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Mar 14 2012

Pop Quiz: Famous Jewish Dads

By at 3:57 pm

famous jewish dadsWe’ve introduced you to the JDILFs. You’ve gotten your latest issue of the Dad-Dish. And now, it’s time to test how much you know about those celebrity Jewish dads.

Who’s married to who? What did they name their kids? Who makes the most money? (Just kidding, we don’t really ask that.)

In honor of Dude Week, take the Famous Jewish Dads Quiz on Kveller today!

Feb 23 2012

Is Rihanna Guilty, Too?

By at 2:03 pm

Chris brown and rihannaSometimes I love this world, and sometimes I love its anger. The righteous anger, I mean–the kind that courses through your veins and makes you want to taste blood, not in a vampire way, but in a fighting way.

That’s how I felt yesterday when WWE wrestler CM Punk challenged girlfriend-beater Chris Brown to a fight. That whole rational part of my mind that thinks that fighting is bad? Screw that. Totally trumped by the part of my brain that grew up on G.I. Joe and Superfriends and wants to see evil people suffer, and suffer painfully and loudly. It’s also how I felt when I was a teenager and my best friend was sexually assaulted. And how I felt when I was in my 20s and this girl I had a crush on was raped. I was too mad to be all philosophical and religious and think, everyone gets what’s coming, or to help them to heal, or — as Chris Brown himself encouraged us to do yesterday–to focus on the positive. (Easy to say when you’re not battered and beaten, Chris.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 10 2012

How to Officially Convert Beyonce’s Baby to Judaism

By at 1:29 pm

beyonce is pregnantIt’s really hard for me not to talk about Babyonce right now. I mean, it’s clearly hard for the entire world not to talk about Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby right now. But, since this is a site with a noted Jewish twist, it sort of doesn’t make sense to talk about Babyonce. Except, of course, if this baby could possibly be considered relatively Jewish in any way. What’s that, you say? You want to hear all of the reasons that this baby could possibly be considered relatively Jewish in any way? Well alright:

1. Her name is Blue Ivy. Blue, like the color of the Israeli flag. Totally Jewish!

2. The baby was born at Lenox Hill Hospital, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A lot of Jews live there. Very much Jewish!

3. It was widely believed that the baby was supposed to be born at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A lot of Jews live there, too. Pretty, pretty Jewish!

4. Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn. Jews live there, too. Automatically Jewish!

5. A parody was made of Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies” called “Jewish Single Ladies“. That makes Beyonce Jewish by osmosis, or something. Definitely Jewish!

So now that we’ve very scientifically proved Blue Ivy’s Jewish heritage, can we talk about how the new parents rented out the entire maternity ward to deliver their baby (or maybe they didn’t?) Or how Jay-Z already has a hit song all about baby Blue? Or about how Suri Cruise is really mad about this baby? Or how former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams refuses to congratulate Beyonce on Twitter? So much Babyonce, I’m going to explode!

Sep 19 2011

Mayim at the Emmys: The Morning After

By at 12:07 pm

Mayim Bialik’s journey to the Emmys started like any other celebrity–with a search for the perfect dress. Unlike everybody else, her search was deemed “Operation Hot & Holy,” since the actress wanted to find a dress that adhered to traditional Jewish rules of modesty. You can read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 of her story. Here are her thoughts post-Emmys, written at 4:30 am while nursing, of course.

1. Oh my goodness, my feet hurt so incredibly much from those spiky heels of death the stylist loaned me. Legs will tremble involuntarily after about 7 hours in the million dollar babies known as crystal-encrusted Rene Caovillas.

2. Jim Parsons won the Emmy! It’s amazingly exciting to work with an Emmy winner and he is so modest, talented, and kind. I am so proud of him and happy for him.

3. Host Jane Lynch remembers me and said hi to me. I used to see her in small theater in LA in my teenage years. Claire Danes and Zachary Levi and I also seem to be destined to be BFFs because we keep running into each other.

4. I got to be in the E! “360 Camera” which was like a 3-way mirror from hell times 9000 but was also super cool.

Me and Louis CK, the one person I wanted to meet!

5. I achieved a look I was comfortable in, proud of, and compliant with Operation Subdued Sexy aka Operation Hot and Holy. My persistence in looking for a tznius (modest) dress that covered my elbows and beyond and my resistance to backing down paid off. I got a LOT of questions on the red carpet about it: why so long, why so covered up… but also some very sincere compliments from interviewers who seemed genuinely refreshed to see something “different!”

6. My hair was Pink-esque and TALL, my make-up was fierce, and my jewelry was “unusual” by Hollywood standards but we pulled it off. It is possible to express individuality and still look competitive. Unless I make a “worst-dressed” list in which case, whatevs.

7. Publicists will attempt to take a sista down on the red carpet if they either a) don’t know who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you or b) don’t give a flying funk who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you.

Yes, I brought Hanukkah gelt as a snack.

8. A little quinoa and brussels sprouts makes a vegan very happy at the Governors Ball after the awards.

9. I will be waking up like usual at around 6:30 am and I am currently up at 4:30 nursing Fred. My boys don’t care if I was at the Emmys last night nor should they: what’s for breakfast?

10. I can’t escape my beloved YU Maccabeats; Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was performed last night during the show and all I could imagine was the Maccabeats’ version which uses the lyrics to the Medieval Hebrew love poem about Shabbat, “L’cha Dodi.” It was a comforting coincidence.

11. I WENT TO THE EMMYS!!!


Jul 5 2011

Chelsea Handler Mistakes Mayim Bialik for a Lesbian, and Other Highlights from the “Horrible Bosses” Premiere

By at 3:17 pm

I went to my first “real” Grauman’s Chinese Theater red carpet premiere since 1989′s “Beaches” a few months ago. It was that Kate Hudson movie that I can’t even remember the title of now, but I left after the red carpet because I had to pump for little Fred and it was the period between Passover and Shavuot when some people don’t see movies for religious reasons, and I wasn’t sure if I could see the movie even though I had a feeling that I was being too strict. ANYWAY. My point is that I left that premiere after the red carpet.

Last week, though, I went to the Horrible Bosses premiere at Grauman’s. And I stayed, baby. I stayed the WHOLE TIME. It was awesome.

Here are the “mosts” of the evening. Hang onto your hats, people..

1.Most annoying thing that happened before I even got to the red carpet: My hair looked big and sexy and wavy and fuller than it ought to after 2 kids in the salon chair. By the time I got to the parking lot at Hollywood and Highland, it was more Veronica Lake than Victoria’s Secret. Argh.

2. Most dangerous part of the red carpet: I am one of those unlucky people who most of the time is literally halfway between shoe sizes. An 8 is too small, and believe it or not, an 8 1/2 is usually too big. Yes, it’s weird; don’t get me started. The nude open-toed pumps I had on were an 8 1/2 and I almost fell on my face several times before I got to the carpet. Thankfully, I walked slowly enough on the actual carpet to save my face and my dignity.

3. Most stupid thing I said: I joked to the guy sitting next to me before the movie started that I was going to the restroom in hopes that, “I can spot anyone famous in the lobby!” He looked at me like I was a dolt. My friend explained why to me as soon as we were down the stairs. He’s famous. He’s on 90210.

4. Most awesome celebrity compliment: Jennifer Love Hewitt, as I squeezed past her to take my seat (four seats from her, mind you!), said, “I love your dress!” and she seemed like she meant it. So cool.

5. Most awesome celebrity awkward comment: Chelsea Handler, whose show I was on when I did What Not To Wear said to me, “Hi Mayim!” (she remembered me!) and we hugged (she wanted to hug me, I even asked her beforehand: ”Are we hugging?”). Then she said (not joking), “Where’s your partner? I loved talking to your wife last time I saw you!” I think she confused me with Sara Gilbert in sexual orientation, if not name. I was quick on the reply and said, “You just made me a lesbian and I’m not. But I’m really flattered!” She apologized and I proceeded to laugh until the tears came, doubled over in my seat in a grotesque combination of humiliation and hysterics.

6. Most exciting celebrity sighting: The fact that I recognized anyone means that there were some seriously famous people there, because I don’t watch TV. I used to watch Heroes and Lost. Well, Hiro from Heroes was sitting in front of me! My heart literally skipped a beat. I could not believe it. I was so excited. I think he is so talented and I could not believe that if I wanted to, I could lean into him during the movie and whisper, “I love you!” But I didn’t. Gotta keep my cool.

7. Most funny joke I made about the handsomest actor there: When I tell people that Zachary Levi was there, I say: “He was behind me. Not behind me in that way, although I would not have turned that down either.” Ha ha ha. I am a funny one at a premiere when there is free popcorn and Pepsi involved, right?

8. Most exciting thing about the movie: I loved it. It was very dark, very naughty, and very funny. I tend to hate most R rated movies because of the gratuitous sex and overall demeaning of women for the entertainment factor (random strip club scenes, for example, are rarely necessary in my mind). This movie was entertaining and raunchy without being offensive or pointless. I like to believe I am not a cerebral wet blanket who can’t just enjoy a good time, and I think this movie proved that I am not!

9. Most overwhelming feeling: That I am an impostor. This can not be my life. Sitting in a theater of totally famous people who I actually know? Being shouted out from across four lanes of closed Hollywood Boulevard traffic by fans taking pictures of me? Free popcorn and Pepsi? Zachary Levi behind me (Ha ha ha)? Joey Lawrence sitting next to me!? (Okay, he actually chose the seat closer to Jennifer Love Hewitt, but since she shows a lot more skin than I do, I guess I can’t blame him). I felt like at any moment, some usher might come up to me and say, “Uh… Ma’am. You were famous in the 90′s but that doesn’t count anymore. We’re gonna have to ask you and your friend to leave.”

I am always trying to be grateful and to keep some perspective. All the time, not just at premieres. So I took notice of a man with cerebral palsy who walked with the assistance of a cane. I entertained the notion that all across this world, there is injustice and wrong to be righted and talked until the lights went down with my close friend who I can trust with both the dynamics of the red carpet and my serious concerns that we may be complicit in wronging women, the poor, the environment, and animals used for our food and clothing.

And I tried to also chill out and enjoy myself. Because apparently, that’s part of my job now, too. Mother, neuroscientist, Kveller contributor, actor, and red carpet-goer. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

To read up on Mayim’s other brushes with fame, check out her time at Perez Hilton’s Blue Ball, her time on the set of The Big Bang Theory,  and her two cents on Natalie Portman’s baby.

Mar 16 2011

The Kid-Dish: Spelling, Cohen, and Those We Wish Were Jewish

By at 3:58 pm

All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.

- A big Kveller Happy Birthday to Tori Spelling’s son, Liam, who turned the big 4 on Sunday. He had a Ghostbusters theme party at his house, so that’s great to know that the movie’s still got it, 23 years later. Also, just check out that SLIME CAKE! (People)

- We also send our regards to Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher, who just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Isla converted to Judaism before marrying Sacha, which earned her a spot on our 20 Most Stylish Jewish Mommies in History List. Their two daughters, Olive, 3, and Elula, 7 months, complete the happy family. (Babyrazzi)

- So this is a real headline: “Jessica Simpson Dreams of Son Named Tenacious D“. The star tweeted about a recent dream in which she had a son named after Jewish dad Jack Black’s “mock rock” band. Jessica, we know you’re not pregnant yet, but when the time comes, if you feel the need to incorporate some Judaism into the name you choose, we got a whole database full of ‘em. (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

- In other distantly Jewish news, Tina Fey (who is so awesome and funny we can only wish she were Jewish) has defended Gwyneth Paltrow in InStyle Magazine. Fey says Paltrow, who has told press before about her postpartum depression, has every right to complain about being away from her kids as a working mother. (Babyrazzi)

Feb 3 2011

Us Weekly! Star! People! OK! Life & Style!…or Dostoevsky?

By at 9:02 am

I was having a fine day. I had an interview to do and a dress to pick up for the Writer’s Guild Awards this coming Saturday night while my husband had the boys. We were all set to meet up after naptime. The day was going fine.

Until I was waiting to pick up my dress and all they had to read in the waiting area were… celebrity magazines. I will not name them by name because my publicist would love for me to appear in them someday and indeed, if/when I do, it will be a big deal in terms of visibility and I will gladly do my job and appear gratefully.

However, that being said, I got really depressed looking at these magazines. I got grumpy as a mom. As a regular old tired overwhelmed mom, which I promise you I am.

In these magazines, I saw celebrities who had kids three hours prior to these photo shoots and they were glowing and looked so happy and competent (I was a wreck for three months after both of my son’s births, and three hours after each I was thinking I was okay but I was also on a birth high and was still not aware that I was walking around buck-naked!). I KNOW the celebrities in those magazines have hair and make-up crews and touch-ups in Photoshop and assistants and probably chefs and nannies too. But still…I couldn’t help having that “Oh my goodness, I am not as________ as them.” Not as trim, not as fresh-looking, not as good-natured (have you ever read about a celebrity who wasn’t perky, friendly, sweet, and relaxed!?), not as together, not as seemingly happy.

I get especially grumpy as a holistic mama when celebrities talk about the joys of epidurals and shunning breastfeeding because “it wasn’t going well.” Not that they have to be like me for me to like them, but millions of people do look to celebrities for wisdom (I am not entirely sure why!), and I wish the whole story could be included about natural birth choices and why breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with the right support and education.

I did get a glimmer of joy when Ali Larter (who I watched for all of the seasons of “Heroes”) discussed nursing her baby after he was placed on her tummy. It was nice for her to present those aspects of birth and adjustment as normal and beautiful (which I happen to believe they are).

I want to think that I am perfect just the way I am, but honestly, these magazines make it hard! I think that people want to see the idealized version of humanity, and that’s part of the appeal: these publications present our actors and musicians as quaffed and pristine as they are when they are on stage or on screen. Most people simply don’t want to see grungy, sweaty, sloppy celebrities bumping into things and dropping their entire purse upside down in front of a fancy restaurant (not that that’s ever happened to me). People want to continue the fantasy.

Well, I’m here to say I am over the fantasy. It makes me too grumpy to see the fantasy. I get upset, I get down on myself, and I just can’t do it anymore. So the next time I go to pick up a dress at this place, I am bringing my own reading material: a juicy thick Dostoevsky novel or if I’m feeling especially frisky, maybe some Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Who says I don’t like a little fantasy once in a while?

Jan 18 2011

Natalie Portman! Natalie Portman! Natalie Portman!

By at 3:05 pm

Natalie Portman is the talk of everyone’s town these days, and we can’t help but kvell over the newly expectant Jewish mother. She snagged a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama this past Sunday, and besides showing off her quickly growing baby bump in a pretty pink  gown, her acceptance speech also proved to us normal people that she’s sort of really awkward, too.

After thanking her parents for raising her, she then switched topics over to fiance Benjamin Millipied, paraphrasing the scene in Black Swan where his character is asked if he would sleep with Portman’s character, to which he scoffs a hearty “no”. Natalie then informed the room that, “He’s the best actor: it’s not true. He totally wants to sleep with me!” And then she awkwardly laughs.

Ahh, it’s nice to know she’s kind of a dork.

Natalie’s also come out about her pregnancy superstitions–no nursery decorating or stroller shopping quite yet. She told reporters at the premiere of her new movie, No Strings Attached: “I’m very Jewish that way. We don’t do that.”

I also happened to catch Natalie on the red carpet telling Ryan Seacrest that she had not thought of any baby names yet, which seemed like a desperate cry for help to me, so don’t forget to send in your suggestions to our Name Natalie Portman’s Baby Contest! You’ve got until the end of the month, folks.

And to make sure you really know how Jewish Nat-Port (yeah, I just made that up)  is, I leave you with this, to most likely watch in envy:

Checklist of Very Important Things that Happened at the Golden Globes Party

By at 11:40 am

The InStyle party was a swanky success. Credit: Dana Kowalski

1. As I walked into the party, I spotted Warren Beatty five feet from me. Hollywood legend: check.

2. Some celebrities were smoking pot on the patio. Illicit drug use: check.

3. As I approached the red carpet, the entire bubbly cast of “Glee” came up behind me, thereby instantaneously eliminating any one photographer’s interest in taking my picture. Being humbled (trying not to think of it as upstaged!) by the awesome show that won “Best Show”: check.

4. My SPANX-like undergarments were so confounding that I came extremely close to urinating all over myself and my dress when using the facilities. Near undergarment mishap: check.

Marsden as Eddie Warwick, the cool kid who runs against Blossom for student council president.

5. I could not help saying hello to James Marsden, who guest starred on “Blossom” in our early seasons. I told him I was very happy for his success and he was lovely and kind about his fond remembrances of working on our show. Famous actor who was a fledgling actor on “Blossom” but is still a nice guy: check.

6. After passing trays and trays of lamb chops, humongous shrimp cocktail platters, whole turkeys and dead animals I could not even identify, I found a vegan pasta dish! Vegan-friendly food: check.

7. I was incredibly impressed by the live 10 person band that covered every current and past popular song amazingly. Being astounded by true artistic talent amidst a lot of hype and flash: check.

8. I had some wonderful intelligent conversations with some of the “Big Bang Theory” writers and producers. Faith in people and conversations of content existing in a sea of platitudes, plastic people, and false bravado: check.

Danes won an award for her performance in "Temple Grandin".

9. Claire Danes and I found ourselves passing each other in close proximity. She grabbed onto my arm and quietly and very sincerely told me she grew up with my show and loves me. I stammered an “I love you, too!” and watched her walk away as if I had just seen Santa Claus. Super amazing actress who I really admire being complimentary and super nice: check.

10. Clive Owen was not there. I really thought last night might have been the night he and I met, fell in love, and began a lengthy difficult journey towards divorcing our spouses, breaking up our childrens’ stable homes, and living an ecstatic and highly romantic life together. Reality intact: check.

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