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Thursday, August 28, 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: 49 min 6 sec ago

Seth Rogen joins other celebs drawing attention to charities and diseases

7 hours 44 min ago
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

7 hours 58 min ago
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.

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.”

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.

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