Jews in the News: Pink, Josh Gad and Mel Brooks

On Charlottesville and More

Musicians REGINA SPEKTOR and PINK (AKA Alecia Moore), both 37, issued moving statements right after the Charlottesville riot and the death of Heather Heyer last Saturday, Aug. 11. Both happened to be playing Berlin.  Pink, whose mother is Jewish, said, “It’s incredible to watch Neo-Nazis march in 2017, while I, a Jewish woman, headline a show in Berlin where these tunnels [to my auditorium’s stage] were built by him [Hitler]… My heart aches for the amount of hatred in the world.”  Spektor, a child refugee from the Soviet Union, said on Facebook, “I am in Berlin where after a dark history, it is illegal to be a Nazi or say hate speech... I never dreamed [when I became a U.S. citizen that] the hate speeches and the normalizing of institutionalized prejudice that would be falling over the land in such a short time. The haters coming out of the shadows, and being empowered.”  Also, the day after the riot, Charlottesville’s mayor MICHAEL SIGNER, 44, was widely quoted when he said on “Meet the Press”: “When you dance with the devil, the devil changes you. And I think they made a choice in that [Trump] campaign, a very regrettable one, to really go to people’s prejudices, to go to the gutter.” He was predictably deluged with anti-Semitic hate mail right after this statement.

 The “Twittersphere” exploded after President Trump’s news conference on Monday, Aug.13, in which he said, again, “both sides” were at fault: Neo-Nazis and their ilk and anti-bigotry protesters. Here are some tweets from Jewish celebs. ALBERT BROOKS, 70,: "Don’t blame Donald Trump. He just found out yesterday the Nazis lost World War II."; JOSH GAD, 36:  “Sound the alarm. This country is on fire. And the arsonist is the President.”; CHELSEA HANDLER, 42: “It is time for all the generals that trump has appointed to declare him unfit for office. He is unfit and unstable. This is madness.”; JUDD APATOW, 49: F--k this guy. He has such passion for all of the evil corrupt people on this planet. Never any rage at the murderers. No compassion.” EMMY ROSSUM, 30: “Who exactly are you condemning? Call it what it is. Nazi. KKK.” BARBRA STREISAND, 75,: W/o a prepared statement, this Pres says what he really believes: Equating neo-Nazis to those protecting civil rights is disgraceful & crazy” and DANNY ZUKER, 53: “Yes Hitler was bad but those Jews did some stuff, too. Blame to go around on both sides,. I'm sorry how many sides are there? There's only ONE side that is full of hate, bigotry, and fear. Horrible speech, who r u trying to protect?”  Also, on Tuesday, Aug. 14, five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued statements condemning racism, including General DAVID GOLDFINE, 57, the head of the Air Force and a decorated combat pilot.

At the Movies and a Happy/Funny Note in these Dark Times

 “Leap!,” an animated film set in the late 19th century, opens on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Félicie (Elle Fanning), leaves an orphanage for Paris hoping to become a dancer. She’s joined by her best friend Victor (NAT WOLFF, 22), an orphan who wants to be a famous inventor.  Félicie has to pretend to come from a rich family to get into a top ballet school. She’s helped by a mysterious mentor (Carly Rae Jepson). MEL BROOKS, 91, voices the head of the orphanage.

On Aug. 15, TERRY GROSS, 66, the host of the NPR program “Fresh Air,” interviewed MAX BROOKS, Mel’s son. Max, 45, is most famous as the author of “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z.”  His new novel is “Minecraft”: The Island.” Its central character is a nameless person who wakes up in the world of the popular video game Minecraft and must learn how to survive there. Max and his wife, playwright MICHELLE KHOLOS, 49, have one child, HENRY BROOKS, now 11. He was born two months before the death of Anne Bancroft, Max’s mother and Mel’s wife of 31 years. First, Max related how his son’s birth “saved Mel”. Mel would come over every night and hold the baby and fall asleep with Henry in his lap. Max says that Mel still visits every day to Henry’s delight. Max added: “They love each other. And my son is irreverent just like my father. And now my father has this protégé. And so when my son was pretending to be FDR in his notable Americans class, he goes, hey, Dad, can I do FDR, a polio comedy? And I said, no, no, you can't do that.”


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