Jews in the News: Kevin Youkilis, Amy Schumer and Paul Reiser

Freiman is the only rookie this season. He may be the tallest big leaguer ever (stands 6’8”). He played for Israel (2012) in the World Baseball Classic qualifier and his mother is on the faculty of Hebrew College, a Boston-area, Reform-affiliated school.


In addition to the players, above, Jewish Sports Review magazine also lists Ryan Kalish, 25, outfielder, Boston, as Jewish. Kalish’s father is Jewish, but he was raised in his mother’s Catholic faith. The Review lists him because, about two years ago, Kalish said he is no longer a religious believer and was okay with being identified as a Jewish athlete. I leave his “status” up to you, the reader.



At the Movies


MICHAEL BAY (“Transformers”), 48, is the director of “Pain and Gain”, a new action comedy. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson play personal trainers who get caught up in a criminal enterprise. (Opens Friday, April 26). Bay, by the way, is a cousin of SUSAN BAY, 70, the wife of “Star Trek” icon LEONARD NIMOY, 82.


Opening the same day is “Big Wedding,” a romantic comedy about nuptial tensions that threaten to spin out of control. It’s directed and written by JUSTIN ZACKHAM, 42, who is best known for writing the “The Bucket List” (Zackham actually coined the term “bucket list”). The all-star cast includes Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, and Amanda Seyfried. The groom is played by Brit actor BEN BARNES, 31, the son of an English, non-Jewish father and an English, South African-born Jewish mother.  He’s best known for playing Prince Caspian in the last two “Chronicles of Narnia” films.


TV-Ish Items


Comedian AMY SCHUMER, 31, a cousin of NY Senator CHUCK SCHUMER, stars in the new Comedy Central series, “Inside Amy Schumer.” (Starts Tuesday, April 30, at 10:30PM). Schumer provocatively explores topics, like sex and relationships, through scripted vignettes, stand-up bits, and street interviews. (Schumer was previously mis-identified as the Senator’s niece in on-line sources and in this column.)


The episode of the hit CBS comedy, “How I Met Your Mother,” that airs on Monday, April 29, at 8PM, is entitled “The Bro Mitzvah.” Whether it has any Jewish content, beyond the title, is not known to me. What I do know that it features Barney’s bachelor party (he is engaged to marry Robin, another lead character).


PAUL REISER, 56, who starred in the NBC hit comedy “Mad About You,” began doing stand-up gigs again last fall. He told the Suburban, a Montreal Jewish newspaper: “I am developing two new projects for television right now. It is a long process, so we will see what happens… I always wanted to get back to performing, but I kept putting it off. The thing is, I wanted to write fresh material. It has been 20 years since I last did this, so I need to go forward from the jokes of being newly married or having little kids. One night about a year ago I was performing at a charity event and it was just an electric and fun night. So I said to my wife, ‘why don’t I go perform for real?'  Reiser added that he, and his wife, PAULA RAVETS, and their two teenage sons celebrate all the major Jewish holidays. Their older son, EZRA, was born premature and has been in a wheelchair almost his whole life. Ezra’s bar mitzvah, Reiser said, inspired some guests to pursue their own belated bar mitzvah.


Shalom, Lumpy


FRANK BANK, who died on April 13, age 71, wasn’t exactly a household name. But virtually everyone over 40 will remember him as teenager Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford on the hit sit-com “Leave it To Beaver.” Lumpy, who was more than a bit of a dolt, was a close friend of Wally Cleaver, Beaver Cleaver’s older brother.  The son of a Los Angeles butcher, Bank went on to a career as a highly successful financial advisor and helped some “Beaver” cast members with their investments. A close colleague reports that he was very proud of being Jewish and had memorized the names of virtually every Jewish baseball player and film star. 



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