The Weekly Schmooze: Canadian Snooki vs. anti-Semitism

A 'Jpost' column wrapping up the hottest Jewish culture news worldwide: Richard Dreyfuss plays Heschel; Gene Simmons is husband of the year?

November 18, 2010 15:40
4 minute read.
Weekly Schmooze logo

weekly schmooze 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Who would you name Jewish Husband of the Year? Would it be someone who wears full demon face-paint and platform boots? If you answered "yes," then you have something in common with a blogger for the Forward, who bestowed this honor on KISS bassist Gene Simmons. The hard-rocker, born Chaim Witz to a Hungarian Holocaust survivor in Haifa, moved to the US at age eight, and started calling himself Gene Simmons in the late 1960s. Although his longtime girlfriend is a shiksa – Playboy bunny Shannon Tweed – and he isn't married, the Forward called him "the prototypical Jewish husband…warm and a bit emotional" in a review of his new reality TV show "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels."

If you prefer stars over demon face-paint, have no fear. Simmons' band-mate Paul Stanley is also Jewish, but he has yet to win any awards for husband-hood.

The Weekly Schmooze: Oh My Godard
The Weekly Schmooze: Trick or treat with Houdini

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Speaking of reality TV, Canada has a new gem called "Lake Shore." The show is a multicultural knockoff of "Jersey Shore," featuring Italian, Jewish, Albanian, Vietnamese and other cast members getting drunk and disorderly in downtown Toronto. Robyn Perza, the Romanian-Israeli-Jewish character seems to be the Canadian Snooki, babbling semi-incoherently, allowing a producer to "motorboat" her during her audition, and displaying a penchant for wearing halter tops that are too small on her and huge hoop earrings. On the other hand, she has been shown lighting Shabbat candles, while we have yet to see Snooki speak Italian. (Video is semi-NSFW.)

The real drama on Lake Shore is on display in the show's trailer, when Turkish character Sibel Atlug threatens to beat Robyn up.

"She doesn't like me," Robyn said about Sibel. "I think it's because I'm Jewish and Israeli. If she wants to put her hands on me, honey, I'll sit on her. It's gonna hurt."

Sibel had this to say in her own defense: "I'm not a racist because I hate everybody equally. Especially Jewish people."

Maryam Rahimi, the show's executive producer, later apologized, telling the Canadian media: "We are not a racist show. If we offended anyone in any way, we apologize." She added that her "intention is to make provocative television" and "expose stereotypes in order to break them down and build relationships rather than destroy them."

If you feel like you need a shower after watching those last two clips, don't worry. We have some higher culture for you, in the form of a new play. Imagining Heschel, at the Cherry Lane Theater in Manhattan, features Richard Dreyfuss as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The "concert reading" imagines conversations between Rabbi Heschel and Cardinal Augustin Bea in the years 1962-1973, when Heschel helped the Vatican Council repudiate anti-Semitism by exonerating Jews for Jesus' death. The play's website explains that it "raises important questions about the justification of violence by any faith and the limits of forgiveness."

If you're going to see the show and live outside of New York, you may want to check out The Condor, a new haredi hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The hotel was opened by Zalman Glauber and Zelig Weiss for families with many children that keep kosher and don't travel on Shabbat or holidays. There are no TVs in the rooms, but there are wig stands, Shabbat elevators and a Yiddish-speaking concierge.

Last but not least, Israel had some A-list visitors this week, in the form of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli and her boyfriend, Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite promising he would never visit Israel again after being swarmed by the paparazzi on his last visit, the actor came as a part of his 36th birthday celebration with his mother, Irmelin, and close friend, "Entourage" star Kevin Connolly, in tow. The four arrived in Israel on Sunday night after visiting Jordan and Egypt, and reportedly stayed at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv. They visited the Western Wall, Dead Sea and nightclubs under heavy security to keep photographers away.

The Weekly Schmooze collects the hottest Jewish culture news from around the world. Ranging from celebrities to philanthropy to quirky communities, we're here to schmooze about Jews.

If you have any news to share with The Weekly Schmooze, write to

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery