by the Forward

The Bets Are in Shekels But the Game’s the Same

It’s a form of *tzedakah *that the Sages probably didn’t have in mind: cash winnings from the Israeli version of “Celebrity Poker.”

Nevertheless, a number of Israeli charities and not-for-profit organizations stand to benefit from the November 1 premiere of “Poker Cochavim,” the Tel Aviv-based edition of the American series broadcast on Bravo. Participants in the Israeli version of the show include a mix of TV actors, athletes and musicians, with the series airing on Ego, a cable channel aimed at “hot-blooded” men between the ages of 18 and 45, according to the broadcaster’s Web site. Among the high-profile Texas Hold ’Em players will be Harel Moyal, second-season winner of the Israeli version of “American Idol,” and Eden Harel, a TV host who served as the first Israeli video jockey on MTV Europe.

Eden Harel’s husband, TV personality Oded Menashe, will be master of ceremonies for the new gambling show, following his successful stint on the Channel 10 cooking competition “Knife Fight.”

The Hebrew-language edition of “Celebrity Poker” follows a steady stream of foreign reality shows adapted for Israeli audiences. An Israeli version of “Survivor,” shot in the Caribbean, proved a hit earlier this year, and the ratings are currently dominated by the first Israeli edition of “Big Brother.”

This story "The Bets Are in Shekels But the Game’s the Same" was written by Nathan Burstein.

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