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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: 22 min 59 sec ago

A parody comes full circle, from Derulo to Jewbellish

Monday April 14, 2014
As we sit down this week to retell the story of Passover and our Exodus from Egypt, and despite being a people so persecuted throughout history, we can be proud that today's artists and mainstream media are drawing quite a bit on aspects of Jewish culture.

For instance, American singer-songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo took a sweet Yiddish melody and adapted it to create his most recent smash hit Talk Dirty, the second single from his third studio album titled Tatoos.

Now the artist known as Jewbellish has taken it back with Talk Yiddish.

El Al's new safety video is a wild ride

Monday April 14, 2014
To everything there is a parody, and even airline passenger safety videos are not exempt.

El Al, Israel’s national carrier, promoting its low-fare Up brand, has added a bit of funk to the traditional explanation of aircraft rules and regulations. The video features disco bell bottoms, comical dance moves and a five-piece band.

Patterned after Virgin airlines’s viral hit, El Al's goes a couple of wild steps further.

The relatively new, low-cost brand was started last November. There are two classes of passengers and two ticket price points for short-haul flights to European destinations, as well as special handling for frequent-flier members. Customers decide how much they wish to pay and pay extra for each added service.

Here's a look at the sub-titled version of the video.


From Breaking Bad to Breaking Bread

Thursday April 10, 2014
On the heels of the critically acclaimed and wildly popular American crime drama Breaking Bad's finale – which in 2013 was named by the Writers Guild of America the 13th best-written TV series of all time and also labelled the highest-rated cable TV series of all time by Guinness World Records – comes a parody with a Jewish twist for Passover... Breaking Bread.


Chag Samayach.

Zach Braff makes a movie for the people

Thursday April 10, 2014
A jewel of a show that started on NBC, Scrubs, put Zach Braff front and center in Hollywood's collective consciousness. Portraying Dr. John "J.D."Dorian for nearly nine 9 full seasons, Braff amassed quite a fan following.

In 2004, Braff branched into directing with his debut film Garden State. While he has continued to act in various film and TV projects over the years, he yearned to direct again. The biggest challenge he faced was obtaining the funding for his second picture.

Enter Kickstarter.  A new way to finance creative projects, Kickstarter is a form of crowd-sourcing in which money is donated online by the public to fund everything from films, games and music to art, design and technology. A campaign for the second feature film Braff wanted to make, Wish I Was Here, garnered more than $3 million dollars in fan contributions, surpassing his goal.

The first trailer for the film is online now, co-starring Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin, among its many recognizable stars. Fans of the Big Bang Theory will also be treated to Jim Parsons on the big screen.

The film centres on Braff's character, Aiden Bloom, a 35-year-old struggling actor, father and husband. Bloom wrestles with holding on to his dream career while trying to take care of his family and homeschool his two kids after pulling them out of expensive private school when his conservative Jewish father's wealth is needed for medical bills.


Gad recently spoke of his fascination with the power of the Kickstarter-type vehicles to make the dreams of independent artists possible. "It really does feel like you're making a movie for the people."

Wish I Was Here is scheduled for wide release July 25.

The first of the 2014 Passover parodies

Thursday April 3, 2014
Inspired by the motion picture Frozen, the Walt Disney blockbuster and Academy-Award-winning best animated feature film of 2013, Aish HaTorah has adapted Let It Go, the best original song from the movie, originally performed by Idina Menzel, for Passover this year, celebrating our Exodus from Egypt and retelling a part of our story.

Bar Rafaeli too hot for Israeli daytime TV

Thursday April 3, 2014
A campaign ad for fashion brand Hoodies, starring Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli and a muppet known as Red Orbach, has been deemed too risque for daytime television viewing audiences in Israel.

Orbach fantasizes about multiple sexual encounters with the blonde bombshell, and the spot ends with the tag-line ''It couldn't get any better than this. Or could it?''

According to the ruling by government group censors for the Second Authority for Television and Radio, there are just "too many sexual insinuations" for the spot to run before 10 p.m.

To us, it's more like a page taken from the broadway smash Avenue Q,  but judge for yourself. 

It's a Matzah makeover not seen before

Thursday March 27, 2014
Stay traditional or try something new – the debate rages on; and as Passover draws ever closer,  this year companies are rolling out new matzah product lines that just might excite your taste buds and flavour your seders.

It's Not Just Your Grandmother's Matzo Anymore

Bible stories return to the screen

Thursday March 27, 2014
Darren Aronofsky's epic film Noah, starring Russell Crowe, opens this weekend. Based on a Torah portion we read mid-October each year, the opening precedes the annual television broadcast of Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses in The Ten Commandments.

For those who have yet to see the recent international trailer, we have it for you here.

Oscar's golden host returning to TV

Thursday March 20, 2014
Mister 700 Sundays Billy Crystal will be returning to television in a 13-episode, single-camera comedy series titled The Comedians, scheduled to debut in 2015, some 37 years after he first portrayed Jodie Dallas on ABC's Soap.

It will air on the FX Network in the United States – no word yet on a Canadian carrier – and Crystal will play a superstar veteran comic who must go from a solo act to a duo with a gritty up-and-comer played by Josh Gad. Gad most recently voiced Olaf in Disney's Academy-Award-winning animated blockbuster film Frozen.

Think Nashville meets 30 Rock and you get the gist of The Comedians. Crystal and Gad will also be joined by Stephnie Weir, Matt Oberg and Megan Ferguson. Many believe the collection of talent will make the show one of the best comedies to hit the airwaves in the year to come.     

The 64th Miss Israel rises above it all

Thursday March 20, 2014
While beauty contests tend to carry the stigma of being superficial competitions, the annual Miss Israel pageant – held this year for the 13th time at the Haifa Congress Center – celebrates diversity and rewards struggle.

Eighteen-year-old Mor Maman of Beer Sheva was crowned Miss Israel 2014 earlier this month. A student of graphic design, Maman will soon be joining the Israeli Air Force.

Her mother, Ilana, was also a beauty pageant contestant and was once crowned Miss Beer Sheva.

Her life has not been without pain. As Mor explained in an in-depth interview with Dalia Ben Ari and Ynet news, "Four years ago, our life changed. My mother fell down and lost her memory as a result of the fall. It was simply erased. I arrived at the hospital and she didn't know who I was. I was angry at the enire world. I began neglecting myself, and then my father had a heart attack."

After struggling in her pre-teen years with her own health issues surrounding her weight, she was thrust into a primary caregiver role for her parents as her family fell on hard times all around. But Mor picked herself up and took responsibility for all that needed to be done, while keeping up with her studies and graduating with honours.

Last year's Miss Israel, Yityish (Titi) Aynaw, also made headlines as the first Ethiopian-born woman to win the crown.

Here at Heebonics, we look forward to seeing Mor compete later this year for the title of Miss World.

From pop song to Purim parody

Thursday March 13, 2014
It's the first chag of 2014, and the parody videos are being posted to the web. This one, from A.K.A. Pella, draws its inspiration from a real stick-in-your-head tune by the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis’ titled What Does The Fox Say?

It's a little scary – like the visuals of the track it's based on – but equally creative nonetheless. Here's a look at What Does Haman Say.

A Muppet take on Purim

Thursday March 13, 2014
Jim Henson, creator of the beloved Muppet characters, likely never would have imagined Kermit the Frog's Rainbow Connection would one day be parodied for a Jewish holiday. But the day has come, and the remade track is performed here by the world's most famous amphibian with Cookie – or shall we say Hamantashen? – Monster at the controls. Take a look.

Mila Kunis joins fellow celebs Tweeting about Ukraine

Thursday March 6, 2014
Mila KunisIf we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it.

The statement perhaps rings truer today than ever, as evidenced by events taking place in the Ukraine. In the late 19th century, the country was at the epicentre of czarist pogroms, when the government, attempting to quell an uprising of peasant masses, placed the blame for their plight on Jews.

Igor MiroshnichenkoBeloved by the media, fans and fellow actors, Ukranian-born American actor Mila Kunis, star of That '70s Show, took to Twitter to join a handful of Tinsel-town A-listers in publicly denouncing the violence in her native land.

"My family moved to America when I was seven, however my extended family remains in the Ukraine," the Jewish actor tweeted March 6.

In 2012, nationalist politician Igor Miroshnichenko said the now fiancée of Two and a Half Men star Ashton Kutcher, was not a true Ukranian, calling her a "zhydovka," which translates to "dirty Jewess."

Are Ukranian officials reverting to 19th-century anti-Semitic perceptions?

Safe and sound state-side, Kunis further tweeted this week "Today I read 'just because it's happening not here, doesn't mean it's not happening.' Truly heartbreaking. I pray for change."

Seth Rogen urges U.S. government for help for Alzheimer's patients

Friday February 28, 2014
It's not every day a Canadian Jewish comedian address a U.S. Senate subcommittee, but earlier this week, Seth Rogen did just that.

No, it wasn't about marijuana legalization, as he jokes in his opening statement, but an issue that he called even more important: awareness about Alzheimer's disease.
At 55 years old, his mother-in-law Adele Miller was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer's. By 60, she forgot how to speak, go to the bathroom on her own and dress herself. 
He said before Miller was diagnosed with the disease, he had no idea those were possible symptoms, thinking rather that it had to do with forgotten keys, wearing mis-matched shoes, and asking the same questions over and over again.
He spoke of the shame and stigma attached to the disease that he said grows out of a lack of hope, which he said was his motivation to start an organization called Hilarity for Charity.
"That's right, the situation is so dire, that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child, to start an entire charity organization," he said.
He urged the government for more help for Alzheimer's disease patients, stressing that he couldn't figure out how people with more limited income than his own could deal with the treatment.
But he also wanted to show people they're not alone.
"So few people share their personal stories. So few people have something to relate to," he said. "I know if me and my wife saw someone like me talking about this, it would probably make us feel a little less alone."
Watch Rogen's full, heartfelt address below.

Leonard Nimoy and his defining cultural moments

Thursday February 27, 2014
Science fiction and fantasy is a genre that fuels our imagination, from the descriptive language in graphic novels to creative displays of art, reams of films and the wonderful portrayals of iconic characters that actors often bring to life.

Leonard Nimoy – best known for his role as Vulcan science officer Spock aboard Star Trek's USS Enterprise on television from 1966 to 1969 and in multiple film, television sequels and guest appearances – is beloved by genre fans around the world.

The nearly-83-year-old veteran actor of stage and screen took part recently in the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, a collection of in-depth video interviews chronicling the many ways there are to be Jewish. Nimoy, like many others involved with the project, recalls times from his childhood, memories of bygone neighbourhoods and how the Yiddish language and his Judaism connected to, and had a lasting impact on, the characters he has brought to life.

Within Nimoy's series of conversations with Christa Whitney, he memorializes Al Tabatchnik, a colourful "local legend" of the west-end Boston community where Nimoy grew up. Nimoy also speaks passionately about his stint working with Yiddish theatre director Maurice Schwartz after Nimoy moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s, and he expounds on the Jewish story behind Spock's defining "Live long and prosper" hand gesture.



Former Toronto morning show host finds home on satellite airwaves

Thursday February 27, 2014
Last summer, when local radio host Todd Shapiro severed ties with his longtime co-host Dean Blundell on 102.1 The Edge, many fans wondered where he would go next.

Well, we finally have an answer.

Starting March 3, The Todd Shapiro Show will air daily on SiriusXM Canada, at 9 a.m.

Todd ShapiroJust five months after Shapiro left the terrestrial radio morning show that he had been a part of for more than 12 years, the station announced the end of the Dean Blundell Show. It came on the heels of allegations of homophobia, when Shapiro's replacement, Derek Welsman, made crude remarks about the accused's sexuality in a court case for which Welsman served as the jury's foreman.

But that wasn't the first complaint of the show's hosts' conduct. Shapiro left last July, shortly after the show was reprimanded after commending a man who beat up a protester at a Remembrance Day ceremony. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council deemed the segment to have "sanctioned, promoted and glamorized violence," violating its code of ethics.

Despite the controversy, at the time, many fans aired their disappointment at Shapiro's departure online.

Hopefully he'll feel at home on SiriusXM's uncensored Canadian comedy station, Canada Laughs, with his hour-long program bookended by fellow Toronto radio stars Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson's show Humble and Fred. In his announcement of the show on Facebook, Shapiro thanked Glassman and Patterson for helping to make the show happen.

"It's hard to describe how excited I am for this new opportunity to build my own show in an unrestricted environment and to get to broadcast it to such a massive audience," Shapiro said in a press release. "I just want to hang out with cool people, talk about stuff that I think is funny and interesting and they're letting me do that, plus I'm told I still get to wear my flip flops, hat and a deep V!"

Jay Baruchel featured in Robocop reboot

Wednesday February 19, 2014
Ottawa-born Jay Baruchel is by many accounts a modest Canadian.

While many actors who have broken into Hollywood spend their earnings lavishly on fancy homes, luxury cars and designer clothes, Jay seems to be straying from the behaviour of his contemporaries.

Baruchel has starred alongside great actors in big-budget films, from his good friend Seth Rogen in Knocked Up and again recently in This is the End, to Alfred Molina and Nicholas Cage in Disney's the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and let's not forget Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank.

In the recently released Robocop, a reboot of the 1987 cult classic, Baruchel plays Tom Pope. Baruchel was just five years old when the original film hit the big screen. Pope, a well-dressed marketing executive for the Omni Consumer Products corporation, is a departure from Baruchel's real-life persona, as is his character's slick attitude.


The film has performed modestly at the box office, struggling against the originality of the Lego Movie. While the original Robocop film looked to the future of law enforcement and stamping out crime in a downtrodden Detroit, the new film focusses on the advancements in modern weaponry and drone warfare. Here's a look at how far we've come technologically in the 27 years since the original film.



Google acquires another Israeli start-up

Wednesday February 19, 2014
Google is at it again.


The tech-giant just scooped up another Israeli start-up, this one called SlickLogin, for an undisclosed amount.
The company is working on a login system that was created as a response to what it called "overly complicated and annoying" security measures. Instead, it uses high-frequency sound waves for a smart-ID login system.

Essentially, you would place your smartphone by your tablet or laptop, which would play something that, using a mix of secret security measures and outputted in a frequency too high to hear, would open the electronic doors.

Interestingly enough, the Tel Aviv-based company hasn't even released a product, and it doesn't have any clients yet. In fact, it only officially launched less than two months ago, so the purchase really just allows Google to scoop up the team's expertise and the technology itself. Or Zelig, Eran Galili and Ori Kabeli are all graduates of the Israel Defence Forces' elite cyber security unit and have spent more than six years working on information security projects.

No word yet on what Google plans to do with the technology, although that's pretty much par for the course with its acquisitions.

Ezra Koenig joins Karen O on new version of Oscar-nominated lullaby

Wednesday February 12, 2014
If you've been following Oscar news, you'll know that Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O is nominated for Best Original Song for The Moon Song from best picture nominee Her.

In the movie, Scarlett Johansson's Siri-like character sings it as a disembodied voice in a duet with star Joaquin Phoenix as he accompanies her on ukelele, expressing their unusual love. Both that version and the solo Karen O version are beautiful songs, but now, she may have made it even better in a re-recording that includes Jewish indie rock star Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend.
This version is part of a three-track EP that's due to be released this week. 
"I wrote the song as a duet," Karen O told Rolling Stone. "I was really excited at the prospect of getting to record it with a male vocalist. Ezra was super cool and open. He slipped into character like a champ and damn he's got the goods."
Listen to the duet below.

Jewish Canadian skater helps bring home a medal

Monday February 10, 2014
Dylan Moscovitch, who might be the only Jew competing for Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has helped bring home a silver medal.

Dylan Moscovitch and Kirsten Moore-Towers
at the Nationals [Danielle Earl photo]The Toronto-born skater, who trains in Waterloo, Ont., competed with Kirsten Moore-Towers in team figure skating and earned nine points out of the 65 total for Team Canada.

In the new team competition, athletes from all categories – ice dance, pairs figure skating, singles – perform and the team with the highest total score wins. Russia came in first with 75 points, and the U.S. earned bronze with 60.

Also contributing to the team were individual competitors Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds and Kaetlyn Osmond, as well as Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in pairs and ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Moscovitch and Moore-Towers will be competing on Tuesday in the short program in pairs figure skating, and in the free skate on Wednesday.

Listen below to The CJN's Cara Stern's interview with Moscovitch from shortly before he left for Sochi.

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