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Jews in the News 5.30.10
Nate Bloom, Contributing Writer


Aldous Snow Redux/ Bit of Berger

Jason Segel
The 2008 hit comedy film, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” featured English comedian Russell Brand as the delightfully quirky Aldous Snow, a British rock star who woos away the girlfriend of the film’s hero, played by JASON SEGEL (who also wrote the film). Most of the cast of “Sarah Marshall” was Jewish, as was its director, NICOLAS STOLLER. This isn’t a surprise since the flick’s producer, JUDD APATOW, employs a lot of Jews in all his projects. So much so that Stoller joked that he felt that he was joining the “Jew-Tang Clan” when he first worked for Apatow in 2000, directing a TV episode (Stoller was playing off the name of a very popular rap group called The Wu-Tang Clan).

Stoller, 34, wrote and directs “Get Him to the Greek,” which opens Friday, June 4. Russell Brand is back as Aldous Snow. The story has it that Snow's career is ruined after he puts out a song and music video about Africa that everybody but Snow takes as incredibly offensive. He starts seriously abusing drugs and drink. Enter Aaron Green (JONAH HILL, 27) a record company intern who proposes a comeback performance for Snow at Los Angeles’ Greek theater. The record company likes the idea—the rub is that Green is made responsible for getting the addled Aldous to the theater.
Get Him To The Greek


Full of raunchy humor and drug/sexual references, “Get Him” definitely deserves its “R” rating. But TV shows don’t have such clear ratings and you might want to watch the new MTV series, “The Hard Times of R.J. Berger,” before letting the kids do so. A first glance, it seems like another show about a nerdy Jewish teenager. But it goes as far into “raunch” as a basic cable show can—and the title (cough) refers not just to Berger’s problems—but also to his (cough) over-average natural endowment. (Premiered Sunday, June 6th, at 11PM).

The Boxing Rabbi-In-Training

On Saturday, June 5, after the sun had set and Shabbos was over, YURI FOREMAN, 29, an Orthodox Jew and the current holder of the World Boxing Association (WBA) Super welterweight championship, entered a ring in the middle of Yankee Stadium. He boxed Miguel Cotto, the holder, at various times, of three boxing championships. They fought for the WBA junior welterweight title (154 pounds). The bout was televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Yuri Foreman


There was no clear favorite in this match, which is the “main event” of the night. Cotto, who is of Puerto Rican background, has fought better competition than Foreman. But he has not been boxing that well in the last few years and he is fighting at a weight that is higher than usual for him.

Foreman has attracted enormous attention in the Jewish/secular press for obvious reasons—he is an Orthodox Jew who can fight; he is well along in his studies to be a rabbi!; he’s good looking and his wife, LEYLA LEIDECKER, 29, is a pretty professional model, a documentary maker, and a former top pro boxer who trained Hillary Swank to box for “Million Dollar Baby.”
Leyla Leidecker


Foreman was born in Belarus and moved to Israel when he was 9 and learned to box in an Arab gym in Israel. He moved to the States in 2000 and turned pro in 2002. Neither he, nor Leidecker, were religious when they met in 2003 and fell in love. However, they both felt something was missing from their lives and not long after they started dating—Leyla “googled” for Kabbalah classes—which led, in a roundabout way, with them both taking classes about Judaism with an Orthodox rabbi. It was a gradual process—but they both got more and more into the study of Judaism and Leyla, who wasn’t born Jewish, converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2006. They both follow virtually all Orthodox strictures, such as keeping kosher and not working on Shabbos.

A recent New York Daily News profile of the couple provided a sidelight that made me laugh. The News reported that Yuri and Leyla trained with each in the ring until she left boxing to direct documentaries. She told the News:” It wasn’t much fun. We are not the same size. [He's 154 pounds, and she's just 125 pounds] I like to spar with guys who are smaller. It is hard to spar with someone much bigger.”

Jeez, when you hear that a married couple are "sparring partners"--you assume something is going wrong. Here are a couple who were literally (loving) sparring partners!



Jews in the News 6.8.10
Nate Bloom, Contributing Writer

Tony Time

The Tony awards, for excellence in the Broadway theater, are being presented live on TV on Sunday, June 13 (8PM, CBS). LIEV SCHREIBER, 42, is nominated for best leading actor in a play (a revival of ARTHUR MILLER’s “A View from the Bridge”). Schreiber’s co-stars in “Bridge,” SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 25, and JESSICA HECHT, 44, vie for the Tony for best featured actress in a play. Also nominated is LINDA LAVIN, 72, for best leading actress in a play (a revival of “Collected Stories,” written by DONALD MARGULIES).

Linda Lavin
In “Stories,” Lavin plays a feisty Jewish writer who gradually forms almost a mother-daughter bond with her young assistant. The relationship ends on a sour note when the assistant appropriates the writer’s long-ago romance with poet DELMORE SCHWARZ as the basis of her own novel. (Donald Margulies’ new play, “Time Stands Still,” about the Iraq war, is Tony-nominated for best original play.)

David Bryan

Nominated for best original score is the musical “Memphis.” It centers on the romance between a white DJ and a black singer in 1950s Memphis. DAVID BRYAN, 48, the keyboardist for the rock band Bon Jovi, wrote the show’s music and is up for a Tony. A lifelong member of a New Jersey synagogue, he often blows the shofar on the High Holidays.

Marian Seldes
MARIAN SELDES, who is still working at 81, will receive a lifetime achievement Tony. An aristocratic looking woman, Seldes is the daughter of a Jewish father and a WASP mother. Mostly a top stage actress, she has appeared in a handful of films (she played the college president in “Mona Lisa Smile” and a Julliard professor in “August Rush”). Her first husband, and the father of her only child, was Jewish. Her second husband was famous writer GARSON KANIN, whom she wed in 1990. She’s his widow.

Lives Carefully Examined

Nicole Holocencer
Director/screenwriter NICOLE HOLOCENCER’s new film “Please Give” opens in St. Petersburg on Friday, June18 (Muvico Baywalk 20). This film, like her prior flicks (“Friends with Money,” “Walking and Talking,” and “Lovely and Amazing”), focuses on the lives of a group of fairly ordinary women. The delights of Holofcencer’s movies are their well-written scenes, realistic dialogue, and acutely draw characters. She doesn’t feel the need to write a film story which neatly ties-up everything in a thematic/emotional package.

Amanda Peet
In “Please,” Kate (Catherine Keener) is married to Alex (Oliver Platt). They have a teenage daughter and think of themselves as “nice liberals.” Kate and Alex buy the apartment next door in order to expand their Manhattan apartment. The apartment purchase has a catch—they cannot occupy the unit until Audra (Ann Guilbert), the cranky old lady living in it, dies. Audra has two granddaughters: Rebecca (Rebecca Hall), a sweet young woman who takes care of Audra, and the highly cynical Mary (AMANDA PEET, 38). Complications ensue when the two families, including the teenage daughter, interact and everybody’s feelings about Audra are exposed.

Peet, who is the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Quaker father, is married to novelist/screenwriter DAVID BENIOFF (“25th Hour”, “The Kite Runner”). They wed in a Jewish ceremony and have two daughters.

Outdoor and Indoor Sports

The month-long Soccer World Cup tournament begins in South Africa this Friday. The United Sta

Jonathan Bornstein
tes National Team, ranked 14th in the world, is one of 32 countries that played well enough in preliminary rounds to make it to the Cup. The United States is in a group of four countries that play their first three games against each other. The two teams in the group that have the mo
Benny Feilhaber
st points after the three games advance to the next round (a team gets three points for a win; one point for a tie). The U.S. plays #9 ranked England in its first match on June 12 (ABC, 2PM). It plays Slovenia on June 18 (ESPN, 9:30 AM), and Algeria on June 23 (ESPN, 9:30AM).

The American squad includes JONATHAN BORNSTEIN, 25, a defender, and BENNY FEILHABER, 25, a mid-fielder.

Betenny Frankel
“Real Housewife of New York” BETENNY FRANKEL, 39, has pulled off a reality show “triple crown,” which might have pleased her late father, ROBERT FRANKEL, a famous trainer of race horses. On March 28, she wed her boyfriend of a year, businessman Jason Poppy (I think he is Jewish); on May 8, she gave birth to their daughter; and, tonight, June 10, her new spin-off show, “Bettenny Getting Married?” premieres on Bravo at 10PM. The first show features footage of her nuptials, which one source described as a “traditional Jewish wedding” (although lobster was served). Subsequent episodes will be about her family life with her husband and child.

Contributing Columnist Nate Bloom, a syndicated columnist out of Oakland, California, writes "Jews In The News," highlighting celebrity Jews in all walks of life with - a heavy concentration on the entertainment field. Bloom, for purposes of the column, defines a Jew as a person with at least one Jewish parent, who is not raised in a faith other than Judaism and does not identify with a faith other than Judaism as an adult. His column, an exclusive to the Tampa Bay area, will appear weekly in "Let My People Know." You can reach columnist Nate Bloom by writing to Iris Pastor at iris.pastor@jewishtampa.com

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