The Shmooze

Abraham Lincoln: Champion of Jews as Americans

By Masha Leon

It was an elbow-to-elbow noshing crush at the March 19 preview reception of the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition: “With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews” which was inspired by the publication of “Lincoln and Jews: A History” (Thomas Dunne Books) by Jonathan D. Sarna (dubbed by the Forward in 2004 as one of the 50 most influential Jews in America) and Benjamin Shapell, founder of The Shapell Manuscript Foundation.

Among the 350 movers, shakers and literati in the Jewish community: The Forward’s editor-in-Chief, Jane Eisner, its founding editor Seth Lipsky, Israel’s consul general Ido Aharoni, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Ken Bialkin, Mark Podwal, John Ruskay, and George Blumenthal — who will digitize the show.

Introduced by Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, Rabbi David Wolpe Sinai Temple, Los Angeles informed: “Having actually read the book…whenever you have a great man, everyone wants to claim him. And it is no surprise that in some ways, Jews want to claim Lincoln…There are three aspects of Lincoln that make him profoundly Jewish…The first is that Lincoln grew up alienated– which is very Jewish. Second: more than any other president, Lincoln is characterized by his use of words. In our tradition there is no perfect life — only the perfect words. When you come into a Jewish building you kiss a word…When Lincoln used words to sway a nation, we remember [the] words. Like the biblical Abraham he was blessed with eloquence and a passionate and articulate people who celebrate and share his legacy.”

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Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' Tops Oscars List

By Reuters

getty images

Presidential drama “Lincoln” led the pack of Oscar nominees on Thursday with 12 nominations including a nod for best picture, in the race for the world’s top film honors.

Joining “Lincoln” in the competition for the best movie Oscar were eight films - shipwreck tale “Life of Pi” with 11 nods, musical “Les Miserables,” Iran hostage drama “Argo,” French language drama “Amour,” Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty,” comedy “Silver Linings Playbook,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” and mythological film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

The Oscars are given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and this year’s winners will be named at a ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 24.

Best acting nominations went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for “Les Miserables,” Jessica Chastain for her role as a CIA agent in “Zero Dark Thirty” and Jennifer Lawrence for playing a young widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

In a list with few major surprises, “Lincoln” also picked up nods for director Steven Spielberg, and supporting actors Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as best adapted screenplay and costumes.

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Steven Spielberg Scores Directors Guild Nod

By Reuters

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper and Ang Lee received nominations from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Tuesday, ahead of the Oscar nominations this week.

Affleck, 40, landed his first Directors Guild film award nomination for Iran hostage thriller “Argo,” alongside Oscar-winning U.S. directors Bigelow and Spielberg, Taiwanese director Lee and British filmmaker Hooper.

The DGA nominations are often a key indicator of Oscar nominees and winners, and the Academy Award for best picture also often goes to the winner of the best director award.

The winner of the DGA feature film category will be revealed at a dinner ceremony hosted by Kelsey Grammer on Feb. 2 in Los Angeles, three weeks before the Academy Awards.

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