Jews on ice
The National Hockey League’s 113-day owner lockout of players ended when the 10-year contract announced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, 60, and Donald Fehr, 64, executive director of the players’ union (NHLPA), was ratified by the players. The late Marvin Miller built the pro baseball players union (MLBPA) into a powerful force when he was its head (1968-1983). In 1977, he hired Fehr and groomed him as his successor. Fehr replaced Miller in 1983 and stayed until 2009, then in 2010 became head of the NHLPA.
Michael Weiner, 51, succeeded Fehr as MLBPA head. Sadly, Weiner has been battling an almost certainly terminal brain tumor since July. Nonetheless, he continues to teach Sunday school at his New Jersey synagogue and attend fundraisers for brain tumor research and treatment. He told ESPN that he is very touched by the many Jewish friends who have asked him his Hebrew name (Shlomo ben Yitzhak) so they can say a prayer for him.
On a more upbeat note, the four Jews playing NHL hockey as the delayed season begins are Michael Cammalleri, 30, Calgary Flames; Jeff Halpern, 36, New York Rangers; Mike Brown, 27, Toronto Maple Leafs; and Eric Nystrom, 29, Dallas Stars. Jewish Sports Review magazine reports 10 Jews now playing in the highest minor league, the AHL. Several have a good chance of being called up to the NHL this season or next.
The third season of the critically acclaimed IFC cable series “Portlandia” began on Jan. 4. It co-stars Fred Armisen (“Saturday Night Live”) and Carrie Brownstein, 38. They appear in short comedic sketches that satirize the politically correct, new-age culture of Portland, Ore. Brownstein is best known as one of the three members of the popular feminist indie rock band Sleater-Kinney. The band went on hiatus in 2006, but she still plays now and again with drummer Janet Weiss, 47. Unlike Weiss, Brownstein never talks about being Jewish, but I was just able to confirm, through other sources, that her parents are Jewish.
Heather Dubrow, 44, who joined the cast of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” last February, makes a guest appearance on the Wednesday, Jan. 23 episode of TVLand’s “Hot in Cleveland.” Back in 2002, under the name Heather Paige Kent, Dubrow co-starred in the short-lived TV series “That’s Life.” Not long after, she stopped acting to raise a family with her husband, Terry Dubrow, a prominent Los Angeles plastic surgeon. Married since 1999, the couple have four children.
The Sunday Styles section of the Jan. 6 New York Times profiled Nathaniel Rich, 32, and Simon Rich, 28, the sons of journalist Frank Rich and his ex-wife, literary editor Gail Winston. Nathaniel has carved out a path of his own as a literary editor and novelist. His latest, “Odds Against Tomorrow,” is due out in April. Simon, who moved to San Francisco in 2011, is a screenwriter at Pixar Studios and his new book, a collection of humor essays (“The Last Girlfriend on Earth”), is due out this month.
Doing equally well is the Mamet family. Clara Mamet, 17, the daughter of playwright David Mamet, 65, and his wife, actress Rebecca Pidgeon, 47, is co-starring on the ABC sitcom “The Neighbors.” Clara’s half-sister, Zosia Mamet, 24, co-stars on the HBO hit series “Girls” as Jewish lead character Shoshanna Shapiro. Zosia recently told the N.Y. Times that when she was 17 she became estranged from her mother, actress Lindsay Crouse, and went to live with her father and stepmother. She told the paper that she identifies as Jewish, adding “The only WASPy part of me is that I like gin — Oh, and I ride horses.”
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.