Jews in the News: Tiffany Haddish, Estee Lauder and Ryan Braun

At the Movies: Opens October 19

“The Oath” is a searing political comedy that was written by, directed by, and stars IKE BARINHOLTZ, 41. Chris (Barinholtz) is a political progressive who is outraged when he learns that Americans are being asked to sign a loyalty oath or lose tax credits. The deadline to sign the oath coincides with a family Thanksgiving meal that Chris and his wife, Kai (TIFFANY HADDISH, 38) are set to host. Chris and his relatives, some conservative, agree in advance that there will be no politics discussed during the Thanksgiving meal. But that pact quickly frays and completely breaks-down when two government agents come to Chris’s door. Co-stars include CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, 44, as Alice, Chris’s lefty sister.

“Can You Forgive Me?” is a comedy/drama based on a memoir of the same name by LEE ISRAEL, who died in 2014, age 75. Israel (played by Melissa McCarthy) had some success in the 1960s writing profiles and books about celebrities. In 1983, she got a contract to write a biography of cosmetics mogul ESTEE LAUDER (1908-2004). She had “dirt” on Lauder, like knowing Lauder came from Queens, New York, not Europe as Lauder claimed. Lauder tried to bribe Israel to kill the book, but Israel refused. The book was not a success and Israel went into a career-tailspin, propelled by alcoholism. To support herself, she wrote and sold fake letters that were supposedly written by the famous. She was very good at it, but the FBI did catch-up with her in about a year and she served a short jail sentence. NICOLE HOLOFCENER, 58, co-wrote the film’s screenplay.

Baseball this Year: Tell a Friend!

As I write this, the two baseball League Championship (“LC”) series have not begun, but I’m sure that the teams in the World Series (which begins on Sunday, Oct. 23), will have a Jewish player on their roster. Yes, tribe members, go forth and shout this to the hills: for the first time ever, all four teams in the “LC” have a Jewish player.

Over in the National League, there is Los Angeles Dodger outfielder JOC PEDERSON, 26, and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and first baseman RYAN BRAUN, 34.  Pederson is a streaky power hitter. In 2017, he was in such a hitting slump that he was sent to the minors near season’s end. A stellar performance in the 2017 World Series saved his MLB baseball career. He seems to be a “Mr. October”---he hit .908 in the 2018 Division playoff series. Pederson’s mother is Jewish (father, not). He calls himself religiously “a nothing”, but he did play for Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Braun, an 11-year veteran, has a plausible shot at the Hall-of-Fame. The .254 he hit in 2018 was a career-low, but he did manage to hit 20 homers. He was 2007 Rookie of the Year, the 2011 MVP, and he’s been on All-Star team six times. Braun is the secular son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. He’s been a “mensch” about all attention he’s got from Jewish fans.  He calls himself Jewish when asked, while noting that he didn’t grow-up celebrating Jewish holidays. He’s also said that he’s proud to be role model for Jewish kids.

In the American League, there’s Boston Red Sox second baseman, IAN KINSLER, 36, and Houston Astros third baseman ALEX BREGMAN, 24.

Boston got Kinsler in a trade in August. Question now is whether he’s in the twilight of a great career that includes being named an All-Star four times. He was out with injuries in 2017 and he didn’t hit well in 2018. Kinsler is the secular son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother.

Bregman has two Jewish parents, both of whom are lawyers. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his family belongs to a synagogue and he was a bar mitzvah. His father moved to New Mexico to play baseball for the Univ. of New Mexico. His paternal grandfather was the general counsel for the old Washington Senators and his great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant, promoted boxing matches. As a hitter, Bregman has been on a hot streak since mid-season 2017. He hit well over .300 in the 2nd half of 2017 and followed up in 2018 with a .286 season average and 31 home runs. This year, he became the first Jewish player to be named the MVP of the All-Star game.


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