More Cowbell!

user submitted pictureInteresting article from the Washington Jewish Week on the rise of Jewish drum circles. It says right there in Psalm 150 to “praise God with drum and dance, with flute and strings/Praise God with clashing cymbals/with resounding cymbals sing praises” but it’s the Jewish Renewal movement that’s recently combined the primal urge to pound and shake things with a sacred sense of spirituality. Why should Jewish noisemaking be limited to grogers on Purim?

Oooh, Oscar!

user submitted pictureOur favorite Jewish celeb watcher Nate Bloom notes that even though this isn’t a huge year for Jews Academy Awards-wise (no heart-wrenching Holocaust film nominee, no Billy Crystal) there’s still plenty of reason to plug into the tube Sunday night. Our eye is on Hotel Rwanda‘s Sophie Okonedo, the Jewish daughter of a British mother and a Nigerian father, for her supporting role in another sort of holocaust film. We’re very torn here at Jmerica, since Okonedo is up against our darling Natalie in the same category. May the best (Jewish) woman win!

Meet El Al’s First Female Pilot

user submitted pictureThose of you who like to crack sexist jokes about “women drivers” can kiss Merav Schwartz’ tush. The first woman to pilot Israeli airline El Al commercial jets juggles 747s and motherhood, and kept up her schedule between New York and Tel Aviv until she was seven months pregnant. So next time you’re in the sky and you see a hottie in uniform, don’t assume she’s going to get you some ice for your complimentary soft drink.

Real Jews Swallow

user submitted pictureRabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Safed’s top rabbi, warns gum chewers that spitting out your wad on the sidewalk or stashing it under a desk (eww!) when the flavor’s gone violates halachic law. “Gum cannot be thrown where others are liable to be disgusted by it,” he said, and added that while swallowing is a decent option, doing away with your Juicy Fruit altogether is the best solution for spiritual grace:
“Chewing gum is the practice of lower forms of life. It expresses inner tension and lack of control.” And we thought it was just tacky.
c/o Jewschool.

Nat’s Unorthodox Smooch

user submitted pictureWorshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem were treated to some unwelcome PDA Tuesday when Natalie Portman locked lips with Israeli actor Aki Avni while filming a scene for the upcoming movie Free Zone. The daveners chased the couple away with cries of “Immoral! Immoral!” but the film crew got permission to return after peak prayer hours. Given this incident and her role as a stripper in Closer, could it be that seemingly innocent Nat enjoys exhibitionism?

PETA Abuses Beasties

user submitted pictureThose superzealous activists at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were so eager to publicize their boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken that they seem to have forgotten about the Ethical Premises of Public Relations when they invented the support of Beastie Boys Adam Horowitz, Adam Yauch and Mike Diamond for their cause. The mainstream and Jewish press reported last week that the boys drafted a fax to KFC boss David Novak that turns out to have been completely fabricated by the animal rights activist group. From a note from Yauch/MCA on the Beastie’s official site:
By the look of the letter that PETA sent out, they must have scanned our signatures, photo shopped them neatly in order and then added our names typed in, so that it would look like we drafted and sent the letter ourselves.
So even if their “finger lickin’ icky” campaign is just, how can we believe the PETA PR department at all anymore?