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The Internet Weighs In On Michael Cohen’s Prison Time

Michael Cohen, longtime lawyer to President Donald Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday morning.

Cohen will serve time after admitting to having illegally paid women, including Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about their relations to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, and for lying to congress about a Trump building project in Russia. Cohen will also have to pay nearly two million dollars in fees and restitution.

Out in the public square, there is all the rejoicing, quiet terror, smugness, and ice-skating tweets we’ve come to expect when the Trump administration births a major news story. Here are some of the wildest reactions:

Michael Cohens everywhere poured one out for Michael Cohen:

Jonathan Van Ness of “Queer Eye” demonstrated Cohen taking a tumble:

Jewish Twitter star “Oh No She Twitnt” did the math on Cohen’s time:

Fans celebrated Cohen’s silverlining:

Some wished Michael a mazal:

And Cohen was compared to another late, great fallen hero:

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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Kathie Lee Gifford Will Leave The Today Show And Work On A Project In Israel

It’s the end of an early morning, brassy-voiced era: Kathie Lee Gifford has announced that she will leave the “Today” show on NBC, which she has co-hosted with Hoda Kotb for nearly eleven years, this April.

Gifford, who on Tuesday morning announced her departure through tears, will be headed to greener — or maybe drier — pastures: the 65-year-old Christian comic and TV host plans to work on a short movie, “The God Who Sees,” in Israel.

“The God Who Sees” is a reference to a description of God in the Torah, “el roi,” which first appears in Genesis. When God goes to Hagar, a maidservant whom Abraham has treated as a concubine and whom Sarah has abused, and tells her she is pregnant and will have a great number of offspring, she praises God, saying, “You are the God who sees.” Despite that interesting connection to the Torah, Gifford, a religious Christian with Jewish roots, is likely making a Christian-themed movie.

Announcing her departure, Gifford honored her co-host, Kotb, with whom she said she “fell in love” during her time as an anchor on the morning show. “We started out as a nothing burger,” Gifford remembered of the show, which clocks in at four hours a day, five days a week. “We do life together,” she said of the “Today” crew. Before her turn on the “Today” show, Gifford co-anchored “Live” with Regis Philbin for fifteen years.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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Kirk Douglas Honored In His NY Hometown On His 102nd Birthday

(JTA) — The latest honor for Jewish actor Kirk Douglas came in the upstate New York town where he was raised on his 102nd birthday.

Friend and relatives gathered in Amsterdam on Sunday to unveil a historic marker for a sign that will say that Douglas, 102, “Rose From Poverty To Appear In Over 90 Films In Hollywood,” The Associated Press reported. The sign will be erected near his home in the town, which is about 30 miles from Albany, the state’s capital.

Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch to Yiddish-speaking immigrant parents. He has starred in such films as “Spartacus” and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”

His son Michael Douglas also is an accomplished actor and director who won the Genesis Prize, or “Jewish Nobel,” in 2015.

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An Exclusive Peek Inside Ben Shapiro’s Very Jewish Bookshelf

On Sunday, Vanity Fair published a lengthy profile on Ben Shapiro’s rise to fame — but all Jewish Twitter seemed to care about was Shapiro’s bookshelf.

I was immediately intrigued by the fact that Shapiro’s bookshelf featured the Hebrew/English version of the Mishnah (the codified version of the Oral Law) published by Artscroll, and the Hebrew/English version of the Talmud (which includes rabbinic elucidation of this law, referred to as the Gemara) published by their biggest competitor, Koren. Though their titles are not clearly visible in the Vanity Fair photo, their spines are easily identifiable to Anglo Jews who study Torah regularly.

I wasn’t alone in my curiosity. Dovid Bashevkin, Director of Education for the Orthodox youth organization NCSY, tweeted:

Others attempted to identify other books on the shelves:

We reached out to Shapiro to set the record straight.

Many have noticed the unconventional choice of having an Artscroll Mishnah set and a Koren Talmud set. How did you choose which editions of the Mishnah, Talmud, and other works to purchase?

Ben Shapiro: My dad has a lot of the Artscroll Gemara, so I’ve diversified.

How many Sefarim (Judaica books) would you estimate you own?

BS: I haven’t counted; probably a couple hundred.

What books are the most often pulled off the shelf?

BS: Aruch Hashulchan, Tanach, Mesilat Yesharim, Gemara

To set the record straight once and for all, here’s the official unblurry view of Shapiro’s Sefarim:

Now we can get back to debating about his politics.

Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s deputy opinion editor. Contact her at adkins@forward.com or on Twitter, @Laura_E_Adkins

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‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Originally Featured A Woman Seducing A Man, Too

When Frank Loesser, the Jewish composer of musicals like “Guys and Dolls” wrote “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in 1944 for himself and his wife to perform at dinner parties, he labeled the two vocal parts “mouse” and “wolf.”

“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” has become a Russian doll of controversy that we take down from the shelf once a year. At first glance it’s a jazzy, flirtatious duet evocative of the holidays. A closer look at the lyrics reveals that the female speaker is making attempt after attempt at leaving, as the male singer hungrily traps her, including, it seems, with a laced drink — perhaps with the intent of date rape.

A closer look suggests that within the cultural context of the 40’s, the decade in which it was written, the song is a winking look at how women found ways to spend time with lovers in spite of social constraints. And lining up all those arguments next to each other, it seems that regardless of what the context may have been over half a century ago, modern listeners will hear in the song the message — when women say “no,” they mean “yes.”

This year, the song has been banned from many radio stations. Loesser’s daughter, who believes banning the song is misguided, blames Bill Cosby for recent objections to the song.

But before “Baby It’s Cold Outside” became the center of an annual controversy, it was parlor entertainment that Loesser and his wife Lynn Garland dished out in the late evenings as a farewell for guests. Garland played the “mouse,” singing lines like “the answer is no,” and apparently trying to leave her male companion and make her way home. Loesser played the “wolf,” who slips the “mouse” a suspicious drink, and tells her, “don’t hold out” as he counters her every attempt to leave.

But in 1948, after the couple divorced, Loesser sold the song’s rights to MGM. The studio used the duet in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter,” winning the Academy Award for best original song. That first public outing of the wintry call-and-response song won it the notice that led it to be covered countlessly, by artists ranging from Dean Martin to Lady Gaga.

And in that first commercial rendition, the song is originally performed with a woman, Esther Williams, as the mouse, and a man, Ricardo Montalbán, as the wolf. But the scene switches halfway through to reveal a secondary couple — actress Betty Garrett sings the rest of the song as the wolf, to Red Skelton’s mouse.

Here’s the original scene featuring “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” with a gender reversal at 2:27.

You can see here why “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has been such a flint for fiery opinions — both scenes are ambiguous. But to the modern eye (or to this viewer’s modern eye), the first scene is bad and the second scene is worse. In both scenes, it’s unclear whether the “mouse” really wants to escape or not. But only when the mouse is a man is his escape attempt treated as a joke.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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