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Thursday, January 29, 2004
Film noir
We just received this from Howard Wolke, who works in the PR department at Hillel: "The number one movie last week, "The Butterfly Effect" starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, had a brief but positive mention of Hillel. The movie's premise is that Evan Treborn, a college student who was abused and part of an abusive friendship growing up, discovers a way to go back in time and change the past. As he does so, the present also is altered. In one version of his present, childhood friend Tommy Miller, played by William Lee Scott, is involved with a right-wing Christian campus group and says to Evan, "I took your advice and talked with the Hillel House and we're going to hold a tolerance dance!" Just a brief mention showing Hillel's continued "effect" on mainstream society."

It must be a really slow week in the Hillel PR department.
posted by Benyamin | 4:57 PM | Link | (1) comments |
Can you say 'Oops'?
Business 2.0 magazine just published their annual "101 Dumbest Moments in Business of 2003". Most notably, we were impressed with #7: Evite sends out apologies to its users for having cited Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, as a "reason to party."
posted by Benyamin | 4:53 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
'Amish in the City'
The UPN television network is preparing a reality series that follows Amish teenagers having their first experiences with modern conveniences and outside society, part of a religious rite of passage that tests their faith, reports The Associated Press. Network executives are informally calling it "Amish in the City," although they said the title will likely change. "To have people who don't have television walk down Rodeo Drive and be freaked out by what they see, I think will be interesting television," said CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, who also oversees UPN. "It will not be denigrating to the Amish." Don't you just love reality TV?
posted by Benyamin | 4:27 PM | Link | (0) comments |
A little too much 'Passion'
A Salon.com article today details the bombastic efforts of a grassroots organization started to help promote controversial Jesus biopic. ThePassionOutreach.com "reveals instructions for a church-based PR blitzkrieg for the film that reads like a cross between 'How to Rule Mankind via Bodysnatching Pods From Space' and the new Taco Bell menu."
posted by Benyamin | 11:03 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Good will hunting
Well, it appears not all Kabbalists are pro-Madonna. Ian Broadmore, head of the Kabbalah School at Hellingly in East Sussex, told the London Evening Standard that he's peeved that Madonna and her hubby rent out their London estate for -- get this -- hunting parties. Perhaps a bit surprised, Madonna's rep had this to say: "Apparently there is more than one Kaballah organization." Apparently.
posted by Benyamin | 10:42 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, January 26, 2004
Holy matrimony
Yigal Amir, the 34-year-old man convicted of murdering Yitzchak Rabin in 1995, has sent in his official request to prison officials to ask if he can get married to a 40-year-old divorcee and mother of four who has been visiting Amir in prison. Amir also had the chutzpah to ask for a little conjugal visit after the wedding. In a related story, Amir's cellmate was seen seeking a new bitch.
posted by Benyamin | 9:53 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Beware of the killer lox
Forget the recent Mad Cow scare. London has something even bigger to worry about: Their lox could be in danger. New research published in the journal Science says people should reduce their lox intake if they want to reduce their chances of getting cancer. A JTA story goes so far as to say, "The findings have caused an uproar at Jewish breakfast tables and Bar Mitzvah buffets across the land." Now that's some quality Jewish journalism there.
posted by Benyamin | 9:44 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Chassids on Showtime
Thanks to our friends over at Jewschool for telling us about a made-for-television movie about the 1991 Crown Heights riots starring Mario Van Peebles and Howie Mandel (yes, all jokes apply). The film -- based on the true story of three days of racial strife, riots and murder in Brooklyn between African-Americans and Chassidic Jews -- will air on Showtime in mid-February. Howie Mandel's career could not be reached for comment.
posted by Benyamin | 5:04 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Rapper's delight
Etan G, our favorite Jewish rapper (sorry, 50 Shekel) is going to be a contestant on the PAX network's Shop Till You Drop game show next week. Set your Tivos for the Tuesday, January 27th episode. We have it on good word that he walks away with a bundle.
posted by Benyamin | 10:50 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Jesus, Part Deux?
The Mel Gibson steamroller plows forward. At a meeting with 4,500 evangelical Christian pastors in Orlando, Florida this week, Gibson predicted that as the Easter release date of his Jesus biopic nears, there will be increasing controversy surrounding the film. "The worst is yet to come," he said. Paul Lauer, Gibson's publicity director, had a prediction of another kind. He said that if the film does well on its opening weekend, "I think there'll be a lot of powerful people in Hollywood saying, 'Somebody get me a Jesus picture'."
posted by Benyamin | 9:44 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Battle of the bulge
Hillel International Board of Governors Co-Chair Michael Steinhardt, a man known for his largeness as well as his largesse, and Hillel Interim President Avraham Infeld, known for his rotundity as well as his profundity, are going belly to belly, girth to girth in a high-stakes, winner-take-all battle to lose weight for charity. If Steinhardt loses the three-month-long diet contest, he will donate $250,000 to charities; Infeld will donate $5,000 should he lose. "I look forward to seeing less of Avraham in the future," said Steinhardt. Now if we could only get him to fund Jewsweek.
posted by Benyamin | 4:25 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Oy vagina
A new online store has opened up touting a unique cornicopia of kosher sex related products. The British-based Kosher Sex Shop is hawking sex toys and erotic gifts including Jewish vibrator based on Jewish porn legend Ron Jeremy's manhood. For better or for worse, the site claims no connection to Shmuley Boteach.
posted by Benyamin | 4:18 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thou shalt not surf through porn
An Israeli rabbi has composed a prayer to help devout Jews overcome guilt after visiting porn sites while browsing the Internet. However, we regret to inform you that the prayer by Shlomo Eliahu, the chief rabbi in the northern town of Safed, mentions nothing about spam.
posted by Benyamin | 3:27 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Jackson's Jewish kinderlach
Just when you think the Michael Jackson saga can't get any wierder, a Jewish connection comes up. Jacko's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe (who is appaently Jewish), is concerned that her kids will not grow up with the proper religious teachings now that her ex-husband, aka the King of Pop, is cavorting with the likes of the Nation of Islam. That's what she's concerned about?
posted by Benyamin | 2:03 PM | Link | (0) comments |
McMonicas
Our favorite Jewish intern is in the news again. Four entrepreneurs are planning on opening Lewinsky's, a Monica-themed restaurant in Australia next month. We're told they will be selling cigars there. Seriously.
posted by Benyamin | 12:11 PM | Link | (0) comments |
And baby makes eight
At first we thought this was joke. But, apparently, the Frumroller Double-8 Stroller is a real 8-seater baby carriage -- perfect for transporting Rivkah Blima, Menachem Mendel, Shprintza Dintza, Asher Lev, Chaya Tova Ilana Rivkah, Baruch Mordechai, and the twins. And at a price of $434.99, what yeshivish family couldn't afford one?
posted by Benyamin | 9:18 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Getting groomed
I would like to apologize to the bastion of devoted Yada blog readers for the lack of content in the last few weeks. I got married this weekend to my wonderful bride and, as you can imagine, things have been pretty hectic around here. Now that some of the nuptial chaos is beginning to quiet down, we should be back to a normal publishing schedule for both the Yada blog and Jewsweek Magazine. Thanks for sticking in there with us. If you're interested, you can visit our wedding Web site where we've posted some pictures already and hopefully we'll have some video of the wedding up there soon.
posted by Benyamin | 9:13 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Farewell to Fonda
The Dallas Jewish Federation has canceled a fundraiser featuring a lecture by controversial actress and activist Jane Fonda. The 66-year-old actress believes she was taken off the schedule because during her December 2002 trip to Israel, the media incorrectly reported that she tried to visit Yasser Arafat. The federation, on the other hand, says the cancellation stems from the basic fact that nobody wants to hear her talk. Ouch. That's gotta hurt.
posted by Benyamin | 11:28 AM | Link | (0) comments |
The baseless case for intermarriage
Abby Ellin writes in Salon.com why she thinks interfaith marriage is a good. "We're all mixing things up, and it's only for the better," she writes. "Think about it: Baptists like to suffer; Jews have suffered enough. For the kids' sake, wouldn't it be better to have at least one parent who isn't interested in unnecessary pain? Who doesn't think the Messiah has come and gone and that we are all doomed to hell -- or, conversely, that he is right around the corner?" And, later in the article, she describes the yuletide season in her ideal home: "I'd like to have a house filled with a smorgasbord of festivities: Let's play dreidel by the warm glow of the Christmas lights, with Buddha sprawled on the mantel and the Tao of Pooh on the bookshelf." And, finally, it wouldn't be a pointless article about Judaism unless there was a money quote from one Douglas Rushkoff. "With intermarriage the kids will grow up in a household where it's accepted that neither religion is true," says the controversial author of Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism. "And that's the most important thing." Oy gevalt.
posted by Benyamin | 9:49 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Makin' a motzi
A new television series featuring food-loving rock stars Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loeb premieres this Friday night (we'll Tivo it since it's Shabbos) on the Food Network. Part documentary, part cooking show, each episode follows the couple through their daily lives making music and breaking bread. We just hope the Jewish songstress doesn't forget to make a Hamotzi.
posted by Benyamin | 9:31 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, January 12, 2004
Taking the shirt off their back
The Anti-Defamation League, that bastion of forward thinking, is pleased with a decision by Urban Outfitters to stop producing a line of shirts from the clothing company featured the saying, "Everybody loves a Jewish girl," along with images of dollar signs and shopping bags. Watch out, Jew.lo, Jewcy, and Jewish Fashion Conspiracy. You could be next.
posted by Benyamin | 3:47 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Returning to the island
It was announced today that Ethan Zohn, the Jewish winner of Survivor: Africa, will be featured on Survivor: All Stars which will begin airing after the Super Bowl on February 1st.
posted by Benyamin | 12:06 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Freeing Friedman
Riding the coattails of the success of the documentary Capturing the Friedmans, 34-year-old Jesse Friedman is filing papers for a new trial based on new evidence revealed in the award-winning film. Friedman was 19 when he pleaded guilty to child sex abuse in 1988 after being charged with hundreds of counts alleging he and his father, Arnold, molested children during computer classes in their suburban home. "I've been waiting 16 years now to prove my innocence," said Friedman, who's been taking courses at Hunter College since his release from prison. "Andrew [Jarecki, the filmmaker] was able to uncover a tremendous amount of information ... to prove what I always suspected was the case. I never doubted me." Jesse's announcement comes at a propitious time: The film was released on DVD this week.
posted by Benyamin | 4:59 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Very enthusiastic
Speaking of Mel Brooks and The Producers, both play a significant role in the much-anticipated new season of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm in which David is asked by Brooks to play the lead in the show. Only one episode has aired and we're already salivating for the next.
posted by Benyamin | 9:06 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Hail Hitler
Mel Brook's The Producers, about two guys making a musical called Springtime for Hitler, has broken Broadway records. The play grossed a record $1,600,243 for eight performances last week. The upswing in ticket sales has been motivated by the return of the original cast including Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and the fact that some tickets are now going for as much $600. Now, that's producing.
posted by Benyamin | 9:02 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Weekly Mel Gibson update
Word comes this week that Mel Gibson actually appears in his upcoming Jesus bipoic The Passion of Christ. Fan sites are reporting that Gibson (or at least his hand) makes a cameo as a man who is seen putting the nail into the palm of Christ as he's crucified. The gesture is "symbolic of the fact that [Gibson] holds himself accountable first and foremost for Christís death," according to one fan site for the movie. Wait ... there are already fan sites for this movie?
posted by Benyamin | 8:44 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, January 05, 2004
There's no hole in the sheet
Thanks to our friends at the Protocols blog for telling us about FrumSex, a message board on Yahoo! Groups that tackles some really interesting issues. Wonder what Shmuley Boteach thinks.
posted by Benyamin | 9:54 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Britney, the Kabbalah kallah
In the news business, we call this synergy. Sources closes to Britney Spears say that the teachings of Kabbalah -- specifically that of "starting anew" -- influenced her shot-gun wedding in Vegas this past weekend. But, Kabbalah expert Hananya Goodman told the Jerusalem Post that celebs tend to shy away from the traditional teachings of Jewish mysticism, opting instead to practice "a highly mystical and sometimes sexualized version." Regardless, Spears got the marriage annulled today. No word on whether she received a get or used a Beit Din.
posted by Benyamin | 9:48 AM | Link | (0) comments |
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