Friday, July 30th 2021   |

Arts and Culture

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...

Patti Smith and Julian Casablancas among over 600 musicians to call for boycott of Israel

(JTA) — Patti Smith and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes are among the more than 600 musicians who have signed a letter calling for artists to avoid playing concerts in Israel.

“We call on you to join us with your name in refusing to perform at Israel’s complicit cultural institutions,” says the letter, which began circulating Thursday in media reports.

It claims Israel committed war crimes in its recent fighting...

Dua Lipa responds to full-page NY Times ad that blasts her Israel criticism

(JTA) — Prominent Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network took out a full-page New York Times ad on Saturday denouncing the British pop star Dua Lipa’s criticism of Israel on social media, and the singer responded, saying the ad was full of “falsehoods and blatant misrepresentations.”

The Grammy-winning megastar had reposted several messages on Instagram in the early days of the recent Israel-Gaza conflict that were critical of Israel’s actions...

Kim Kardashian, Mayim Bialik and other celebrities speak out about anti-Semitism in wake of clashes across US

By GABE FRIEDMAN

(JTA) — Kim Kardashian, Debra Messing, Mayim Bialik and other celebrities are speaking out in the wake of altercations between pro-Palestinian protesters and Jews and acts of anti-Semitism across the United States in recent days.

Kardashian, a reality TV star, model and businesswoman who is not Jewish, posted an Instagram story to her 222 million followers on Wednesday with a message from a progressive Zionist activist that...

Charles Grodin, Jewish comic actor known for ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ and ‘Beethoven,’ dies at 86

By GABE FRIEDMAN

(JTA) — Charles Grodin, the deadpan Jewish comic actor who starred in such blockbuster films as “The Heartbreak Kid” and the children’s movie “Beethoven,” died Tuesday at his home in Wilton, Connecticut. He was 86, and the cause was bone marrow cancer, according to reports.

Grodin was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household in Pittsburgh but became less observant in his adult years, although he and his...

Actor Lakeith Stanfield apologizes for moderating a Clubhouse room full of antisemitism

By RON KAMPEAS

(JTA) — Oscar-nominated actor Lakeith Stanfield apologized for moderating a room on the audio app Clubhouse in which participants made a slew of anti-Semitic remarks.

“I entered an online chat room on Clubhouse about the teachings of Louis Farrakhan,” Stanfield, who was nominated for an Academy Award this year for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” said Saturday on Instagram, referring to the anti-Semitic Nation of...