Tony Kushner, the playwright and screenwriter of “Angels in America” and “Lincoln,” has found himself at the center of an unexpected scandal in Toronto. In the city for a talk hosted by the Koffler Center for the Art, he’ll be discussing his career with theatre director Philip Akin. But Kushner’s appearance has been obscured by a political kerfuffle.
It’s a bit complicated, so take a breath: the Koffler receives $250,000 in annual funding from the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, which unexpectedly issued a letter dissociating itself from the event. Its reason? Kushner sits on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, a BDS-supporting organization that advocates for peace between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis. Kushner himself, however, is against BDS, a position he’s made publicly clear on multiple occasions. He’s now accused the UJA of “McCarthyism” — that quote is from an interview with The Globe and Mail — saying “It’s depressing that — even in Canada — this kind of censorious, illiberal and really disgraceful behaviour [sic] is seen as acceptable.”
Talya Zax is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax
Canadian TV personalities Nobu and Mio Adilman decided to do something a little different with their most-recent Choir! Choir! Choir! performance.
As Toronto Life reports the Adilmans took the stage at Toronto’s Massey Hall, and led a 2,000 person tribute to Prince in the form of the song “When Doves Cry.” The Adilmans have also recently honored the art of David Bowie with another communal sing-along. You can check out the Prince performance here:
(JTA) — On his first trip to Israel this week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hit all the expected stops for visiting dignitaries. He went to Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, picked up an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University, and laid the cornerstone for a bird sanctuary that will soon bear his name.
But he also took a moment to do something that is apparently his trademark: performing a rocking rendition of “Hey Jude” as a beaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, look on. When he announced his intention to visit Israel at a JNF fundraiser in Toronto in December, he performed for a full 35 minutes.
His audience in Israel wasn’t nearly so, um, lucky.
Drake hosted “Saturday Night Live” this week — and it was pretty great.
In his opening monologue, the Jewish Canadian rapper harkened back to his bar mitzvah from 1999, focusing (successfully) on having a Jewish mother and a black father. SNL cast member Vanessa Bayer (known for her role in the original and recurring Bar Mitzvah Boy skit) played his mother and Jay Pharaoh played his father.
After talking about his hometown, “the city of Toronto: where the rappers are polite, and the mayor smokes crack,” and waxing nostalgic about his “Degrassi” past (do we detect a hint of embarrassment?), Drake launched into the skit with the fairly straightforward: “Here’s another fun fact. I’m Jewish.”
Warning: the sight of Drake in a kippah may just make your heart explode. Check out the segment below:
If you thought being named global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors was just another title for Drake, think again.
The Canadian Jewish rapper just released a promo video for the basketball team’s new season, and it is seriously inspirational stuff. Check it out:
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