Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News.
“The Twilight Saga” Breaking Dawn-Part I,” is the third installment in the “Twilight” series of movies about a family of vampires (Opens Friday, Nov. 18). The film opens with Bella, the lead human character (Kristen Stewart), finally wed to Edward Cullen, a vampire (Robert Pattison). But the birth of their daughter sets the stage for a major battle, pitting Edward and his family against the fearsome vampire council.
NIKKI REED, 23, returns as Rosalie Hale, an important member of the Cullen family. The adapted (from the novel) screenplay is by MELISSA ROSENBERG, 49, who wrote the screenplays for the other “Twilight” films. Reed and Rosenberg, who both identify as Jewish, are the children of Jewish fathers/non-Jewish mothers. Rosenberg has long been married to LEV SPIRO, a TV director.
I’ve long known of the many “Jewish connections” in the family life of singer/actor Harry Belafonte, 84. His second wife, dancer JULIE ROBINSON, to whom he was married from 1958-2004, is Jewish. They had a daughter (GINA, 50) and a son (DAVID, 54) together. Gina, a former actress, produced the recent HBO documentary, “Sing Your Song,” about her father’s role in the Civil Rights movement. Harry is currently married to Pamela Frankel, whom I presume is Jewish (but I haven’t confirmed this).
Shari Belafonte, 57, the actress, is Harry’s daughter with his first (black) wife. Her husband, since 1989, is soap opera actor SAM BEHRENS, 61.
Harry Belafonte’s autobiography, “My Song: A Memoir,” has just come out. In it, he discloses, for the first time, that both his parents are of mixed race and that he is “one quarter” Jewish, himself. His mother was born in Jamaica, the child of a white, Scottish mother and a black father. His father was also born in Jamaica, the child of a black mother and Dutch Jewish father. This is all Harry says about his Jewish grandfather, whom he never met: “a white Dutch Jew who drifted over to the islands after chasing gold and diamonds, with no luck at all.”
Remember JONATHAN LIPNICKI, the incredibly cute little boy who co-starred in “Jerry McGuire” (1996) and the “Stuart Little” movies? I knew that Lipnicki had been bar mitzvah and had recently started acting again after a hiatus of about a decade. But I had no idea that he had grown-up to be a “hunk.”
Last week, a set of publicity photos of Lipnicki, now 21, appeared which showed him shirtless and working out. A serious marital arts student, he is incredibly “ripped” with six-pack plus abs. He has one of those bodies that are usually only seen in CALVIN KLEIN underwear ads. He has one tattoo—a large Star-of-David to the side of his stomach. While he is no longer “cute,” he is unquestionably handsome.
I could imagine Lipnicki working out shirtless at a Jewish community center gym and walking over to a girl and saying: “Shalom, want to go out with me?” I imagine her response might be:”You didn’t have to ask. You had me at shalom.” See pics here: http://socialitelife.com/jonathan-lipnicki-shirtless-showing-off-his-six-pack-tattoos-photos-11-2011
Jordan in Israel
The NBA lockout has seen some players scrambling for other paying jobs. As you might have heard, New Jersey Nets guard JORDAN FARMAR, 24, one of two active Jewish NBA players, traveled to Israel in August to play with the top Israeli team, Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Farmar was just profiled (Nov.8) by the excellent Public Radio International program, “The World.” The son of an African-American father and a Jewish mother, Farmar was raised by his Israeli stepfather, a Tel Aviv native. He has recently applied for Israeli citizenship.
As “The World” profile began, Farmar had been something of a disappointment to the notoriously demanding Maccabi Tel Aviv fans and he was still getting used to the somewhat different style of play in the “Euroleague.” But the same fans who were kvetching were singing his praises when he came out smoking in a big home game (Nov. 6) against Real Madrid, a top Spanish team, and scored three quick baskets. He had a brilliant game overall.
After the game, Farmar said with a chuckle, “Gotta make some more free throws. But other than that, it was really a good performance all the way around.” The World reporter then said: “Farmar’s coach at Maccabi is a fellow American, DAVID BLATT. At one point, Blatt vowed not to sign any NBA players during the lock-out, fearing it would be too disruptive for team-building. But now that his starting point guard is coming into his own, Blatt is glowing.” Read/listen to report here (includes videos): http://www.theworld.org/2011/11/nba-jordan-farmar-israel-maccabi/
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.