Posted by Ryan Torok
Performing at the Greek Theatre last weekend, 23-year-old Israeli singer and philanthropist Liel Kolet joined Iranian-Armenian pop star Andy for a song of peace.
The power ballad, “We Hear Your Voice,” brought together Andy and Kolet and musicians from across the world, including exiled Afghan singer Ehsan Aman; “Korea’s Got Talent” star and South Korean opera singer Sung Bong Choi and American singer Shani Rigsbee, Andy’s wife.
“Coming from Israel,” it was particularly meaningful for Kolet to take part in the performance, she said, onstage.
“I’m really happy to be here and take part in this beautiful thing…to promote peace is something that I love and to let all the people all over the world know we hear your voice,” she said.
Made up of thousands of people in attendance at the Aug. 4 concert, the crowd swooned, including Oren Nadav, 28, a general contractor who was born in Tel Aviv and lives in Sherman Oaks and attended with his Armenian girlfriend, who is a big Andy fan. Nadav didn’t know who Kolet was prior to the show—and he didn’t know that she’d be coming out to perform – but given his personal connection to Israel and Israel’s ongoing conflict with Iran, he was happy to see Kolet and Andy perform together.
“I love it. I actually think it’s great,” he said. “We need peace in the world, and in Israel it’s not so easy to have peace.”
“I love it,” he said one more time, dancing with his girlfriend.
A popular vocalist in Persian and Armenian communities who has performed all over the world and released more than one dozen albums, Andy (real name: Andranik Madadian) headlined the two-and-half hour performance on Saturday night. He performed with a 12-piece band and blended dance music, Middle Eastern rhythms, pop vocals and Persian lyrics. Born in Tehran and currently living in Los Angeles, Andy is internationally known. But his music is banned in Iran.
On Saturday, thousands of Armenians and Iranians of all ages – including couples, groups of friends and families—attended his concert.
Story continues after the jump.
A past performance with Andy and wife Shani.
“Put your hands together and clap!” Andy yelled in Persian between songs. The audience abided.
Relentlessly high energy throughout the evening, and reveling in the adoration, Andy invited Kolet onstage to perform one song with him around 90 minutes into the concert, which began at 8:30 p.m. and lasted until 11 p.m.
Born on a kibbutz in northern Israel, Kolet’s participation in charity events has put her onstage with artists such as Elton John, U2’s Bono and Andrea Boccelli and she has even sung with Bill Clinton. She has tried to establish herself as an international Celine Dion.
“We Hear Your Voice,” the song that Kolet performed with Andy and the others, was written by Rigsbee as part of a charity project to improve children’s welfare throughout the world.
Andy’s brother and manager, Varouj Madadian, said that the concert’s message was a “message of unity. The only message we have tonight.”
“Every human in the world is the same, and the message is only unity,” he said.
Varouj also said that Andy has performed in Israel as recently as last year.
Also among the crowd: 20-year-old Israeli student and Beverly Hills resident Avital Hasid. Attending with her Middle Eastern friends, Hasid is half-Persian and said she grew up with Andy’s music.
“I was just very proud of it. I didn’t expect an Israeli person to be here. I thought it was going to be a Middle Eastern thing, but I was glad to see her represent,” she said of Golet appearing.
If there were other Israelis in the crowd, they were scarce, but even non-Israelis appreciated the gesture of Kolet and Andy appearing together.
The collaboration sent the right message,” said 33-year-old Baha’i Persian P.J. Hak. “The Iranian and Israeli governments [are] not good together, [but] at least if we’re doing something like this, [it] brings all the people together,” Hek said. “It shows we don’t care what the government does.” Hak had traveled from Atlanta for the show, and the wallpaper on his cell phone is a photo of him and Andy.
Hak also spoke of his connection to Israel. He has visited Haifa, where there is a place of worship for the Baha’i community, he said. His life involves border-less connections between cultures, much like the evening’s concert.
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August 3, 2012 | 4:10 pm
Posted by Cora Markowitz
Segel Set to Leave
How I Met Your Mother, a successful TV show that will begin its eighth season in September, may not have main cast member Jason Segel in it for much longer. Segel has played character Marshall Eriksen since season one but now seems ready to move on. He’s had success in recent movies like The Muppets and The Five Year Engagement. In an interview with Austrian website Kurier.at, Segel said, “It’s great to do some ‘Rated R’ stuff again because I’ve been playing the nice guy for quite a long time now. That’s why I’m gonna quit How I Met Your Mother after the eighth season. I’ve hit my 30s, the TV show that I’ve been doing for eight years is coming to its natural end, I’m feeling much more like, ‘OK, now it’s time for Phase Three.’” Whether the show will continue on without him or make season eight its last remains unresolved, but the network seems eager to keep its hit show going. CBS President Nina Tassler told critics, “They know we want the show to come back next year. We are having conversations right now about extending it.”
Unlikely Action Stars
Though neither Jake Gyllenhaal nor James Franco are the first people who come to mind when thinking of action movie stars, both have an action film in the works. Gyllenhaal stars in End of Watch, a cop movie set on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Gyllenhaal sports a police uniform and a bald head for the movie, due in theaters September 21st. James Franco’s movie, which begins principal photography in September, is written by Sylvester Stallone and costars Jason Statham. The action thriller, called Homefront, stars Franco as a vicious drug lord named Gator.
Unlike her co-star Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, on the TV show Community, Alison Brie isn’t known for her rapping skills. Behind the scenes of Community, however, it seems to be a different story. In the season three gag reel, Brie raps about werewolves, Chevy Chase curses, and the entire cast seems to be having the time of their lives. The third season DVD set comes out August 14th and Community returns to NBC on October 19th.
New Role for Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones is sick of being so likeable. “I am generally cast as the dependable, affable, loving, friend-wife-girlfriend,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. In order to play a new role, Jones wrote one for herself. Along with her friend, actor Will McCormack, Jones wrote her first screenplay, telling a story about a couple in the midst of a divorce. The movie, Celeste and Jesse Forever, comes out on Friday and stars Jones as Celeste and Andy Samberg as Jesse. A studio made an offer for the film, on the consideration that Jones’ character would possibly be played by someone else. She turned them down. “I felt like this was the only opportunity I had to play this kind of part,” she said, “a character that’s maybe less than likable.”
Chris and Josh?
Fans of the old Nickelodeon show Drake and Josh will be overjoyed to hear that Josh Peck is coming to the big screen soon. Formerly the overweight brother that fuelled a lot of the Nick show’s jokes, Peck has switched it up by taking on the role of action hero in the upcoming movie Red Dawn, in theaters November 21st. The original Red Dawn, a Cold War movie about Russians invading a town in Colorado, has been updated in this remake; this time, North Koreans invade Washington State, leaving a group of teens to fight back. Peck plays the younger brother of Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games also stars.
Last appearing on the big screen in the third Transformers movie, Shia Labeouf will make his return with the movie Lawless, in theaters nationwide on August 29th. Labeouf co-stars with Tom Hardy, who played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The pair play brothers struggling with a bootlegging business while pursued by the law in 1930s Virginia. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May to positive reviews.
August 3, 2012 | 10:55 am
Posted by Jeffrey Hensiek
July 31, 2012 | 5:00 pm
Posted by JewishJournal
Video courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center
Guri Weinberg who was one month old when his father, Moshe Weinberg and ten other Israeli athletes were tortured and murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics speaks out against the IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) 40-year refusal of a 1 Minute Moment of Silence.
Guri speaks with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean
Read Guri’s op-ed here: Why the IOC will never memorialize the ‘72 Munich massacre.
July 31, 2012 | 4:37 pm
Posted by Uri Fintzy, JTA
Among the more popular U.S. Olympians is Aly Raisman, an 18-year-old Jewish gymnast from the Boston area whose star has been rising in London for a few reasons. First it was her song choice for the floor exercise routine—an instrumental version of “Hava Nagila” that she had used last week at the preliminaries. Then it was the results shocker: She was ahead of two-time world champion Jordyn Wieber in the qualifying stage on Sunday. Wieber was eliminated from the all-around individual finals since she finished third among the Americans and Olympic rules allow only two gymnasts from each country to compete in the finals.
Then it was a television interview she gave NBC, as Wieber was crying in the background (although the video gained popularity because of network’s decision to show Raisman with Wieber in the background), in which she expressed her happiness and surprise at reaching the finals. And then it was her parents, Ricky and Lynn, who stole the show in a video that shows them anxiously observing her routine from the stands. The video became an instant hit on the Internet.
Finally, Raisman showed everyone why she is here, as her floor exercise routine helped win the gold for Team USA in women’s gymnastics. She is set to compete again on Thursday and on Aug. 7.
July 27, 2012 | 10:30 am
Whether he actually goes through with his on-air moment of silence to honor the Munich 11 during tonight’s Olympics opening ceremonies, NBC broadcaster Bob Costas probably elevated the campaign to memorialize Israel’s slain athletes from the 1972 Games more than anyone else—even the president of the United States. The petition with more than 105,000 signatures that was begun by volunteers at a suburban New York JCC, which turned into a global movement involving heads of state and parliaments, was not enough to convince International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge that Israel’s murdered athletes are worth memorializing at an official event during the Olympic Games. But it probably gave the issue more publicity than had Rogge agreed to the moment of silence in the first place.
July 21, 2012 | 2:44 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
The suspect behind a deadly shooting in Colorado that killed 12 and injured 58 more during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on Friday, July 20 reportedly served as a counselor at a camp run by Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Los Angeles.
NBC 7 San Diego KNSD reported on Saturday that during the summer of 2008 the alleged shooter, James Holmes, 24, was a cabin counselor at Camp Max Strauss and was “responsible for the care and guidance of a group of about 10 children.”
The NBC story quotes a statement from Randy Schwab, CEO of Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters, which runs Camp Max Straus, that says Holmes “helped [campers] learn confidence, self esteem and how to work in small teams to effect positive outcomes.”
The Journal has attempted to contact Schwab via phone and email but had not heard back from him as of Saturday afternoon.
Providing young-adult mentors for young Jewish children in working-class and single-parent homes, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters owns and operates Camp Max Strauss, according to the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters official website.
Located in the Verdugo Mountains of Los Angeles County, Camp Max Strauss is a nonsectarian camp serving underprivileged children ages 7-14. The camp provides transportation to and from camp, sports activities, arts and crafts, cooking classes, Judaica classes and sing-alongs with Jewish song leaders and rabbis.
Police arrested Holmes, 24, following the shooting and are currently holding him in custody.
July 20, 2012 | 9:50 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
On July 20, three Los Angeles-area teenagers were found guilty in an alternative juvenile court of vandalizing two homes in the San Fernando Valley with syrup swastikas, human feces and toilet paper. The girls — named only as Catharine W., Sarah M. and McKennah L. — have been ordered to complete community service at the Museum of Tolerance.
The three girls appeared at the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. They had been charged with vandalism, vandalism with a hate crime allegation, and terrorizing by use of symbol. Catharine and Sarah were found guilty of all three charges, while McKennah was found guilty only of vandalism.
The convictions stemmed from an April 3 incident in which the three girls, at the time all eighth-graders at Nobel Middle School in Northridge, together defaced the residence of a former friend from their school with toilet paper and maple syrup, and smeared their own feces on the homeowner’s vehicle. At the second home, Catharine allegedly wrote the word “Jew” and drew three swastikas on the front walkway of the home, which belongs to the son of a Holocaust survivor.
Catharine said of the swastikas: “I knew it was mean, but I didn’t know it meant death and hate.”
The terms of their probation require that all three girls complete eight hours of community service at The Museum of Tolerance within six months. Two of the girls must spend three days at Building Bridges Youth Human Relations Camp, a residential camp in the Big Bear area that features discussions with Holocaust survivors, and all three must participate in counseling along with their parents and abide by a 6 p.m.-9 a.m. curfew. Two of the girls also are required to write essays about what these experiences teach them.
The judges also forbade the girls from having any contact with their victims and their victims’ families and from having any contact with one another during the six-month period.
The girls were each tried separately, and they faced juries made up of high school teenagers as part of SHADES (Stopping Hate and Delinquency by Empowering Students), a modification of the early intervention and diversion program Teen Court. SHADES is a partnership between The Museum of Tolerance and the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Catharine’s mother, Catharine Whelpley, responded to questions during her daughter’s trial. On the night of the incident, Whelpley drove the girls to the targeted homes.
On July 18, Whelpley pleaded no contest to one charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.