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The Schmooze

Natalie Portman Hypes Nathan Englander With Titillating Picture Of His Book

On reality star Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram page, she hawks for Flat Tummy Co. shakes, a laxative-based meal replacement product.

On his page, DJ Khaled posts paid ads for sparkling wine.

And on Jewish actress Natalie Portman’s Instagram, she peers out coquettishly behind a new piece of fiction by a man who once began a New York Times op-ed with the words, “This dirty Jew remembers every penny thrown at him.”

Forget those ever-self-pleasuring Philip Roth protagonists; this is the new American Jew:

She’s the Oscar-winning, Harvard grad, Paris-dwelling, Genesis Prize winner and loser, former associate of Alan Dershowitz Natalie Hershlag Portman, and she contains multitudes.

Hear O Israel, this randomly selected passage from the upmarket contemporary lit novel, “,” by Nathan Englander, as seen on “Thor” actress and Jerusalamite Natalie Portman’s Instagram page:

“Dudu refuses to lead grace at the end of the meal. He won’t hear of it, and calls for a Kohen to have the honor. The students chant birkat hamazon and then pair up again for a bit of extra study. While they learn, Shuli keeps stealing glances at Leibovitch, who chats with Katz on the opposite side of the room.”

If you think the rest of the page doesn’t name drop Gemara, Sugya, and a rabbi, have another think and perhaps a third — we’re trying to get on the Natalie and Nathan level, after all. Portman, unlike other celebrity influencers, is not being paid to promote Englander’s recent publication. She just really, really likes Jewish literature.

And if the Forward seems a little verklempt by all this, it’s because look at what we’re seeing here:

Two hyper-educated ex-shtetl-residents, with bone structure made by Hashem herself, and inherited trauma to spare, coyly repping a Michiko Kakutani quote to an audience of millions.

It’s just that Englander’s great-grandmother, a Yugoslavian Jew, would never have imagined that this is what her new country would wrought: natalie.portman_fan writing, of her descendant’s novel “,” “This will be on my reading list <3.”

“It looks really good!” portman.padme added.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny


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