Today in things in poor taste: A Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman showing one Bibi Netanyahu, flying an Israel plane into an American building. Subtle.
I guess people who lost a loved one on 9/11 will just have to get past that boring old thing called grief in the interest of depicting political tension.
Dressing up for Halloween is always an ordeal. Dressing up when Halloween also falls on Shabbat? Wow.
So this year, in honor of “Shabbatoween,” we’ve come up with some easy tricks to add a topical Jewish twist to your costume. Major treats guaranteed.
For ultimate ’70s swag, pair a leisure suit with a colorful shirt. Bring on the bling, perfect the comb-over and voila! (ABSCAM optional)
Forget Jennifer Lawrence. For the female counterpart to Irv’s psychadelic charm, try a long hair, don’t care Gloria Steinem attitude. Throw on some oversized sunglasses and you’re good to go.
Looks like Professor Sprout has stepped out of the Hogwarts greenhouse — right into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Miriam Margolyes, who played the matron of the Hogwarts greenhouses and Head of Hufflepuff house in the “Harry Potter” franchise, spoke out about the recent war in Gaza to Radio Times, a British television and radio magazine.
According to Haaretz, the actress, who was raised Jewish and grew up in a Jewish household in Britain, said, “I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behavior is not acceptable.”
Margolyes observed that, “there’s been a troubling backlash” against Jews as a result of Operation Protective Edge.
In Belgium and France, rioters shouted “Death to Jews!” In Germany it was, “Gas the Jews!”
Britain itself saw a fivefold increase in calls to the country’s anti-Semitic hotline. July alone saw 240 calls, up from the previous average of roughly 50 a month in the first half of 2014.
“Anti-Semitism is horrible,” Margolyes said, “and can’t be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it,” she said.
“I don’t think many people like Jews,” she added.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. After all, Margolyes continued, “I’m lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant.”
Maybe someone should lay off the mandrake potion from now on…
Legendary newsman Ben Bradlee was put to rest on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
But among the traditional hymns and psalms listed in the program, something stands out: Hebrew script, spelling out the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for mourning.
Now, the former Washington Post executive editor, who died October 21 at the age of 93, was far from Jewish. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more WASP-y figure. His father, Frederick Josiah Bradlee Jr. (his friends called him “B”), could name his American ancestors 10 generations back.
His mother, however, may hold the key to Bradlee’s affinity for the tribe. Josephine de Gersdorff Bradlee, received the Legion of Honor for her work keeping children safe from Nazi forces during World War II.
Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who worked with Bradlee on the Watergate articles that brought down President Richard Nixon, remembered their mentor’s wise words of advice:
Four decades ago, Ben Bradlee told us his general theory of newspapering and life: “Nose down, ass up and moving steadily forward into the future.”
He understood the past and its importance, but he was utterly liberated from it. The past was history to learn from. And he refused to let himself be emotionally encumbered by it or deterred by either the lows or the highs.
Courtesy of ITV
SPOILER ALERT If you are one of those who actually waits the four-month purgatory period between when “Downton Abbey” airs in the United Kingdom and in the United States, you may want to avoid this blog post. Until January 4, that is.
Attention fellow tribe-members! There is a Jewish boy on this season of “Downton Abbey.” Atticus Aldridge, played by Matt Barber, appears in season 5 as Lady Rose’s new love interest. He’s tall, dashing and did we mention, a lord — and it turns out he’s a member of a Ukrainian Jewish family that fled the pogroms in Odessa.
This doesn’t seem to bother Rose, but really what does? The rest of the family seem pretty keen on Aldrige, including the Dowager Countess, though her reaction when she finds out his true origins is right on point: “There’s always something, isn’t there?”
This is the first confirmed Jewish sighting on the hit series. We first had our hopes pegged on Lady Cora Crawley, described as “the beautiful daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods multimillionaire from Cincinnati.” As it turns out, her father was one of the Chosen, but as the Jewish Chronicle points out, Cora and her brother Harold were raised Episcopalian.
Welcome to the Downton-verse Atticus Aldridge! Mrs. Pattmore may have to start brushing up on her challah recipes.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows she’s badass. She’s got the t-shirts to prove it.
At an event held at the 92nd Street Y on Sunday night, the Supreme Court justice explained that she has “quite a large supply” of t-shirts showing her face and the slogan “Notorious RBG,” referencing rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as The Notorious B.I.G.
During the interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg said she gives them out as gifts to her friends:
Totenberg: On a somewhat lighter note, I want to ask you about the Notorious RBG t-shirt.[Applause, Cheers]. I gather there are some people he who’ve worn them. I wear mine on the weekends all the time. And people will occasionally—The guy at the drug store said to me last weekend, he said, who is that woman, she looks very familiar, but who is she? I said she’s a Supreme Court justice. He said, oh good, I’ve learned something today. So how did you find out about the notorious RBG t-shirts.
Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—
Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.
Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.
Totenberg: Do you have the one—what’s the one ‘you can’t have truth without Ruth’”
Ginsburg: Without Ruth. [nods]
So, Ruth… I guess mine just got lost in the mail?
Netflix Inc said on Thursday that comedian and actor Adam Sandler has signed a deal to star in and produce four films that will be shown exclusively on the video-streaming service.
The deal moves Netflix, which produces the Emmy-winning political thriller “House of Cards” and the comedy-drama “Orange Is the New Black,” further into original programming.
“His appeal spans across viewers of all ages - everybody had a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line - not just in the U.S. but all over the world,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement.
The four feature films from Sandler’s company, Happy Madison Productions, will be shown in the nearly 50 countries where Netflix is available.
Brooklyn-born Sandler, 48, started his career as a stand-up comedian before joining the NBC comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.”His films include “Big Daddy,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Grown Ups” and this year’s “Men, Women & Children,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
You may have heard by now (and if not, SPOILER ALERT) that there was a tragic death on the last night’s premiere of “The Simpsons.” Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, on-and-off estranged father to Krusty the Clown, has left us for the magical shul in the sky known as “Jewish Heaven.” He was 74 years old.
Voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, Rabbi Krustofski was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Springfield (state still unknown). There, he raised a son, Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski — better known by his chain-smoking children’s entertainer persona, Krusty the Clown.
Like many a father before him, Krustofski’s dreams of his son following in the family business were dashed when Krusty expressed his desire to become a clown. Unable to accept his son’s decision, Hyman disowns his son and the two are estranged for many years.
(Fun fact: Jackie Mason is descended from a long line of rabbis, and broke with tradition to become an entertainer.)
It takes the combined efforts to Bart and Lisa Simpson to reconcile father and son. In 2003’s “Today I am a Clown” Krusty decides to have a midlife bar mitzvah. Hyman is thrilled — until Krusty, perpetual attention-whore, decides to televise the event in a comback bid.
“Krusty the Klown’s Wet ‘n’ Wild Bar Mitzvah” is a big hit, but Krusty decides to salvage his relationship with Hyman by having a second, more meaningful bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Springfield.
Hyman also appeared in “Once Upon a Time in Springfield,” in which he was to preside over Krusty’s 15th wedding to co-host Princess Penelope. Ultimately, the ceremony gets called off, but not before Rabbi Krustofski slips in an intermarriage joke:
“Friends, loved ones,” he says “we are gathered here today to marry a Jew and — a Congregationalist? Is that even a thing?”
Last year, “Simpsons” producer Al Jean mentioned that a character would die in the season opener. “I’ll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won’t say who it is,” he said. Mason won an Emmy for playing Krustofski in 1992.
As befits any Jewish patriarch, Krustofski died mid-sentence, guilt-tripping his son; his last words to Krusty were: “If you want to know my honest opinion of you, you’ve always been… eh.”
This week marks the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” which is entering its 40th season. Happy birthday guys! To mark the occasion, we’ve assembled a list of our 10 all-time favorite Jewish moments on SNL (they’re like butter, so good Coffee Talk and Hanukkah Harry didn’t make the cut):
Gilda Radner scores as Emily Litella on a Chevy Chase-hosted Weekend Update segment, with her classic talking-head rant trying to figure out what all the fuss is about over Soviet Jewelry.
Best line: “Save Soviet jewelry?! Where are we going to put it? I say keep it over THERE, with all their ballet dancers!”
Meet Evan, a 6-year-old from a broken home who frequents Benihana and communicates entirely via Borscht Belt jokes.
Best line, delivered to the chef: “I love your showmanship but careful with those knives, you’re giving me flashbacks to my bris. I don’t know if I should clap or cover my shmeckle!”
Attention, suit-lovers — this one’s for you.
According to Vanity Fair, Lena Dunham will be producing an HBO documentary about Bindle & Keep, the Jewish owned and Brooklyn-based bespoke tailoring company whose custom suits and shirts have drawn a following in the transgender community.
“Three Suits” will follow Bindle & Keep clients as they go through the process of having their custom suits made, while “examining the significance of the process for a set of customers with complex gender identities.”
“We were totally blown away when Lena’s team first reached out to us—the art we practice is so specialized that it was hard to believe heavy hitters were taking an interest,” Bindle & Keep founder and owner Daniel Friedman told Vanity Fair.
Dunham’s “Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner will also be producing.
Curious? Read the Forward’s Q&A with Daniel Friedman here.
Every year, a great day dawns on Middle Earth. I’m speaking of course, of September 22 — Hobbit Day, for those who didn’t grow up on a steady diet of tales of rings, angry wizards, and small creatures with big feet.
According to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings,” both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins are said to be born on September 22, though on different years (Bilbo in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 in the Third Age — yes, I looked it up. This is, sadly, not knowledge I carry in my brain at all times).
In addition to celebrating two of the Shire’s most adventurous citizens, Hobbit Day also launches Tolkien Week, celebrated every year since it was launched in 1978 by the American Tolkien Society.
Which brings us to the Jewish connexion. No, Frodo and Bilbo are not secret Jews (believe me, I tried to make that theory work). And as Seth Rogovoy pointed out in his review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”: “Sometimes, a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf is just a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf and not an evil, anti-Semitic stand-in for Jews.”
But J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Middle Earth, Elvish, Sauron and the One Ring, was something of a Judeophile. When asked to provide verification of his Aryan status for a German publisher that wanted to put out a German translation of his work, Tolkien refused:
“I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware noone (sic) of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.”
Describing the incident to a friend, he wrote:
“Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of arisch origin from all persons of all countries?… Personally I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestatigung [confirmation] (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang. In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print. I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.”
And so, on this most auspicious of days, we here at the Forward wish Frodo and Bilbo Baggins a very happy birthday! (Pro-tip: If you want to celebrate in a quiet and non-life threatening way, maybe make sure Gandalf’s invite gets lost on the way)
Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn have a very special talent — and it’s not acting.
Apparently, the Jewish mother-daughter duo spend quality time together interacting with ghosts.
The subject came up during an interview with British talk show host Alan Carr, set to air later tonight. Here are a couple of soundbites (via The Independent):
Me and my mum Goldie can see dead people,” said a dead pan Hudson.
“It is not really seeing, it is feeling a spirit; a fifth energy.”
“I believe in energy. I believe our brains can manifest into visual things.”
Cue the “Sixth Sense” memes.
Arrr ye ready? September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aye aye! To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of the most fearsome Jews ever to sail the seas.
Thar be more than ye think.
This French-American pirate, who sailed the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century, claimed Jewish ancestry through his grandparents in a journal entry. When the United States passed the Embargo Act of 1807, prohibiting American trade with England France, he smuggled tobacco and sugar into New Orleans.
Fueled by a thirst for revenge for the Spanish Inquisition, this Sephardic pirate helped plan one of the biggest pilferages against Spain. In 1628, Henriques and Dutch West India Co. Admiral Piet Hein, boarded a number of ships loaded with gold and silver from the New World off the coast of Cuba. The total haul was worth approximately $1 billion USD in today’s currency. According to the Jewish Journal, Henriques was never caught, and founded his own pirate colony on an island off the coast of Brazil. When the Portuguese reconquered Brazil, Henriques fell in with Henry Morgan, one of the most ruthless privateers ever to sail along the Spanish Main.
Another Sephardic pirate — sensing a trend? Born in Spain, Sinan Reis and his family fled the Inquisition and settled in Ottoman-ruled ruled Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), where he sailed as a Barbary corsair under the famed admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa. His victory at the 1538 Battle of Preveza earned him the nickname “Great Jew” by the Spanish. Reis later become Supreme Ottoman naval commander. He is buried in Jewish cemetery in Albania.
No one can rock the Puffy Shirt pirate look quite like Jerry Seinfeld. We’ll let him explain how he feels about it:
Move over, Alicia Florrick — another badass lady is coming to “The Good Wife.”
Activist and author Gloria Steinem will be making a cameo appearance on the show’s sixth season, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Steinem will play herself and face-off with Julianna Margulies’ character in the third episode of the upcoming season.
Season six promised to be one of the most star-heavy in the show’s history: David Hyde Pierce, Taye Diggs, Steven Pasquale and Connie Nielsen are also set to make appearances. Previous seasons have seen guest stars like Bill Maher, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and current NYC mayor Bill de Blasio.
Steinem, a “Good Wife” fan, has only made two other cameos, including one in the “The First Wives Club” in 1996 and on a 1995 episode of “The Larry Sanders Show.”
In an appearance on Wednesday’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael”, Margulies admitted that that she was starstruck when she ran into Steinem on set. “I made a fool of myself and then had to email her and had to apologize,” she admitted.
Don’t worry Julianna — everyone is a fool where Gloria Steinem is concerned.
Melissa Rivers, the only daughter of legendary comedian Joan Rivers, who died two weeks ago following complications from an outpatient throat procedure, said her mother would have been overwhelmed by the depth of love people have shown for her.
In her first statement since Rivers’ death on Sept. 4, Melissa and her teenage son, Cooper, thanked fans for the many cards, flowers, messages and condolences they have received from around the world and through social media.
“We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother’s legacy, and for remembering the joy and laugher that she brought to so many,” she said in a message posted on the website WhoSay.
Rivers, 81, was rushed to a New York hospital on Aug. 28 after she stopped breathing during a procedure at a Manhattan clinic. She was put on life support and died a week later.
The cause of her death is still unknown pending further tests and the State Department of Health is investigating Yorkville Endoscopy, the client where she was treated.
Rivers, who was known for her raspy voice, classic put downs and numerous cosmetic surgeries, was a pioneer for women in comedy. During a career that spanned more than 50 years, she worked as a comedy sketch writer, stand-up comedian, actress, talk show host and reality TV star.
More recently she hosted the cable TV show “Fashion Police,” commenting on the red carpet choice of Hollywood celebrities. Melissa Rivers will take part in special tribute show on Friday honoring her mother.
“Fashion Police: Celebrating Joan,” a 90-minute show, will include behind-the-scenes footage of Rivers and cast members and outtakes with celebrity guests.
Mayim, Mayim, Mayim.
In a post written for her personal blog on Kveller, Mayim Bialik has disavowed the frosty fairytale and instant cult classic that captured all our hearts this year. Yes — Mayim Bialik hates “Frozen.”
In “Why My Sons and I Hate the Movie ‘Frozen,’ the “Big Bang Theory” star and (former) favorite Jewess explains her reasons. Here they are below, with some added commentary by yours truly:
1) The Lack of Female Agency
Sure, it’s sort of hidden, but the search for a man/love/Prince is still the reigning plot line in the movie, as it is with pretty much all movies for young people which are animated. The sister’s desire to marry this guy she just met, and the other sister getting mad at her — we still have a plot about the identification of a woman being based on her desire and search to meet a man … I’ve had just enough already with this finding a man business in most every kids’ movie.”
OK. Fair enough, the plot ends on a love story. But the reason that “Frozen” has garnered such positive praise is that the search for a man plays is secondary to the love between two strong-willed and powerful sisters. Being awkward, impatient, waking up with drool on your face — these are all seen as endearing (and just, well normal) aspects of life that a girl should embrace rather than hide. Anna is every girl who has made a bad decision about a man. It’s only fair that she gets her happy ending at the end.
While I don’t love the fact that there has to be a love interest in just about every movie for it to be profitable, it’s not something that will just suddenly disappear overnight. “Frozen” is one step on that path.
“What happens in Frozen? The Prince/hero turns out to be a scheming villain. He pretended to love her and then he double crosses her and she gets the lesson taught to her not to trust those nasty scheming conniving men. Because you know, men can’t be trusted? Meh.
So, just so I understand — we’re upset that the movie centers around finding a man but also outraged that said man turns out to be an a**hole? Telling young girls that not every Prince Charming that glances their way will turn out to be that great seems like a reasonable life lesson to me. That being said, let’s not forget Kristof, that shaggy, socially inept, adorable lug of a guy that Anna ends up with at the end. There is hope for all of us.
3) Absurdly tiny waists
“My biggest problem with this movie was the way the female characters are drawn and animated,” the 38-year-old star concluded. “The male characters look like cartoon men. They have some exaggerated features, sure. But by and large, they look like they have the proportions of human beings. Not so with our lead ladies. They have ginormous eyes. Like really ridiculously big. Teeny-tiny ski slope noses … Barbie doll proportions of their bodies in general: tiny waists, ample busts, and huge heads. They look like dolls. They don’t look like the same species as the male characters even! What’s up with that?!”
This one I can get behind. Disney princesses, much like Barbie, are known for their ridiculous proportions. Case-in-point: Princess Jasmine. How can she even breathe?
Well this is a new low.
It seems that Joan Rivers’ doctor took a selfie with the late comedian’s unconscious body while she was under anesthesia. The 81-year-old was at Manhattan’s Yorkville Endoscopy clinic for a scheduled endoscopy by gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen. Once that procedure ended, a biopsy was done on Rivers’ vocal cords without her consent by another doctor, according to a source in the clinic. That procedure led to the heart attack that killed her.
Though Cohen has since been let go from the clinic, the doctor responsible for the biopsy has not yet been identified.
Teary-tributes are still pouring out for Rivers, who died on August 29. Just yesterday, Jerry Seinfeld revealed that Rivers was to be a guest on the new season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”:
“I just came across this heartbreaking text on my phone from August 19th. I had asked Joan Rivers to be our lead guest on the new season of Comedians in Cars, and she was thrilled. Then we got a call saying she was going in for a medical procedure and needed to postpone.” He continued: “I would have loved to have shown another side of her. I wanted to tell her how much I admire all she had accomplished, especially in the latter stages of her career. She was one of the greats. I’ll miss her.”
Fellow comedian Billy Eichner, star of “Billy on the Street,” wrote a moving essay about Rivers in the September 19/26 of Entertainment Weekly:
I’ll remember going to Joan and Melissa’s Passover seder at Melissa’s house in L.A. last year. As she led us through the traditional Passover rituals, Joan sprinkled in a few jokes about Lady Gaga amid the Hebrew prayers. It’s important to note that this was the only seder I’d ever been to where waiters in black tie served you the matzo, and certainly the only one I’d ever been to where I was seated between Rod Stewart’s manager and Lesley Ann Warren.
Yesterday marked Barbara Streisand’s big return to the “Tonight Show.”
Why is this a big deal? Well, the last time Babs appeared on the show (with Johnny Carson as host), Kennedy was president, America had never heard of the Beatles and the Berlin Wall was still something new. In 1963, and the singer was just 21 years old, with two fresh grammies under her belt for her first album — “The Barbra Streisand Album.”
51 years later, the host is Jimmy Fallon, and Babs, well, is still very much Babs. The two celebrated Streisand’s new album, “Partners,” by singing a medley of duets, with Fallon channeling Elvis Presley, Blake Shelton and John Legend.
He even tried to sneak a kiss.
Check out the clip below:
Urban Outfitters has done it again. The (once) hip clothing giant took flack this week after listing an eyebrow-raising product for sale: a Kent State sweatshirt with a blood-spatter design.
The sweatshirt seems to be a poorly-conceived nod to the Kent State shootings of 1970, in which Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of students protesting the Vietnam war, killing four. Three of the students killed that day — Allison Krause, Sandra Scheuer, and Jeffrey Miller — were Jewish, and Kent State’s Hillel rabbi led early efforts to memorialize the shootings.
The price tag? Try $130.
As part of its “vintage” collection, Urban Outfitters only made one of the sweatshirts available for purchase on its website, and the item is currently listed as “sold out.” But that hasn’t stopped the criticism from rolling in.
Kent State University described the sweatshirt’s sale as “beyond poor taste” and invited Urban Outfitters’ executives to visit its campus memorial to the shootings, according to the Washington Post. The company has since apologized, but denied that the shirt was an allusion to the Kent State shootings.
This is not the first time Urban Outfitters has proven just how badly its staff needs sensitivity training. Black leaders condemned its 2003 parody of Monopoly, “Ghettopoly,” which included game cards that read, “You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50.” That same year, the clothing chain released a shirt with words, “Everyone loves a Jewish girl,” surrounded by dollar signs and shopping bags.
When I was in 5th grade, I had a deep dark secret. Upon turning 11, I fully expected to receive a letter by owl post, summoning me to join my class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Judging by the picture Drake posted to Instagram this weekend, it seems I wasn’t the only one.
The Jewish Canadian rapper captioned this little gem: “Me at Hogwarts scheming on Hermoine #DrakeOMalfoy #CantStandMuggles”
But Drake — come on: It’s HerMIOne, not HerMOIne.
Swish and flick on out of here.