ARTISTS’ EXODUS: Many Israeli artists are taking their creative juices elsewhere. The Jewish Week chats with New York’s Israeli expat artists.
HIGH PRIEST, HIGH PRICE: Tired of Bush masks and Batman costumes? Now, you can dress up like the high priest from the ancient Temple instead. In response to a Purim request from a local rabbi, a Maryland costume-shop owner — consulting Jewish texts — managed to create a high priest costume, which she sells for $400 (and rents for $150). The Washington Jewish Week has the story of the priestly vestments — and the Purim business boom for costume shops.
DAVID SCHWIMMER SPEAKS: David Schwimmer — aka Ross from “Friends” — tells San Francisco’s J. that in the early days of his career, his Jewishness was a barrier. “When I first came out to L.A. after college [at Northwestern University],” he says. “I felt like I was getting a lot of feedback in auditions: ‘He’s really good, but he’s a little too ethnic.’ I’d be like, ‘You mean Jewish. What are you talking about? You’re saying I’m a Jew, so I can’t play the lead?’ I kept thinking, ‘Well, dammit, Dustin Hoffman has a pretty great career. Elliot Gould had a pretty magnificent career. Well, screw it. I’ll find the right role someday.’”
MORT SAHL SPEAKS: Comic legend Mort Sahl, the L.A. Jewish Journal notes, is often cited as a forerunner to Lenny Bruce. But Sahl, it seems, doesn’t see the resemblance. “Lenny was neither profound nor political,” the 80-year-old comic tells the Journal. “Comics today look at humor as escapism. I look at it as confrontational.”
BETTER LIVING THROUGH BAMBA: Israeli children are three times less likely to have peanut allergies than their peers in Britain. Some researchers are suggesting a possible explanation: Bamba. London’s Jewish Chronicle has the story of a popular snack food that’s prompting some scientific inquiry.
DON’T FORGET WALES!: The J.C. drops by an academic conference devoted to Welsh Jewry — and hears some griping. “Just by using the term ‘Anglo-Jewry’, we are neglecting Jews in Wales,” said conference organizer Nathan Abrams. “We tend to focus on the larger communities, such as Manchester, Leeds, London and Bournemouth, but the smaller communities are just as vibrant.” The 2001 census counted 361 Jews living in Wales — down from a peak Jewish population of 5,000 in 1914. Prominent Jews who can trace their roots to Wales include world-renowned funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen, who, the J.C. informs us, is “descended from leaders of Pontypridd Jewry.”