Yid Lit: Michael Showalter

From the Borscht Belt to poop jokes, Jewish comedy comes in many forms, and Michael Showalter has a little of both in his repertoire. The comedian, who wrote and starred in the films “The Baxter” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” has lent his many gifts to his new “humoir,” “Mr. Funny Pants” (Grand Central Publishing), which plumbs his “latchkey” suburban upbringing via self-deprecating humor. He spoke with the Forward’s Allison Gaudet Yarrow about his self-conscious comedy and the Jews who dig it, and about his spiritual encounter with a mitzvah van.

Rather Than Defend Obama, J Street Is Now Pushing Him

Shifting sands in the Middle East and new political realities in Washington are forcing J Street to recalibrate its strategy. The dovish Israel lobby, whose supporters gathered recently in Washington for its second national conference, had previously tried to provide political cover for President Obama as he pushed for a speedy resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But now J Street finds itself prodding a reluctant administration to take a more assertive approach.


Hollywood’s Latest Holocaust Project Splits Survivors’ Heirs

Think “Erin Brockovich” meets “Schindler’s List.” That’s the pitch for a new film in development by Sony Pictures that may star Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock. As improbable as it sounds, the movie will tell a suspenseful story about insurance companies and the Holocaust, an epic battle that led to one of the largest programs of Holocaust restitution.


‘Help Us! Help Us! Help Us Now!’

Composer Elizabeth Swados has dramatized tragedy before, but never the fear that rises from the gut when flames are sweeping nearby and escape is far away. In creating the music for the most terrifying moments in an original oratorio for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Swados turned to raw instinct.

Did D.C. Editor Lose Her Job Because of Politics?

The editor of the weekly Jewish newspaper of the nation’s capital has been fired following tensions with the paper’s new owners over coverage of the local Jewish federation. Debra Rubin was dismissed from Washington Jewish Week on February 23 and was told that the owners had decided to take the paper “in a different direction.” Three sources have told the Forward that the decision came after repeated attempts by the ownership group to intervene in editorial content relating to the Jewish federation, where most of them are or have been top leaders.

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