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Thursday, July 10, 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: 1 min 39 sec ago

Actor and director Assi Dayan, son of Israeli icon Moshe Dayan, dead at 68

Thursday May 1, 2014
Sad news out of Israel today as filmmaker and actor Assi Dayan, the son of the late IDF general and former defence minister Moshe Dayan, was found dead in Tel Aviv.

He was 68 and had reportedly suffered from serious health problems.

The younger Dayan appeared in some 50 Israeli films and television series, and directed at least 16 films, including some considered Israeli classics.

In recent years, he starred in the popular TV drama B’Tipul or In Treatment, which was adapted for U.S. television.

He began his acting career in the 1967 film He Walked Through the Fields. Among the films he directed were Halfon Hill Doesn’t Answer, Life According to Agfa, and An Electric Blanket Named Moshe.

He received a lifetime achievement award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival in 1998.

NASA honours original Captain Kirk

Thursday May 1, 2014
Canadian William Shatner, best known as Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise on the classic sci-fi TV series Star Trek, received a distinguished public service medal earlier this week from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Shatner was presented with the space agency's highest civilian honour at his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, which raises money for children in need.

He was recognized "for outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery," NASA said.

"William has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today," NASA spokesman David Weaver said on stage at Shatner's event. "He's most deserving of this prestigious award."

The venerable actor has had a longstanding relationship with NASA and its programs, stretching back to when the original Star Trek aired in the 1960s. In the last three years, Shatner has voiced the introductions to, and hosted, a series of NASA video productions.

Shatner was deeply moved by the honour and tweeted his appreciation thusly:

Katy Perry, Andrew Garfield and their cultural clichés

Thursday April 24, 2014
While celebrities are followed around by paparazzi and their statements to the media are often taken out of context, cultural digs and religious riffs are not always made in good taste.

Pop sensation Katy Perry and Andrew Garfield, the latter famous for suiting up as the web slinger Spiderman in the big screen reboot of that franchise, are two such Hollywood stars currently stirring up attention.

Known for varying her look in her music videos, Perry's promo for her latest single, Birthday, has her donning many disguises. One of her personas is that of
, an Orthodox-like bar mitzvah DJ who has a tendency to tell off-putting jokes about rabbis.

It's not the singer's first ethnic misstep.

Last year at the American Music Awards, she was called out for donning geisha dress during a performance. Her antics put her in the same musical company as Selena Gomez, Drake and Avril Lavigne, to name but a few who've been criticized for some questionable ethnic depictions in their videos.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Time Out London and in other previous statements, Garfield says Spiderman's alter ego Peter Parker is Jewish, if only by association, having grown up as a socially awkward science wunderkind in Queens, the easternmost and historically Jewish borough of New York City.

"I hope Jewish people won't mind the cliché, because my father's Jewish. I have that in me," said Garfield.

Spiderman is of course the creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the wildly gifted and legendary Jewish comic book team. And Lee's orphaned teen Parker is not so fundamentally different from DC Comics' Superman. One is entirely human and the other one is an infant sent from another planet, but both wrestle with their own deep sense of morality and the great responsibility that comes with having their great powers. Their stories speaks to us on multiple levels.

Intentional or unintentional instances of cultural impropriety? You be the judge.  

The ADL challenges us to change history

Thursday April 24, 2014
As part of a public awareness campaign to coincide with its 100th anniversary, the Anti-Defamation League has put out a powerful new video that's sure to send a chill up and down the spines of even the most hardened of cynics.

Titled Imagine A World Without Hate, it challenges viewers to envision a world without racism, homophobia or anti-Semitism, one in which the hate violence that took the lives of Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Daniel Pearl, Matthew Shepard and others did not happen.

"Imagine what these individuals could have continued to contribute to society if bigotry, hate and extremism had not cut their lives tragically short," the blurb accompanying the video says.

Set to John Lennon's iconic song Imagine, it shows newspaper, web and magazine articles with headlines such as "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 84, Champions Immigration Reform," "Anne Frank wins Nobel Prize for her 12th novel," "Yitzhak Rabin, 90, honoured for nearly two decades of Israeli-Palestinian peace," and "Harvey Milk expands LGBT equality globally."

The tagline at the end reads, "If we all stood up to bigotry, we could change history."

How true.

See it for yourself.

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.

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