6 degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup
Sean Penn speaks out for Brooklynite’s freedom
Sean Penn’s social activism usually conjures images of the Academy Award-winning actor on a wind-rocked boat rescuing victims of some kind of natural disaster. But on May 20 he was in a congressional hearing room in Washington with a haredi Orthodox Jewish family from Brooklyn pushing for the freedom of a man who has been held for nearly two years on house arrest in Bolivia.
Jacob Ostreicher, a haredi father of five, invested money in a rice-growing venture in the South American country and was there managing the business when he was arrested in June 2011 on suspicion of money laundering. There has been no evidence produced against Ostreicher in a Bolivian court.
At the hearing, Penn and a handful of Congress members spoke up for Ostreicher, attesting to his innocence and calling for action.
Dershowitz sends ‘Curb’ episode to Bibi
Comedian Larry David has been called a lot of things over the course of his long and successful career, but it’s likely “peacemaker” rarely if ever was one of them. Until now. Well, almost sort of, anyway.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz sent an episode of David’s HBO show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in hopes that Netanyahu would invite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over to watch it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As dedicated “Curb” fans have surely guessed already, it’s none other than the “Palestinian Chicken” episode in which David is conflicted over whether it’s OK to get chicken from a Palestinian-owned restaurant even though—to the dismay of his Jewish friends—it’s housed right next to a deli.
David launched the peacemaking project by sending the DVD to Dershowitz. The prominent attorney and Israel activist said Netanyahu has the episode and is “looking forward to watching it.”
“Maybe if they both get a good laugh, they can begin a negotiating process,” Dershowitz said of the two leaders.
Timberlake, the Coen brothers talk Jewish humor
Using his preternatural smoothness, Justin Timberlake saved the Coen brothers from some serious awkwardness at a Cannes news conference on May 19 for their folk singer film “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
“Jewish humor, does it exist? If so what does it consist of?” a reporter asked after suggesting that World War II and the Holocaust were perhaps responsible for the German people’s lack of humor.
Timberlake, who plays a folk singer in the film, shot right back with, “I smell a trap.”
Joel Coen chimed in, squashing the conversation for good. “There’s nothing like the Holocaust to put the stake in a certain kind of humor,” he said.
Chelsea Clinton goes spiritual
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has landed an interesting-sounding gig at New York University.
Clinton, 33, is taking on the role of co-founder and co-chair of the new Of Many Institute, the New York Post reports. The purpose of the program, which is part of NYU’s Center for Spiritual Life, is to “develop multifaith dialogue and train multifaith leaders,” the university says.
How she’ll squeeze it into her crazy schedule, we don’t know. Clinton, who is married to banker Marc Mezvinsky, is an assistant vice provost at NYU and a special contributor to NBC News, and she is pursuing a doctorate from Oxford. We’re sure she’ll figure it out, especially since this multifaith position is really the perfect fit for her.
“With all candor, because my husband is Jewish and I’m Christian, and we’re both practicing, it’s something that’s quite close to home,” Clinton told Time in September.
Drake to appear in ‘Anchorman 2’
The Jewish Canadian rapper Drake was seen on the New York set of “Anchorman 2″ on May 18. Kanye West also has a cameo in the sequel, which stars Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poelher and Sacha Baron Cohen. In other words, most of the funny people currently working in Hollywood.
No news on Drake’s role, just that he will be sporting a fabulous (Jew)fro.