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From Hebrew school to Hollywood: ‘Jewtopia’

From Hebrew school to Hollywood: ‘Jewtopia’

“JEWTOPIA,” the new comedic film directed by co-writer Bryan Fogel and based on the long-running theatrical hit, appeals to a much wider audience than the title suggests, according to producer Courtney Mizel.

Mizel feels the movie version of the off-Broadway play penned by Fogel and writing partner Sam Wolfson demonstrates that Jewish stereotypes describe non-Jewish families as well.

“A strong mother figure; the pressure for kids to succeed; marrying within one’s own religion; the sense of duty and obligation — these characteristics exist in countless cultures,” she says from Los Angeles.

For example, you don’t have to be Jewish to identify with those predictable outbursts between mother and daughter.

Cast member Rita Wilson, whose heritage is Greek, related easily with the comedy’s Jewish context because it resonated with her own upbringing.

Last Updated ( Monday, 30 September 2013 13:45 )

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Nate Freiman’s big year: first Israel, now Oakland

Nate Freiman’s big year: first Israel, now OaklandBALTIMORE — Last September, first baseman Nate Freiman was doing his best to help Israel secure a spot in the World Baseball Classic. Despite some super hitting from the towering slugger, the team fell short. Fast forward a year. Freiman, 25, now finds himself in another playoff chase. Only this time it’s as a rookie in the big leagues, splitting time at first base for the Oakland Athletics. Playing for the A’s has been “an amazing experience,” Freiman said in a locker room interview...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 September 2013 10:42 )

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‘When comedy went to school’ investigates the secret of the Catskills

‘When comedy went to school’ investigates the secret of the CatskillsTO everyone under 40, and anyone outside of New York, the popular Catskills summer resorts of the mid-20th century must seem as distant, obscure and foreign as the Yiddish theatre. Both institutions were important signposts in the history of Jews in America. Now, both belong more to the past than the present. “When Comedy Went to School,” a new documentary by Mevlut Akkaya, Ron Frank and Lawrence Richards, picks a particular entry point to revisit the heyday of Grossinger’s and the many ...

Last Updated ( Monday, 09 September 2013 11:05 )

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Hiking through Israel at 63, feeling the footprints

Hiking through Israel at 63, feeling the footprints ROSH HASHANAH EDITIONSECTION D PAGE 10 AFTER miles of climbing the jagged edge of Israel’s Karbolet Mountain, wilting from the vertical and melting in 98-degree desert heat, we held the treasure map in our trembling fingers. This was not a map to Roman ruins or a friendly hikers’ hut, though there were plenty of those on our 600 mile route through the “Shvil.” What we sought was far more precious: Bottles of water, left by our outfitters, buried in sand as protection from desert pira...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 August 2013 11:40 )

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Rosh Hashanah in the summer

Rosh Hashanah in the summerThe days are still long. The sun is still bright. Yet Rosh Hashanah is rapidly approaching. With its early arrival, it makes it hard to want to turn on the oven and heat the house. Labor Day is just days before Rosh Hashanah. It’s still grilling season. As a result of the early holiday, it allows for a change of foods and flavors. Embrace that Rosh Hashanah is early because you just might find that new favorite dish. Mary Fabrikant, owner of Le Vie Catering, recommends utilizing the summer p...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 August 2013 11:58 )

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JTA News

New JCC day camp replaces German beer hall

Julie Wiener It may well be the first Jewish day camp to be located on the site of a German beer garden. The JCC in Manhattan’s Camp Settoga, slated to open in late June, is replacing Platzl Brauhaus (“... [Link]

Bob Dylan’s forgotten pro-Israel song, revisited

Gabe Friedman “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” Bob Dylan sang in 1964’s “My Back Pages.” Reverse-aging or no, the legendary Jewish folk singer turns 75 on Tuesday. While Dy... [Link]

Democrats drafting party platform include critics of Israel, friends of Israel – and a BDS backer

Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Democratic Party platform drafting committee is top heavy with veterans of political battles over Israel — some friendly, some critical, and including at least one m... [Link]

French Jews react to first screening of buzzy, irreverent comedy on anti-Semitism

Cnaan Liphshiz PARIS (JTA) — When the French-Jewish film director Yvan Attal titled his much-hyped comedy about anti-Semitism “They Are Everywhere,” he did so in reference to how some anti-Semites feel abo... [Link]

Genesis Prize billionaire co-founder will leave his money to charity, none to 4 kids

Julie Wiener (JTA) — Russian-Jewish billionaire Mikhail Fridman has announced plans to leave his entire fortune to charity,  not leaving a single kopek for his children. Fridman, Russia’s second richest man, ... [Link]

Netanyahu tells Knesset he’s prepared to take ‘brave steps’ for peace

Julie Wiener (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state as long as it is demilitarized and recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. In a speech to the... [Link]

New stage for Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick: The Knesset

Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA) — A year and a half ago he was a fringe Temple Mount activist expected to die, the victim of a point-blank assassination attempt. This week he will enter the Knesset, the ruling L... [Link]

$15M grant to update Reform movement’s Israel campus

Andrew Silow-Carroll (JTA) — The Reform movement in Israel is receiving a $15 million grant from Taube Philanthropies to update its Jerusalem headquarters. The grant is the largest ever to a Jewish organization fro... [Link]

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