Jews in the News: Max Brooks, Danielle Kertesz and Steven Spielberg

In Egypt, I was told, Michelle’s parents were members of the Karaite Jewish community. Karaites are now a quite small wing of Judaism, but once their numbers were much larger. They embrace the Torah, but reject the oral law and the Talmud. There is only one Karaite synagogue in America with its own dedicated facility.


Not Young Frankenstein


“World War Z,” which opens on Friday, June 21, is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by MAX BROOKS, 41. The book was hailed as raising the intellectual level of the zombie-genre. Brooks is the son of MEL BROOKS, 86, and the late Anne Bancroft.  Max’s wife, MICHELLE KHOLOS BROOKS, 45, is a former NPR producer who is now a playwright and novelist.


Brad Pitt stars in “WWZ” as Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator who travels around the world trying to figure out how a plague of zombies arose and what can be done to stop them. Israel is an important stop---the Israeli government was the first to take the zombie threat seriously and it moved quickly to evacuate from the occupied areas and admit, into Israeli proper, any Jew or Palestinian who was uninfected. While in Jerusalem, and in other places, Lane is guarded by a crack Israeli security guard played by Israeli actress DANIELLE KERTESZ, 24. As the “Times of Israel” recently said, Kertesz was “plucked from relative obscurity” to play this role. She told an Israeli TV station that she liked Brad, Angelina, and their kids very much. She said: “[They were] normal kids who asked their dad things like, ‘How many zombies did you kill today?’”


Lefevre Fever


Odds are you have seen RACHELLE LEFEVRE, 34, in more than one role.  The pretty red-headed actress played the evil vampire Victoria Sutherland in the first two “Twilight” films and she played Paul Giamatti’s first wife in the 2009 movie, “Barney’s Version,” based on the late MORDECAI RICHLER novel. She’s been in several short-lived TV shows and has done a lot of guest roles.


On Friday, June 28, her latest film, “White House Down,” opens. Channing Tatum stars as a Capitol policeman who wants to be a member of the President’s Secret Service detail. As he is taking his little girl on a White House tour, a paramilitary group launches an attack, and Tatum’s character gets a chance to show how tough he is. Leferve plays Tatum’s ex-wife. Their daughter is played by JOEY KING, 13.

Leferve also co-stars in the new, six-part CBS mini-series, “Under the Dome,” which starts on Monday, June 24 at 10PM.  It’s a sci-fi thriller based on a Stephen King novel and it’s produced by STEVEN SPIELBERG, 66.


Leferve was born and raised in Montreal.  In 2011, she told Venice Magazine: “I’m Jewish and I lost my great-grandfather, who was shot down in a pogrom, and I lost great-grandparents in the Holocaust. When ‘Fugitive Pieces’ [a 2007 film about the Holocaust], came along, it was just one of those things where I read it and I thought, ‘I have to be in this’… ‘My stepfather is a rabbi; I’m not a religious Jew, but I’m certainly well informed.’”



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