January 26, 2011

Old eyes

Every aspiring actor in Hollywood should have a mother like Tamar Josephson. Typically, if you meet a Hollywood agent at a cocktail party who wants to flack a client’s work, he’ll give you the elevator pitch (“Schindler’s List” meets “Star Wars!”), do a little schmooze and then slip you his business card. But Josephson is not your typical Hollywood agent. She’s a doting, loving, over-the-top enthusiastic Jewish mother who, if she ever met the Queen of England, would probably hand her a promotional leaflet for her daughter’s new one-woman play, “New Eyes,” at the Firehouse Theatre in Sherman Oaks.

Italy’s Berlusconi slams Jewish TV host

One of Italy\’s most prominent Jewish figures is at the center of the latest round of scandals surrounding Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Journalist, author and TV personality Gad Lerner, host of a popular late-night Italian TV talk show called \”The Infidel\” on the independent La7 channel, was berated live on air by the premier earlier this week. Late Monday night, a furious Berlusconi called in to the show and let loose a barrage of insults against Lerner and the program, which had centered on Berlusconi\’s allegedly improper relations with underage women. He blasted the show as \”a disgusting program with vile, obscene, repugnant presentation. A bawdy-house.”

Kantor calls on E.U. to fight anti-Semitism

With anti-Semitism on the rise more than six decades after the liberation of Auschwitz, Europe should be fighting harder against hate, Moshe Kantor said. Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, who spoke Tuesday in Brussels at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony hosted by the E.U. Parliament, brought this message personally to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, current president of the E.U. Council.

Yad Vashem, Google announce joint archive project

A joint project between Yad Vashem and Google will make public access to Nazi-era documents and photographs easier. Israel\’s national Holocaust museum and archive and the Google search engine on Wednesday announced that they had made 130,000 photos and documents from the museum\’s archive available online. The photos can now be searched directly from Google using regular key words.

Retract your mom claws

Amy “Tiger Mother” Chua might want to cover her ears right now because clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel has a message for parents that would likely send Chua into one of those shrieking fits she reserves for her daughters’ subpar piano practices, or a verboten A-minus. Here goes: Your teen may not be a genius-entrepreneur-athlete-altruist-artist. He will probably experiment with drugs, drinking and sex. The small stuff — like rudeness, irresponsibility and utter obliviousness to the effort and money you put into his well-being — will test you daily.

The Al Jazeera document dump and you

Map making seems to be an increasingly popular pastime in the Middle East these days. The Palestinians claim they prepared their mapped vision of the two-state solution but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to look at it. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is reportedly preparing maps that will give Palestinians an interim state on land they already control but no more. Now a leading Washington think tank has unveiled a series of maps detailing proposals for drawing Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Israel must grant entry to asylum seekers

In 1939, sailing from Hamburg, Germany, 938 refugee Jews boarded the St. Louis to flee the Third Reich. They were destined for Cuba. We all know the end of this story. Anti-Semitism and xenophobia prevailed in Cuba; efforts were made for the St. Louis to divert to the United States, but the same exclusionary forces prevailed here. Americans and Cubans alike feared that the Jews would steal jobs and that relaxed immigration policies and quotas would hurt economic recovery; politicians were persuaded that these Jews would somehow bring down, or perhaps sully, society. In that instance alone, 938 Jews were sent back to Europe, most to face extermination in the Holocaust. It is commonly accepted that it is the story of the St. Louis and others like it that helped secure the world’s support to establish the state of Israel at the conclusion of World War II.

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Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.