Jews in the News: Amy Schumer, Brad Garrett and Debbie Rowe

A Jaw-Dropping, Stomach Turning Shonda

On October 19th the Huffington Post did a “round-up” of the actresses and female writers who have accused HARVEY WEINSTEIN, 65, of sexually harassing them. There were 42 women listed, accompanied by a photo and a summary of their allegations. By the time you read this, there will probably be more. When you see a list like this, the extent of Weinstein’s depravity is made more real and you ask questions, including: How many more have not gone public yet, including those who out of fright, or for career reasons, gave into Weinstein’s demands?  How many more “Weinsteins” are there out there? Not just in Hollywood, but in any field where power gives a man a virtually unfettered opportunity to harass women.

The list makes it clear that Weinstein had no “type” other than the woman be no older than about 35 (at the time of the harassment) and attractive. The list includes women who are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, French, British, Italian, Canadian, American, Vietnamese, Filipino---and Jewish.

The list includes American actresses ROSANNA ARQUETTE, now 58, and GWYNETH PALTROW, now 45; French actresses EVA GREEN, now 37, and JUDITH GODRECHE, now 45; and Canadian actress MIA KIRSHNER, now 42 (Also, Canadian actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley, who discovered her father is Jewish as an adult).

At the Movies

“Thank You for Your Service”, which opens in theaters on Oct. 27, follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they've left the battlefield.  AMY SCHUMER, 36, co-stars as the wife of one of the veterans. Schumer had a small role in one dramatic film, but this is really her debut as a dramatic actress. I expect she’ll be good. Most stand-up comedians make good dramatic actors (the reverse isn’t true).

Halloween Day Offerings

Comedian JUDAH FRIEDLANDER, 30 (“30 Rock”), has a stand-up special that starts streaming on Netflix on Halloween day. It’s entitled “America is the Greatest Country in the United States.”

“Michael Jackson’s Halloween” is a one-hour animated special that will premiere on CBS on Oct. 27 at 8PM. Here’s the official description: "A young man and woman cross paths on Halloween night. As a result of their meeting, they and their puppy find themselves in a ‘magical adventure of personal discovery’… The story culminates in a dance finale featuring an animated version of Michael Jackson himself.” BRAD GARRETT, 57, voices a character.

Writing about Sarah Polley (above) made me draw a connection to Michael Jackson’s now-grown children. Polley, a very smart woman, made “Stories We Tell,” a documentary about discovering her mother had an extra-marital affair with her Jewish biological father. This knowledge changed her view of herself, even if it didn’t lead her to embrace Judaism (or any other faith). The mother of Jackson’s children is DEBBIE ROWE, now 58, a nurse hired to provide Jackson with children. It was a business relationship and she ceded parental rights after she and Jackson divorced. However, in 2004, when she heard “Nation of Islam” officials were hanging around the children, she threatened court action—noting she’s a convert to Judaism. There’s rational speculation that Jackson’s children may have a Jewish biological father. It’s possible that one day one of Jackson’s children will reveal if they pursued “the truth” via DNA tests or other avenues and I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the Jackson children have two Jewish biological parents.

Eva Hesse

This month, Netflix began streaming the 2016 documentary “Eva Hesse.”  Hesse, a painter and sculptor, was noted for her use of then unusual materials and is regarded as a founder of post-minimalist art.  Her reputation, already strong at time of her death from cancer, age 34, in 1970, has soared since her passing. Whatever you think of her art, the story told in the documentary is a moving Jewish story, very well told. Hesse was born in Nazi Germany in 1936, and she and her parents and younger sister (who’s interviewed) barely made it to the States. The trauma of that time, we learn, continued to affect Eva and her family as long as she lived. Here’s two things not in the film to enhance your viewing—her close friend, famous artist SOL LEWITT (1927-2007), named his first child “Eva.”  Second, Sir NICHOLAS SEROTA, 71, is the (Jewish) director of the famous Tate Gallery. A huge fan of Hesse, he offers incisive commentary about her. 


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