Alison Brie, Nate Mann and Robert Rosenthal

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.


A Mystery; “Girls” on a Bus; Food Allergies, Too?!

“Apples Never Fall” is a 7-episode, limited series, which premieres on Thursday, March 14 on Peacock. It is based on a best-selling  mystery novel of the same name by Australian author Liane Moriarty.

The family seems, at first, to be perfect. Stan Delany (Sam Neill) and Joy Delany (Annette Benning) are ready to start their “golden years”. They have just sold their successful tennis academy.

They are somewhat disappointed by their four adult children. But they seem to be happy to have extra time with their children now that they are retired.

This idyll ends when Savannah, a young woman who claims she was abused by her boyfriend, knocks on the Delaney’s door and they take her in. Their children are not as enthusiastic about helping Savannah as their parents. Shortly thereafter, Joy disappears.

The most prominent of the four Delaney children is Amy, who is played by ALISON BRIE, 41. Brie is probably still best known for her co-starring role on “Glow”, a Netflix series which ended prematurely due to the Covid epidemic. More recently, she co-wrote and co-starred in the Amazon Prime film “Somebody I Used to Know” (2023), a quite popular “rom-com.” The film was co-written by and directed by Brie’s husband, Dave Franco, 38. Franco has had a ‘minor’ acting career and “Somebody” was his directorial debut.

As I’ve noted before, the couple have the same background: Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers and they identify as Jewish.

NATE MANN, 27ish, has a recurring role in “Apples”. As I have  reported, he has a starring role on “Masters of the Air,” the Apple+ series about “real” WWII bomber pilots. He co-stars as ROBERT ROSENTHAL, a heroic (Jewish) pilot.

While Mann has done several “Masters” interviews, he’s not been asked (or volunteered) whether he is Jewish. I have incomplete info, now, from public records. It appears that his father is Jewish and his mother is not. 

“Girls on the Bus” is a 10-episode limited HBO/Max series. It also began on March 14. The series was co-created by journalist AMY CHOZICK, 43. The series is “inspired” by Choznick’s book (2018) of the same name.

Chozick was a Wall Street Journal reporter (2002-08) and is a NY Times reporter (2011-to date). She “rode on a bus” with other reporters as she reported on the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign (for the Demo. nomination) and Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Chozick’s unhappy “Clinton experience” was the theme of her book. (Clinton rarely talked to the “girls” and “the boys” on the bus).

However, the Max series will follow four women journalists in 2024. These women have to face very contemporary hurdles, like finding the time to work on their social media postings and constantly chasing scoops for the 24/7 demands of the internet. (SCOTT COHEN, 62, plays Charlie, a "boy" reporter on the bus). 

On March 2, the CBS Sunday Morning program interviewed Dr. DREW WEISSMAN, 64, a physician and immunologist, and Dr. Katalin Karikó, a bio-chemist. Both have long been affiliated with the Univ. of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

Their pioneering work in MRNA was the key to developing the Covid vaccines and that work was honored when the pair won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine. (The interview can be viewed on Youtube or on the CBS website. It is only 7 minutes, but is packed with good info).

Two points Weissman made stuck in my mind. He said that the MRNA technology is now being used in almost every “now-being developed”, promising vaccine: tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, hepatitis C, and, to my surprise, food allergies. (Weissman noted that many parents are scared if their child eats a peanut).

Weissman also said that politicians shouldn’t give people mis-information about vaccines that, if not taken, causes deaths. He said, “They [politicians] are supposed to help the world”.

In 2021, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent interviewed Weissman. His father, he said, was Jewish. His mother was Italian and wasn’t Jewish. He said he was raised Jewish; his wife, who was raised observant, is Jewish, and their children were raised Jewish. The family belongs to a Conservative synagogue.

However, I have to add that Weissman said he really isn’t very religious. He said: “I’m more of a Daoist, in that point of view that I think that Earth, nature is the supreme — the main component of life. And that’s what needs to be celebrated.”

Weissman may not be very religious. But there is “something” in Jewish culture (which is highly influenced by Judaism) that produces remarkable statistics: 26% of the winners of all the Nobel Prizes in Medicine had one or two Jewish parents. 38% of American winners had one or two Jewish parents.


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