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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: 24 min 37 sec ago

BBT star advocates for religious tolerance

Monday July 21, 2014
Mayim Bialik isn't afraid to take a stand.

She's well known for her alternative parenting style and her accomplished acting career – from the 90s hit television show Blossom and more recently for her portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Cooper's girlfriend Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

But Bialik, who is Orthodox, is also known for her love of Judaism.

She took to her official Facebook page over the weekend to confront deniers of Israel's right to exist and in defence of fellow Jewish celebrities in Hollywood who have been bullied by social media commentators.

"If you hate me for being Jewish or a supporter of the right of Israel to exist, kindly post on pages that support your opinions rather than trying to bully me and other people who are Jewish. I'm sorry there is so much hatred and miseducation, but we won't fix it by name-calling Jewish celebrities, I promise. God bless America for letting us have our own opinions, and God bless Israel for allowing Jews to have a home. I pray for a peaceful state for Palestinians who also seek peace and want to pursue it. Not sure there is more to say."

Bialik clearly loves her work, loves all people and truly wishes we could all get along.

Drake spoofs Manny Pacquiao at the ESPY Awards

Thursday July 17, 2014
In addition to being a hip-hop sensation, Toronto's own Drake has also come to be known for his celebrity spoofs on NBC's still popular late-night television show Saturday Night Live.

Once again, Drake spoofed boxer Manny Pacquiao, this time July 16 at the 2014 ESPY Awards, which honours athletic performances in professional sports.

In a a pre-recorded short, Drake sang a rendition of Disney's Frozen hit Let It Go while in character as Pacquiao, who has also dabbled in a music career.

Take a look.

Rocket fire forces TV show to flee to Turkey

Wednesday July 16, 2014
The production of Tyrant is leaving Tel Aviv because of the ongoing rocket fire in Israel.

The television drama, which was co-created by Israeli writer Gideon Raff, will move its operations to Istanbul, Turkey, Variety reported July 16.

Air raid sirens and ongoing rocket fire from Gaza have disrupted the production, and members of the cast and crew have posted on social media about the stresses of running to bomb shelters.

The show’s producers reportedly hope to return the production to Israel if the situation allows it.

Tyrant, which airs on the American cable network FX, is set in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Abbudin.

Meanwhile, executives of the USA NetworkDig, which had been filming in and around Jerusalem, are waiting to determine their next move, according to a report  in TV Guide.

The show delayed its return to shooting from a hiatus because of the current violence. The break was to be extended by several days.

 Dig, which also was created by Raff,  was on hiatus when Operation Protective Edge began.

 “Our first priority is the safety of our cast and crew,” said a statement from Universal Cable Productions, according to TV Guide. “We will continue to assess the situation and plan accordingly.”
— JTA

Challah of a different sort, with a little summer flare

Thursday July 10, 2014
Summer Pesto Gruyere stuffed challahOf all the bakeries and grocery stores I've ever been to – and I've visited my fair share both at home and abroad – I've never seen a stuffed challah sold anywhere other than in Israel.

Of course, if you're making challah at home, you can toss all sorts of ingredients inside the braided or knotted dough, or you can embellish the outside of your loaf with cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, etc.

But here in Toronto, I can't say I've ever seen a store be so bold as to sell artisan-like offerings such as Summer Pesto Gruyere stuffed Challah, as featured by My Jewish Leaning's The Nosher blog.

Feel free to share your filling ideas for a most delectable Shabbat challah here, and enjoy!

New career path for Tom Hanks...as a dancing rabbi?

Wednesday July 9, 2014
When thinking of hiring entertainment for your wedding reception, would you ever conceive this in your wildest imagination? Music manager Scooter Braun, who runs the Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen camps, tied the knot in a weekend ceremony. During the wedding reception an impromptu dance party broke out on the reception floor.

Bieber then recorded Tom Hanks looking much like a rabbi, donning a white kippah, and a tallit draped over his shoulders while busting a move to Montell Jordan’s 1995 jam, “This Is How We Do It”. If you’re slightly confused by everything that’s happening in the video, fear not — we’re right there with you.


Give Hanks a beard and he's Tevya performing Fiddler on the Roof's "If I Were A Rich Man" to the instrumentals of this R&B classic track.

Jay Baruchel returns to the small screen in 2015

Thursday July 3, 2014
Yet another performance of Canadian actor and comedian Jay Baruchel is amassing high praise and fan attention. He's the voice of Hiccup in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, has had roles in numerous works alongside longtime friend Seth Rogen, and will return to the small screen in 2015 for a 10- episode comedy series called Man Seeking Woman.

Based on The Last Girlfriend on Earth, a book of short stories written by Simon Rich of Saturday Night Live, the series is described as a "sweet and absurd look at the surreal life and death stakes of dating." The pilot episode shot in Toronto and executive produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is scheduled to air in the US and presumably in Canada as well on FXX and FXX Canada.

Baruchel has had quite the year in 2014 starring thus far in the Robocop reboot and lending his voice once again to Hiccup in the recently released Dragon sequel.


Michael Rosenbaum still playing the bad boy

Thursday July 3, 2014
Everyone's favourite Lex Luthor of Superman on the small screen is returning to television once more. Michael Rosenbaum, who portrayed the villainous arch nemesis to the Man of Steel over the 10 years of Smallville's run, has been cast alongside funny girl Sara Rue (born Sara Schlackman )in TV Land's comedy pilot Impastor.

Fans of Rosenbaum last saw him in the short-lived Fox comedy Breakin-In which co-starred Christian Slater and Meagan Mullay (Will and Grace) as Dutch beau to Odette Yustman's Mel.

From the mind of Christopher Vane who was behind the Brooke Shields hit Suddenly Susan, Impastor follows a deep-in-debt scalawag named Buddy (Rosenbaum) who lies low in a small town by passing himself off as the gay pastor the local church recently hired. Rue will play Dora, Buddy’s prim and somewhat anal retentive assistant.

While it has not as yet been picked-up for a full series Rosenbaum and Rue are likely to make a very interesting on-screen pairing.

Israel's national treasure Yad Vashem evacuated

Thursday June 26, 2014
Museum staff and visitors had to be evacuated from Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial for victims of the Holocaust, on Wednesday because of a massive fire in the Jerusalem Forest.

Dozens of fire fighting units battled to contain the raging fire which extended outward from the neighbourhoods of Ein Kerem and Kiryat Hayovel, causing 200 homes to also be evacuated.

The fire spread rapidly in the early afternoon due to strong winds, and by evening more than 30 fire fighting units and six airplanes had the blaze under control. B'ezrat Hashem the evacuated employees and museum patrons, needed only to treated for smoke inhalation, no serious injuries yet reported. The investigation into the causes continues.

Gary Oldman should have talked only of the Apes

Thursday June 26, 2014
Gary Oldman, an incredibly accomplished English screen and stage actor, filmmaker and musician, presents himself in a very different fashion publicly than he does in the pages of Playboy Magazine.

Christopher Nolan's Commissioner Gordon, who fought for truth and justice in the Dark Knight (Batman) trilogy, went on Jimmy Kimmel Live  June 25 to vehemently apologize for the "poorly considered, ill informed statements" he gave in an interview to the publication.


In the magazine article, Oldman, who owes much to Hollywood for his top blockbuster roles and three film franchises, The Dark Night, Robocop and coming July 11 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, reduced Hollywood down to a"'town run by Jews"and came across as condoning similar anti-Semitic statements made by Mel Gibson in recent years that have ostracized him from the industry and fellow thespians once counted as friends.

Oldman, begging for forgiveness most importantly from his "Team Oldman" fans seemed more apologetic for having been caught than for perpetuating beliefs he says at the age of 56 he "should know better."


Kidnapped teens inspire 'SOS Israel' smartphone app

Thursday June 19, 2014
In response to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens last week, some Israelis have prayed. Some have voiced support on social media. And some have done what they do best: they made an app, JTA reports.

An emergency app called “SOS” has been released in Israel by the United Hatzalah volunteer emergency rapid response service.
The emergency alert app allows users to send a distress call with their precise location to United Hatzalah and the Israeli police.
The app uses technology created by the Israeli company NowForce to map out and respond to emergencies. The technology allows medic volunteers closest to the emergency to receive the mobile alerts and be dispatched.
After the kidnapping, United Hatzalah and NowForce accelerated the launch of a public version of “SOS.”
In addition to tracking the user via the smartphone, the system contacts any family or friends that are pre-programmed into the system during registration.
The app is available on sos.nowforce.com in English and Hebrew.
The app might have prevented a blunder that occurred when Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach were abducted from the West Bank settlement of Kfar Etzion last Thursday: police waited nearly seven hours before responding to the teens’ call for help, believing it was a prank.
The app is not the first to be inspired by an Israeli security crisis. During Israel’s 2012 Operation Pillar of Defence in Gaza, a 13-year-old from the embattled southern city of Be'er Sheva created an app that notified users whenever a siren sounded in an Israeli city ahead of an incoming rocket from Gaza.

Kickstarter spins straw into gold for Zach Braff

Wednesday June 18, 2014
American actor, producer and director Zach Braff may have much to thank Kickstarter for by summer's end.

The crowd-funding site helped him finance not one but two films that will soon appear in a theatre near you.

In a previous post, we discussed his project Wish I was Here, co-starring Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin and scheduled for wide release July 25.

Starting July 18, just one week before the release of Braff's directorial follow-up to Garden State, theatres across the U.S. and Canada will also be screening his documentary Video Games: The Movie, co-produced by Cliff Bleszinki.

Narrated by Lord of the Rings alum Sean Astin, Video Games will chronicle the rise of the popular pastime, celebrating its humble beginnings in the days of Atari, Intellivision and ColecoVision and the evolution of the Nintendo-Sega battle for console dominance to today's next-generation console war between Xbox and PlayStation.

"Games are a part of the human experience and permeate our culture now more than ever before," director Jeremy Snead said. "I'm thrilled that my film will expose the world to a never-before-told story of the men and women who built this industry, as well as what it has become and what it will continue to evolve into."

Braff and Bleszinski are among those inteviewed in the documentary, along with fanboy Wil Wheaton, who many will recognize from such popular programs as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory and Eureka, as well as Chris Hadwick, the American stand-up comedian and sought-after commentator in the world of science fiction and fantasy programming.

Like Wish I was Here, Video Games: The Movie will be a fun-filled flick to kick back with for all ages.

Israelis flock to World Cup in Brazil

Thursday June 12, 2014
The 20th FIFA World Cup kicks off today in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and runs until July 13. It's the second time the South American country has hosted soccer's biggest tournament, the last time being 1950.

Israel was still in its infancy then, but this year, Israelis reportedly have purchased more tickets to the games than fans from any other nation on a per capita basis. And that's without having a team in the event.

Haaretz.com reports that the great distance, extremely high prices for travel, accommodation and tickets, social protests, and even questionable safety in Brazil have not stopped Israelis from buying more than 11,000 tickets to various matches.

Meanwhile, with the opening ceremonies a few short hours away, the popular sporting goods company Nike has come under fire for a viral video ad that critics are saying has an underlying anti-Semitic message.


Jewish leaders have alleged that the the jerseys of evil robot clones who face off against their human counterparts sport a soccer ball emblem on their jerseys that they say strongly resembles the Star of David.

Now what world event is without its controversies?

Former Degrassi star joins Saving Hope

Tuesday June 10, 2014
In recent years, Canadian programming has burst out of its bubble and is no longer being carried by Canadian broadcasters alone.

With the international success of Lost Girl, Orphan Black, Flashpoint, Rookie Blue and Saving Hope, our homegrown content and talented stars are increasingly sought after.

During the CTV up-fronts last week, when the network showcased its 2014 fall schedule of new and returning shows, it was announced that Saving Hope had wrapped it's second season over the winter months as the No. 1 Canadian drama of the 2013-2014 season.

Focusing on the complicated relationship of Canadian lead actress and producer Erica Durance's Dr. Alex Reid and Canadian lead actor and producer Michael Shank's Dr. Charlie Harris, the show's third season will run Wednesday's at 9 p.m. on CTV (and on NBC in the U.S.).

Joining the cast for Season 3 is Stacey Farber, best known for her role as Ellie Nash from 2002 to 2008 on Degrassi: The Next Generation and then for her lead role on CBC's 18 to Life. Farber's Dr. Sydney Katz, an OB-GYN, will join, Durance's Dr. Reid and Shank's Dr. Harris along with the rest of the staff at Hope Zion Hospital in a recurring role when the series resumes production June 11 here in Toronto.

For more on Farber's career on an off camera, click here for CJN reporter Laura Stricker's Heebnics profile from just a few short years ago.

A guilt-free recipe for a Shavuot treat to beat the heat

Tuesday June 3, 2014
For the lactose intolerant looking for a cool creamy treat in the summer heat this Shavuot, here is a vegan alternative for an ice cream you can make in roughly five minutes with one main ingredient.

You can then dress up your dish with toppings galore.

Click here for the recipe.

A holiday parody of a different sort

Tuesday June 3, 2014
While we at Heebonics often showcase the latest holiday-themed parodies of popular music and Hollywood movies, here's a quick overview of the significance of the holiday of Shavuot.

It'll take 60 seconds to watch, the same amount of time it will take to scarf down some of the traditional dairy foods.

Chag Samyach.

BAC2Fashion breaks records in its sixth year

Thursday May 29, 2014
UJA Community Connect’s sixth annual BAC2Fashion event, a young adult initiative showcasing the hottest fashions of Toronto's top clothing providers, took over The Warehouse in Downsview Park in Toronto May 28.

Funds raised from the 2014 gala continue to support social, recreational, educational, cultural, and health programs for seniors. While a finally tally has not yet been reached at the time of this posting, the event amassed just over $55,000. Aside from the eye-catching fashions, attendees to the event were treated to musical performances before and during the outstanding event.

From a hip hop violinist to the rising Canadian chanteuse Danielle Watters, the visual and audible arts in all forms were very much on display. Here's just a glimpse of what you might have missed and be sure to check out Danielle's music video for Missing My Love below.



Justin Timberlake prays at the Kotel

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Timbelake posted this photo of him praying.Pop superstar Justin Timberlake landed in Israel and went straight to the Western Wall, a day before his scheduled Tel Aviv concert.
Timberlake avoided most of the paparazzi, landing at 3 a.m. on May 27 and heading straight to the wall with his wife, actress Jessica Biel, and his parents. He posted a photo of himself at the site on Instagram.
“The Holy Land… What an experience. I will never forget this day. #Israel,” he tweeted.
Timberlake is scheduled to perform May 28 at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park as part of his 20/20 Experience World Tour.

Indianapolis dad, 38, wins big on NBC's The Voice

Thursday May 22, 2014
Thirty-eight-year-old Jewish soul singer Josh Kaufman won Season 6 of NBC's The Voice singing competition May 20 with a show-stopping version of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

The Florida-born Kaufman, whose father is Jewish, now lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three children and supports himself with local music gigs and SAT tutoring.

The bespectacled, fedora-wearing Kaufman was part of Team Usher on The Voice, having been stolen away from Team Adam, led by Adam Levine, lead vocalist of  the pop rock group Maroon 5.

Beating out challengers Jake Worthington and Chrsitina Grimmie in the final, he became the first "stolen" contestant to win the reality competition.

Below is a video of Kaufman singing Get Her Back with mega-pop star Robin Thicke.

Jay Leno visits Israel

Thursday May 22, 2014
The successor to late-night legend Johnny Carson and the now former host of The Tonight Show, comedian Jay Leno arrived in Israel on Tuesday visiting the country for his first time to host the Genesis Prize ceremony today in Jerusalem honouring former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After touching down in the holy land, Leno said he was “deeply honoured” to have been given the opportunity to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 In the video you, can her Netanyahu thanking the comedian for “many long [and] funny nights" during his long run on the NBC late night talk show.

Magic keeps it classy with Donald Sterling

Thursday May 15, 2014
Magic Johnson said Donald Sterling’s diminishing comments in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week of his charitable efforts in the African-American community would not harm relations between the Jewish and black communities.

“One thing great about the African-American and Jewish communities is that they have worked well together over years, and we will continue to work with the Jewish community,” Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star, said in an interview May 13 with gossip website TMZ.

The basketball Hall of Famer spoke to TMZ in the wake of the latest controversial statements by Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who was banned last month from the National Basketball Association following a racist rant captured on audio.

“I think his strategy is to attack me and then also pit both communities against each other, but it’s not going to work,” said Johnson, who is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

In his first interview since the leaking of a taped conversation with a girlfriend in which he slanders blacks, Sterling told Cooper May 12 that he should be credited for his charitable work.

“Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people,” Sterling said. “And some of the African-Americans – maybe I’ll get in trouble again – they don’t want to help anybody.”

In what was intended to be an effort to apologize and rehabilitate his image, Sterling instead went on to attack Johnson for his past promiscuousness.

His rant in the original conversation with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was prompted by Stiviano appearing in an Instagram photo with Johnson.

Johnson, who is HIV positive, has done considerable work to raise awareness about AIDS, including in Israel.

With files from JTA

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