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Monday, October 20, 2014

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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: 25 min ago

Ready, set, swoon with Kunis and Kutcher

Wednesday October 15, 2014
A week this Thursday will have been a month since the birth of Wyatt Isabelle to proud parents Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Both are followers of the spiritual branch of Judaism, Kabbalah, and a blessing ceremony was held over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, Kutcher's ex Demi Moore attended the ceremony with daughters Rumer and Tallulah in tow.

An onlooker at the ceremony told The Sun newspaper that Moore and her daughters congratulated the couple while having a quick hold and coo over the baby. The 51-year-old Hollywood star also reportedly handed out presents, including an engraved picture frame and a personalized cashmere baby blanket.

Since the 90s and early 2000s, many Hollywood celebrities have adopted Kabbalah beliefs and adhere to its principle tenet that there is more to the world than what we usually perceive. What one, therefore, seeks to obtain – in constructive healthy ways –  is more joy and more connection with the things that matter.

It's a lesson Kunis and Kutcher will likely pass on, as soon as their little one is able to learn it.

Profeti Della Quinta coming to Holy Blossom

Wednesday October 15, 2014
In the space between Simchat Torah and Chanukah, Jewish organizations and synagogues roll out a slew of events to nourish the soul of the community. One such event is a concert showcasing the Israeli vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta, who will perform Thursday, Oct. 23 at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.

The talented group will perform classic melodies from the Renaissance compiled by 16th-century Italian Jewish composer Salomone Rossi.

Profeti della Quinta has taken to the stage in venues around the world, from the United States to Japan and Switzerland to the Netherlands. Next Thursday's performance will mark the group's Canadian debut.

The selection of Rossi's Italian madrigals, instrumental pieces and Hebrew prayers will provide an auditory delight, while visually concert-goers will be treated to a screening of the award winning documentary Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi as a prelude to the main event.

For more information and for tickets, contact Mari Lynn Rusak by clicking here or visit the Holy Blossom website.

A Frozen-inspired parody in time for Sukkot

Wednesday October 8, 2014
After the massive hit Disney had on its hands last winter with the theatrical release of its animated tale Frozen, there were many parodies made of Idina Menzel's top track from the film, Let it Go.

Now, just in time for the holiday of Sukkot comes a parody of Kristen Bell's Do You Want to Build a Snowman? entitled Do You Want to Build the Sukkah? by the Singers Sing.

Chag Samyach.

A pre-Sukkot video roundup

Wednesday October 8, 2014
There's a chill in the air, leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees, and the harvest moon was just visible in the sky, all signs that it's time for Sukkot.

Not wanting the holiday to be overshadowed by the attention given to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we found some informative and entertaining clips to celebrate Sukkot and showcase its traditional themes.

Here's a look at how Israel prepared for the 'hut' holiday in the late '80s. From this educational film produced by the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, it's clear that not much has changed in nearly 30 years, save for the landscape.

Here is the second of the parody video we discovered for 2014, a riff on the Beatles I've Just Seen A Face. as the chassidic folk rock band Rogers Park teams up with chassidic comic Mendy Pellin, playing an eager campus rabbi calling students into his sukkah made of falling walls to bless the lulav and etrog.

Enjoy and Chag Samayach from Heebonics.

German automaker enlists Star Trek stars for new ad

Thursday October 2, 2014
Looking for a new or used car to replace the one you've got? If you are, Volkswagen is hoping to attract your business with a new marketing campaign featuring Kirk and Spock of the original Star Trek series.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, who played captain James T. Kirk and Vulcan Scientist Mr. Spock, respectively, will star in the automaker's coming commercial for its first electric car, the e-Golf.

While the German manufacturer's vehicles are known to be well-constructed (when not assembled in Mexico), VW struggles to make the listing of best-selling cars. According to car tires.com's blog Kicking Tires, Ford cars and trucks, the Dodge Ram Pickup, Chevrolet's Silverado truck, the Toyota Camry and RAV4 and Honda's CRV and Accord comprise the Top 10 best-sellers for 2014 in the United States.

Volkswagen was one of many German companies that were complicit with the the Nazis during World War II, and in recent years, it has made an effort to remove that stigma from its identity. In 2011, the car maker donated $1 million dollars to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), and last year, it donated more than $1 million to the international youth centre at Auschwitz in Poland.

In one of our earlier posts this year, we brought you excerpts from Nimoy's in-depth interviews conducted by the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project. In one of the three videos, Nimoy explains the story behind the Vulcan salute. Could it be that VW's bold ad strategy was inpsired by the fact its logo looks like Nimoy's iconic hand gesture?

It is truly a meld for the next generation.

It's a girl for Kunis and Kutcher

Thursday October 2, 2014
If you haven't heard by now, beloved Hollywood couple and That '70s Show co-stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are parents of a newborn. The actress gave birth to a baby girl Tuesday night at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.

In hindsight, it's probably best that the release of her action film Jupiter Ascendin, co-starring Channing Tatum, was delayed until next summer, as the strain of promoting the film at junkets around the world may have not been the best thing health-wise for her.

In interviews before her delivery, Kunis said she plans to take a break from acting in order to be a full-time mother. The stars seem to have aligned in her favour.

Kutcher is a follower of the Kabbalah movement and reportedly keeps kosher. Before her pregnancy was announced, sources close to Kunis told media outlets that she planned to have children and to raise them in accordance with Jewish traditions.

What a nice way to start off 5775. Mazel tov indeed.

Transformers Shia LaBeouf pleads guilty in court

Wednesday September 10, 2014
It's been a harrowing year for troubled actor Shia LaBeouf, 28, who reportedly intended to retire from public life after facing a plagiarism scandal tied to his movie Nymphomaniac as 2014 commenced.

In the weeks and months that followed, LaBeouf was cited many times for erratic behaviour. In June, LaBeouf was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and two counts of disorderly conduct while attending a performance of Cabaret at Studio 54 in New York City.

Following his arrest, witnesses and police described the onetime sought-after young actor as being incoherent, yelling profanities and stumbling inside the theatre smoking and refusing to stop. Dressed in a ripped shirt, LaBeouf spat on a police officer as he tried to walk away from the scene.

In a statement to the local CBS affiliate, a press agent for the show said Labeouf was "disruptive during Act 1 and escorted out of Studio 54 at intermission."

The news broke earlier today that LaBeouf, who has admitted to and has sought treatment for alcoholism, pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charges stemming from his arrest in June. The terms of his deal with prosecutors are such that if continues in-patient treatment for another three months and can remain out of trouble until he returns to court on Nov. 12, he can withdraw the guilty plea and his case will be dismissed.

Gwyneth Paltrow explores conversion to Judaism

Wednesday September 10, 2014
With the announcement by Robert Downey Jr. on the Toronto International Film Festival red carpet that there are no plans for a fourth instalment of the popular Marvel Comics Iron Man movie franchise, what does the future hold for Pepper Potts, played by actress Gwyneth Paltrow?

We can tell you she has three other films in the works for 2015, the first being Mortdecai, in which she'll star alongside Johnny Depp.

Earlier this year, however, her marriage to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin came to an end, and beyond her love for her children Apple, 10, and Moses, 8, it appears she may be looking for personal and spiritual fulfilment.

The daughter of actress Blythe Danner and the late Jewish film and TV producer Bruce Paltrow, as well as a longtime practitioner of  Kabbalah and, reportedly, a descendent of long line of eastern European rabbis, Gwyneth told a recent event in London hosted by the Jewish community’s Community Security Trust that she wants to raise her children in a “Jewish environment.”

A full conversion to Judaism is seemingly in the works,  although Paltrow’s representative did not respond to questions about it from the New York Post.

Lost Girl fans get a split fifth and final season

Thursday September 4, 2014
The cast of Lost Girl has become a staple at the annual sci-fi fantasy, gaming and horror convention Fan Expo for the past five years. It's also been a powerhouse program for Canada and  Showcase, developing a global fan base after it was quickly picked up by broadcasters in the United States and around the world.

Fans gravitated to the self-discovery tale told by show writers and executive producer Jay Firestone. Together they brought strong, engaging (and sexy) bisexual and lesbian characters to genre television, especially with the principle character of Bo portrayed by Anna Silk.

Having reached what some may say was the climax of its story at the end of season four, the show was recognized this past spring by Toronto's LGBTQ community for positively influencing the acceptance of same-sex couplings in modern genre drama.

It was also surprising to both fans as well as the cast when it was announced recently that the fifth season would be its last. Those in attendance at the Fan Expo panel were told the final leg of Bo's journey will play out in two parts. The first eight episodes will air this December, with the remainder to be shown in the fall of 2015. "It's a gift to know when we're ending", said Silk, "we get to do it right".

Hear from cast members Rachel Skarsten, Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Reid and Paul Amos on what a gift the show has been to their careers and how much family plays a role in the show both on and off camera.

William Shatner on his new use of social media

Thursday September 4, 2014
It was another laugh-in with the always entertaining William Shatner over the weekend when the former Star Trek star was in Toronto once more for the annual Fan Expo, which for many marks the end of summer.

Shatner shared with the audience his views on the impact social media is having on the multiple projects he has on the go. He's currently working on a new digital series called Mothers I'd Like To Cook For (MILF) and a new self-help book entitled Hire Yourself, and until now, he has left interactions with subjects and fans over Facebook and Twitter to his publicist and assistant.

Shatner admits he barely has a grasp of the proper use and power of social media, but says he has developed a keen interest in the way they can help promote and deliver his projects to his intended viewers and readers that he might not otherwise reach.

No one tells it better than the the original Captain Kirk himself, so be sure to press play on the video below.

Seth Rogen joins other celebs drawing attention to charities and diseases

Thursday August 28, 2014
While charity work and the fundraising drives are seemingly ever-present in our lives as scientists strive to find cures for diseases of the mind and body, it's rare that so many causes get so much attention all at once.

This summer celebrities around the world have jumped on the ice-bucket challenge craze, spreading awareness and raising money for research into ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), the neurological condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

On Sept. 5, recording artists and actors will Stand UP to Cancer during a telethon that will air on major networks in the United States and Canada.

Meanwhile, on mobile devices and online,  Hilarity For Charity, which  benefits Alzheimer’s research, support, and awareness, will post a 90-minute comedy special starring Canadian comic Seth Rogen and friends. Taped at this year’s Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the program will stream to mobile app users in its entirety following its world debut on the Comedy Network specialty channel.

Rogen's special guests will include Joseph Gordon-Levitt and P.K. Subban, among others. It premieres this Sunday, Aug. 31. Be sure to check your local listings

The Hilarity for Charity fund was founded by Seth and his wife, actor and screenwriter Lauren Miller Rogen.

Drizzy takes home best hip-hop VMA

Thursday August 28, 2014
Toronto's hip-hop mega star Drake was recognized on Sunday by MTV and his fans for the top honour in his category.

The best hip-hop video award for Hold On, We’re Going Home featuring Majid Jordan was presented by American hip-hop recording artist and actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., better known as Common.

The MTV Video Music Awards were held at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and Common had to accept the award on Drake's behalf, as the Canadian rapper was back on the east coast performing in the Drake vs Lil Wayne tour, which runs until Sept. 27, when it wraps up in Woodlands, Texas.

Heebonics congratulates the hit-maker for continuously churning them out.

Raps pay up after Drake tries to lure KD

Thursday August 14, 2014
Toronto hip-hop megastar Drake has come under fire for an invitation he seemingly extended to reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant.

During his fifth-annual OVO fest – which took place on Caribana weekend and attracted more than 40,000 fans out to the Molson Amphitheatre Aug. 3 and 4 – Drake, who is the Toronto Raptors' "global ambassador," invoked a rowdy response from attendees when he asked the crowd to show the Oklahoma City Thunder star "what would happen if he came to play in Toronto."

According to reports, the NBA deemed Drake's comments to Durant, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in two years time, to be in violation of the league's anti-tampering rules and slapped the Raptors with a $25,000 (US) fine.

A Globe and Mail report said the league offered to drop the fine if the team removed the rap star's title of global ambassador, but the team reportedly refused and elected to pay the fine instead. The NBA is vehemently denying ever having made the offer.

Only meaning to do right by what he calls "the greatest city in the mother-f***ng world," Drake has nothing but love for his hometown and the Raptors, and only wants to see them succeed and rise to become NBA champions.

Do you feel he did wrong? Tweet us @heebonics with your thoughts.

Big Bang star co-hosts revival of Candid Camera

Thursday August 14, 2014
Mayim Bialik, former child star on the NBC hit series Blossom and now an Emmy-nominated actress for her work on the CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, has made the news quite a bit in recent months.

Last fall, Bialik lent her voice to an animated character in Stan Lee's Mighty 7, and last month, she grabbed headlines advocating for religious tolerance in the wake of Israel's Operation Protective Edge.

Earlier this week, Bialik debuted as the co-host for the 10-episode relaunch of the original televised prank show Candid Camera, airing on TV Land in the U.S.

Candid Camera was originally created and hosted by the late Allen Funt in 1948, and Funt's son, Peter, is Bialik's co-host on this latest incarnation. They're joined by celebrity guest stars who help pull off practical jokes on unsuspecting people.

Candid Camera has spawned many imitators over the years, from Montreal's Just for Laugh's Gags shorts to Ashton Kutcher's popular series Punk'd to SyFy's Scare Tactics.

"It is kind of a giant social experiment to see how people behave when there's no logical explanation for why things are happening," Bialik, who has a a PhD in neuroscience, said of Candid Camera. "It's fascinating to see how people try to make sense of these gags."

We at Heebonics wish her much naches in making their marks smile.

Toronto Raptors to tip off against Maccabi Haifa

Thursday August 7, 2014
Basketball season is once again just around the corner, and the Toronto Raptors released their NBA exhibition schedule this week.

Among the eight games is one Oct. 22 against Maccabi Haifa, who will be the Raps only international opponent this year.

Not since 2005 has Toronto's basketball franchise taken to the court against a visiting team from Israel. Maccabi Tel Aviv came to the Air Canada Centre that year and beat the Raps 105-103, marking the first time in 27 years that the perennial Israeli and Euroleague powerhouse had beaten an NBA team.

Fans of Israeli basketball will undoubtedly be out in force looking to see Maccaba Haifa, who lost the Israeli championship this year to Maccabi TA by a mere two points, to repeat their rival's 2005 win down in what Torontonians have dubbed Jurassic Park.

Friends of the IDF honour the fallen

Wednesday August 6, 2014
The ceasefire appears to holding on both sides of the Gaza border between Hamas militants and the IDF.

The de-escalation of rocket attacks and retaliation shelling is allowing Gazans and Israelis to each attend to their fallen.

The Friends of the IDF have released this composite graphic to salute the 64 soldiers who died while serving on the front lines, weeding out threats from Gaza to Israel and defending the Jewish state's right to exist.

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet. May their memories be for blessing.

Celebrities sound off on Gaza

Thursday July 31, 2014
The list of celebrities taking to the airwaves for radio or television interviews and appearing in print or online to talk about the conflict in the Middle East is growing by the day.

Some are vocally supportive of Israel's efforts to destroy Hamas' cache of missiles, which the terror group is firing from Gaza into the Jewish state from private homes, schools and various other buildings occupied by innocent civilians. For an example, see comedian Joan Rivers' rant below.

Conversely, there are others in Hollywood, such as former Disney star Selena Gomez, who have condemned the violence against the residents of Gaza, who have been caught in the crossfire of Israel's military response.

Elsewhere, among the members of the popular British boy band One Direction, front-man Harry Styles and mate Zayne Malik are on opposite sides of the conflict. Styles is pro-Israel, while Malik recently took to Twitter to tweet “#freepalestine” to his 13 million followers and fans.

Israel of course abhors the loss of life on both sides, but it must be remembered that the current hostilities started with the abduction of three Israeli teens, escalated after a retaliation attack on a Palestinian youth, and has spiralled into bombardments from both sides.

May peace return to the lives of all in the days – and not weeks or months – to come.

Too funny - Jon Stewart tries to talk about Israel

Thursday July 31, 2014
The next time you watch the nightly or morning newscasts and find yourself complaining about how one-sided the news media are in their coverage of the war in Gaza, remember this recent segment from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

It's probably a near-accurate account of what Mideast reporters encounter each day from colleagues, fans and detractors alike.

Take a look.

Showtime's Homeland shifts focus

Thursday July 24, 2014
After three wildly successful seasons, the Showtime U.S. cable hit series Homeland, centred around a CIA counter-terrorism agent, is moving on to a brand new chapter.

Based on an Israeli program with a similar premise, what started as a race against time to find an American who had been turned against his own country and posed a threat to national security will change direction and location for season 4 to Pakistan.

CIA field agent and chief analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), who is now station chief in Pakistan, will focus her attention on threats overseas, but she'll still seek the aid of her mentor, Saul Berenson, played by Mandy Patinkin. He'll provide assistance from his new position in the private sector and will undoubtedly continue to play a major role in Mathison's operations.

From pre-season press, we can tell you that while Damien Lewis' character Nicholas Brody may have a cameo in one of Carrie's flashbacks or dream sequences, that key Homeland storyline seems to have entirely run its course.

Sound off on your expectations, hopes or trepidations for season 4, which begins Oct. 5 on Showtime.

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.

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