January 18, 2019

Jewish Genealogy Explored in ‘Finding Your Roots’

Sarah Silverman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr .;Courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media

Over four seasons, the PBS genealogy series “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” has traced the ancestry of many Members of the Tribe, including those of Barbara Walters, Alan Dershowitz, Tony Kushner, Carole King, Gloria Steinem, Julianna Margulies, Dustin Hoffman, Carly Simon, Paul Rudd and Amy Schumer. 

Thanks to DNA testing, non-Jews Jessica Alba, Gloria Reuben and political commentator Ana Navarro learned about heretofore hidden Jewish roots, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his “Saturday Night Live” impersonator Larry David were revealed to be distant cousins. With producer and host Gates, a professor of African-American studies at Harvard University serving as genealogical guide, the surprises continue in the 10-episode fifth season, airing Tuesdays on KOCE.

The revelations begin with Andy Samberg in the premiere episode, which repeats at 11 a.m. Jan. 13 and will be available on PBS digital platforms. The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star, whose mother, Marjorie, was adopted, sought Gates’ help in finding her birth parents. Marjorie knew her birth mother was Jewish and born in Germany in 1920, and that her mother had a sister, a famous singer who had lived in India in the 1940s. That provided Gates’ researchers with a vital clue that led to her identity. 

Then, DNA testing and matching enabled researchers to find Sandberg’s Sicilian paternal grandfather, who met his grandmother in San Francisco when she was studying in Berkeley and he was in the U.S. Navy, stationed nearby. She became pregnant in 1945 and gave up her daughter for adoption. Samberg and Marjorie were able to meet her half-brothers and several cousins from her Italian-American family.

“I’m overwhelmed with happiness for my mom,” he told Gates. It’s fantastic. It’s finally something my mom gets to know. She can explore all of this now.”

“Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin; Photo courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media

The episode also features “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, whose pie chart reveals British-Irish heritage on his mother’s side and 22.4 percent Ashkenazi Jewish heritage on his father’s. Martin had always thought his paternal line was German-Italian, and family lore had it that his grandfather cheated on his grandmother and then abandoned her. As it turns out, his grandmother was the one who had the affair, with an Ashkenazi Jew.

“You’re uprooting my world here. I’m descended from mystery,” Martin said. “I would not have guessed this. This is a bombshell here.” Alas, that was where the information trail ended. Gates’ team was unable to find any additional details about Martin’s grandfather.

“At a time when immigration has become such a deeply controversial and sensitive matter, I believe that the more each of us understands about where we came from, the more richly we can live our lives.” 

— Henry Louis Gates Jr.

In the fifth episode, airing Feb. 12, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) discovers he has Jewish roots in his mother’s German line. His DNA chart reveals 3 percent Ashkenazi-Jewish ancestry, meaning one of his third-great-grandparents was Jewish. The surprise news “about knocked his head off, to tell you the truth,” Gates said at a panel discussion promoting the series. “And then he was very proud of it.”

Ashkenazi-Jewish immigrant stories are explored in the segments featuring Facebook executive and author Sheryl Sandberg and comedian Sarah Silverman, who appear in the third episode (Jan. 29) and sixth episode (Feb. 19), respectively. Sandberg learns about the hardship and tragedy her maternal forebears faced after fleeing anti-Semitism in Russia. 

Silverman’s great-grandparents on both sides were from Russia and Poland, entrepreneurial immigrants who came to the United States and started businesses. Her maternal great-grandfather became a jeweler and her paternal great-grandfather was a peddler and his wife was a dressmaker. 

DNA analysis and comparisons to a database of previous “Finding Your Roots” guests provided Silverman with a match and an unexpected revelation. She learned she’s a distant cousin of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is also descended from Russian- and Polish-Jewish immigrants on her mother’s side. Gyllenhaal appeared in the show’s first season in 2012. 

“Finding Your Roots” was a spinoff of Gates’ 2006 project “African American Lives,” which probed the backgrounds of black celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Tucker. “We could not predict or foresee how it would mutate into the marvelous thing that it’s become,” Gates said.

“Our series demonstrates each week, in vivid detail and with moving storytelling, that a continuing source of strength for our country is the fact that we are a nation of immigrants,” he said. “I find it inspiring that our fellow Americans are so determined to explore their own ancestral heritage, precisely at a time when immigration has become such a deeply controversial and sensitive matter. I believe that the more each of us understands about where we came from, about what our ancestors experienced, and how those experiences have shaped us, whether we knew about them or not, the more richly we can live our lives.”

“Finding Your Roots” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on PBS. 

Members of the Tribe Show Up to Vote

The Midterm Election Day is here and Jewish Americans all around the country are headed to the polls to cast their votes. If you think the famous members of the tribe are skipping out on fulfilling their civic duty, you’ve got another think coming. Here’s a roundup of our favorite nice Jewish celebrity boys and girls who are celebrating Nov. 6 all over social media.  


Jewish Comedy Stars Team Up for Election-Eve Telethon

“Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, director Judd Apatow and other Jewish notables from the comedy world are teaming up for the get-out-the-vote special “Telethon for America,” which will stream live on Nov. 5, the night before the midterm elections. Organized by actor-comedian Ben Gleib, the two-hour special aims to get young voters to show up at the polls. Viewers can watch it on YouTube, Facebook Live and ComedyCentral.com.

“The ‘Telethon For America’ flips the traditional telethon on its head. Young Americans are more motivated than ever before and the Telethon For America is working to build on that momentum to make sure an even higher percentage of young people get out and vote,” Gleib said. “We are excited to reach them in a brand new way, thanks to our production partners, our performers, and the social platforms of the influencers that they listen to.”

Stars scheduled to appear, perform or man the phone banks include Tribe members Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer, Jeff Ross, Debra Messing, Jackie Tohn, Iliza Schlesinger, Samantha Ronson, and Zoe Lister-Jones. Others on board include Jessica Alba, Lil Rel, Tom Arnold, Charlize Theron, Jane Fonda, Asha Tyler, Minnie Driver, and Connie Britton.

Watch live here.

Amy Schumer Announces Pregnancy While Urging Fans to Vote

Photo from Instagram.

Comedian and activist Amy Schumer announced her pregnancy and encouraged fans to vote in the same social media post, Monday.

The 37-year-old actress announced the news with the help of News Not Noise journalist Jessica Yellin, who posted a list of Schumer’s voting recommendations to “flip the house.”

Schumer’s surprise note: “I’m pregnant,” appeared at the end of the list.

Amy Schumer’s list of recommended Democrats to vote for and her baby announcement posted on Instagram Monday.

While viewers saw the news on Yellin’s Instagram, Schumer posted a photoshopped image of herself alongside her husband, and soon-to-be dad, Chris Fischer on the bodies of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who recently announced their pregnancy.

Though the baby news is exciting, Schumer urged fans to follow Yellin to stay updated and informed about the midterm elections Nov. 6.

“Follow her and VOTE,” Schumer wrote on Instagram.

The “I Feel Pretty” star and cousin of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been more outspoken in the recent months, using her platform to stand with #MeToo survivors, fight for women’s equality and LGBTQ rights. Earlier October, she and actress, Emily Ratajkowski were arrested along with 300 other protesters in Washington, D.C., in protest over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Amy Schumer, Emily Ratajkowski Arrested in Kavanaugh Protest

Photo by Erik S. Lesser /EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock US comedian Amy Schumer gestures after getting detained along with hundreds of other protestors against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, USA, 04 October 2018.

Comedian Amy Schumer and actress and model Emily Ratajkowski were arrested alongside 300 other protesters Thursday in Washington D.C. in protest over Supreme Court nominee and alleged sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh.

Capitol police said they arrested 302 people during the demonstrations, and videos from social media show Schumer wanting to be arrested.

“Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault,” Ratajkowski tweeted Thursday. “Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.”

Schumer and Ratajkowski met during the filming of “I Feel Pretty” and joined men and women at the Capitol to share their voice while Kavanaugh hearings took place.

“A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don’t matter,” Schumer said.

Earlier this afternoon Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine) voted Yes to confirm Kavanaugh. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) also tweeted saying he will be voting in favor of Kavanaugh. They need 51 yay votes for confirmation. The final vote on Brett Kavanaugh is expected to take place on Saturday.


Three years, seven weeks, and five days after I was first told I had cancer, I am cancer free. I feel happy and relieved, but will forever feel nervous every time I don’t feel good, that it is cancer. That said, at the end of the day I am a rock star, and cancer is my bitch. My son came home to celebrate last night, and having him stay the night and sleep in his old room filled my heart with joy. Less than a month after cancer stole a dear friend, I feel blessed and am counting my blessings.

As I waited for test results, while marking the anniversary of the passing of my beloved dad who died from cancer, I thought about my life and my place in the world. I watched the painful news out of Florida and cried as I watched a mother beg for the government to keep our kids safe. It left me with a need to say a few things, about a few things. This may piss people off, and that is okay. God Bless America that I am able to not only have an opinion, but share it freely.

  • The murders in Florida this week must not be blamed on mental illness, but rather blamed on the fact that a teenager can legally buy an AR-15 firearm in America. The President of the United States is a moron and anyone who thinks prayer is the answer to this problem, is mentally deficient. I am a woman of faith and I believe in prayer, but I have had enough. The NRA can shove all the prayers up their asses and fire them into space. We need to get a hold of the guns and stop making senseless murders so easy.
  • Aziz Ansari is a pig, he is not however a sexual deviant who needs to lose his career, just because he was a loser on a date. Dear Lord. The woman “Grace”, who wrote about her date with Mr. Ansari did more harm than good to a movement that is trying so hard to do good. There is a witch hunt mentality happening, which I suppose is to be expected under the circumstances, but as women we have a responsibility to each other to be honest and fair so that appropriate action can be taken against those who deserve it.
  • I have written that the last two men I dated were lovely and it simply did not work out. Here’s the thing though, they were not lovely, I was lovely. They are assholes and I am tired of taking the high road when it comes to my dating life. I am far too nice, and the truth is that I was kind to both of these people, and they were dicks. At the end of the day I am a great girl who is worthy of a great man, and if you voted for Trump or are 53 and never married, you’ve got too many problems for me to take you on.
  • I cried when I read that Amy Schumer got married. I don’t know her, but I like her and respect how she uses the platform fame has given her, so I found myself inexplicably happy for her. She was a beautiful bride and I hope she has a loving and wonderful marriage. I’m not really the fangirl type, except for Celine Dion of course, but there is something about Ms. Schumer that puts me squarely on her side. She makes me laugh and has the gift of bringing light to darkness. Mazel Tov Amy. Thank you for you. #totalfangirl.
  • It turns out that I was correct when I shared with you all long ago that I am the only person who knows how to drive in Los Angeles. I was rear ended this week by a young man with no car insurance. He was texting on his phone and I saw him getting closer, but had nowhere to go so I just waited for the hit. We were not going fast and the damage was only cosmetic, but it pissed me off. I felt bad for the kid for about 30 seconds. He could have cared less about what he did and texted the entire time we were talking. Whatever.

I am very happy it is Friday. I am welcoming in Shabbat with an open heart and a tired mind. It has been a stressful, yet joyous week and I am going to have a couple Cosmos tonight. I know they will be delicious because I’m going to make them myself. I plan to order in Chinese food, put on my fluffiest pajamas, and enjoy the Olympics. I will undoubtedly go back and forth between the excitement of Korea and the news, struggling to make sense of things that will never make sense. I feel stuck. I am unsure what to think or feel when I am so happy, and so sad.

To the families in Florida who are experiencing unimaginable pain, you are on my mind and I send you love. May your loved ones rest in peace, and may you know I will join my voice to yours until somebody listens and gets the guns. I am sorry for your losses. Shabbat Shalom. Be safe out there everyone. We live in a scary place and the only way we will ever survive is if we start to take care of each other. Be kind to one another, use your vote for good, and scream as loud as you can that you want change. Be brave, be hopeful, and remember to keep the faith.



Did You Hear About the Book on Jewish Comedy?

In “Jewish Comedy: A Serious History” (Norton), author Jeremy Dauber makes it clear that — at least in his opinion — Jewish jokes are no laughing matter.

“The story of Jewish comedy was almost as massive in scope, as meaningful in substance, as Jewish history itself,” Dauber writes about what he discovered when he started teaching a course on Jewish humor at Columbia University, where he is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture. “The story of Jewish comedy — what Jewish humor did and meant for the Jews at different times and places, as well as how, and why, it was so entertaining — is, if you tell it the right way, the story of American popular culture; it’s the story of Jewish civilization; it’s a guide to an essential aspect of human behavior.”

I hasten to add that the book is always lively and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Dauber’s sources range from the Preacher of Dubno (an 18th-century Chasidic rabbi) to Sholem Aleichem (“the man who invented Tevye”), from Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce to Howard Stern and Amy Schumer. Indeed, although Dauber proposes that roots of Jewish comedy go all the way back to the Bible — he uses the Book of Esther as a touchstone of Jewish humor — he also argues that America is the place where Jewish humor reached its highest expression, with Yiddish literature its seedbed.

“As the lingua franca of Eastern European Jewry, Yiddish was the vehicle for the most somber eulogies as well as the earthiest jokes, lyrical poetry along with shaggy doggerel or comments about gastrointestinal distress,” he explains. After Jews carried Yiddish to America, it became an ethnic marker for American comics such as Lenny Bruce, who once described his banter as a mixture of “the jargon of the hipster, the argot of the underworld, and Yiddish.”

Dauber finds a weighty subtext in every variety of Jewish humor.

Most impressive of all is Dauber’s ability to create a sky chart in which every Jewish comedy star can be fixed in place, not only Jerry Lewis and Danny Kaye — both of whom were tummlers in the Borscht Belt — but also such highly sophisticated comics as Mike Nichols and Elaine May. He includes not only practitioners of low comedy like Mel Brooks and Sid Caesar but also such elevated humorists as Jules Feiffer and Joseph Heller. And he reminds us of fading or wholly forgotten personalities like Mickey Katz and Belle Barth, while pointing out that the Jewish founders of Mad magazine “created that seminal countercultural satire by framing it Jewishly, through Yiddishized parody.”

Dauber repudiates what he calls “the lachrymose theory of Jewish history” and reminds us that Jewish humor always has sustained Jewish life, even at the grimmest moments. Writing shortly after the end of World War II, Irving Kristol argued that “Jewish humor died with its humorists when the Nazis killed off the Jews of Eastern Europe.” But Dauber proves that Kristol was wrong. Larry David, Sarah Silverman and Sacha Baron Cohen, all of whom have dared to tell jokes about the Holocaust, “mark the position of confidence and strength Jews have in American culture,” he writes.

Dauber finds a weighty subtext in every variety of Jewish humor. He describes Philip Roth, for example, as “our great comic cosmic writer of the modern period, the one who understands that telling jokes is in no small part a way of trying to deal with staring into the void, of grappling with the crisis of meaning.” Even Tony Kushner’s play about AIDS and homosexuality, “Angels in America,” he insists, “has its share of Jewish comic elements: the stereotypical Jewish male jokes, the use of Yiddish as punch line, and the transformation of the God-arguing tradition into something mixing the sublime and the ridiculous.”

“Jewish Comedy: A Serious History” is intended to be a work of scholarship.  Dauber, however, never takes himself or his subject too seriously.

Jonathan Kirsch, author and publishing  attorney, is the Jewish Journal’s book editor.

Amy Schumer says her show is on hold, not canceled

Comedian Amy Schumer assured fans that her Comedy Central sketch series “Inside Amy Schumer” has not been canceled.

@ComedyCentral has provided us with a wonderful home and we couldn’t be happier there. I am just touring,” Schumer wrote Tuesday on Twitter after previously suggesting that the show is no longer in production.

Schumer said, however, there are no plans for a fifth season of the show in the “foreseeable future.”

Schumer, 35, whose rapid rise to fame was capped with her starring role in the 2015 film “Trainwreck,” was clarifying a previous tweet in which she asserted, “We aren’t making the show anymore.” Schumer was responding to criticism of one of the show’s writers, Kurt Metzger, who had posted on social media several messages that many interpreted as insensitive to rape victims.

Urged to comment on reports that Metzger had been fired, Schumer responded Wednesday, “I didn’t fire Kurt. He isn’t a writer for my show because we aren’t making the show anymore. There are no writers for it.”

In her new collection of essays, “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo,” Schumer recalled her bat mitzvah and attending Hebrew school on Long Island. Schumer suggested she became a comedian after her voice cracked during the chanting of the Torah portion and the congregation erupted in laughter.

Amy Schumer Twitter joke insults Jews, Gossip Cop says

Jewish comic Amy Schumer tweeted a Jewish joke criticized as “offensive and wrong” by the Gossip Cop website.

In a Twitter post Wednesday, the comedienne and actress made public a photo of herself standing between a clarinetist and a saxophonist, each holding his instrument. Her caption read “A Jew with horns.” She later amended the phrase to “I meant to say a Jew with 2 horns.

Gossip Cop, which says it polices Hollywood and celebrity news to separate what’s real from rumor, slammed the tweet.

“While comedy can provoke discussion, it’s purpose is not to perpetuate hateful and inaccurate stereotypes. And Schumer’s Twitter message, which plays off the misconception that Jews are horned creatures, accomplishes less comically than it does to reignite misguided prejudice,” the site’s commentary read.

“Undoubtedly, Schumer will justify her mildly amusing ‘joke’ by noting that she herself was raised Jewish and can poke fun at herself, as she often does with her comedy. But does that make it okay for her to spread untrue and hurtful stereotypes about Jews? Would jokes by a popular black or Latino comedian be considered funny if he or she tweeted to their millions of followers a wholly and historically painful stereotype about their people for non-minorities to laugh at?”

Gossip Cop staff called on Schumer to “grab her tweet by the horns and apologize for perpetuating this slanderous depiction of Jews for a mere half-laugh.”


Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? Who Jewish celebrities are backing

Chalk it up to “Hollywood values.”

The entertainment industry famously, or infamously, depending on your perspective, leans Democratic. And Jewish celebrities are no exception.

With the 2016 Iowa caucuses kicking off the presidential primary season on Monday, pollsters have Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., neck and neck in the state.

The all-important race for Jewish celebrity endorsements is close too. Here’s a breakdown of where things stand.


Lena Dunham attending the Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood Host Sex, Politics & Film Cocktail Reception at The Spur in Park City, Utah, Jan. 24, 206.  (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)Lena Dunham attending the Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood Host Sex, Politics & Film Cocktail Reception at The Spur in Park City, Utah, Jan. 24, 2016. Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Lena Dunham

The “Girls” creator and star is one of Clinton’s most outspoken supporters. In addition to lending a hand on the campaign trail, Dunham interviewed the former secretary of state-former New York senator-former first lady last fall in an attempt to boost her appeal among younger voters.

Steven Spielberg

The famed director has donated $1 million to Clinton’s current campaign. Back in 2000, it was rumored that Spielberg lent his Trump Tower corporate apartment to Clinton while she was running for the senate — and that he gave her “likeability” lessons.

J.J. Abrams

The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director and his wife each donated $500,000 to Clinton super PAC Priorities USA last June.

“[Hillary] does have the experience and the politics. She is compassionate, and right. When I look at the people who need the support that aren’t necessarily getting it, I believe that she would provide that,” Abrams told The Daily Beast on Monday.

Barbra Streisand

“Babs” proclaimed her support on Twitter as soon as Clinton launched her campaign last June.

Amy Schumer

The comedian and “Trainwreck” creator and star joked last fall that Clinton did not sound thrilled when she offered to help on the campaign trail — but she did offer.

Dustin Hoffman

“Rain Man” predicted Clinton would be the next president all the way back in 2010.

Abbi Jacobson

The co-creator and co-star of Comedy Central’s quirky hit “Broad City” showed her Clinton pride on Instagram well before it was announced last month that the former First Lady would appear in an episode of the show’s upcoming third season.


Sarah Silverman

The comedian and actress had some kind words for Sanders when she introduced him at a campaign rally last August.

“Where other candidates are getting gigantic sums of money from billionaires in exchange for compromising favors, Bernie is not for sale,” Silverman said to a large crowd.

Simon and Garfunkel

The folk legends allowed the Sanders campaign to use their song “America” in a recent campaign ad. Paul Simon did not comment on the ad, but Art Garfunkel told The New York Times that he is a “Bernie guy.”

“I like that Bernie is very upset by the gap between the rich and the poor,” Garfunkel said. “I think that’s central.”

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

The Ben & Jerry’s co-founders are from Burlington, Vermont — which means they have been Sanders constituents for over 30 years as he has gone from mayor to representative to senator. The ice cream mavens, who are now out on the campaign trail, gave out free ice cream at Sanders’ campaign launch last spring.

If that wasn’t enough, Cohen recently created 40 pints of a special Bernie Sanders ice cream flavor — which has a chocolate disk on top of a tub of mint ice cream meant to represent the “1 percent.” By breaking up the disk, ice cream eaters symbolically join Bernie in his crusade the redistribute the wealth.

Ezra Koenig

Koenig, the singer of New York indie band Vampire Weekend, performed this past weekend at a Sanders event the University of Iowa. Sanders even got on stage to sing when the musicians played “This Land is Your Land.”

“I think there’s something so cool about Bernie running as a Democrat, a guy who was the only Independent in the house for a long time, the only Independent in the senate, a guy who kind of comes from an outside structure,” Koenig told CNN afterwards.

Jeremy Piven

The “Entourage” star praised Sanders for his “straight talk” in a Facebook post last summer.

Zoe Kravitz

Kravitz is the daughter of two half-black, half-Jewish celebrities: rocker Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. She signed an endorsement letter along with 127 other artists and celebrities who back Sanders — from Will Ferrell to rapper Killer Mike — last fall.

Why are Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and other non-Jewish celebs buying real estate in Israel?

After Kanye West performed in Israel on Wednesday night, he presumably had to sleep in a bed that he didn’t own. The declared presidential candidate may not have to suffer that indignity on his next trip to the Holy Land.

The Kardashian family, into which he is married, is among a number of non-Jewish American celebrities reportedly shopping for real estate in the Holy Land. Others include Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Mariah Carey.

What does Israel have to offer these stars? The answer, it seems, varies from spirituality to family and friendship to money-making opportunities.

The Kardashian sisters, of reality TV fame, reportedly entered talks in January to buy two apartments for $30 million in a beachfront buildingin Tel Aviv. A spokesman for Kim Kardashian denied that report, but entertainment news website E!Online later reported that Kourtney Kardashian’s husband Scott Disick was in fact ready to buy a $5-6 million penthouse in Tel Aviv as a real estate investment.

Just three months later, Kim Kardashian and husband, West, visited Jerusalem for the baptism of their daughter, North, in the Cathedral of St. James, located in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Madonna, center, with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and his wife Sara Netanyahu, left, at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Sept. 4, 2009. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty Images

Also this year, pop legend Madonna entered negotiations to buy a $20 million penthouse under construction on Tel Aviv’s trendy Rothschild Boulevard, according to Hollywood celebrity gossip website TMZ. The project developer later said that the negotiations fell through.

Still, the Material Girl has been visiting Israel on semi-regular trips for over a decade to get spiritual guidance from her teachers in the Jewish mystical tradition of kabbalah.

Madonna clearly has an affinity for Jewish-Israeli culture. In her 2005 kabbalah-infused club song “Isaac,” she sampled a rabbi chanting the Hebrew poem “Im Ninalu” – written by 17th-century Yemenite rabbi Shalom Shabazi and made famous by Israeli singer Ofra Haza.

And in 2012, she launched her MDNA global concert tour in Israel.

Ashton Kutcher onstage during the Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. on Aug. 11, 2013. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Madonna isn’t the only kabbalah-curious Hollywood celebrity thinking of putting down roots in Israel. Actor Ashton Kutcher reportedly spent part of a business trip two years ago looking for office space on Rothschild Boulevard.

Kutcher has visited Israel for kabbalistic learning, marriage counseling and the funeral of spiritual mentorRabbi Philip Berg with Jewish “That ‘70s Show” co-star and now-wife Mila Kunis.

He’s also an investor in Israeli companies focused on developing new communications technology. Having consulted with Yossi Vardi about investing in Silicon Wadi, he appeared with the noted Israeli venture capitalist at a local high-tech event in 2013.

Mariah Carey and James Packer attending the New York City premiere of “The Intern” at the Ziegfeld Theater on Sept. 21. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Pop singer Mariah Carey and her billionaire Australian boyfriend, James Packer, aren’t known to be investors in Start Up Nation. But they’re pals with its first family, the Netanyahus. The Australian press reported in August that Packer was renovating a multimillion-dollar home he purchased last year next-door to the Netanyahu family’s private residence in the Israeli town of Caesarea.

The Israeli press has reported extensively on Sarah Netanyahu’s troubles with the help, but she apparently got along famously with the pop diva when they met backstage after Carey’s August show in Israel. Carey shrugged off efforts to boycott Israel at the time, saying, “I do what I want to do … I don’t care what other people’s political agendas are.”

For his part, Packer attended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress opposing the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran — at the prime minister’s invitation.

NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire, left, with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on July 18, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Basketball fans and anyone who saw the recent hit Amy Schumer movie, “Trainwreck,” are sure to be familiar with Miami Heat power forward Amar’e Stoudemire. But few probably know that he is also part-owner of Jerusalem Hapoel and has openly mulled playing for the Israeli team after retiring from the NBA — which would seem to require that he buy a home in the country.

Then-Israeli President Shimon reportedly even asked Stoudemire to play for the Israeli national team in 2013.

Stoudemire has said that his mother was a Black Hebrew, an African-American religious group that claims descent from the biblical Israelites. Some of the members of the religious group have lived in Israel since 1969and were the subject of 2014 documentary “The Village of Peace,” executive produced by Stoudemire.

Is all this celebrity investment good for Israel’s already overheated housing market? That’s unclear. But at least Kanye West can now claim Middle East experience in his 2020 presidential campaign.

Samberg hosts, Jon Stewart says goodbye at Emmys

First-time award show host Andy Samberg led a night of firsts at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday.

Samberg, a Jewish comedian known for his role in comedy trio The Lonely Island, opened the show at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with a taped song and dance number that mocked binge TV watching of streaming services like Netflix and HBO GO.

In affirmation of its cultural dominance, HBO went on to clean up across award categories. The network was nominated for 126 Emmys and won 43 of them — with four awards going to its blockbuster hit “Game of Thrones” alone. That’s the most Emmys HBO has won to date and the 15th consecutive year it has bested all other networks, according to The New York Times.

Still, it was cable TV that made real history when Viola Davis became the first African-American to win the Emmy for best actress in a drama for her starring role in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.”

In other Jewish Emmy news, Jeffrey Tambor took home best lead actor in a comedy for his performance as a transgender woman in Amazon series “Transparent.” Tambor poignantly addressed transgender people in his acceptance speech, saying thank you for “your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration and thank you for letting us be part of the change.”

Comedienne Amy Schumer won best variety sketch series for her show “Inside Amy Schumer,” and Jon Stewart was toasted for his 16 years of comedy news service as host of “The Daily Show” — which won best talk show for the 10th time.

Here’s a full list of the winners and nominees:


WINNER: Game of Thrones (HBO)

Better Call Saul (AMC)

Downton Abbey (PBS)

Homeland, (Showtime)

House of Cards (Netflix)

Mad Men (AMC)

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)



Louie (FX)

Modern Family (ABC)

Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

Transparent (Amazon)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)


WINNER: Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline (Netflix)

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (HBO)

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix)


WINNER: Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC)

Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Taraji P. Henson, Empire (Fox)


WINNER: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (Amazon)

Anthony Anderson, Blackish (ABC)

Louis C.K., Louis (FX)

Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)

Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth (Fox)

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)

William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime)


WINNER: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)

Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback (HBO)

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)


WINNER: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife (CBS)

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline (Netflix)

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (PBS)

Michael Kelly, House of Cards (Netflix)


WINNER: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Christina Hendricks, Mad Man (AMC)

Joanne Froggett, Downton Abbey (PBS)

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS)


WINNER: Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

Adam Driver, Girls (HBO)

Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele (Comedy Central)

Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)


WINNER: Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang (CBS)

Niecy Nash Getting On (HBO)

Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC)

Kat McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent (Amazon)

Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Anna Chlumsky, Veep (HBO)


WINNER: Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards, (Netflix)

Alan Alda, The Blacklist (NBC)

Michael J. Fox, The Goodwife (CBS)

Murray Abraham, Homeland (Showtime)

Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex (Showtime)

Pablo Schreiber, Orange is the New Black (Netflix)


WINNER: Margo Martindale, The Americans (FX)

Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards (Netflix)

Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (Showtime)

Khandi Alexander, Scandal (ABC)


WINNER: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Joshua Brand, The Americans (FX)

Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul (AMC)

Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men (AMC)

Matthew Weiner, Mad Men (AMC)


WINNER: David Nutter, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Jeremy Podeswa, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland (Showtime)

Steven Soderbergh, The Knick (Cinemax)


WINNER: Bradley Whitford, Transparent, Amazon

Mel Brooks, The Comedians (FX)

Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)


WINNER: Joan Cusack, Shameless, Showtime

Christine Baranaski, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Gaby Hoffmann, Girls (HBO)

Pamela Adlon, Louis (FX)

Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family (ABC)

Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)


WINNER: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roceh, Veep (HBO)

David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes (Showtime)

Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth (Fox)

Louis C.K., Louis (FX)

Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (HBO)

Jill Soloway, Transparent (Amazon)


WINNER: Jill Soloway, Transparent (Amazon)

Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, The Last Man on Earth (Fox)

Louis C.K., Louis (FX)

Mike Judge, Silicon Valley (HBO)

Armando Iannucci, Veep (HBO)


WINNER: The Voice (ABC)

The Amazing Race (CBS)

Dancing With the Stars (ABC)

Project Runway (Lifetime)

So You Think You Can Dance (FOX)

Top Chef (Bravo)


WINNER: Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night (NBC)

Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars (ABC)

Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Project Runway (Lifetime)

Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

Anthony Bourdain, The Taste (ABC)


WINNER: Shark Tank, ABC

Antiques Road Show (PBS)

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network)

Mythbusters (Discovery)

Property Brothers (HGTV)

Undercover Boss (CBS)


WINNER: Deadliest Catch, Discovery

Alaska: The Last Frontier (Discovery)

Intervention (A&E)

Million Dollar Listing New York (Bravo)

Naked and Afraid (Discovery)

Wahlburgers (A&E)


WINNER: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)


WINNER: Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

Drunk History (Comedy Central)

Key & Peele (Comedy Central)

Portlandia (IFC)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)


WINNER: Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store (LouisCK.net)

The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards (NBC)

Key & Peele Super Bowl Special (Comedy Central)

Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen (HBO)

The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special (NBC)


WINNER: Chuck O’Neil, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

James Hoskinson, The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

Jerry Foley, Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)

Dave Diomedi, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)


WINNER: Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

The Colbert Report, (Comedy Central)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

Key & Peele, (Comedy Central)

Last Week Tonight With Jon Oliver (HBO)


WINNER: The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special (NBC)

Bill Maher, Live From DC (HBO)

The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)

Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store (LouisCK.net)

Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen (HBO)

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE! (PBS)


WINNER: Don Roy King, The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special (NBC)

Natalie Johns, Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live In Concert (PBS)

Louis J. Horvitz, The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)

Hamish Hamilton, The Oscars (ABC)

Glenn Weiss, 68th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)


WINNER: Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

American Crime (ABC)

American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)

Wolf Hall (PBS)


WINNER: Bessie (HBO)

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case (AcornTV)

Grace of Monaco (Lifetime)

Hello Ladies (HBO)

Killing Jesus (National Geographic Channel)

Nightingale (HBO)


WINNER: Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

Timothy Hutton, American Crime (ABC)

Ricky Gervais, Derek Special (Netflix)

Adrien Brody, Houdini (History)

David Oyelowo, Nightingale (HBO)

Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall (PBS)


WINNER: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

Felicity Huffman, American Crime (ABC)

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Queen Latifah, Bessie (HBO)

Maggie Gyllenhall, The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)

Emma Thompson, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (PBS)


WINNER: Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

Richard Cabral, American Crime (ABC)

Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie (HBO)

Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall (PBS)


WINNER: Regina King, American Crime (ABC)

Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

Mo’Nique, Bessie (HBO)

Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)


WINNER: Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitterdige (HBO)

Ryan Murphy, American Horror Story (FX)

Dee Rees, Bessie (HBO)

Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)

Uli Edel, Houdini (History)

Tom Shankland, The Missing (Starz)

Peter Kosminsky, Wolf Hall (PBS)


WINNER: Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge (HBO)

John Ridley, American Crime (ABC)

Dee Reese, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, Horton Foote, Bessie (HBO)

Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupinitsky, Lee Eisenberg, Hello Ladies: The Movie (HBO)

Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)

Peter Straughan, Wolf Hall


WINNER: The Jinx: The Life And Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)

American Masters (PBS)

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies (PBS)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (PBS)

The Sixties (CNN)


WINNER: Over the Garden Wall (Cartoon Network)

Archer (FX)

Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

The Simpsons (Fox)

South Park (Comedy Central)


WINNER: Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)

Disney Micky Mouse (Disney Channel)

Regular Show (Cartoon Network)

Robot Chicken (Adult Swim)

Steven Universe (Cartoon Network)

Wander Over Yonder (Disney XD)

After ‘Trainwreck’ shooting, Amy and Charles Schumer join for gun control

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York joined with his cousin, comedian Amy Schumer, to launch a campaign for gun control.

At a news conference at the senator’s office in Manhattan on Monday, Amy Schumer said she agreed to his request for the campaign, dubbed “Schumer and Schumer, Enough is Enough,” in the wake of the July 23 shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, during a screening of her film “Trainwreck.” Two people were killed and nine were injured.

“I’m not sure why this man chose this movie to end these two beautiful lives and injure nine others, it’s very personal for me,” said Amy Schumer, who stars in and wrote the movie. “Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns.”

The Louisiana gunman, John Russell Houser, was known for espousing misogyny and anti-Semitism on the Internet and call-in radio. Schumer’s film has been presented as a feminist comedy. Both Schumers are Jewish.

At the news conference, Senator Schumer, a Democrat, said he plans to introduce legislation that would offer incentives to states to share histories of domestic violence and mental problems with the Justice Department, which administers background checks for gun purchasers. It would also fund mental health care. Houser had a history of domestic violence and had been institutionalized.

Houser, who killed himself as police moved in, legally purchased his gun last year.

“It’s often something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Amy Schumer said. “Today’s push makes so much sense because it seeks to address the how.”

Your guide to Jews and the Emmys

Mayim Bialik–Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy (The Big Bang Theory)

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Jenji Kohan–Showrunner for best comedy series nominee, (Orange is the New Black)

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Julianna Margulies–Outstanding leading actress in a drama series (The Good Wife)

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Lizzy Caplan–Outstanding leading actress in a drama series (Masters of Sex)

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Lena Dunham–Outstanding leading actress in a comedy series (Girls)

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus–Outstanding leading actress in a comedy series (Veep)

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Mandy Patinkin–Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series (Homeland)

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Josh Charles–Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series (The Good Wife)

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Matthew Weiner (writer)–Outstanding drama series (Mad Men)

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Jon Stewart–Outstanding variety series (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)

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Bill Maher–Outstanding variety series (Real Time with Bill Maher)

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Sarah Silverman–Outstanding varietal special (We are Miracles)

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Billy Crystal–Outstanding varietal special (700 Sundays)

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Nathan Lane–Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series (Modern Family)

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Anthony Bourdain–Outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program (Parts Unknown)

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Carrie Brownstein–Outstanding writing for a variety series (Portlandia)

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Amy Schumer–Outstanding writing for a variety series (Inside Amy Schumer)

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Jerry Seinfeld–Outstanding short-format nonfiction program (Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee)

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