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Thursday, May 7, 2015

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Heebonics is a division of The Canadian Jewish News bringing news and views to Jews in their 20's and 30's interested in Jewish culture, including music, film, travel, business, social activism, and more.
Updated: 43 min 9 sec ago

Silk and Wexler Golden Maple Award nominees

Thursday April 30, 2015
Nominations for the inaugural Golden Maple Awards were announced on April 27, a product of the newly formed Academy of Canadians in Sports and Entertainment – Los Angeles (ACISE-LA). The Canadian talent in television series broadcast in the U.S. don't just dominate the categories, they literally own them all.

The Golden Maple Awards are, of course, designed for that express purpose.

The list of the TV series that aired between July 2014 and July 2015 and will be honoured by way of their stars speaks volumes about American audiences' diverse tastes in Canadian-made productions featuring Canadian stars.

From left - Anna Silk and Brooke WexlerHere at Heebonics, we are particularly thrilled for Lost Girl's lead Anna Silk, in the running for best lead actress in a TV series, and Brooke Wexler of Netflix's Richie Rich, who hopes to be named newcomer of the year and whom The CJN labelled an up-and-comer to watch back in February.

The awards will be handed out, quite fittingly, on Canada Day, July 1. A venue and possible broadcast of the awards is yet to be announced. Congratulations as well to all others nominated.

Wicked composer to receive special Tony Award

Thursday April 30, 2015
While the Hollywood award season for film and television has wound down, the last of the big name hardware to be handed out are the Tony Awards. With nominations having been announced earlier this week, news also came on Monday of a special Tony to be given to Wicked composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz.

Stephen SchwartzSchwartz, who also wrote music for Pippin and Godspell, will receive the the Isabelle Stevenson Award, presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a “substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations,” according to the announcement.

With Neil Patrick Harris having cast off the hosting duties of the Tony Awards in favour of the Oscars, Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming will share the stage when the awards are broadcast live on June 7 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Sony and Seth Rogen are at it again

Thursday April 23, 2015
Anthony Mackie, Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-LevittWhile The Interview was not a moneymaker for Sony nor for lead actor Seth Rogen, the publicity generated from the controversy over the film got the ball rolling on Rogen's next feature.

Set to co-star pal Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie, X-Mas has secured a Nov. 25 release date. While few details are known about Rogen's next comedy, the plot will reportedly focus on three friends who reunite in New York City to party on Christmas eve. Rogen will, of course, bring the Chanukah spirit, as evidenced by the sweater he'll be wearing.

Rogen's also ready to add another producing credit to his growing list of projects, as news broke this week that Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's '90s comic-book series Preacher will, after many years of being kicked around, go straight to series and air on AMC later this year. Rogen's producing partner,, Evan Goldberg, is also attached to the project.

Dominic CooperFor those unfamiliar with the story, the comic follows Jesse Custer, a conflicted preacher in a small town who, with the help of his former flame and a party-animal Irish vampire, attempt to find God in the hope of stopping the powerful offspring of an angel and a demon, who has escaped from heaven. From what we understand, Custer will somehow be combined with the creature, giving the Preacher unique abilities that will aid him in his search for the divine.

While not a comic-book series focusing on run-of-the-mill meta-human heroes, it will feature Dominic Cooper, who has previously played Howard Stark (father of Tony Stark's Iron Man). as well James Bond creator Ian Fleming in the mini-series Fleming, which aired on BBC last year.

AMC is home to one the most watched sci-fi programs on cable television, The Walking Dead, and believes Preacher will be an excellent companion to it in the coming season.

2015 NFL season to start on Rosh Hashanah

Thursday April 23, 2015
In past posts, we've written about athletes who have had to make the hard choice whether to play when their games are scheduled on the Sabbath or key holidays on the Jewish calendar.

On Tuesday, when the NFL announced its 2015 fall schedule, Jewish football fans learned that the kick-off, normally held on the second Thursday of September in recent years, has been moved to Sunday. This year, that Sunday, Sept. 13, is Erev Rosh Hashanah.

All but six teams in the league are affected, but the change will especially impact fans in the New York area the most, as the Giants are due start their game at 8:30, more than one hour after the start of the holiday.

As well, according to JTA, the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers will be playing their first games the following night, on Rosh Hashanah.

Abstain from services or add one more sin to those requiring repentance on the High Holidays? Either way, many observant Jews/fervent football fans will undoubtedly lament their choice.

Gene Simmons to bring brand expertise to Toronto

Thursday April 16, 2015
On May 25, a one-day conference will share with attendees how five internationally renowned best-selling authors and thought leaders employed cutting-edge thinking and real-world experience to tackle today’s most critical marketing issues.

Headlining this year's conference is the co-founder of Kiss and author of Me, Inc., Gene Simmons, who will impart key strategies on how to unleash your inner rock God in business.

Born Chaim Witz in Israel in August 1949, Simmons has been an American rock icon for 40 years.. Learning both from his triumphs and failures has helped him continue to sell out stadiums around the world, as well as help him get Kiss inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, obtain his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and make him the media mogul he is today.

For more on the chance to network with Simmons and more than 1,500 of Canada’s most influential marketers, explore what The Art of Marketing Toronto has to offer by clicking here.

Netanyahu addresses the nation on Yom Hashoah

Thursday April 16, 2015
The official ceremony marking the commencement of Yom Hashoah was held April 15 at Yad Vashem to remember the martyrs, heroes and six million Jews whose lives were lost during the Holocaust (1939-1945).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the podium and delivered the following address.

For a full transcript of the PM's address, go to here on cjnews.com.

Goldberg and Baruchel's Goon 2 is good to go

Thursday April 9, 2015
Good news for fans of Goon, the little sports comedy that could: it looks like a sequel is on the way.

Like the original, the new film was co-written and is being co-produced by Montreal hockey enthusiast, Canadian actor, writer and producer Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg of Vancouver, better known as Seth Rogen's production partner.

After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, Goon earned just under $6.5 million worldwide after a late-winter release in February 2012.

It wasn't a huge haul, but it was enough for the film to be honoured with Telefilm's Golden Box Office award as the top-earning English-language Canadian film that year, which undoubtedly helped to green-light the sequel.

In July 2013, Baruchel told The Canadian Press the sequel script was nearly completed, and "if all goes according to plan, we'll be shooting this time next year."

Baruchel's projected production start was just a little bit off, by about a year. While the original was shot in Manitoba, principal filming in Ontario will begin in three months time.

"I'm proud as hell of the first one, but I think we're going to smoke it with No. 2," Baruchel said.

It will be a bit darker, but will have "a bit more gravitas," he added.

The film's lead actor, Sean William Scott, portrayed a good-natured bouncer who becomes a minor league hockey team's enforcer. Baruchel co-starred along with the likes of fellow veteran Canadian comic actor Eugene Levy and Ray Donovan's Liev Schreiber.

After production wraps, Baruchel will begin work this fall in Toronto on a second season of his TV series Man Seeking Woman, which airs on FX Canada and is executive produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels.

Oregon accuses SodaStream of mislabelling

Tuesday April 7, 2015
The bullseye on the "West Bank" manufacturer of home carbonated beverages has returned.

The Israeli company SodaStream has been forced to change the labelling on parts of its product line, specifically those produced in its main facility in Ma'ale Adumim.

As reported here last November, the factory is schedule to close by the end of 2015 and move to Israel's southern Negev region, to the community of Lehavim near Be'er Sheva

In the meantime, the company has been forced to bow to the ruling of the Oregon Department of Justice (ODJ), which maintains it has violated the state's Fair Trade Practices Act by giving products made in Ma'ale Adumim a "Made in Israel" label when the parts are actually sourced from the West Bank settlement.

The act, which is meant to protect consumers, makes false representations and false advertising of a consumer product illegal and holds retailers accountable if they sell such products.

Does the label change compromise the quality of SodaStream's product? The answer is most certainly no.

Under the guise of human rights, boycott, divestment and sanctions movement supporters want to harm Israeli exporters around the world. Petitioning regulatory bodies to argue that Israel and its successful businesses conduct illegal practices, act unethically or operate in ways that undermine Palestinian society is a key tool in their toolkit.

Rod Such, speaking on behalf of the PDX Boycott Occupation Soda! Coalition, made the following statement: "Many people of conscience refuse to purchase products made in Israel's illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, but in the case of SodaStream, they were deceived by false labelling that claimed the products were produced within Israel's internationally recognized borders."

Palestinian employees are valued by SodaStream, so much so that CEO Daniel Birnbaum very much wishes to keep them on and arrange for them to follow the facility when it moves to Lehavim. Work permits issued by the Israeli government would allow them to enter Israel each day for their shifts.

Alas, aside from all that the BDS movement is doing to undermine the company, SodaStream is reportedly facing significant declines in revenues and profits as North Americans increasingly shift their drinking habits in favour of juices and teas.

As a result, 2015 is looking no better than 2014 turned out to be.

A new kind of Dayeinu from the Maccabeats

Wednesday April 1, 2015
Over the years that we've been posting to Heebonics, the holidays don't quite feel like the holidays until the Maccabeats put out their newest video.

Well Heebonics readers, we've found it.

Chag Kasher v'Samayach!

Adele's award-winning track anchors a Passover tale

Wednesday April 1, 2015
Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter Adele's chart-topping hit Rolling in the Deep may have been released five years ago, but imagine if you will the story of the Passover deliverer Moses adapted to fit the stick-in-your head melody of the much-loved chanteuse.

That's what Felicia Sloin did to produce Floating in the Reeds, a new parody for 2015.

Try retelling the Passover tale yourself in song at this year's seder table.

First Wonder Woman, and now Gadot's a Gucci girl

Thursday March 26, 2015
While we're still months away from seeing Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot's portrayal of DC comics amazon princess Wonder Woman in Zac Snyder's Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice, earlier this week, Gadot took to her Facebook page to announce that she'd been chosen as the new face of Gucci fragrances, a prestigious role previously held by contemporaries Blake Lively and James Franco.

Gadot's star power appears to be rocketing to great heights, with contracts to take the great DC warrior princess from Batman v Superman to DC's Justice League and then on to her own solo Wonder Woman feature film.

Gadot's 30th birthday, which she celebrates in April, comes a few weeks after her return to the big screen next Friday, reprising her role as Gisele in the seventh instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise.

Over the past few months, Gadot also joined an incredible cast list of Hollywood veterans in two movies that recently finished filming: Triple 9 alongside Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson, as well as the new thriller Criminal with Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and Ryan Reynolds, and directed by Israeli-American Ariel Vromen.

Look to the sky: it's not Superman but Gal Gadot taking the world by storm.

Baking a sweet treat before Passover

Wednesday March 25, 2015
It was a Monday unlike many others as 30 young professionals (ages 22 to 35) came together earlier this week at The House for a unique, dynamic and creative program, one not yet held anywhere else in the city.

Emily Goldstein, program co-ordinator for the organization, wanted to go beyond the popular baking event Challah for Chesed with an offering of a different sort.

The Rugelach Bake-Off was a smash success to an equal extent.

While the dough was left to set, the lead baker of the evening, Estee Kafra, led the event's attendees in a brief discussion on Jewish values and traditions that highlighted the importance of the miracle we'll read about in the Passover Haggadah. It was not just that we were freed from the yoke of slavery, she said, but it also marked the first reference to Klal Yisrael as being God's people.

Everyone then returned to their baking stations to finish preparing the delectable treats. The recipe everyone was following offered two filling options. The traditional route was the classic chocolate with added chocolate chips. For those bold enough to try something new, the alternative was to roll them up with a spicy apricot preserve, with raisins thrown in for good measure.

If anyone was suffering from any residual feelings of depression from the frigid winter temperatures we faced this year, the sense of accomplishment that seasoned bakers and first timers alike derived from Monday's event changed all that indeed.

Mayim Bialik comes to her alma mater's defence

Thursday March 19, 2015
Mayim Bialik wants you to know that UCLA is not anti-Semitic.

A graduate of the University California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a product of Hillel's leadership education and programming, the Big Bang Theory star is also a regular contributor to Kveller.com, a Jewish parenting website, where she penned a defence of the West Coast school earlier this week after a member of UCLA’s student government was asked in a hearing last month whether her Jewish identity presents a conflict of interest.

Bialik wants parents to know that it was four members of the student government who raised objections to her candidacy because of her affiliations with Jewish causes, but that this is not in any way a viewpoint shared by the majority of UCLA's faculty nor the university's administration.

Jump here to Bialik's detailed defence of her alma mater.

Rest on Shabbat or play in March Madness?

Thursday March 19, 2015
It's long been a conundrum for many Jewish pro and high-level amateur athletes who have been brought up in observant homes and have attended Jewish schools.

Unlike Tamir Goodman  – the so-called "Jewish Jordan," who played NCAA basketball at Towson University in the early 2000s and decided to be true to his upbringing by not playing on Shabbat – Zach Yoshor, a freshman guard for the Harvard Crimson has chosen to play on the day of rest, but the decision has not been an easy one.

And now that his team has made the NCAA's year-end tournament by winning the Ivy League title, more Saturday games are a distinct possibility.

Raised in an observant home in Houston, Yoshor also attended a modern Orthodox high school, the Robert Beren Academy, that doesn't schedule games on the Sabbath.

For Harvard basketball games that do occur on Shabbat, Yosher keeps religious violations to the bare minimum by refraining from using his cellphone or writing. Twice this season, he has flown separately to games to avoid taking team flights on Shabbat.

On team bus rides on the day of rest, he reads books to pass the time.

For more on the story, see Hillel Kutler's post to JTA .

Sarah Silverman tweets support for Meretz

Thursday March 12, 2015
In The Canadian Jewish News this week, experts weigh in on whom they believe Israelis will choose as their next prime minister March 17.

American comedian Sarah Silverman, meanwhile, took to her Twitter account yesterday and tweeted to her followers that if any of them are Meretz supporters, Israel's left-wing social democratic party, they must get out to their local voting station next week to keep the party afloat in the Knesset.

Founded in 1992, Meretz won 12 seats in the election that year to establish itself as the third-largest party in the country, joining the coalition led by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. In the years since, the party has struggled to hold on to its presence in Israel's Parliament, winning only three seats in 2008, but doubling its representation to six two years ago.

Silverman's tweet reads as follows "ISRAEL! If you are a Meretz supporter you NEED to VOTE MARCH 17. Every vote counts. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

Though Silverman is known for her liberal politics, another reason behind her social media outcry may be the fact her sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman, is a Meretz candidate, albeit a bit of a long shot, as she's No. 20 on the party list, and with Meretz's electoral track record, it seems rather unlikely she'll be voted in.

The party needs a minimum of 3.25 per cent of the vote (or approximately four seats) to gain representation in the next Knesset, making its future uncertain.

Drake track showcases our heritage

Thursday March 12, 2015
If you grew up watching TV or movies in the 1990s and early 2000s, you've likely been exposed to Heritage Minutes.

A bilingual Canadian legacy project and the brainchild of philanthropist Charles Bronfman, the 60-second short films honoured significant Canadian figures, events or stories that have shaped the country's history, and they became an iconic part of Canadian TV and cinema. While the dramatizations may not necessarily be completely factual, they have broadened our collective understanding of Canada's culture and identity.

In past years, the Heritage Minutes have been parodied on CBC programs such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Royal Canadian Air Farce, and the Rick Mercer Report.

But until now, there has never been an internet meme on this side of the border quite like this.

Appropriately titled A Part OVO Heritage this 60-second video fuses the track Started from the Bottom by Drake – a.k.a. Aubrey Graham, Canada's hottest selling hip hop & R&B rapper – to some of the most memorable clips from the most popular Heritage Minutes.

While Drake has not yet commented on the tribute, we believe it would be something along the lines of "O Canada..." :-)

Leonard Nimoy's lasting legacy: "Remember!"

Thursday March 5, 2015
American actor, film director, poet, singer-songwriter and photographer Leonard Nimoy was beloved by many for his role as Spock, the Vulcan and Starfleet science officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Many believe Spock was the moral compass that steered the starship, first under the command of Capt. Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot The Cage in 1965 and then, of course, serving with Capt. James T. Kirk, portrayed by Nimoy's good friend William Shatner, from 1966 to 1969 on TV, followed by six feature films that featured the 1960s cast.

Last week, as we all know, the world lost perhaps the most influential "alien" in pop culture. Nimoy succumbed to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) at the age of 83.

To honour his legacy, we're looking back at two of the most humorous commercials we could find in which he parodied aspects of his character.

In the first clip, which coincided with J.J. Abrams franchise reboot in 2009, Nimoy prepares to take to the stage at a convention and can't seem to form his his famous Vulcan hand gesture, which accompanies his signature line, "Live long and prosper," so he's advised to take the pain medication Aleve.

In the second clip, Nimoy and actor Zachary Quinto, who assumed the mantle of the green-blooded Vulcan in the rebooted film franchise, get together in The Challenge, an Audi campaign commercial just two short years ago. The older, wiser Nimoy and the younger actor play a round of golf and go on a "friendly" lunch outing. Their chemistry together, both in and out of character, was truly outstanding.

While Shatner could not attend the funeral of his dear friend in person as Nimoy was laid to rest last Sunday, his dedication stands the test of time, from the end of Star Trek The Wrath of Khan to when he first learned the news of Nimoy's real-life passing, "Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human."

 Leonard Simon Nimoy – R.I.P.

The CSA fan favourite award goes to...

Tuesday March 3, 2015
From left: Anna Silk, Zoie Palmer, Rachel Skarsten and Kris Holden-ReidAfter following Anna Silk and her hit show Lost Girl since its very beginning, we here at Heebonics want to wish her and the entire cast a heartfelt congratulations for being recognized as a fan favourite by Canadian viewers.

In a special category containing three new Canadian Screen Awards that were handed out during the 2015 gala in Toronto on March 1, a fan favourite award was bestowed on Silk, the show's lead actress and protagonist.

While the show is presently on hiatus having completed the first half of its final season, it is scheduled to return this fall with a satisfying and epic conclusion that will not disappoint its multi-faceted audience.

We'll be watching. How about you?

Iconic Israeli snack may curb peanut allergies

Thursday February 26, 2015
According to a paper published Feb. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at King's College London found that keeping U.K. babies thought to be prone to hereditary peanut allergies away from the otherwise healthy nut may in fact be more likely to develop the allergy by not being exposed to the legume when compared to Israeli infants who are fed the popular peanut-flavoured snack Bamba.

We found these two articles from Size Doesn't Matter and ynet to be particularly informative about the study's results.

Take a look.

UberX app now serving Tel Aviv

Thursday February 26, 2015
Uber has received a lot of publicity in the last 18 months or so for significantly disrupting the way we think about grabbing a ride around the cities we live in or the cities we travel to.

The for-hire-vehicle service, which started in Paris in 2008, has benefited city-dwellers with a lower-cost alternative to traditional taxis and has unnerved mainstream industry operators.

Known as the black cab alternative, Uber has just released its UberX app in Tel Aviv.

There are in fact four categories of Uber. UberX is the least expensive in the line of services as drivers use their own everyday vehicles to accommodate a maximum of four travellers. UberXL offers up to six seats in a private SUV or minivan, while UberPlus is for groups of five to seven, and Uber Black Car functions as its executive service.

Those who call on UberX to get around Israel's hippest city will be charged just a small fee for gas.

Have you used Uber where you live? Share with us your experiences using the service.

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