Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Profile: Raquel Zimmermann

Ah, that tricky "n" at the end of the last name. "--man" is quite often Jewish. "--mann" is rarely.

Raquel was suggested by Emily from Chicago.

Jews in the News: Didi Benami

A reader from Connecticut asks us to profile someone named Didi Benami:

"Quick! Before she gets voted off American Idol (which could be any second now) Vered "Didi" Benami. Yes, I know we don't want to encourage Idol worship but she's another worthy addition to your endless search for hot Jewish chicks."

Yes, hot Jewish chicks, we get it. But Idol contestants? After this profile, we'll pass.

Besides, Jews can't do well on Idol because of the Evangelical influence on the vote. No, really, look it up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Profile: Daniel Mendoza

We get a lot of requests to profile old-time boxers. Well, it doesn't get more old-time than Mendoza.

Thanks to Joel from Canada for the suggestion.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Profile: Zachary Levi

We get a lot of suggestions about current television actors and characters, but since we don't want much primetime TV, some of these are hard to follow up. But not Zachary Levi; no, we don't watch "Chuck", but this profile was so obvious it had to be done.

Thanks to Rebecca from Newton, MA and Jay from Gaithersburg, MD for the suggestion!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Profile: Alexander Hamilton

I'd like to apologize to Yakov; he's the Revolutionary war buff, and I usurped this profile before he even saw it in our queue. Sorry, Yakov. You can have John Adams?

Thanks to Alvin from NYC for the terrific suggestion.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Profile: Jon Scheyer

We usually don't profile college athletes (there was one exception), but with the NCAA Tournament going on, and Scheyer being suggested by Robert from South Barrington, IL and returning suggester Bruce from Cambridge, IL (see the common link?), we couldn't pass it up.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Profile: Mikhail Gorbachev

Today is Yakov's birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with the profile of the one and only Gorby! Happy birthday, Yakov!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Profile: Simon Cowell

For those who don't know, Klezmer is traditional Jewish music from the bad ol' Eastern European days, usually consisting of a fiddle, a flute, and some sort of keyboard (piano, dulcimer, et al). There are plenty of variations involving clarinets, trombones, and (as in this profile) a singer.

It can also be described in one word: terrible.

People who complain about the bagpipes have clearly never heard Klezmer, a rolling, misbegotten, cacophony that sounds like someone kvetching about their lives while strangling a goose. Do yourself a favor, stay far far away.

Cowell was suggested by Erik from LA, George from Maryland, and Nina from Toronto.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Profile: Harold Pinter

Since it's unlikely we'll ever profile ALL the Jewish Nobel prize laureates (there are just too many of them!), here's all the Literature winners in one profile/game, modeled after

Why was Pinter picked from the other, non-profiled laureates? Well, he was suggested by Steve from California.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Profile: Bill Gates

Here, I normally list the people who suggested today's profile, but, for an obvious reason, I will not do so today.

There, world. You got your Bill Gates profile. Happy now?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Profile: Ron Mix

From one of our longest names and profiles yesterday, to one of the shortest today...

Thanks to Adam from DC and Bruce from Cambridge, IL for the suggestion.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Profile: Ignatius Trebitsch-Lincoln

Ignatius Trebitsch-who? Read the profile, it's worth it.

The mysterious ITL was suggested by Yosef from Eilat.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Profile: Jay Gatsby

Gatsby was suggested by Holly from California and David from Forrest Hills, NY, who writes: "My literature professor swore that the novel was about a jewish man's ultimately failed attempt to 'pass' as a gentile and enter their world. I've never heard others express the same theory. Could he be right?"

As you can read in the profile, we don't think he is. But we're glad that literature professors are tackling such important questions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Profile: Vladimir Vysotsky

There is so much more I can say about Vysotsky... truly a transcendent figure in Russian history.

Interestingly, he makes a mistake in his own version of "Jew or Not Jew", in his Antisemites song. He names Charlie Chaplin as a Jew, a common misconception obviously, but not the case...

Thanks to Alexandra from Michigan, who had to wait a year and a half for her suggestion to make it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Profile: Saul Bellow

The 15 Club is pretty exclusive. How hard is it to get in? Bellow is its 14th member; there are 33 14s.

So what makes the difference between a 14 and a 15? Oh, if only the answer was simple...

Bellow was suggested by Linda from New York and Andrew... also from New York.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Profile: Corey Haim

Oh Corey.....If only our former staff writer Leah Goldberg could see you now....

News on the street is that the Talentless Mr. Haim died on the morning of Wednesday, March 10 of an apparent drug overdose, though I'm sure information will be updated soon enough. Perhaps even by the time this post has been....posted.

This happens every now and then. Someone dies and Moishe e-mails frantically that they're Jewish and we ought to write something NOW. You wouldn't think that a web site that spent a week debating the Jewishness of Scooby Doo would have emergency deadlines, but there ya go.

Corey is just lucky I was having a slow day. Though clearly not as slow as his. (Get it? Get it? OK, I'll stop....)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update: Mount Marxmore

Reader Greg from Virginia, who suggested the Gene Wilder profile, sent us the following email:

I read your write up on Henry Winkler and the lack of Jewish monuments. Well, I happen to be a stone sculptor, stone carver etc. My business can be seen at Attached is a photo of a Jewish sculpture I carved called "Mount Marxmore" it is carved in a 4800lb block of granite -- enjoy!

Profile: Kronk Pepikrankenitz

Kronk was suggested by Leon from Israel. Sorry to spoil it, Leon, but we just don't see Kronk as Jewish. You'll have to settle for Timon and six of the seven dwarfs.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Profile: Donald Trump

I was sitting around one day, and thought... why not a Jew or Not Jew slot machine? On second thought... Nah.

But then I ran it by Yakov, and he, a slave to Gamblor that he is, was very enthusiastic about the idea. So here you go... Try to beat my best score, I cashed out at $12500.

Trump was suggested by Tom from New York.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Profile: Liev Schreiber

I wrote this profile after seeing Schreiber on Broadway opposite Scarlett Johansson in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge".

Schreiber, who was wonderful in the play and is a terrific actor, has directed an adaption of one of my favorite books of all time, "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Barbra from Bethesda and multiple-time returnee Pamela from North Carolina suggested Schreiber.

JONJ at the Oscars

Sandra Bullock, already the Queen of JONJ (she's been the top profile the past four months), walked away with Best Actress nods and, in process, propelled our website to the best day in its history (yes, even topping the Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl. Christoph Waltz, who won Best Supporting Actor, got his share of page views as well.

Can't say the same about Best Supporting Actress Mo'Nique.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not Jews in the News: Ron Artest's hair

Wacko Ron Artest (Not a Jew) of the LA Lakers recently got a new haircut:

That's "הגנה", Hebrew for "defense". Don't worry, he's not converting: next to it is "defense" in Japanese and Hindi.

Well, at least it a little better than Boy George's head...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Update: Nothin' but a Jew Thing

We've complained in previous places about the whitebread world of the Justice League and even suggested they may have something in common with golf courses and men's clubs when it comes to bringing Jews into the fold.

But what about their Marvelous competitors, the Avengers? Well, Marvel comics announced today that the worlds's first Jewish rock (most Jews are sedentary, not sedimentary) would be joining the Avengers in a new series beginning in June.

Is The Thing the first ever Jew to join this elite establishment? Actually, no. Thing himself was once a member of the West Coast Avengers (kind of the superhero equivalent of the Canadian Football League, we grant you). But even not counting that (and really, who would), Thing is predated on the main Avengers squad by Vance Astrovik (aka Justice, aka Marvel Boy, aka Vance Astro, aka Major Victory, aka comics are really aggravating aren't they?). As Justice, Astrovik was a member of the Avengers along with his former girlfriend Firestar during the excellent Kurt Busiek run. AND Justice was revealed to be half Jewish (hopefully not on his abusive father's side) in the pages of New Warriors.

So The Thing is not the first Jewish member of the Avengers but he will be joining and that's a whole heck of a lot better than we can say for the No-Jewstice League of America. This concludes your nerd update for the day.

Thank you.

Update: Oscar the Canadian Folk Singer

So, I was watching Jeopardy last night (Alex Trebek, not a Jew) and the returning champion was a man by the name of Jordan Brand. They got to the point where they do the little interviews, aka, the point where I usually flip over to Attack of the Show for five minutes (Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, also not Jews), but somehow I flipped a little too fast and got Alex's interview with the champ.

It was a good thing, too, because Mr. Brand revealed that his father was a man by the name of Oscar Brand, a famous Canadian folk singer. Further, Oscar Brand had been one of the founders of the Children's Television Workshop, the inventors of Sesame Street. Jordan the Jeopardy champ then informed us that Oscar the Grouch, was, in fact, named for his father Oscar because of his curmudgeonly attitude during the planning phases of the show (all in good fun, we hope).

And, of course, Oscar Brand is Jewish.

So, more fuel to the "Oscar the Grouch is probably also Jewish" fire. Who knew I'd learn things watching Jeopardy (OK, everyone, but that isn't as much fun to say now is it)?

Profile: Soleil Moon Frye

What kind of Jewish parent names their child Soleil Moon?! Yes, I know it was the 70's, but seriously people. If we all agree that "don't name your kids something stupid" is the 11th commandment then it's in, right? Who's going to disagree? You know the Orthodox, Hasids, Lubovitch, et al are with us on this one. Until then, just...just don't do it. Please.

Oh, and Soleil was suggested by Richard from Seattle. Thanks Richard!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Profile: Jenna Fischer

Prediction for tonight: it's a boy, and the middle name will be Michael, Gary, or Scott, named after a relative, but nonetheless setting Michael into a frenzy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jews in the News: All of us

According to this article,

DNA shows that today's Jews from the largest group, the eight million Ashkenazim – most of whom once found their home in central and eastern Europe, and who now represent the majority of American Jews – have few grandmothers. Around half descend from just four women who bear mitochondrial types found almost exclusively in that population. Two million trace their descent from just one of those ancient predecessors.

So, basically, if you meet four Jews, odds are you're CLOSELY related to one of them. Terrific?

Profile: Leopold and Loeb

Leopold and Loeb were suggested by Scott from Washington and Amanda from Wehavenoclue. Thanks to both of you! Usually at this point we'd list out all the people who have been profiled together, but in this case we suggest you just scroll down one post....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Profile: Jeff and Stan Van Gundy

This one is puzzling me. Some people really do think that the Van Gundys are Jewish. Baffling.

Thanks to Danny from Lower Merion, PA and Jim from Tampa for the suggestions... We would have never thought to profile them otherwise. No, seriously, why would anyone think...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Profile: Alan Dershowitz

I would like to go on record that there are some good lawyers out there (good not at what they do, there are many of those, but rather lawyers who are good people). Yakov's sister, for one. And... ummm... give me a minute here...

Dershowitz was suggested by Richard from Chicago.

Top 10 Profiles: February

1. Sandra Bullock (0)
2. Mel Gibson (+2)
3. Adolf Hitler (+2)
4. Ringo Starr (-1)
5. Jesus Christ (+1)
6. Joseph Stalin (+9)
7. Evegeni Malkin (+87)
8. Sean Penn (+4)
9. Charlie Chaplin (+3)
10. Harrison Ford (0)