Gil Kaufman, Bryan Greenberg and Nicola Peltz

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

Swift’s Israeli Bodyguard, Hallmark’s Hanukkah Film, Wedding Wars


Recently, I was contacted by GIL KAUFMAN, a senior editor and writer for Billboard, a major entertainment weekly. Kaufman, 60ish, reads my column in a Jewish paper I write for and he wanted to tell me that he was interviewed for a Paramount+ documentary entitled “Milli Vanilli”. It’s about Milli Vanilli, a ‘80s singing duo that had a couple of big hits. Their careers ended when it was revealed (1989) that they didn’t actually sing on their records. This “doc” is interesting and more poignant than I expected.

I looked up Mr. Kaufman and found a Billboard article he wrote in October. He broke the news that Taylor Swift’s Israeli bodyguard had gone back to Israel (Oct.17) shortly after the Gaza war broke-out. (His name was omitted for security reasons). The bodyguard was expected to join the IDF reserve troops.

Of course, Swift is now just about the hottest person in entertainment. I expect she can hire the best bodyguards around—and—it appears this Israeli fellow is among the best—Kaufman reports that many fans have posted statements praising his “fierce crowd-scanning skills.”

Kaufman also reported that the bodyguard told an Israeli reporter: "I got a pretty great life back in the U.S. I got an amazing dream job that I love, great friends that I call family and a very comfortable home. I didn't HAVE to come here… But I could not stand on the sidelines while families are being slaughtered and burned alive in their homes!!! Just for being Jewish or for being Israelis."

Like last year, the Hallmark Channel is nice enough to provide an original Hanukkah movie-- along with their usual 25 new XMAS flicks. Entitled “Round and Round”, this movie is another “Groundhog Day” clone. Plot: Rachel (Vic Michaelis) is stuck in a time loop, reliving her parents’ Hanukkah party. Rachel hopes that Zach (BRYAN GREENBERG, 45), a nice guy and a party guest, can help her end the “time loop”. (Premieres Dec. 10, 8PM).

Initially, I was a bit sad to see Greenberg in a Hallmark Channel movie. Hallmark Channel films don’t feature “A-list” actors.

Here’s Greenberg’s “story”:  He was born in Omaha. His family moved to a St. Louis when he was 12. His parents were practicing Jews and he had a bar mitzvah ceremony.

Greenberg, a good-looking guy, had appeared in plays, and in a couple of “small movies”, when he was surprisingly tapped to co-star in “Prime” (2005) a romantic comedy-drama. He played David, a young Jewish guy who is seriously dating Rafi, a pretty, much-older woman (Uma Thurman). David’s mother (Meryl Streep), is a psychiatrist who coincidentally is treating Rafi.  She is very upset when she learns David is dating an unstable, older, non-Jewish woman.

Streep was very good as a Jewish mother and Greenberg and Thurman carried their weight. The film was a critical and box-office hit and I thought Greenberg was going to be a long-term, “A-list” actor. But, after “Prime”, he starred in just one more hit movie---a very forgettable “rom-com”. Two TV series he starred (2005 and 2007-8) didn’t do well.

But he’s managed to work steadily in films, in TV guest shots, and in TV films. Showbiz is very tough and working steadily in “good pay” roles is rare. Looked at it that way, Greenberg is a success and I shouldn’t be sad.

On Dec. 11, Max will premiere a new documentary entitled “Beckham and Peltz Versus the Wedding Planners." In April, 2022, “minor” actress NICOLA PELTZ, 27, and Brooklyn Beckham, 24, were married in a lavish ceremony. There were 500 guests.

Nicola was raised Jewish. Her father is billionaire NELSON PELTZ, now 81. Her mother is Claudia Heffner, a former model. Over the years, there have been “clues” that Claudia may have converted to Judaism, but it’s never been clear.

Brooklyn Beckham is the son of David Beckham, a retired super-star English soccer player. His mother is Victoria Beckham, a former member of the Spice Girls, a hot singing group in the ‘80s. David’s maternal grandfather was Jewish. David was close to this grandfather and has called himself “half Jewish”.

I was surprised when the wedding was quite Jewish. A rabbi presided and the traditional Jewish blessings were said—including one given by David Beckham.

I’ll watch the documentary for footage of the wedding although the “doc” mostly focuses on a nasty financial dispute between the couple and their wedding planners. The Peltzes sued the planners and they counter-sued. The case settled in September. The settlement, I presume, cleared the decks for the “not shy” Nicola and Brooklyn to get a lot of publicity via a "reality TV" documentary. 


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