Wednesday, January 27th 2021   |

Arts and Culture

Scarlett Johansson criticized for being a Zionist after supporting jailed human rights workers in Egypt

(JTA) — Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson’s recent intervention on behalf of civil rights in Egypt is prompting a mixed response there, ranging from gratitude to anti-Semitism.

Johansson, who is Jewish, was one of several celebrities to weigh in earlier this month against the arrest of four employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a Cairo human rights organization. They were swept up amid a wave of arrests of critics...

The real story behind ‘Mank,’ the new movie about the Jewish screenwriter who brought us ‘Citizen Kane’

By GABE FRIEDMAN

(JTA) — Acclaimed director David Fincher’s highly anticipated film “Mank,” on the Jewish screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz and the story behind his writing of the classic film “Citizen Kane,” hits Netflix on Friday following a short theater-only run. It’s already being considered a front-runner for several Oscar nominations.

Beyond “Citizen Kane,” Mankiewicz worked behind the scenes on dozens of famous films from the silent era into the 1950s...

WATCH: Daveed Diggs’ new ‘Puppy for Hanukkah’ song

(JTA) — There’s a long history of Jewish artists releasing parody songs for Hanukkah, but this year’s most catchy addition to the holiday canon may be Daveed Diggs’ new rap, “Puppy for Hanukkah.”

The song — about a kid hoping to receive a puppy as a present — is set against a klezmer-style clarinet melody and includes a recitation of the blessing over the menorah.

“I don’t know what it...

‘Jeopardy!’ just had a Yiddish category with words like ‘schlep’ and ‘nosh’

By LIOR ZALTZMAN

(JTA via Kveller) – “Jeopardy!” fans have been hard hit by the loss of Alex Trebek, who died of cancer on Nov. 8 at age 80. But because the show films in advance — and Trebek kept filming until a week before his passing — the beloved longtime host is still with us until Jan. 4 with new episodes airing on weeknights.

Just why are we writing...

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ is 25 years old. Here’s a primer on its Jewish protagonist and Hollywood’s other Jewish gangsters.

By STEVEN SILVER

(JTA) — “Casino,” Martin Scorsese’s examination of the mob’s control of Las Vegas in the 1960s and 70s, debuted in theaters on Nov. 22, 1995 — 25 years ago this past week. 

It may be a tick below “Goodfellas,” which came out just five years earlier, in terms of its reputation in the eyes of film historians. But the three-hour epic remains one of Scorsese’s most ambitious...

2021 Grammy Awards: All the Jewish nominees, from Haim to an orchestral ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ adaptation

By EMILY BURACK

(JTA) — This year’s Grammy Awards will almost certainly be different from past years, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But despite the lack of details surrounding the ceremony, it’s still taking place, and as usual, several Jewish artists made the nominations list, which was announced Tuesday.

Ranging all the way from the sister rock band Haim to comedian Tiffany Haddish, these are the Jewish artists...

HBO adapts ‘Oslo,’ Tony Award-winning play about peace accords, into original film

(JTA) — HBO has begun production on a film adaptation of “Oslo,” the Tony Award-winning play about secret meetings before the Oslo Accords that nearly brought peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s.

The film, which will air next year, stars Andrew Scott (of “Fleabag” and “Black Mirror”) and Ruth Wilson (“The Affair,” “Mrs. Wilson”) as the Norwegian husband and wife diplomats who arranged covert negotiation sessions between...

7 especially Jewish ‘Jeopardy!’ moments from Alex Trebek’s 36 years as host

By PHILISSA CRAMER

(JTA) — Alex Trebek, the beloved baritone host of “Jeopardy!,” died of pancreatic cancer Sunday at 80. In his 36 years as host of the immensely popular game show, Trebek encountered his share of Jewish moments. We’ve rounded up a few especially notable ones from the last decade here.

2011: A rabbi appears on her ordination anniversary

Rabbi Joyce Newmark, a Conservative rabbi from Teaneck, New Jersey,...

‘Borat’ ads featuring Sacha Baron Cohen wearing ‘Allah’ ring (and little else) anger Paris Muslims

(JTA) — A billboard showing Sacha Baron Cohen lying seductively while wearing little more than a ring featuring the word Allah in Arabic is riling up Muslim bus drivers in France.

The ads are a promotion for the Jewish actor’s new film, the sequel to “Borat,” and they come amid a spate of jihadist attacks spurred in part by representations of Islam and at a time of rising tensions around...

An anti-Semitic cake, a Holocaust survivor and a whole lot of Hebrew: All the Jewish moments in ‘Borat 2’

By GABE FRIEDMAN

Spoiler alert: This article contains information about scenes and plot points in “Borat 2.” (JTA) — Sacha Baron Cohen’s new “Borat” sequel features plenty of crude gags and surprise appearances — sometimes colliding, as in the already infamous Rudy Giuliani scene. But the film also has a giant soft spot: for Judith Dim Evans, a sweet and loving Holocaust survivor ready to combat hate with a hug.

...