The Shmooze

Lena Dunham's White House Independence Day

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Lena Dunham and boyfriend Jack Antonoff spent Independence Day with the Obamas…and a whole lot of other people invited to a holiday celebration on the White House lawn.

It wasn’t all play and no work for Antonoff, who performed at the party with his band, Fun. Dunham, in blue shirt, red purse and white sunglasses, was there to provide moral support and soak up the atmosphere.

From the cute photo of the couple hugging the “Girls” creator posted on Instagram, it looks like she and her boyfriend were enjoying themselves. “Happy 4th of July, from our family to yours!” read the caption. The couple was also spotted by the paparazzi as they strolled hand-in-hand in the nation’s capital over the holiday weekend.

Dunham showed her appreciation for President Obama’s older daughter, Malia, who celebrated her 15th birthday at the party. “Happy Birthday Malia Obama! Let’s all hope we’re as elegant as you when we grow up,” the HBO star tweeted.

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Yizkor Prayer Controversy Spreads Through Facebook

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Some Facebook users have recently been posting things like, “I thought Yom HaZikaron was last month” or “Yom HaZikaron again so soon?” as their statuses. It’s not because they don’t know that Israel’s Memorial Day takes place the day before Israel’s Independence Day, but rather because of all the “Yizkor” candle icons they have been seeing on their social media newsfeeds.

These icons are for a link to a petition protesting a proposed change to the wording of the remembrance prayer recited at IDF memorial ceremonies. Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens, many of them bereaved parents like Yehudit Bialer, the author of the petition, are up in arms against the possible switching of “Israel remembers its sons and daughters” to “God remembers His sons and daughters.” As Philologos discusses in his column this week, the commonly used “Israel” version dates to early the early independence era and uses text for the prayer written by Zionist intellectual leader Berl Katznelson in 1920.

Yehudit Bialer, the mother of Yoram Bialer, who fell in 1969 at the age of 21 during the War of Attrition with Egypt, begins her petition with, “It is important for me to know that the nation to which he belonged and which he loved, will remember him. Neither Yoram nor I have any relationship with God. Therefore, I vehemently oppose the changing of the wording “The nation of Israel remembers…”

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Shalit Independence Day Protest Absent From Israeli TV

By Nathan Jeffay

It was probably the most newsworthy element of this year’s Independence Day celebrations in Israel, but, oddly, footage of it didn’t appear on television.

At the official state torch-lighting ceremony in Jerusalem, Yoel Shalit — the brother of Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Hamas for almost five years — stood up with his girlfriend and displayed signs saying “Gilad is still alive” and shouted in protest against what he considers the government’s lack of effort to bring Gilad home. The two were forcibly ejected from the Monday night event.

The ceremony was televised by three domestic channels, all of which used a feed from a production company engaged by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. But the protest was conspicuously absent from the feed, meaning that TV viewers didn’t see it.

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Jeff Goldblum Performs a Bris, On a Cigarette

By Josh Tapper

First it was lox, now it’s … cigarettes?

Tobacco sticks are the latest unassuming product to face kashrut questions, after a Dutch study found that pig hemoglobin was being used in some cigarette filters. The issue hasn’t captured the attention of the rabbinic authorities just yet, and it might not now that actor and rabbi-in-disguise Jeff Goldblum has stepped in to quell the situation. Goldblum, famous for roles in “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day” and “The Fly,” performed a mock bris on a Marlboro on “The Colbert Report” last week. The filter is kind of the like the foreskin, right?

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