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Neil Diamond In Chicago, And More To Read, Watch, And Do This Weekend

Chicago Neil Diamond fans, you’re in luck: The singer-songwriter will play the United Center this Saturday. If a rousing chorus of “Sweet Caroline” isn’t quite your vibe, head to Skokie’s Northlight Theatre instead for a performance of “Relativity,” Mark St. Germain’s play about late-in-life moral and emotional dilemmas facing Albert Einstein. The scientist is played by Mike Nussbaum, the country’s oldest active union actor who The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones deemed “as unique as was the man he plays.”

In New York, check out the offerings at Quad Cinema’s series “Immigrant Songs,” a survey of films focused on the lives of immigrants in the United States. Highlights include the 1975 drama “Hester Street,” the 1985 crime epic “Once Upton a Time in America,” and Elia Kazan’s 1963 masterpiece “America, America.” If that’s not enough Jewish history for you, spend Sunday at The Jewish Heritage Play Festival at Ansche Chesed, which will pay homage to Jewish culture through a series of short plays. And if ABC’s much-ridiculed made-for-TV reboot of “Dirty Dancing,” which premiered on May 24, left you longing for the original, catch one of three sing-along screenings at Williamsburg’s Videology Bar and Cinema on Monday.

In Washington, D.C., don’t miss the last weekend of the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Washington Jewish Film Festival, with a full slate of documentaries, comedies, and dramas. And if you’re feeling musical, spend Friday or Saturday night at a performance of harmonica-player Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues.

Los Angeles also has film on the mind — well, when does it not? — with a Friday night screening of the Coen Brothers classic “Fargo” and Friday and Saturday night lives performances of the music of “La La Land,” conducted by the film’s Oscar-winning composer Justin Hurwitz.

If you’re looking for a good read, start with three notable longform pieces of the last week. First up is ProPublica’s investigation into the practices of President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner as a landlord; what they found isn’t pretty. More pleasant reads include Rachael Combe’s profile of New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman for Elle, and Michael Paterniti’s profile of television “godfather” Norman Learn for GQ.

And if you’re hoping to hit the beach for Memorial Day with a new read in tow, look to “Natural Attraction,” Iris Gottlieb’s illustrated guide to the relationship habits of animals, or “In Their Lives,” an anthology of great writers’ musings on great Beatles songs. Edited by Andrew Blauner, the book’s contributors include Roz Chast and Chuck Klosterman.

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Drake Sweeps Record 13 Billboard Music Awards

He’s Jewish. He’s Canadian. And now he holds the record for most wins at the Billboard Music Awards in one year.

Multi-hyphenate rapper and producer Drake won 13 awards on Sunday at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, beating the previous record held by singer-songwriter Adele, who won 12 awards in 2012.

After walking into the event with 22 nominations, the performer clinched over a dozen, including the highly competitive categories including top artist, top male artist, and the awards for top rap album and artist.

Though arguably any awards ceremony in which Beyonce receives the same number of trophies as 21 Pilots (5 each) is not one that can claim to have a relationship with reality, Drake’s wins are still historic. He celebrated his successes with a series of acceptance speeches, one of which involved inviting over twenty people to the stage, including his father and rappers Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.

In the same speech, which was also the one accepting his new record, Drake’s mic was turned off after saying, “You know, someone wise once told me, life is like toilet paper. You’re either on a roll or—“ Jamie Primeau for Bustle points out that this is a real quote, and that it continues, “or you’re taking sh*t from some a**h*le.” In which case—where is the award for the Billboard live censor who had this quote memorized, realized it was being deployed, and instantly cut off the mic?

Drake also had kind words for the vanquished Adele, who he told to “hold tight, because when a new thing drops you’ll be back to get the record back.”

The televised event, which, like a strange dream was co-hosted by Ludacris and Vanessa Hudgins, included many other priceless moments. Celine Dion’s performed “My Heart Will Go On” in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie “Titanic”, Miley Cyrus showed off her new single “Malibu”, and Cher accepted a lifetime achievement award. The 71-year old noted in her acceptance speech, “I wanted to do what do since I was 4 years old and I’ve been doing it for 53 years. And I can do a five-minute plank. Just saying.”

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Yiddish Printer Wins National LOUIE Award For Piglet Card

Is that kosher?

It reads like a joke.

Q: Who won first prize in the national greetings card contest? (for babies, $4 and over)
A: The Yiddish printer with the piglet card.

But Bill Muller’s Big Wheel Press (about whose loving restoration of Yiddish letterpresses I wrote) just went to the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in New York and did just that with a card designed by Muller himself. When I reached him for comment, Muller reminded me that the “New York City Stationery business was mostly Jewish 100 years ago.” Furthermore, he added, “Shema Yisrael!” And, to all the people who voted for his card, he had a “Todah rabah” card (designed by Susa Talan) he wanted to show them.

Another one of the LOUIE winners caught my eye. Winner of the religious celebrations cards ($4 and over) was a charming card that was “Wishing you a latke love this Hanukkah.” Beating out all the Christmas, Easter, Kwanzaa and, presumably, Omer cards came a frying potato card from 1canoe2 studio in Missouri. Now Fulton, Missouri, where 1canoe2 is based, is not known for being at the center of America’s Hanukkah celebrations, so this intrepid reporter will see if he can find out and explain the genesis (or Maccabee) of that card in a later post.

Dan Friedman is the executive editor and whisky correspondent for the Forward. Follow him on Twitter at @danfriedmanme

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The 2018 World Lacrosse Championships Will Be Played In… Israel?

Israel will host the 2018 Men’s World Lacrosse Championships, the Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA) announced on Tuesday.

Lacrosse is a sport typically dominated by the U.S. and Canada, but Israel has one of the fastest growing programs in the world; the national team finished in seventh place at the 2014 World Championships, and placed second at the 2016 European championship.

In a press release, ILA director Scott Neiss called the decision an “honor,” adding that, “we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world.” The tournament will be played in the city of Netanya from July 12-21.

Team Israel put together a Cinderella run for the ages at the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. Could the lacrosse team do the same?

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Is Meghan Markle Going To Be Prince Harry’s Jewish Princess?

Jewish and black girls have been mocked for their hair, their bodies and their other-ness. But they might be about to get a heroine at Buckingham Palace.

It’s a real-life fairy tale for everyone who has been feeling like a pre-ball Cinderella in the Trump era: Prince Harry, the international playboy and longtime sex-symbol who is fifth in line for the British throne, is on the brink of marriage with Meghan Markle, an American actress.

Markle is known for her work in the American TV show “Suits”. Her mother is black and her father is white. And though many publications have reported that Markle’s father is Jewish, a publicist denied that she herself is a member of the tribe.

“Just to clarify…she is not Jewish,” said Chantal Artur, the publicist, in an April email, without elaborating.

Markle, who told Elle that she answers the question “What are you” every single week of her life, has not spoken to the media about her religious background or that of her father.

But she has given some serious Queen Esther vibes. Here are 4 kind of, sort of Jewish things about her:

  • Her real name is Rachel. While have all met 90-100 wonderful Megans, Meagans, and Meghans at Jewish summer camp, ‘Rachel’ is straight out of Genesis and totally the kind of name your dad would give you if he was trying to subtly imbue your identity with your religious heritage. Plus, changing your name (or in this case, taking your middle name as a stage name) is a classic rite of passage for Jewish performers. Just ask Natalie Hershlag and Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.

  • Markle’s first marriage was to film producer Trevor Engelson, a Jewish man from Great Neck, New York. Their wedding involved what The Sun tersely referred to as a “traditional Jewish chair dance”.

  • She has said that she is sometimes labeled “Sephardic” at auditions. Think about it—35-year old actresses and lifestyle gurus don’t throw around the word Sephardic unless they are Sephardic. She might as well change her name to “Kitniyot Markle”.

  • Disney has had a frog prince, a Lion king, and a royal mermaid, and all we’ve had is the Crusades followed by the Inquisition. A Jewish princess just seems fair.

If it were only the name Rachel, dayeinu. If it were just the “Jewish chair dance”, dayeinu. But the greatest evidence in this biur chametz-like hunt for crumbs of Markle’s Jewish identity is that a spokesman for Westminster Abbey confirmed on behalf of the Church of England that, if they choose, Markle and Prince Harry will be able to marry within the church in an “interfaith” marriage, regardless of Markle’s “Jewish background”.

This brings us to the next booshah-turned-equality-milestone, which is that Markle has been married and divorced. And according to the Church of England, if that’s good enough for Henry the 8th it should be good enough for his fellow ginger ladykiller (so to speak,) Prince Harry.

So if our hypothesis is correct and Markle and Harry marry, Markle will be the first black, Jewish, divorcee, American princess in English history. It’s worth noting that Markle is also two years older than the Prince, making their marriage a triumph for several pie slices in the chart of disadvantaged identity groups.

This may also be the first time an actress famous for a movie called “Horrible Bosses” gets to meet the Queen of England.

It’s a shehechianu moment to beat all shehechianu moments.

The cherry on top of the sufganiyot-Kwanzaa-cake hybrid? Markle is a noted feminist. She serves as a UN Women advocate and an ambassador for World Vision.

As they say in another story of unlikely royalty, “The Prince of Egypt”, “There can be miracles when you believe”.

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