It has to be one of the most common comments on the Middle East conflict. “If only everyone would resort to dialogue instead of turning to violence.” But when Knesset members start receiving emails from Arabs on the conflict, some seem to be unimpressed.
Ynet reports that lawmakers have started to receive “large numbers” of emails in Arabic, which according to Likud’s Yariv Levin who is quoted, contain “information about the Palestinian issue.”
He has concluded that the emails come from Palestinians who “seek to flood MKs’ mailboxes, apparently in order to disrupt their work.” But here’s a thought. What if they just result from a letter-writing campaign in Palestinian circles – like those commonly run across the free world - by people who want to influence things through the democratic process?
Babs fans, how lucky can you get? (Funny Lady pun!)
Not only has the Duck Sauce song, “Barbra Streisand,” crept over 44 million YouTube views, far outnumbering any video of Streisand herself, a customizable version of the song is now going viral at GoBarbra.com.
The website allows viewers to type in their own names or phrases and hear them repeated in place of “Barbra Streisand” throughout the song. Don’t like the way Barbra Streisand rolls off the English-speaking tongue? Try it in Romanian. Or Polish. Or Spanish, with an Enrique Iglesias lisp. How about in an Alvin & the Chipmunks voice?
Just keep it four syllables or less. If your name is Barbara you might consider losing the second “a.”
To organizers, they’re colorful, family-oriented neighborhood celebrations. To detractors, they’re traffic-snarling commercial ventures that hijack streets and punish locals.
Now, after a long-simmering dispute over street fairs, New York City has decided to cut the size and hours of the outdoor bazaars, the Daily News reported this week.
Street fairs, “which often generate complaints from locals about their crowds, noise and generic offerings, will be cut by about 25%,” officials told the News.
Geishas, the Japan Guide web site explains, “are professional entertainers who attend guests during meals, banquets and other occasions…. Their role is to make guests feel at ease with conversation, drinking games and dance performances.” And, according to a front-page story in this week’s Village Voice, they can also be Jewish.
In her first-person account of a month-long stint as a hostess at a Midtown bar called Kaoru, writer Victoria Bekiempis muses that her Hebraic features proved a unique selling proposition in an establishment run by, and catering to, Asians. “In the first two weeks, the customers were curious, but kind of cold,” she writes. A colleague “had said that they’d be intrigued by the fact that I’m Jewish, and apparently look it. Sometimes they’d straight-up ask: ‘You’re Jewish, aren’t you?’ and would add that they ‘could just tell.’”
While adolescent yeshiva students may not share their dissatisfaction, Orthodox Jewish neighbors of a Lower East Side art gallery have issued a chorus of complaints over a current exhibition involving pornographic images
According to the New York Post, the Allegra LaViola Gallery’s new “Pornucopia” show “features a slew of sexy nude images of men and women, some having sex… Some of the ‘porn’ pieces are clearly visible through the East Broadway gallery’s windows – and people are fuming that kids are being exposed to smut.”
Miriam Katz, a teacher at the nearby Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem school, told the Post the show is “disgusting… My students are innocent children, and they walk by and shouldn’t be exposed to this disgrace… You see in quite detail the anatomy of women. There’s a yeshiva there with boys who pass by every day.”
Over the objections of the Israeli government and the American Jewish Committee, the United Nations yesterday hosted the American premiere of a movie sure to generate further controversy with its depiction of Israel’s 1948 founding.
Based on a novel by Palestinian writer Rula Jebreal, “Miral” tells the stories of several Palestinian women over the course of several decades. In a letter written to the president of the UN General Assembly, AJC executive director David Harris warned that yesterday’s screening would be inappropriate because of its “clear political message” and depiction of Israel in a “highly negative light.”
Israel’s mission to the UN had also requested that the screening be canceled. “There is no precedent for a commercial film of a political nature being screened at the General Assembly,” the mission’s deputy permanent representative, Haim Waxman, told Israel’s Ynet Web site.
Here’s one way to make an old rival nervous: play him in a movie.
Musician and activist Bob Geldof has signed on to portray French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy on the big screen, according to French news reports. The role could serve as the latest salvo in the fraught relationship between the two men, who have clashed in the past over political positions and tactics.
Geldof will play a character closely based on Levy, one of France’s most famous public intellectuals, in the film version of “Mauvaise Fille” (“Bad Daughter”), a roman a clef by Levy’s daughter, Justine.
On “Shalom Sesame,” the Jewish version of “Sesame Street,” a charming Jake Gyllenhaal has lost the afikomen. Turns out it was in his shirt pocket the whole time! Other big name celebrities starring in this season include Debra Messing, Christina Applegate and Greg Kinnear.
A large part of Conan O’Brien’s charm used to be that he was different — or appeared to be — from other late-night talk-show hosts: less smarmy than Jay, less misanthropic than Dave.
For at least some fans, O’Brien’s departure from “The Tonight Show” last year was disappointing because of how it revealed that he, too, is often just another comedian with a raging ego. Even after a reported NBC payout of $32 million, a successful stand-up tour and a new gig on TBS, O’Brien seems to see himself as some sort of late-night martyr, still frequently referring to the saga on his new show, a year after everyone else stopped caring.
His victim complex is bigger than anyone could have guessed, however — or was, until a New York Times story on Friday about “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop,” a documentary that premiered yesterday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Told on camera that an unhappy stop on last year’s comedy tour would soon be over, O’Brien responded, “I know people keep saying that, but that’s what they said to Anne Frank.”
Sandra Brodsky can stay naked.
Brodsky — better known as ex-stripper Sandy Kane — has won the right to continue calling herself The Naked Cowgirl after a failed lawsuit by Robert Burck, better known as the guitar-toting Naked Cowboy.
The battle of the Clotheless Cowpeople was bared yesterday by Metro, which obtained terms of a February settlement between the pair, both of whom ply their trade in Times Square.
In February, Kane won a legal battle “to keep her skivvies, pasties and guitar strapped on in Times Square, without giving Burck a dime,” Metro reported. According to the settlement agreement, “Kane, an aging ex-stripper, can use the name ‘Naked Cowgirl’ alongside her name without dishing out cash. Last year, Burck demanded $5,000 and subsequent loyalty payments from Kane to use the ‘Naked’ name, Kane’s lawyer, Nick Barnhorst, told Metro.”
Culture on your currency – the Bank of Israel has chosen poets over politicians.
Rachel the Poetess, or Rachel Bluwstein as she was born, was one of those tragic artists who didn’t receive nearly enough recognition in her lifetime. Well now, she has been given the ultimate mark of prestige: her image is to appear on new Israeli banknotes.
Russian-born Rachel, born in 1909, was a Zionist pioneer and prolific writer, but died from tuberculosis at age 40. She died alone, having needed to leave the kibbutz where she lived because her illness meant she could no longer endure the physical work. You can see a short biography here
Being religious doesn’t prevent Israeli teens from looking at pornography, a new survey has revealed.
According to numbers released by Olam Katan, a Shabbat publication devoted to the country’s religious youth, just under 30 percent of of religious teens look at “religiously inappropriate” Web sites, while an even higher number - 37 percent - admit they’ve figured out how to circumvent parental-control software, which is now present in 50 percent of religious households. Attending a yeshiva rather than a less religious high school makes no difference in porn use, according to responses from the survey’s 902 participants.
The results, reported by Israeli news Web site NRG, showed that Internet use in general has risen significantly among religious youth, with observant teens now spending a third more time online - six hours per day - than they did five years ago.
Apparently the world of Jewish a capella is more competitive than you think.
After achieving overnight success with “Candlelight,” the Maccabeats, Yeshiva University’s all-male a capella group, is back with another surefire YouTube hit, “Purim Song” (no points for creative naming, guys!). This time, the story of Esther, Ahasverosh, Haman and Mordechai is set to Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.”
But a week before the Maccabeats’ new song was released, an Israeli (and co-ed) a capella group, The Fountainheads, debuted their own Purim-themed version of the same Pink song, titled “Raise Your Masks” (points for the more creative name!).
(See both songs below.)
Hitler’s girlfriend apparently loved a film focused on the struggle to maintain Jewish tradition.
A recently released photo now making the rounds online shows Eva Braun in 1937, in an image the dictator’s mistress titled “Al Jolson and Me.” Internet chatter about the picture has focused on Braun’s use of blackface, citing it as further evidence of the Nazi leadership’s racism.
But what online commenters have largely neglected is that the image is a tribute to “The Jazz Singer,” the 1927 Hollywood classic about Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson), a Jewish man disowned by his family after he pursues a career in jazz rather than follow in the professional footsteps of his father, a cantor. The first feature-length “talkie,” the movie depicts Jewish life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, including a Yom Kippur service and songs titled “Kol Nidre” and “Kaddish.”
“We love AA!” exclaims the handwritten note posted on American Apparel founder Dov Charney’s personal home page from a staffer named “Krystal.” But Charney got a less sanguine message yesterday from another female subordinate: Irene Morales, a former American Apparel store manager, is suing the bicoastal schmatte mogul for making her his “sex slave” and “ sodomizing her” on her 18th birthday, according to the New York Post.
Morales was only 17 “and working as a Manhattan sales clerk for the racy teen retailer in 2007 when her dirty-old-man boss slobbered to her that he wanted them to have sex when she turned 18, according to the stunning, $250 million suit filed yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court,” the Post reported.
It’s a bit ironic that it happened on International Women’s Day. Israel’s most prominent female-by-choice, Dana International, scored a big victory last night when her song “Ding Dong” was chosen to represent the country at the glitzy annual Eurovision Song Contest, the kitchy and politicized competition that, ironically, spawned international stars like Abba and Celine Dion.
Dana International was born Yaron Cohen into a traditional Yemenite family in 1972 and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1993. In 1998, the performer’s song “Diva” took the first-place crown in the contest and was later chosen as one of the 14 most-popular songs in the history of Eurovision.
The undisputed Israeli disco queen struck gold again last night. “Ding Dong” was the favorite among television viewers, who texted votes to choose the winner following live performances. The song beat out nine other tunes sung by Israelis competing to be this year’s Eurovision entry.
“Some people call me anonymously, swear at me,” Stephane Zerbib tells Israel’s Ynet News.
Though surely upsetting, those phone calls aren’t entirely surprising, given Galliano’s now world-famous anti-Semitic rant, which got him fired from Christian Dior last week. After initial reports of a Jew-baiting tirade at a Parisian cafe, a video of a separate incident went viral online in which Dior announced, “I love Hitler,” and taunted onlookers with comments about their Jewish relatives being “f—ing gassed.”
One of the Jewish state’s veteran Ashkenazi entertainers has ignited the latest battle over Mizrahi music, the genre that arrived with Jewish immigrants from the Arab world. Traditionally disdained by the country’s Ashkenazi elite, the music has long been a symbol of Mizrahis’ outsider status in Israeli politics, education and income distribution.
So singer Yehoram Gaon should have known better when he told the student newspaper at Ariel University that Mizrahi music is “garbage” and a “natural disaster.” Referring to the music’s soaring popularity in recent years, the 71-year-old Gaon added that he was “waiting for this foul wave to pass.” (This is roughly akin to someone like Paul Simon making similar comments about rap or hip-hop, with all the corresponding identity politics.)
Milan, New York, Paris and … Ramallah.
The Palestinian city has joined the world’s style capitals by staging its own fashion event, “considered the first couture show in the West Bank,” according to Israeli news Web site NRG.
Featuring the work of Palestinian designers, the three-day affair is focused mostly on bridal gowns, with the designs worn by European models and the shows attended by both locals and visitors. Among the highlighted designers is Jamal Taslaq, a Rome-based Palestinian who says he tries to incorporate Palestinian tradition into each of his creations. The Ramallah fashion festival included a dress resembling the Palestinian flag, as well as a headpiece made from olive branches.
Just when The Shmooze thought he couldn’t come up with anything loopier, Charlie Sheen has managed to surprise us.
The former TV star - who was officially axed from “Two and a Half Men” yesterday - is now talking about his Jewish roots, two weeks after making headlines for comments widely criticized as anti-Semitic.
Speaking to “Access Hollywood,” Sheen said that his mother, Janet Templeton, is Jewish - a trait she shares with his most recent wife, Brooke Mueller.
“My mom is Jewish,” Sheen told the entertainment show in a phone interview. “Here’s where it gets confusing – we don’t know who her father was. But she is, in fact, Jewish. So, I guess that would make me Jewish, and my children Jewish. And Brooke, my ex-wife, is Jewish. So, I guess I should’ve rolled all that out, too.”