Category Archives: Jewish Lifestyle

The Next Jewish Star 2011: We Have a Winner!

Mexican singer Adam Kleinberg was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Hallelujah singing competition Thursday night in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. The team of judges, headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon and comprised of well-known Israeli musicians and producers such as Kobi Oshrat, Noam Gilor and DJ Skazi awarded Kleinberg the $8000 prize and the opportunity to record a duet with an Israeli artist. Kleinberg’s runner up is Oliver Ghnassia from Brussels, 19.

“I am so excited to be in Israel, it is a special feeling for me,” said Kleinberg after the contest. “The Hallelujah project was an amazing gift and coming in the first place is a dream come true.”

Hallelujah global Jewish singing contest was formed in 1992 by Eitan Gafni, and ran for three years, but a lack of funds led to its cancellation. In the beginning of 2011, Gafni decided to put his song contest out there again, after a friend of his son’s, who was a teenager at the time of the original contest ,returned home to Israel from an extended stay in Australia and encouraged him to help young Jews in the Diaspora reconnect to Israel through song.

Seven months later, and 30 finalists, ages 16-26, representing Jewish communities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, England, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Uruguay, arrived in Israel for a three-week tour of the country, and to work on their songs ahead of the competition.From these contestants ‘The Next Jewish Star’ was crowned, and now is headed for performances in Jewish communities around the globe.

A DVD of the contest is also being put together for distribution in Jewish venues around the world.

Contest plans for next year include holding auditions and semifinals in Jewish communities in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London.


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After ‘Captain America’- ‘Captain Israel’?

THE MOVIE ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER’ OPENED TWO WEEKS AGO in America and has already grossed a staggering $200 million around the world,
and now we receive the Israeli spoof: a comic book, entitled ‘Captain Israel’, illustrated and written by Arlen Schumer. The 1st issue is out this week.

As opposed to ‘Captain America,’ ‘Captain Israel’ is not out for a major fight against the bad guys, he’s simply here to fight anti-Semitism by explaining Israel’s history, and he makes you understand the situation that the country is in now. “I was there when Jewish civilization and national identity were formed 3000 years ago..” he says in the comic book and then goes on to explain the history of the nation.

Behind the ‘Captain Israel’ production you can find ‘Stand With Us,‘ an Israeli advocacy group that believes education is the road to peace. You can read here the first chapter.

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Gwyneth Paltrow Plans to Raise Her Children in Jewish Environment

By Yanir Dekel

LAST YEAR, OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS Gwyneth Paltrow said some disparaging things about faith and about the fact that she doesn’t believe in religion (“Religion is the cause of all the problems in the world”). However, after appearing in this week’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (Produced by Lisa Kudrow and airs on NBC) in which she was able to review in-depth analysis of her connection to Judaism, Paltrow has allegedly changing course and is pledging to raise her children in a Jewish environment.

Watch the journey of the American actress, whose late father was Jewish film producer Bruce Paltrow, was moved to discover earlier this year on the show that her family came from a long line of influential East European rabbis. About a month ago, Gwyneth was rumored to be arriving in Israel for the first time, as a guest at the famous celebrity Kaballa guru Michael Berg’s son’s Bar Mitzva, but Gwenyth has yet to RSVP. Maybe she was waiting for everyone to see THIS.

And this has inspired her to raise Apple (7), and Moses (5) in a Jewish environment, she told guests of a London event hosted by Jewish charity the Community Security Trust.

This revelation comes despite her husband and his band Coldplay’s support against Israel and pro- Palestine in the past, including publishing a pro-Palestine song on their official Facebook page. Let’s just hope that Gwyneth’s next step won’t be translating their kids’ names to Hebrew (“Tapuach” and “Moshe”), or in other words, as used by Danielle Berrin, who cares ?!

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The Rabbi Lau & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Story

From the blog of Rabbi Michael Green

From surviving the Holocaust and continuing on the Rabbinic dynasty that he hails from, to serving as the Chief Rabbi of Israel and now Tel Aviv—Rabbi Lau remains a legendary figure to all of Jewry. On the complete opposite spectrum stands the legendary Lakers Center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., he had a prolific college and NBA career becoming one of the best basketball players of all time. In 1971 Lew Alcindor converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. To the naked eye it would seem that the only thing he shares in common with Rabbi Lau is that they are both luminous figures.

And yet, these two men—one a Jew and another a Muslim—are eagerly looking forward to meeting one another this July in Israel!


The former NBA star is making a film about none other than World War II, and will honor the final wish of his father. You see, Ferdinand L. Alcindor Sr., had one dying wish. He requested that his son visit Israel and meet the little boy that he personally rescued from Buchenwald and turned into a prominent Rabbi. This Rabbi is none other than Rabbi Lau!

Indeed, Rabbi Lau, who also serves as chairman of the Council of Yad Vashem remarked that, “the fact that such a famous basketball player, and a Muslim, is about to attach himself to the Holocaust issue is very exciting. I will certainly give my blessing to this initiative.”
Rabbi Lau said he clearly remembers how an African American solider came up to him during the liberation, picked him up, and told the residents of the German city of Weimer: “Look at this sweet kid, he isn’t even eight yet. This was your enemy, he threatened the Third Reich. He is the one against whom you waged war, and murdered millions like him.”

Karim Abdul-Jabbar commented on this story on ESPN, and apparently there was a mistake that happened due to the language barrier of an Israeli reporter:
“That story — people have gotten that all mixed up. There was a reporter in Israel who put my father into the tank battalion that liberated Dachau. My dad was a police officer in New York. One of the guys that he was a police officer with was in a tank battalion that liberated Dachau. Rabbi Lau was a boy in Buchenwald, which was also liberated by black troops, but it was a totally different group than the one that my dad’s friend was in. The group that helped liberate Buchenwald was the 183rd Combat Engineers, an all black unit.”

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