Posted by Jana Banin, JTA
Proving once again that there isn’t anything he doesn’t do, James Franco has created marketing material for his upcoming film “This is The End.”
The actor/artist/Ph.D. candidate was spotted in Williamsburg, Brooklyn over the weekend painting a mural of the movie’s cast on the side of a building.
This work of art not only reminded us of Franco’s many talents, but also of the fact that this movie has a very Jewish cast. There’s Franco himself, of course, and also Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and (not depicted in the mural) Paul Rudd and Jason Segal.
Not sure how we feel about the painting, but we are indeed looking forward to the film, in which the actors, who all play themselves, are at a party when the apocalypse hits.
5.20.13 at 11:40 am | Proving once again that there isn’t anything he. . .
5.14.13 at 9:59 am | This week on his podcast, Jewish comedian Marc. . .
4.30.13 at 10:58 am | Michael Diamond (Mike D.) and Adam Horovitz. . .
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4.25.13 at 11:57 am | Burton Levin, an 88-year old Sherman Oaks. . .
4.24.13 at 3:15 pm | So, 17-year-old Milken Community High School. . .
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5.14.13 at 9:59 am | This week on his podcast, Jewish comedian Marc. . . (166)
May 14, 2013 | 9:59 am
Posted by Jana Banin, JTA
This week on his podcast, Jewish comedian Marc Maron chats with Alison Brie, who opens up about lots of stuff, including what it was like splitting her time between her divorced interfaith parents as a kid.
On weekends with her dad she’d go to Sunday school at his Christian-Hindu hybrid church, where the future “Mad Men” and “Community” actress did a lot of meditating and chanting about a “cloud-colored Christ.” (Her reenactment is worth the download).
Then she’d go back to her mom who, while completely secular, has a strong Jewish identity.
“My mother, God love her, is a very proud Jew and would always make sure we knew we were Jewish. I remember being 6 years old and her saying, you know you guys are Jewish. If Hitler came today he would take you,” she said in a way that sounded funny and not at all terrifying.
These days Brie and her sister, no longer up for double visits, make their parents come to one of their places for the holidays, where the girls eliminate tension by serving alcohol and pot brownies. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty amazing idea for any kind of Jewish family gathering.
April 30, 2013 | 10:58 am
Posted JTA Staff
Michael Diamond (Mike D.) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), the two surviving Beastie Boys, have signed a deal with Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, to write a book about their careers.
According to The New York Times, the Jewish rappers plan on being as out of the box in their writing as they were with their music.
“The first words out of Mike’s mouth were, ‘I don’t want to do a straight memoir,’ ” said Luke Janklow, the group’s agent.
Instead the book will be “a multidimensional experience,” said Julie Grau of Spiegel & Grau. ”There is a kaleidoscopic frame of reference, and it asks a reader to keep up.”
The book, which will be edited by hip-hop journalist Sacha Jenkins and is slated for the fall of 2015, will include images as well as passages by other writers. Per Grau and Janklow, fans can expect something similar in style to Grand Royal, the irreverent magazine put out by the Beasties in the '90s.
Adam Yauch (MCA), the third member of the group, died last year at age 47 of cancer of the salivary gland.
April 25, 2013 | 4:47 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
There's an email going around with the headline, "Norway's last 819 jews are now leaving the country."
Bottom line: it's false.
The Jewish Journal has received multiple copies in the past month, with urgent requests to act. In fact, the rumor has been circulating for over a year. Meanwhile, here's what the Anti-Defamation League has to say about it:
Alarmist E-Mail Claims Norway is 'Judenrein'
November 6, 2012
An e-mail rumor, with a subject line "Europe again becoming 'Judenfrei' and soon 'Judenrein,'" claims that "the last 819 Jews still living in Norway are now leaving the country due to the rise of anti-Semitism."
The e-mail goes on to cite a litany of attacks by Muslims against Jewish communities in Norway and elsewhere in Europe, and warns that "history is repeating itself."
Much of the information in this e-mail message is alarmist and outright false.
ADL is in close contact with the leadership of the Norwegian Jewish community. The community has assured us there is absolutely no truth to the claim that all 819 Norwegian Jews have left. The Jewish population of Norway is approximately 1,700 and there has not been any significant emigration.
So: There has been no significant emigration of Jews from Norway, and the population is twice what the email claims is it. Meanwhile this email has been posted on numerous Jewish web sites, and pased around as fact.
There are anti-semitic undercurrents and actions in Norwegian society, and a study in 2010 found anti-semitism among the country's Muslim community. But the Jewish community there does not see these as representative of Norway as a whole, or as portending greater danger.
For more information click here.
And yes, the photo is of a Norwegian Jew, from the web site of the "Jewish Journal" of Norway.
April 25, 2013 | 11:57 am
Posted by Tom Tugend
Burton Levin, an 88-year old Sherman Oaks resident, apparently shot himself Tuesday morning, shortly after phoning relatives to tell them that he had just given a lethal dose of medication to his 85-year old wife Lenore.
The report from www.shermanoaks.patch.com cited an assessment by Los Angeles police detectives that the couple’s deaths were motivated by despondency over their declining health.
Police examining the Levin home in the 3500 block of Weslin Ave. found a firearm and medication. No other details are available at this time.
April 24, 2013 | 3:15 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
So, 17-year-old Milken Community High School senior Jake Davidson won’t be putting a corsage on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton’s wrist, after all.
On April 24, Davidson told the Journal that the American model and actress has turned down the invitation to his high school prom – this despite the viral success of Davidson’s March 17 YouTube video where he asked Upton to go out with him (the video has racked up more than 2.5 million views to date), Upton’s tweet on March 19, "you can call me Katie if you want! How could I turn down that video! I'll check my schedule ” and a March 20 “The Today Show” episode where Upton phoned in unannounced to tell Davidson, “I absolutely loved the video” and led Davidson--and everyone watching--to believe that she might actually go with him.
Davidson is taking the rejection like a good sport.
“While I would have loved for Kate to come to my prom, I understand she is a very busy and in demand professional and I am so grateful for Kate responding at all," he said in an email.
Upton’s camp could not be reached immediately on Wednesday afternoon for comment.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 26 that Upton turned down Davidson’s request due to her schedule being booked, but, speaking to the Journal three days later, Davidson said her official reply remained a maybe. Well, now we know for sure it’s not happening.
In related news, Los Angeles actress Jessica Rachel’s parody of Davidson’s video is getting some buzz.
“I know I may not be a famous swimsuit model, but I do look pretty terrific in a bikini,” Rachel says in “Kate Upton Says No - Bikini Babe says ‘Yes Jake Davidson.'" (Warning: Rachel's video contains some sexual images.)
Even if he didnt get the prom date he'd hoped for, Davidson still adores Upton.
"I appreciate everything she did as it made my senior year really surreal," he said. "She really is awesome!”
April 23, 2013 | 2:18 pm
Posted JTA Staff
After a horrible week in their city, one Bostonians surely want to forget, singer Neil Diamond brought them a memorable moment.
Diamond came to Fenway Park on Saturday, when the Red Sox played their first home game following the Boston Marathon bombing five days earlier. It was also less than a day after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the bombing, was captured following a manhunt that included a shootout with police and a lockdown on Boston and other area towns. Tsarnaev's brother, considered the leader in the bombing plot, was killed in the gunfire.
In the eighth inning, Diamond came on the field to perform his "Sweet Caroline," which since the early 2000s has been sung at least once a game by the Fenway faithful to a Diamond recording.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Mastrodonato, Diamond decided to fly to Boston from Los Angeles on Friday night and arrived an hour before the afternoon game. Then he called the people at Fenway and said, “Hey, I’m here. Can I come sing?”
Of course, he put on a great show, and everyone sang along with the “pa pa pa!” part.
A night after the marathon bombing, the rival New York Yankees had played "Sweet Caroline," without Diamond, when they squared off against the Sox at Yankee Stadium.
April 23, 2013 | 1:45 am
Posted Jewish Journal
Did Tamarlan Tsarnaev kill three of his Jewish friends?
The Boston Globe is reporting that the former friends of the man assumed responsible for the Boston marathon bombings now wonder if Tamarlan Tsarnaev, who died after the bombings in a shootout with police, was the perpetrator in a grisly unsolved murder that took place in 2011.
On September 12, 2011, Brendan Mess, Raphael Teken, 37, and Erik Weissman, 31 were found stabbed to death in an apartment in nearby Waltham. The men had deep wounds to their necks, their bodies were strewn with thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, and police recovered $5,000 in cash at the scene. There was no sign of forced entry. Police said they believe the murders were "targeted and not a random act of violence."
Mess, who was Jewish, was a close friend of Tsarnaev. So friends thought it was especially strange when Tsarnaev did not show up at Mess's funeral.
"Tam wasn't there at the memorial service, he wasn't at the funeral, he wasn't around at all," a friend of the murdered men told the Globe. "And he was really close with Brendan. That's why it's so weird when he said, 'I don't have any American friends.'"
"He was somebody who was in contact with Brendan on a daily basis. Anybody like that, you would think they would have been around," Ray said.
Mess and Tsarnaev met at a Jiu Jitsu gym, and trained together regularly.
According to multple reports, Mess, Teken and Weissman were Jewish. Teken had attended Brandeis University, and Weissman took a active role in his synagogue. The murder took place about two and a half miles from the Brandeis campus.
Their murder, which a Waltham police officer called, "the worst bloodbath I have ever seen in a long law enforcement career," came on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 World Trade Center terror attack by Muslim extremists.
The Boston Globe first reported that police are now reinvestigating the case, which has so far gone unsolved. Former friends of the deceased say once they heard Tsarnaev's name mentioned in conjunction with the Marathon bombings, their suspicion grew.
"A few of my friends, without even speaking about it beforehand, have all been thinking this," said one former acquaintance.
The online newspaper WickedLocal.com carried more detailed news of the murdered men after their brutal deaths sent shockwaves through the community. According to the website:
Former CRLS teacher Larry Aaronson who attended the Mess and Weissman funeral services this week said hundreds of friends, neighbors and classmatesturned out to pay tribute.
“For me the greatest pain and deepest grief of these ghastly murders is the tragic mystery of why and how these two gifted and talented social geniuses, intellectsthat engendered so much love and generated so much generosity, nevertheless made certain choices that led to this death trap,” he said.
Weissman was Aaronson’s student in the now defunct The Pilot School at CRLS, where he enjoyed the vibrant culture but failed to grow academically, Aaronson said. Weissman enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the urban nightlife, he said, but was also a “ voracious reader” with a “creative mind” that he used to “challenge conventional wisdom.”
Despite its tragic and mysterious nature, the homicide of the three young men received little national attention. That's clearly about to change.