Jews in the News: Jack Gahan, Seth Rogan and Ione Syke

Depeche Mode in Israel

A couple of weeks ago, Dave Gahan, the front man for the famous Brit New Wave band Depeche Mode, made a surprise visit to Israel. He was there to attend the Jewish wedding of his son, JACK GAHAN, 27, to Israeli native SIGAL MAMIS. (Given Israeli marriage laws, it is virtually certain that Jack Gahan converted to Judaism). Jack Gahan met Mamis following a Depeche Mode concert in Tel Aviv in 2009. It was the second live appearance by the band in Israel, where they are very popular. By the way, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is married to an Israeli, as is reggae musician Ziggy Marley, the son of the legendary Bob Marley.  Both Radiohead and Ziggy Marley have played Israel.

Reports breaking as I write this say that musician Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, plan to visit Israel and Jordan during mid-April. No concert is planned.

Movie News

“Woman in Gold” dramatically recounts the decades-long campaign by MARIA BLOCH ALTMANN (1916-2011) to recover, from the Austrian government, a collection of Gustav Klimt paintings that the Nazis seized from her late uncle, FERDINAND BLOCH-BAUER. The title refers to the most celebrated of the paintings: a portrait (“Adele Bauer I”) of Ferdinand’s wife, ADELE BLOCH-BAUER, in a gold dress. Helen Mirren stars as Altmann, with Ryan Reynolds as E. RANDOL SCHOENBERG, a Los Angeles attorney who, at first, was reluctant to take the case---but gradually became a fierce and effective advocate as he broke down, one by one, the Austrians’ legal roadblocks to recovery and as he demolished their self-serving excuses as to why they should benefit from Nazi theft. (Schoenberg, 49, is the grandson of famous Austrian Jewish composer ARNOLD SCHOENBERG). The story is partially told in flashbacks to the pre-war era. (I should note that early reviews by reputable critics aren’t good. However, Mirren is singled out for praise and the true story is so dramatic that the movie is worth seeing despite plodding direction). Note: Opens in many cities on April 3. Check local listings.

Poor AMY PASCAL, 57, the former head of Sony Pictures. First, she was booted out of her job following the disclosure of hacked e-mails that showed her in a poor light. The e-mails were probably hacked by the North Koreans, who were upset by “The Interview,” which co-starred SETH ROGEN, 32. As a sort-of-consolation prize, Sony gave Pascal an office on the studio lot to use “for whatever” after her discharge. Ironically, it is an office that had until recently housed Rogen. Then Pascal became the subject of Hollywood chuckling when the usually reliable “Hollywood Reporter” said, last month, that her move into the office was delayed as crews struggled to get Rogen’s heavy marijuana smell cleaned-out.  Rogen responded that the story was “completely untrue..and pot smells [aren’t] a stench.”

Sykes Brighten

Craig Ferguson, who recently left his CBS talk show, has been cast as the star of the ABC sit-com pilot, “The King of 7B”. He plays a guy suffering from agoraphobia who only recently has begun to go outside. His co-star is IONE SKYE. Here are excerpts from her recent profile/interview in the “Hollywood Reporter”. “Its fun, because it’s a love interest. [Skye said] I was thinking ‘Wow, I wonder if I ever get to play a love interest again?’ because I’ve been playing the quiet concerned mother lately. And I’m not that old. I’m 44.”...Skye broke out as a teen [who John Cusack courted] in the hit 1989 movie, ‘Say Anything.’…[But hasn’t had a big career since]…'I had that classic arc where you get a good run in the beginning and then you sort of sabotage yourself and live your life and face the regular ups and downs of a career. But over the years, it has never come to a complete halt.'”

Skye is the American-raised daughter of Donovan, the famous Scottish ‘60s folk rocker and an American Jewish mother. She was married to Beastie Boy ADAM HOROVITZ (1992-98) and has been married to Australian Jewish musician BEN LEE, 36, since 2006. They have one child. In 2014, she published a children’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation,” about two children who visit their Jewish grandparents. The book explains various Yiddish words so a child can understand them.

In a recent web interview, she said the book is a “homage” to her Hungarian Jewish grandparents, “who I was very close to.” In the same interview, she dispelled reports that she is a practicing Buddhist, Hindu, or anything else. She says she has looked into many spiritual traditions and secular therapies. Her grandparents, by the way, lived in Florida and Skye says she often visited them in Florida


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