Jews in the News: Adam Brody, Rachel Bloom and Joc Pederson

At the Movies: Shazam!

 “Shazam” is the first feature film since 1941 to depict the famous D.C. comics hero. Of course, he is a super-hero who fights evil. In this movie it is the evil forces controlled by Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong). Shazam’s secret is that he is actually a teen boy named Billy Batson who, by shouting out the word “Shazam!”, turns into a “ripped” adult with many superpowers. (Opens April 5)

The adult Batson/Shazam is played by Zachary Levi, who isn’t Jewish. The teen Billy Batson is played by ASHER ANGEL, 16. Angel is a co-star of “Andi Mack,” a current Disney TV series for teens. Angel comes from an observant Arizona family and he had a bar mitzvah ceremony. The role of Freddie Freeman is likewise shared. Freddie is Billy’s foster brother and he’s the only person who knows Billy is Shazam. The teen Freddie becomes an adult superhero (Captain Marvel, Jr.) when he says the words “Captain Marvel”. The adult Freddie is played by ADAM BRODY, 39. Brody is still probably best known as a co-star of the hit TV show “The O.C.” 

Crazy Comes to an End

The series’ finale of the CW series “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” will air on April 5 at 8PM. You don’t have to be a follower of the TV show to tune-in to the special that immediately follows the finale at 9PM. It’s called: "Yes, It's Really Us Singing: The 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Concert Special!"  Taped in March, the concert features “Crazy” star RACHEL BLOOM, 31, and the cast of the series performing live versions of fan-favorite songs. They are accompanied by a band and an orchestra.

Bloom, ADAM SCHLESINGER, 52, and JACK DOLGEN, 50ish, wrote 150 songs for the series. They’ve been Emmy-nominated three times for their show’s songs. Schlesinger, an Emmy and a Grammy winner, and an Oscar nominee, was a founding member of the popular band Fountains of Wayne. His credits include writing the songs for the hit musical movie “That Thing You Do” and co-writing the Fountains of Wayne 2003 hit single “Stacy’s Mom.” Well known actor JON BERENTHAL, 42, is his first cousin.

By the way, Bloom, unlike her TV character, has been happily married since 2015. Her husband, DAN GREGOR, 39, is a successful TV sit-com writer (“How I Met Your Mother”, others). Bloom’s rabbi cousin performed their wedding.

Play Ball!: The Tribe on the Big-League Diamond

The 2019 baseball season began on March 28. The following players have at least one Jewish parent and identify as Jewish or secular

RICHARD BLEIER, 31, relief pitcher, Baltimore. He has posted great stats in the last two seasons. He played for Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (“WBC”). Bleier is a Florida native who grew-up in Plantation. He played college baseball for Florida Gulf Coast Univ. in Fort Meyers. He lives in Fort Lauderdale ; RYAN BRAUN, 35, outfielder/first base, Milwaukee. This 6X All-Star and the 2011 NL MVP isn’t the dominant player he once was and his batting average dipped in 2018. Still he hit 20 homers; ALEX BREGMAN, 24, shortstop/ third base, Houston, Bregman signed a 6-year, $100M dollar contract extension in March. He’s now the highest paid Jewish baseball player ever. This contract is a testament to how well Bregman has played since mid-2016, when he joined the “big club.” His hitting and fielding led the Astros to their first World Series championship in 2017. He repeated in 2018, with great batting stats that included 31 homers. He was a 2918 All-Star team member—and, yes, he had a bar mitzvah. Fun fact: His family went to the same Albuquerque synagogue as the family of ALEXI ASHE, Seth Meyer’s wife; MAX FRIED, 25, pitcher, Atlanta. Fried had a bar mitzvah and played in the 2009 Maccabiah Games in Israel. He was in the majors for most of 2018, but saw limited playing time. IAN KINSLER, 36, second base, San Diego. Like Braun, this 4x All-Star isn’t the star he once was. Still, he posts okay hitting stats and he won a Golden Glove in 2018 for his great fielding; JOC PEDERSON, 26, outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers. Pederson, a streak power hitter who was frequently injured, stayed healthy in 2018 and hit more consistently. He played for Israel in the 2013 WBC; KEVIN PILLAR, 30, outfielder, Toronto. This former bar mitzvah boy is a consistently good hitter and base stealer; ROBERT STOCK, 29, relief pitcher, San Diego. After 9 years in the minors, Stock made his big league debut last June. His 100mph fastball may keep him up; and ROWDY TELLEZ, 24, first base, Toronto. He was called-up last September and was on a hitting tear for the rest of the season. Remember this guy.


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