April 9, 2014
Samuel G. Freedman
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: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
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Jewish World Review
May 20, 2013
/ 11 Sivan, 5773
Jewz in the Newz
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
The 2013 induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was held on April 18 and, on Saturday, May 18, at 9PM, HBO will broadcast ceremony highlights (many encore showings). Three tribe members were inducted: RANDY NEWMAN, 69; GEDDY LEE, 59 (as a member of the three-man Canadian rock band, "Rush"); and LOU ADLER, 79.
Newman, who began as a singer-songwriter, has mostly been a film score composer since 1981. He's been nominated for twenty Oscars (won twice)-- and while he has only had one pop hit ("Short People"), his songs (like "I Think It's Going to Rain Today") have been recorded by a who's who of pop/rock singers. His 1974 song, "Louisiana 1927," about a great flood, became virtually the theme song for Hurricane Katrina (2005) benefits.
Lee, the band's bassist and lead vocalist, is an icon for progressive rock devotees and there's been much grumbling about the band's wait to get into the Hall. Lee was born Gary Lee Weinrib, the son of two concentration camp survivors. He's referenced his parents' experience in a couple of "Rush" songs. In 1995, he accompanied his mother on a trip to Bergen-Belsen to mark the 50th anniversary of the camp's liberation.
Adler, inducted as a non-performer, has worn many hats. His record company discovered the Mamas and the Papas. He was a mentor to CAROLE KING, 71, who sang a song in his honor at the ceremony. He produced the great (for-charity) 1967 Monterey Pop festival, which showcased incredibly talented new faces in rock music, like Jimi Hendrix. On top of all this, Adler had the great sense (and great mazel) to buy up the rights to the stage version of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and turn it into a movie. Adler, by the way, is the guy who always sits courtside at Lakers' games, next to Jack Nicholson, and Nicholson was at the HOF ceremony.
SAVING EARTH, AGAIN
J.J. ABRAMS, 46, the director of "Star Trek: Into Darkness," says that this will be the last time he helms a 're-boot' of the "Trek" franchise (Opens today). Abrams' first Trek pic, "Star Trek" (2009), was a box office and critical success. Advance reviews of "Darkness" indicate Abrams will go out on a very high note. Chris Pine, whose maternal grandpa was Jewish, returns as Capt. Kirk. ANTON YELCHIN, 24, once again plays Ensign Pavel Chevkov.
Yelchin's parents, both talented figure skaters, found their careers restricted by the anti-Semitism in the old Soviet Union. Still, their talent gave them relatively comfortable lives, even if the Soviets kept them off teams that traveled abroad. They left for America not that long before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Anton was just a baby. The Los Angeles Times interviewed them not long after their arrival. When asked why they left, they pointed to their baby son. They gave up their settled lives because they didn't want him to face what they had dealt with.
PRETTY WOMEN NEWS
As I write this, actress MILA KUNIS, 29, and her boyfriend of about a year, actor Ashton Kutcher, are reportedly set to travel to Israel. Kutcher is supposed to check out some high tech companies and, perhaps, touch base with his Israel-based Kabbalah Centre buddies. Reports that Kunis is not enamored with the semi-cultish Centre seem borne out by the fact that she's never spotted going to Centre facilities with Kutcher. Reports that Kutcher is about to convert to mainstream Judaism are only found in the "make-it-up" corners of the internet. Still, according to NATALIE PORTMAN, 31, Kutcher knows a great deal about Judaism and can read Hebrew (it's unclear if he can speak/understand much Hebrew). On the positive side: he probably is the driving force in getting Kunis to visit Israel and may actually lead her to be more formally (mainstream) religious.
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In short, it's hard to say how the relationship between Kutcher, who follows a "Jew-Ish" religion (Kabbalah Centre), and Kunis, who has a firm, if almost completely secular Jewish identity, will play out.
By the way, FHM magazine just selected Kunis as their 2013 "sexiest woman in the world." I guess it's an honor, even though FHM, a UK based mag, has a peculiar idea of the "world": almost all the women on the list are Brits and Americans and most Americans wouldn't know who most of the Brits on the list are.
Postscript--May 16: Kutcher traveled to Israel this week. But Kunis did not accompany him.
Actress KAT DENNINGS, 26 ("2 Broke Girls") recently appeared on "The Chelsea Handler Show" and told HANDLER, 38, that she and big-time rap star DRAKE, 26, are just friends.
A couple of months ago, Drake tweeted something nice about her (they met long ago when they worked on an indie film). This lead to a flood of tweets from Drake fans directed to Dennings' twitter account. Rumors that they were dating went into overdrive when they were spotted dining at a sushi restaurant. Dennings, who is dating a TV series co-star, added that Drake was "smart and a gentleman." She was a bit weirded-out, however, by the hovering presence of Drake's large security entourage.
Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, is the son of a (non-Jewish) African-American father and a Canadian Jewish mother. His folks split-up when he was young and he was raised in Toronto, in his mother's faith, and had a bar mitzvah. He was a successful child actor ("DeGrassi Junior High") who morphed, quite surprisingly, into a major rap/hip-hop star. Last year, he did a music video about his bar mitvzah.
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• The Great Gatsby's Jewish Ties; Jews in the "Time 100 list" List; People's Most Beautiful Women
• Iron Man's Jewish Connections; Marc Maron's New TV Show; Martin Landau Grows Up with Israel; Shalom, Allan Arbus
• Jewish Major Leaguers, 2013; New Movies and Comedy Show; Shalom, 'Lumpy' (Leave it to Beaver)
• Teen actor Jonah Bobo in New Flick: Hunky James Wolk on Mad Men; Erich Segal's Daughter Writes Prize-Winning Jewish Novel
• Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
• The Back Story of the Ten Commandments (the film)--including Funny Stuff; Brit TV Dramas with a Jewish Connection
• Paul Rudd and Nat Wolff co-star in New Comedy; Al Pacino Plays Phil Spector; Tribe Heavy "Girls"; An Oscar Winner's Orthodox Son
• Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Harper; LA mayor's race; Albert Brooks on going to Shul
• The Land of Oz's Many Hebrews; Mila Kunis & a "Menschy" Company; Aly Raisman Dances & Jewish Figure Skaters at World Championship
• New on the Big Screen, Tube
• The Oscars: The Jewish Connection
• Jews in the National Hockey League; Possible Start of a Blockbuster Film Series; Star Wars Keep on Comin', Special TV Showing of Schindler's List
© 2013, Nate Bloom