Posted by The Web Guy
When Barbra Streisand took to the stage to sing at a Sept. 16 fundraiser for presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, she opened not with a song, not with a joke, but with . . .Talmud.
According to an eyewitness report from an ardent Obama-ite, the star, who played a male yeshiva student in Yentl, recalled for the assembled Democratic elite of Hollywood a lesson she learned, oh, a few years ago as a child in Hebrew school: “To save one life is to save the world.”
As the eyewitness told Hollywood Jew:
“It was a thrill of a lifetime to attend tonight’s reception for who I hope will be the 44th President of our United States.
“There was a huge crowd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel…Phil and I had amazing seats because as those of you who know my husband know that when he sees a sign that says “Do not enter” he actually reads it as “Phil enter here” so we ended up sitting in the VIP section in the front row just to the left of the stage.
“Ben Harper sang and played his guitar but of course he was the warm up act for none other than…BARBRA STRIESAND!!! She began by talking about the TALMUD!!! (Honestly and truly, I kid you not)
“She recalled how she was a child in Jewish religious school where she learned that, ‘To save a life is to save the world’ and that Barack has dedicated his entire life to improving the lives of others. She went on to say that Obama gives us faith in the promise of the American Dream. She then sang ‘make someone happy’ and ended it singing:
‘We know Barack is the answer…he’ll make us all so very happy…and the world will be happy too…’
“She said she gets so upset to hear that the McCain/Palin ticket says they are about change… ‘What change?’ she asked ‘From bad to worse?’
“Other songs followed and then…
“It was time for Obama to speak and speak he did…about how our country is SO off track and how we must reclaim it for the sake of our children…he pointed out that we are now living the reverse of the American Dream where this generation is not living as well as our parents did…he spoke about how America needs to be the light in the world again…he is without doubt articulate, poised, and most importantly…PRESIDENTIAL!
“He said he is asked how is able to remain so calm when the race is so close and he says he has faith in the American people that come election day they will not choose to continue down the same destructive path we are on and they will in fact vote for a real change…to end the futile war in Iraq/to improve the economy/to make health care affordable for all Americans/to vote for women’s rights/civil rights and for a better more optimistic life for all!
“Barack ended by saying we all need to pitch in these last 48 days before the election…perhaps canvass in Nevada where the race is so close…encourage people to register to vote…do your part to encourage people on the fence to vote for real change!
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September 15, 2008 | 4:47 pm
Posted by The Web Guy
Chabad’s “To Life” telethon raised more than $8 million last night—some of it due to amazing basketball shooting by Lakers star Jordan Formar.
Farmar, just back from Israel, shot 36 baskets (‘double chai’) in 90 seconds to raise over $64K for the organization. Apparel exec Masud Sashar offered to donate $1800 from every basket the UCLA alum shot. (Video below.)
The telethon, which was broadcast nationally on the AmericanLife TV Network, featured Chabad rabbis dancing on stage with high-profile donors such as former Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad. The mayor, a Persian Jew, contributed $1,800 and made a plea in his native Farsi for others to donate.
The actor Jon Voight, making his 18th appearance on the Chabad telethon, was given a Lubavitch-style black hat. Voight also made a plug for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Other celebrities featured on the show included Martin Landau, James Cromwell, Camryn Manheim, Mimi Rogers, JoBeth Williams, Tom Arnold, Kellie Martin and Merrin Dungey. Pre-taped messages of support came from Larry King, Jackie Mason, Howie Mandel and Regis Philbin.
The $8,092,269 raised during the telethon will be used to support, among other large-scale religious and philanthropic projects, the Chabad Residential Drug Treatment Center in Los Angeles, as well as Chabad’s Camp Gan Israel, which has been a safe haven for Israeli girls escaping rocket attacks in Sderot.
Los Angeles Lakers star Jordan Farmar shoots 36 baskets in 90 seconds to raise $64,800 for Chabad. Apparel executive Masud Sarshar offered the challenge
—With material from JTA
September 8, 2008 | 4:41 am
Posted by The Web Guy
We’ve been waiting for this to come out online for free, and here it is. Tiffany Shlain’s amazing ‘The Tribe’—narrated by Peter Coyote—explores the history of the Jewish people from the time of Abraham up through today, and uses the Barbie doll (created by Southern California Jewish mother Ruth Handler) as the axis to spin our story in many unexpected and compelling directions.
Cool animation, found footage, etc. Highly recommended. 17 minutes.
Tiffany is from Up North but she qualifies as a Hollywood Jew with this entry.
The YouTube site says:
What can the most successful doll on the planet show us about being Jewish today? Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film mixes old school narration with a new school visual style. The Tribe weaves together archival footage, graphics, animation, Barbie dioramas, and slam poetry to take audiences on an electric ride through the complex history of both the Barbie doll and the Jewish people- from Biblical times to present day. By tracing Barbie’s history, the film sheds light on the questions: What does it mean to be an American Jew today? What does it mean to be a member of any tribe in the 21st Century?
September 1, 2008 | 4:49 pm
Posted by The Web Guy
VENICE— Natalie Portman has been honored with the first Movie for Humanity Award at the Venice Film Festival, according to news reports.
Portman, 27, is the first recipient for the award, given to film artists devoted to humanitarian causes. As part of the special accolade, she also received a trophy and a $50,000 cash prize, which she donated to a charity in Tanzania.
The “Star Wars” prequel trilogy star makes her directorial debut in the short film “Eve,” which is being screened at the film festival.
Portman is seriously involved with social and environmental programs, including the Tacare Girl’s Scholarship Program of the Jane Goodall Institute, a non-profit organization carrying out wildlife research in Tanzania.
The prizes were awarded at the Kineo Italian Movie Awards in Venice.
August 25, 2008 | 6:11 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Madonna is no stranger to provocation - it’s kinda what she does best.
In her latest stunt, Queen Esther included a video montage in her world tour concert juxtaposing various political dictators: Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe…and John McCain?
That last image ruffled a few feathers in the Jewish community. Well, just two - the usual reactionaries, Abe Foxman and Marvin Hier, who both issued statements condemning Madonna’s choice.
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor, asserted that “Comparisons to Hitler have no place in a music concert, or in the presidential campaign.”
In the Monday statement, Foxman called the use of Nazi imagery to describe the Republican candidate “outrageous,” and added that “doing so trivializes the history of the Holocaust and is an insult to the memories of the victims and their families.”
The dean and founder of the Jewish human rights organization, Rabbi Marvin Hier, said that, “There ought to be no place in the political and social discourse of American culture for such deliberate distortions and lies sure to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of young people around the world.”
August 25, 2008 | 2:01 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
“New York, I Love You” is Hollywood’s answer to French self-love.
Following in the footfalls of the nuanced and artsy “Paris, je t’aime,” a vignette-style film paying homage to every arrondissement of Paris, an all-star cast of Hollywood talent are out to prove that New York is just more interesting.
Composed as an anthology of short films, each separately crafted by different directors, “New York I Love You” combines love stories from every neighborhood that resonate as a whole. The grand love affair, of course, is with The Big Apple itself, and the film promises to be a patriotic ode. If much has changed in this country in the aftermath of 9/11, New York City remains, here and in the rest of the world, the best representation of the American ideal.
Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman, the “Hot Knishes” (as Portman called them) from The Other Boleyn Girl, are making their directorial debuts. Rush Hour director Brett Ratner also directs a segment, along with Yvan Attal, the Jewish-French actor/filmmaker. Portman also stars in the film, joining a torah scroll of talent that includes James Caan, Ethan Hawke, Christina Ricci and John Hurt.
August 25, 2008 | 1:03 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Initially keeping a closed lid on the severity of Joan Hyler’s injuries, her progress has enabled those closest to her to reveal just how grave those injuries were. In the latest update posted on UCLA’s carepages, it is explained that Hyler has been on a ventilator, suffered collapsed lungs, sustained multiple broken bones throughout her body, experienced internal bleeding in her head and stomach and is wearing a collar to support her neck and head.
The writer admits that the trauma discussed in the following post has not previously been referenced. For now, it seems the good news is that Hyler’s condition is improving, but the comfort with her progress has led someone to disclose how close she came to losing her life.
The latest update:
When Joan arrived at UCLA she had a bleed/bruise/subdural hematoma next to the brain. Yesterday’s C-T scan reveals no further bleeding and indicates
that the existing fluid is appropriately on path to being reabsorbed and thus dissapated. As a result the doctors feel confident enough to remove the monitoring device from Joan’s head.
The MRI revealed that Joan’s spine is in good shape and, pending the results of some small additional tests, the doctors plan on removing the support collar from Joan’s neck and chest.
Joan’s lungs have made great progess. After the accident there had been a great deal of fluid pooling in the lowest areas of the
lungs. That fluid has been successfully drained and as a result the doctors have removed one of Joan’s chest tubes, and will imminently be removing
In the same manner, the doctors are no longer concerned about the pooling of fluid in Joan’s abdomen. All of the internal bleeding has apparently
been caught and the abdomen has been drained.
Joan responded to one of the Neuro residents by opening her eyes, appearing to see him, recognizing his commands, and answering appropriately. She won’t do this for me.
The humerus surgery is still planned for Friday. The surgeries to her legs where they inserted a rod/pin/nail and where they repaired her ankle were
complicated and involved additional procedures which the doctors will re-examine on Tuesday. The break to the pelvis and to the clavicle require no surgical intervention.
Joan remains on a ventilator, but she has made sufficiently good progress that the staff is adjusting the device so that Joan will be breathing along with the ventilator, preparing her lungs for the shortly anticipated removal of the breathing apparatus.
I know this is a lot of detail to absorb, and that this update refers to a number of injuries that had not been previously referenced. The point, however, is that in each of these areas Joan has made good, strong progress.
August 23, 2008 | 7:27 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Talent Manager and producer Joan Hyler is on the slow road to recovery. After a devastating accident that nearly killed her last Friday Aug. 15, Hyler has undergone multiple surgeries to assess and repair damage to her organs, arms and legs. After being struck by a car on the Pacific Coast Highway, Hyler sustained severe injuries, which reportedly included a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and broken legs. There was initial concern that Hyler might not survive the weekend.
But doctors became optimistic on Tuesday, after a CAT scan revealed that brain swelling was minimal. When Hyler responded positively to a reduction in her sedation level, it was determined she could undergo surgeries to repair her legs.
Following a successful surgery last Friday morning, doctors are increasingly optimistic that Hyler is responding well to treatment.
Yesterday morning, Hyler underwent a six-hour surgery during which doctors attempted to repair a badly broken right leg by inserting a pin in her tibia bone. During that same surgery, they also inserted a screw in her left ankle. Doctors had planned to repair damage to her right upper-arm, but decided to delay further procedures and allow Hyler to rest. Hyler has since been taken off of sedation, but continues to receive a morphine drip for pain.
Her progress will be closely monitored throughout the weekend.
Hyler is a prominent player in both Hollywood and the Jewish community. A former vice president of William Morris Agency, she once represented clients Bob Dylan, Madonna and Andy Warhol. Today, Hyler is a prominent talent manager and producer, representing A-list actors, including Oscar-winner Diane Lane.
Hyler has also exhibited a steadfast commitment to the Jewish community and its causes. As president of Women in Film, Hyler created the Morning Star Commission, an organization founded by Hadassah to promote more diverse portrayals of women in media and entertainment. She also co-created the Jewish Image Awards, which celebrates outstanding portrayals of Jewish heritage in film and television.
After it was reported that Hyler went through 40 units of blood last weekend following her accident, friends and colleagues in both the Entertainment and Jewish communities began organizing blood drives on her behalf. Endeavor Talent Agency held an in-house blood drive last Wednesday, where 82 people contributed 61 units of blood. IKAR, a spiritual community in which Hyler is involved, is also encouraging people to donate blood tomorrow, Aug. 24 (see details below).
The latest report on UCLA’s carepages:
Last Friday night was the lowest of all low points. Since that point we have measured time in 12 hour and 24 hour increments. This is going to be a long difficult struggle. Still, at this point, one week later, we have made only progress, with no emergencies and no setbacks.
Joan rested comfortably during the night. She tolerated the surgery well. The swelling in her face has greatly decreased. At various times she has appeared to recognize familiar voices and has started to fleetingly open her eyes in response. They had suspended feeding her [intravenously] while she was waiting for the surgery; that feeding is now resumed.
The third part of yesterday’s surgery—the part that was not completed—the insertion of a plate and screws to repair the humerus—is now scheduled for this coming Friday.
The action for today is for Joan to undergo an MRI and a C-T scan. The ICU is prepping her for these even as this is being written. Joan had been in a support collar from the beginning and they are now thinking of removing it, hence the MRI, to see if they can proceed. Relative to the C-T scan, Joan had suffered a substantial impact to the head, and while there was no fracture, there had been an internal bleed. The C-T scan will give us an up to date picture of where we are on this front.
IKAR blood drive:
Sunday August 24
4650 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
UCLA Medical Center
757 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles