Jews in the News: Jonah Bobo, James Wolk and Francesca Segal

This film played a Tampa film festival in March. Its not set to open in Tampa on the 19th. So look for a later play date this month or next. 


Bobo, who most recently co-starred in the 2011 comedy hit, “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” was raised in an Orthodox home in New York.  In 2011, I noted in this column: Jonah's paternal great-grandmother, SALHA “Mama” BOBO (1907-2001), a Syrian Jew, was the matriarch of the extended Bobo family. She and her Egyptian Jewish husband settled in Tampa, Florida in 1947, and she became locally famous as a businesswoman and cookbook author.





The premiere (Apr. 7) episode of the hit AMC cable show “Mad Men” introduced a new character, Bob Benson, played by the very handsome JAMES WOLK, 28. Here are excerpts from an April 8 Hollywood Reporter piece that explains all: “Benson, a hyper-enthusiastic, brown-nosing accounts employee at Sterling Draper Cooper…attempts to get into the good graces of Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the superstar adman he's always wanted to meet…And there's something about Wolk -- an intelligence and intensity -- that makes him more than just a pretty face. The 28-year-old actor has racked up a host of TV credits with a leading role on the short-lived Fox series “Lone Star” and recurring parts on Showtime's “Shameless” and “Happy Endings.”… Besides “Mad Men”, Wolk is part of a buzzy new comedy project also focused on an ad agency. Called “The Crazy Ones” and produced by David E. Kelley, the CBS pilot -- which could be greenlit for next season -- touts Robin Williams and SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR, 35, as father-and-daughter co-owners of a firm…Seems like Wolk could balance playing [both roles] simultaneously.”


By the way, a Buzzfeed website author, who is bonkers for Wolk, has compiled a raft of pics in which the very buff Wolk is shirtless. He maintains that Wolk could give the very hunky Jon Hamm a run for his money.



Another Love Story


On April 9, The Jewish Book Council named FRANCESCA SEGAL, 33, the winner of the $100,000 2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in fiction for her debut novel, “The Innocents.” The UK paper, “The Guardian,” said in their recent review: “Part ambiguous morality tale, part guidebook on north London Jewish community culture, this is a hugely enjoyable first novel. With a nod to Edith Wharton's “The Age of Innocence,” it has already won the 2012 Costa First Novel award and the 2012 National Jewish Book award for fiction. It's another sort of coming of age too: the author is the daughter of ERICH SEGAL [1937-2010], who wrote ‘Love Story.’”


Erich Segal, the son of a Brooklyn rabbi, only married once. He met his wife (now his widow), KAREN JAMES, who is British, when they met on a plane returning from Tel Aviv. They married in 1975 and had two daughters (Francesca, and MIRANDA, now 23.) In the late ‘70s, Segal moved to London. His children were born in London and raised in London and in New York.


Segal was ‘more’ than “Love Story”: he was a professor of Latin and Greek literature at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton and guest taught at Oxford and in Tel Aviv. He penned the screenplay for the Beatles’ film, “Yellow Submarine.” He was an early and avid marathon runner who did TV color commentary on the event.


Francesca recently told the Connecticut Jewish Ledger that: “We had Shabbat dinner every week as a family, and went to shul almost every Friday night – but then also gathered to watch “Friends” on TV after Shabbat dinner was finished; it was part of our family tradition. Judaism and my Jewish identity were a central part of my family life, growing up, and have remained extremely important to me.”


Francesca’s novel, which is often a comedy of manners, centers on Rachel, a young British Jewish woman who has three “beaus”: one is a nice Jewish guy who was childhood sweetheart. He’s already viewed by her family as their son-in-law; another beau is a very handsome cousin whom she has long been very fond of; and then there’s a married American rich businessman with whom she has a furtive relationship. 


As the “Guardian” puts it: “Rachel oscillates between saint and witch, sometimes coming across as the innocent victim, sometimes the unbearable limpet.”


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