Jews in the News : Ben Feldman, Taylor Mays and Marc Trestman

More New TV Season Notes

Starting on Thursday, Oct. 2 (NBC, 9PM) is “A to Z”. It’s a comedy that shows us one romance from start to finish. The co-stars are Cristin Miloti and BEN FELDMAN, 34 (“Mad Men”).

The new season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” began on Sept. 15. Two of the celeb dancers have Jewish ties---actor and fashion model Antonio Sabato, Jr., 44, and actress Lea Thompson, 53. Sabato, who wasn’t raised Jewish, had one Jewish grandparent: a Czech Jewish maternal grandmother who was the only member of her immediate family to survive the Holocaust.  Sabato’s maternal grandparents eventually settled in Italy and that’s where Sabato’s mother met and married his Italian father. His maternal grandmother, like many Holocaust survivors with a non-Jewish spouse, chose not to tell her children that she was Jewish until they were adults.

Thompson’s roles include playing Michael J. Fox’s young mother in “Back to the Future”; playing “Caroline” in the ‘90s sit-com, “Caroline in the City”, and playing Kathryn Kennish in the current ABC Family series, “Switched at Birth”.  Her husband of 25 years is film and TV director HOWARD DEUTSCH, 64 (they met when he directed her in the 1987 film, “Some Kind of Wonderful”). Their two daughters, ZOEY, 19, and MADELYN, 23, are both actresses with a number of quality credits. They were raised Jewish and both had a bat mitzvah.  Zoey is the more famous---sadly, two films that she recently co-starred in that were supposed to be hits—didn’t become hits: “Beautiful Creatures” (2013) and “Vampire Academy”, which opened early this year. Like her mother, Zoey likes to dance. She referenced her dancing while blogging for “Teen Vogue” last year right after attending her first Video Music Awards. She wrote: "I'm pretty sure I danced harder during the show than I did at my bat mitzvah party, which is saying a lot."

NFL Jewish Players: 2014

The following players were on an NFL roster as of Sept. 18: GABE CARIMI, 26, guard/tackle, Atlanta Falcons. An outstanding college player, Carimi was severely injured in his rookie season with Chicago (2011). He was traded to Tampa Bay in 2013 and only started three games last season. Released in February, he was quickly signed by Atlanta and has played in the first two 2014 season games. NATE EBNER, 25, free safety, Boston Patriots. Ebner has an unusual personal and football “story”. His father, the owner of an auto yard, and the principal of the Sunday school at the family’s Ohio synagogue, was murdered during the course of a robbery at his business. (The killer is now in prison). Ebner didn’t play high school football, but was a very good rugby player. He made the Ohio State Univ. team as a walk-on and excelled in special team play. "Barely drafted"--he shocked pundits with outstanding play on special teams during his rookie pro season (2012) and he played in all but one of the team’s regular and playoff games. Ebner repeated these stats last year and, this season, already leads Boston special team players in tackles. ERIK LORIG, 27, fullback, New Orleans Saints. After four years with Tampa Bay (2010-13), Lorig signed a four year, $4.8M dollar contract with the Saints. TAYLOR MAYS, 25, strong safety, Cincinnati Bengals. 2014 is Mays’ fourth season with the Bengals. If he stays healthy, this may be his first really good season. GEOFF SCHWARTZ, 28, offensive guard, NY Giants. Schwartz, a six-year veteran, signed a $16.8M, four year contract in the off-season. In 2013, with Kansas City, he started seven games. He was injured in early September, and is not expected back before October. MITCHELL SCHWARTZ, 25, offensive guard, Cleveland Browns. (Mitchell is Geoff’s brother). In his rookie season (2012), Mitchell started all 16 games and repeated this stat in 2013.

Other Notes: ADAM PODLESH, 31, punter, has been in the NFL since 2007 and didn’t struggle until last season. He was signed in the off-season to a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, but is now listed on their “reserve/did not report roster”. He didn’t report because his wife was recovering from a complicated pregnancy/delivery (all are well, now). Its likely Podlesh won’t play in 2014 and it’s possible his career is over. Also: MARC TRESTMAN, 58 a former Univ. of Minnesota quarterback, has begun his second season as the coach of the Bears. He’s the only Jewish head coach in the NFL. By the way, he is from Saint Louis Park, a Twin Cities suburb that has long been “the most Jewish” Minnesota town. Trestman is a graduate of Saint Louis Park high school. Also graduating from this high school were filmmakers JOEL and ETHAN COEN, NY Times columnist TOM FRIEDMAN, and U.S. Senator AL FRANKEN of Minnesota.  (Thanks to Jewish Sports Review magazine for their help).


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