Helen Suzman has died, and the praise for her is deafening — deafening and uncritical. She was indeed a courageous person who, for 13 of her 36 years in South Africa’s whites-only parliament, was a lone voice of opposition to the brutality of apartheid.
Israel and Hamas are exchanging not only gunfire, but also mutual accusations as to which side is to blame for breaking the fragile cease-fire.
If you ever felt like your Jewish relatives belonged on a page in Maurice Sendak’s “Where the While Things Are,” you were probably right. The celebrated children’s author and illustrator based his classic fanged monsters on Yiddish-speaking family members who descended upon Sendak’s childhood home every weekend to clear the cupboards and pinch young Maurice’s cheeks. “I saw them as fiendish creatures,” Sendak told the Jewish Journal in a 2002 interview. “They ate raw onions, and they stank. They screamed at each other in a foreign language, and they had bad teeth.” Sendak’s 1963 interpretation of his relatives’ interactions will be brought to life once again — on the big screen. Director Spike Jonze, however, did not stage young Max and his friends in a Brooklyn kitchen. Instead, he took his crew down under, shooting scenes at various locales in Australia. “The look and feel is very naturalistic. When our creatures knock down trees, they really knock down trees,” Jonze told Entertainment Weekly. The long-awaited film has been in production since 2006 and is slated to open in October.
Talk about a role reversal: It’s a Jew barking orders at the Germans in an upcoming Israeli movie, though much of the shouting is restricted to a basketball court.
Vying for the affection of heartthrob Jason Mesnick, the 25 lady singletons on ABC’s “The Bachelor” went to great lengths to get his attention on the show’s January 5 season premiere. Raquel busted out salsa steps, but Molly cut in. Stacia, Renee and Stephanie played the single mom card, empathizing with the difficulties Mesnick faces in raising a young son alone. Kari read her cringe-inducing poem, “Is There Such Thing as Love at First Sight?” while Shannon eerily flashed her veneers. The husband-hungry gals certainly studied up on their man’s likes and dislikes, with one fan going so far as to recite Mesnick’s MySpace page verbatim (not stalker-ish at all!). But none of the women thought to appeal to Mesnick’s spiritual side — his Jewish roots. The Cleveland-born hunk, who is the show’s first Jewish bachelor, became a man at age 13 and celebrates the High Holy Days with his family. But he has claimed that religion does not inform his relationship decisions.