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RIP Joan Rivers, you Jewess, you

by Uriel Heilman, JTA

September 4, 2014 | 2:08 pm

<em>Joan Rivers. File photo</em>

Joan Rivers. File photo

As news of Joan Rivers’ passing ricocheted around the world Thursday, we took a moment to comb our archives for some of Rivers’ recent high points and low points:

2004: Rivers joins JDate.

2010: Rivers is among the honorees at a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the Library of Congress in Washington.

2011: The reality TV series about Rivers and her daughter, “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?,” makes its debut.

Rivers loved to get mad, and her fans loved her for it. Everyone from Chelsea Handler to Rihanna to, most recently, supporters of the Palestinians found themselves on the receiving end of Rivers’ ire and scorn.

She also got into her fair share of trouble. In the summer of 2012, the Anti-Defamation League rapped Rivers for comparing retailer giant Costco to Nazi Germany. What prompted her outburst? The decision by a Costco in suburban Los Angeles not to carry her book “I Hate Everything… Starting with Me.”

She and the ADL went at loggerheads again the following February, when Rivers said of Heidi Klum’s Oscars outfit: “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”

When she was allowed back on “The Tonight Show” after the lifting of a 26-year ban, she went straight for Holocaust and vagina jokes.

Rivers was a proud Jewess. During the recent Gaza war, Rivers went on a pro-Israel rant after being buttonholed by TMZ outside an airport terminal. When she launched a web series last year called “In Bed with Joan,” her first guest was the Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman. The two snuggled up together to dish about fellow female comedians, talk about who Silverman should date and, of course, share some Jewish jokes.

She did have her serious side. When a social media campaign to help an Israeli gay couple have a child went viral, Rivers posted her own photo of herself holding a sign in Hebrew displaying her support for the couple.

Into her ninth decade, Rivers seemingly indefatigable. Then, about a week ago, the irrepressible, barb-mouthed comedian was silenced — in a coma after throat surgery in Manhattan.

In turns our Rivers was, after all, just flesh and blood.

And plastic, of course. In early 2012, Rivers admitted that she had had 739 plastic surgeries. Later that year, when Rivers decided she had gone overboard and announced that she was forswearing Botox, she did so in her quintessentially Rivers way: “Betty White’s bowels move more than my face,” she said.

RIP, Joan Rivers.


 

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