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SHORTCUTS

Actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher reportedly tied the knot in an unrehearsed Beverly Hills ceremony last Saturday in front of some 100 guests, most of whom learned of the event not more than 24 hours prior. The bride’s ex-husband Bruce Willis, whom she divorced in 2000, and her three daughters were said to be in attendance. Though neither Moore, 42, nor Kutcher, 27, is Jewish, the two are said to have wed in a “traditional Kabbalah” ceremony. Calls to the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles for an explanation of just what such a ceremony would entail were not answered at press time.

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Though President Bush has said that he doesn’t spend much time reading newspapers, someone from his staff is clearly perusing the Forward. In a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition on September 22, Bush cribbed an anecdote that appeared in a Forward article, adding his own moral to the story.

In his speech, the president talked about a Baton Rouge rabbi who helped a black couple track down their daughter in Maryland. Bush said that when the rabbi reached the daughter, he told her, “We have your parents.” She screamed out, “Thank you, Jesus!” Those exact words appeared in the Forward two weeks earlier, and the anecdote had not appeared anywhere else. What was new was Bush’s response to the daughter’s mention of Jesus. “He didn’t have the heart to tell her she was thanking the wrong rabbi,” Bush said.

A week earlier, in a speech celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jews in America, Bush said that Jewish groups had raised $10 million in response to the hurricane. That figure had previously appeared only in the Forward, which did the rough calculation after contacting a range of Jewish organizations.

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West Coast Chabad-Lubavitch raised more than $6 million in a nationally televised telethon last Sunday. The event, designed in part to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina, featured such celebrities as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, basketball greats Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and actor James Caan. The nine-hour fundraiser can be seen in its entirety on the Web site www.tolife.com.

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