Jews in the News: Michelle Chamuel, Lisa Bonet, Jesse Eisenberg

Chamuel, who is an open lesbian, told a lesbian community website in 2011 that she doesn’t define herself, only, as a “lesbian musician or Jewish artist.”  I managed to find out that Michelle and her mother, a doctor, attended an Amherst egalitarian synagogue for at least several years (her parents are long divorced). Her father is a businessman, engineer, and violinist. I believe he’s Jewish, too. But I haven’t confirmed that.


 At the Movies: Opening Friday, May 31


SOPHIE OKONEDO, 44, and ZOE KRAVITZ, 24, co-star, respectively, as Will Smith’s wife and daughter in the sci-fi adventure “After Earth.” An apocalyptic event causes most people to evacuate Earth for a distant planet. A thousand years later, Smith and his son (played by his real-life son, Jaden) crash land on Earth and have to deal with all sorts of dangerous stuff.


The Oscar-nominated Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”) is the daughter of a Nigerian father and an English Jewish mother and was raised Jewish by her single mom. Kravitz is the daughter of actress LISA BONET, 45, and famous rock musician Lenny Kravitz, 48. Bonet’s mother is Jewish and her father is African-American. Lenny’s father was Jewish and his mother was African-American.


Long in demand as a fashion model, Zoe has growing list of increasingly better film and TV roles.  She defines herself as a secular Jew, unlike her father, who calls himself a Christian.


“Now You See Me” is sort of a Robin Hood story. Four of the of the world’s greatest magicians steal from corrupt business leaders and then shower their stolen profits on members of their magic show audiences (via their bank accounts). An elite FBI/Interpol squad tries to catch them.  The magicians are played by JESSE EISENBERG, 29, ISLA FISHER, 37, DAVE FRANCO, 27, and Woody Harrelson. Mark Ruffalo and MELANIE LAURENT, 30 (“Inglorious Basterds”), play the lead agents after them.


Eisenberg, who says he had little interest in magic before making this film, spent months with an expert to learn sleight-of-hand tricks. He says he has largely retained his hard-won ability to do tricks like making a coin emerge suddenly from the top of his hand.



New on the Tube


Many Italian-Americans were livid when a group of crude and often drunk young Italian Americans were featured in the MTV series, “Jersey Shore.” Now, Jews have a chance to be equally upset. The Long Island paper, Newsday, began its review of the new Bravo series, “Long Island Princesses” (starts Sunday, June 2, at 9PM), this way: “Oy vey. This doesn't look good for Jews or Long Island…Bravo appears to have jammed every cliche about six (mostly) Jewish women of a certain age (late ‘20s) and provenance [living with their parents in fancy neighborhoods] into a TV blender and hit the ‘high’ button.”


Based on names, it appears that four of the six women are Jewish. One, CHANEL “Coco” OMARI, says on her website bio that she comes from an Orthodox Jewish family. Her best friend is blonde bombshell Casey Cohen, who I assume is Jewish, too.


Bravo’s official publicity describes a serious series about fairly accomplished women (in terms of career/education). But reviews of the first episode describe a much more vulgar show and that’s understandable: high ratings flow from conflict and outrageousness (sometimes manipulated).  For example, when one of the women greets another with “Shabbat Shalom,” she gets an ugly expletive as a reply.


The new ABC Family drama, “The Fosters,” is about a bi-racial, lesbian couple, played by Teri Polo and Sherri Saum, who are raising a biological child as well as several adoptive children. Polo’s character is a police officer who was formerly married to another police officer, played by DANNY NUCCI, 44, and they have a teenage son together. (Starts Monday, June 3, at 9PM). Nucci, an Italian Jew, is still best known for playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s buddy in “Titanic.”


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