Some like to call Purim the “Jewish Halloween.” Whether or not that is really a correct analogy, it seems that the same costume scandals that come up around October 31 also plague 14 Adar.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) is urging consumers to boycott companies selling sexy Purim costumes. WIZO Chairwoman Gila Oshrat called them “near-pornographic,” and castigated toy stores for openly promoting and displaying them.
This year, WIZO is targeting the Shoshi Zohar costume company, whose 23-page full color Purim costume circular went out to families with national newspapers last weekend. Last year, it campaigned against another company that similarly promoted “scandalous” costumes.
Crossposted from Haaretz
Hundreds of emails from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s office were leaked on Monday after an attack by the hacker group Anonymous. One of the email files, which Haaretz has obtained, was a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.
The attack took place overnight Sunday and the target was the mail server of the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs. Some 78 inboxes of Assad’s aides and advisers were hacked and the password that some used was “12345”. Among those whose email was exposed were the Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Fadlallah Azzam and Assad’s media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban.
Assad’s TV interview with Walters was memorable for his repeated denials that Syrian citizens were being killed. “We don’t kill our people … no government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person,” Assad told Walters.
Not sure of Newt Gingrich’s chance of ever making it to the White House? The Shmooze is confident that his odds are better than Roseanne Barr’s.
But Barr isn’t too worried. After completing all the necessary paperwork and declaring her candidacy for the Green Party’s nomination, she admitted that it was doubtful that she would win, given the existing power structures. “As I say, I know it will be a tough fight — We (the greens) only have a 99% chance to win this election,” she tweeted, making reference to the 99% made famous by Occupy Wall Street. “The Democrats and Republicans have proven that they are servants — bought and paid for by the 1% — who are not doing what’s in the best interest of the American people. As a long time supporter of the Green Party, I look forward to working with people who share my values. Behold the greening of America!” Barr announced.
The big event for Democrats in Hollywood is yet to come. Word is that Jeffrey Katzenberg is set to host a major fundraiser for President Barack Obama at his Beverly Hills estate this spring. It will be timed to be relatively close to the Democratic nominating convention, and will be meant to give the President a chance to reassure Hollywood folks that he has their interests in mind as he heads into the upcoming elections.
In the wake of Obama’s having gotten involved in the SOPA issue, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently in Los Angeles trying to convince entertainment executives and artists that Democrats have not gone soft on piracy. The President himself is scheduled to be at an L.A. on February 15 for a fundraiser sponsored by producer Bradley Bell and his wife Colleen, and comedic actor Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca Paulin.
“Jewish husbands don’t kill their wives. They buy them jewelry.”
That’s one way Houston socialite Yvonne Stern is defending her betrothed, a Maserati-driving personal-injury attorney named Jeffrey Stern — the man accused of hiring paid assassins to get rid of her. To the shock of her friends, neighbors and Houstonians who’ve been following the case, Yvonne Stern’s also dropped divorce proceedings against Jeffrey and become his staunchest defender against the attempted murder charges, according to February’s Texas Monthly magazine.
The TM story lays out the long, sordid tale of the Sterns and the affair that apparently led to three bungled attacks on Yvonne at the couple’s home in a tony Houston neighborhood. “The only thing more stunning than three failed shooting attempts are the people that police and prosecutors say hired the string of hit men: Jeffrey Stern and his mistress, law office manager Michelle Gaiser,” according to Houston gossip site Culturemap. “Gaiser issued a 70-page confession when she was arrested and three hit men have been sentenced for their roles (a fourth hit man’s case hung the jury), but it seems like no one but the prosecutors believes that Jeffrey Stern is guilty.”
The Jewish Press, a Brooklyn-based weekly tabloid with a strong religious focus, is standing its ground after its advertisers were “threatened” by unnamed groups who objected to a recent op-ed by a gay ex-Hasid.
That story, by a young man named Chaim Levin, revealed “bullying, silencing, and torment for being gay in the frum community”, forced therapy sessions aimed at changing his sexual orientation – and pressure in his Orthodox milieu that nearly led Levin to suicide.
In an op-ed this week headlined “The Jewish Press Won’t Be Silenced,” the paper’s editorial board thanked “our advertisers who have notified us that they plan to continue with us despite the threatening letters and that they won’t give into threats either, particularly when an article like this one may very well have saved a Jewish life.
There is a remarkable twist in the ongoing battle about Haredi education.
The majority of boys’ schools serving Ashkenazic Haredim do not teach the ministry’s required “core curriculum,” causing fury among secular politicians and educationalists. The Haredim say it’s their right in a multicultural society to decide to give their children a narrow religious education if they want.
Now, a group of graduates from these schools is suing the state for letting their schools ignore the curriculum. “Whoever studied in haredi schools without core issues (including those who are still haredi) and has been forced to complete matriculation or psychometric exams, losing years of work or suffering any other financial damage, is invited to send us his personal details,” says the promotional material of the group initiating the lawsuit. They are members of Maavar, an association of ex-Haredim.
They’re big, funny and cute. But two popular Israeli mascots are going to be facing off in court.
If Matthew Broderick can do it, then so can Jerry Seinfeld. Sell cars, that is. Hot on the (w)heels of Broderick’s reprise of his famous Ferris Bueller alter ego to hock a Honda, we have Seinfeld doing his shtick to push the new Acura NSX.
It seems these days you don’t even have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to watch Super Bowl ads. Four and half million pairs of eyes have been on Seinfeld’s extended-length commercial since Monday, nearly a week before the game kick off.
Winnipeg’s Shaarey Zedek, western Canada’s largest Conservative synagogue, is once again ahead of the curve. The congregation, which was the first Conservative shul in Canada to fully welcome and include LGBT Jews, has now opened the first Jewish interfaith cemetery in the country.
Ian Staniloff, Shaarey Zedek’s executive director, said that the interfaith cemetery is a response to demographic realities. “We are serving a growing need in our community. The Winnipeg Jewish community numbers about 16 thousand and up to 70% of our young people are marrying outside the faith,” he told the National Post. “In the past, the Jewish spouse was forced to make a decision — either be buried by themselves in a Jewish manner in a Jewish cemetery or be buried with their partner elsewhere.”
A Saudi prince is facing an international arrest warrant for not handing over custody of his 10-year-old daughter to her French-Jewish mother.
The Paris criminal court ordered Prince Sattam al-Saud, of the royal Saudi family, to give the little girl, Aya, to her mother, Candice Cohen-Ahnine. The prince, however, says he is not planning to do so. “France hasn’t got the right to take her back. She is a Saudi citizen and a princess. They cannot oblige a princess to leave this country,” he reportedly said.
The Shmooze has been wondering what product would be featured in the new Superbowl ad in which Matthew Broderick is reprising his role as Ferris Bueller. Well, now that the full commercial is out online, it seems we could have guessed from Broderick’s teaser line, “How can I handle work on a day like today?”
The ad is for a car — not the sweet Ferrari 250 GT California we remember from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” but something more suited to a 49-year-old actor and father of three. Broderick is hocking the Honda CR-V. And like the Ferrari, it is red.
You can’t really say that edgy comic David Steinberg is back, because in truth he never really left. He just wandered off in a less visible direction, behind the scenes, as a director of commercials and television shows such as “Weeds” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
In fact, he was in an especially cheerful mood on the day of this interview; he’d just received a Director’s Guild nomination for an episode of “Curb” that he helmed last season. But what Steinberg really wanted to talk about was his new weekly Showtime series, “Inside Comedy,” which debuted on January 26. In it, he interviews giants of the funny business — Seinfeld, Brooks, DeGeneres, Conway, Rickles and others — about their art.
Steinberg spoke with the Forward’s Curt Schleier about the show, a brief return to stand-up and his first job, teaching Hebrew.
Much of the continent may have united, but Jewish heritage initiatives in Europe have remained far-flung — until now.
The just-launched Jewish Heritage Europe website will aim “to serve as an online clearinghouse for all news, information and contacts about Jewish heritage from as far east as Turkey and Russia to the UK and Portugal,” according to the CzechPosition news site. “The focus will be on built Jewish heritage, meaning synagogues, cemeteries and other architectural remnants of Jewish culture that attest to a presence on the continent stretching back to antiquity.”
Never mind putting on your game face. Put on your baby face, instead — that is, if you want your opponent in peace negotiations to accept your overtures.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that enemies have an easier time gaining our trust if they have what is colloquially referred to as a “baby face.” They found this out by subtly changing the features of fictional politicians’ faces to look more baby-like. The study, authored by Dr. Ifat Maoz, Associate Professor in the Noah Mozes Department of Communication and Journalism and Head of the Smart Family Institute of Communications, reported that Jewish-Israeli subjects in the experiment were more likely to accept a particular peace proposal from a baby-faced fictional Palestinian politician than they were to accept the very same offer from a more mature-looking one.
It is unfortunate that Moore’s personal situation is difficult right now, but the Shmooze bets that SJP will make an even better feminist icon. After all, didn’t she did play the unmistakably liberated Carrie Bradshaw for years on “Sex in the City”? The series wasn’t quite “Deep Throat,” if you know what we mean, but we are sure Parker will be able to handle playing her part in the porn star’s life story.
Life moves pretty fast: It seems like just yesterday that Ferris Bueller was taking the day off. But, believe it or not, that was already 26 years ago. And now the righteous dude is back, but it’s not clear yet what he is up to this time.
A teaser video released on Thursday indicates that Matthew Broderick, now 49, will be reprising his role as Bueller in a Superbowl ad. What product will he be hocking? It’s impossible to tell from the very short snippet shown. All we see is a middle-aged Bueller/Broderick, looking bleary-eyed and wearing a white terrycloth robe, opening the curtains on a window. His one line, “How can I handle work on a day like today?” brings back memories, but isn’t too revealing.
Demi Moore has been having a rough time lately.
First came the announcement of her split with husband Ashton Kutcher. Then, earlier this week, she checked into rehab to overcome her exhaustion and alleged addictions to nitrous oxide and Red Bull. Now word is that we can no longer expect to see her playing feminist icon Gloria Steinem on the big screen.
Going to a basketball game isn’t headline-making news — unless you’re Gilad Shalit, and the game is one of your first public outings after more than five years in Hamas captivity.
Israel’s most famous ex-prisoner returned to the local news in a big way last night after arriving in person to watch his favorite pro basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, take on FC Barcelona Regal. Israelis have closely followed Shalit’s progress since he was released in an October prisoner swap, with the 25-year-old at one point causing controversy simply by going to the beach.
Is it any surprise that, after going out on fifty first dates with Adam Sandler and also falling for him as a wedding singer, Drew Barrymore would say that she is close to her co-star? Of course, not. However, it’s one thing to look to a co-star for friendship and acting advice — or even romantic companionship — and entirely another to seek his services as a religious conversion coach.
But that is exactly what Barrymore is doing, according to In Touch weekly. The gossip magazine reports that Sandler, of “Hanukkah Song” fame, is guiding Barrymore, 36, in her conversion to Judaism as she prepares for her upcoming marriage to her Jewish fiancé, Will Kopelman, a 34-year-old art consultant. Let’s just hope that Sandler knows more about Judaism than how to rhyme yarmulke with Hanukkah and menorah with Dinah Shore-ah.