Director of Inter-religious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen.

“The main religions should study ecological issues together because we have a common destiny,” said Shomali. “We need to put all of our energies together to solve the environmental crisis, which is ethical, moral, and spiritual.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Palestinian Authority Ministry of Religious Affairs, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Interfaith Environmental Forum, Environment, Haj Salah Zuheika, David Rosen, William Shomali

Thousands Attend Funeral of Murdered Rabbi

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, following his stabbing murder by a visitor to the Yeshiva in Beer Sheva where the rabbi was greeting guests just after midnight Friday morning.

Thousands attended the funeral procession of the revered Kabbalist, which began in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas eulogized Abuchatzeira, and Israelis Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar were also in attendance, as were many Haredi religious and political leaders.

Abuchatzeira, 62, was the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (known as the Baba Sali), who was a leader of the large aliyah of Moroccan Jews in the 1950s and thought to be a miracle worker.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shlomo Amar, Yona Metzger, Rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, Murder, Kabbalist, Elazar Abuchatzeira

Giant Israeli Pumpkins Fertilized With Qassam Rockets?

By Nathan Jeffay

Wikimedia Commons

One common interpretation of the symbolic significance of the egg on the Seder plate at Passover is that it represents the paradox of the Jews. Suffering at the hands of oppressors, from ancient Egyptians onward, made us stronger. Likewise, eggs are one of the few foods that get harder when boiled.

There’s nothing new there — but could violence from our enemies also somehow help our crops?

Farmers in Southern Israel say they have never seen pumpkins so enormous as those grown in a field twice hit by rockets from Gaza. The Mines family of Kfar Maimon have grown two supersize pumpkins, one weighing 140 pounds and another weighing 100 pounds.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Qassam, Pumpkins, Passover, Israel, Gaza, Farming

Introducing ‘Judoku’: Sudoku for Jews

By Penina Kessler

“Oy Vey! Is this a mishuga game or what!” That’s the reaction game developer Andrew Charon hopes you’ll have, at least.

Charon is the mastermind behind Judoku, a Jewish-themed version of the popular Sudoku puzzle. Instead of simply lining up the numbers one through nine in that familiar 81-cell matrix, puzzle-doers can choose to arrange Hebrew letters or Jewish symbols instead.

Judoku is available from the Mac App Store for $1.99. Its distinct and mildly irreverent icon — a cartoon man with peyes and black hat — is in keeping with the lighthearted spirit of the game.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sudoku, Smartphones, Hebrew, Judoku, Andrew Charon

Israel Medical Association Chairman Leads Hunger Strike

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Leonid Eidelman, the chairman of the Israel Medical Association, is doing something he would probably never allow any of his patients to do: He is going on a hunger strike to try to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene in a four-month-old doctors’ strike.

With efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Finance Ministry exhausted in the wake of strikes that have taken place at various hospitals around the country, Eidelman and the IMA are ready to take more drastic measures to have the doctors’ demands met.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Strikes, Protest, Leonid Eidelman, Medicine, Israel Medical Association, Doctors

Israeli Parents Launch ‘Stroller March’ To Protest High Cost of Raising Children

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

Boy, oh boy — and girl, oh girl — things happen fast in Israel.

Just the other week, The Marker ran a big story on the comparatively high cost of raising children in Israel, as compared to other countries. Everything from diapers to strollers to baby clothes and toys seem to cost more in Israel.

Now, The Marker reports that, in response to concrete information supplied the public by that article, parents are rising up in protest. With their hunch about the economic burden of parenting confirmed, they are planning to join the many other protesters (young people angry about the cost of housing, striking doctors, and others) clogging the streets of Israel this week.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Strollers, Protest, Parenting, Israel

Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ Headed for Toronto Film Festival

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

Good news for crazy Danish director Lars von Trier, who definitely doesn’t admire Hitler: his latest film, “Melancholia,” will celebrate its North American premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Toronto screening will offer something of a fresh start for “Melancholia,” which temporarily stole the show at the Cannes Film Festival in May, after von Trier said he “understand[s] Hitler” during a bizarre monologue that got him kicked out of the festival.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Toronto International Film Festival, Melancholia, Hitler, Lars von Trier, Cannes Film Festival



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