The Shmooze

Madonna Celebrates Purim as 'Mother of Dragons'

By Anne Cohen

Stop the search: We have officially found the best Purim costume of the year.

Madonna celebrated the triumph of Jews over Haman and the return of “Game of Thrones” (April 6, you guys!) in one fell swoop by dressing up as Daenerys Targaryan, a.k.a Mother of Dragons, a.k.a Khaleesi.

She posted the picture to Instagram with the caption: “Happy Purim!!!!! All Hail All Queens! ##certainty”

Daenerys isn’t the only queen Madonna’s representing. Though raised Roman Catholic, the pop diva adopted Kabbalah in the late 90s and took the Hebew name Esther, as in Queen Esther, who saved the Jews and became Queen of Persia.

All hail, indeed.

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Madonna's Sukkot at Kabbalah Rabbi Memorial

By Forward Staff

getty images
Madonna

Madonna, one of the world’s most prominent Kabbalah followers, decided to skip the funeral of mentor Rabbi Philip Berg — and instead attended a joyous memorial in New York.

The mystic Material Girl joined other followers of Berg at kosher hot spot Prime at the Bentley hotel in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.

The paper reported that the superstar’s SUV pulled onto the sidewalk oustide the East Side restaurant, so she could sneak in, with her head completely wrapped in the scarf.

Madonna addressed Berg’s death at the event inside, telling the crowd that the late kabbalah master would not want them to mourn.

“Rabbi Berg would not want us to be sad, he would want us to celebrate Sukkot,” she said before praying and dancing with her kids Lourdes, David and Rocco.

Other A-list celebs, including Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, journeyed to the Israeli city of Safed for Berg’s funeral.

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Madonna's Son Rocco Bar-Mitvahed

By Anne Cohen

Can you picture Madonna and Guy Ritchie dancing the hora?

This is what one can only hope happened after their son Rocco was bar-mitzvahed on July 13 at the Kabbalah Center in New York.

Madonna celebrated her boy’s transition to manhood by posting a picture on Instagram. “We finish the last letter of the Torah for Rocco”s Bar Mitzva,” the caption reads. “Lucky 13! Happy Birthday! Potential……….responsibility!!!!”

The party train continued on to Bklyn Beast, New York’s Parkour training ground.

The diva, who gave birth to Rocco in August 2000, has been a student of Kabbalah since the 1990s.

The jury is still out on whether or not this can actually be considered a bar-mitzvah (neither Madonna nor Guy Ritchie are Jewish) but in the meantime — Mazel Tov, Rocco!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Will Madonna Call Tel Aviv Home?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

It looks like the Kabbalah-loving Madonna may be trading in a London flat for an apartment in the Holy Land.

Madge was apparently seen toting a brochure for a high-end housing project in Tel Aviv. Israel’s Channel 10 reported on a photo circulating on Facebook showing her with sales material from the Meier on Rothschild tower, a 50-story luxury apartment building going up at the corner of Allenby St. and Rothschild Ave. The project is named for the man who has designed it — famed American architect Richard Meier.

We’re fairly certain the steep prices will not be a problem for the superstar. Apartments in the building have already been sold for between $1.4 million and $47 million.

We already know from Madonna’s several recent visits to Israel, including for the kickoff concert of her 20102 MDNA tour, that she finds the Holy Land inspiring. If pictures don’t lie, it would seem that she might also soon find spiritual uplift in an “awe-inspiring view of the Mediterranean,” as the Meier on Rothschild sales literature suggests.

Who knows? The Israeli paparazzi might soon catch Madonna making Aroma runs (Sorry, Madge, there’s no Starbucks in Israel).

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Stars Are Pressuring Alicia Keys to Cancel Israel Tour

By Chavie Lieber

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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker have written open letters to R&B star Alicia Keys urging her to cancel her Tel Aviv concert.

“Dear Alicia Keys, I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists,” Walker wrote in an open letter on the website for the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.

“I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world,” Walker added. “A cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major ‘crime’ is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own.”

In Waters’ letter, the British star implored Keys to “stand united with all our brothers and sisters against racism, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.”

“Please, Alicia, do not lend your name to give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine,” he went on. “Others may try to persuade you that by playing in Israel you may magically effect some change; we know that this is not true, appeasement didn’t work with South Africa and it has not worked in Israel. I know I tried it ten years ago, things have only got worse.”

Keys is scheduled to perform July 4 at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena. Stars like Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Santana, and the Pixies, have canceled concerts in Israel in the past, while artists like Madonna, Paul McCartney, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have dismissed calls to boycott Israel and have performed in the past. Keys has not yet responded to Waters or Walker’s letter.

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Madonna's Boyfriend Waves Israeli and Palestinian Flags

By Anne Cohen

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Brahim Zaibat and Madonna

We were all so busy being mesmerized with every aspect of Madonna’s questionable outfit for the Met Gala on Monday, that no one noticed Brahim Zaibat’s choice of accessory: miniature Israeli and Palestinian Authority flags.

Statement of tolerance, or weird Kabbalah practice? Who knows.

The 25-year-old dancer and the 54-year-old diva have been dating for two years. In February, Zaibat signed with modeling agency IMG, and hit the runway for New York Fashion Week.

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Monday's Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Claire Danes, who won an Emmy last night for her portrayal of CIA agent Carrie Mathison on “Homeland,” wows in a Tel Aviv fashion spread in the New York Times’ fashion magazine. In Israel to shoot scenes for the show, she posed in designs by Vanessa Bruno, Emporio Armani, Comme des Garçons, Louis Vuitton and others on location in Jaffa and the oldest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.

Speaking of the Emmys, Mayim Bialik may have been freaking out before the ceremony, but she sure looked great in her flowing red gown that matched her long flowing coiffure. It’s too bad she didn’t win for best supporting actress in a comedy series, but at least she got a nice profile in the New York Times last week.

And speaking of photo shoots, here ) is a smoking hot one of Rashida Jones in Flaunt Magazine.

Vanessa Redgrave, who denounced “Zionist hoodlums” in her 1977 Oscar speech, will play a Holocaust survivor in the off-Broadway production of “The Revisionist,” a new play by “The Social Network” star Jesse Eisenberg.

People Magazine’s fashion editors named Gwyneth Paltrow the world’s best dressed woman for 2012.

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Video: Vintage 1992 Bar Mitzvah Dance

By Hannah Rubin

YouTube

Imagine bar mitzvah season in the year 1992: a time of frilly dresses, balloon arches and Paul Rudd emceeing in Doc Martens and a yellow tuxedo. Now cut to Shaun Sperling’s bar mitzvah.

With Madonna’s face embroidered onto the back of his white button down, Sperling strutted out onto his bar-mitzvah’s wood paneled dance floor — with his fingers snapping and his tie flung over his shoulder. What followed was a nearly six-minute dance routine to Madonna’s “Vogue” — replete with twirls, shimmying, waving arms, and, of course, voguing.

The video-taped performance, which was released on the internet earlier this week, has gone viral — accruing more than 57,000 hits in the past few days. New York magazine’s Vulture listed it in their top viral videos of the week.

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Madonna Sued for Le Pen Swastika

By Michael Kaminer

Getty Images

Did Madonna “express herself” too much?

The BBC reports that France’s right-wing National Front party is suing the superstar “after an image at the US singer’s Paris concert showed party leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika imposed on her face.”

The image, in a video accompanying the song Nobody Knows Me, was followed by another resembling Adolf Hitler as Madonna was performing at the Stade de France in a Paris suburb on Saturday. National Front vice-president Florian Philippot told the BBC the party could not accept “such an odious comparison… This is just another provocation in Madonna’s world tour so that people will talk about her. Marine Le Pen will defend not only her own honor but her supporters’ and the millions of National Front voters.” Philippot said a lawsuit would be filed this week.

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Fallout From Madonna’s Swastika Stunt

By Margaret Eby

Joey McCoy via Wiki Commons

At Madonna’s Tel Aviv concert on May 31, the pop queen went one provocative image too far. According to the Telegraph, a photomontage displayed behind the singer as she performed “Nobody Knows Me” showed a photo of France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika etched on her forehead, dissolving into a portrait that resembled Adolph Hitler. Le Pen didn’t take the implication lightly: The French politician is threatening a lawsuit against Madonna if she repeats the gambit at her upcoming concert in Paris in July.

Though the photo only appeared onscreen for a second, sandwiched between images of Madonna’s face morphing into other politicians like Sarah Palin and China’s Hu Jintao, right-wing leader Le Pen responded furiously. “We understand how old singers who need to get people talking about them go to extremes,” Le Pen told The Daily Mail.

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Madonna's Mixed Reviews

By Haaretz

France’s far-right National Front is considering a lawsuit against Madonna over a video she used during her concert in Israel on Thursday night. The clip showed party leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead.

While she performed the song “Nobody Knows Me” in Ramat Gan Stadium, Madonna showed a video in which her face was collaged with a number of well-known personalities. The face of Marine Le Pen appeared for a few seconds with a swastika affixed to her forehead before dissolving into a composite character resembling Adolf Hitler.

The concert, which opened Madonna’s 65-city MDNA world tour, received mixed reviews from the international press, which provided extensive coverage - around 80 foreign journalists were here for the performance.

“For a show that was originally billed as a ‘Concert for Peace,’ the opening night of Madonna’s world tour in Tel Aviv, Israel, featured a disproportionate amount of violence,” the critic from The Hollywood Reporter wrote, citing the guns and religious imagery used during the first part of the concert.

For more go to Haaretz.com

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Madonna Fans To Bibi: Hold Off On Iran Strike

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Madonna’s upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, or the Iranian nuclear crisis: Which is more important? The answer is obvious to some of the Queen of Pop’s Israeli fans.

Confident that they have their priorities straight and that their cause is just, Madonna fans are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on striking Iran until after the singer’s concert has taken place at the Ramat Gan Stadium on May 29. And just like any other protest group, they have set up a Facebook page — this one replete with a photo of Bibi posing with Madge, likely taken on one of her recent visits to the Holy Land). It’s called, “Bibi, No War with Iran until after Madonna’s performance on May 29.” Not too snappy a title, but they do get their point across.

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Madonna To Kick Off Tour in Israel

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

The Super Bowl halftime show was just the start. All of us are going to be seeing a lot more of Madonna this year, but Israelis are going to be the first to see — and hear — her.

Following the release of her new album, “MDNA” on March 26, Madge will kick off a world tour in Tel Aviv. Her many Israeli fans will have to scramble for tickets for her May 31 performance at the Ramat Gan Stadium, where she is expected to sing both new and old songs in characteristic spectacular style. This will be the Material Girl’s fourth concert in Israel, following one in 1993 and two in 2010.

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L.A. Times Takes On the Kabbalah Centre

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Before the Kabbalah Centre had one material girl, it had another. Long before Madonna started wearing a red string bracelet and visiting Israel, there was Karen Berg, the avaricious wife of Rabbi Philip Berg, the Centre’s founding rabbi.

In a series of articles, the Los Angeles Times is exposing the dark underside of what many consider to be more of a celebrity cult than a legitimate religious institution. Former followers of the Bergs are now speaking out against them, and the IRS is investigating their lavish lifestyle and finances.

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Disgraced Designer John Galliano Mocked on T-Shirt

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It’s been a big week for John Galliano: first he got a shout-out from Madonna, and now he’s featured on a new t-shirt.

The satirical shirt, on sale in Italy, features the Hitler-loving former fashion designer as an Orthodox Jew, replete with sidecurls and a hat. Intended in jest, the item has reportedly offended some customers at Milan’s La Rinascente department store, who felt that the shirt mocked Jews rather than Galliano.

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Is Madonna’s New Film Soft on Nazis?

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

Madonna brought Kabbalah to the masses, but New York magazine still wonders whether her new movie might have a “Jewish problem.”

Last week, the singer attended the Venice Film Festival premiere of “W.E.,” her second effort as a director. Early reviews were mostly abysmal, but the film’s quality is only part of the story.

Co-written Madonna, the movie apparently offers a fawning vision of Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee who famously inspired England’s King Edward VIII to give up the throne. The movie ignores the pair’s friendly relationship with Hitler, which included a visit to his Berchtesgaden retreat in 1937, well after the nature of his regime became clear.

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Is Madonna Leaving Kabbalah for Opus Dei?

By Nathan Burstein

Wikicommons

Is kabbalah losing its most famous student?

No one can say for sure, but reports are spreading that Madonna is considering a switch to Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic sect arguably most famous for protesting its own vilification in “The Da Vinci Code.”

The rumors suggest that Madonna sought out the group in reaction to recent embarrassments involving her charity, which collapsed amid reports of major monetary waste and mismanagement. The singer co-founded the organization, Raising Malawi, with Michael Berg, a friend and mentor from the Kabbalah Centre, the object of her religious devotion for the past 15 years.

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Madonna Channels Charlie Chaplin for Purim

By Laura Sinberg

Because sharing is caring, here’s a picture of Madonna dressed as Charlie Chaplin for Purim this weekend in New York City.

L’Chaim.

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Hebrew Is Guy Ritchie's Secret Language of Love

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Hebrew seems to be the language of love for Guy Ritchie and girlfriend Jacqui Ainsley. According to Hello magazine, the ex-Mr. Madonna and Ainsley speak to each other in Hebrew when they are out in public and want to keep their conversation private.

Ritchie is already fluent in Hebrew (at least he got something out of his marriage to Kabbalah-following Madge). But Ainsley told Hello! she’s been studying the language every day. “Initially it was difficult as the characters are so vastly dissimilar to English characters and there are two alphabets to contend with. I believe you can learn anything you want if you are determined — one hour a day can go a long way,” she said. To that we say: Tov meod!

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Naomi Campbell Takes Up Kabbalah

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

Better get out your book plates, Madonna. Model Naomi Campbell wants to borrow your copy of the Zohar.

According to this JTA report, the hot-tempered supermodel has taken up study of the mystical Jewish tradition in order to calm her emotions.

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