The Weekly Schmooze: Elisheba Rachel Taylor

A "Jpost" column wrapping up the hottest Jewish culture news worldwide: What happens in eruv, stays in eruv; Is "Friday" a Bat Mitzvah video?

March 31, 2011 13:55
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"Certainly the most famous and perhaps the most beautiful baby born last week was a Jewish girl named Elisheba Rachel Taylor," began a 1959 Time article. "For according to Jewish legal theory, every convert is 'a newborn child.' And last week, 27-year-old Film Star Elizabeth Taylor became a Jew and acquired a ceremonial Jewish name: Elisheba, the Hebrew version of Elizabeth, and her own favorite Biblical heroine, Rachel, the 'beautiful and well-favored' wife of Jacob."

Elizabeth Taylor passed away last week at age 79. Countless articles have been published, including many on the religion she adopted at the age of 27, and remained dedicated to throughout her life. For those interested in learning more about Taylor's Judaism, the Schmooze recommends this CNN article, as well as a Jerusalem Post tribute to her pro-Israel actions.

Sometimes, a scoop is so juicy, it has to be shared, even if it's a century old – and that scoop is Mahatma Gandhi's gay Jewish lover. Great Soul, a new biography of the Indian leader by former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld claims that Gandhi was in love with a Jewish weight lifter and architect named Hermann Kallenbach. According to Lelyveld, Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach: "How completely thou have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance." In a letter to Kallenbach, he promised not to "look lustfully upon any woman," and pledged "such love as...the world has not yet seen."

On more current note, Jewish comedian Michael Ian Black likes treif Mexican food. In fact, he likes it so much, that he has started a campaign on Twitter - where he has 1.6 million followers - using the hashtag #mibfortacobell to make himself the spokesman for Taco Bell. Black wrote a manifesto on comedy site Funny or Die, in which he claims to be a man "unafraid to look danger in the eye" and "unafraid to eat a chalupa. A gordita. Cheesy fiesta potatoes" and "stuff his face without fear or complaint." He also created a video, in which he implores US President Barack Obama to involve himself in this issue of national importance. Celebrities like LeVar Burton and Rainn Wilson have voiced their support for Black, but Obama has yet to respond.

Speaking of internet memes, the latest video to go viral is "Friday" by Rebecca Black. The 13-year-old's parents paid $2,000 to a production company that wrote a song and created a music video for Black. The song's lyrics are so absurd and silly that it reached number 19 on the iTunes charts (higher than her favorite singer Justin Bieber) and over 55 million people have watched her sing "yesterday was Thursday, Thursday, today is Friday, Friday, tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterward." Black has yet to make any sort of statement on the subject, but there are two reasons to believe that she may be Jewish:

1.    Rebecca Black's parents bought her this VERY expensive gift for her 13th birthday. What happens when a non-Orthodox Jewish girl turns 13? It's her Bat Mitzvah – a time when many a Jewish teen gets pricey presents from mom and dad.

2.    The song is called Friday! Everyone knows that Friday is a good Jew's favorite night of the week. Kiddush, challah, a day of rest – what more do you need for a good weekend?

In case you've been living under a rock for the past two weeks, here is the video for "Friday." Warning: As dumb as the song may be, it is extremely catchy, and will probably be stuck in your head all weekend long.

As International Women's History Month comes to a close, Michele Obama invited an Israeli woman to join her on a visit to a Washington D.C. school and talk to students about the struggles she overcame. Miri Ben-Ari the "hip-hop violinist," who has played with the likes of Janet Jackson and Kanye West will discuss her move from Israel and America, and having to give up on her dream of being a musician because of economic problems, only to come back as an even bigger star. If you can't imagine how hip hop and violins can go together, watch this video:

Finally, we have "The Daily Show" dealing with "The Thin Jew Line" – a controversial eruv in the Hamptons. In what could easily be a chapter of Jew vs. Jew, some secular Jewish residents tried to stop Orthodox Jews from moving their "groisse tuchus" into Westhampton Beach, while "Daily Show" correspondent Wyatt Cenac posited that "what happens in eruv, stays in eruv."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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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.

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