The Shmooze

Red Hot Chili Peppers (Finally) Perform in Israel

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It took more than a decade, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers have finally found a “more suitable time” to perform in Israel.

The band, which received a Grammy nomination yesterday for best rock album, will play in Tel Aviv next September in support of its latest release, “I’m With You.” The show will take place more than 11 years after the band’s original date for the concert, which it called off because of security concerns in August 2001, during one of the worst periods of the second intifada.

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Meir Dagan Makes ‘Top Global Thinkers’ List

By Nathan Jeffay

High-tech geniuses, remarkable thinkers, and Nobel Prize winning scientists — Israel has them all. But seemingly none of them need as much brainpower as one who can put the brakes on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So says Foreign Policy magazine.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan ranks number 63 in the list of its “top global thinkers.” Why? “For being the last man in Israel to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu.” He recently roundly criticized rumored plans for Israel to strike Iran. The magazine wrote that “when Dagan refers to an Israeli airstrike on Iran’s nuclear installations as ‘the stupidest thing I have ever heard,’ we should pay attention.’” The “stupidest thing” quote was brought to light here.

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Jewish Man Sues Na’amat for Discrimination

By Renee Ghert-Zand

In some Jew-on-Jew legal action, a male employee who was fired has sued his former employer, the Jewish women’s organization Na’amat, on grounds of religious discrimination.

According to Marshall Garvin, Susan Schwartz, his supervisor at Na’amat, harassed him for leaving work to say kaddish for his recently deceased mother. Garvin, an observant Jew from Riverdale, told the New York Daily News that he went to complain about this to Na’amat USA’s president, Elizabeth Raider, last March. Garvin, 65, claims that within an hour of his speaking to Raider, he was terminated.

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Kristin Chenoweth Dishes on Jewish Men

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Chenoweth with Sorkin in 2006

Fans of singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth will be able to read in the January issue of Prevention magazine what she says about gay adoption (she’s all for it), botox injections (she’s all for those, too — and gets them every six months) and Jewish men’s apparent affections for her.

The 43-year-old blonde, who has performed on Broadway and television as well as in movies, has had her longest and most serious romantic relationships with Jewish men. For instance, she has dated stage actor Marc Kudisch and was in a long-term relationship with writer/producer Aaron Sorkin.

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Viral Video Leaked Sensitive IDF Info

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Oops! A six-minute YouTube video showing classified IDF maps and command-and-control systems went viral over several months before authorities caught on and removed it. But it was too late to undo possible damage that might have been done, as many viewers had already downloaded the video to their personal hard drives.

Ynet has posted the video after having blurred out all the sensitive material, like maps, communications equipment and information posted on bulletin boards. To the Shmooze’s eye, it does not appear that the video was meant as a deliberate security breech. Rather, it seems that a bunch of bored teenagers — who happen to be IDF soldiers — simply made a music video to amuse themselves.

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Fisher vs. Shatner; Star Wars vs. Star Trek

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Carrie Fisher and William Shatner have taken their gloves off, duking it out in YouTube videos over which is better: Star Wars or Star Trek.

They poke as much fun at each other’s having aged over the years as they do at the relative merits of their respective legendary productions. Fisher, looking svelt but wearing a way-too-low-cut top, challenges the perennially young-looking Shatner to a “costume-off.” She makes fun of Shatner’s clingy Captain Kirk costume while complimenting her own Princess Leia metal bikini. Shatner’s sharp retort is that at least his costume “has stretch” so that it would still fit his now larger physique. “I don’t know if we are ready to see you in that bikini,” he tells Fisher. “While my costume just needs some push and pull, your bikini would need some real…uplift.”

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Julian Schnabel Auctions Surfboard for Charity

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Visual artist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Julian Schnabel has donated one of his limited edition “Blind Girl Surf Club” surfboards to a charity auction in California for Surfers Healing: A Foundation For Autism.

The black surfboard, which has a picture of a girl with a purple mark over her eyes on one side and “Blind Girl Surf Club” written on the other, is listed with an opening bid of $20,000 on the Surfers Healing fourth annual Holiday Surfboard Auction website. The fundraiser is sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton and Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints program.

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Unladylike Brawl on Jerusalem Light Rail

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Operation of the Jerusalem Light Rail has not gone smoothly since it finally got up and running late this summer. Earlier this month, some drivers held a strike, and others quit their jobs over pay issues. An elderly man was badly injured when struck by a train car. Windows have been broken by stones thrown at trains as they went through East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

What next? Dozens of Arab and Jewish girls were involved in a big brawl on Jerusalem’s Light Rail on Monday. Ynet reports that the use of tear gas by one of the Jewish girls involved prompted the evacuation of the train.

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Streisand To Sing for the IDF

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Barbra Streisand is set to headline a star-studded gala for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in Los Angeles on December 8. Organizers of the fundraiser are considering this a coup, given that the singer rarely agrees to sing at such events and has yet to accept invitations to hold a concert in Israel.

The evening, which will take place at L.A.’s Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, is being put together by Egyptian-born Israeli-American entertainment mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl. Saban, one of the IDF’s biggest donors and the gala’s chairman for the past five years, personally asked Streisand to sing.

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Tel Aviv Fashion Week: Gowns to Headdresses

By Susan M. Kirschbaum

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A model presents a creation by Israeli designer Sasson Kedem during Tel Aviv Fashion Week.

While Americans were eating turkey and giving thanks last week, local designers in Israel were showing their collections for the for first official Tel Aviv Fashion Week in 30 years. Dressed in his signature suit and sunglasses, designer Roberto Cavalli kicked off the over-the-top festivities with an encore showing of his Milan Spring 2012 collection, which included a heavy dose of bejeweled gowns.

The local obsession with all things fashion remained in overdrive well after his departure. Attendees — from Israeli housewives with the right connections to television celebrities to supermodels like Esti Ginzburg — clapped for their favorite runway looks, as well as associated props including belly dancers, Arab musicians and, in one case, rooster headdresses courtesy of menswear line Maurizio. We don’t think the headdresses will translate to international fashion, but a few notable designers caught our eye:

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Anne Hathaway To Marry Jewish Boyfriend

By Nathan Burstein

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Hathaway and Shulman in 2010

Anne Hathaway isn’t too cool for shul, man.

In fact, the actress has announced plans to marry longtime boyfriend Adam Shulman, a decision reported via a representative to People magazine.

Hathaway’s engagement follows a three-year relationship with Shulman, an actor whose credits include a recurring role on “The West Wing.” A nice Jewish boy may have been particularly appealing to Hathaway after her previous relationship, which ended in imprisonment for her con man ex-boyfriend.

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‘Kosher’ Clothing Crackdown in Jerusalem

By Renee Ghert-Zand

In another sign that the Holy City is also the holier-than-thou one, Jerusalem’s chief rabbinate is going to begin a kashrut certification program for clothing stores.

According to the Srugim website (the portal for Israeli news from the national religious perspective — not for the popular Israeli television series of the same name), this has nothing to do with people eating while clothes shopping. Rather, it is a way to allow consumers to rest assured that they are not buying items containing shatnez (the biblically forbidden mixture of wool and linen).

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Visit Einstein's Brain in Philly

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Albert Einstein may have died in 1955, but his brain is still around — very small pieces of it, that is. For the first time ever, the public can now view 46 slivers of Einstein’s brain on display in a special exhibition at the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library, which is run by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Although the museum already possesses bits of remains from other famous individuals (a tumor of President Grover Cleveland, neck tissue from John Wilkes Booth), the museum’s curator, Anna Dhody, could not be more excited about this latest acquisition. “It’s Einstein’s brain!” she exclaimed. “It’s one of the greatest minds of the 20th century in our museum. What more can you ask for?”

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Kosher Liver That Tastes Like Pork

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Talk about the best of all worlds. Soon, here in Israel, we’ll be able to observe tradition and start our Shabbat dinner with liver, while enjoying the taste of pork. Oh, and all with the blessing of the Chief Rabbi.

Confused? Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has revealed that his rabbinate is looking in to importing a special goose liver that tastes like pork. How does he know? He’s had three non-Jewish food experts check it out.

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Realtor Helps Toronto Muslims Buy Cemetery

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Muslims and Jews may not always get along, but there are instances in which they manage to put aside differences in order to tend to the basic things in life. While political leaders continue to struggle to make peace in the Middle East, a story out of Toronto proves that coexistence and mutual support is possible in certain matters of life and death.

Toronto’s Muslim community has acquired its first cemetery in the city thanks to the help of a Jew — and an Israeli-born one, no less. The Canadian Jewish News reports that Yosi Behar, 68, arranged for an interest free loan for the Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corp., which enabled it to buy a $6.8 million property from the Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation.

Behar, who has been in the real estate business for 43 years said, “this is the most satisfying deal I have ever put together.” The local Sunni and Shiite communities came together on the project, and representatives of the two groups came to Behar’s home to hammer out the deal. They then proceeded to a Sunni mosque to sign the documents. Behar served as a witness and signed his name in Hebrew on the papers.

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'Hannukah Pricing' Vodka Ads Are Dumped

By Forward Staff

A New York vodka billboard featuring the slogan “Christmas Quality, Hannukah Pricing,” was quickly removed after the Anti-Defamation League criticized it as anti-Semitic, news reports said.

One billboard for Wodka vodka was taken down from a prominent spot overlooking the West Side Highway in Manhattan, the New York Times reported.

The ad, part of a campaign, features two dogs, one wearing a Santa cap and one wearing a yarmulke with the message “Christmas Quality, Hanukah Pricing.” According to the ADL, the billboards were featured in several locations in New York.

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Holocaust Survivors: Beware Identity Theft

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

Elderly Holocaust survivors, many of whom require financial assistance for daily living expenses, now have another worry to contend with: identity theft. It seems that a worker in charge of protecting survivors’ interests was willing to steal their personal information in order to make a quick buck.

Crystal Thorne, 23, a coordinator at the Jewish Community Services of South Florida office in North Miami, is in police custody after having been arrested on Saturday. She was to have made her first appearance Monday in Miami federal court on charges of having sold Holocaust survivors’ identity information for a total of $1,000. Thorne had access to the survivors’ records in the agency’s Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program.

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Get Your Neoprene Joe Fresh Dress in NYC

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Have you been on the lookout for an orange neoprene dress to wear to one of those upcoming holiday parties? How about a matching coat to go with it? Look no further! That ensemble, along with many of Joe Fresh’s other “signature pieces in the contemporary, sportswear, intimates and beauty categories,” has arrived in New York from the Great White North.

The brand’s creative director, Joe Mimran, recently entertained members of the press at the new Joe Fresh boutique in the Flatiron District, one of six locations opened or soon to open in Manhattan. (A Fifth Avenue flagship store is scheduled to welcome shoppers the coming spring.)

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Meet ‘James Deen,’ Jewish Porn Star

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

Apparently “nerdy Jewish dudes” are a hot genre in porn — or they’re becoming one, thanks to an up-and- (er, never mind) performer who’s had a bar mitzvah.

The star in question — whose nom de porn is James Deen — is billed as “What Women Want” in the winter issue of Good magazine, which includes a lengthy profile of the 25-year-old. Although the piece doesn’t go into serious detail about his upbringing, Deen clearly identifies as Jewish, regularly “crack[ing] Jew jokes” and referring at one point to his “overanalytical Jew brain.” (That’s not a euphemism.)

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Syracuse Coach Accused of Sex Abuse

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Hot on the heels of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, Syracuse University announced late last week that it had put its associate head basketball coach on administrative leave in response to allegations that he sexually molested ball boys from the 1970s to the 1990s.

ESPN reports that Syracuse police have opened an investigation in to the allegations put forth against Bernie Fine by Bobby Davis, now 39, and his stepbrother Mike Lang, now 45. Davis alleges that Fine molested him beginning in 1984, and that the abuse took place at Fine’s home, the university’s sports facilities and on road trips. Lang says Fine began molesting him several years earlier, when he was in 5th or 6th grade.

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