Friday, July 30th 2021   |

Film & TV

Legendary Jewish stand-up comedian Jackie Mason dies at 93

– Jackie Mason, a former rabbi who went from Catskills comic to hit one-man shows, passed away on Saturday at the age of 93.

Mason died at 6:00 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. His death was confirmed by longtime friend and entertainment lawyer Raoul Felder, AP reported.

His memory was honored by celebrities of all stripes. Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame tweeted, “I took my folks to...

Jackie Mason was a Jewish American comedy icon. These videos show why.

By PHILISSA CRAMER

(JTA) — Jackie Mason, who died Saturday at 93, didn’t always set out to be a comedian. In fact, it wasn’t until he was 30 that he left behind the Orthodox rabbinate for irreverent open-mic nights.

Mason, born Yacov Moshe Maza to Orthodox parents, was one of the last survivors of the Borscht Belt comedy circuit that propelled a host of Jewish funnymen, including Jerry Stiller and...

3 Jewish filmmakers were arrested in Nigeria, accused of working with rebels. Their families say they were just donating a Torah scroll.

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — Three Jewish filmmakers working on a documentary about far-flung Jewish communities in Africa have been detained for days by Nigerian authorities and accused of aiding a separatist rebellion led by a Nigerian Jewish activist.

Their families say they were doing nothing of the sort.

They say the men were giving a Torah scroll to a small Jewish community in southern Nigeria — a gift as...

2021 Emmys: All the Jewish nominees, from Jurnee Smollett to Michael Douglas

By EMILY BURACK

(JTA) — At the last Emmy Awards, “Schitt’s Creek,” the comedy from Jewish father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, swept the night, winning every comedy category for its sixth and final season. While there’s no big Jewish show to cheer on for another powerhouse performance this year, there’s still a bevy of Jewish nominees, which were announced Tuesday.

Black Jewish actresses lead the way

Jurnee Smollett received her...

Quentin Tarantino opens up about learning Hebrew, his life in Tel Aviv and being an ‘abba’

(JTA) — Yes, Quentin Tarantino is learning Hebrew — at the same speed as his toddler.

The famed non-Jewish American director, who has been married to Israeli singer and actress Daniella Pick since 2018, opened up Tuesday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” about his new life in Israel, which included a longer-than-expected stint in Tel Aviv during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The idea was that we would spend three to four...

Begin is subject of new documentary film ‘Upheaval’

By ALAN SMASON

The producers of “Upheaval: The Journey of Menachem Begin,” a film on the life of the former Israel prime minister, could not have planned its release at a better time. Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has assumed the post of head of the loyal opposition after 12 years as prime minister, the man who was head of the Herut Party and the leader of the opposition for most...

Meet the Orthodox mom competing on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

By JACQUELINE RODERICK

(Kveller via JTA) – If you’re in need of inspiration today, look no further than Orthodox mom of four Liba Yoffe, who is competing in the current season of “American Ninja Warrior.”

Yoffe, 35, is the apparently first Orthodox Jewish woman to participate in the popular fitness competition — now in its 13th season on NBC — which pushes its athletic contestants to their limits with incredibly difficult...

Director, writer Susan Sandler releases ‘Julia Scotti: Funny That Way’

By ALAN SMASON

It’s taken more than six years of her life, beset with challenges such as a global pandemic in the final year of post-production and editing, but Susan Sandler has finished the documentary film she began in 2015 and released “Julia Scotti: Funny That Way” in time for Pride Month.

In the Jewish universe, Sandler is noted for her work as a playwright and in particular for her...

Bill Maher defends Israel on his HBO show: ‘You can’t learn history from Instagram’

(JTA) — Bill Maher spent nearly 10 minutes of his HBO talk show on Friday night, May 28, defending Israel, bringing up ancient Jewish history and showing comparative maps of the state from its early days to today.

The liberal comedian and political commentator reserved a large portion of his comments for those who have criticized Israel before and during its recent military conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip....

Mayim Bialik makes ‘Jeopardy!’ guest host debut

(JTA) — Jewish actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik began her two-week stint as a guest host on “Jeopardy!” Monday night, paying tribute to her “creative and academic family” and the show’s late host Alex Trebek in her opening remarks.

Bialik, who has written about her Jewish identity in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and beyond, drew praise on social media after the first night of her run, which goes through June...