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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 21, 2004 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5764

Jewz in the Newz

By Nate Bloom


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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | This year, like most years, the Jews did "just fine" at the June 2004 Tony Awards. IDINA MENZEL, a nice Jewish girl from Long Island, plays the green-faced witch in the musical "Wicked." She brought down the house when she sang a number from the show before the award/TV audience. Later in the evening, Menzel picked-up the Tony for best leading actress in a musical. ("Wicked" co-stars veteran actor JOEL GREY).

While the TONY KUSHNER musical about a Jewish family in Louisiana, "Caroline or Change," did not win the big prize —-black actress Anika Noni Rose did win the Tony for best featured actress in a musical.

The revival of STEVEN SONDHEIM's musical "Assassins," won five Tonys, including best musical revival. Sondheim always seems to win, so the surprise of the night was the Tony for best new musical going to "Avenue Q," a bright satire. New talent JEFF MARX is one of the co-composers of the musical. Marx is a Cardozo Law School graduate —-but decided on a different career after finishing his legal studies.

It wasn't a surprise that the current revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," didn't pick up many nominations or any wins. The revival got at best mixed reviews from the critics, many saying that somehow the "Jewish soul" of the show was just not there.

Finally, a big "mazel tov" to JAMES NEDERLANDER, the 82-year-old head of the Nederlander Theater Organization, for his lifetime achievement Tony.

SPIDERMAN'S JEWISH CONNECTIONS
Spiderman II opened June 30 and has turned into a critical success and a box-office blockbuster. The Spiderman character was created by the Jewish duo of STAN LEE and the late JACK KIRBY. The films are directed by the talented SAM RAIMI, a nice Jewish guy from Michigan. Script help was provided by prominent Jewish novelist MICHAEL CHABON ("Wonder Boys," others).

Prominent Jewish actors in the cast include ELIZABETH BANKS, who plays "Betsey Brant." Banks was also seen in last year's hit, "Seabiscuit," as "Marcela Howard," the pretty second wife of Seabiscuit's owner. Ms. Banks converted to Judaism last year when she married her Jewish college sweetheart and their Jewish wedding was featured in "InStyle" magazine. Apparently her family approves: her mother sewed the couple's chuppah. (wedding canopy)

Also look for the handsome JAMES FRANCO repeating his role as "Harry Osborn," the best friend of star Tobey McGuire (Spiderman). Franco is Jewish on his mother's side. His maternal grandmother runs a prominent art gallery in Cleveland. James, who paints on the side, gave her a painting of his last year as a Chanukah present.

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ARM CANDY ALERT
DAVID SCHWIMMER of "Friends" fame has dated a variety of good-looking women since he ended his long relationship with Israeli-American actress MILI AVITAL about two years ago. Now various reports say that Schwimmer, and his current flame, Korean-American rocker Gina Lee, broke-up in June.

The tabloids say that the pair started dating last January, and that "friends say" they split because they "had nothing in common." Meanwhile, in an April 2004 interview with web site asiance.com, Lee responded to the Schwimmer rumors: "We're just friends. It's absolutely disgusting how the tabloids flat-out lie. It's so trashy... I hate those headlines calling me "David Schwimmer's Exotic Arm Candy" I mean why am I exotic? Because I'm Asian? It's so absurd."

So, in conclusion: they may not have broken-up since they weren't dating in the first place, and Lee will now have to fight headlines calling her "Schwimmer's Ex-Exotic Arm Candy."

Now (July 2004) there are reports that Schwimmer is dating the sexy AMANDA PEET, star of "The Whole Nine Yards" and "Something's Gotta Give." The New York-raised Peet is Jewish on her mother's side.

Advice to David —-Don't be an idiot —-Peet is really cool. Stay with this one a while.

FOR THE HOME PLAYERS
Jewish celeb spotters, including home players, watch for Jewish "bits" in profiles. A few examples: GWYNETH PALTROW was more-or-less was raised in her father's Jewish faith. But which way is she moving? Well, she married a non-Jewish guy. She gave birth recently to a baby girl and named it Apple — —but the "Jew clue" is that one of the kid's middle names is "Blythe" — —her mother's name. (Not good —-since Jews of Northern or Eastern Europe ancestry rarely name after a living person. It's a strong custom, but not a religious prohibition) Finally, Dreamworks has just announced that Paltrow will star in a bio-pic on the legendary German actress Marlene Dietrich, who saved many Jewish friends and told Hitler to shove it when he offered her a blank check if she came back to Germany. (Not bad).

What about JAKE GYLLENHAAL, who is really hot now because of the global warming blockbuster, "The Day After Tomorrow?" Jake's mother is Jewish and a couple of years ago he said he considered himself "more Jewish than anything else." (Pretty good). Then last month a Malaysian paper profile said that Jake was brought up Jewish, but is now a Buddhist. (Not good). But in a London Times profile that came out almost the same day he said that he studied Buddhism in college under Uma Thurman's father, but "I'm not a card-carrying Buddhist, but I do try to practice mindfulness." (We are confused).

Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal's love interest in "The Day After Tomorrow" is the about-to-be-hot EMMY ROSSUM. Rossum can now be seen on DVD in a good little 2003 film-"'Passionada" —about Portuguese-Americans. It co-stars English Jewish actor JASON ISAACS ("Peter Pan") and he recently told an interviewer that the lack of Portuguese actors gave a "New York Jewish girl" (Rossum) her casting opportunity. (Good news). Rossum will open next year as the co-star of the musical film version of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera." While only 18, she has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera 20 times.

BEBE BITS
Actress BEBE NEUWIRTH, 46, was interviewed June 15th at Makor Cultural Center, a part of New York's 92nd St. YMHA. I was able to ask her some questions following the formal interview. Neuwirth's interview was in connection with her hit off-Broadway stage show, "Here Lies Jenny. " The show is based on the songs of KURT WEILL (1900-50), the famous German Jewish composer. (His best known work is "The Threepenny Opera").

"Jenny" is a different sort of show — —the scenes are inspired by the lyrics of Weill's songs —but, as Neuwirth said, the location and time period are vague. "Jenny" is scheduled to close July 24th, but Neuwirth told me that the run may be extended. She looked wistfully sad as she told me that a road production was not in the works. She added that she very much enjoyed appearing as a Jewish mother in BARRY LEVINSON's 1999 film about a Jewish family, "Liberty Heights." She had only good words about Levinson and she also noted that she liked WOODY ALLEN. This despite the fact that like most Allen-movie actors, her script only contained her lines and nothing more!

Neuwirth, of course, is best known for her role as the (Jewish) Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane on "Cheers" and "Frasier." She picked-up two Emmys as Lilith, which matches her two musical Tonys for roles in "Chicago" and "Sweet Charity." Her stellar musical career comes as a surprise to those who only know her as Lilith. She said that she would love to have TV audiences see her musical and dancing talents, but her proposals for a variety show have never been picked-up by a TV network.

Neuwirth told me that "Lilith" wasn't originally described as a Jewish character. She found out Lilith was Jewish when a script with a Chanukah theme was written well into her Cheers run. She added that when she joined "Cheers" she was completely unaware of the Lilith figure in Jewish folklore (Adam's "evil" first wife —who refused to be subordinate to him). As Neuwirth put it, she didn't know about the legendary Lilith because, I am just a plain Jew; I mean have no training."

Ironically, she said, the Jewish "Cheers" writer who created Lilith also didn't know about the "Lilith legend." Later, a religious Jewish acquaintance told the writer and Neuwirth about the Lilith legend and they were amazed that the strong, independent Cheers character bore some resemblance the folklore Lilith. What's the real Bebe Neuwirth like? Well, during the interview she described one colleague as "very menschy." That description fits her perfectly, too. You can also add gracious, funny, and sexy.

FAIRY TALE ENDINGS DO OCCUR
So said NBA commissioner DAVID STERN when the underdog Detroit Pistons won the championship in June. The title is the crown jewel in the career of coach LARRY BROWN —-his father died suddenly when Larry was 7 and Larry found out when he saw relatives come to the house to cover-up mirrors for shiva. Meanwhile, his mother, now 99, had to struggle to support Larry and his older brother, HERB BROWN, who also eventually made his career in basketball. Larry Brown went on to be an All-American basketball player; an Olympic Gold medal winner; a good pro player; the coach of the 1988 Univ. of Kansas NCAA championship team; and the coach of the US team in the Maccabi games. He will coach the 2004 US Olympic team.

Brown has also lost and he knows winning is better. As JWR contributor MITCH ALBOM, writing in the Detroit Free Press, put it: "He [Brown] had been talking about his Detroit players, how lucky he felt, how they didn't complain about his coaching moves, even when it meant they had to sit. He gave that familiar shrug and he lifted his eyebrows and said, in that croaky voice, 'We haven't had, you know what they call it, tzuris?" [Yiddish for "trouble"].

It's also a nice time for Pistons' owner BILL DAVIDSON, 81, a low-key owner who made his fortune in glass manufacturing —-he was star athlete in his youth and is a member of the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. His incredible philanthropy includes major donations to Israel.

Another fairy tale just happened in Kansas City, where a Jewish friend was watching the Red Sox play the Royals. He pointed-out to his sons that a rare event was about to take place: Sox Jewish outfielder GABE KAPLER was going to bat just ahead of rookie Jewish Sox third baseman KEVIN YOUKILIS. Kapler then hit a screaming foul and my 50-something friend caught it —-the first ball he ever caught! Youkilis, we should add, was named American League rookie of the month (for May).

(We might add that our Kansas City friend is a regular reader of JWR and donates to JWR. Moreover, since we first wrote the column item immediately above, third baseman DAVE NEWHAN joined the Orioles. Newhan and Youkilis bring up the current total of Jews in the majors to eleven, one of the highest numbers ever. Most Jewish baseball mavens, including me, define Jewish players as those who have one or two Jewish parents and identify as Jewish or "nothing" in a religious sense. Excluded are players who were raised-in and practice a faith other than Judaism.)

THIS I DIDN'T KNOW
Ray Charles, the famous singer who died in June, had a strong connection to the Jewish community. However, I wasn't aware of it until saw it detailed in the Orlando Florida Sentinel newspaper. This tie certainly wasn't in the major newspaper obits.

In short, while Charles was quiet about his charitable work, one exception was the State of Israel and World Jewry. The Sentinel, citing "Ray Charles Online," noted that Charles' favorite world leader was DAVID BEN-GURION, with whom he had an hours-long conversation just before Ben-Gurion's death. (Charles was on an Israeli tour.) Moreover, Charles said that being named "Beverly Hills B'Nai Brith Man of the Year" (1976) was the award he was most touched by.

Charles told an interviewer, "Even though I'm not Jewish and even though I'm stingy with my bread, Israel is one of the few causes I feel good about supporting. Blacks and Jews are hooked up and bound together by a common history of persecution. If someone besides a black ever sings the real gut-bucket blues, it'll be a Jew. We both know what it's like to be someone else's footstool."

In a related vein, it is worth picking up ex-Lakers star Kareem Abdul Jabbar's new book: "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes." One part of the book carefully covers the role of these black soldiers in liberating concentration camps. Jabbar went all the way to Israel to interview some survivors.

HAMILTON SPOKE HEBREW
For the first time in almost 200 years, the life of Alexander Hamilton is being covered everywhere. It reached its peak in early July, when every media outlet covered a re-enactment of Hamilton's death in an 1804 duel with Aaron Burr. Meanwhile, RON CHERNOW's biography, "Alexander Hamilton," has been on the best seller list for months.

Hamilton was a fascinating figure: a penniless 'bastard' who became a military aide to Washington at 20; an author of the Constitution; and the first Secretary of the Treasury. Chernow, who describes himself as "Jewish, but more in the breach than in the observance," covers Hamilton's Jewish connections.

Hamilton's French Protestant mother was married to a Dane named Lavien and this last name has lead to speculation that Lavien was Jewish —-but Chernow notes there is no real proof of this. Hamilton's mother left Lavien and took up with a non-Jewish Scot named James Hamilton —-who fathered Alexander. The terms of her divorce forbade her re-marriage and Alexander was born out-of wedlock.

Chernow writes that Hamilton, like Ben Franklin and Washington, had a high opinion of Jews. No doubt the prosperous Jewish community on the West Indian Island of Nevis, where Hamilton grew up, influenced his attitude. Hamilton, himself, wrote that a Nevis Jewish woman tutored him as a child and that he once recited the Ten Commandments in Hebrew before her. As an adult, Hamilton several times defended Jews from the bigoted attitudes of the day —-like "all Jews" were untruthful.

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California-based Nate Bloom writes a column on Jewish celebrity news that appears weekly in the Baltimore Jewish Times and in JWeekly, the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. A monthly version appears in the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Column items often appear in the Detroit Jewish News. Bloom will appear twice a month in Jewish World Review. While most column items in JWR are recent "best of"s from his newspaper column, Bloom sometimes will include in this column some items not appearing in his column and/or will expand on items that had to be shorter due to the space limitations of a newspaper. If you are interested in having Bloom's column appear in your paper or publication contact him at here.

Bloom is also the editor of www.Jewhoo.com, a web site that covers famous Jews in the arts, sports, and sciences. A long planned overhaul of the site will begin in the not-too-distant future. This may include a name change.

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© 2004, Nate Bloom