Jews in the News: Arnold Rothstein, Gabrielle Giffords & Gwyneth Paltrow

ISLA FISHER, 37, has a supporting role as Myrtle, the mistress of Daisy’s husband. Amitabh Bachchan, a very famous actor in Indian movies, plays the mysterious Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish gangster who is a friend and long-time business associate of Gatsby. He’s clearly modeled after famous gangster ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN (1882-1928)—who is also a major character in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Fitzgerald, as it were, made it up to Jewish community by making a Jewish film executive, modeled after the “talented and tasteful” MGM film production head IRVING THALBERG (1899-1936), the hero of his last novel, “The Last Tycoon.”  


The Time 100


The Apr. 29 issue of Time Magazine featured their annual list of the “100 Most influential People in the World.” You can read the article on-line ( Here are the “tribe members” I’m sure about: talent manager SCOTT “Scooter” BRAUN, 31; JARED COHEN, 31, political advisor and director of “Google Ideas”;  College Board head DAVID COLEMAN, 43; actor DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, 56; actress LENA DUNHAM, 26; hedge fund manager DAVID EINHORN, 44; former Congresswoman GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, 42; Veterans’ helper ERIC GREITENS, 39; Supreme Court Justice ELENA KAGAN, 62;  fashion designer MICHAEL KORS, 53; Israeli finance minister YAIR LAPID, 49;  Facebook COO SHERYL SANDBERG, 43; film director STEVEN SPIELBERG, 66 (A Jewish Telegraph Agency piece on “The 100”, which listed about half the persons above, erroneously identified, as Jewish, Yahoo head Marissa Mayer and Tesla Motors head Elon Musk).


Here is a little more on three of the lesser known Jewish “100”:  Coleman, a prominent education reformer, grew-up in an intellectual household: his father is a psychiatrist and his mother is now president of Bennington College. A Nov. 2012 Atlantic magazine article says: “To prepare for his bar mitzvah at age 13, Coleman learned to chant in Hebrew the story of Joseph interpreting the pharaoh’s dreams. He recalls debating the parable’s many interpretations with his family rabbi, telling me proudly, ‘There’s no watered-down version of the Bible.’”; Greitens, who was a bar mitzvah, is a Rhodes Scholar who lead Navy Seal missions in Iraq that hunted down Al-Qaeda cells. He wrote a bestselling book about being in combat and, in 2007; he founded “The Mission Continues,” an organization to help veterans. Last year, he was the winner of the 100K Bronfman Award, given to “young Jewish heroes”; Sandberg’s stellar academic career lead to top government and private sector jobs. She became a bit better known this year with the publication of her book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” She pushes herself hard in business and in philanthropic work. In 2010, she told a Jewish Federation meeting about her charities: “I’m discontented with myself. I should be doing more. We must leverage our discontent to do true tzedakah.”


Ah, Beauty and More


“People” magazine has largely eliminated the “cheesecake” aspect of its annual issue (April 14) featuring beautiful women. The issue is now more about looking as good as you can, and being healthy at any age. It even includes a page of regular women who exemplify these “ideals.” So their selection of GWYNETH PALTROW, 40, who takes incredible care of herself, as the “most beautiful woman in the world,” fits right in.


Other Hebrew “healthy lookers” who appear in the mag include actresses HAILEE STEINFELD, 16, RASHIDA JONES, 37, EMMY ROSSUM, 26, MILA KUNIS, 29, and CHELSEA HANDLER, 38.


Paltrow, who was raised in her late father’s Jewish faith, is the daughter of actress Blythe Danner. Danner and SARAH JESSICA PARKER, 48, will appear, as mother and daughter, in a Broadway stage show written by actress AMANDA PEET, 41 (she’s appeared in almost every episode this season of “The Good Wife”). Called “The Commons of Pensacola,” Peet’s first play is set to open in November. I wonder if she got writing tips from her husband, novelist and “Game of Thrones” creator DAVID BENIOFF, 42.  


Peet, whose mother is Jewish, wed Benioff in a Jewish ceremony in 2006 and they now have two children. I recently learned that her maternal great-grandfather was SAMUEL LIONEL ROTHAFEL (1882-1936). Known as "Roxy," he founded (1927) the famous Roxy theater in New York and brought-in a troupe of dancers from out-of-town to dance on the theater stage. He re-named that troupe "the Roxyettes." In 1932, he moved the troupe to the new Radio City Music Hall, of which he was a co-creator. They were renamed "the Rockettes."



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